|On Eternal Patrol - The Loss of USS S-26 (SS-131)|
Compiled by Paul W. Wittmer and Charles R. Hinman, originally from:
U.S. Submarine Losses World War II, NAVPERS 15,784, 1949 ISSUE
USS S-26 (SS-131)
S-26, under the Command of LCDR E. C. Hawk, was lost at 2223 on 24 January 1942, in the Gulf of Panama about fourteen miles west of San Jose Light in three hundred feet of water. There were three survivors, two officers, one of whom was the Commanding Officer, and one enlisted man. These people were on the bridge at the time of the collision; the fourth person on the bridge, an enlisted man, was lost.
S-26 was proceeding from Balboa, C. Z. to its patrol station in company with S-21, S-29 and S-44 and an escort vessel, PC-460, at the time of the disaster. At 2210 the escort vessel sent a visual message to the submarines that she was leaving the formation and that they could proceed on the duty assigned. S-21 was the only submarine to receive this message. Shortly thereafter PC-460 struck S-26 on the starboard side of the torpedo room and the submarine sank within a few seconds.
Salvage operations were started immediately under Captain T. J, Doyle, USN, Commander Submarine Squadron Three and Submarine Base, Coco Solo, Canal Zone, and attempts at rescue were made but without success. The submarine was not raised. She had previously made one war patrol but had inflicted no damage on the enemy.
Google Earth image (above)
USS S-26 Survivors - LT Robert E. M. Ward, XO; LCDR. Earle C. Hawk, CO, Seaman Joe B. Hurst (far right), lookout. Between Hawk and Hurst is CAPT T. J. Doyle, who was in charge of the rescue operations. Photo courtesy of Ric Hedman, PIGBOATS.com
See also Ed Howard's Final Patrols page on USS S-26 (external link)