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Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive

Covington (ID 1409)

Sank 2 July 1918


  • Built in 1908 as Cincinnati by F. Schichau, Danzig, Germany
  • Renamed Covington
  • Acquired by the Navy 26 July 1917
  • Commissioned USS Covington (ID 1409), 28 July 1917
  • Shortly after sunset on 1 July 1918 a U.S. Navy convoy of eight transports, escorted by seven destroyers, was steaming westbound some 150 miles southwesterly from Brest, France, bound back to the
    United States after having delivered more fresh troops for the fighting on the Western Front. The sea was calm with good visibility, and all ships were zig-zagging with lookout positions and guns manned as a precaution against the always-present menace of German submarines. The threat made its presence known at 9:12 PM, when a torpedo launched from U-86 detonated against the port side of Covington, steaming second from the left in the convoy's first row of five transports. The explosion, below her forward smokestack, blew open the ship's forward boiler room, and she soon came to a halt as the rest of the convoy split up and continued on. Some of the escorting destroyers, among them USS Little (DD 79) and USS Smith (DD 17), remained with Covington, which had developed a serious list to port. In the darkness, the transport's crew took to the lifeboats. Six of their number were killed in the torpedoing, but 770 others were picked up by the destroyers, which actively dropped depth charges in an effort to keep the submarine away. Covington was still afloat early the following morning, and it appeared that she might be saved. Tugs arrived from Brest and took her in tow, but water gradually penetrated her compartments. Her list increased, and the ship sank in mid-afternoon on 2 July 1918
  • Transports in this convoy were DeKalb (ID 3010), Covington, George Washington (ID 3018), Rijndam (ID 2505), Lenape (ID 2700), Dante Aleghieri (the only non-U.S. Navy ship present), Princess
    Matoika (ID 2290) and Wilhelmina (ID 2168). The escorting destroyers were Little, Conner (DD 72), Cummings (DD 44), Porter (DD 59), Jarvis (DD 38), Smith and Reid (DD 21)
  • Sank 2 July 1918 off Brest, France at 4724'N., 744'W., while being towed by Mercury (ID 3012)
  • Struck from the Navy list 26 August 1918.


  • Displacement 16,339 t.
  • Length 608'
  • Beam 66' 4"
  • Speed 16 kts.
  • Complement 776
  • Armament: Four 6" mounts, two machine guns and two 1-pounders
  • Propulsion: Two 5,500hp Quadruple-expansion steam engines, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Cincinnati
    Covington 230k Undated post cards Tommy Trampp
    Covington 176k
    Covington 94k
    Covington 77k Advertisement from the June 1914 edition of Cosmopolitan magazine
    Photo added 18 January 2021
    Covington 265k In dry dock, Boston Navy Yard 25 July 1917, three days before being commissioned USS Covington (ID-1409). Note masts of the frigate USS Constitution in the background
    National Archives photo 19-N-240
    Mike Green
    Covington (ID 1409)
    Covington 113k Fitting out for Navy service, circa mid-1917
    U.S. Navy photo NH 55503
    Naval Historical Center
    Covington 66k Covington fitting out for Navy service in or near the Boston Navy Yard, circa mid-1917. The masts of the USS Constitution can been seen in the background
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105615
    Robert Hurst
    USS Covington (ID 1409)
    Covington 115k At the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 4 October 1917
    U.S. Navy photo NH 52857
    Naval Historical Center
    Covington 125k Fine screen halftone reproduction of a photograph taken in 1918. She is anchored after dropping off her last load of troops from the States. This photo as likely taken in the harbor at Brest, France in the last few days of June 1918.
    Courtesy of William H. Davis, 1977.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 85173
    Covington 46k Covington at left, in port, probably at Brest, France in 1918. The ship at right is probably a British troop transport. A U.S. Navy destroyer is visible in the center distance
    Courtesy of Boatswain's Mate First Class Robert G. Tippins, USN (Retired), 2005
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 102874
    Robert Hurst
    294k View of Covington's deck, circa 1918.
    Photo via Lane Genealogy's Flickr page
    John Spivey
    Covington 115k Sinking off Brest, France, on 2 July 1918. She had been torpedoed the previous day by German submarine U-86.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 1225
    Naval Historical Center
    Covington 126k Sinking off Brest, France, on 2 July 1918. She had been torpedoed the previous day by German submarine U-86. Note towing lines rigged from her bow.
    Courtesy of Captain William Baggaly, USN.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 55504
    Covington 128k Sinking off Brest, France, on 2 July 1918. She had been torpedoed the previous day by German submarine U-86. Covington may still have been under tow at the time of this photograph, as two tugs are visible ahead of her.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 55505
    Covington 281k Original photo: Sinking off Brest, France, on 2 July 1918. She had been torpedoed the previous day by German submarine U-86. A tug is visible ahead of Covington, which may have been under tow at the time of this photograph. Note lifeboat some distance away from the ship's port side.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 55506
    Replacement photo: Photo courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum
    Original photo: Naval Historical Center
    Replacement photo: Bill Gonyo
    Covington 159k Sinking off Brest, France, in July 1918. She had been torpedoed on 1 July by German submarine U-86 and sank the following day. This photograph may have been taken in the late stages of abandonment, as a lifeboat is alongside by the aftermost survivor disembarkation ladder, with a few men visible above.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 55507
    Naval Historical Center
    Covington 132k Sinking off Brest, France, on 2 July 1918. She had been torpedoed on 1 July by German submarine U-86.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 55508
    Covington 94k Sinking off Brest, France, 2 July 1918, the day after she was torpedoed by German submarine U-86.
    Courtesy of the Reverend W.R. Siegart, 1927.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 55509
    Covington 104k Sinking off Brest, France. She had been torpedoed by German submarine U-86 on 1 July 1918 and sank the next day. The ship's flag is still flying from her stern, just above the water
    U.S. Navy photo NH 61488
    Covington 75k Sinking off Brest, France, 2 July 1918 after being torpedoed by the German submarine U-86.
    Photograph received from the U.S. Naval Library, Treasure Island, California, 1969.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 67716
    Covington 93k Final moments of the Covington sinking off Brest, France, 2 July 1918 The ship was torpedoed by German submarine U-86 the previous day
    Courtesy of the Reverend W.R. Siegart, 1927
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 55511
    Mike Green

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: The second Covington (No. 1409) was built in 1908 by F. Schichau, Danzig, Germany, as Cincinnati; interned by customs officials at Boston upon the entry of the United States into World War I, transferred to the Navy 26 July 1917; and commissioned 28 July 1917, Captain R. D. Hasbrouck in command.

    Between 18 October 1917 and 1 July 1918 Covington made six voyages from Hoboken, N.J., to Brest, France, safely transporting more than 21,000 troops for service with the American Expeditionary Force. On 1 July 1918 she was torpedoed without warning by the German submarine U-86 off Brest; she sank the next day despite efforts to save her. The convoy escorts succeeded in rescuing all but six of her complement of 776.

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    This page was created by Joseph M. Radigan and is maintained by David L. Wright
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    Last Updated 11 June 2024