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Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive

May (SP 164)

Call sign:
George - Sail - Love - Cast

Patrol Yacht:

  • Built in 1891 by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Co., Troon, Scotland for Ninian B. Stewart of Cantyre, Argyllshire, Greenock, Scotland
  • Completed 28 March 1891
  • Delivered 8 October 1891
  • Acquired in 1896 by Mrs. Sarah Drexel-Fell of Philadelphia, PA
  • Acquired in 1898 by Alexander Van Rensselear of Philadelphia
  • Converted to private hospital ship for the National Relief Commission at Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War in August 1898
  • Returned to service as a private yacht in 1899
  • Acquired in 1911 by Joseph Raphael De Lamar of New York, NY
  • Purchased by the Navy 11 August 1917
  • Commissioned 7 October 1917
  • Ran aground off Cape Engaņo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 27 July 1919
  • Wreck abandoned 28 February 1920
  • Hulk sold 6 February 1922.


  • Displacement 100 t.
  • Length 239'
  • Beam 27' 10"
  • Draft 15'
  • Speed 13 kts.
  • Complement 77
  • Armament: One 4"/50, two 3"/50 mounts and two machine guns
  • Propulsion: One single ended boiler, one 1,000hp David Rowan and Son (Glasgow, Scotland) vertical triple expansion steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Yacht May
    May 52k At anchor, prior to World War I
    U.S. Navy photo NH 102024
    Naval Historical Center
    May 85k Jim Rogers
    May 95k Photographed prior to her World War I era naval service.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 99596
    Robert Hurst
    USS May (SP 164)
    May 77k At Bermuda in November 1917. Photographed from USS Margaret (SP-527).
    Courtesy of Raymond D. Borden
    U.S. Navy photo NH 46437
    Naval Historical Center
    May 85k Tedford Harris Cann (September 3, 1897 - January 26, 1963) was a champion American swimmer and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor. He served as an officer in the United States Naval Reserve during World War I and earned the medal for saving his sinking ship. He served in the Navy Reserve during World War I, initially as a Seaman. On November 5, 1917, while he was a member of the crew of the patrol vessel USS May (SP-164), Seaman Cann voluntarily swam into a flooded compartment and repeatedly dived beneath the surface until he had located and closed the leak that endangered the ship. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for this act. In April 1918, Cann was commissioned as an ensign in the Reserves, continuing to serve in the USS May into July. He spent the rest of World War I as an officer on the USS Noma (SP-131) and left the service shortly after the conflict's end
    Newspaper photo from the 26 February 1918 edition of the Washington Times, Washington, DC
    Michael Mohl

    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR Charles Clifford Windsor, USN - USNA Class of 1907
    Awarded the Navy Cross (1918) - Retired as Lieutenant Commander
    7 October 1917
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: May, a steam yacht built in 1891 by Ailsa Shipbuilding Co., Troon, Scotland, was purchased by the Navy from J. R. De Lamar 11 August 1917; and commissioned 7 October 1917.

    Operating out of New London, Conn., May patrolled along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean during World War I, protecting vital Allied shipping from German U-boats. She ran aground on a reef off Santo Domingo, 27 July 1919; after efforts to refloat her failed she was declared abandoned 28 February 1920. Her hulk was sold 6 February 1922.
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    This page created by Joseph M. Radigan and maintained by David Wright
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