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Revenue Cutter Photo Archive

USCGC Thetis
ex-USRC Thetis

Call sign (1912):
Rush - Cast - Tare

USS Thetis

Thetis served the U.S. Navy, Revenue Cutter Service and Coast Guard

Revenue Cutter:

  • The first Thetis was built in 1881 by Alexander Stephen and Sons, Dundee, Scotland
  • Acquired by the Navy 2 February 1884 and commissioned USS Thetis
  • Decommissioned 26 November 1884 and laid up at New York
  • Recommissioned 15 January 1887 at New York
  • Placed "in ordinary" in July 1897 at Mare Island, CA
  • Transferred to the Revenue Cutter Service 3 March 1899
  • Returned to Navy custody in October 1899 but transferred back to the Revenue Cutter Service permanently
  • Commissioned USRC Thetis 23 June 1901
  • Decommissioned 13 July 1905
  • Recommissioned 12 June 1906
  • Decommissioned 30 April 1916 at San Francisco, CA
  • Sold 3 June 1916 to the W. C. Job and Co. of St. John's Newfoundland, Canada
  • Acquired in 1918 by the Thetis Steamship Co., Ltd. of St. John's, Newfoundland
  • Acquired in 1925 by Job's Sealfishery Co. Ltd., St. John's
  • Acquired in 1934 by the Ungava Steamship Co. Ltd., St. John's
  • In 1950 she was purposely grounded at Freshwater Bay, approximately 2 miles from St. John's and remained until she broke up.


