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Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive

Williams (SP 498)


Yacht: The first Williams was built in 1907 as Grayling by B. Frank Wood, City Island, NY; Acquired by the Navy 16 March 1918 and commissioned USS Williams (SP 498) at New York City; Decommissioned 18 December 1918 at Shady Side, NJ, struck from the Navy list and returned to her owner.
Fate unknown.

Specifications: Displacement unknown; Length 90'; Beam 12'; Draft 5'; Depth of hold 6'; Speed 15 kts.; Complement 11; Armament three 3-pounders and two machine guns.


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Williams 77k Seen here as Grayling Tom Nye
Williams 60k Seen here as Grayling Tom Nye

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: Williams—sometimes cited as Williams '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, Williams—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), Williams was jammed between Aramis and the dock, suffering damage again.

Apparently still without propulsion, Williams 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, Williams made a trial trip on 14 May.

Ten days later, misfortune again reared its head. Williams' 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, Williams 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. Williams 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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