Relief II (Hospital Ship)
Aid given in time of need.
The second Relief was built as the steel passenger liner John Englis during 1895 and 1896 by the Delaware River Ship Building Co., Chester, Pa.; acquired during 1898 by the U.S. Army for Spanish-American War service as a hospital ship; and transferred to the U.S. Navy 13 November 1902. Relief remained inactive into 1908 at Mare Island Navy Yard while factions within the Navy debated whether she should be commanded by a line officer or a medical officer. President Theodore Roosevelt's desire that a hospital ship accompany the Great White Fleet on its round-the-world voyage led to his endorsement of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery viewpoint. Accordingly, Relief was commissioned at Mare Island Navy Yard 6 February 1908, Surg. Charles F. Stokes, USN, in command.
Departing San Francisco Bay 22 March 1908, Relief met the fleet in Magdalena Bay, Mexico, embarking patients for return to San Francisco. Relief rejoined the fleet at San Diego and remained with it while crossing the Pacific on its important mission representing U.S. interests and testing the Navy's capabilities. Relief's staff provided expert medical care, treatment, and consultations for the more than 14,000 officers and men of the Great White Fleet until detached in November 1908 at Olongapo, Philippine Islands.
Ordered to return to the U.S. west coast, Relief departed Cavite 14 November 1908 but suffered serious damage in a typhoon on the night of 18 and 19 November. Returning to Cavite, the hospital ship was subsequently found to be unseaworthy by an official survey and became a stationary, floating hospital and dispensary. Relief continued in service as a floating hospital at Olongapo, Philippine Islands, through World War I, although decommissioned 10 June 1910. Her name was changed 11 April 1918 to Repose to allow that of Relief to be assigned to a new hospital ship under construction at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Repose was sold 15 May 1919 at Olongapo and entered mercantile service under the same name after repairs. She subsequently served under foreign flags as Hai Ning and Mindanao until transferred to Philippine registry during 1937 and named Lanao. Her fate during World War II is unknown.
23 September 2005