From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships


A river flowing from the Saranac Lakes in Franklin County, N.Y., to Lake Champlain, which it enters at Plattsburg, N.Y.

(Mineplanter: dp. 5,150 (n.), 1. 375'; b. 42'; dph. 27'; dr. 18'6" (mean), s. 17 k.; cpl. 347; a. 1 5", 2 3", 2 mg.)

The third Saranac (ID. No. 1702) was launched in 1899 as a coastwise steamer by the Delaware River Ship Building Co., Chester, Pa., and rebuilt in 1909 by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va. On 6 December 1917, she was acquired by the Navy under charter from the Old Dominion Line for which she had plied between New York and Norfolk as SS Hamilton. Renamed Saranac on acquisition, she was converted to a mineplanter at James Shewan and Sons' Repair Yard, South Brooklyn, N.Y., and commissioned on 9 April 1918, Comdr. Sinclair Gannon in command.

Her conversion delayed by materiel shortages and labor problems, Saranac completed training and fitting out in May and June. On 16 June, she sailed for Scotland to participate in the laying of a proposed mine barrage between the Orkneys and Norway to close that avenue to the Atlantic and limit German U-boat activity to the North Sea. She arrived at Inverness on the 29th; and, on 14 July, headed for the minefield to plant 597 mines. Before the end of the month, she had completed a second excursion which brought her total to 1,177. During August, breakdowns in her mining apparatus and engineering plant precluded mining activities; but, in early September, she returned to the fields. On the 7th, she planted 600 mines and on the 20th added another 600.

On her third excursion into the barrage area during that month, 26 through 28 September, Saranac suffered her only loss of World War I. G.C. Anderson, BMC, went overboard when the inhaul wire of the port paravane parted on the afternoon of the 27th. All efforts to recover him were unsuccessful.

Between then and 26 October, when she planted her last mine, Saranac completed four excursions to the fields and laid another 2,445 mines. On 11 November, she received word of the Armistice and soon thereafter prepared to return home. At the end of the month, she departed Inverness for Scapa Flow where her crew saw the surrendered German ships. On 8 December, she began to make her way back to the United States. Steaming via English and Portuguese ports, she arrived in Hampton Roads, Va, on 3 January 1919; and later in the month, moved up to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. There, on 19 March 1919, she was decommissioned and delivered to the United States Shipping Board for return to her owner.