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Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive

ex-Tern (SP 871)


  • The first Tern was built in 1907 by Murray and Tregurtha, South Boston, MA
  • Acquired by the Navy 28 May 1917 and commissioned USS Tern (SP 871) the same day
  • Renamed SP-871 to free up name for minesweeper AM-31 under construction
  • Struck from the Naval Register and returned to her owner 21 November 1918
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 18 t.
  • Length 53'
  • Beam 10'
  • Draft 2' 9"
  • Armament: One 1-pounder and one machine gun.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Tern 21k Namesake: Tern - A sea bird whose body is smaller than the gull which it resembles. It possesses a slender body, a narrow beak, and a deeply-forked tail. The tern inhabits coastal waters on both sides of the Atlantic Tommy Trampp
    Photo added 27 February 2020
    SP-871 183k Photographed on 21 November 1918, the date she was returned to her owner
    U.S. Navy photo NH 42439
    Naval History and Heritage Command

    Commanding Officers
    01ENS John William Brock, USNRF26 September 1917
    02ENS J. Elwood Potts, USNRF1918
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    View the Tern (SP 871)
    DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command website
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    This page created by Joseph M. Radigan and maintained by David Wright
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