USS Lansdale (DD-101) at Venice, 1919

USS Lansdale (DD-101) at Venice, 1919



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U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann .The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.


USS Lansdale (DD-101) at Venice, 1919 - History

Finland , a 12,700 gross ton passenger steamship, was built at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1902. After a decade and a half of commercial operation she was chartered by the U.S. Army in June 1917 and used to carry troops to Europe. While off the French coast on 28 October 1917 the ship was torpedoed by the German submarine U-93 . Though seriously damaged, with nine men killed, she was able to make port for repairs at Brest. In April 1918 she was transferred to the Navy and placed in commission as USS Finland . The ship was decommissioned in November 1919 and returned to the War Department. She subsequently resumed commercial service and was scrapped in England in 1928.

This page features, and provides links to, all the views we have concerning the passenger liner Finland of 1902.

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

SS Finland (American Passenger Steamship, 1902)

Underway in a U.S. harbor, prior to World War I.
After service as an Army-chartered transport in 1917, this ship was acquired by the Navy on 24 April 1918 and placed in commission as USS Finland two days later. She was decommissioned and returned to the Army on 15 November 1919. At some point during or shortly after her Navy service she was assigned the registry ID # 4543.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 73KB 740 x 355 pixels

S.S. Finland (American Passenger Ship, 1902)

Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken prior to World War I. She was USS Finland (ID # 4543) in 1918-1919.
This image is one of ten photographs published circa 1918-1919 in a "Souvenir Folder" of views concerning USS Finland .

Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2005.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 88KB 740 x 510 pixels

Jewish Welfare Board Soldiers & Sailors Post Card

Front side of a card issued to U.S. servicemen during the World War I era. It features a view of S.S. Finland , which served as USS Finland (ID # 4543) in 1918-1919.
The reverse side of this card is seen in Photo # NH 104079-A-KN.

Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2006.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 66KB 740 x 485 pixels

Photo #: NH 104079-A-KN (color)

Jewish Welfare Board Soldiers & Sailors Post Card

Reverse side of a card issued to U.S. servicemen during the World War I era. Its front side, seen in Photo # NH 104079-KN, features a view of S.S. Finland , which served as USS Finland (ID # 4543) in 1918-1919.

Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2006.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 42KB 740 x 485 pixels

S.S. Finland (American Passenger Liner, 1902)

Wearing World War I neutrality markings, circa 1914-1917.
This ship served as USS Finland (ID # 4543) in 1918-1919.
The original image is printed on post card stock.

Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2009.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 109KB 900 x 560 pixels

SS Finland (American Passenger Steamship, 1902)

Photographed while serving as a transport during World War I, probably in 1917. She was USS Finland (ID # 4543) in 1918-1919.
This view, which shows her in one of the experimental camouflage schemes used in about 1917, has been heavily retouched.

Courtesy of the International Merchantile Marine Company, New York City.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 66KB 740 x 555 pixels

USS Alcedo (SP-166), left center, and
USS Wakiva II (SP-160), at right

Picking up survivors in 1917.
This photograph was probably taken on 28 October 1917, when these two converted yachts picked up men who had left the torpedoed transport Finland . The two-stacked ship in the center distance, beyond Alcedo 's bow, appears to have four masts and is probably Finland , which survived the incident and later served as USS Finland (ID # 4543).
USS Alcedo was torpedoed and sunk on 5 November 1917.

Courtesy of Mr. W.D. Porter, November 1937.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 43KB 740 x 460 pixels

SS Finland (American Passenger Steamship, 1902)

In drydock at Brest, France, showing damage received when whe was torpedoed on 28 October 1917.
This ship was USS Finland (ID # 4543) in 1918-1919.

