Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Robert Foster Collection and USS Shawmut (CM-4)

One of many cartoons collected by BM3 Robert Foster

We recently received several items that belong to BM3 Robert Foster, a sailor who served on board the Norfolk-based mine layer USS Shawmut (CM-4) from 1918 to 1922. Shawmut most famously served in the 1918 North Sea Mine Barrage during World War I. When not laying mines, she served as a seaplane tender for the fleet. The Navy later changed the name of the vessel to Oglala to avoid confusion with USS Chamount (AP-5).
Shawmut at her home pier at NOB Hampton Roads
(now Naval Station Norfolk).
Foster took several photographs of Shawmut's time in the Caribbean, when the vessel was deployed to Panama for the Atlantic Fleet's 1921-22 winter fleet exercises. Foster also took several pictures of the other ships participating  in the exercises, particularly the battleships.  He also collected newspaper cartoons about the Navy (see above) and kept them in a scrapbook.
Shawmut's sailors load up mines while
at the Yorktown Mine Depot
(now Yorktown Naval Weapons Station).

Foster took these images of the Atlantic Fleet's battleships during the 1922 winter exercises. In this set are ships that would be at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941: USS Tennessee (BB-43),USS California (BB-44), USS Arizona (BB-39), USS Pennsylvania (BB-38), and the newly built hospital ship USS Relief (AH-1).

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