The keel of USS S-24 (SS-129) was laid down on 1 November 1918 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation…a subcontractor of the Electric Boat Company of New York City, New York…at Quincy, Massachusetts. The submarine was christened by Mrs. Herbert B. Loper and launched on 27 June 1922. The S-boat was commissioned on 24 August 1923 with Lieutenant Commander Louis Emil Denfeld in command.
Later, Louis Emil Denfeld went on to become the top man in the United States Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, during the fall of 1947. During the Second World War, Louis Denfeld was the second in command of the Bureau of Naval Personnel.
When commissioned, the S-1 Class coastal and harbor defense submarine was 219’3″ in length overall; had an extreme beam of 20’8″; had a normal surface displacement of 854 tons, and, when in that condition, had a mean draft of 15’11”. Submerged displacement was 1,062 tons. The submarine was of riveted construction. The designed compliment was four officers and thirty-four enlisted men. The boat could operate safely to depths of 200 feet. The submarine was armed with four 21-inch torpedo tubes…installed in the bow. Twelve torpedoes were carried. One 4-inch/50 caliber deck gun was installed. The full load of diesel oil carried was 41,921 gallons, which fueled two 600 designed brake horsepower Model 8-EB-15NR diesel engines manufactured by the New London Ship and Engine Company at Groton, Connecticut…which could drive the boat…via a diesel direct drive propulsion system…at 14.5 knots on the surface. Power for submerged propulsion was provided by a main storage battery, divided into two sixty-cell batteries, manufactured by the Electric Storage Battery Company (EXIDE) at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania…which powered two 750 designed brake horsepower main propulsion motors manufactured by the by the Ridgway Dynamo and Electric Company at Ridgway, Pennsylvania…which turned propeller shafts…which turned propellers…which could drive the submarine at 11 knots for a short period of time when operating beneath the surface of the sea. Slower submerged speeds resulted in greater endurances before the batteries needed to be recharged by the engines and generators.
Operating from the United States Naval Submarine Base at New London/Groton, Connecticut, in 1923 and 1924, USS S-24 (SS-129) served at Saint Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands during February of 1924. The submarine visited Trinidad from 6 to 13 March, the Panama Canal area in April of that year, and the Territory of Hawaii from 27 April to May of 1925. Next, into 1930, the S-boat served primarily at San Diego, San Pedro, and the Mare Island Navy Yard at Vallejo…all in California. In addition to service in the Panama Canal area in February and March of 1926, and, again, in February of 1929, USS S-24 visited the Territory of Hawaii in 1927 and 1928, and twice in 1929. Departing San Diego on 1 December 1930, the submarine transited to the Hawaiian Islands…and arrived at Pearl Harbor eleven days later. From then into 1938, USS S-24 operated out of Pearl Harbor. Departing Pearl Harbor on 15 October 1938, the S-boat transited to the east coast of the United States…and arrived at the United States Naval Submarine Base at New London/Groton, Connecticut, on 4 January 1939.
After serving with a partial crew at New London/Groton from 1 April 1939, USS S-24 resumed full duty on 1 July 1940. From that date to December of 1941, the S-boat operated out of the Connecticut submarine base along the New England coast…primarily providing services to the submarine school located at the submarine base.
On 7 December 1941, the United States became an active participant in the Second World War following the Japanese attack on the Territory of Hawaii.
USS S-24 served next in waters near the Panama Canal from late December of 1941 into May of 1942.
Returning to New London/Groton on the 21st of May 1942, USS S-24 was decommissioned at the submarine base on 10 August 1942, and was transferred, on that date, to the United Kingdom, in whose Royal Navy she became His Majesty’s Submarine (HMS) P. 555.
Returned to the United States Navy at the end of the Second World War in Europe (7 May 1945), USS S-24 (SS-129) was struck from the Navy List…and was intentionally destroyed on 25 August 1947.