Cythera I (S. P. No. 575)
(PY: dp. 1,000; l. 215'; b. 27'6"; dr. 12'; s. 12 k.; cpl. 113; a. 33')
The ancient name of Cerigo, one of the Ionian Islands.
Cythera (No. 575), was launched 20 September 1906 by Ramage and Ferguson Ltd., Leith, Scotland; sponsored by Mrs. C. W. Harkness; leased by the Navy in 1917; and commissioned 20 October 1917, Lieutenant Commander W. G. Roper in command.
Sailing from New York 27 October 1917, Cythera arrived at Newport the next day and was assigned to Patrol Force, Atlantic Fleet. She cleared Newport 1 November with her squadron and escorted and towed submarine chasers to European waters, arriving at Gibraltar 29 December.
Joining U.S. Patrol Squadron, based on Gibraltar, she patrolled and escorted convoys between her base and Mediterranean ports in France, Italy, and Africa. On 27 May 1918 while she was escorting a convoy from On another occasion 3 October 1918, en route from Genoa to Gibraltar, SS Uganda was torpedoed. Cythera searched for the submarine, and rescued the crew of the stricken ship, arriving safely at Gibraltar 28 Hay. Bizerte to Gibraltar, two ships of the convoy were torpedoed; Cythera rescued 35 survivors of SS Ariel and dropped depth charges. Cythera cleared Gibraltar with her squadron 21 December 1918 and arrived at New York 5 February 1919. She was decommissioned 17 March 1919 and returned to her owner 2 days later.
Reacquired by the Navy 31 December 1941 upon the outbreak of World War II, Cythera was converted to a patrol vessel and classified PY-26. Her conversion was completed 28 February and she was placed in service 3 March 1942.
Engaged in patrol along the east coast, Cythera was hit by two torpedoes off North Carolina 2 May 1942 and sank so quickly that only two of her crew survived. The men were picked up by the attacking German submarine and taken back to Germany where they were interned until the end of the war.