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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Seawolf / H-1 (SS-28)

Radio Call Sign: November - Yankee - Charlie

H Class Submarine: Laid down, as Seawolf, 22 March 1911, at Union Iron Works, San Francisco, CA.; Renamed H-1, 17 November 1911; Launched, 6 May 1913; Commissioned USS H-1, 1 December 1913 at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.; Grounded on a shoal off Santa Margarita Island, off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, 12 March 1920; Sunk 24 March 1920; Struck from the Naval Register, 12 April 1920; Final Disposition, hulk sold for scrapping in June 1920.

Specifications: Displacement, surfaced 358 t., submerged 467 t.; Length 150' 4"; Beam 15' 10"; Draft 12' 5"; Speed, surfaced 14 kts, submerged 10.5 kts; Depth Limit 200'; Complement: 2 Officers & 23 Enlisted; Armament, four 18" torpedo tubes, eight torpedoes; Propulsion, diesel electric, New London Ship & Engine Co, diesel engines, 950 hp, Fuel Capacity 11,800 gals., Electro Dynamic Co. electric motors, 600 hp, Battery Cells 120, twin propellers.
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Jensen4.40kTorpedo Craft Is Launched Old Time "Christening"
Submarine torpedo boat H-1 (SS-28) leaving ihe ways at the Union Iron Works and Miss Leslie Makins who stood sponsor for the latest addition to the navy.
Image and text provided by University of California, Riverside.
Photo from The San Francisco Call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, 07 May 1913, Image 23 via
Jensen87k H-1 (SS-28), the lead ship of the H-class submarines, was originally named Seawolf, making her the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the seawolf, a solitary fish with strong, prominent teeth and projecting tusks that give it a savage look. Her keel was laid down by the Union Iron Works of San Francisco, California on 22 March 1911. She was renamed on 17 November 1911, launched 6 May 1913 sponsored by Miss Lesley Jean Makins, and commissioned at Mare Island Navy Yard on 1 December 1913 with Lieutenant Henry Martin Jensen in command. In 1914, while still commanding the H-1 , Lt. Jensen became the Commanding Officer of the Second Submarine Division of the Pacific Fleet. Partial text from
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress via Bill Gonyo.
H-1483kH-1 (SS-28), underway, circa 1913. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
H-1102k H-1 (SS-28) & H-2 (SS-29) are berthed at Union Iron Works, San Francisco on 7 October 1913 after being launched at that shipyard in May and June of 1913. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
H-11.50kView of the torpedo room of the submarine H-1 (SS-28) at frame 64 looking forward. Photo was taken at Mare Island on 13 December 1913. Note that torpedo racks are in place. USN photo # 1165, courtesy of Darrly Baker.
H-11.40kView of the torpedo room of the submarine H-1 (SS-28) at frame 64 looking forward. Photo was taken at Mare Island on 13 December 1913. Note that torpedo racks are in place. USN photo # 1166, courtesy of Darrly Baker.
H-1, 2 & 381k Cheyenne (BM-10) with H-3 (SS-30), H-1 (SS-28) and H-2 (SS-29) alongside, probably at San Diego, California, circa 1914-1917. Note the submarines' 13-star "boat" flags, and the numbers "23", "21" and "22", on their periscope housings. The first digit of these numbers represents the Second Torpedo Flotilla, to which they were assigned. The second digit represents the individual submarine's name. Also note the Sailor seated on Cheyenne's port anchor. Text courtesy of USNHC photograph # NH 76004.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
H-174k H-1 (SS-28) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 30 January 1914. USNHC photograph # NH 69853.
H-1174kSubmarines H-1 (SS-28), H-2 (SS-29) & H-3 (SS-30) are berthed together at an unknown location in January 1914. They possibly could be nested alongside of the Cheyenne which was the tender for the three subs. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
WYOMING75k Cheyenne (BM-10) in a West Coast port prior to World War I, while serving as a submarine tender. H-2 (SS-29) and H-1 (SS-28) are tied up alongside. All three ships are dressed with flags, probably for a holiday. Collection of Thomas P. Naughton, 1973.USNHC photograph # NH 92168.
H-1120kThe submarine H-1 (SS-28) is shown with Stewart (DD-13) on the West coast in 1914. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
H-1103kThe submarine H-1 (SS-28) is shown under way in San Francisco Bay in January of 1914.USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
4.21k File Unit: H-1 (SS-28) General Arrangement., 14 April 14. Item Unit: Plans for the Submarine H-1, 1789 - 1967, Series: Alphabetical Series of Ship Engineering Drawings, 1789 - 1967, Record Group 19: Records of the Bureau of Ships, 1940 - 1966
National Archives Identifier: 55302490
Photo courtesy of
F-4 49k Submarines alongside Cheyenne (BM-10): at San Pedro, California, circa 1914-1916. The submarines are (from left to right):
H-1 (SS-28);
H-2 (SS-29);
F-3 (SS-22),
& H-3 (SS-30).
USN photo # NH 101606, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Courtesy of H.R. ("Ed") Coffer, 1986.
