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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Vidofner

 

(ScStr.: t. 27; 1. 58'9"; b. 11'; dr. 3'6" (mean); a. 14 k.; cpl. 10; a. 1 1-pdr., 1 mg.)

 

Vidofner (SP-402)—a small, wooden-hulled, screw steamer completed in 1906 at South Boston, Mass., by Murray and Tregurtha—was acquired by the Navy on 19 May 1917 from S. H. Freihefer, H. M. Pfiel, and E. G. Schmidneiser and was commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 7 June 1917, Lt. (jg.) Edgar S. Husband, USNRF, in command.

 

Following an overhaul and a short trial run down the Delaware River to test her engines, Vidofner was assigned to local navy yard patrol duties at Philadelphia and commenced her initial patrol on 31 July. During this first night out, she arrested two men in a row boat and eight men in a cutter as they tried to enter the reserve basin area—a forbidden zone. When these men were returned to their respective ships, they were identified and released. In this same vein, the patrol craft picked up a man in a skiff, on 2 August, "who was acting suspiciously." When the man was identified by the yard quartermaster, he, too, was released.

 

At 1115 on 5 August, an aide from the district commandant's office arrived at the dock and requested that Vidofner make ready to get underway at once. Accordingly, an inspection party boarded the vessel; and she headed downstream toward Henderson (Transport No. 1), which had grounded earlier that day. Early the following day, after the inspection party had been transferred to the stranded troopship, Vidofner headed back to the navy yard and relieved Little Aie on patrol at 0800. Two hours later, Vidofner stopped tug Sam Weller nei\r a restricted area and ordered her out. When the tug failed to comply quickly enough, the patrol boat fired two shots in the air—sufficient prodding to hurry the tug on her way.

 

Vidofner remained on patrol duty at the Philadelphia yard until assigned to northern net patrol at the mouth of the Delaware Bay on 31 August. Her first month on patrol in that area was uneventful. On 8 October, however, the relative calm of her existence was blown to the winds as a heavy storm swept across Delaware Bay, threatening to scatter the flotilla on patrol duty there. Vidofner dragged anchor at 0730 and fouled Seagull (SP-544) before getting underway and clearing the other SP-boat. After taking "a bad pounding" in the rough seas, Vidofner dropped both anchors and moored off Brown Shoal Buoy in hopes of riding out the storm.

 

The tempest did not let up, though, and continued instead with unabated fury. Seagull, unable to get underway, drifted off into the pre-dawn darkness on the 9th, dragging her anchors and sending out SOS signals. Ordered to make for the breakwater at Lewes, Del., where some measure of shelter was afforded, Vidofner got underway and made haven—Seagull eventually arrived by 0815 at the end of a towline.

 

After shifting her base of operations to Cape May, N,J., on 13 October, Vidofner performed net patrol duties in the Delaware capes area until she was decommissioned at Essington, Pa., near Philadelphia, on 7 December 1917 and returned to her owners.

 

View, A.J. See A. J. View, to be included in the forthcoming revised edition of Vol. I.

 

 

The yacht Vidofner, her polished woodwork and wicker furniture giving her an air of quiet luxury, before acquisition by the Navy.