April 29, 1915 In San Francisco, the schooner SS Wapama began a long and varied career when she was officially entered into service as a ship of the Charles McCormick Lumber Company. The “ownership oath” for this acquisition of the Wapama was completed on that date by Sidney Hauptman, the company’s secretary. Two days later,... Continue Reading →

April 1, 1938 On the southeastern coast of Scotland, the steam ferry SS South Steyne was launched in Leith by the shipbuilding company Henry Robb, Ltd.  This vessel was built for Australia’s Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company and its ferries operations in Sydney. (The South Steyne owes her name to a section of Manly Beach,... Continue Reading →

January 12, 1933 The ocean liner SS Lurline left New York City for her maiden voyage. She subsequently traveled to San Francisco via the Panama Canal and then to Sydney, Australia, and other ports in that region of the world.  This luxurious ship was the third Matson Lines vessel named Lurline. She also had the... Continue Reading →

December 16, 1944 The transport ship USS Queens (APA-103), which had been named after one of New York City’s five boroughs, was commissioned for service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Captain John J. Mockrish of the U.S. Navy Reserve became the first commanding officer of this vessel. After a period of testing... Continue Reading →

Approximately 12,000 Native Americans served in the U.S. military during World War I. These servicemen, according to records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, included more than 2,000 who were in the U.S. Navy. One of those Navy sailors was Joseph Lewey (sometimes spelled as Lewy), a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe in Maine. He... Continue Reading →

October 21, 1922 The ocean liner RMS Franconia was launched at the John Brown & Company shipyard in the town of Clydebank, Scotland. Operated by the Cunard Line, this ship was the second one named Franconia to serve that company. (The original version of RMS Franconia had been launched in 1910 and was sunk by a German... Continue Reading →

September 7, 1918 USS Falcon (AM-28), the third U.S. Navy vessel bearing that name, was launched at the yard of the shipbuilding firm collectively known at the time as the Gas Engine & Power Company and Charles L. Seabury Company. (That shipbuilding firm had been formed by the merger of the Gas Engine & Power... Continue Reading →

September 3, 2008 A 44-year-old vessel was acquired by the Brazilian Navy for service as an oceanographic research ship in the Antarctic region. This addition to that navy’s Brazilian Antarctic Program was renamed the Almirante Maximiano in honor of Admiral Maximiano Eduardo da Silva Fonseca (1919-1998). A longtime Brazilian naval officer, Maximiano da Fonesca served... Continue Reading →

August 18, 1899 Just off the North Carolina coast, Erasmus “Rasmus” S. Midgett of the U.S. Life-Saving Service (USLSS) single-handedly rescued 10 men from a sinking ship. Midgett, who was born on North Carolina’s Hatteras Island in 1851, had become a surfman for the USLSS during the 1880s. (The USLSS was established in 1878 and remained... Continue Reading →

August 9, 1790 The Columbia Rediviva became the first ship to carry the flag of the United States around the world. This privately owned ship, widely known as just Columbia, left Boston on September 30, 1787, under the command of John Kendrick. Lady Washington, another vessel leaving Boston at the same time, was commanded by Robert Gray. ... Continue Reading →

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