H1 & 2202k The submarines H-1 (SS-28) & H-2 (SS-29) moored in Coos Bay, Oregon sometime between 1914-1917.Photograph courtesy of Robert Hurst.
N-1 and H-146kN-1 (SS-53), alongside H-1 (SS-28), off of Cristobal, C.Z., circa December 1917. USN photo courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
E-2, H-1, G-2, N-3 & 7 110k N-3 (SS-55) & N-7 (SS-59) are outboard and closest to the camera in this Winter 1918 photo at New London, CT. Other boats are H-1 (SS-28), G-2 (SS-27), & E-2 (SS-25). Photograph from the album of Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Edward D. Porges. Donated by his daughter, Gail Porges Guggenheim, 2007. USNHC photograph Photo #: NH 104987 via Robert Hurst.
WYOMING310kOriginal Caption: Key West Naval Station, Key West, Florida. Scene: Submarines in Gulf of Mexico.
Cheyenne (M-10) with portions of Naval Station showing submarines K-4 (SS-35), K-3 (SS-34), & H-1 (SS-28), 5 March 1918.
Photo by Lt. H.P. Kingsmore.
National Archives Identifier: 55174006
Local Identifier: 111-SC-006596.
Photo courtesy of
H-1102kH-2 (SS-28) is shown as modified during WW I, with a permanent (chariot) bridge and a Y-tube sound gear (visible above and below her hull, forward). U.S. sound gear was installed on H-boats completed for Britian after the U.S. entered WW I. For example, early in 1918 H-1 had a C-tube installed on her upper deck but not on her keel. Her British CO liked this position for its easier access. He also argued, incorrectly, that a keel location was noisier, because even when the propellers were stopped,their shafts conducted hull noises into the water. Although few such boats were built for the U.S., E.B. built many during WW I for Britian, Italy & Russia; some were transferred to Chile in payment for ships taken over by Britian.Drawing by Jim Christley. Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
H-1589kH-1 (SS-28) showing Profile Inboard; Profile Outboard, Midship Arrangement & Booklet of General Plans.National Archives Identifier: 75841739
Photo courtesy of
H-1398k H-1 (SS-28) showing Midship Section.National Archives Identifier: 55302488
Photo courtesy of
H-1936k H-1 (SS-28) showing Booklet of General Plans.Photo courtesy of
H-175k H-1 (SS-28) off the Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, Connecticut, circa 1919. Photographed by LaTour, Philadelphia. USNHC photograph # NH 41954.
H-187k H-1 (SS-28) off the Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, Connecticut, with her crew on deck, circa 1919. Photographed by LaTour, Philadelphia.USNHC photograph # NH 41956.
H-155k Electric Boat's H-1 (SS-28) off the Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, Connecticut, circa 1919. USNHC photo.
H-1123k4 photo PDF of the survivors of the H-1 (SS-28) and her wreck. Photo courtesy from the files of the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Memorial plaque91kMemorial plaque at Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia PA, July 2006 for the crews of United States submarines lost during peace time accidents:
F-1 (SS-20), F-4 (SS-23), G-2 (SS-27), H-1 (SS-28), O-5 (SS-66), O-9 (SS-70), S-4 (SS-109), S-51 (SS-162), Squalus (SS-192), Scorpion (SSN-589) & Thresher (SSN-593).
Photo courtesy of Wendell Royce McLaughlin Jr.
H-163kGoogle Earth satellite photo of Bahía Magdalena (Magdalena Bay) where the H-1 (SS-28) was lost. View courtesy of Ric Hedman.
H-176kJames Reid Webb, Lieutenant Commander (Commanding Officer) of the H-1 (SS-28) at the time of her loss.Photo courtesy of the US Naval Academy Alumni Association via via Bill Gonyo.
H-131kCommemorative photo in honor of the memory of the H-1 (SS-28).

In Memorium:

In the Second Book of Shmuel (Samuel), 22nd chapter, 5th through the 19th verses, translated from the original in Hebrew and published by the Koren Publishers of Jerusalem, Israel, 1982, can perhaps aptly describe the fate of the crew and all other U.S. submariners who died defending their county:

"When the waves of death compassed me / the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; / the bonds of She'ol encircled me; / the snares of death took me by surprise; / in my distress I called upon the Lord, / and cried to my G-D: / and he heard my voice out of his temple, / and my cry entered into his ears. / Then the earth shook and trembled; /the foundations of heaven moved / and shook because of his anger /...the heavy mass of waters, and thick clouds of the skies /... And the channels of the sea appeared, / the foundations of the world were laid bare, / at the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast at the breath of his nostrils. / He sent from above, he took me; / he drew me out of many waters; / he delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too strong for me. / They surprised me in the day of my calamity: / but the Lord was my stay..."
Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen. Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via

View the Sea Wolf / H-1 (SS-28)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
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Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
ComSubPac Report of loss of USS H-1 (SS 28) March 12, 1920 - 4 Men Lost
PigBoats.COM TM, a Historic Look at Submarines
On Eternal Patrol
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