West Indian, a 12,100-ton (displacement) freighter built in 1918 at Portland, Oregon, was turned over to the Navy and placed in commission as USS West Indian (ID # 3120) in May of that year. Like many ships of the World War I emergency building programs, she suffered from chronic mechanical problems, and, in September was returned to the U.S. Shipping board for repairs. Once these were completed, West Indian steamed to the Atlantic Coast, where she was again commissioned as a Naval vessel in early November 1918. She soon began her only operational voyage while in Navy hands, arriving in England in mid-December. Upon her return to the U.S. in February 1919 West Indian was decommissioned and, at the beginning of March, transferred back to the Shipping Board, which retained ownership until the end of the 1930s.
This page features our only view of the freighter West Indian, which was USS West Indian (ID # 3120) in 1918-1919.
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Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
Photo #: NH 102523
S.S. West Indian (American Freighter, 1918)
In port, circa 1918-1919.
Originally named War Diamond this ship was taken over by the Navy and placed in commission on 22 May 1918 as USS West Indian (ID # 3120). Returned to the U.S. Shipping Board for repairs on 5 September, she recommissioned on 7 November 1918 and made one round-trip voyage to England before being decommissioned and transferred to the Shipping Board on 1 March 1919.
Note West Indian's pattern camouflage and empty bow gun platform, indicating that the photograph was taken soon after the end of World War I.
The original print is in National Archives' Record Group 19-LCM.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 65KB; 740 x 515 pixels
Page made 16 June 2004