Subchaser Hulls Still Afloat

Subchasers have virtually vanished. Only a handful of subchaser hulls have survived through the years and are still floating.

SC #NameLocationStatusUse
504Pacific LaurelVancouver, BCsunk 2006?fishing packer
536Moonlight MaidGirdwood, AKsunk 2012fishing vessel
715Cape PineVancouver, BCactivecharter
718HitraBergen, Norwayactivemuseum ship
772SC 772Portland, ORactivecharter
1013Mount IndependenceBaltimore, MDsunk 2007?
1039NorkingVancouver, BCfor salefishing packer
1068Air SnipeKetchikan, AKactiveprivate
1342SC 1342Prescott, MNsunk 2007live-aboard
1372CairdeasBellingham, WAactiveprivate

SC 504 - Pacific Laurel

SC 504 was built by Rice Brothers Corporation, East Boothbay ME, commissioned 5/4/1942 as PC 504, later reclassified as SC 504. It served in the Atlantic, Carribean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Pacific.

Source: ShipbuildingHistory.com, NavSource, Dudley Towne

Pacific Laurel taking on water Aug. 5 2006 Pacific Laurel taking on water Aug. 5 2006
Source: USCG video
C-130 dropping dewatering pump to Pacific Laurel Aug. 5 2006 C-130 dropping dewatering pump to Pacific Laurel Aug. 5 2006
Source: USCG video

On Sept. 30, 1946, SC 504 was sold to Parks Canning Co. of Seattle WA for $10,000. Since then it has been used as a fish packer registered in Vancouver. Some older photos are available at the UBC Library and the City of Richmond, BC Archives.

On August 4, 2006, the Pacific Laurel was taking on water about 126 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii and issued a distress call. A US Coast Guard C-130 cargo plane dropped dewatering pumps and two ships of the US Navy rescued four people using several helicopters.

Source: US Maritime Administration records, Lloyd's register of shipping

SC 536 - Moonlight Maid

PC 536 ca. 1942, later renamed SC 536. Source: Historical Collections of the Great Lakes PC 536 ca. 1942, later renamed SC 536.
Source: Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, NavSource

SC 536 was built by Peterson Boat Works, Sturgeon Bay Wisc., commissioned 4/23/1942 as PC 536, later reclassified as SC 536. It served in the South Pacific, doing patrols in Saipan, Tinian and Guam. See the SC 536 website for photos and a crew roster.

Source: SC 536 deck log, NavSource, SC 536 website

Moonlight Maid, Photo Courtesy Pat and Kelly Warga Moonlight Maid
Photo Courtesy Pat and Kelly Warga
Moonlight Maid, Photo Courtesy Pat and Kelly Warga Moonlight Maid
Photo Courtesy Pat and Kelly Warga

On 2/19/1946 SC 536 was transferred to the US Coast Guard as Air Cormorant (WAVR 415), an “Air Class” cutter to be used for air-sea rescue duties, one of 70 subchasers transferred. See Air Class Cutters for more info. In 1951 the vessel was sold to Murray Suthergreen of Seattle, WA and renamed Moonlight Maid. Eventually it was bought by Pat and Kelley Warga, a husband-wife team from Bainbridge I. Washington. Each year from March to September they took her to Valdez, Alaska where she was used in the fishing industry as a packer boat and tender. The Wargas kept Moonlight Maid in excellent working condition. It was later sold to Nathan R. Tueller of Girdwood, Alaska. Several recent photos are on Flicker here and here and also a good one here.

On Sept. 20, 2012 the Moonlight Maid sank 30 miles south of Resurrection Bay, Alaska.

Source: NavSource, Pat & Kelly Warga

SC 715 - Cape Pine

SC 715 moored between SCs 1354 and 1367 SC 715 moored between SCs 1354 and 1367, Pearl Harbor HI ca. 1944
Source: Allen B. Koltun, NavSource

SC 715 was built by the Fisher Boat Works, Detroit, MI, commissioned on Dec 4, 1942. decommissioned at Seattle WA January 9, 1946.

Source: NavSource

Cape Pine, Photo courtesy Ronan Oger Cape Pine
Photo courtesy Ronan Oger
Cape Pine, Photo courtesy Ronan Oger Cape Pine
Photo courtesy Ronan Oger

After the war SC 715 was transferred to the Coast Guard, and was later used as a fishing vessel. It was renamed Cape Pine and is currently berthed in Pender Harbour, BC. It was recently refurbished and is available for charter. For information see the M/V Cape Pine website.

