USS Harvard (SP-209)

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USS Harvard (SP-209)
Career (USA) Union Navy Jack 100x35px
Name: USS Harvard
Namesake: Harvard, a college founded at Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Owner: G. F. Baker, New York City
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1904
Christened: as the yacht Elecmar; later renamed the yacht Wacouta
Completed: 1904
Acquired: Leased by the Navy on 23 April 1917
Commissioned: 10 May 1917 at New York City as USS Harvard
Decommissioned: 26 July 1919 at New York City
Struck: 26 July 1919
Homeport: Brest, France
Fate: returned to owner, 26 July 1919
General characteristics
Type: Yacht
Displacement: 804 tons
Length: 243'
Beam: 32'
Draft: 12' 6"
Propulsion: Steam engine
Sail plan: Three masts
Speed: 12 knots
Complement: not known
Armament: Four 3-pounder guns
Armor: Steel hulled

USS Harvard (SP-209) was a yacht leased by the U.S. Navy during World War I. She was outfitted as a patrol craft and assigned to patrol duty in the North Atlantic Ocean, protecting civilian ships from German submarines. In addition, she saved the lives of a number of survivors from ships that had been torpedoed. Post-war she was decommissioned, and was returned to her owner in her original civilian shipboard configuration.

Constructed in Bath, Maine

The second ship to be named Harvard by the U.S. Navy, the vessel was a steel yacht, was built as Elecmar by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, in 1904 and was leased as Wacouta by the Navy from G. F. Baker, New York, New York, 23 April 1917. Waoouta was renamed Harvard and commissioned 10 May 1917 at New York City, Lt. A. G. Sterling in command.

World War I service

Assigned to the dangerous North Atlantic

After being fitted out for overseas service, Harvard departed New York City 9 June 1917 with a convoy, and arrived at Brest, France, 4 July.

She then engaged in patrol duties out of Brest, and on 16 July picked up 59 survivors from the ill-fated British steamship Trelissick. Trelissiok had been torpedoed and sunk 15 July, after having rescued some 30 men from another torpedoed British ship, Exford, the day before. Harvard returned the survivors from both ships safely to Brest.

Continuing her duties around Brest, Harvard performed as a harbor patrol and coastal convoy ship. She assisted the torpedoed merchantman Texas 29 November 1917 and searched for survivors of the sinking of Hundaago, a Norwegian steamship, 4 August 1918.

Post-war return to owner

Harvard departed for England 21 November 1918 and remained there until June 1919, when she returned to New York City via Bermuda. The yacht was decommissioned and turned over to her owner 26 July 1919.

See also