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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Anderton

 

(Tr: t. 290; 1. 139'6"; b. 23'7"; dr. 10' (mean); s. 12 k.; cpl. 35; a. 1 3", 2 .30-cal. Colt mg., 1 .30-cal. Lewis mg.)

 

Raymond J. Anderton—a wooden-hulled, single-screw "Menhaden fisherman"-type trawler built in 1911 at Noank (a

district within Groton), Conn., by Robert Palmer and Sons operated, by 1917, by the Atlantic Fertilizer and Oil Co.—was "enrolled" and purchased by the Navy on 7 June 1917 and ordered delivered on 18 June. However, prior to her commissioning, the ship's name was changed by General Order No. 314 of 28 July 1917 to simply Anderton.. Nevertheless, despite the order, Anderton would sometimes in the future be referred to by her full former name, or as R. J. Anderton.

 

Designated SP-530 and commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 18 August 1917, Chief Boatswain Frederick L. Muller in command, Andert.on was fitted out there, assigned to Squadron 4, Patrol Force, and earmarked for duty along the coast of France. Additional "Menhaden Fishermen" soon swelled the ranks of the squadron which soon proceeded via the Azores to Brest where they arrived on 18 September. At the outset, the trawlers were assigned coastal convoy duty in order to familiarize the crews of the ships with the coast and channels—work for which they soon proved to be ill-suited.

 

The loss ofRekoboth (SP-384) on 4 October—which had foundered off Ushant—prompted the withdrawal of the trawlers from open-sea work and their assignment to the task of minesweeping. Anderton, one of the first four ships in the unit to have her minesweeping gear installed, departed Brest on 3 December in company with three of her near sisters, and, on the 6th, put over her "kites" for exercises in Quiberon Bay. To Anderton went the honor of exploding the first mine caught in her sweep gear, on 13 February 1918; on 21 February Anderton and McNeal (SP-333) cut two apiece.

 

Squadron 4's loss of two other ships around this time highlighted the danger lurking in those coastal waters. On 12 January 1918, Bauman (SP-377), while operating in a fog near Concarneau, struck a rock and began taking on water. Anderton sped to rescue; but, despite her best efforts to tow the disabled sister to port, Bauman sank before she could be brought into Lorient. Within two weeks, the sqaudron flagship, the yacht Guinevere (SP-512) was lost in much the same fashion.

 

For the remainder of hostilities in World War I, Anderton operated out of Lorient. Besides sweeping duty and covering the convoy routes from Penmarch to Bouy de Boeuf s, Anderton and her sisters reinforced coastal convoys as required, cleared the Teignouse Channel and other important passages for troopships in the vicinity of Belle Isle; and, when the activities of the Central Powers' submarines demanded it, operated at night off Penmarch, with her primitive listening gear ("sea tubes") in operation to detect U-boats.

 

Illustrating this escort work, when the transport Mount Venon was torpedoed on 5 September 1918, Bamegat (SP-1232) and Anderton assisted her into Brest for repairs. Since drifting mines were unaware of the end to hositilities, sweeping had to continue in the weeks following the armistice to make sure that shipping could travel safely. Finally, in the spring of 1919, when their work in France had finally been completed, Anderton and her sister ships prepared for the voyage home. They set out from Brest on the morning of 27 April 1919, but rough weather soon forced them to return to port. As Anderton did so, she towed the disabled Courtney (SP-375), but the latter sank that evening about 25 minutes before the returning convoy sighted Armen light. A northwesterly gale made the sea very rough, and the remaining ships had to fight heavy seas, snow, and hail squalls before they reached haven at Brest on the afternoon of the 28th. Two other trawlers, Douglas (SP-313) and James (SP-429), had also gone down.

 

Anderton remained at Brest through the summer of 1919, and was ultimately decommissioned there on 8 September 1919. While some of her sister ships were sold abroad, Anderton went back to her prewar owner. She operated under her full original name, Raymond J. Anderton, until 1922.