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Chestnut Hill (ID 2526)



Civilian call sign:
Love - Jig - Queen - George

Chestnut Hill Class Tanker:

  • Built in 1917 as Desdemona by the Pennsylvania Shipbuilding Co., Gloucester City, NJ
  • Acquired by the Navy, 14 March 1918 and commissioned USS Chestnut Hill (ID 2526) the same day
  • Decommissioned 3 September 1919 at Philadelphia, PA and returned to to the United States Shipping Board
  • Renamed Caliche in 1927; Transferred to Russia in 1943 and renamed Donbass
  • Returned to U.S. custody in 1944
  • Sunk as a target in 1947.

    Specifications:

  • Displacement 10,150 t.
  • Length 380'
  • Beam 50' 9"
  • Draft 24' 6"
  • Speed 11 kts.
  • Complement 71
  • Armament: One 6" and one 6-pounder
  • Propulsion: One 2,400ihp steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Chestnut Hill 65k Photographed at the time of her completion in March 1918, either at the yard of her builder at Gloucester, N.J., or at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 105266
    Robert Hurst
    Chestnut Hill 57k In port, probably at or near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 16 March 1918, two days after she was commissioned.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 70471-A
    Naval Historical Center
    Chestnut Hill 81k In port, possibly when she was inspected by the Third Naval District on 16 May 1918.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 99657
    Chestnut Hill 94k At sea, probably photographed from USS SC-143 while she was escorting a group of submarine chasers from Bermuda to the Azores in 1918.
    Collection of Peter K. Connelly. Courtesy of William H. Davis, 1967.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 64962
    Chestnut Hill 87k In a harbor, circa October 1918, possibly at Bermuda while she was escorting a group of submarine chasers across the Atlantic.
    Collection of George K. Beach, who was a crewmember of USS SC-331 at the time.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 99631
    Chestnut Hill 102k At sea, circa October 1918, while she was escorting a group of submarine chasers from Bermuda to the Azores.
    Collection of George K. Beach, who was a crewmember of USS SC-331 at the time.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 99636
    Chestnut Hill 90k Refueling submarine chasers at sea in October 1918, while she was escorting them from Bermuda to the Azores.
    Collection of George K. Beach, who was a crewmember of USS SC-331 at the time.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 99632-A
    Chestnut Hill 105k Refueling a submarine chaser (probably SC-331), at sea in October 1918, while she was escorting a group of submarine chasers from Bermuda to the Azores.
    Collection of George K. Beach, who was a crewmember of USS SC-331 at the time.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 99635
    Chestnut Hill 78k Entering Dry Dock Number Two at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, 28 August 1919.
    Photographed by LaTour, Philadelphia.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 55114
    Chestnut Hill 99k Chief Gunner's Mate Oscar Schmidt, Jr., USN

    Citation:
    For gallant conduct and extraordinary heroism while attached to the U.S.S. Chestnut Hill, on the occasion of the explosion and subsequent fire on board the U.S. submarine chaser 219. Schmidt, seeing a man, whose legs were partly blown off, hanging on a line from the bow of the 219, jumped overboard, swam to the sub chaser and carried him from the bow to the stern where a member of the 219's crew helped him land the man on the afterdeck of the submarine [chaser]. Schmidt then endeavored to pass through the flames amidships to get another man who was seriously burned. This he was unable to do, but when the injured man fell overboard and drifted to the stern of the chaser Schmidt helped him aboard.

    Halftone photo from Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy, page 124. It was taken several years after World War I.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 79446

    Bill Gonyo

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships:

    Chestnut Hill

    A residential section in Philadelphia, Pa.

    Chestnut Hill (No. 2526), a tanker, was launched 23 August 1917 by Pennsylvania Shipbuilding Co., Gloucester City, N.J.; acquired by the Navy 14 March 1918 commissioned the same day, Lieutenant Commanier J. D. Murray, USNRF, in command; and reported to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service.

    Between 22 March and 15 June 1918 Chestnut Hill served as an escort and fuel ship for two convoys of submarine chasers as they sailed to the Azores. After repairs, the tanker made coastwise runs until 26 September, when she cleared to escort another group of submarine chasers to Bermuda and the Azores.

    On 1 November 1918 she departed Bermuda and after loading oil at Texas ports, called at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before delivering her cargo to east coast ports. On 17 December, she sailed to escort submarine chasers from the Azores to San Domingo, Guantanamo, and Haiti. After repairing and loading oil at Gulf ports Chestnut Hill sailed 28 February 1919 for Gibraltar where she had an overhaul until June.

    Chestnut Hill assembled a group of submarine chasers for the homeward voyage from European ports, and on 28 July cleared Lisbon to escort the ships to New York. She was decommissioned at Philadelphia 3 September 1919, and returned to the Shipping Board the following day.


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