USS Mayflower (1897)
|Operator:||U.S. Lighthouse Board|
|Builder:||Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine|
|Fate:||Transferred to U.S. Navy 27 April 1898|
|Operator:||United States Navy|
|Commissioned:||27 April 1898|
|Cited for "conspicuous service" by the Department of the Navy|
|Fate:||Returned to the Lighthouse Service, December 1898|
|Fate:||Transferred to U.S. Navy 10 May 1917|
|Recommissioned:||10 May 1917|
|Fate:||Returned to U.S. Lighthouse Service 1 July 1919|
|Recommissioned:||1 July 1919|
|Fate:||Transferred to Maritime Training Service December 1939|
|Operator:||U.S. Coast Guard|
|Decommissioned:||8 October 1945|
|Renamed:||USCGC Hydrangea 15 August 1943|
|Fate:||Transferred to Maritime Commission for disposal and sold|
|Length:||164 ft 0 in (50 m)|
|Beam:||30 feet 0 in (9.1 m)|
|Propulsion:||Two Almy watertube coal-fired boilers, two 325 shaft horsepower (242 kW) Steeple compound reciprocating steam engines, two shafts|
|Range:||1,000 nautical miles (1,610 km) (1945)|
|Armament:||In 1945: Two 20-mm gun mounts, two depth charge tracks|
The second USS Suwannee and third USS Mayflower was a United States Lighthouse Board, and later United States Lighthouse Service, lighthouse tender loaned to the United States Navy in 1898 for service as an auxiliary cruiser during the Spanish–American War and from 1917 to 1919 for service as a patrol vessel during World War I. She also served the Lighthouse Board and in the Lighthouse Service as USLHT Mayflower from 1897 to 1898, from 1898 to 1917, and from 1919 to 1939, and in the United States Coast Guard as the first USCGC Mayflower (WAGL-236) in 1939 and from 1940 to 1943 and as USCGC Hydrangea (WAGL-236) from 1943 to 1945.
Construction and commissioning
Just after the Spanish–American War broke out in April 1898, Mayflower was transferred to the U.S. Navy on 27 April 1898 for use as an auxiliary cruiser. She was renamed USS Suwannee to avoid confusion with the patrol yacht USS Mayflower, which also had been acquired for war service. Suwannee's war service included a brief period as the flagship of the commander of the naval base at Key West, Florida, Commodore George C. Remey. The United States Department of the Navy cited her for "conspicuous service" during the war. The war ended in August 1898, and she was returned to the Lighthouse Service in December 1898.
The Lighthouse Board rechristened the ship USLHT Mayflower and placed her in service as a tender maintaining aids to navigation in the 2nd Lighthouse District, based at Boston, Massachusetts. The Lighthouse Service replaced the Lighthouse Board in 1910.
World War I
After the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Mayflower again was transferred to the Navy and was commissioned on 10 May 1917 for use as a patrol vessel. She patrolled the Atlantic Ocean off the United States East Coast during the war. After the war ended in November 1918, she was returned to the Lighthouse Service by executive order on 1 July 1919.
After returning the Lighthouse Service, Mayflower again operated in the 2nd Lighthouse District. In 1924, she transferred to the 5th Lighthouse District. On 1 July 1939 the Lighthouse Service merged into the United States Coast Guard, and in December 1939 Mayflower was decommissioned and transferred to the Maritime Training Service in Boston, Massachusetts.
World War II
When World War II in Europe created a pressing need for tenders, the Coast Guard recommissioned the ship in July 1940 as USCGC Mayflower (WAGL-236) and based her at Norfolk, Virginia. The Coast Guard, which operated under the control of the U.S. Navy during World War II, renamed her Hydrangea on 15 August 1943 to again avoid a naming conflict with the same USS Mayflower (PY-1), which had returned to Navy service once again as a patrol craft.
Hydrangea was decommissioned on 8 October 1945 and transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal. She was later sold. She is one of the very few ships to have seen service in the Spanish-American War as well as both world wars.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- NavSource Online: Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive: USCGC Hydrangea (WAGL 236), ex-USCGC Mayflower, ex-USS Suwannee, ex-USLHS Mayflower
- United States Coast Guard Historian's Office: Mayflower, 1897; Later USS Suwanee; Hydrangea
- Hamersly, Lewis Randolph. The Records of Living Officers of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, Seventh Edition, New York: L. R. Hamersly Company, 1902.