The ERIE-related photos available on this website are arranged in ten photo albums. These are accessible on the subpages off of this page. See the subheader above.
Each subpage contains “thumbnails” of the photos in the album, but the thumbnails have no captions. To best view the photos, enlarged and with captions, click on the first photo in the album and then, by using the navigation links that appear at the top left (Previous, Next), scroll through the album. On a few of the larger photos, scrolling down or to the right might be necessary to view the entire photo. Clicking on “Home” will return you to the selected photo album page (where you can again access the submenu and the other photo albums).
Here’s additional information about the ERIE-related photo albums.
ABOARD SHIP PHOTOS
This album contains photos that were taken on board the ERIE. It also includes a number of images of sections of the ERIE. Many of these photos were taken in August 1937 when the ERIE participated in the U.S. Naval Academy Summer Cruise.
About half of the photos in this album are scans of official U.S. Navy photos in collections held by the National Archives and Records Administration, II (College Park, MD) and the Naval History and Heritage Command (Washington, D.C.). The other half were copied from the personal photo collections of MM 1c Louis F. Hyde and Frances Wentz Taber (daughter of Lt. Ned J. Wentz, the ERIE’s Supply Officer) or were purchased by the webmaster from private sources.
Other albums on this web site containing images of crew members and Crossing the Line ceremonies also show sections of the ERIE, primarily areas on the main deck. Note also that in several of these photos taken by the Bureau of Ships an unfolded measuring stick is visible, probably to give a sense of proportion to the pictured areas.
The photos in this album depict the construction of the ERIE at the New York Navy Yard (known locally as the Brooklyn Navy Yard) during the period December 14, 1934 through the ship’s commissioning on July 1, 1936.
These images are scans of 8x10 inch black and white photos contained in a special photo album at the National Archives and Record Administration's Northeast Regional Office in New York City. All but one of the originals have been edited to remove photo identifications, dates and other marks, to enhance the viewing of these photographs.
CROSSING THE LINE 1 PHOTOS
The photos in the first Crossing the Line album were taken aboard the ERIE during several pre-World War II Crossing the Line initiation rites.
This ceremony occurred numerous times aboard the ERIE (the last took place in February 1942, after the U.S. had formally declared war against Germany and Japan), because the ERIE was often ordered to the Galapagos Islands (which are situated atop the Equator).
Most of the images in this gallery are scans of black and white photographs taken by MM 1c Louis Hyde and Bkr 2c Joseph J. Osenkowski.
CROSSING THE LINE 2 PHOTOS
The images in the second Crossing the Line album are scans of photos taken or acquired by PhM 2c Malgum Whitt. These photos were provided by his son, Malgum Whitt, Jr.
OFFICERS & CREW PHOTOS
Most of the images in this album are scans of photos made available by ERIE crew members MM 1c Louis F. Hyde, RM 3c Donald V. Leetch and Bkr 2c Joseph J. Osenkowski. A number of photos were graciously provided by relatives of ERIE enlisted men and officers. The two photos of ERIE officers taken during a visit to Venezuela were provided by Gustavo Sosa, whose father served aboard the ERIE in 1941.
Many of the photos were taken using small, personal cameras, so the image quality is not the best. Unfortunately, with the passage of many decades, it is difficult to assign names to many of the faces.
The photographs in this album are full-vessel images of the ERIE, arranged in order by the date of the original photograph, if known. They were taken during the period July 3, 1936 (shortly after the ERIE was commissioned) through September 19, 1942 (the last official picture before she was torpedoed on November 12, 1942).
Most of these pictures are scans of U.S. Navy photos in collections held by the National Archives and Records Administration II (College Park, MD) and the Naval History and Heritage Command (Washington, D.C.).
Other pictures are owned by the webmaster or were provided to him by various crew members (or their relatives).
TORPEDOING & LOSS PHOTOS
This album contains two sets of photos of the ERIE. The first set shows the vessel shortly after it was torpedoed and beached on a sandbar in Piscadera Bay, ca. two miles from Willemstad, Curacao. The second set of photos depicts the badly damaged ship after it was hauled into Willemstad’s inner harbor, in order to prepare it for repair and renovation at the Panama Canal Zone’s Mechanical Division.
The photos of the beached ERIE were found by the webmaster in a file at the Naval History and Heritage Command (Washington, D.C.) in an envelope marked “Secret.” Inside the envelope was a note indicating that the pictures were taken by a local Dutch photographer named Bley (only the family name of the photographer was given) and that they were “received in Op16-F-10 on 27 Jan 43.”