  • Displacement 1,250 t.
  • Length 188' 6"
  • Beam 29'
  • Draft 17' 10"
  • Armament: (Navy) one 55mm Howitzer, (Revenue Cutter Service) three 3-pounder rapid fire guns
  • Propulsion: One W. B. Thompson and Co. Ltd., Dundee, 98hp compound-expansion steam engine and sail, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    USS Thetis
    Thetis 58k Greely Relief Ships Thetis and Bear
    Image from the book Voyage to the Arctic in the Whaler Aurora, by David Moore Lindsay, Dana Estes and Company Publishers, Boston, MA. The photograph is from the Freshwater and Marine Image Bank at the University of Washington, accession No. 34366
    Robert Hurst
    Thetis 77k Thetis (center) and Revenue Cutter Bear (left), hampered by ice during their search for the Greely Expedition, 1884
    U.S. Navy photo from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
    Thetis 209k Greely Relief Expedition, 1884
    The six survivors of the U.S. Army's Greely Arctic expedition with their U.S. Navy rescuers, at Upernavik, Greenland, 2-3 July 1884. Probably photographed on board Thetis. Those present are (as numbered on the original print):
    1. Commander Winfield S. Schley, USN, commanding officer, Greely Relief Expedition, and of Thetis;
    2. Lieutenant William H. Emory, Jr., commanding officer of USS Bear;
    3. Commander George W. Coffin, USN, commanding officer of Steamer Alert;
    4. Lieutenant Emory H. Taunt, USN, Thetis;
    5. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Samuel C. Lemly, USN, Thetis;
    6. Lieutenant Freeman H. Crosby, USN, Bear;
    7. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) John C. Colwell, USN, Bear;
    8. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Nathaniel R. Usher, USN, Bear;
    9. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Charles J. Badger, USN, Alert;
    10. Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Henry J. Hunt, USN, Alert;
    11. Ensign Washington I. Chambers, USN, Thetis;
    12. Ensign Charles H. Harlow, USN, Thetis;
    13. Ensign Lovell K. Reynolds, USN, Bear;
    14. Ensign Charles S. McClain, USN, Alert;
    15. Ensign Albert A. Ackerman, USN, Alert;
    16. Chief Engineer George W. Melville, USN, Thetis;
    17. Chief Engineer John Lowe, USN, Bear;
    18. Passed Assistant Engineer William H. Nauman, USN, Alert;
    19. Passed Assistant Surgeon Edward H. Green, USN, Thetis;
    20. Passed Assistant Surgeon Howard E. Ames, USN, Bear;
    21. Passed Assistant Surgeon Francis S. Nash, USN, Alert;
    22. First Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely, U.S. Army;
    23. Private Julius Frederick, U.S. Army;
    24. Sergeant David L. Brainard, U.S. Army;
    25. Private Henry Bierderbick, U.S. Army;
    26. Private Maurice Connell, U.S. Army;
    27. Private Francis Long, U.S. Army;
    28. Lieutenant Uriel Sebree, USN, Thetis
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 2875-A
    Thetis 194k c. 1884/1901
    Detroit Publishing Co. photo 021020 from the Library of Congress
    Bill Gonyo
    Albatross 306k c. September/October 1889
    Mare Island, CA
    Ships at the pier (left to right) are the Supply Ship USS Monongahela outboard of the Monitor USS Monadnock (under construction), the Research Vessel USS Albatross, USC&GS Carlisle P. Patterson, USS Charleston (C 2), (being outfitted), floating dry dock and ex-Ship-of-the-Line USS Independence (Receiving Ship). Ships in the channel (left to right) Gunboat USS Alert and the Auxiliary Steamer USS Thetis
    Photo from the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum
    Darryl Baker
    Thetis 491k c. April 1980
    Photo of the 55mm Hotchkiss revolving cannon from the USS Thetis now located in Alden Park at Mare Island
    U.S. Navy photo PG Thetis 165646-4-80
    USRC Thetis
    Thetis 49k Photo by "Bugler" from the Coast Guard History website Robert Hurst
    Thetis 311k Undated post card Julie Stehli
    Thetis 399k Photo of decommissioned USRC Thetis at Mare Island Navy circa 1898-99. Shipyard's Captain of the Yard log listed Thetis as decommissioned From 17 July 1897 to 29 March 1899. I narrowed the date to 1898-99, since the building to the left shows no damaged caused be the 30 March 1898 earthquake which completely destroyed this end of the building. When the building was repaired, the three windows were replace with a large middle double door and smaller side windows. The circular window was not replaced Darryl Baker
    Photo added 7 April 2022
    Thetis 441k c. 1901
    Broadside view of USRC Thetis at Pt. Barrow
    Donated to Mare Island Shipyard in 1987 by 2nd LT Francis R. Shoemaker
    Mare Island photo PG Thetis Pt. Barrow 1901-01
    Darryl Baker
    Thetis 360k c. 1901/1902
    Bow view of the USRC Thetis at Pt. Barrow
    Donated to Mare Island Shipyard in 1987 by 2nd LT Francis R. Shoemaker
    Mare Island photo PG Thetis Pt. Barrow 1901-02
    Thetis 299k c. 1901
    2nd LT Francis R. Shoemaker aboard the USRC Thetis at Pt. Barrow
    Donated to Mare Island Shipyard in 1987 by 2nd LT Francis R. Shoemaker
    Mare Island photo PG Thetis Pt. Barrow 1901-03
    Thetis 516k Officers of the steam cutter Thetis in 1904
    U.S. Coast Guard photo
    Robert Hurst
    Thetis 308k c. 1905
    USRC Thetis in Hawaiian waters
    Donated to Mare Island Shipyard in 1987 by 2nd LT Francis R. Shoemaker
    Mare Island photo PG Thetis Hawaii 1904-05
    Darryl Baker
    Thetis 430k c. 1910
    USRC Thetis is at her berth at Mare Island. The Receiving Ship Independence is seen aft of Thetis
    U.S. Navy photo 1910-01
    Thetis 99k USRC Thetis at anchor
    Photo from the 1914 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships
    Robert Hurst

    Commanding Officers
    01LT L. L. Reamey, USN23 March 1884 - April 1884
    02CDR Winfield Scott Schley, USNApril 1884
    03LT William E. Emory, Jr., USN15 January 1887
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

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    DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command website
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