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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
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Sanderling

 

A small sandpiper.

 

I

 

(Minesweeper No. 37: dp. 840; l. 187'10"; b. 35'6"; dr. 10'4"; s. 14 k.; cpl. 78; a. 2 3"; cl. Lapwing)

 

The first Sanderling, minesweeper no. 37, was laid down on 27 May 1918 at the Tebo Yacht Basin by the Todd Shipbuilding Co., N.Y.; launched on 2 September 1918; and commissioned on 4 December 1918, Lt. Stanley Danielak in command.

 

Commissioned after the end of World War I, Sander-ling conducted exercises and performed miscellaneous towing operations out of Tompkinsville, N.Y., through January and February of 1919. In March, she proceeded to Boston, whence she sailed on 14 April for the Orkney Islands to join in the postwar sweeping operations to clear the North Sea for peacetime shipping.

 

On the 29th, the day she arrived at Kirkwall, the first sweeping operation in the American-laid fields began. Experimental in nature, that sweep disposed of only 221 mines and put hardly a dent in the barrage which had been stretched from the Orkneys to Norway to stop German submarine traffic into the Atlantic. The six following sweeps used different methods, improved equipment, and more ships—including Sander-ling. These modified operations proved to be more productive.

 

During the third operation, in June, Sanderling and Heron, operating together, located a sunken U-boat. The submarine, probably UB-127, fouled their sweep gear, almost stopping the two ships, and sent oil to the surface. Sweeping operations were soon resumed and continued more "routinely," if hazardously, for Sanderling until the sixth operation in August and early September. Influenza struck the mine force as it worked the eastern end of the barrage. Soon thereafter, Sanderling was damaged by an upper level countermine. Repairs, however, were effected quickly, and the ship was ready to return to sea as the final clearance sweeps were conducted.

 

By 1 October, the North Sea Mine Barrage, originally a concentration of over 70,000 British and American mines, had been swept; and Sanderling headed home. Moving south, then west, she returned to Tompkinsville on 19 November. On the 25th, the North Sea Mine Force was disbanded, and Sanderling proceeded to Charleston for an extended overhaul.

 

Designated AM-37 on 17 July 1920, she departed the South Carolina coast on 3 August; moved up to Norfolk; and, on the 31st, sailed for California. She conducted exercises en route; arrived at San Diego on 28 October; and remained in California waters until January 1921. She then proceeded west, arriving on the 21st at her new home port, Pearl Harbor.

Sanderling remained active only until 11 May, when she was placed in reduced commission. A year later, on 2 May 1922, she was decommissioned and berthed with the reserve fleet at Pearl Harbor. On 26 June 1937, while still in reserve, the minesweeper accidentally sank. Her name was struck from the Navy list, effective on the day of her loss.