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Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive

SP-498
ex-Williams '18 (SP 498)


Motor Yacht:

  • Built in 1907 as Grayling by B. Frank Wood, City Island, NY for Cornelius Kingsley Garrison Billings of New York
  • Sold in May 1909 to John Sherman Hoyt of New York City
  • Sold in February 1916 to John Teele Pratt of Glen Cove, Long Island, NY
  • Sold in 1917 to Justus Ruperti of New York City and renamed Williams '18
  • Acquired by the Navy 25 July 1917
  • Commissioned USS Williams '18 (SP 498), 16 March 1918 at New York City
  • Renamed SP-498 in 1918
  • Decommissioned 18 December 1918 at Shady Side, NJ, struck from the Navy list and returned to her owner
  • Sold in March 1919 to Charles Schedel and renamed Grayling
  • Sold in January 1920 to the Hinckley-Stevens Co. of Jonesport, ME
  • Fate unknown.

    Specifications:

  • Displacement 41 t.
  • Length 90'
  • Beam 12'
  • Draft 5'
  • Depth of hold 6'
  • Speed 15 kts.
  • Complement 13
  • Armament: Two 3-pounders and two machine guns
  • Propulsion: One 300hp 6-cylinder Standard gasoline engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Williams 77k Seen here as Grayling Tom Nye
    Williams 60k

    Commanding Officers
    01Boatswain Milton Chapman, USNRF1918
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: Wiliams '18 was originally built as Grayling. Completed in 1907 at City Island, N.Y., by B. Frank Wood, and designed by the firm of Tams, Lemoine, and Crane, the wooden-hulled, screw steam yacht was owned by Justus Ruperti of New York City in the years preceding World War I.

    Acquired by the Navy for inshore patrol duties, Wiliams '18—assigned the classification SP-498—was commissioned at New York City on 16 March 1918, Boatswain M. T. Moran, USNRF, in command. During the vessel's "unofficial trial trip" on 18 March, the patrol craft suffered a broken propeller shaft and was towed to the Philadelphia Marine Basin for repairs. One month later, while being taken in tow by Aramis (SP-418), Wiliams '18 was jammed between Aramis and the dock, suffering damage again.

    Apparently still without propulsion, Wiliams '18 was towed to an offshore mooring and used for a month as a floating classroom by groups of hydrophone trainees, or "listeners." At the end of each day, she was towed back to port. Drydocked in May and apparently restored to active duty (instead of being towed to her offshore duty station) with a repaired shaft, Wiliams '18 made a trial trip on 14 May.

    Ten days later, misfortune again reared its head. Wiliams '18' propeller struck the bottom while off Sandy Hook and was damaged. After repairs soon thereafter, the motor patrol boat trained "listeners" using "listening tubes" for the remainder of the spring and summer of 1918. During this time, she suffered slight damage in collision with the tug Relief on 27 September.

    At 1045 on 16 October, Wiliams '18 speedily got underway to reach the area where the British steamer Port Phillip was sinking. She arrived and lay to off the ship. There is no indication in the patrol craft's log as to providing assistance for Port Phillip, but we can assume that she aided the distressed steamer and its crew.

    On 17 October, all listening gear was removed and stored; and the ship was drydocked for repairs at the New York Navy Yard. She apparently remained at the yard into December, after the armistice which ended World War I. All armament, ammunition, and gear were removed during the early part of December, 1918. Wiliams '18 then sailed to Shady Side, N.J., on 18 December 1918, where she was simultaneously decommissioned and returned to her owner. She was apparently struck from the Navy list on the same day.


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