Return to Naval Historical Center home page. Return to Online Library listing

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Photo # NH 89530:  USS Nopatin at Brest, France, circa May 1919

Online Library of Selected Images:
-- U.S. NAVY SHIP TYPES --

WORLD WAR I ERA TRANSPORTS --
Former Coastal and River Passenger Steamships

The U.S. Navy employed five former coastal passenger steamers (one of them a veteran of Great Lakes' operation) to transport personnel between the British Isles and France during World War I and in the months following the 11 November 1918 Armistice. Of these, just USS Yale is included in the 1919 Secretary of the Navy's Report listing of 125 ships employed on trans-Atlantic transport duties, since she carried troops during her own homeward-bound voyage in 1919. The four others had UK-France service as U.S. Navy ships, but seem not to have executed Atlantic transport missions.

In addition to these five, the Navy employed several coastal passenger steamships in a variety of roles. These can be subdivided as follows:

One relatively large steamer, formerly active in New England waters, that was acquired by the Navy and taken to the United Kingdom, where she was transferred to the British. Two other ships with the same hull design (though with different machinery) became minelayers;
Two (and possibly three) former Great Lakes passenger steamers that were being prepared for UK-France duty when the "Great War" ended, but did not see service there;
Two steamers that were also converted into minelayers;
Eight coastal and river passenger steamers that served as training ships, local transportation vessels and stationary berthing or hospital hulks.

The lists below include all of these ships, all of which of over 1000 gross tons. Not covered are the many smaller coastal, river and sheltered water passenger steamers that the Navy also had in service during this time.

This page features larger coastal and river passenger steamers that were employed by the World War I era U.S. Navy for transport and other duties. Where available, a photograph of each ship is also provided.


Ships in this group:

TWENTY-ONE SHIPS with typical American coastal and river passenger steamer characteristics: VERY LONG SUPERSTRUCTURES and ONE or TWO SMOKESTACKS. They are subdivided below into several sub-groupings.


Click each ship name to access that ship's complete Online Library entry.

Click the small photographs to prompt a larger view of the same image, and the words "Picture Data" to access the Picture Data Sheet for that image.


THREE SHIPS (one transport and two minelayers) -- Two Smokestacks:

  • Old Colony, USN 1917-1918 (ex-American S.S. Old Colony, 1907).
    4779 Gross Tons; Length: 375.0'; Breadth: 52.2'
    Transferred to the British after brief U.S. Navy service.
    This ship had turbine machinery and triple screws.
    Her two former sisters had reciprocating engines and twin screws.

  • Shawmut, USN 1917-1965 (ex-American S.S. Massachusetts, 1907).
    4779 Gross Tons; Length: 375.0'; Breadth: 52.2'
    Modified extensively when converted to a minelayer.
  • Aroostook, USN 1917-1943 (ex-American S.S. Bunker Hill, 1907).
    4779 Gross Tons; Length: 375.0'; Breadth: 52.2'
    Modified extensively when converted to a minelayer.

     S.S. Old Colony, circa 1917:



    Picture Data

     USS Shawmut, October 1918:

    Picture Data

     USS Aroostook, 1918:


    Picture Data



    TWO SHIPS (both employed as transports) -- Two Smokestacks:

  • Charles, USN 1918-1920 (ex-American S.S. Harvard, 1907).
    3737 Gross Tons; Length: 376.0'; Breadth: 61.0'
    Employed in UK-France service.
  • Yale, USN 1918-1920 (ex-American S.S. Yale, 1906).
    3731 Gross Tons; Length: 376.0'; Breadth: 61.3'.
    Made one trans-Atlantic transport voyage following UK-France service.

     USS Charles, June 1918:

    Picture Data

     S.S. Yale, later USS Yale:




    Picture Data



    TWO SHIPS (both employed as transports) -- Two Thin Smokestacks and Higher Superstructure:

  • Narragansett, USN 1918-1920 (ex-American S.S. Narragansett, 1913).
    3539 Gross Tons; Length: 320.2'; Breadth: 48.1'
    Employed in UK-France service.
  • Nopatin, USN 1918-1920 (ex-American S.S. Manhattan, 1913).
    3539 Gross Tons; Length: 320.2'; Breadth: 48.1'
    Employed in UK-France service.

