USS May (SP-164)

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USS May (SP-164) at Bermuda in November 1917.
Career (USA) Union Navy Jack 100x35px
Name: USS May
Namesake: A former name retained
Owner: J. R. De Lamar
Builder: Ailsa Shipbuilding Co., Troon, Scotland
Laid down: date unknown
Completed: 1891
Acquired: by the Navy, 11 August 1917
Commissioned: 7 October 1917
Decommissioned: 28 February 1920 (wrecked and abandoned)
Struck: 1920 (est.)
Homeport: New London, Connecticut
Honors and
Medal of Honor issued to Tedford H. Cann
Fate: abandoned, 28 February 1920; no buyers found for the hulk
General characteristics
Type: Yacht
Displacement: 100 long tons (100 t)
Length: 239 ft 1 in (72.87 m)
Beam: 27 ft 10 in (8.48 m)
Draft: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Propulsion: Steam engine
Speed: 13 kn (15 mph; 24 km/h)
Complement: 77 officers and enlisted
Armament: 2 × 3 in (76 mm) guns, 2 × .30 in (7.6 mm) machine guns

USS May (SP-164) was a yacht purchased by the United States Navy during World War I. She was outfitted with two 3 in (76 mm) guns and two machine guns, and was assigned to patrol the Atlantic Ocean coast and Caribbean and to protect Allied ships from German submarines. After over two years of patrol work, she ran aground off Cape Engano on the Dominican Republic and had to be abandoned.

A Scottish-built yacht

May — a 1,100 long tons (1,100 t) steam yacht built in 1891 by Ailsa Shipbuilding Co., Troon, Scotland — was purchased by the Navy from J. R. De Lamar on 11 August 1917; and commissioned on 7 October 1917.

World War I service

Operating out of New London, Connecticut, May patrolled along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean during World War I, protecting vital Allied shipping from German U-boats.

Run aground and abandoned

As of March 1919, she was intended for eventual service as a flagship, but she ran aground on a reef off Cape Engano, Santo Domingo on 27 July 1919; after efforts to refloat her failed she was declared abandoned on 28 February 1920.

After unfruitful attempts to refloat her, May's wreck was offered for sale. However, no purchasers appeared, and she was abandoned as unsalable in June 1923.

Awards and honors

File:Tedford H Cann.jpg
Tedford H. Cann

Ensign Tedford H. Cann, USNRF was awarded the Medal of Honor for "courageous conduct" onboard May in November 1917. His citation reads:

For courageous conduct while serving on board the U.S.S. May, 5 November 1917. Cann found a leak in a flooded compartment and closed it at the peril of his life, thereby unquestionably saving the ship.


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