Source: NavSource, Ronan Oger

SC 718 - Hitra

U.S. Navy Subchaser SC 718 swung out toward water by floating crane from deck of Liberty Ship “Willard Hall“.  Location: Pollock Dock, Belfast, Northern Ireland, October 07, 1943. U.S. Navy Subchaser SC 718 swung out toward water by floating crane from deck of Liberty Ship “Willard Hall”.  Location: Pollock Dock, Belfast, Northern Ireland, October 07, 1943.
Source: National Archives

SC 718 became a Norwegian Royal Navy vessel, the HNoMS Hitra.” During the war the U.S. loaned three American-built subchasers to occupied Norway under the lend-lease program and late in the war transferred ownership of the three vessels to Norway permanently. Throughout the war they were used in an operation called the “Shetlands Bus”, a ferrying service between Norway and the Shetlands Isles which, at high risk, transported secret agents and communications equipment into Norway to enable them to keep track of German navy movements all along the Norwegian coast. On return trips the subchasers would take key Norwegian personnel back to the Shetlands and to freedom.

HITRA in Bergen, Norway 1997, photo by T.R. Treadwell III HNoMS Hitra in Bergen, Norway 1997
(photo by T.R. Treadwell III)

After the war the three subchasers eventually disappeared. But in 1981 the 718 named Hitra was accidentally discovered half sunk in a Swedish ship’s graveyard. A movement began to restore her and this was eventually done. Today the Hitra operates as a full fledged subchaser fitted out and equipped exactly as she was during the war, and used for exhibit, education, reunions, etc. Her ship’s bell still carries the faint engraving of “SC 718” as a reminder of her American roots. She is based in Bergen, Norway and is well worth visiting. For more information about the Hitra, look at The MTB’s.

SC 772

SC 772 - Completion photo 3-27-1943.  Newport Beach CA
SC 772 - Completion photo 3-27-1943. Newport Beach CA
US Navy photo

SC 772 was commissioned 4/15/1943 at the Peyton Company, Newport Beach, CA. It initially did patrol duty near Seattle WA, Astoria OR, Neah Bay, and the Columbia River area. In mid-August 1944 SC 772 was deployed to the South Pacific for patrol duty near Saipan and Tinian, where on 6/8/1945 it rescued two survivors from a downed plane. Decommissioned 12/7/1945 at Bellevue WA.

Source: SC 772 deck log, NavSource

Air Mallard, WAVR 437
USCGC Air Mallard (WAVR 437) ca. 1946 off San Diego, CA
Source: Jim Flynn, NavSource
Lady Goodiver
M/V Lady Goodiver
(photo by David Kasper)

After the war SC 772 was transferred to the US Coast Guard as an "Air Class" cutter, Air Mallard, hull WAVR 437 . In 1948 it was sold and went through several owners and names; Joan Lindsay, Maplewood, and Lady Goodiver. For several years it operated in British Columbia as a live-aboard dive boat and later it was a party fishing vessel. It is now available for charter in Scappoose, OR under its original name, SC 772

Source: USCG records, Lloyd’s Registry of Shipping

SC 1013 - Mount Independence

SC 1013
SC 1013
Source?

SC 1013 was built by Luders Marine Const. in Stamford CT, commissioned on 9/21/42. It served in the South Pacific and was transferred to the US Coast Guard on 10/23/1945.

Source: DANFS, Robert Baker

Mount Indepdendence
Mount Indepdendence
Source?

For many years after the war SC 1013, converted to the Mount Independence, was a familiar sight as a sightseeing and tour boat on Lake Champlain in upstate New York. In 1989 Bruce P. Keller of Baltimore purchased the Mount Independence, her topsides in poor condition but her hull still sound, and brought her to Baltimore where, after refurbishing, she was kept moored.

Mr. Keller has written, “I have the privilege to be the master and owner of the SC 1013 and have met two original crew members. Captain Earl{old salt}Morgan and Motor Mac Jim Byington. When I first met MM Byington he boarded, dropped to his knees and kissed the 1013’s deck. A very emotional sight!”

Since early 2007 the Mount Independence has been grounded near Baltimore in a dilapidated state; however, there is a campaign to raise and restore her.

Source: Bruce P. Keller, sc1013.org

SC 1039 - Norking

SC 1039 was built by Rice Brothers Corporation, Rockport TX, commissioned 10/15/42 as PC-1039, changed to SC-1039 on 4/8/1943. It escorted convoys along the northern coast of South America and near Guadalcanal in the South Pacific. On 1/29/1945, SC 1039 was damaged, along with four other small ships, when the cargo ship Serpens (AK-97) was sunk by an explosion of undetermined origin off Guadalcanal.

Source: DANFS, Library of Congress Veterans History Project, The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II

Norking, ca 2007 Norking ca 2007
Source: Pacific Boat Brokers

SC 1039 was transferred to the Maritime Commission on 2/9/1948. It was renamed Norking and has been used as a fish packer. Some older photos are available at the City of Richmond, BC Archives.

As of Sept. 2013 Norking was for sale in Parksville, BC.

The flag from SC 1039 has been kept for more than 60 years by one of its crew members, Vernon R. Capps of South San Francisco.

