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Westward Ho


A novel published by Charles Kingsley in 1855.


(Freighter: dp. 12,185; l. 423'9"; b. 54'0"; dr. 24' ˝ " (mean); dph. 29'9"; s. 10.5 k.; cpl. 60; a. 1 5", 1 3")


Westward Ho—a steel-hulled, single-screw freighter built under a United States Shipping Board (USSB) contract and launched on 20 November 1917 at Portland, Oreg., by the Columbia River Shipbuilding Corp. —was inspected in the 13th Naval District on 4 February 1918; she apparently sailed for European waters soon thereafter.


Assigned Id. No. 3098, Westward Ho was taken over by the Navy and commissioned at Brest, France, on 19 October 1918 for operation by the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS). Her first commanding officer was Lt. Comdr. Mortimer Hawkins, USNRF, whose previous ship, West Bridge (Id. No. 2888) had been severely damaged that summer by two torpedoes from U-107 on 15 August 1918.


Five days after the signing of the armistice, the freighter departed Brest on 16 November, bound for the United States, and arrived at New York City on 12 December. After drydocking for general repairs, Westward Ho loaded general supplies and foodstuffs and got underway on 26 January 1919 and headed for European waters. In the course of her postwar voyage for NOTS, Westward Ho touched at Falmouth, England; the free city of Danzig; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Plymouth, England. She departed the latter port, in ballast, on 25 March 1919, bound for New York. She arrived there on 9 April 1919 and, 10 days later, was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list.


Simultaneously returned to the USSB, Westward Ho was laid up by that agency in the late 1920's, probably because of the onset of the Depression. She is carried on a period merchant vessel register as being "abandoned due to age and deterioration" in 1933 but was apparently saved from the scrapper's torch when acquired by the Japanese firm of Kokoku Risen K. K. in the late 1930's. Homeported at Kobe, Japan, the merchantman was renamed Westward Ho Maru in 1937 and Izan Maru in 1938. She survived the crippling American submarine onslaught against her nation during World War II and operated with her prewar owner until about 1949, as Japan began the road to recovery from wartime devastation.