Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • World War I 1917-1918
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Westerdijk (Id.No. 2514)

1918-1919

The Navy retained the name carried by this vessel at the time of her acquisition.

(Id.No. 2514: displacement 17,050; length 475'0"; beam 55'0"; draft 31'9"; speed 14.7 knots; complement 52; armament 1 5-inch, 1 4-inch)

Westerdijk, a steel-hulled, single-screw cargo vessel built at West Hartlepool, England, by Irvine's Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Ltd., was completed in 1913 and operated by the Dutch Holland Amerika Lijn in the transatlantic trade before the Great War [World War I]. Westerdijk (incorrectly listed as Westerdyk in the 1918 Ships Data, U.S. Naval Vessels), was given the identification number (Id.No.) 2514 and commissioned at New York on 27 March 1918, Lt. Cmdr. Harold L. Thompson, USNRF, in command.

Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, earmarked for use as an animal transport, Westerdijk commenced her first transatlantic cargo-carrying voyage on 9 April 1918, departing New York with a load of general Army cargo. She conducted four voyages in all before the armistice ended the Great War on 11 November 1918.

Returning in ballast to New York from her fourth voyage, Westerdijk underwent repairs into 1919. She departed New York on 19 January 1919, proceeded via the Panama Canal, and arrived at Rosario, Chile, soon thereafter. Taking on a general commercial cargo, the freighter lifted this load of goods to New York before heading south to load another cargo at New Orleans late in June 1919. There, she took on 8,153 tons of goods consigned to the United States Shipping Board and sailed via Norfolk, Va., to European waters.

Westerdijk arrived at Liverpool on 29 July 1919, where she unloaded her cargo, then sailed for Rotterdam, Holland, on 21 September. Arriving at her prewar home port two days later, the cargo vessel underwent a final inspection and inventory and was decommissioned on 25 September 1919. Simultaneously stricken from the Navy Register, Westerdijk was returned to her owners, the Holland Amerika Lijn, the same day.

Subsequently acquired by German interests and renamed Eschersheim, the ship ultimately met her end when she struck a submerged wreck while on a voyage from Bremen, Germany, to Oslo, Norway, on 13 March 1940, and sank with the loss of six lives.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

11 August 2022

Published: Thu Aug 11 09:25:36 EDT 2022