USS Christabel (SP-162)

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USS Christabel 1917.jpg
USS Christabel prior to World War I
Union Navy Jack United States
Name: USS Christabel
Namesake: A name retained
Owner: Irving T. Bush of New York City
Builder: D. and W. Henderson, Glasgow, Scotland
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1893
Acquired: 30 April 1917
Commissioned: May 1917
Decommissioned: 19 May 1919
Struck: circa 19 May 1919
Honors and
Daniel Augustus Joseph Sullivan was awarded the Medal of Honor for securing live depth charges that had come loose during combat with a German U-Boat
Fate: Sold at Savannah, Georgia on 30 June 1919
General characteristics
Class and type: Yacht
Tons burthen: 248 tons gross
Length: 164'
Beam: 22'
Draft: 9'8";
Propulsion: Steam engine
Speed: 12 k
Complement: 55 officers and enlisted
Armament: two 3" guns
Armor: steel hulled

USS Christabel (SP-162) was a civilian yacht purchased by the U.S. Navy during the start of World War I. She was outfitted with military equipment, including heavy 3" guns, and was then assigned to patrol duty in the North Atlantic Ocean. She served as a patrol craft with honor during the war, surviving an attack on a German U-Boat. Post-war she was stripped of her military hardware and sold in 1919.

Built in Scotland[edit]

Christabel (No. 162), an iron yacht, was built in 1893 by D. and W. Henderson, Glasgow, Scotland; purchased by the Navy 30 April 1917 from Irving T. Bush; commissioned at New York Navy Yard 31 May 1917, Lieutenant H. B. Riebe in command; and assigned to U.S. Patrol Squadrons Operating in European Waters.

World War I service[edit]

USS Christabel in port.

She was placed in commission a month later, following conversion to a warship, and during June and early July crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Brest, France, after clearing New York City 9 June 1917.

For the remainder of the conflict, Christabel was employed on escort and patrol work off western France, and took part in at least two actions with German U-Boats. One of which was the Action of 21 May 1918 when she was credited with sinking a German submarine off Spain. However, later it was found that the U-boat was only damaged but had to be interned by Spain a few days later.

Service as a training ship[edit]

After returning to the United States in December 1918, she was based at New London, Connecticut, and served with reserve antisubmarine squadrons as an anti-submarine training ship.

Awards and honors[edit]

As an officer on board the Christabel, Ensign Daniel Augustus Joseph Sullivan was awarded the Medal of Honor for "extraordinary heroism" during combat action on 21 May 1918. He exhibited "extraordinary heroism" in securing live depth charges that had come loose during combat with a German U-Boat. For this act, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Officer of the Deck Lt. j.g. Howard Rutherford Shaw was awarded the Navy Cross for "promptly heading for the submarine with the intent to ram, with the result that it was possible to drop depth charges at the right time and place, damaging the submarine so severely that she was obliged to intern at Santander, Spain, for the remainder of the war."

Post-war decommissioning[edit]

Decommissioned 19 May 1919, Christabel was sold at the end of June to the Savannah Bar Pilots Association, of Savannah, Georgia on 30 June 1919.

See also[edit]