History of S-21 SS-126 - History

History of S-21 SS-126 - History



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

S-21 SS-126

S-21

(SS-126: dp. 854 (surf.) 1,062 (subm.), 1. 219'3" b. 20'8"; dr. 15'11" s. li.5 k. (surf.), 11 k. (subm.) cpl. 42; a. 4 21" tt. 1 4"; cl. S-1)

S-21 (SS-126) was laid down on 19 December 1918 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass. launched on 18 August 1920; sponsored by Mrs. Thomas Baxter; and commissioned on 24 August 1921, Lt. R. P. Luker in command.

Following operations from New London Conn., S-21 was decommissioned and returned to her builder on 31 March 1922. After she was reacquired by the Navy, S-21 recommissioned at Groton, Conn., on 14 September 1923, Lt. Comdr. Palmer H. Dunbar, Jr., in command. From 1923 into 1930, S-21 operated off the northeastern coast of the United States. From January into April 1924, she visited the Panama Canal, St. Thomas and Trinidad. Departing from New London on 25 November, she visited Hawaii, from 27 April to 25 May 1925, before returning to New London in July. Following duty in the Panama Canal area, from February through April 1926, she visited Kingston, Jamaica from 20 to 28 March 1927. After operating in the Panama Canal area, from February into April 1928 she later visited St. Thomas from 10 to 15 November.

S-21 served again in the Panama Canal area from March into April 1929, and from January through February 1930. Departing New London on 22 October that year, S-21 sailed via the Panama Canal and California to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 7 December. From 1931 into 1938, S-21 operated from Pearl Harbor, with the period 18 November 1932 to 24 January 1934 spent in reserve.

Departing Pearl Harbor on 15 October 1938, she sailed via California and the Panama Canal to Philadelphia, arriving on 11 December. Following overhaul she arrived at New London on 25 March 1939. She remained at New London with a partial crew from 1 June of that year until 1 September 1940, when she was returned to full duty.

On 9 December, two days after the Pearl Harbor attack, S-21 got underway for the Panama Canal Zone. Arriving ten days later, she conducted defensive patrols in the Pacific approaches to the canal through May 1942. Her second such patrol, 24 January to 7 February, was canceled to allow her to participate in search and rescue operations for S-26 which had been rammed by PC-460 on the first day of the patrol.

In June 1942, S-21 returned to New London. On 14 September, she was decommissioned and was transferred to the United Kingdom. As HMS P. 551, she served in the Royal Navy until returned to the United States Navy, at Philadelphia, on 11 July 1944. Subsequently used as a target, she was sunk off northern New England on 23 March 1945.


File:SS-126, USS S-21, Sections - NARA - 70646212.jpg

Please do not overwrite this file: any restoration work should be uploaded with a new name and linked in this page's " other versions= " parameter, so that this file represents the exact file found in the NARA catalog record to which it links. The metadata on this page was imported directly from NARA's catalog record additional descriptive text may be added by Wikimedians to the template below with the " description= " parameter, but please do not modify the other fields.


Click on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time.

Date/TimeThumbnailDimensionsUserComment
current00:46, 20 July 201918,151 × 3,552 (19.99 MB) US National Archives bot (talk | contribs) Bot-assisted upload of US National Archives Identifer 70646210.

You cannot overwrite this file.


A Find of Piratical Significance

, the remains of the Cara Merchant had lain undisturbed for more than three centuries. 1 Though her resting place is in shallow water, the site is deep in significance: It is the only pirate shipwreck ever discovered in the Caribbean and one of only three ever found in the Americas to date. 2 To this find of profound historical importance the name "Indiana" will always be attached—not Indiana Jones, in this case, but Indiana University.

While a landlocked institution of higher learning ensconced in the heart of the Midwest might not automatically conjure the words "underwater archaeology," Indiana University in fact has one of the nation's oldest and largest programs in the field. For the past 12 years the intrepid diver-scholars of the school's academic diving and underwater science programs have been conducting research with the cooperation of the Dominican Republic's Oficina Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural Subacu a tico. So when a snorkeler reported spotting an array of barnacle-encrusted cannon a mere 70 feet off the shoreline of the Dominican Republic's Isla Catalina, government officials naturally alerted the Indiana team.

The wreck's location and the size and arrangement of the guns strongly suggested that there, indeed, was the grave of Captain Kidd's ship. Charles Beeker, director of IU's underwater archaeology programs, quickly recognized the value of the discovery and the immediate need to protect it from looters. As a preemptive strike against wildfire word-of-mouth and the subsequent swarming of divers like blood-crazed sharks, the discovery was officially announced at a press conference in December 2007, the site was declared temporarily off-limits, and the Dominican Republic licensed Beeker's team to protect, preserve, and research the wreck.

As work progressed through 2008, the "smoking gun" of positive identification revealed itself. After gingerly, painstakingly moving one of the cannon, archaeologists were pleasantly stunned to find the ship's keel still extant beneath. Wood-analysis results in September 2008 explained why: The keel had survived because it was fashioned from decomposition-resistant teak.

The very fact it was teak was the key to the mystery this ship, clearly, was an absolute anomaly in Caribbean waters in the late 17th century. Quite simply, "Teak wood does not belong in the Caribbean in this time period," Beeker said.

Teak was used in the shipyards of the western coast of India, and no trade existed between the Mogul sea-lanes and the Caribbean at the time. "Indian merchants were trading with England, but they were not in the Western Hemisphere," said Fritz Hanselmann, IU director of field research. Such a ship would have seemed wildly exotic and utterly out of place heaving—to off the Hispaniola coast in 1699—which is exactly what Captain Kidd did. He and a bedraggled skeleton crew had crossed the Atlantic in a captured India-built craft, a 400-ton three-master with fanciful, swirling Eastern flourishes in the carving, a plunder-laden prize ship on the run from the combined might of the Royal Navy and the East India Company.

"It's a rare instance in the historical record of a ship built in India having been in the Caribbean," Hanselmann said. "If you couple the historical documentation that we've studied with the archaeological record at the wreck site and the wood being teak, that allows us to fill in the pieces of the puzzle."

