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Freehold (S.P. 347)


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

(S.P. 347: length 110'1" (overall); beam 24'5"; draft 11'0" (mean); speed 12.0 knots; complement 24; armament 1 1-pounder)

Freehold—a tug built in 1903 at Philadelphia, Pa., by Neafie & Levy—was preliminarily accepted by the Navy on 30 April 1917 for employment as a minesweeper. Chartered from the Central Railroad of New Jersey on 17 September 1917, she was given the identification number (S.P.) 347, and was commissioned on 22 September 1917, Ens. E. J. Nelson, USNRF, in command.

Employed as a minesweeper in the Third Naval District, Freehold swept and buoyed channels daily for convoys passing out of busy New York Harbor, and also provided general tug duty as required. At 4:30 p.m. on 17 April 1919, while docking the British passenger steamship Saxonia of the Cunard Line alongside Pier 54, New York City, Freehold was struck by one of the liner’s screws and sunk. CMM Lawrence Lenehan drowned in the maritime mishap, the U.S. vessel’s only fatality.

Refloated and overhauled, Freehold was returned to the Central Railroad of New Jersey on 27 May 1919.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

25 August 2022

Published: Fri Aug 26 12:57:32 EDT 2022