USS Lydonia (SP-700)

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Lydonia (American Steam Yacht, 1912) - Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken prior to World War I.
Career (USA) Union Navy Jack 100x35px
Name: USS Lydonia
Namesake: A former name retained
Owner: William A. Lydon
Builder: Pusey and Jones, Wilmington, Delaware
Laid down: date unknown
Completed: 1912
Acquired: by the Navy 21 August 1917
Commissioned: 27 October 1917 as USS Lydonia (SP 700)
Decommissioned: 7 August 1919 at Norfolk, Virginia
Renamed: USCGS Lydonia (CS 302) on 7 August 1919
Struck: circa 1919
Homeport: Gibraltar
Honors and
received partial credit for the sinking of the German submarine UB-70
Fate: transferred to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey on 7 August 1919
General characteristics
Type: Yacht
Tonnage: 497 gross tons
Length: 181'
Beam: 26'
Draft: 11' 5"
Propulsion: steam engine
Speed: 12 knots
Complement: 34 officers and enlisted
Armament: Four 3-inch guns
Two machine guns

USS Lydonia (SP-700) was a 497 gross ton yacht acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War I. She was outfitted as a patrol craft and spent most of the war based out of Gibraltar, escorting and protecting Allied ships in the Mediterranean and along the Atlantic Ocean coast of Europe. Post-war she was transferred to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey as USCGS Lydonia (CS-302).

Built in Wilmington, Delaware

Lydonia (SP 700) was built by Pusey and Jones, Wilmington, Delaware, in 1912; acquired by the Navy 21 August 1917 from William A. Lydon; and commissioned 27 October 1917, Lt. Cmdr, R. P. McCullough in command.

World War I service

Based out of Gibraltar

After repairs and target practice off Bermuda, the converted yacht departed the Caribbean in mid November and arrived Horta, Azores, 7 December 1917. Two weeks later she arrived Gibraltar to join the U.S. patrol squadron operating along the Atlantic and Mediterranean sides of the Straits of Gibraltar.

Assigned the task of protecting Mediterranean supply convoys, Lydonia remained on constant vigil for deadly U-boats during the early. months of 1918. She made two attacks on enemy submarines in February while guarding Allied convoys and although the results were negative. the experience was to pay off at a later date.

Encountering U-boat UB-70

On 8 May, Lydonia was steaming with a convoy from Bizerte to Gibraltar when she encountered German submarine UB-70. With the British destroyer Basilisk, the patrol craft made coordinated depth charge attacks at 1735, after the British merchant ship SS Ingleside was destroyed by a torpedo. After 15 minutes of running battle, the attack was curtailed and survivors of Ingleside were rescued. Heavy seas prevented an immediate assessment of possible damage to the submarine, but later evaluations credited Lydonia and Basilisk with sinking UB 70.

End-of-war operations

For the rest of the war, Lydonia continued escort operations from Bizerte to Gibraltar, playing a major role in the free movement of vital wartime supplies. Calling in Azores and Caribbean ports en route to the United States, she arrived Hampton Roads, Virginia, 6 February 1919.

Post-war disposal

Lydonia decommissioned at Norfolk, Virginia, 7 August 1919 and was transferred to the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey the same day.

United States Coast and Geodetic Survey service

Commissioned into the Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1919 as USC&GS Lydonia, Lydonia operated as a survey ship until 1947.

See also