William Kidd is pirate history's Rorschach blot. His record affords bountiful arguments both for his ardent defenders (he was railroaded, unlucky, a scapegoat) and his detractors (he committed murder, he crossed the privateer-pirate line). Somewhere between the rival schools of thought is the idea that someone can be a victim of circumstance and yet still have some degree of culpability. In the end, Kidd seems more worthy of pity than condemnation, whatever his transgressions. Beset below by an unreliable crew and above by fickle financial backers, he charted a narrow and treacherous course that led him, indignant to his dying breath, to Execution Dock, the Admiralty's infamous hanging place along the Thames River.

Born around 1645, he was a towering, broad-shouldered Scotsman, lusty and quick-tempered. The sea called him early, and by 1689 he was captain of the Blessed William, a Caribbean privateer. Kidd attached his ship to a Royal Navy squadron in the raid on the West Indies island of Marie-Galante a fierce sea-fight with French warships followed off St. Martin. Anchoring at St. Nevis afterward, he lost the Blessed William to his rapscallion crew, who stole the ship and set sail for piracy. Kidd's recent heroics, however, garnered him a French prize ship courtesy of the grateful governor of Nevis. Kidd headed for new horizons, docking in New York in 1691. Marriage to a wealthy widow, life in a stately house, burgeoning business interests along the waterfront, and friends in influential circles all soon were his. But privateering remained in Kidd's blood, and 1695 found him shipping out anew for high-seas profiteering. 3

In London he managed to secure the backing of the newly nominated governor of Massachusetts, the Earl of Bellomont. A prominent Whig Parliamentarian, the earl soon brought a powerful quartet in on the scheme: Sir John Somers, the Duke of Shrewsbury, the Baron of Romney, and the Earl of Orford—like Bellomont, influential Whigs one and all. But the most impressive subscriber to Kidd's latest adventure was no less than King William III himself. With the king on board (to the tune of a 10 percent cut of the spoils) and a freshly issued letter of marque from the Royal Navy, Kidd was auspiciously set.

But this would be a privateering expedition with a difference: In addition to legally raiding French shipping (France and England then being at war), Kidd would hunt down and capture pirates currently bedeviling the Indian Ocean. He and his lordly syndicate then would divide up the pirates' loot. In essence, it was stealing from thieves and then claiming the stolen goods as one's own. Such slippery logistics would require a new Great Seal of England patent and the signature of the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal—who fortunately and conveniently was Somers, one of Kidd's backers. 4

Captain Kidd set off down the Thames with a handpicked crew in the 34-gun Adventure Galley in April 1696. (He had 70 men signed on thus far and still needed 80 more, whom he intended to recruit in New York.) Passing a Royal Navy vessel on his way downriver, Kidd neglected to dip his colors, an important custom marking a privateer's deference to and respect for the bona fide navy. Kidd's insolence (perhaps borne of having such lofty backers) earned him a cannonball soaring across the Adventure Galley's bow. His crew responded by ratcheting up the level of disrespect: They turned and slapped their backsides at the navy vessel. 5

Even before clearing the Thames, Captain Kidd had managed to incur the wrath of the Royal Navy. A press-gang boarded the Adventure Galley and made off with 20 of his best men. Furious, waving his official commission about, Kidd went ashore to protest. The navy did return him 20 men—not his 20 but instead a passel of irascible lowlifes and troublemakers. Off to a bad start, Kidd sailed to New York to round out his crew. The city was at the time a thriving nest of pirates, cutthroats, and sundry unsavory sailor types. Kidd managed to fill the Adventure Galley's ranks, but it was the textbook motley crew, indeed—"men of desperate fortunes," as Governor Benjamin Fletcher described them when Kidd embarked from New York in September 1696. 6

New York to Madeira, Madeira to Madagascar, Madagascar to the Comoros Islands—the Adventure Galley made her way to the hunting grounds by early 1697. Tropical disease claimed the lives of 30 crewmen, and Kidd culled more recruits along the docks of his Indian Ocean ports of call. The new additions included numerous veterans of pirate crews. The voyage thus far had been a bust, and restless grumblings threatened from the forecastle.

Earnest for some plunder, any plunder, Kidd set his sights on the Red Sea and the rich prizes of the Muslim pilgrimage route. "Come boys," the captain reportedly said, "I will make money enough out of that fleet." 7 Kidd's commission did not specify such action, and when he attacked a Mogul convoy on 14 August 1697, Kidd was flying the crimson flag. It meant "Surrender. No Quarter"—in essence, piracy. Edward Barlow, the English captain of the 36-gun Sceptre, one of three European ships protecting the convoy, fired warning shots and hoisted the colors of the East India Company, and Kidd backed down. While he had taken no prizes, he had demonstrated a willingness to exceed the parameters of his commission.

Kidd's men grew surlier, his supplies grew shorter, and his desperation intensified to the point that he even bullied a trading ship flying English colors off Malabar. His men raped and pillaged on the Laccadive Islands. Bad word of mouth about Captain Kidd began to spread through the region, as his lean and hungry crew became more mutinous. The boiling point was reached on 30 October, when Kidd had angry words with a malcontent, William Moore, before smashing in the crewman's head with a bucket. After Moore died the next day, an unremorseful and still angry Kidd declared he wasn't afraid of any legal repercussions from the killing, for he had "good friends in England." 8

Fortune finally shone on the Adventure Galley on 30 January 1698, with the capture of the Cara Merchant off the Malabar coast. Here was the ripe prize at last an India-built, Armenian-owned merchantman out from Bengal with a bounteous cargo of silks, sugar, opium, iron, saltpeter, gold, and silver. Kidd had fired a shot across her bow and raised French colors—camouflage for hunting French prey. The captain of the Cara Merchant, Englishman John Wright, tried a similar ruse himself to protect his vessel he too raised French colors and sent a French gunner in the guise of the ship's captain with paperwork to parlay.

