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William A. McKenney


(Freighter: dp. 12,800; l. 410'6"; b. 55'1"; dr. 26'5" (mean); cpl. 62; a. 1 5", 1 3")


William A. McKenney—a steel-hull, single screw freighter launched on 28 October 1916 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Co., for the Crowell and Thurlow Shipbuilding Co.—was inspected by the Navy for possible use as a depot collier at Norfolk on 12 December 1917. Available records indicate that the ship would be turned over to the War Department by the United States Shipping Board (USSB) about 20 February 1918 for use as a cargo transport. She was to be manned by the Navy on a "bare ship basis" and would be operated for the War Department account.


Transferred to the Navy on 5 June 1918 for operation by the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS), William A. McKenny was assigned Id. No. 2102 and commissioned at Norfolk on the same day. She made two wartime voyages carrying cargo for NOTS, commencing her first voyage at Norfolk on 19 June and her second from Newport News on 7 September. Her ports of call included Brest, St. Nazaire, La Pallice, and Verdon Roads; her cargo included steel rails, trucks, and engine supplies.


After completing her second wartime round-trip crossing of the Atlantic, she was at Norfolk when World War I ended on 11 November 1918. Her only postwar voyage, to La Pallice with Army supplies, began when she departed Norfolk on 22 November. After completing her unloading, William A. McKenney departed French waters on Christmas, 1918, and arrived at New York on New Year's Day, 1919.


Decommissioned at New York on 31 January 1919 and simultaneously struck from the Navy list, William A. McKenney was turned over to the USSB for return to her owners. Sometime in the mid-1920's, the ship was acquired by the Mystic Steamship Co., Boston, Mass. She operated with that company into the late 1930's and was later owned by the Koppers Coal Co., of Pittsburgh, Pa., but still operated by Mystic.


On 4 October 1942, William A. McKenney came under attack by U-175 in the North Atlantic. The U-boat surfaced and shelled and torpedoed the steel-hulled bulk carrier, sinking her off the coast of British Guiana