Robert L. Barnes
(SP - 3088: displacement 5,380; length 258’6”; beam 43’2”; draft 18’6”; speed 8.5 knots, complement 46; armament none)
Robert L. Barnes, a steel tanker built during 1917 by McDougall Duluth Ship Building Co., Duluth, Minn., for the Robert Barnes Steam Ship Co., was acquired from her builder by the U.S. Shipping Board on 29 June 1918; transferred to the U.S. Navy the same day; and commissioned at New York 19 October 1918. She remained in custody of the 3d Naval District while preparing for sea. Lt. G. C. Daniels assumed command on 29 January 1919.
Assigned to the 5th Naval District at Norfolk, Robert L. Barnes departed New York 12 March 1919 for Hampton Roads. Subsequently, she operated out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and New York until returning to Norfolk 18 April 1919. The ship remained inactive at Norfolk and was undergoing overhaul 4 September 1919 when she was assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service. She departed Norfolk 21 November for San Pedro, Calif., via the Panama Canal and San Diego, Calif. After transporting diesel fuel to Pearl Harbor, the tanker departed Hawaii 8 April 1920 with fuel oil for Guam.
Arriving at Apra Harbor, on 27 April, Robert L. Barnes served as an oil storage vessel in Apra Harbor. The ship remained at Guam through the interwar decades, departing only in 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1930, and 1934 under tow for Cavite Naval Station, Philippine Islands, for overhaul.
Robert L. Barnes was still in service at Guam on the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific. During Japanese air attacks on the island, 8 December 1941, the veteran oiler was bombed and strafed at her mooring, causing damage topside and starting dangerous leaks. Still afloat when the Japanese invasion force landed on Guam, Robert L. Barnes fell into enemy hands 10 December 1941 in an abandoned condition. Subsequently taken into Japanese service, the stubborn vessel was recovered at war's end though struck from the Navy list 24 July 1942. Sold to British mercantile interests, she served as Fortune and M.T.S. No. 2 from 1945 to 1949 before she finally was scrapped in 1950.
14 October 2005