The Frenchman presented Kidd with a French safe-conduct paper. Once he had the pass in hand, Kidd had the verification he needed. This, to be sure, was a legitimate privateering capture, and a rich one at that. Only after claiming the prize did Kidd realize much of the cargo belonged to the East India Company, the ship's true captain was English, and the French dodge had been merely a safety measure that backfired on the Cara Merchant.

But for the time being, Kidd's restless crew had some plunder at last. Kidd made port, sold off some of the cargo, divvied the spoils, and made for the pirate's lair of Madagascar. Also anchored there was the pirate Robert Culliford's ship, the Resolution. Culliford was the very knave who had stolen Kidd's privateering vessel out from under him back in his Caribbean days. On a personal and professional level, now was the golden opportunity for Kidd to fulfill his pirate-hunting mandate. He had Culliford outgunned and outmanned—or rather, he would have, if the bulk of the Adventure Galley's crew hadn't up and deserted on him, preferring the pure-pirate path that siding with Culliford represented. Rather than attempting to nab Culliford, Kidd instead found himself discussing terms with him in a strained atmosphere of false bonhomie and rum.

The Madagascar situation would come back to haunt Kidd. He would argue (and his present-day defenders will echo) that he was the victim of a mutinous and then deserting crew. His prosecutors would assert (and his detractors still echo) that, if he was supposed to be hunting pirates, why did he instead engage in surfside detente with one, not to mention letting him get away? 9

The Adventure Galley, meanwhile, was rotting and leaking rats of both the rodentoid and human variety were abandoning her in numbers. Captain Kidd left her now as well, making the Cara Merchant his main ship (and renaming her the Adventure Prize). With little more than 20 crewmen left, he set sail for the West Indies, to sell more of the captured silks while wending his prize homeward. But when he arrived at Anguilla in April 1699, Kidd learned the awful news: He was a wanted man.

The Cara Merchant, as luck would have it, had been leased out to Muklis Khan, a prominent member of the inner circle of Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb himself. Investors in the ship and her rich cargo were from the highest echelons the East India Company's reputation and its ability to continue its lucrative enterprise were threatened by a single ship's capture that had become an international incident. The Company was England's mightiest economic institution, and to restore itself to good standing, someone needed to hang for the Cara Merchant outrage. "Kidd," noted historian Robert C. Ritchie, "never allowed for the relentless malevolence of the East India Company." 10

Prodded by the Company, the British government declared Kidd a pirate. The general alarm went out wherever the Royal Navy ensign flew. An all-out manhunt was on, and there would be no pardon for Kidd. It was distressing information to ascertain about oneself while standing at the bridge of a big, blatant, foreign-looking ship that was an inevitable attention-grabber. Kidd believed he was innocent, and he had the French pass to prove it. At the mouth of the Hig u ey River on the eastern end of the island of Hispaniola, he moored the Cara Merchant to trees on the riverbank. He acquired a sloop and raced to New York to clear his name. He did, after all, have influential friends.

That the aristocratic consortium backing Kidd dropped him like a hot potato is one of the salient tragedies of his story. In the interim, the Whigs had lost control of Parliament. The Tories saw a chance to embarrass their political foes, and those foes didn't want to stick their necks out for a hunted man. Offering himself up to set the record straight, Kidd was imprisoned, first in New York, then in England. By the time he finally came to trial, he was a reeking, slovenly wreck. The French pass, which clearly justified his taking of the Cara Merchant under his letter of marque, was conveniently misplaced. It didn't resurface until the early 20th century. 11

The High Court of Admiralty found Kidd guilty of piracy and of the murder of William Moore. On 23 May 1701, he was carted out to London's Execution Dock along the mud-flats of Wapping. His hanging didn't go well the rope broke and his executioners had to hang him twice. Once he was dead, they tied him to a post until the high tide of the Thames had washed over him three times (as per Admiralty tradition). Afterward, the waterlogged corpse of Captain Kidd was taken downriver to Tilbury Point, where the Thames meets the sea. After dipping the body in tar, they wrapped it in chains and put it in a cage that was hung from a gibbet. For many years, long after the tar wore off and the flesh decayed, he remained on morbid display, a warning to all contemplating piracy. The historian Ralph D. Paine offered a concise summation that could serve as Captain Kidd's epitaph: "Thus lived and died a man, who, whatever may have been his faults, was unfairly dealt with by his patrons, misused by his rascally crew, and slandered by credulous posterity." 12

The search for the Cara Merchant began while Kidd was still languishing in prison. His erstwhile patron-turned-arrester, Lord Bellomont (whom Kidd had cursed from the gallows), sent a ship to the West Indies to track down the prize. It was the first of many fruitless attempts down through the centuries. Kidd's Caribbean confreres had emptied the ship of valuables, stacked cannon in the cargo hold, unmoored the vessel, and then torched and sank her. And there the Cara Merchant remained, in the shallows, undiscovered until 2007.

Her elusiveness was one of the loose ends that fed the Captain Kidd myth over the years. "What happened to his ship?" commingled with "What happened to his treasure?" to spawn a body of pirate legendry that refused to die. Kidd had taken some of the loot with him on his last run to New York. No doubt much of it was dispersed as well among those who burned the Cara Merchant.

The Cara Merchant herself became one of pirate history's famous lost ships, her mystique enhanced by the marquee value of her notorious household-name captain. Until recently, private treasure-hunting entities had been searching for her for years, sometimes only mere miles away from where she hid in plain sight.

In the end, fate turned the shipwreck's secrets over to academics rather than treasure-seekers. And preliminary X-rays of sample conglomerates (biologically concreted clusters of materials both organic and of human origin) indicate an abundance of artifacts, offering promising possibilities in the upcoming investigative seasons of 2009. The 26 cannon are still for the most part neatly stacked in two piles as they had been by the ship's crew. Anchor parts are also visible. And there is more wood to be sampled and studied it is possible that the ship construction will prove to have involved rabbeted joints (a construction methodology somewhat akin to tongue-and-groove). If so, this will be the only 17th-century wreck found thus far featuring this type of jointing, thereby adding to the site's uniqueness and importance, noted Beeker.

