Honda (Pedernales) Point, California, Disaster, 8 September 1923
Request for Information


12 July 1951

From: Director of Naval Records and History (OP-29)
To: Lieutenant Thaddeus V. Tuleja, USNR
91 Nichol Avenue, New Brunswick, New Jersey

Subj: Request for information on the disaster of the seven destroyers off Honda Point, California, 8 September 1923.

Ref: (a) Your letter of 25 June 1951 to Captain Walter Karig, US Navy, Retired, referred to the Office of Naval Records and History, 2 July 1951.

Encls: (1) Extract taken from Report of the Secretary of Navy (Miscellaneous Reports) – 1923
(2) Grounding of Destroyers near Honda, California, Report of by Captain D.C. Nutting (CC), USN, Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, San Francisco, Calif. 13 September 1923 (1495-039).
(3) Excerpts from another report of Captain Nutting 18 September 1923 (1510-039)
(4) USS Fuller – Conduct of crew while wrecked off Point Pedernales, California, by the commanding officer of the USS Fuller, 7 October 1923.
(5) Conduct of officers and men after stranding of the USS Delphy (261), by Lieut. Comdr. D.T. Hunter, US Navy, 8 October 1923
(6) Wrecked Destroyers – Present condition, by Lieut. Charles F. Osborn (CC), U.S. Navy, 8 Oct. 1923
(7) Conduct of officers and men at time of standing of destroyers off Point Pedernales, California, by Commander Destroyer Squadron Eleven, 17 Oct. 1923.

1. Reference (a) was forwarded to Naval Records and History for pertinent information on subject request.

2. The seven destroyers which were suddenly stranded on a rocky promontory off Honda Point, California, on the night of 8 September 1923 imperiled the lives of eight hundred officers and men, but only twenty-three lives were lost. All seven vessels: the Delphy, S.P. Lee, Young, Woodbury, Nicholas, Fuller and Chauncey were declared total wrecks. The report of the Chief of Naval Operations of 20 November 1923 stated: “In view of their condition as wrecks, the subject vessels are hereby stricken from the Navy list and will be disposed of by sale as hulks”.

3. For your information, enclosures (1) to (7), inclusive, are hereto attached. Other related reports are deposited in the National Archives, Washington 25, DC. It is possible to get photostat copies of subject material at a cost of approximately thirty cents a sheet.

4. As stated in a letter of the Office of Naval Records and History under date of 6 July 1951 the Army and Navy Journals carried full coverage of the disaster in the following numbers:

September 15, 1923 p. 49
&#x 22 ȁ p. 78
&#x 29 ȁ p. 107

October 6 pp. 122, 128
&#x 13 p. 149
&#x 27 p. 193

November 3 &#x pp. 217, 221
&#x 24  p. 289

December 8 &#x p. 337

5. Other references are given as the San Francisco Examiner of 9 September 1923, which showed a picture of the Woodbury grounded on the north side of the small detached island (mentioned in Captain Nutting’s report of 13 September 1923, p.5.) The San Diego Union, San Diego Tribune and San Diego Sun assisted in collecting generous sums which were raised by the citizens of San Diego for the relief of the widows, orphans and dependents of the men who lost their lives. The Chamber of Commerce, the Red Cross, the Young Men’s Christian Association, the Kiwanis Club, the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the American Legion of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Morning Press were active organizations in the relief work, and additional material might be obtained from libraries in San Diego and Santa Barbara.

6. It would be appreciated is you would return enclosures (4) through (7) inclusive after you have finished with them. Enclosures (1), (2) and (3) may be retained for your file if you care to keep them.


Return to list of Honda Point Disaster documents.