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West Wauna


(ScStr: dp. 12,185 (n.) lbp. 410'5˝; b. 54'0"; dr. 24' ˝"; s. 10k.)


West Wauna (Id. No. 3856)—a freighter constructed in 1918 at Portland, Oreg., by the Northwest Steel Co. under the supervision of the United States Shipping Board—was acquired by the Navy from the Shipping Board on 14 January 1918 and commissioned that same day, Lt. Comdr. William Mayne, USNRF, in command.


Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, West Wauna made only one round-trip voyage to Europe during her brief Navy career. She loaded a cargo of flour at Portland and put to sea on 1 February bound for the east coast on the first leg of her journey to Europe. After transiting the Panama Canal at mid-month, she arrived in Norfolk, Va., on 1 March. Following eight days of repairs and refueling, she set out across the Atlantic. The freighter arrived in Falmouth, England, on 26 March; and, after unloading her cargo, she sailed for the gulf coast of the United States. She entered port at Galveston, Tex., on 13 May. Six days later, she was placed out of commission and was returned to the Shipping Board.


West Wauna continued to operate in mercantile service, out of Portland, under the auspices of the Shipping Board and then of the Maritime Commission. That service continued until the early stages of World War II. In 1941, she was transferred to British ownership and served through the war years as SS Empire Grebe. Still under British registry, she was renamed SS Inch-mark in 1947 when she was acquired by the Inchmark Steamship Co., Ltd., of Hong Kong. On 29 May 1949, the freighter suffered mortal damage when she ran aground on Schildpat Island Reef, Indonesia.