You are not logged in.
USS Lenape in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- USS Lenape during the Great War -

Great War>Ships
skip to content

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to accept cookies.

If you enjoy this site please consider making a donation.

    Site Home

    Great War


    Add Stories & Photos


    Allied Army

    Day by Day

    War in the Air

    Prisoners of War

    The Royal Navy

    Training for War

    The Battles

    Those Who Served


    Civilian Service

    Women at War

    Life on Home Front

    Central Powers Army

    Central Powers' Navy


    World War Two


    Add Stories & Photos

    Time Capsule


    Help & FAQ's

    Our Facebook Page




    Contact us

    Great War Books


Research your Family History.

World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great

USS Lenape

 American Troopship  

USS Lenape

USS Lenape (ID-2700) was a troop transport for the United States Navy in 1918, during World War I. She was launched in 1912 as SS Lenape, a passenger steamer for the Clyde Line. After the entry of the United States into World War I in 1917, she was chartered by the United States Army as transport USAT Lenape. After her Navy service ended in October 1918, she was returned to the Army.

Lenape was launched by Newport News Shipbuilding Co. of Newport News, Virginia, in 1912 for the Clyde Steamship Company, known as the Clyde Line. She operated as a passenger steamer on the East Coast of the United States, typically on a New York–Charleston–Jacksonville route.

After the United States declared war on Germany, the units that comprised the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) were selected in early May and ordered to Europe within 30 days. The Army, needing transports to get the men and materiel to France, re-formed the Army Transport Service. A committee of shipping executives pored over registries of American shipping and, on 28 May 1917, selected Lenape and thirteen other American ships that were sufficiently fast, could carry enough coal in their bunkers for transatlantic crossings, and, most importantly, were in port or not far at sea. After Lenape discharged her last load of passengers, she was officially chartered by the Army on 1 June.

Army career.

Before any troop transportation could be undertaken, all of the ships had to be hastily refitted — in little more than two weeks in the case of Lenape. Of the fourteen ships, ten, including Lenape, were designated to carry human passengers; the other four were designated as animal ships. The ten ships designated to carry troops had to have all of their second- and third-class accommodations ripped out and replaced with berths for troops. Cooking and toilet facilities had to be greatly expanded to handle the large numbers of men aboard. Structural reinforcement below the platforms was required before the ships could outfit for guns at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The American convoy carrying the AEF was broken into four groups; Lenape was in the second group with Momus, Antilles, and escorts consisting of cruiser Birmingham, armed yacht Aphrodite, and destroyers Fanning, Burrows, Lamson. Major General William L. Sibert and the headquarters of the First Division along with the supply companies and one battalion (of three) of the 26th Infantry Regiment embarked on Lenape at New York.The ship, under the command of U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander P. E. Dampman, departed with her group on 14 June for Brest, France, steaming at a comfortable 14-knot (26 km/h) pace. Fanning soon traded places with converted yacht Corsair from the first group, when that ship was unable to maintain the lead group's 15-knot (28 km/h) pace. A thwarted submarine attack on the first convoy group, and reports of heavy submarine activity off of Brest resulted in a change in the convoy's destination to Saint-Nazaire.

As Lenape 's group neared France, U.S. destroyers based at Queenstown, Ireland, and French destroyers joined to escort the convoy. Just before noon 26 June, while the group was 100 nautical miles (190 km) off the coast of France, a submarine was sighted in the distance. It submerged when the escorting destroyers converged on its position, escaping without firing a shot. About two hours later another sub was sighted and chased by Cummings, one of the Queenstown destroyers. Cummings depth charged the location of the sub and noted debris and an oil slick on the surface after one explosion. The convoy arrived at Saint-Nazaire the next day.

After returning to the United States, Lenape sailed on 24 September as part of the 8th convoy with Henderson, Antilles, Finland and escorted by cruiser San Diego. According to Crowell and Wilson, the 8th group was "destined to misfortune". Three days out from New York, Lenape developed engine trouble and was compelled to return to port. On their return journeys, Antilles was torpedoed and sunk, while Finland, also torpedoed, managed to limp back to Brest.

Navy career.

Lenape did not make any more transatlantic crossings under Army control and was acquired by the Navy 10 April 1918. Commissioned on 24 April under command of Commander Robert Morris, the Lenape shifted south to Newport News, Virginia, for her next convoy, her first as a commissioned Navy vessel. Embarking a contingent of troops that included the 122nd Machine Gun Battalion of the 33rd Infantry Division,Lenape sailed at 1830 on 10 May, accompanied by American transports Pastores, Wilhelmina, Princess Matoika, Antigone, and Susquehanna, the British steamer Kursk, and the Italian Duca d'Aosta. The group rendezvoused with a similar group that left New York the same day, consisting of President Lincoln, Covington, Rijndam, British troopship Dwinsk, and Italian steamers Caserta and Dante Alighieri. American cruiser Frederick served as escort for the assembled ships, which were the 35th U.S. convoy of the war. On 20 May, the convoy sighted and fired on a "submarine" that turned out to be a bucket; the next day escort Frederick left the convoy after being relieved by nine destroyers. Three days later the convoy sighted land at 0630 and anchored at Brest that afternoon. Lenape sailed for Newport News and arrived there safely on 6 June with Pastores and Princess Matoika. Fate, however, was not as kind to former convoy mates President Lincoln and Dwinsk. On their return journeys they were sunk by German submarines U-90 and U-151, respectively.

