uss lafayette


French Art Deco & Streamline Moderne Style Interior of the SS Normandie. 

Designer Marin-Marie gave an innovative line to Normandie, a silhouette which influenced ocean liners over the decades,

SS Normandie was an ocean liner built in Saint-Nazaire, France, for the French Line Compagnie Générale Transatlantique (CGT). She entered service in 1935 as the largest and fastest passenger ship afloat; she is still the most powerful steam turbo-electric-propelled passenger ship ever built.

During World War II, Normandie was seized by US authorities at New York and renamed USS Lafayette.

On 9 February 1942, sparks from a welding torch ignited a stack of life vests filled with flammable kapok that had been stored in the first-class lounge and the fire spread rapidly. 

The ship was stripped of superstructure and righted in 1943 in the world’s most expensive salvage operation. She was reclassified to an aircraft and transport ferry on 15 September 1943 and placed in dry dock the following month.

Lafayette was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 11 October 1945.

She was cut up for scrap beginning in October 1946 at Port Newark, New Jersey, and completely scrapped by 31 December 1948.

So, I’m fooling around, looking at various old ship pictures, and run into a shot of what appears to be a damaged escort carrier, ca. 1945.

Turns out it’s the poor old Lafayette (nee Normandie), after having her superstructure cut off and refloated, awaiting scrapping in New York harbor.

Then something else catches my eye, down there, at the bottom of the picture … could it be …. yes, a Flower Class Corvette! There is even a hint of the number on the hull, but not enough resolution to make anything out.