Source: DANFS, Lloyd's register of shipping, Pacific Boat Brokers, Oakland Tribune, Jul 3 2007

SC 1068 - Air Snipe

SC 1068 was built by Mathis Yacht Building Co., Camden NJ, commissioned April 13, 1943. It served in the South Pacific doing patrol duty at Kwajalein, Majuro, Tarawa, Abemama and Enewetak atolls during the Gilbert and Marshall islands campaign. In mid-Oct. 1944 it arrived at Saipan and did patrol duty there until December when it returned to Pearl Harbor for repairs in drydock. In mid-Mar. 1945 it returned to the South Pacific, going to Enewetok, Guam, Ulithi, Majuro, and Johnston Islands.

Source: DANFS, ShipbuildingHistory.com, SC 1068 deck log.

Air Snipe SC 1068, Air Snipe, in Alaska 2005
(photo by Robert Michaelson)

SC 1068 is still alive and well in Ketchikan, Alaska. Transferred to the Coast Guard after the war and named Air Snipe, she was purchased by Kent Halverson who operates a fleet of tugboats in Alaskan waters. Air Snipe is Mr. Halverson’s pride and joy and is beautifully maintained.

SC 1342

SC 1342 was built at Rice Bros. in Rockport TX, commissioned Aug. 9, 1943. It did patrol duty between Florida and Cuba until April 1944 when it was transported by barge to the UK. It did patrol duty in England and France, and participated in the D-Day invasion at Normandy, mostly by escorting LCTs and LCIs. In January 1945 it returned to the USA where it served mainly in Charleston SC until it was decommissioned on Sept. 8, 1945 at Flushing NY.

Source: DANFS, SC 1342 deck log.

SC 1342 SC 1342 in August 2007
SC 1342 SC 1342 in December 2007

In 1977 Richard Lindsay of St. Paul, MN, an enterprising young man unafraid of hard work, spotted the remains of SC 1342 on the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River. She had been towed there from New Orleans several years before, stripped of everything of value including her pilot house and deck planking, and abandoned. There, for over a decade she remained, half sunk in the mud. In December 1977 Lindsay purchased salvage rights and hauled her out of the ice up onto a hill where he and a neighbor, Brian Larson, worked in their spare time repairing the hull and making it re-floatable. After two years she was re-launched in the nearby Mississippi. “Rick” lived aboard for 29 years until December 2007 when it sank at the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers, leaving Lindsey and his shipmate Doug Lentz homeless. More details and discussion at IDOfishing.com.

SC 1372 - Cairdeas

SC 1372 at launching, Terminal Island CA, June 8 1943 SC 1372 at launching, Terminal Island CA, June 8 1943
Source: National Archives
SC 1372 at launching, sponsor Mrs. Ed Voorhees SC 1372 at launching, sponsor Mrs. Ed Voorhees
Source: National Archives

SC 1372 was placed in commission at Fellows & Stewart Shipyard (Terminal Island, CA) on Nov. 1, 1943 and was used for patrol and escort duty on the west coast before departing for Pearl Harbor in August 1944. From Pearl she escorted a convoy to Eniwetok and from there picked up another convoy to Kwajalein and then another for Guam. She spent the remainder of the war in patrol and escort duty among the islands of Guam, Saipan and Tinian. On October 9, 1945 she went aground during the big typhoon at Okinawa but suffered no damage and was refloated when the tide rose and proceeded under her own power.

Cairdeas, Bellingham WA, April 2008 Cairdeas, Bellingham WA, April 2008
Photo by T. R. Treadwell

In 1949 SC 1372 emerged as a company yacht named Cairdeas (Gaelic for “Friend or Friendship”) for General Construction Company. Then in 1967 she was sold to Patrick and Maureen Dickson, who lavished twenty years of loving care on her while making her available for charter in the San Juan Islands area. Actress Julie Andrews and her family used Cairdeas several summers for relaxing and fishing in Desolation Sound. The Dicksons sold Cairdeas to George Baxter (ca 1987), a hands-on builder and restorer of wooden boats on Orcas Island. Mr. Baxter remodeled the interior quarters extensively, adding a library room, a dining salon, a main salon, five staterooms each with heads and showers, and crew’s quarters forward with six single bunks. A helipad was mounted on her afterdeck.

For causes not known the interior of Cairdeas was apparently gutted or destroyed.  It happened either in the late 90’s or early 2000s. In June 2005 Cairdeas was sold to Rod and Pam Stroud of Santa Paula, CA. The Strouds brought her to Bellingham, WA for purposes of refinishing it for charters and personal use. As of September 2008 Cairdeas is still moored at Seaview North, a boat building firm, in Bellingham.

Source: Splinter Fleet, The Wooden Subchasers of World War II Appendix B, Bellingham Herald June 3, 2006