Stephen Hopkins was a United States Merchant Marine
Liberty ship that served in World War II. She was
the only US merchant vessel to sink a German surface
combatant during the war.
SS Stephen Hopkins got her name from a from Rhode
Island's signer of the Declaration of Independence.
On September 27, 1942, en route from Cape Town to
Surinam, she encountered the heavily armed German
commerce raider Stier and her tender the Tannenfels.
Because of fog, the ships were only two miles apart
when they sighted each other.
The Stephen Hopkins refused to surrender, and the
Stier opened fire. Although greatly outgunned,
the crew of the Hopkins fought back, replacing the
crew of the ship's lone 4 inch (102 mm) gun with
volunteers as they fell. The fight was fierce
and short, and by its end both ships were wrecks.
The Stephen Hopkins sank at 10:00. The Stier,
too heavily damaged to continue its voyage, was
scuttled by its crew less than two hours later.
Most of the crew of the Hopkins died, including
captain Paul Buck. The survivors drifted on a
lifeboat for a month before reaching shore in
Captain Buck was posthumously awarded the Merchant
Marine Distinguished Service Medal for his actions.
So was US Merchant Marine Academy cadet Edwin Joseph
O'Hara, who single-handedly fired the last shots
from the ship's 4-inch gun. O'Hara was the
second cadet to receive this award, and the first to
receive it posthumously. Navy reservist Lt.
Kenneth Martin Willett, gun boss for the 4-inch gun,
was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
The Liberty ships SS Paul Buck, SS Edwin Joseph
O'Hara, and SS Richard Moczkowski, and the destroyer
escort USS Kenneth M. Willett (DE-354) were named in
honor of crew members of the Stephen Hopkins, and SS
Stephen Hopkins II in honor of the ship itself.
Cadet Edwin Joseph O' Hara fires shells at the Stier
(Painting by W.M. Wilson)
Like all of our warship
models, this model of the Liberty ship SS Stephen Hopkins has the following qualities:
- Superior hollow hull construction, weighing
less than 15 lbs (A solid hull of this model
would be over 50 lbs, requiring 2 people to
handle and a fortified table to accommodate.)
- Hollow superstructure comprised of many individual
thin pieces of wood glued together, not few blocks stacking on top one
- Windows are cutouts (not black decals), thanks to the
- Light rust appearance
- >95% of parts are wood and metal
- Wooden base is included.
- Will have "STEPHEN HOPKINS" on two sides of the
bow before shipping.
x 7.5" wide x 14.5" tall (including base's
S & H is $150
Please note that we
can change the name and number of the model to any
Liberty ship such as the Jeremiah O'Brien or the SS
John W. Brown per your
request. There's no charge for this service.
Please just indicate that during the check out
For a display case,
please click here:
Model Ship Display Case