While research will continue through 2009 and beyond, Captain Kidd's shipwreck will not be kept indefinitely off limits to the public. The plan is to open the site to visitation by December 2009. Supervised and supported by the Dominican Republic's government and boosted by a $200,000 award announced by the U.S. Agency for International Development in November 2008, Indiana University will make the Kidd shipwreck site (and three other Dominican underwater sites of historical and/or biological interest) a "living museum," where the policy will be one of "no anchor, no take." Underwater interpretive panels in five languages will enhance the wreck site. As a public shipwreck park, the Captain Kidd Preserve will allow visitors to experience a brush with the pirate past while research and preservation efforts are ongoing.

Visitation is expected to be high—how could it not be? There, in 10 feet of Caribbean blue, lie vestiges of Captain Kidd's wild and infamous career. An archaeological discovery of such resonance is a magnet of great power. As Fritz Hanselmann observed, "Archaeology allows history to become tangible."

"Everyone wants to know if there is treasure on Kidd's ship," said Charles Beeker, "but the true treasure is the ship itself, and the history it represents. Bringing history back to life, through the creation of the Captain Kidd Preserve, is the real reward for discovering the identity of the ship. Rather than be destroyed for recovery of cannon and anchors, the site will be protected for future generations."


1. The ship has been known by various names over the years, Quedah Merchant being the most commonly appearing one. Archival research has identified Cara Merchant as the correct name.

2. The other two New World pirate shipwrecks thus far discovered are Edward "Blackbeard" Teach's Queen Anne's Revenge and Samuel Bellamy's Whydah.

3. The overview of Kidd's career presented here is based on: David Cordingly, Under the Black Flag: The Romance and Reality of Life Among the Pirates (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1995), pp. 179-190 Robert C. Ritchie, Captain Kidd and the War Against the Pirates (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1986) Frank Sherry, Raiders and Rebels: The Golden Age of Piracy (New York: Hearst Marine Books, 1986), pp. 148-195 and Richard Zacks, The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd (New York: Hyperion Books, 2002).

4. Cordingly, Under the Black Flag, p. 181.

5. Sherry, Raiders and Rebels, p. 164.

6. Cordingly, Under the Black Flag, p. 182.

8. Sherry, Raiders and Rebels, p. 174.

9. For contrasting views, see Zacks, The Pirate Hunter, pp. 181-189, and Cordingly, Under the Black Flag, pp. 184-185.

10. Ritchie, Captain Kidd, p. 128.

11. The suppression of the French pass, notes Charles Beeker, helps explain why the name of the prize ship, Cara Merchant, was wrongly referred to as Quedah Merchant, an erroneous name that cropped up in court references and has survived even up to the recent literature.

12. Ralph D. Paine, The Book of Buried Treasure: Being a True History of the Gold, Jewels, and Plate of Pirates, Galleons, Etc., Which Are Sought For to This Day (New York: Sturgis & Walton, 1911), p. 128.

More Finds from the Graveyard of the Deep

In addition to the Cara Merchant, here are some other notable shipwreck discoveries since 2007:

The Black Swan
The Black Swan is the project code name that Odyssey Marine Exploration (someone there must be a Rafael Sabatini fan) has given to what may be a 17th-century wreck site discovered off the coast of Cornwall in early 2007. The Odyssey team has recovered more than 500,000 silver coins (more than 17 tons worth) from the site in addition to hundreds of gold coins, gold pieces, and various artifacts. The ship has yet to be identified, but early speculation about the HMS Sussex has been refuted by Odyssey leading contenders seem to be the Merchant Royal and the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes. Having yielded some $500 million worth of valuables so far, the site could be the richest sunken treasure ever found. Rights to the find are currently being debated between Spain, the United Kingdom and Odyssey.

MS Encounter and HMS Exeter
The Encounter, a Royal Navy E-class destroyer, and the Exeter, a Royal Navy York-class heavy cruiser, both sank on the same day—1 March 1942—and both wrecks were discovered on the same day—21 February 2007. Casualties of the Second Battle of the Java Sea, Encounter was escorting Exeter to Sunda Strait when they were intercepted by the Japanese north of Bawean Island. Enemy cruiser and destroyer fire sank them both. The wreck discoveries were the latest in an impressive string of Java Sea finds made since 2002 by the dive crew of the MV Empress, skippered by Vidar Skoglie.

HMS Ontario
This 1780 British warship, an 80-foot brig sloop, foundered in a Lake Ontario gale on 31 October 1780 after having delivered troops, Iroquois scouts, canoes, and supplies to Fort Niagara. Using side-scan sonar and a remote-operated vehicle (ROV), shipwreck detectives Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville located the wreck in June 2008. According to Shipwreck World (www.shipwreckworld.com), it's "the oldest confirmed shipwreck and the only fully intact British warship to have ever been found in the Great Lakes."

A Lake Michigan Quartet
The simultaneous discovery of four shipwrecks in Lake Michigan was announced by the Manitou Passage Underwater Preserve on 15 September 2008. In addition to the wooden cargo steamer Redfern, a steel tug, a small steamer, and an unidentified vessel were found.

Rare Type of Schooner
Shipwreck hunters Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville had a good year. In addition to discovering HMS Ontario, they also located a rare dagger-board schooner—a shallow-draft vessel featuring a keel enhanced by extendable wooden panels—in the deep waters of Lake Ontario off Oak Orchard, New York, in December 2008. Dating to the early 19th century and believed to be the only daggerboard schooner yet discovered in the Great Lakes, the ship was pinpointed by deep-towed side-scan sonar.

Skeleton Coast Shipwreck
Geologists diving off the Namibian coast on behalf of Namdeb Diamond Corporation happened upon a treasure-laden Portuguese shipwreck in April 2008. The wreck was a fully loaded time capsule: thousands of 15th- and 16th-century gold coins, more than 50 elephant tusks, six bronze cannon, and a dizzying array of artifacts ranging from ingots to weapons to navigational instruments to pewterware. The ship may have foundered in the hellish currents of the so-called Skeleton Coast, and the discovery is thought to be the oldest shipwreck ever found off sub-Saharan Africa.

