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St Augustine PG-54

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St. Augustine

(PG-54: dp. 1,720 (f.); 1. 272'2"; b. 36'; dph. 15'11";
dr. 14'6"; s. 14 k.; cpl. 185'; a. 2 3")

Gunboat St. Augustine (PG-54), was built in 1929 as yacht, Viking, for George F. Baker by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va., she was later sold to Norman B. Woolworth who renamed her Noparo. The ship was purchased by the Navy on 5 December 1940 at New London, Conn.; converted at Bethlehem Steel Corp., Boston, Mass.; was renamed St. Augustine on 9 January 1941, and commissioned on 16 January 1941.

She was assigned to the 1st Naval District and operated on patrol out of Boston until 1942 when she was transferred to the Eastern Sea Frontier, for which she escorted convoys between New York and various Caribbean ports.

St. Augustine got underway from New York on 6 January 1944, leading a convoy of ships bound for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Late that evening, when southeast of Cape May, N.J., she was rammed amidships by the merchant tanker, Camas Meadows. Her seams were split by the collision, and the gunboat sank in five minutes. The rough, wintry seas claimed 115 of her crew; only 30 survived.