June 13, 1924 – San Pedro – The U.S.S. Mississippi is riding calmly at anchor In the harbor here today with little evidence of the tragedy in its bold a few hours previous when is officers and men were killed by an explosion in a turret while engaged in battle practice off San Clements Island, 50 miles at sea.
Yesterday, 80 men were happily laboring within the turret loading guns. The breeches of two guns had been closed, ready to fire. That of another stood open for the sacks of powder that lay on the floor. Someone gave a premature order to fire. A blinding blast resulted with heat so great that it melted the two doors and entrance to rescue the men was impossible. An acetylene torch was used to cut a hole into the turret. Not one was alive and the bodies were found twisted, mangled and blackened. Only two were saved, being blown 60 feet from the turret. The hospital ship was turned into a morgue. Ten injured men, swathed in bandages and suffering terribly from gas burns, present a ghastly appearance.
Forty-eight bodies lie in a long row on the deck of the hospital ship Relief, each covered with a flag. The undertakers are preparing the charred bodies for shipment to their homes.
Shortly after the Mississippi reached port a second explosion killed four. A dead sailors hand swinging limply as if lifted touched a firing switch and another gun exploded hurtling a shell down the harbor narrowly missing the passenger steamer Yale, outbound. A secret board of inquiry is investigating. Had the turret, which was revolving at the time of the explosion on the battleship Mississippi occurred, remained in the position in which it was at the time of the explosion, the fire from the left gun would have gone into the center of the city of San Pedro, eyewitnesses aboard the ship said.
When the gunner’s hand guiding the controls was wrenched away by the explosion, the guns kept revolving and stopped as they pointed directly aft. Thus fortune probably saved the lives of many citizens and the destruction of much property in San Pedro. The family of Rodney Anderson of Los Angeles, a seaman killed on the Mississippi, were in a local automobile park being on an automobile tour when the news of his death reached them. The little party started home with thoughts of their vacation abandoned. (United Press)
British Tanker Suspected of Smuggling
June 26, 1908 – San Francisco – It is generally believed along the waterfront that the revenue cutter Daniel Manning, which put to sea today, is under orders to intercept the British tank steamer Pinna, bound for Gaviota from Yokohama. It is thought that the oil steamer has been bringing Japanese to the country and smuggling them ashore by landing them in small boats. The Pinna is under charter to the Toyo Kisen Kaisha, in the oil trade. (Sacramento Union)