USS Charles (ID # 1298), 1918-1920
Briefly named Harvard in 1918 and 1920
Originally, and later, S.S. Harvard (American Coastal Passenger Ship, 1907)

USS Charles, a 3731 gross ton coastal troop transport, was built in 1907 at Chester, Pennsylvania, as the passenger steamship Harvard. She was taken over by the Navy in March 1918 and placed in commission in early April as USS Harvard, a name that was changed to Charles a few days later. In June 1918, after fitting out at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, the ship transited the Panama Canal and steamed to Hampton Roads, Virginia. She crossed the Atlantic to Brest, France, with a load of troops in July, then went to Southampton, England, to begin service carrying military personnel across the English Channel. Between late July 1918 and early May 1919 she was kept busy in that work. Returning to the U.S. in June 1919, Charles was sent to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she was placed out of commission a year later. Her name reverted to Harvard in July 1920 and, though considered for conversion to a seaplane tender, she was sold in October of that year. Returned to commercial employment as the S.S. Harvard, she was lost through stranding on 30 May 1931 at Point Arguello, California, a short distance from the place where seven U.S. Navy destroyers were wrecked on 8 September 1923.

This page features the only views we have concerning USS Charles (ID # 1298) and the civilian steamship Harvard of 1907.

Photo #: NH 105914-KN (color)

S.S. Harvard (American coastal passenger ship, 1907)

Color-tinted photograph, printed on a "Phostint" post card by the Detroit Publishing Company circa the 1910s.
This ship served as USS Charles (ID # 1298) in 1918-1920 and was wrecked in 1931.

Donation of Captain Stephen S. Roberts, USNR (Retired), 2008.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 89KB; 740 x 480 pixels

Photo #: NH 55080

USS Charles
(ID # 1298)

At the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 1 June 1918.
Note her newly-applied pattern camouflage.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 73KB; 740 x 610 pixels

Photo #: NH 52855

USS Charles
(ID # 1298)

At Southampton, England, 27 September 1918, loading troops for transportation to France.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 100KB; 740 x 510 pixels


Either USS Charles, or her sister, USS Yale, is seen in the following views:

Photo #: NH 107084

USS Charles
(ID # 1298)

In a European port, circa the last half of 1918.
She is painted in pattern camouflage.
The original photo is printed on post card stock.
Note: Another copy of this photo is identified on the original print as Charles's sister, USS Yale (ID # 1672). See Photo # NH 105958.

Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2010.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 68 KB; 900 x 565 pixels

Photo #: NH 106360

USS Philippines
(ID # 1677)

In port, receiving assistance from harbor tugs, circa Mid-1919.
The ship in the background is either USS Charles (ID # 1298) or USS Yale (ID # 1672).

Courtesy of Commander Peter Joseph Walter, USN (Retired), 2008.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 114KB; 900 x 635 pixels


Related image: Photo # NH 105614 is a halftone reproduction representing S.S. Harvard and her sister ship, S.S. Yale. It is actually a view of the latter, and not of Harvard.

For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.

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