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USS L-1 (SS-40) 

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS L-1 (SS-40) 

USS L-1 (SS-40) was laid down on 13 April 1914 at Quincy, Mass., by Fore River Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 20 January 1915; sponsored by Mrs. Freeland A. Daubin, wife of the first commanding officer; and commissioned at the Boston (Mass.) Navy Yard on 11 April 1916, Lt. (j.g.) Freeland A. Daubin in command.

USS L-1 (SS-40) received orders on 5 May 1916 assigning her to Commander, Division Five, Submarine Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet. The submarine conducted her shakedown in the waters off New England (29 April-22 June 1916) and afterward proceeded to the Philadelphia (Pa.) Navy Yard, where she arrived on 24 June. She departed on 1 July and arrived that same day at Cape May, N.J. for exhibition purposes. USS L-1 (SS-40) then conducted her first preliminary torpedo practice at Napeague Bay, N.Y. (1-3 September) before moving on to the Boston Navy Yard, where she engaged in maneuvers and underwent repairs and overhaul (4 September-1 October). Through the remainder of 1916, USS L-1 (SS-40) ranged the Atlantic from New England to Florida developing and testing the tactics and techniques. She cleared Key West on 23 December and sailed for the Caribbean.

When the U.S. declared war on Germany and entered the World War on 6 April 1917, USS L-1 (SS-40) was still with the fleet. L-1 departed York Spit, Va. on 4 May; bound for the Philadelphia Navy Yard, she proceeded in company with USS Bushnell, USS L-2 (Submarine No. 41), USS L-3 (Submarine No. 42), and USS L-4 (Submarine No. 43). While on patrol on 21-22 May 1918 near the Scilly Islands, USS L-1 (SS-40) reported contacting a German U-boat. Having been able to observe the entire stretch of the submarine’s deck and guns, she reported that the U-boat was of the U-110 class. USS L-1 (SS-40) reported firing two torpedoes, one at the German bow and one at the conning tower. Delays in the torpedo room, however, prevented other shots being fired. The German submarine took evasive action and returned fire with her stern gun.

USS L-1 (SS-40) departed Portland on 3 January 1919, on a westerly course bound for a return to the U.S. She reached the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 1 February. Afterward, she docked and underwent an extensive post-deployment overhaul. USS L-1 (SS-40) transferred to the Submarine Base at Hampton Roads, Va., in late May 1919. Operating in the Chesapeake Bay and the waters off the Virginia capes, the submarine conducted a port visit to Baltimore, Md. in September 1919. While conducting training with USS L-2 on 22 September, USS L-1 (SS-40) was almost struck by USS Thomas (Destroyer No. 182) while submerged because USS L-2 failed to follow appropriate procedures indicating that submarines were operating submerged in the area.

USS L-1 (SS-40) arrived at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 7 February 1921 and decommissioned there on 7 April 1922. She was sold as a hulk on 31 July 1922 to Pottstown Steel Co., Douglassville, Pa., for scrapping. She was removed from the Philadelphia Navy Yard and delivered to the purchaser on 6 September 1922. 

For a complete history of USS L-1 (SS-40) please see its DANFS page.