Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • DANFS (Dictionary of American Fighting Ships)
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  • World War I 1917-1918
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Carolinian (Id.No. 1445)


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

(Id.No. 1445: deadweight tonnage 7,000; length 359'10" (between perpendiculars); breadth 50'2" (on load waterline); draft 23'11" (loaded); speed 9.0 knots; complement 42; armament 2 4-inch)

Harley, a steel-hulled single-screw cargo vessel, was launched in 1906 at West Hartlepool (Sunderland), England, by Furness, Withy & Co., Ltd., and operated under the house flag of Harrison J. & C. Ltd., of London, England, until she was acquired by the Union Navigation Co., Ltd., of Toronto, Canada, during 1913. Purchased by the U.S. firm of Walker, Armstrong, & Co., of Savannah, Georgia, in 1915, the ship was renamed Southerner, and operated under that name until acquired by the Garland Steamship Corp., of New York, N.Y., the following year [1916], which renamed the freighter Carolinian.

Carolinian (Id.No. 1445)
Caption: Carolinian—her name (CAROLINIAN) and nationality (U.S.A.) clearly indicated on her hull, along with the national colors (particularly the crudely-painted field of stars)—is seen here circa early 1917, with gun platforms in evidence forward and aft. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 89787)

Having an armed guard unit (21 March 1917—5 October 1918), Carolinian continued to operate as a cargo vessel until acquired by the U.S. Shipping Board, then transferred to the Navy to be operated bv the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, Army Account, on 5 October 1918. Receiving the identification number (Id.No.) 1445, Carolinian was commissioned at Cardiff, Wales, the same day [5 October 1918], Lt. Cmdr. William M. Fralic, USNRF, in command.

Carolinian operated in European waters for the remainder of the Great War, based at Cardiff, carrying coal (13,624 tons) from that port and others in the British Isles to France for use by troop transports and cargo vessels coaling at French ports. Upon conclusion of those duties, she sailed for Newport News, Virginia, on 8 February 1919 with 10,078 tons of return cargo for the Army, and after stopping at Horta, Azores, for repairs to a damaged feed pipe, reached Baltimore, Md., on 12 March to discharge her cargo and begin the inactivation process.

Decommissioned on 22 March 1919, Carolinian was returned to the Shipping Board the same day, thence to the Garland Steamship Corp., which continued to operate her into 1927. Sold during that year to Kulukundis Shipping Co., the ship was renamed Proteus and operated under Greek colors for the rest of her days, wearing the house flags of Culucundis & Costomeni, of Syra (Syros) (1928—1929), Atlanticos Steamship Co. & Georgilis Bros., of Piraeus (1929—1932), and, ultimately, Lemos A.G. & D.G., also out of Pireaus (1932—1934) which renamed the vessel Stefanios.

Carrying a cargo of wheat and steaming from Bahia Blanca to Las Palmas, Stefanios ran aground two nautical miles west-southwest of Ilha do Maio, Cabo Verde, on 16 April 1934; she was deemed a total loss.

Robert J. Cressman

27 September 2021

Published: Fri Oct 01 09:59:19 EDT 2021