Lenape set sail from Newport News on 14 June with Wilhelmina, Pastores, Princess Matoika, and British steamer Czar. On the morning of 16 June, lookouts on Princess Matoika spotted a submarine and, soon after, a torpedo heading directly for that ship. The torpedo missed her by a few yards and gunners manning the ship's 6-inch (150 mm) guns claimed a hit on the sub with their second shot. Later that morning, the Newport News ships met up with the New York portion of the convoy—which included DeKalb, Finland, Kroonland, George Washington, Covington, Rijndam, Dante Alighieri, and British steamer Vauben—and set out for France. The convoy was escorted by cruisers North Carolina and Frederick, and destroyers Stevens and Fairfax; battleship Texas and several other destroyers joined in escort duties for the group for a time. The convoy had a false alarm when a floating barrel was mistaken for submarine, but otherwise uneventfully arrived at Brest on the afternoon of 27 June. Lenape, Covington, Princess Matoika, Rijndam, George Washington, DeKalb, Wilhelmina, and Dante Alighieri left Brest as a group on 30 June. The following evening at 2115, Covington was torpedoed by U-86 and sank the next afternoon. Lenape, Rijndam, and Dante Alighieri arrived back in the United States on 12 July.

Lenape took on board 1,853 officers and men and sailed from New York on 18 July in the company of George Washington, Rijndam, Antigone, Ophir, and the Italian steamer Regina d'Italia. Joined by a Newport News group, all arrived safely in France on 30 July. Arriving back stateside on 13 August, Lenape sailed again from New York with 2,024 troops nine days later in convoy with President Grant, Wilhelmina, DeKalb, Rijndam, Toloa, and the French steamer Sobral.

Returning from her final cruise for the Navy on 17 September, Lenape was returned to the Army 28 October. In February 1919, Lenape was returned to the Clyde Line. Her ultimate fate is unknown.

John Doran

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

Want to know more about USS Lenape?

There are:1 articles tagged USS Lenape available in our Library

  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Great War.

Those known to have served in

USS Lenape

during the Great War 1914-1918.

    This page is new, as yet no names have been submitted.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

Looking for help with Family History Research?   

Please see Family History FAQ's

We are unable to provide individual research free of charge, but do offer a paid service at competitive rates, the small profit from these services will be put towards the costs of keeping this website running. For more information please see our Research Services Leaflet

Can you help?

The Wartime Memories Project is run by volunteers and this website is funded by donations from our visitors.

If the information here has been helpful or you have enjoyed reaching the stories please conside making a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web. In these difficult times current donations are falling far short of this target.

If you enjoy this site please consider making a donation.


  • The Wartime Memories Project is the original WW1 and WW2 commemoration website

    This website has been running for 16 years and receives in excess of a million hits per month. The website and our group will continue long after the 2014-18 events are over. We hope that people will continue to support us by submitting material and stories in addition to submitting to the new websites set up for the anniversary.

  • We are looking for volunteers to help with researching the activities of units of the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Territorial Force, Regular Army, Pals Battalions, Kitchener's New Armies, Voluntary Organisations and the Ships of the Royal Navy. We currently have a huge backlog of stories and historical documents which need to be edited or transcribed for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.

Wanted: Digital copies of Group photographs, Scrapbooks, Autograph books, photo albums, newspaper clippings, letters, postcards and ephemera relating to the Great War. If you have any unwanted photographs, documents or items from the First or Second World War, please do not destroy them. The Wartime Memories Project will give them a good home and ensure that they are used for educational purposes. Please get in touch for the postal address, do not sent them to our PO Box as packages are not accepted.

We are now on Facebook. Like this page to receive our updates, add a comment or ask a question.

If you have a general question please post it on our Facebook page.

Aug 2017

    Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 233877 your submission is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.

World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great
Did you know? We also have a section on World War Two. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.

Want to know more about USS Lenape?

There are:1 articles tagged USS Lenape available in our Library

Recomended Reading.

Available at discounted prices.

Items from the Home Front Archive

Do you have any photos, postcards, documents or memorabilia relating to this unit? Please add to this archive.


    Suggest a link

    The Wartime Memories Project is a non profit organisation run by volunteers.

    This website is paid for out of our own pockets, library subscriptions and from donations made by visitors. The popularity of the site means that it is far exceeding available resources.

    If you are enjoying the site, please consider making a donation, however small to help with the costs of keeping the site running.

    Hosted by:

    The Wartime Memories Project Website

    is archived for preservation by the British Library

    Website © Copyright MCMXCIX - MMXVII
    - All Rights Reserved