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

The Wartime Memories Project

- USS Wilhelmina 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

    Search

    Add Stories & Photos

 Features

    Allied Army

    Day by Day

    War in the Air

    Prisoners of War

    The Royal Navy

    Training for War

    The Battles

    Those Who Served

    Hospitals

    Civilian Service

    Women at War

    Life on Home Front

    Central Powers Army

    Central Powers' Navy

    Library

    World War Two

 Submissions

    Add Stories & Photos

    Time Capsule

 Information

    Help & FAQ's

    Our Facebook Page

    Volunteering

    News

    Events

    Contact us

    Great War Books

    About


Research your Family History.











World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great

USS Wilhelmina



 American Troopship  

USS Wilhelmina

USS Wilhelmina (ID-2168) was a transport for the United States Navy during World War I. Built in 1909 for Matson Navigation Company as SS Wilhelmina, she sailed from the West Coast of the United States to Hawaii until 1917. After her war service, she was returned to Matson and resumed Pacific Ocean service. In the late 1930s she was laid up in San Francisco, California, until sold to a British company in 1940. While a part of a convoy sailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Liverpool, she was sunk by U-94 on 2 December 1940.

Wilhelmina—a steel-hulled, single-screw, passenger and cargo steamer built at Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. for the Matson Navigation Company—was launched on 18 September 1909 and departed her builders' yard on 7 December of that year. Under the Matson flag, Wilhelmina conducted regular runs between San Francisco, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii, carrying passengers and cargo between 1910 and 1917.

World War I.

Inspected by the Navy at the 12th Naval District, San Francisco, on 18 June 1917—two months after the United States entered World War I—the steamship was later taken over by the United States Shipping Board on 1 December. Soon afterwards she sailed for Chile where she obtained a cargo of nitrates. Delivering that cargo at Norfolk, Virginia., Wilhelmina shifted to New York on 23 January 1918. Given Identification Number 2168, the ship was then taken over by the Navy and apparently commissioned on 26 January. Lt. Comdr. Joe W. Jory, USNRF, is listed as being in command in February. Wilhelmina was diverted to "special duty" and made her first voyage to France soon afterwards, departing New York with a general cargo on 1 February and returning on 26 March. Upon her return, she shifted to the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, where she was taken in hand and converted to a troopship for service with the Cruiser and Transport Force. When her extant deck logs begin, her commanding officer is listed as Comdr. William T. Tarrant.

On 10 May 1918, Wilhelmina sailed out of New York on the first of six wartime voyages to France and back prior to the November armistice. During these passages, Wilhelmina carried 11,053 troops "over there" to strengthen the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). The transport's half-dozen trips were all made safely, as far as she was concerned, although not totally without incident.

While in convoy with six other troopships and four destroyers, Wilhelmina was present when the transport Covington was torpedoed on 1 July. Nearly a month later, on 30 July, one of Wilhelmina's lookouts spotted what he thought to be a submarine periscope at 07:30. Going to general quarters, the transport surged ahead and opened fire to drive the submarine away. A short while later, when the periscope reappeared, Wilhelmina again fired at it, with the shell falling 50 yards (46 m) short.

Two weeks later, while Wilhelmina and Pastores were steaming under the protection of destroyer Hull, the erstwhile Matson steamship again went to general quarters to drive away what looked like a submarine. Shortly after 2000 on 14 August, while Wilhelmina's crew and passengers were holding abandon ship drill, a lookout spotted what looked like a submarine periscope 200 yards (180 m) from the ship and just forward of the port beam. The captain of the transport ordered the helm put over to starboard soon after the sighting, as the submarine moved away on an opposite course. The one-pounder on the port wing of the signal bridge barked out two shots, both missing. Three shots from the after port 6-inch (150 mm) gun followed, until their angle was masked by the ship's superstructure. The submarine, however, apparently frustrated, submerged. It may have remained in the area to try again, as on the following day, 15 August, a submarine periscope appeared some 200 yards (180 m) away from the troopship, prompting three salvoes which drove the would-be attacker off.

In company with seven other transports—including Wilhelmina—on 23 August, in a convoy escorted by armored cruiser Huntington and destroyers Fairfax and Hull, Pastores spotted what she took to be a submarine periscope at about 09:50. Hull rang up full speed and reversed course; Huntington and Fairfax soon did likewise but found nothing.

Later that day, however, the enemy apparently reappeared. Pastores's commander sighted a periscope at 1904; Hull sighted the same object five minutes later. The periscope appeared to be about 500 yards (460 m) distant, three points off Wilhelmina's starboard bow, and running on a course to the right and nearly opposite that of the convoy. Pastores went to battle stations and headed for the periscope. Wilhelmina, too, turned toward the enemy.

With the 'scope in sight for about 10 seconds, the time allotted the gun crews of the American ships that spotted the enemy was short. Pastores got off one round of 4-inch (100 mm) at the swirling water where the object had disappeared. Frustrated by the submarine's going deep, Wilhelmina, unable to ram, turned aside to port. Hull, rushing to the scene, soon dropped three depth bombs.

Three days later, on 26 August, Wilhelmina noticed a suspicious wake five degrees off her port bow, 2,500 yards (2,300 m) away and passing from port to starboard. Going to general quarters, Wilhelmina fired a shot from one of her forward guns shortly before she loosed three shots in succession from the forward starboard 6-inch (150 mm) battery. Nine rounds came from the after battery on that side; and, as the ship swung, the superstructure masked the forward guns. The wake soon disappeared; both Pastores and the Italian transport Dante Alighieri also fired several rounds at what was possibly a submersible with no apparent success.

Wilhelmina emerged from World War I unscathed, although near-missed by a torpedo on 1 September. After the armistice, she continued her troop-carrying activities, bringing back part of the AEF from France. She conducted seven postwar, round-trip voyages, returning 11,577 men home to the United States including 2,610 sick and wounded.

These postwar voyages were not made entirely without incident either. A fire broke out in a storeroom where blankets and pillows were kept, a little over six hours after the ship departed Bassens, France, standing down the Gironde River on 25 March 1919. The fire, reported at 2152, was put out by 2210. Slight damage had been caused in the fire.

Wilhelmina subsequently entered the Ambrose Channel on 4 April and docked at Pier 1, Hoboken, New Jersey, the following day. There, she disembarked the troops and patients carried back from France. She began her last voyage shortly afterwards, returning to New York on 6 August 1919. There, she was decommissioned, struck from the Navy list, and returned to her owners on 16 August.

John Doran


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



Want to know more about USS Wilhelmina?


There are:1 articles tagged USS Wilhelmina 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 Wilhelmina

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.


Announcements

  • 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.


June 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 232065 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 Wilhelmina?


There are:1 articles tagged USS Wilhelmina 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.



Links


    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