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Identification Numbered Vessel Photo Archive

Charles (ID 1298)
ex-Harvard (ID 1298)


  • Built in 1907 as Harvard by the Delaware River Shipbuilding Co., Chester, PA
  • Launched in January 1907
  • Acquired by the Navy 21 March 1918 from the Pacific Steamship Co.
  • Commissioned USS Harvard (ID 1298), 9 April 1918
  • Renamed Charles 11 April 1918
  • Decommissioned 10 June 1920 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard
  • Renamed Harvard 29 July 1920
  • Sold 14 October 1920
  • Wrecked 30 May 1931 off Point Arguello, CA and declared a total loss.


  • Displacement 3,737 t.
  • Length 403'
  • Beam 51' 3"
  • Draft 19'
  • Speed 22.4 kts.
  • Complement 211
  • Propulsion: Twelve single ended and one auxiliary boilers, three 3,333hp Parsons steam turbines, three shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Harvard
    Harvard 50k

    Harvard, a college founded at Cambridge, MA, in 1636, was named for John Harvard, a general benefactor. Opened in 1638, Harvard University now includes a large group of graduate and professional schools as well as the college and is one of the world's leading educational institutions

    Tommy Trampp
    Photo added 10 February 2021
    Charles 280k Undated post card showing the steamers Harvard and Yale, later ID-1672 and Greyhound (IX 106) Tommy Trampp
    Charles 302k Post card dated 29 October 1912, Los Angeles, CA
    USS Charles (ID 1298)
    Charles 327k The submarine USS L7 (SS 46) with USS L-6 (SS 45) inboard berthed at Mare Island on April 14, 1918. USS Yale (ID 1672) and USS Charles (ID 1298) are to the right
    U.S. Navy photo 4038
    Darryl Baker
    Charles 120k At the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 1 June 1918
    U.S. Navy photo NH 55080
    Naval Historical Center
    Charles 146k At Southampton, England, 27 September 1918, loading troops for transportation to France
    U.S. Navy photo NH 52855
    Charles 89k In a European port, circa the last half of 1918. She is painted in pattern camouflage
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2010
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 107084
    Robert Hurst
    SS Harvard
    Charles 147k 14 June 1931
    Point Arguello, CA
    Photo caption: "The Pacific coastwise steamer Harvard, which grounded off the California coast at Point Arguello, Memorial Day, is rapidly disintegrating under the pounding of heavy seas. Photo taken from an airplane shows the wrecked vessel now beyond hope of salvage."
    Associated Press photo
    Tommy Trampp

    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR Martin F. Tarpey, USNRF - Awarded the Navy Cross (1918)9 April 1918 - 1919
    02LTJG Karl Arvis Tornberg, USNRF1918 (Temporary)
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships:

    Built in 1907 by the Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding and Engine Works, Chester, PA

    The U.S. Navy commandeered her on 21 March 1918 for World War I service, assigned her the registry Identification Number (Id. No.) 1298, outfitted her for service as a troop transport at Mare Island Navy Yard at Vallejo, California, and commissioned her as USS Harvard (ID-1298) on 9 April 1918 with Lieutenant Commander M. F. Tarpey, USNRF, in command. On 11 April 1918 she was renamed USS Charles (ID-1298). The Navy later (on 28 August 1918) purchased Charles outright from her owners.

    Departing Mare Island, Charles reached Hampton Roads, Virginia, on 26 June 1918. There she loaded troops and departed Newport News, Virginia, for Brest, France, on 10 July 1918. She arrived at Brest on 21 July 1918.

    On 27 July 1918, Charles reported at Southampton, England, for duty as a ferry for troops crossing the English Channel. She made about 60 voyages between Southampton and Le Havre or Boulogne, France, carrying troops of all nationalities bound for action at the front during the war or for occupation duty after it ended, until 5 May 1919.

    Her ferrying duties completed, Charles embarked passengers at Rotterdam in the Netherlands and at Brest for transportation to the United States, and on 15 June 1919, arrived at New York City.

    Her support of United States Army operations in Europe at an end, Charles arrived at the Philadelphia Navy Yard at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 24 July 1919, and was decommissioned there on 10
    June 1920.

    Reverting to her original name, Charles was renamed USS Harvard on 29 July 1920. She was considered for conversion into a seaplane tender, but this was never carried out, and instead she was sold to the Los Angeles Steamship Co. on 14 October 1920.

    Once again SS Harvard, she resumed commercial service, during which she was stranded and wrecked at Point Arguello, California, on 30 May 1931.

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