U.S. Submarine S-21 (SS-126)
This 220-foot Navy sub, commissioned in 1921, served on East Coast patrol until World War II. She then guarded the Pacific approaches to the Panama Canal. Decommissioned in 1942, she became for a time HMS P553 but was back in the U.S. Navy in 1944. In March 1945, she was used for target practice and sunk. Research divers Joe Cushing and Bill Lussier narrowed down the search area and then brought in top side-scan sonar man Garry Kozak the submarine wreck was found on 5 October 2008.

The Trajan
A 125-foot Maine-built bark, the Trajan sank outside Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, on 17 August 1867. She was bound for New Orleans with barrels of lime—a volatile, combustible cargo that smoldered, ignited, and sealed the merchant ship's doom. Previous searches for the wreck had come up empty-handed. After promising preliminaries with magnetometer and side-scan, she was discovered by divers John Stanford and Mark Munro on 6 December 2008.


Best regards from far,

It is a group of rather ugly three-story buildings with the typical architecture from the 1960’s surrounding a central yard. Chao Ponhea Yat high school was built in 1962 in the south of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. But on April 17th, 1975, when he marched on Phnom Penh with his Khmer Rouge troops, Pol Pot turned this high school into the S-21 prison, also known as Tuol Sleng, the biggest in Kampuchea Democratic where about 20 000 people were jailed and tortured before being exterminated in the nearby killing fields.

After almost a century of French protectorate, the kingdom of Cambodia was restored in 1953. In the shadow of the Vietnam War (1955-1975), the apparently neutral monarchy allowed the North Vietnamese communist Viet Cong forces to use Cambodia as a sanctuary and for its supply lines, leading to the bombing of the country by the USA. Countryside people fled to the cities to escape the bombs. The population of Phnom Penh plummeted to several million inhabitants. In 1970, US-backed Lon Nol took power after a coup. As a consequence, North Vietnam backed up the Khmer Rouge rebels, a communist formation lead by Pol Pot. Unable to secure the country, Lon Nol was overthrown when the Khmer Rouge walked on Phnom Penh on the 17th of April, 1975. It did not take long for Pol Pot to turn Cambodia into Kampuchea Democratic, what he saw as a utopian communist country. The Khmer Rouge ideology was immediately enforced:

  • Self-sufficiency,
  • Dictatorship of the proletariat,
  • Total economic revolution,
  • Complete transformation of Khmer social values.

Within three days, Phnom Penh was emptied: people were forced to abandon the city to walk to their native villages with only their clothes and a rice bowl. Many died on the way during the very hot April month, 1975. The ones who made it to their destination were forced to work in collective rice farms for 12 hours a day or more, without breaks and with only a bit of boiled rice to survive on. The rice production had to be tripled right away for Kampuchea Democratic to become self-sufficient. Many were worked to death, especially the ones from the city who had no experience in farming.

Pure devotion to the communist regime was forced upon the Cambodian people: family values, beliefs, education, religion and Khmer culture had to be left behind, and Cambodia was transformed into a rural, classless society. Families were separated. Forced marriages took place to skyrocket the population to achieve the self-sustainability scheme of Pol Pot. Spied upon during their wedding night, if the marriage was not consumed, death penalty awaited the newlyweds.

The paranoia of Kampuchea Democratic lead to many arrests often for treason. Urban, intellectual and educated people were targeted by the Khmer Rouge: wearing glasses, having soft hands or speaking a different language was sufficient to send one to S-21 or another of the 195 prisons operated during the regime. Victims were tortured and forced to confess having done something against the revolution. The Khmer Rouge stated that education was not important, but only hard work and revolution. School buildings were turned into warehouses or prisons, classrooms into cells for individual or mass detention, school desks were replaced by metal bed frames to torture prisoners with electric shocks or searing hot metal, gym equipment was adapted to hang victims. Gruesome classic torture techniques such as sleep deprivation, pulling finger nails out, waterboarding, and depriving one from one’s dignity by forcing prisoners to eat their own excrements were also conducted along with carefully documented “medical research” such as extracting organs without anaesthetic and draining one’s blood. Many were innocent and made up stories of collaborating with the CIA or KGB to put an end to the unbearable suffering. Starting in 1978, the regime started to collapse because of impossible expectations and mismanagement: Khmer Rouge soldiers themselves started being jailed, tortured and exterminated.

With a knot in my stomach and feeling nauseous, I meet the eyes of the sentenced victims whose black and white ID photographs were taken methodically as they were brought in. In their eyes, I read despair, pain, anger, fear, emptiness, confusion, bewilderment, or numbness. I am walking out of the former classroom of S-21, also known as Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which used to be a mass-detention cell. Beyond the stares of these thousands of photographs, instruments of torture, lists of victims, clothes, belongings, skulls and pictures of tortured bodies lying lifeless on the yellow and white tiled floor I am walking on, have left a deep and dark impression on me. Paintings by surviving prisoner Vann Nath, who could save himself thanks to his drawing skills, describe the gruesome imprisonment conditions and sheer cruelty of the executioners. I am standing by the barbwire on the third floor that was preventing victims from committing suicide.

Torn between running away from this horrific place and lingering around to commemorate these victims, I contemplate the city. Tuk-tuks are honking the horn covering the engines of the thousands of mopeds roaming the city. Cranes are shaping the future of dynamic Phnom Penh with new high-rise buildings. The frangipani tree is blooming in the courtyard of S-21 as an homage to the several thousands of victims who were imprisoned and tortured before being slaughtered in the killing fields.

Marcella van Alphen & Claire Lessiau (text & photographs)

  • The estimated number of casualties of the Khmer Rouge regime is 2 million people, or about a fourth of the country at the time of events, killed by its own.
  • After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot fled to Thailand and remained the head of the Khmer Rouge who were still representing Cambodia and seating at the UN in New York City and receiving international financial aid, while the new Cambodian government was ignored.
  • The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is special court that was put in place to try the senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge. At the time of publishing, three of the top leaders recently received a life imprisonment sentence.
  • For an excellent documentary about the forced weddings of the Khmer Rouge regime, refer to the Red Wedding.
  • As travelers, we strongly believe that we have a duty to try and understand the history of the countries we visit. Understanding history, and its darkest moments, is a way of commemorating victims while keeping a critical mind on our present. While writing this article, we cannot help but thinking about the alarming events that have been taking place in Syria and bear horrific similarities.

