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

The Wartime Memories Project

- USS Martha Washington 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



World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great

USS Martha Washington

 American Troopship  

USS Martha Washington

USS Martha Washington (ID‑3019) was a transport for the United States Navy during World War I named for Martha Washington, the first First Lady of the United States. She was originally ocean liner SS Martha Washington for the Austro-American Line before the war. Before and after her Navy service she was the United States Army transport USAT Martha Washington. The liner was sold to the Italian Cosulich Line in 1922. In 1932, when Cosulich was absorbed into Italia Flotte Riunite (English: United Fleets Italy), the ship was renamed SS Tel Aviv. The ship was scrapped in 1934.

Martha Washington was launched in 1908 by Russell & Co. of Port Glasgow, Scotland for the Austro-American Line (formal name: Unione Austriaca di Navigazione). The liner sailed between Trieste and New York City.

On the evening of 20 November 1911, while steaming in the Ionian Sea from Patras and headed for New York, Martha Washington came under fire from an Italian battleship for a period of ten minutes, with shells falling within one ship length (approximately 500 ft or 150 m) of the liner. According to the captain of the liner, the Italians, fighting against Turkey in the Italo-Turkish War, mistook Martha Washington for a Turkish ship. The ship was allowed to pass unharmed after the crew used a signal lamp to communicate her identity to the Italians.

At the outbreak of World War I, Martha Washington was interned at Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1914.

World War I.

After the United States entered the war, Martha Washington was taken over by the U.S. Army Quartermaster Department on 6 April 1917. The former liner was acquired by the Navy in November 1917. She was commissioned on 2 January 1918 with Commander Chauncey Shackford in command.

Transporting troops to France.

Two months of round‑the‑clock effort restored the ship to seaworthiness and modified her as a troop transport. Martha Washington sailed on eight wartime voyages carrying troops to France, embarking a total of 24,005 passengers. Sailing as a part of the Cruiser and Transport Force, Martha Washington sailed from New York on 10 February on her first voyage carrying troops to France with Navy transports Antigone, President Lincoln, and Von Steuben, and Army transport Finland, under escort of the cruiser Pueblo. Martha Washington arrived back at New York on 14 March. Leaving New York again on 23 March, she convoyed with El Occidente, Powhatan, Finland, and cruiser Pueblo, arriving in France on 4 April. Martha Washington and Powhatan returned to the U.S. on 22 April.

Martha Washington next departed Newport News on 30 April 1918 with Powhatan. Rendezvousing with the two transports was a convoy sailing from New York consisting of Kroonland, Matsonia, Manchuria, and Finland (now a Navy transport). South Dakota provided the convoy with protection until its arrival in France on 12 May. Martha Washington returned to Virginia on 1 June. Departing Newport News on 10 June, Martha Washington sailed with Aeolus, Powhatan, Matsonia, and British troopship Czaritza. Meeting up with Manchuria which sailed from New York, the convoy—escorted by cruisers Seattle and Frederick, and destroyer Stevens—reached France on 18 June. Martha Washington returned to the U.S. on 30 June.

Departing Newport News once again for France on 10 July, Martha Washington, accompanied by Aeolus, Powhatan, and Matsonia, joined with the New York contingent—Navy transports Sierra and Manchuria, and steamers Narragansett, Lutetia, and Toloa—and arrived in France on 21 July. Cruiser Seattle and destroyers Stringham, Fairfax, Mayrant, and Paul Jones served as escorts on the eastbound crossing. Aeolus and Matsonia joined Martha Washington in arriving in Virginia on 5 August.

With Manchuria, Henderson, Aeolus, Koningen der Nederlanden, and steamer Patria, Martha Washington sailed from Newport News for France on 14 August. Louisville and Matsonia, sailing from New York, joined the convoy, which was escorted by cruisers Rochester, Seattle, and Frederick. Records of this convoy are sketchy, but Henderson and Matsonia are known to have arrived in France on 25 August, and the other ships probably arrived around that same time. Upon Martha Washington 's return to the U.S. she shifted to New York.

After embarking 3,029 troops, Martha Washington departed again on 15 September sailing with Henderson, Pocahontas, Calamares, Finland, Powhatan, and steamer Ulua. Martha Washington 's New York group met up with a Virginia group of Navy transports Aeolus and Koningen der Nederlanden, and steamers Patria and Kursk. Escorts—consisting of battleship New Hampshire, cruisers St. Louis and Pueblo, and destroyers Stribling, Hopkins, and Stringham—helped to ensure the safe arrival of all ships in France on 28 September. Finland and Pocahontas accompanied Martha Washington on her return journey and arrived at New York on 12 October.

Beginning what would be her final wartime crossing, Martha Washington sailed with Aeolus and Italian steamer Duca d'Aosta on 21 October from Newport News. Navy transport Pocahontas and Brazilian steamer Sobral, sailing from New York, and escorts New Hampshire, Charleston, South Dakota, Talbot, and Radford filled out the convoy, which arrived on 4 November. Returning to the U.S. five days after the Armistice, Martha Washington made eight additional voyages—from 26 November 1918 to 11 November 1919—returning 19,687 troops and passengers from foreign ports. During her seventh voyage she also disembarked 945 interned German aliens at Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

On her final voyage she arrived at Brest on 14 August and received new orders to transport an American relief mission to Turkey and Russia. Under the leadership of Major General James Harbord, U.S. Army, the mission spent the first two weeks in September at Constantinople and after arriving at Batum, Russia, on 18 September, spent the following three weeks there. In this period of civil turmoil, Martha Washington brought 324 Armenian and Polish refugees to Constantinople. Sailing for the United States on 15 October, she called at Malta, Marseille, and Brest before arriving at New York on the first anniversary of the Armistice signing. She was decommissioned on 18 November 1919 and was turned over to the War Department.

John Doran

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

Want to know more about USS Martha Washington?

There are:1 articles tagged USS Martha Washington 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 Martha Washington

during the Great War 1914-1918.

  • Rendall Kenneth M.. Lt.jg

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

The 1st of September 2017 is The Wartime Memories Project's 18th Birthday. If you would like to send us a present, 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.

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 18 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.

Sep 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 235634 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 Martha Washington?

There are:1 articles tagged USS Martha Washington 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