Courtesy of Captain John P. Cummings, USNR (Dental Corps), Retired.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 88KB 740 x 450 pixels

King George V, of England (center foreground, with beard)

Inspecting the armament of the American troop transport Finland , at Liverpool during World War I. Standing by the King's left shoulder is Lieutenant Commander Stanton L.H. Hazard, USN, who commanded the Navy gun crews on board the ship. The gun at left appears to be a 4"/40.
This ship was USS Finland (ID # 4543) in 1918-1919 and was an Army-chartered transport in 1917.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 132KB 740 x 595 pixels

Additional image that may concern this ship: Photo # NH 41743 may have been taken during the rescue of men who had abandoned Finland when she was torpedoed on 28 October 1917.


A secret mission

The Navy needed creative ideas to defend against Germans they turned to the civilian society and inventors, such as Nikola Tesla and most notably Thomas Edison, and the following story is rarely told. The famous inventor is one of the world's greatest mind and inventor, and considered an unmatched genius who, though applied research, developed a whole new commercial model of innovation. He was the first to conceive a machine that could record sound : the phonograph to record motion : the Kinetograph (the world's first motion picture camera), the first electric incandescent lightbulb, the first electric car (even with electric windshield wipers), wireless devices, various electrical power distribution systems, among an astonishing 1,093 patents he registered. In 1908, he even invented prefabricated housing by improving the Portland Cement from the Atlas Portland Cement Company, once directed by the Sachem's first owner John Rogers Maxwell !

Photo from the WW1 Centennial COMMISSION website -rc05161

Above : Inventor Thomas A. Edison at the Key West Navy Base, Florida, circa 1916.

The ‘Wizard of Menlo Park’ (as Edison was sometimes called), after the outbreak of World War I, had a queer obsession with producing any new technology that would help the United States against the enemy submarines, and was certain that he could produce defensive and offensive means for the United States Navy. After the shocking sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 1915 (1200 casualties) The New York Times devoted three pages of interview to Thomas Edison. He outlined a plan advocating military preparedness, on the idea that military training and equipment procurement should be organized along industrial lines. He proposed the creation of military research laboratories with civilian help.

His views got the attention of Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy and a Republican politician— at the time, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary for the Navy, and he was enthusiastic about using small private boats against submarines.

Daniels asked Edison, in July 1915, to head an advisory board of experts from engineering and scientific societies to generate ideas and evaluate those submitted to the Navy by the citizens. Edison accepted and was appointed President of the newly formed Naval Consulting Board of the United States, on October 7, 1915.

Photo from National park Service

Photo from private collection

Above : ‘Magic Lantern’ slide of 1915. Daniels and Edison leading a joined effort to create a smarter naval defense.

Above : Edison at the Brooklyn Navy yard in 1915


USS Lansdale (DD-101) at Venice, 1919 - History

USS Graf Waldersee , a 13,193 gross ton troop transport, was built in 1898-1899 at Hamburg, Germany, as the Hamburg-Amerika line passenger steamship of the same name. She spent World War I in Germany, and was taken over by the U.S. Navy following the end of the fighting. Commissioned at Spithead, England, in late March 1919, Graf Waldersee made three voyages to New York from Brest, France, between early April and late August, carrying more than 5600 war veterans and other passengers. On the foggy night of 11 June 1919, soon after departing New York for France, she was seriously damaged in a collision with the merchant steamship Redondo , but was repaired and returned to service. Decommissioned in November 1919 and turned over to the U.S. Shipping Board, Graf Waldersee was sold for scrapping in 1921.

This page features, and provides links to, all the views we have concerning USS Graf Waldersee (ID # 4040).

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

USS Graf Waldersee (ID # 4040)

Entering in New York Harbor bringing U.S. service personnel home from France, circa April-August 1919.
The Statue of Liberty is in the right background.
Photographed by E. Muller, Jr., New York.
Note Armistice markings in German and English on the ship's side, amidships.

Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2006.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 72KB 740 x 455 pixels

USS Graf Waldersee (ID # 4040)

Photographed in 1919, possibly from USS Corsair (SP-159).

Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2009.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 68KB 900 x 530 pixels

USS Graf Waldersee (ID # 4040)

In port, probably at New York City, in 1919.
Note "Armistice" markings on her hull side, amidships.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 71KB 740 x 445 pixels

USS Graf Waldersee (ID # 4040)

Ship's port side near the after superstructure break, photographed from USS Scranton (ID # 3511) while in port, 1919.
Note "Armistice" markings on the ship's side (at extreme left) in both German and English.


Longview Race Riot, 1919

The Longview Race Riot occurred on July 10-12 in this northeast Texas city where 1,790 blacks comprised 31% of the town’s 5,700 people in 1919. Racial tensions were high across the United States due to race riots that began in March 1919. Just before the Longview Riot, local teacher and newspaper correspondent Samuel L. Jones and Dr. Calvin P. Davis, prominent leaders of the black community, had begun encouraging local black farmers to avoid selling to local white cotton brokers and to instead sell directly to buyers in Galveston. Also, local blacks set up a cooperative store where they competed with and angered local white merchants. These incidents raised tensions in Longview long before the riot occurred.

News coverage of the Longview race riot, July 1919
Public Domain Image

In early June, a local black man, Lemuel Walters, was beaten by two white men for allegedly making romantic advances towards their sister, a white woman from Kilgore. Walters was arrested and put in the Gregg County jail, but a mob showed up at the jail on June 17, and the sheriff gave Walters to the mob, who shot and killed him. The story was printed in the Chicago Defender on July 10 and enraged local whites who blamed the article on Jones although he denied writing it.

Later that day Jones was attacked and beaten across the street from the Gregg County courthouse by the same men who beat Walters. Dr. Davis arrived in his vehicle and took Jones to his office to treat him. The two men appealed to Mayor Gabriel A. Bodenheim for protection but were instead advised to leave town. Jones hid with relatives and they gathered twenty-five friends to protect his home. Around midnight, a group of white men arrived at Jones house but were met with gunfire. Three of the white men were injured, and another who hid under a nearby house was beaten badly by the black defenders of the home.

As the word spread, a crowd of almost 1,000 whites began to gather back in town with some breaking into Welch’s Hardware Store to take guns and ammunition. The crowd burned down Jones’s home, Dr. Davis’s home and office, and a black dance hall. Although Texas governor William P. Hobby sent eight Texas Rangers to Longview, the violence continued. On the night of July 12, Marion Bush, father-in-law of Dr. Davis, was killed by a local white farmer. On Sunday, July 13, Governor Hobby declared martial law in all of Gregg County, and ordered all residents of Longview to surrender their weapons at the county courthouse. An estimated 5,000 to 7,000 weapons were turned in, and more soldiers and Rangers arrived in town to quell the riots.

Seventeen white men were arrested for attempted murder on July 14, but all were released. Nine other white men were arrested for arson and then released. None of the men were prosecuted. Twenty-one black men were arrested for assault and attempted murder and moved to an Austin, Texas jail for their safety. Eventually, all were released without trials, to avoid any further unrest in Longview. Martial law ended on July 18, and citizens were allowed to retrieve their firearms the next day. The Longview Race Riot was one of twenty-five riots that took place from May through October 1917 during what would be called the Red Summer.


The Pandemic that Killed 50 Million

It was the deadliest flu outbreak in recorded history, with between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide being killed. In the United States alone, 675,000 died and the average life expectancy fell by about 12 years between 1917 to 1918.

The virus spread quickly because of World War I, with soldiers in close quarters passing the disease to one another then traveling far and wide, spreading the disease throughout the world. There was no vaccine at the time to protect against infection (the first licensed flu vaccine didn’t appear in the US until the 1940s) and there was no antiviral medication to treat it once infected.