The photos of the ERIE moored in the large natural harbor at Willemstad (called the “Schottegat”) are copies of photos held by the National Archives and Records Administration II (College Park, MD).
REFLOATING & REMOVAL PHOTOS
The bulk of the photos in this album were graciously provided by Raymond Heath, who, in 1952, arrived at Willemstad aboard the salvage vessel U.S.S. ESCAPE and for a period of about six months (out of the nearly 10-month-long salvaging effort) was involved in U.S. Navy operations to refloat and remove the hulk of the ERIE from Willemstad Harbor. The last two photos in this album, which depict the removal and sinking of the hulk of the ERIE on December 9, 1952, are copies of photographs held by the Netherlands Nationaal Archief in The Hague.
Most of these photos are enlargements of photos taken by Mr. Heath using a small, personal camera; one photo is a scan of a photocopied image. Thus, the quality of these photos is not the best.
Unfortunately, while the salvage operation was designed to test out a new method of refloating sunken U.S. Navy ships, no official photos were taken to document this salvage exercise.
CACHETS AND CANCELLATIONS
The images in this album are mostly scans of envelopes (known as “cachets” or “covers”) that contain printed, stamped or hand-applied designs or inscriptions and cancellations made aboard the ERIE. Some are only envelopes with cancellations made by the ERIE’s post office (several were made aboard other ships, but because they contain information about the ERIE’s history they are included in this album). Often the cancellations indicate the location of the ERIE or some special event commemorated on the date of the cancellation. These are mostly dated before the U.S. declared war on Japan and Germany, when security concerns dictated that information helpful to the enemy not be included with cancellations made in the ERIE’s (or any other ship’s) post office.
Most of these were acquired by the webmaster; several were graciously donated to him by ERIE crew member Donald Leetch (who received them from representatives of the Curacao Maritime Museum when he was hosted by them in March 2005).
W. J. DICKERSON ALBUM
In late January 2016, the webmaster acquired (on eBay) a photo album owned by William J. Dickerson who served aboard the ERIE from 18 June 1940 through day the vessel was torpedoed. (When Dickerson first came aboard the ERIE he was rated Seaman 2nd class; at the time the ERIE was torpedoed, his rating was Ship Fitter 1st Class).
Before its sale on eBay, the album had passed through multiple hands (including at least one Goodwill store). It contains about 250 black & white photos taken by Dickerson or his shipmates, mostly during the period June 18, 1940 through February 1941. (About 10% of the photos are of family members or pertain to his Navy service after the ERIE was torpedoed.) Unfortunately, none of the photos were well cared for. Almost all of them are scratched, dust-covered, have multiple fingerprints on them and are somewhat faded. As a result, despite concerted photo-editing efforts, only 86 of Dickerson’s 250 photos are viewable on this website (9 in other albums, 77 in this one).
Additionally, there is almost no information in the album or on the photos identifying individuals pictured in the photos and when/where the photos were taken. However, the webmaster was able to date fairly accurately most of the posted photos. Further, acquaintances, who are quite knowledgeable about Panama, the Panama Canal, the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador, helped positively identified the locations of many of the places pictured. The webmaster gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the following individuals: Thalia Grant, author of Darwin in the Galapagos: Footsteps to a New World and someone who has lived, worked and done research in the Galapagos Islands since 1973; John Woram, (President of Rockville Press and author of Charles Darwin Slept Here); and, William McLaughlin (former long-time resident of the Canal Zone, Executive Board member of the Panama Canal Society and webmaster of the “Canal Zone Images” website).
The 80 images viewable in this album include two photos from an album owned by ERIE crew member Louis F. Hyde (one of the Moorish Clock Tower in Guayaquil, the other of the Balboa Police Station) and a photo obtained from the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command (NHF-143-S-b, which depicts Colonel Francisco Urrutia and U.S. consular official Harry C. Reed). These photos are included with the Dickerson photos because they were taken at the same locations and in the same time-frames.
The groupings of photos in this album, in the order that they appear are:
- 14 photos, Crossing the Line Ceremony enroute to Ecuador (June 30, 1940)
- 23 photos, Galapagos Islands Visit (during period August 17 to August 23, 1940)
- 10 photos, Guayaquil Visit (during period August 25 to September 3, 1940)
- 26 photos, Balboa C.Z and Corozal C.Z. (during period late June to November 1940)
- 7 Photos, Carnival Celebration in Panama City, Panama (during period February 21-25, 1941)