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Saranac (ID 1702)

Civilian call sign (1919):
King - Nan - Watch - Tare


  • Built in 1899 as Hamilton by the Delaware River Shipbuilding Co., Chester, PA
  • Completed in April 1899
  • Rebuilt and lengthened in 1909 at Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, VA
  • Acquired by the Navy 6 December 1917 and renamed Saranac
  • Commissioned USS Saranac (ID 1702) 9 April 1918
  • Decommissioned 19 March 1919 at the New York Navy Yard, struck from the Navy Register and returned to the United States Shipping Board for return to her owner, the Old Dominion Line
  • Renamed Hamilton in 1919
  • Scrapped in 1932.


  • Displacement 5,150 t.
  • Length 375'
  • Beam 42'
  • Depth of hold 27'
  • Draft 18' 6"
  • Speed 17 kts.
  • Complement 65 (1919)
  • Armament: One 5"/51 mount, two 3"/50 dual purpose mounts and two machine guns
  • Propulsion: Four single ended and one auxiliary boiler, one 3,000hp vertical triple expansion steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Hamilton
    Saranac 156k Post card, postmarked 6 September 1909, Fortress Monroe, VA Tommy Trampp
    Saranac 273k Post card, postmarked 18 July 1910, New York, NY
    USS Saranac (ID 1702)
    Quinnebaug 154k . Tommy Trampp
    Saranac 120k At the New York Navy Yard on 22 May 1918 after being painted in pattern camouflage. The civilian 88-foot tug Henry Gillen (1917) is alongside
    National Archives photo 19-N-618 from
    Robert Hurst
    Quinnebaug 71k U.S. Navy minelayers proceeding to sea in two columns, in Area Number 2 of the North Sea, September 1918. Ships in the column at left are (from front to rear): Roanoke, Housatonic, Quinnebaug and Baltimore. Ships in column at right are (from front to rear): Canonicus (out of picture, to right), Canandaigua, Aroostook and Saranac. Note disruptive "dazzle" camouflage worn by these ships.
    Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
    U. S. Army Signal Corps Photo 111-SC-43563
    Naval Historical Center
    Aroostook 111k American minelayers underway on 20 September 1918. They include; on the right: USS Roanoke (ID-1695), USS Housatonic (ID-1697), USS Quinniberg (ID-1687), USS Baltimore (CM-1). On the left: USS Canonicus (ID-1696), USS Canandaigua (ID-1694), USS Aroostock (CM-3), USS Saranac (ID-1702)
    Imperial War Museum photo No. IWM(Q 20254) from American First World War Official Exchange Collection
    Mike Green

    Commanding Officers
    01CDR Sinclair Gannon, USN - USNA Class of 1900
    Awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal - Retired as Rear Admiral
    9 April 1918 - 19 March 1919
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: The third Saranac (ID. No. 1702) was launched in 1899 as a coastwise steamer by the Delaware River Ship Building Co., Chester, Pa., and rebuilt in 1909 by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va. On 6 December 1917, she was acquired by the Navy under charter from the Old Dominion Line for which she had plied between New York and Norfolk as SS Hamilton. Renamed Saranac on acquisition, she was converted to a mineplanter at James Shewan and Sons' Repair Yard, South Brooklyn, N.Y., and commissioned on 9 April 1918, Comdr. Sinclair Gannon in command.

    Her conversion delayed by material shortages and labor problems, Saranac completed training and fitting out in May and June. On 16 June, she sailed for Scotland to participate in the laying of a proposed mine barrage between the Orkneys and Norway to close that avenue to the Atlantic and limit German U-boat activity to the North Sea. She arrived at Inverness on the 29th; and, on 14 July, headed for the minefield to plant 597 mines. Before the end of the month, she had completed a second excursion which brought her total to 1,177. During August, breakdowns in her mining apparatus and engineering plant precluded mining activities, but, in early September, she returned to the fields. On the 7th, she planted 600 mines and on the 20th added another 600.

    On her third excursion into the barrage area during that month, 26 through 28 September, Saranac suffered her only loss of World War I. G.C. Anderson, BMC, went overboard when the inhaul wire of the port paravane parted on the afternoon of the 27th. All efforts to recover him were unsuccessful.

    Between then and 26 October, when she planted her last mine, Saranac completed four excursions to the fields and laid another 2,445 mines. On 11 November she received word of the Armistice and soon thereafter prepared to return home. At the end of the month, she departed Inverness for Scapa Flow where her crew saw the surrendered German ships. On 8 December she began to make her way back to the United States. Steaming via English and Portuguese ports, she arrived in Hampton Roads, Va., on 3 January 1919, and later in the month moved up to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. There, on 19 March 1919, she was decommissioned and delivered to the United States Shipping Board for return to her owner.

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