All that people could do to try to avoid catching the disease was wash their hands, isolate themselves, avoid public settings, and quarantine the already-sick. Citizens were also ordered to wear masks to try to slow the spread of the disease, and many schools, theaters and businesses shut down. In New York City, an ordinance was passed to fine or jail people that failed to cover their coughs.

The first wave of the 1918 pandemic hit in the spring and was considered relatively mild, but later that fall, a second, much deadlier wave hit. Some victims died within hours or days of developing symptoms. Hospitals became so overloaded with patients that schools, private homes, and other buildings had to be converted into makeshift, emergency substitutes. There was also a doctor shortage back home due to the war, so medical students sometimes stepped in to try to treat patients. In some places, so many people got sick that there weren’t enough farmers to harvest crops or enough workers to collect garbage and deliver the mail.

Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), scientists now know that the 1918 influenza pandemic was causes by the H1N1 virus. While the epidemic did die down by the summer of 1919, that same H1N1 virus continued to come back seasonally for about 38 years, and, according to a study in Emerging Infectious Disease, all influenza A pandemics since 1918 have been caused by descendants (or mutated versions) of that same 1918 virus.

There have been other flu pandemics since 1918, but none have been quite as deadly. This is partly due to the fact that there have been huge advancements in our understanding and treatment of the flu.

There is now a global influenza surveillance system that include 114 countries. Seasonal flu vaccines are also available every year to help protect people from getting sick and there are antiviral drugs available for treatment. There are also antibiotics to help treat secondary infections, such as pneumonia.

Still, according to the World Health Organization, the seasonal flu still severely affects three to five million people a year and kills between 290,000 and 650,000 worldwide. That’s why it’s very important to get the vaccine every year and take other steps — like staying home from work when you’re sick — to help minimize the risk of spreading the disease to others.

Know your flu risk. Check out the Flu Tracker on The Weather Channel App.


St. Louis, arriving

Over the weekend, in an understated COVID-era ceremony, the latest USS St. Louis joined the fleet.

She is the 7th such vessel to carry the name and SECNAV made sure to touch on the missions of the first one, the 19th Century 24-gun sloop-of-war, rather than the two 20th Century cruisers with the same legacy. Because mission.

“Nearly 200 years after the first ship to bear the name was launched, today we commission the seventh USS St. Louis,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “Much like that sloop of war did in 1828, LCS-19 and her crew will protect the U.S. and our interests near and abroad. Whether conducting counter-narcotic operations in the Caribbean or working to enhance interoperability with partners and allies at sea, USS St. Louis will provide maneuverability, stability, and lethality in today’s era of Great Power Competition.”

St. Louis is the 22nd LCS to be delivered to the Navy, and the tenth of the Freedom-variant to join the fleet and is the seventh ship to bear the name. The first St. Louis, a sloop of war, was launched in 1828. It spent the majority of its service patrolling the coasts of the Americas to secure interests and trade. In addition, it served as the flagship for the West Indies Squadron working to suppress piracy in the Caribbean Sea, the Antilles, and the Gulf of Mexico region.

Of course, the most celebrated St. Louis in U.S. Navy history was past Warship Wednesday Alum “Lucky Lou,” the Brooklyn-class light cruiser that was the first to clear the Channel at Pearl Harbor and went on to earn 11 battle stars in WWII before going on to serve Brazil as the Lobster War flagship Almirante Tamandaré for another quarter-century.

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USS Lansdale (DD-101) at Venice, 1919 - History

PARTIAL LIST OF FLUSH DECKERS ATTACHED TO THE BLACK SEA FLEET, 1919&ndash1923

336 Litchfield
220 MacLeish
223 McCormick
237 McFarland
239 Overton
218 Parrott
243 Sands
103 Schley
212 Smith Thompson
114 Talbot
217 Whipple

