(1920-1939) United States Navy Fleet in New Zealand 1925

In 1925 a second American fleet visited New Zealand stopping at our major ports. As they docked at the civilian port rather than the naval base the records are not held by the Museum. Read a timeline of events and the ships that visited. 

 

In 1925 a second American fleet visited New Zealand stopping at our major ports. As they docked at the civilian port rather than the naval base the records are not held by the Museum. We have been able to determine that they were in Auckland, Lyttleton, Dunedin and Wellington in August 1925.

This was not a repeat of the ‘Great White Fleet’ where it was all battleships as the records from the Wellington Harbour Board illustrate:

At Wellington

Arriving Tuesday 11th August 1925 from America via Australia              

Battleships

USS Nevada – Nevada-class battleship commissioned 1914 10 x 14” guns

USS Oklahoma – Nevada-class battleship commissioned 1914 10 x 14” guns

USS Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania-class battleship commissioned 1915 12 x 14” guns

Cruisers

USS Marblehead – Omaha-class light cruiser commissioned 1924 12 x 6” guns

USS Memphis – Omaha-class light cruiser commissioned 1924 12 x 6” guns

USS Richmond – Omaha-class light cruiser commissioned 1923 12 x 6” guns

USS Trenton – Omaha-class light cruiser commissioned 1924 12 x 6” guns

USS Seattle – Second Line cruiser commissioned 1905. Refitted 1922-1923 as the Administrative Flagship of the United States Navy 4 x 10” and 16 x 6” guns

Auxiliary Fleet

USS Relief – Auxiliary Hospital Ship commissioned 1919 displacement 10,000 tonnes

USS Neches Auxiliary Oiler commissioned 1920 displacement 14,700 tonnes

Arriving Thursday 13 August 1925 from Honolulu

USS Sapelo – Auxiliary Oiler commissioned 1920 displacement 16,200 tonnes. While this ship arrived separately, it left at the same time as the rest of the fleet for Samoa.

Arriving Monday 17 August 1925 from San Francisco

USS Arctic – Auxiliary Store Ship commissioned 1919 displacement 12,800 tonnes. This ship may not have been part of the fleet as it left separately on the 18th for Auckland.

Arriving Saturday 22nd August 1925 from America via Dunedin

USS Melville – Destroyer Tender commissioned 1915 8 x 5” guns

Flush-deck destroyers (First-line DD)

These vessels were built between 1915 and 1921 and commissioned for service by 1921. All were very fast ships armed with 4 x 4” guns and 12 x torpedo tubes and complement of 122

Figure 1 USS Sloat

USS Decatur

USS McDermut

USS Sinclair

USS Moody

USS Percival

USS John Francis Burns

USS Somers

USS Stoddert

USS Farquahar

USS Thompson

USS Kennedy

USS Paul Hamilton

Minelayers

USS Ludlow – Light Mine Layer commissioned 1919 – destroyer conversion 3 x 4” guns

USS Burns – Light Mine Layer commissioned 1919 – destroyer conversion 4 x 4” guns

Arriving Saturday 22nd August 1925 from America via Lyttelton

Cruisers

USS Omaha – Omaha-class light cruiser commissioned December 1923 12 x 6” guns

Flush-deck destroyers (First-line DD)

These vessels were built between 1915 and 1921 and commissioned for service by 1921. All were very fast ships armed with 4 x 4” guns and 12 x torpedo tubes and complement of 122

USS Farborough (noted on list under this name but there was no ship serving with this name in the United States Navy – based on Jane’s is likely to be USS Goldsborough)

USS Sloat

USS Farenholt

USS Macdonough

USS Melvin

USS Sumner

USS Mervine

USS Robert Smith

USS Chase

USS Mullany

USS Litchfield

USS Kidder

USS Wood

USS Shirk

USS Altair – Destroyer Tender commissioned 1919 displacement 9,000 tonnes- complement 481

All had left Wellington by 24th August 1925 headed for Samoa, although a few of the support ships may have left a day earlier.

Auckland arriving 11 August departing 25 August 1925

Battleships

USS West VirginiaMaryland-class battleship completed 1923 8 x 16” guns

USS Colorado Maryland-class battleship completed 1923 8 x 16” guns

USS Maryland Maryland-class battleship completed 1921 8 x 16” guns

USS Tennessee California-class battleship completed 1920 12 x 14” guns

USS New Mexico New Mexico-class battleship completed 1918 12 x 14” guns

USS IdahoNew Mexico-class battleship completed 1919 12 x 14” guns

USS MississippiNew Mexico-class battleship completed 1917 12 x 14” guns

Support ships

USS Medusa – Auxiliary Repair Ship completed 1923 complement 331

USS Arctic – Auxiliary Store Ship commissioned 1919 displacement complement 211. This ship may not have been part of the fleet as it arrived in Wellington on 17 August and left for Auckland on 18 August.

USS Kanawha –Auxiliary Oiler completed 1914 capacity 7500 tonnes fuel oil

 

Sources:

Jane’s Fighting Ships 1924, Oscar Parkes, Francis E. McMurtrie (eds.), 1973 reprint, London: David & Charles Reprints, 1973.

 Jane’s Fighting Ships 1925, Oscar Parkes, Francis E. McMurtrie (eds.), London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co, 1925.

Wellington City Council Archives – Wellington Harbour Board Dock Books for 1925.