Travel tips:

  • If you want to visit S-21, refer to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
  • You can visit the Vann Nath’s gallery where some of his paintings are displayed. Vann Nath passed away in 2011 and kept painting until his last day for the world not to forget what happened in S21 and under the Khmer Rouge. The gallery is run by Vann Nath’s family. Refer to the pin on the interactive map below for the specific location.
  • Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area!

Like it? Pin it!

Don’t know where to start? Get inspired:


"It is Chandler&rsquos persistent effort to get as close as possible to the minds and experiences of both the captives and captors that elevates his work."

&mdashJapan Times

"The Khmer Rouge terror constitutes one of the most horrific instances of mass murder in the twentieth century, and Chandler has immersed himself in a unique and largely unexplored collection of primary sources from hell. This will be a very important and enduring work. . . . Moreover, no scholar is better situated to undertake this project than David Chandler."—Craig Etcheson, Director, Cambodian Genocide Project, Yale University

"A truly impressive book that clearly transcends the realm of Cambodian and South Asian studies. Not only has Chandler worked through a massive amount of material, he has also situated his analysis within a knowledge of Khmer history that is without equal."—Charles Keyes, University of Washington


50 states, 50 different ways of teaching America's past

As part of a two-month-long investigation into how black history is taught in the U.S., CBS News took a look at the social studies standards in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The analysis uncovered problematic lessons, varying interpretations of history and recommendations for what students should learn.

There are no national social studies standards to mandate what topics or historical figures students must learn about. The state social studies standards are a document or documents that detail what public school students are expected to know in specific states.

During the state standards analysis, CBS News found that seven states do not directly mention slavery in their state standards and eight states do not mention the civil rights movement. Only two states mention white supremacy, while 16 states list states' rights as a cause of the Civil War.

Here's a closer look at CBS News' findings:

Slavery and civil rights movement

While most state standards do directly mention the teaching of two defining moments in American history, slavery and the civil rights movement, what states expect their students to learn about these topics can vary drastically.

In Massachusetts, the social studies standards mention slavery and enslaved people more than 60 times. In 3rd grade, students are expected to learn "that colonial Massachusetts had both free and enslaved Africans in its population." Two grades later, students are asked to grapple with slavery, the legacy of the Civil War, and the struggle for Civil Rights for all.

Honoring Black History

But in neighboring New Hampshire, the state standards simply mention the words "slavery" and "racism" as part of a thematic lesson about social and race relations.

States also reference slavery in some problematic contexts within their standards. In West Virginia's state standards, slavery is listed as an example in a lesson on "explaining the concept of supply and demand in specific historic" situations. In North Carolina's state standards, "immigration of Africans to the American South" is mentioned as part of a lesson on why people move from place to place.

CBS News contributor and author of "How to Be An Antiracist," Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, said referring to Africans as immigrants or as immigrating to the United States is not accurate because they were brought by force.

"And certainly did not want to come to the United States in chains," he said.

Kendi is also the founding director of the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center at American University.

As for the states that do not&mdashor only briefly mention&mdashslavery or the civil rights movement, Dr. Tina Heafner, president of the National Council for the Social Studies, said this does not necessarily mean students are not learning about these topics.

Some state standards focus on the process of learning and development of skills, leaving it to the local school districts to determine what specific historical figures and topics are taught.

For example, while New York's social studies state standards span more than 150 pages and offers details on teaching "the development of slavery as a racial institution," Delaware's social studies standards are just five pages and focus on developing skills like comparing "competing historical narratives."

But Heafner, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, said having topics like slavery and the civil rights movement in standards makes it more likely to be taught in the classroom.

"When teachers think about what they have to teach, they turn to the curriculum standards as their guideline," she said. "So the fact that they are not there could give a perception that is not something that is absolutely essential that they have to address."

Cause of the Civil War

CBS News looked at each states' standards to see how they describe the cause of the Civil War, and again found, it greatly varies.

Utah's state standards assert that, "The Civil War era and Reconstruction are important aspects of U.S. history, essential to understanding modern America, including race relations and inequality." Many states, including Oklahoma, correctly list slavery as the "principal cause" of the Civil War.

Yet, CBS News found many other states offer different&mdashand often inaccurate&mdashreasons for the cause of the war. The 16 states that still list "states' rights" as one of the causes often do so alongside other issues like sectionalism, tariffs and economic disagreements.

Kendi took issue with the term states' rights.

"This was the term that the confederate states, that later segregationists, and even some slaveholders, utilized to hide that they were really fighting for the rights of slaveholders," he said.

In their secession documents, Mississippi, Texas and South Carolina each said slavery was their reason for leaving the Union. And as Kendi points out, Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens declared in his "Cornerstone Speech" of 1861 that the new government is formed "upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition."

Historians have said it is only after the war when the institution of slavery was abolished that southerners began listing "states' rights" as a cause for the Civil War.

Keven Ellis, the chair of the Texas State Board of Education, defended including "states' rights" in Texas' social studies standard, but pointed out it's in a different context than it previously was.

"I think that even when you look at states' rights it focused around slavery," he said. "So what we are doing now is just being clear, that those states' rights that the South was fighting over, was states' rights for them to have slavery."

In 2018, Texas reviewed its state social studies standards, leading to heated debates over whether states' rights should be considered as a cause of the Civil War&mdashand whether defenders of the Alamo should be considered "heroic." Language around states' rights changed in the state standards, but calling defenders of the Alamo heroic remained.

Racism and white supremacy

Recent movements like Black Lives Matter and the attack in Charlottesville helped jumpstart conversations about race and racism in America, but those conversations appear to be happening less frequently in the nation's classrooms. Less than half of the states in their social studies standards directly ask students to learn about racism.

