Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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F. Mansfield & Sons Co. (S. P. 691)


The Navy retained the name carried by this vessel at the time of her acquisition, but changed it to the surname only in accordance with General Order No.314 that mandated that alteration on 28 July 1917.

(S.P. 691: tonnage 214; length between perpendiculars 110'0"; breadth 29'0"(load water line); speed 9.5 knots (trial); complement 24; armament 2 1-pounders)

The single-screw, wooden-hull freight boat F. Mansfield & Sons Co., named for the Fair Haven, Conn.-based seafood firm, was built in 1912 at Milford, Del., by William G. Abbott Shipbuilding Co. Operated by a crew of seven men, F. Mansfield & Sons Co. operated from New Haven, Conn. (later operating out of Perth Amboy, N.J.) and in 1913 F. Mansfield & Sons sold oysters to one of the three major markets in the city of Erie, Pa., the Erie Fish Company. A little over a month after then U.S. entered The Great War, the Navy acquired the vessel for service as a minesweeper, preliminarily accepted her on 25 May 1917 and placed her in service on 5 June 1917.

Having been renamed Mansfield on 28 July 1917, the ship served in the waters of the Second Naval District through the end of hostilities. On 15 July 1919, Breakwater (S.P. 581) was assigned to Submarine Division 1 at Coco Solo, Canal Zone and received orders to assemble at Cape May, N.J., with Mansfield and S.P. 467 (ex-Delaware) at “the earliest practicable date and when ready proceed in company by Canal Zone to assigned stations.”

Subsequently, Mansfield was transferred to the Lighthouse Service, Department of Commerce, on 28 October 1919 “for use as a small tender” and was renamed Shrub in keeping with the convention of naming such vessels. Shrub carried out her duties uneventfully for over a decade, but on 6 October 1931 she ran aground on black rocks and sank in York Harbor, Maine. Raised a week later, on 13 October 1931, she underwent repairs at Staten Island, N.Y., enabling her to resume her duties. Within a decade, as of 1 July 1941, Shrub (call letter NRWF) was serving at Bristol, R.I., her permanent station, in the Coast Guard’s Boston, Mass., district, under the command of 44-year old Boatswain Roy A. Berg, USCG.

Given the identification number WAGL-244, Shrub continued to serve at Bristol through World War II, and was ultimately decommissioned on 1 July 1947. Sold on 29 December 1947, she retained her name and performed mercantile service until being broken up in 1966.

Robert J. Cressman

18 June 2020

Published: Thu Jun 18 15:17:42 EDT 2020