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

Photo # NH 44070:  USS Sara Thompson at anchor during the 1920s

Online Library of Selected Images:
-- U.S. NAVY SHIPS --

USS Sara Thompson (ID # 3148, later AO-8), 1918-1934.
Originally S.S. Gut Heil (German/American Oil Tanker, 1888)

USS Sara Thompson, a 5836-ton (displacement) oiler, was built in 1888 at Newcastle, England, as the 2691 gross ton German civilian oil tanker Gut Heil. Sold to American owners in 1912, she retained her original name and operated until lost in an accident on the Mississippi River in 1914. The great need for ships during World War I caused her to be raised in 1917 and refurbished for further use. In August 1918, while repairs were underway at New Orleans, Louisiana, Gut Heil was purchased by the Navy. She was placed in commission in mid-September 1918 as USS Sara Thompson (ID # 3148) and spent the rest of the war, and the first months following the November 1918 Armistice, carrying oil from the Gulf Coast to ports on the Atlantic Coast and to Bermuda and Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Sara Thompson remained at Ponta Delgada as a station tanker until early September 1919, when she began a two-month voyage to the Philippine Islands by way of the Suez Canal. In July 1920, when the Navy formally implemented its hull number system, she was designated AO-8. Though assigned as a fuel storage vessel at the Cavite Navy Yard, during her first years of Asiatic Fleet service Sara Thompson also was used to carry oil to Guam and to China, and operated with other U.S. Navy ships in Far Eastern waters. However, after early December 1921 her worn-out machinery restricted her to reduced commission status at Cavite. The old ship had more than another decade of employment there, acting as a storage ship for fuel oil and, after 1930, as receiving ship. USS Sara Thompson was decommissioned in July 1933 and stricken from the list of Navy vessels in December. She was sold in August 1934.

This page features all the views we have concerning USS Sara Thompson (ID # 3148, later AO-8) and the civilian tanker Gut Heil.


If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photo #: NH 99781

Steamship Gut Heil
(German/American Oil Tanker, 1888)

Refitting for service, possibly when inspected by the 8th Naval District on 20 July 1918. Note the pattern lightly marked on her side, probably to guide the painting of "Dazzle" camouflage.
This ship was purchased by the Navy on 8 August 1918 and placed in commission as USS Sara Thompson (ID # 3148) on 17 September 1918. She was redesignated AO-8 on 17 July 1920 and remained in service until decommissioned on 21 July 1933. The ship was sold on 9 August 1934.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 26KB; 740 x 190 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 44070

USS Sara Thompson
(ID # 3148)

Photographed circa September 1918, soon after entering U.S. Navy service.
She is painted in pattern camouflage.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 67KB; 740 x 605 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 71251

USS Sara Thompson
(AO-8)

At anchor, circa the early 1920s.

Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1970.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 66KB; 740 x 615 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 65033

USS Sara Thompson
(AO-8)

Off the Cavite Navy Yard, Philippine Islands, 26 October 1920.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 53KB; 740 x 500 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 44071

USS Sara Thompson
(AO-8)

At anchor, probably off Cavite Navy Yard, Philippine Islands, during the 1920s.
The collier in the left background is probably USS Jason (AC-12).

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 70KB; 740 x 505 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 71565

USS Sara Thompson
(AO-8)

View on deck, looking aft toward the bridge with laundry drying at left, circa the early 1920s.

Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1970.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 131KB; 740 x 615 pixels

 


If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."


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Page made 23 November 2004