     USS Narragansett stranded, 1919:

    Picture Data

     S.S. Manhattan,
    later USS Nopatin:




    Picture Data



    TWO SHIPS (originally operated on the Great Lakes) -- Two Smokestacks:

  • Theodore Roosevelt, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, 1906).
    1955 Gross Tons; Length: 275.6'; Breadth: 40.0'
    Employed in UK-France service.
  • City of South Haven, USN 1917-1919 (ex-American S.S. City of South Haven, 1903).
    1719 Gross Tons; Length: 247.7'; Breadth: 40.3'
    Did not reach European waters.

     S.S. Theodore Roosevelt:

    Picture Data

     USS City of South Haven:


    Picture Data



    TWO SHIPS (originally operated on the Great Lakes) -- One Smokestack:

  • Blue Ridge, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Virginia, 1891).
    1606 Gross Tons; Length: 269.2'; Breadth: 48.3'
    Did not reach European waters.
  • Puritan, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Puritan, 1901).
    1762 Gross Tons; Length: 259.0'; Breadth: 40.5'
    Did not reach European waters

    '

     USS Blue Ridge with bow removed, 1918:

    Picture Data

     S.S. Puritan underway, prior to World War I:

    Picture Data



    TWO SHIPS (both converted to minelayers) -- Flush-Deck Hull and One Tall Smokestack:

  • Quinnebaug, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Jefferson, 1899).
    3723 Gross Tons; Length: 351.8'; Breadth: 42.0'
  • Saranac, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Hamilton, 1898).
    3723 Gross Tons; Length: 350.0'; Breadth: 42.0'

     USS Quinnebaug, 1919:

    Picture Data

     S.S. Jefferson (sister ship of S.S. Hamilton, later USS Saranac):


    Picture Data



    THREE SHIPS -- Former coastal passenger steamers of differing appearance:

  • Ransom B. Fuller, USN 191?-191? (ex-American S.S. Ransom B. Fuller, 1902).
    2329 Gross Tons; Length: 317.5'; Breadth: 40.1'
    Side-Wheel Steamer. Used as a barracks ship.
    Ship not yet posted on the Online Library.
  • Berkshire, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Berkshire, 1881).
    2014 Gross Tons; Length: 250.0'; Breadth: 38.5'
    One Smokestack. Employed as a minesweeper training ship
  • Cambridge, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Cambridge, 1890).
    1694 Gross Tons; Length: ???.?'; Breadth: ??.?'
    Two Smokestacks. Though acquired, this ship did not enter Navy service.

    We have no photographs concerning the steamer Ransom B. Fuller, which was USS Ransom B. Fuller during the World War I era.

     S.S. Berkshire:

    Picture Data

     S.S. Cambridge:


    Picture Data



    FIVE SHIPS -- Former river and harbor passenger steamers:

  • C.W. Morse, USN 1917-1919 (ex-American S.S. C.W. Morse, 1903).
    4307 Gross Tons; Length: 411.1'; Breadth: 50.8'
    Side-Wheel Steamer. Two tall thin smokestacks. Employed as a receiving ship.
  • Adirondack, USN 1917-1919 (ex-American S.S. Adirondack, 1896).
    3644 Gross Tons; Length: 388.2'; Breadth: 50.0'
    Side-Wheel Steamer. Two tall thin smokestacks. Employed as a barracks ship.
  • Fenimore, USN 191?-1918 (ex-American S.S. Fenimore, 1892).
    1634 Gross Tons; Length: 253.2'; Breadth: 36.3'
    Side-Wheel Steamer. Used for coastal transportation. Burned 21 June 1918
    Ship not yet posted on the Online Library
  • Iro, USN 191?-1918 (ex-American S.S. Iro, 1???).
    1652 Gross Tons; Length: ???.?'; Breadth: ??.?'
    Used in the Chesapeake Bay area
    Ship not yet posted on the Online Library
  • Boston Floating Hospital, USN 1918-1918 (ex-American S.S. Boston Floating Hospital, 1906).
    1200 tons (displ.); Length: ???.?'; Breadth: ??.?'
    One tall thin smokestack. Employed as a stationary hospital ship.

    We have no photographs concerning the steamers Fenimore and Iro.

     S.S. C.W. Morse:


    Picture Data

     S.S. Adirondack:

    Picture Data

     USS Boston Floating Hospital:

    Picture Data



    If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."


    Return to Naval Historical Center home page.

    Page made 5 April 2007
    New ship data and photo added 26 September 2007