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Western Hope


(Freighter: dp. 12,170; l. 423'9"; b. 54'0"; dr. 24'2"; dph. 29'9"; s. 9.5 k.; cpl. 102; a. none)


Western Hope—originally named War Ruby and slated to be built for the British Cunard Steamship Line—was a single-screw, steel-hulled freighter launched on 29 July 1918 at Seattle, Wash., by the shipbuilding firm of J. F. Duthie and Co. Acquired by the Navy from the United States Shipping Board (USSB) for use by the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS), Western Hope was commissioned at Seattle on 25 September 1918, Lt. Comdr. Andrew G. King, USNRF, in command.


After loading a cargo of flour, Western Hope sailed for the east coast on 8 October. She transited the Panama Canal en route and arrived at New York City on 7 November 1918, four days before the armistice stilled the guns of World War I. The freighter departed New York on the 17th, bound for Europe, and, after reaching Gibraltar, was routed on to Italy on 7 December.


Repairing an engine casualty at Taranto en route, Western Hope eventually arrived at Trieste and discharged her cargo of flour there. After departing that Adriatic port on 16 March 1919, she retransited the Straits of Gibraltar and arrived at Newport News, Va., on 21 April, ending her sole voyage for NOTS.


Decommissioned on 5 May 1919 at Newport News, Western Hope was simultaneously struck from the Navy list and returned to the USSB. The cargo vessel was laid up in 1923 and remained there until abandoned 10 years later due to age and deterioration.