Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • Ship History
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  • World War I 1917-1918
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Avis (S. P. 382)

1917-1918 

The Navy retained the name carried by this boat at the time of her acquisition. 

(S.P. 382: tonnage 17 (gross); length 52'; beam 11'6"; draft 4' (aft); speed 10 knots; complement 8; armament 1 1-pounder, 1 machine gun, 5 rifles)

The wooden-hulled motor boat Avis, built in 1908 at Manitowoc, Wis., by Berger, was acquired by the Navy from R. W. and H. R. Phillips for service as a section patrol boat. Enrolled and ordered delivered on 28 July 1917 and assigned the identification number S.P. 382, Avis was commissioned on 28 July 1918, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Richard W. Phillips, USNRF (one of her pre-war owners), in command.

Attached to the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Naval Districts, Avis sailed from Waukegan, Ill., in September 1917 to take up her duty station at the section headquarters at Sault Sainte Marie, Mich. The boat patrolled the approaches to that vital canal system that connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron into the early winter of 1917. Shifting to Detroit, Mich., on 10 November 1917, Avis reached the patrol boat slip on that day and immediately began preparations for being laid-up during the winter months when the surfaces of the lakes would be frozen. On 15 November she turned over her logs to the section commander at Detroit.

The following spring, the Naval Militia training ship Isla de Luzon (the steel-hulled gunboat captured at Manila Bay in 1898) towed Avis from Detroit to Sault Sainte Marie (9-12 May 1918) and the little patrol boat carried out reactivation until 1 June, when she resumed patrolling “the Soo” [Sault Sainte Marie]. The armistice of 11 November meant an end of Avis’ naval activities. She was returned to her owner by 15 November 1918, and her name was stricken from the Navy Register.

Robert J. Cressman

29 July 2020

Published: Thu Jul 30 16:17:02 EDT 2020