Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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(PY-23: dp. 1,220; l. 225'0"; b. 34'0"; dr. 13'5"; s. 14.2 k. (tl.); cpl. 66; a. 2 3", 4 .50 cal. mg., 2 dct.)


A semi precious gem. Chemically the stone is a silicate of Beryllium and aluminum.

Beryl (PY-23), a yacht built in 1930 at Wilmington, Del., by Pusey & Jones, was purchased by the Navy from Mr. Alfred Pritchard Sloane, Jr., the chairman of the board of General Motors Corporation, on 13 December 1941; converted for naval service at the Brewer Dry Dock Co., Staten Island, N.Y.; and commissioned on 17 March 1942, Lt. Comdr. Charles A. Thorwall, USNR, in command.

After fitting out at the New York Navy Yard, Beryl got underway for Norfolk, Va., on 6 April. On the morning of the 10th, she made an underwater sound contact and attacked it with depth charges, but apparently scored no hits. Later, she encountered Azurlite (PY-22) and SS Kosmos lying-to and rescuing survivors from British trawler HMS St. Cathan, one of the Royal Navy’s ships allocated to operations off the American eastern seaboard, that had been sunk in a collision with Dutch freighter Hebe, that had suffered damage of such severity in the mishap that she foundered and sank as well. The district patrol vessel YP-22 rescued seven sailors from St. Cathan and 31 from Hebe while Beryl embarked eight men from Kosmos’ lifeboat and, in company with Azurlite, headed for Charleston, S.C. Between them, the two patrol vessels transported Hebe’s entire 31-man crew and the nine survivors of St. Cathan’s 39-man crew.

From there, Beryl and Azurlite escorted several district patrol craft to Panama. The former yacht transited the canal late in April and reported for duty with the Pacific Fleet on 1 May. She entered drydock at San Diego, Calif., and underwent five weeks of repairs.

By late June 1942, Beryl was on her way to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii On the 29th, she began duty at the Bishop's Point section base as a unit of the Hawaiian Sea Frontier. Her duties consisted of picket, patrol, and convoy escort assignments. The converted yacht also conducted air-sea rescue missions and stood watch on weather stations. In July 1944, she was reassigned to the base at Midway. A year later, on 10 July 1945, the vessel returned to Pearl Harbor for repairs to her main engine. She remained there until November. On 20 November 1945, the ship entered San Francisco harbor to begin deactivation.

Decommissioned on 25 January 1946, Beryl was transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal on 14 October 1946, and her name struck from the Navy list that same day.

Raymond A. Mann

15 February 2006

Published: Thu Jun 25 08:39:05 EDT 2015