Nov 5

German Fleet Surrender of World War I

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 12:01 AM


Head shot of Vice Admiral John L. McCrea, USN (Ret.)

Vice Admiral John L. McCrea, USN (Ret.)


In this clip excerpted from his oral history recordings, Vice Admiral McCrea recalls the remarkable capstone of his World War I service on board the battleship USS New York (BB-34)—the German fleet surrender of World War I.

McCrea was a Naval Academy midshipman in 1914 when his ship, the USS Idaho (BB-24), was sold to Greece on the eve of World War I. After graduating in 1915, he served in the New York and was present when the German fleet surrendered following the war. He served a tour in Guam in the 1930s, then was executive officer of the battleship Pennsylvania (BB-38). In 1941, as an aide to CNO Harold Stark, McCrea made a trip to the Pacific to deliver revised war plans to the top commanders. At the beginning of the war he served a year as naval aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, then was first skipper of the battleship Iowa (BB-61). After the war he held a series of positions, including DCNO (Administration), Deputy Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet, and Commandant First Naval District, before retiring in 1953.


Copy of the painting Surrender of the German High-Seas Fleet by Bernard F. Gribble.

Surrender of the German High Seas Fleet by Bernard F. Gribble, 1918. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)


To read more about the Naval Institute Oral History Program, go to


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