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H-1 (Submarine No. 28)


(Submarine No. 28: displacement 358 normal, 467 tonnage; length 150'4"; beam 15'10; draft 12'5"; speed 14 knots; complement 25; armament 4 18-inch torpedo tubes; class H-1)

H-1 (Submarine No. 28), originally Seawolf and renamed on 17 November 1911, was built by the Union Iron Works of San Francisco, Calif.; launched on 6 May 1913; sponsored by Miss Lesley J. Makins; and commissioned at Mare Island Navy Yard on 1 December 1913, Lt. Henry M. Jensen in command.

The new submarine was attached to the 2nd Torpedo Flotilla, Pacific Fleet, and operated along the West Coast out of the submarine base at San Pedro, Calif. On various exercises and patrols she travelled the coast from Los Angeles, Calif., to lower British Columbia, often in company with H-2 (Submarine No. 28) and sometimes H-3 (Submarine No. 30).

Following the U.S. entry into World War I, H-1 set out from San Pedro on 17 October 1917, and reached New London, Conn., 22 days later via Acapulco, Mexico, Balboa, Panama Canal Zone, Key West, Fla., Charleston, S.C., and Philadelphia, Pa. For the remainder of the war, she operated from there and patrolled Long Island Sound, frequently with officer students from the submarine school on board.

H-1 and H-2 sailed for San Pedro on 6 January 1920, passing through the Panama Canal on 20 February via Norfolk, Va., Key West, and Havana, Cuba. On 12 March 1920, as H-1 made her way up the coast, the submarine went aground on a tricky shoal off Santa Margarita Island, Calif. Four men, including the commanding officer, Lt. Comdr. James R. Webb, were killed as they tried to reach shore. Vestal, a repair ship, pulled H-1 off the rocks on the morning of 24 March, only to have her sink 45 minutes later in some 50 feet of water. Salvage was abandoned. Her name was stricken from the Navy List on 12 April 1920, and her hulk sold for salvage scrap in June 1920.

Updated and expanded by Mark L. Evans
6 September 2018

Published: Thu Sep 06 15:07:13 EDT 2018