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Online Library of Selected Images -- Picture Data

Photo #: NH 85276 (extended caption)

C-Class submarines in the Gatun Locks, Panama Canal, circa 1914

Photograph printed on a color-tinted postal card, prior to World War I.
The submarine present include (in no particular order): USS C-1 (submarine # 9); USS C-2 (submarine # 13); USS C-3 (submarine # 14); USS C-4 (submarine # 15); and USS C-5 (submarine # 163).
See below for the text of official correspondence that may have been prompted by this photograph.

Courtesy of Commander Donald J. Robinson, USN(MSC), 1975

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 108KB; 740 x 520 pixels


Text of correspondence found in National Archives' Record Group 80, Entry 19, Box 1415, File 27219 (126), Secretary of the Navy correspondence files, 1912-1926:

# 1. Letter from the Bureau of Construction and Repair, Washington, D.C. (No. 15284-A.24(S) 17693-E.359 (4/29), dated (by rubber stamp) Apr. 3 1914:

To: Navy Department (Material).

Subj: - SUBMARINES - Information regarding to be held confidential.

Reference: (a) Dept.let.Aug.23/12, # 2725-229 (C&R 17693-E.359)

1. In the issue of the BALTIMORE AMERICAN of Tuesday 24 March 1914 the Bureau noticed a picture of the five submarines of the "C" Class in dry dock in one of the Panama Canal locks. In view of the fact that pictures of submarines are not to be made without authority and are to be held confidential, the Bureau took the matter up with Underwood & Underwood, of New York, who state that they purchased the film negative from a man who sent it along with others from Panama. In their letter they also state that there is hardly a day passes that they are not offered photographs of negatives of scenes of the Panama Canal.

2. As the Department's instructions regarding the taking of photographs of submarines do not seem to be known in the Canal Zone, it is recommended that the Navy Department take up with the War Department the advisability of issuing instructions to the canal authorities that pictures of submarines are not to be taken without proper authority.

signed: "Watt"


# 2. Endorsement to the above, by Bureau of Navigation, dated May 15, 1914:

To: The Department (Material).

Subject: Submarines; information regarding to be held confidential; picture of C class in drydock in Panama Canal.

1. Returned. All commanding officers of vessels as well as other officers are furnished with a general order covering the photographing of vessels, and it is not thought that that any authorities on the Canal Zone would direct that photographs of vessels be taken that were objected to by the responsible officers of the vessels. It is considered that this is a matter that will properly adjust itself under existing general and special orders without taking the matter up with the War Department.

signed: "Brittain, Acting"

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25 November 2003