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Identification Numbered Ships Photo Archive

Gargoyle (ID 1656)

Civilian call sign (1919):
Love - Fox - Boy - King


  • Built in 1903 as Pennoil by the Grangesmith Dry Dock Co. Greenock, Scotland (Greenock and Grangemouth Dockyard Co.) for the Pennsylvania Trading Co. of Hamburg, Germany
  • Launched 18 November 1902
  • Sold in 1911 to the Pure Oil Co. of Hamburg
  • Sold in 1914 to the Vacuum Oil Co. of New York and renamed Gargoyle
  • Acquired by the Navy 8 August 1917 and commissioned USS Gargoyle (ID 1656)
  • Decommissioned 22 May 1918 at New York and returned to her owner the same day
  • Sold in 1920 to the Union Petroleum Co. and renamed Oswego
  • Sold in 1924 to the Irish American Oil Co. of Dublin, Ireland and renamed Queen Maeve
  • Sold in 1931 to Galani and Behar of Piraeus, Greece and renamed Petroil
  • Sold in 1933 to SA Helenique Maritime et Commerciale 'Transpetrol' of Piraeus
  • Sold in 1947 to Tarshish Mar and Commercial of Panama
  • Sold in 1952 to Sancolombo of Genoa, Italy (P. & M.Martini) and renamed Zenobia Martini
  • Scrapped 25 January 1961 at Savona, Italy.


  • Displacement 9,360 t.
  • Length 363' 8"
  • Beam 50' 1"
  • Draft 24' (mean)
  • Speed 11 kts.
  • Complement 49
  • Armament: Two 3" mounts and one .30 cal. machine gun
  • Propulsion: One 2,500ihp steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Gargoyle 97k Probably shown here around the time of her inspection by the Third Naval District in September 1917
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105296
    Naval Historical Center

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships:


    A waterspout, often carved grotesquely, projecting at the upper part of a building, usually from the roof gutter.

    Called PennoiI when owned by the Vacuum Oil Co., Gargoyle was built in 1903 by Grangesmith Dry Dock Co. Greenock, Scotland, and commissioned 8 August, 1917 Lt. Oscar Windsor Smith, USNRF,
    in command.

    Departing New York 20 August 1917, Gargoyle loaded her cargo of oil at Philadelphia and, at New York ports fueled several battleships, including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nevada, and Arizona. After being repaired and loaded, she sailed 1 October on the first of three trans-Atlantic voyages through the submarine-infested waters. She arrived Dover, England 19 October, via Sydney, Nova Scotia; and off loaded her cargo at Dover, Devonport; St. Helen's Road; and Plymouth, sailing from the latter for the United States 8 November. She arrived New York 23 November for repairs and cargo, and left New York 5 January 1918, arriving 21 January at Portsmouth, via Spithead and St. Helen's Road. After discharging her cargo, Gargoyle left for the United States 1 February, arriving New York after a stormy passage on 18 February.

    She departed New York 9 March on her third and last trans-Atlantic voyage, arriving Plymouth, 27 March, via Halifax, Nova Scotia. After discharging and loading cargo at Devonport and Plymouth, she left the latter port 21 April, arriving New York 6 May via Portsmouth, N.H.

    She decommissioned at New York 22 May 1918, and was returned to her former owner that same day.

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