In some state standards, like in Pennsylvania, teachings on racial discrimination are introduced in elementary school. Students learn about "racial relations" and the "treatment of minority groups in history" in third grade.

Meanwhile, Texas expects students taking a high school sociology elective course to be able to "explain instances of institutional racism in American society." But it does not directly mention institutional racism in its mandatory U.S. history classes.

Just Massachusetts and Maryland mention the word "white supremacy," in their state standards, even though Kendi said it's important students learn about the issue.

"That's American history," he said.

Politics and other challenges

There is no national curriculum for teaching United States history. And Heafner said the process for adopting state standards, especially in a field like social studies that wrestles with the history of racism or white supremacy, can be politicized.

"There are ideologies and beliefs that tend to guide the decisions that are made at the policy level in states to determine what can be included and what cannot be included in standards," she said. "Given that nature it does not surprise me that the language is not present because many policy makers are unwilling to tackle those hard issues."

When asked why change has been slow when it comes to textbooks and the state standards in Texas, Ellis, the chair of the Texas State Board of Education said: "I think (Texas), as well as a lot of states in the South, were behind the times in coming to change that process," he said.

Ellis told CBS News as the board has changed and new people have been elected, more progress has been made. He pointed to changes the board has made in recent years, including adding the teaching of Jim Crow laws and Ku Klux Klan to the state standards, and making sure slavery is listed as the central cause of the Civil War. The state is also poised to add a high school African American studies elective this year, which Ellis has been publicly pushing for. Ellis told CBS News he feels it's important all children are able to see themselves reflected in what they are learning, and the board strives to do that.

"I think that we are in a much better place than we were 10 years ago, 20 years ago and I'm optimistic that even five years from now we are going to be in an even better place than we are even today," he said.

Still Dan Quinn, a researcher and press secretary for the Texas Freedom Network, a progressive advocacy group, argues more must be done.

"For many decades, we haven't done a very good job teaching about the contributions of people of color in our history and our culture. We're finally seeing some progress toward that," said Quinn. "But you need to see more of that progress toward that in the core courses, rather than just relegating those to courses in ethnic studies that are not taken by most students in the classroom."

Some school districts, including Philadelphia, have made a yearlong African American studies course a requirement for high school graduation. States including Florida, New Jersey and New York mandate black history be taught in public schools, but some critics fear those mandates aren't being enforced.

Overall, studies show classroom time devoted to social studies education continues to decline&mdashand there are questions about what that continued decline means for black history education. A 2016 survey conducted by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture estimated that under 10% of total class time is devoted to teaching African American history.

"If students don't have access to social studies&mdashlearning civics to learning history&mdashthen they are certainly not going to be prepared for the jobs and responsibilities they have as engaged citizens," said Heafner. "(History) does help us understand the world in which we live and the complexity of that world and the issues that we are grappling with and the various perspectives that we are trying to find some compromise on."

Role of teachers

And while states set expectations for what students learn, experts say in the end, it is up to individual districts to decide what and how students are taught&mdashand up to teachers to bring those lessons to life.

That can be a problem, too. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture report found that teachers often lack "content knowledge" and "confidence in the information they currently know" when it comes to teaching topics like slavery.

Heafner said her organization provides resources and professional development to help.

"Teachers want to understand and learn the complexity of the history that many of them did not learn in their own education experience because the curriculum that was taught to them while they were in school was distinctly different&mdashvery whitewashed curriculum&mdashthat has changed and transformed over time," she said.

After reviewing the state standards data collected by CBS News, Kendi said he would like to see some changes to how history is taught in schools.

"I do think every state should have the ability to write its own history, but there's the nation history and then the state history," he said. "Certainly it should be historians who are gathered at a national level to set national history standards that should be taught to all American children."

Curious what students are expected to learn in your state? Click below to be directed to the state social studies standards.


Lesson 1: Introduction to Epidemiology

Natural history of disease refers to the progression of a disease process in an individual over time, in the absence of treatment. For example, untreated infection with HIV causes a spectrum of clinical problems beginning at the time of seroconversion (primary HIV) and terminating with AIDS and usually death. It is now recognized that it may take 10 years or more for AIDS to develop after seroconversion.(43) Many, if not most, diseases have a characteristic natural history, although the time frame and specific manifestations of disease may vary from individual to individual and are influenced by preventive and therapeutic measures.

Figure 1.18 Natural History of Disease Timeline

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Principles of epidemiology, 2nd ed. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1992.

The process begins with the appropriate exposure to or accumulation of factors sufficient for the disease process to begin in a susceptible host. For an infectious disease, the exposure is a microorganism. For cancer, the exposure may be a factor that initiates the process, such as asbestos fibers or components in tobacco smoke (for lung cancer), or one that promotes the process, such as estrogen (for endometrial cancer).

After the disease process has been triggered, pathological changes then occur without the individual being aware of them. This stage of subclinical disease, extending from the time of exposure to onset of disease symptoms, is usually called the incubation period for infectious diseases, and the latency period for chronic diseases. During this stage, disease is said to be asymptomatic (no symptoms) or inapparent. This period may be as brief as seconds for hypersensitivity and toxic reactions to as long as decades for certain chronic diseases. Even for a single disease, the characteristic incubation period has a range. For example, the typical incubation period for hepatitis A is as long as 7 weeks. The latency period for leukemia to become evident among survivors of the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima ranged from 2 to 12 years, peaking at 6&ndash7 years.(44) Incubation periods of selected exposures and diseases varying from minutes to decades are displayed in Table 1.7.

Table 1.7 Incubation Periods of Selected Exposures and Diseases

Table 1.7 Incubation Periods of Selected Exposures and Diseases

Although disease is not apparent during the incubation period, some pathologic changes may be detectable with laboratory, radiographic, or other screening methods. Most screening programs attempt to identify the disease process during this phase of its natural history, since intervention at this early stage is likely to be more effective than treatment given after the disease has progressed and become symptomatic.

The onset of symptoms marks the transition from subclinical to clinical disease. Most diagnoses are made during the stage of clinical disease. In some people, however, the disease process may never progress to clinically apparent illness. In others, the disease process may result in illness that ranges from mild to severe or fatal. This range is called the spectrum of disease. Ultimately, the disease process ends either in recovery, disability or death.

