USS BENNINGTON - PG (4):
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Serving in the Pacific Squadron for several years the USS Bennington PG4 had made several port-calls to “Diego” on previous journeys. Her nautical crew corps was some of the Navies best and oldest seafarer’s. She had fourteen years of honorable naval service at the time of her demise. At 1038am on Friday, 21 July 1905 while preparing to get underway her aft boiler exploded sending noxious deadly steam in every direction. Mariners were instantly catapulted out portholes, vents, and overboard in to San Diego Bay. Eventually 65 Sailors would parish and over 40 seriously wounded. At the time, it was the second worst naval tragedy only surpassed by the U.S.S Maine incident in Havana. San Diego’s two nearby hospitals could not handle the large number of casualties and the Old Army Barracks was forced to open to accommodate the seriously injured. On Sunday23 July 1905, 47-Sailors were interred at Ft Rosecrans National cemetery. On 7 Jan 1908, the Bennington Monument was dedicated by Rear Admiral Casper Goodrich. On 21 July 2005, A Centennial Memorial was observed at Ft Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, CA.
Historical Note: Those white lanyards were for retaining working knives. They were authorized in 1886-1896 for all enlisted men except first class petty officers, bandsmen and messmen and were of white cotton of "seaman like make". The knife was always to be worn attached to the lanyard. In 1897-1904 they were authorized for all enlisted men except chief petty officers, officers messmen and bandsmen. Their description was more complex, and appears to have produced a more prominent appearance. They were to be long enough to allow the knife to be used with arm extended. The 1905 Uniform Regulations stated: "Knife lanyards shall be worn by all men of the seaman branch, except chief petty officers". The illustration shows the lanyard as long, white and quite prominent.