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George Clarke

 

A former name retained. (Tr: t. 500; l. 135'; b. 22'; dr. 14.5'; s. 10 k.; cl. Castle)

 

George Clarke, a British trawler chartered by the U.S. Navy in the spring of 1919 to help clear the North Sea of mines, was taken over at Grimsley Naval Base, and commissioned 15 May 1919, Lt. (j.g.) E. V. Wilder in command.

 

George Clarke was assigned to the Minesweeping Detachment, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, and departed Kirkwall, Scotland, 7 July 1919 to begin the dangerous and arduous task of taking up the mine barrage. On 11 July George Clarke had a close call when an exploding mine damaged her sweep. The next day, shortly before sunset, she was some 400 yards from Richard Bulkeley, when a mine explosion ripped a hole in that ill-fated trawler. George Clarke steamed to the rescue but was still over 100 yards away when the stricken ship went down. George Clarke picked 12 survivors and returned to Kirkwall.

 

The next day at a conference on board George Clarke, Rear Admiral Strauss decided that the trawlers were not strong enough to withstand the shock of mine explosions close aboard. Most of the trawlers were, therefore, detached from minesweeping duty. George Clarke was sent to Brighton, England, where she was decommissioned and was returned to the Admiralty 11 August.