For an infectious agent, infectivity refers to the proportion of exposed persons who become infected. Pathogenicity refers to the proportion of infected individuals who develop clinically apparent disease. Virulence refers to the proportion of clinically apparent cases that are severe or fatal.

Because the spectrum of disease can include asymptomatic and mild cases, the cases of illness diagnosed by clinicians in the community often represent only the tip of the iceberg. Many additional cases may be too early to diagnose or may never progress to the clinical stage. Unfortunately, persons with inapparent or undiagnosed infections may nonetheless be able to transmit infection to others. Such persons who are infectious but have subclinical disease are called carriers. Frequently, carriers are persons with incubating disease or inapparent infection. Persons with measles, hepatitis A, and several other diseases become infectious a few days before the onset of symptoms. However carriers may also be persons who appear to have recovered from their clinical illness but remain infectious, such as chronic carriers of hepatitis B virus, or persons who never exhibited symptoms. The challenge to public health workers is that these carriers, unaware that they are infected and infectious to others, are sometimes more likely to unwittingly spread infection than are people with obvious illness.


Brown shirts

Under the tile Hugo Boss, 1924-1945, the book recounts the history of the man who founded a clothes factory in Metzingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg in 1924.

One of his first big contracts was to supply brown shirts to the early Nazi party.

After the war Boss, who died in 1948, sought to argue that he had joined the party in order to save his company.

"That may have been the case, but one may not interpret Hugo F Boss' remarks to mean that he was personally far from National Socialism," said Mr Koester, his words quoted by The Local Germany news website.

"That was certainly not the case."

By 1938, the firm was producing army uniforms, and eventually it manufactured for the Waffen SS too - though it did not, apparently, design the SS uniform.

From April 1940, Hugo Boss was using forced labourers, mostly women.

A camp was built in the area of the factory to house the workers and, according to the abridged English version of Mr Koester's report, "hygiene levels and food supplies were extremely uncertain at times".

Mr Koester notes that Boss tried to improve conditions in 1944, a year before the war ended, by asking to house his workers himself, and attempting to improve their food situation.

"We can only repeat that the behaviour towards the forced labourers was at times harsh and involved coercion, but that concern for their welfare was also displayed, rendering simplistic characterisations impossible," he writes.

The company said on its website it wished to "express its profound regret to those who suffered harm or hardship at the factory run by Hugo Ferdinand Boss under National Socialist rule".

After the war Boss was tried and fined for his involvement in Nazi structures.


Samsung continues to tease the Galaxy S21 with a rundown of Galaxy S-series history

Samsung is all set to launch the Galaxy S21 series on January 14 at its UnPacked event. However, ahead of the launch, almost everything, from the camera details to the stylus-equipped covers has already leaked online. The latest leak also claimed that the Galaxy S21 Ultra is likely to have support for a 120Hz refresh rate at QHD+ resolution. Now, ahead of the big reveal, Samsung is looking back at how far they’ve come with the Galaxy S-series. Here is a rundown of the history of the flagship lineup.

You’re going to want all the details. Galaxy Unpacked on January 14, 2021.
Visit https://t.co/D6nxwskptt to watch #SamsungUnpacked pic.twitter.com/MdQ5YCYBAZ

&mdash Samsung Mobile (@SamsungMobile) January 4, 2021

2010 – Hello, Smartphones! – Galaxy S was launched in 2010 with the first 4-inch (10 cm) 480×800 pixel Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display, a PowerVR graphics processor, Wi-Fi connectivity, a 5-megapixel primary camera and a 0.3-megapixel secondary front-facing camera.

2011 – Size Zero of Smartphones – With thickness of just 8.49mm, Galaxy SII was introduced as the size zero of smartphones. It was one of the first devices to offer a Mobile High-definition Link which allows up to 1080p uncompressed video output to an MHL enabled TV or to an MHL to HDMI adapter, while charging the device at the same time.

2012 – Bestselling Device of the Year – The Galaxy SIII was the first to have a HD screen. With this smartphone, Samsung launched Multi Window (Android 4.1), Ambient Light, Smart Stay, S Voice, and S Beam (NFC). It employed an intelligent personal assistant (S Voice), eye-tracking ability, and increased storage.

2013 – Sophisticated Software – Galaxy S4 focused on features like IR Blaster (phone could double as a universal remote), Smart Program, Smart Rotation, Smart Scroll, and Story Album. The phone’s ability was enhanced to detect a finger hovering over the screen. It also had an expanded eye tracking functionality.

2014 – High Resistance – The fifth generation Galaxy S model brought fingerprint scanner on the home button and a heart rate sensor near the primary camera. Galaxy S5 was IP67 Dust and Water Resistant. The dust rating 6 is the highest level of protection, and the rating 7 in water resistance meant water-resistance up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.

2015 – New Curves! – Samsung launched Galaxy S6 & S6 edge with unique Wireless Charging and Curved Edge Screen features. While wireless charging gave consumers more flexibility to charge their phones, Curved Edge Screen Display didn’t just offer them a gorgeous design but a brand new way to interact with their device with edge functionality.

2016 – Redefining the Phone Camera – Galaxy S7 and S7 edge were the first phones to offer a Dual Pixel Autofocus camera that ensured good image quality regardless of lighting conditions.

2017 – Infinity Display – With Galaxy S8 and S8+, Samsung raised the bar of smartphone design by introducing the Infinity Display. It came with Samsung Pay for India.

2018 – New Audio & Augmented Reality Experience – Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+ came with industry-first features such as Dolby Atmos Surround Sound, Dual Aperture, and AR Emoji etc.

2019 – The Ultra Wide Lens debuted on Galaxy S10, letting users capture more than the usual. Both front and rear cameras could shoot in up to UHD quality, which was an industry-first.

2020 – Galaxy S20 series was Samsung’s first, full 5G flagship lineup, featured 5G and AI camera technologies.


Watch the video: Η ιστορία ενός ξυλοκόπου..