In 1919, Rear Admiral Mark L. Bristol arrived at Constantinople as the United States&rsquo High Commissioner to the Ottoman Empire and senior US naval officer in Turkish waters. Initially taking cruiser Galveston as his flagship, he coordinated the deployment of 45&ndash50 flush deckers during four years of relief work in the Black and Adriatic Seas, as the Bolshevik Revolution raged across the Black Sea while Mustafa Kemal waged war against the Greeks in Turkey:

  • In 1920, Humphries, Overton and Whipple assisted in the evacuation of nearly 150,000 White Russian refugees from the Crimea to Constantinople. As the Red Army approached the Black Sea, they helped evacuate White Russian refugees from the Transcaucasus, taking them to the island of Prinkipo from which they later migrated to Constantinople. Baron General Peter Wrangel, commanding the White Russian forces in the area, pulled his force back to Sevastopol in a desperate rear-guard action. On the morning of 14 November 1920, Whipple, Overton and Humphreys arrived at Sevastopol to find hundreds of boats in the harbor, many of which were crammed to the gunwales with fleeing White Russians. Whipple stood by to evacuate selected individuals bearing passes from Vice Admiral McCully, who was in charge of the evacuation. Whipple&rsquos main battery was trained out and manned at all times. Armed boat crews carried evacuees out to the ship while her landing force stood in readiness. As her last boatload pushed off from shore, Bolshevik troops reached the main square and began firing on the fleeing White Russians. Whipple was the last American vessel out of Sevastopol, towing a barge loaded with wounded White Russian troops out of range of the Bolshevik guns, which she turned the tow over to Humphreys. From Overton&rsquos bridge, Admiral McCully over a megaphone while the Whipple passed, &ldquoWell done Whipple.&rdquo
  • In November 1920, at the end of the Russian Civil War, the Black Sea detachment at Constantinople cruised to Caucasian, Rumanian and Turkish ports to distribute relief supplies, provide communication and transportation and relocate refugees following the capitulation of General Peter N. Wrangel&rsquos anti-Bolshevik White Army to Bolshevik forces in the Crimea. Wrangel and his troops were forced to retreat to Crimea, pursued by both Red and Black Russian cavalry and infantry. Wrangel and the remains of his army were evacuated to Constantinople by the British on 14 November 1920 amidst horrific scenes of desperation and cruelty. Tens of thousands of Russians tried to escape from the Red Army, but were unable to find transport on the overcrowded British ships.
  • For 18 months in 1921&ndash22, during a prolonged drought in Russia and resulting potato famine, Gilmer and Fox escorted American grain ships to Russian Black Sea ports.

Destroyer stations in the Black Sea, 1919-1923.

Meanwhile, destroyer commanders passed the word to Admiral Bristol of dramatic and terrible events taking place far inland in Turkey related to a Turkish Revolution and a war between Turkish Nationalists and an invading army of Anatolian Greeks.

In September 1922, during the destruction of Smyrna (Izmir). at the close of the Greco-Turkish War, Litchfield led in evacuating Greek and Armenian refugees while Overton, Lawrence and Edsall also assisted civilian relief agencies in attempting to feed and help coordinate the evacuation of 200,000 ethnic Greeks and Armenians to Greece.


Military Aircraft, 1919-1945 : An Illustrated History of Their Impact

Military Aircraft, 1919-1945: An Illustrated History of Their Impact covers a crucial era in modern warfare technology. Ranging from the development of airpower doctrines in the aftermath of World War I to the aircraft and missions that put those doctrines into action during World War II, it provides an expert summing-up of the decades when the use of aircraft in battle came of age.

In chapters covering both the history of air power and specific types of aircraft (fighters, bombers, reconnaissance and auxiliary planes), Military Aircraft, 1919-1945 introduces key theorists and designers, describes important changes in technology and production, and recreates spectacular episodes from Pearl Harbor to the London Blitz to the Enola Gay. Readers will see the dramatic impact of the first generation of modern military aircraft on land and sea. They will also see how the expansion of war to the skies brought economic opportunity to some home fronts, and looming terror and devastation to others.