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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
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West Indian

 

(Freighter: dp. 12,100; l. 423'9"; b. 54'; dph. 29'9"; dr. 24' (mean); s. 10.5 k.; cpl. 74; a. none)

 

War Indian—formerly War Diamond, a single-screw, steel-hulled freighter built at Portland, Oreg., by the Columbia River Shipbuilding Corp., for the Cunard Steamship Line, and launched on 27 February 1918— was taken over by the Navy for duty with the Naval Overseas Transportation Service; assigned Identification Number 3120; and commissioned at Portland on 22 May 1918, Lt. Comdr. Oliver P. Rankin, USNRF, in command.

 

Decommissioned on 5 September after defective propulsion machinery frustrated two attempts to sail for the east coast, West Indian underwent enough repairs to convince the Shipping Board that the ship was again seaworthy, and she was recommissioned at New York City on 7 November. Taking on cargo, West Indian sailed for England on 14 November and reached the River Clyde on 12 December. Discharging her cargo and loading a return cargo of 510 tons of Navy stores (as well as 530 tons of gravel ballast), West Indian headed for the United States on 28 January 1919.

 

Making port on 11 February, the freighter was decommissioned, struck from the Navy list, and returned to the Shipping Board on 1 March 1919. She operated on the freight trade under the aegis of the Shipping Board until her documentary trail runs cold in 1939-1940.