The Navy retained the name (the title of a novel published by Charles Kingsley in 1855) carried by this vessel at the time of her acquisition.
(Id.No. 3098: displacement 12,185; length 423'9"; beam 54'0"; draft 24'½" (mean); depth of hold 29'9"; speed 10.5 knots; complement 60; armament 1 5-inch, 1 3-inch)
Westward Ho, a steel-hulled, single-screw freighter built under a United States Shipping Board (USSB) contract and launched on 20 November 1917 at Portland, Oregon by the Columbia River Shipbuilding Corp., was inspected in the Thirteenth Naval District on 4 February 1918; she apparently sailed for European waters soon thereafter.
Assigned the identification number (Id.No.) 3098, Westward Ho was taken over by the Navy and commissioned at Brest, France, on 19 October 1918 for operation by the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS). Her first commanding officer was Lt. Cmdr. Mortimer Hawkins, USNRF, whose previous ship, West Bridge (Id.No. 2888) had been severely damaged that summer by two torpedoes from U-90 (Oberleutnant zur See Helmut Patzig) on 16 August 1918.
Five days after the signing of the Armistice, Westward Ho departed Brest on 16 November 1918, bound for the United States, and arrived at New York City on 12 December. After drydocking for general repairs, Westward Ho loaded general supplies and foodstuffs and got underway on 26 January 1919 and headed for European waters. In the course of her postwar voyage for NOTS, Westward Ho touched at Falmouth, England; the free city of Danzig; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Plymouth, England. She departed the latter port in ballast, on 25 March 1919, bound for New York. She arrived at her destination on 9 April 1919 and, ten days later, was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy Register.
Simultaneously returned to the USSB, Westward Ho was laid up by that agency in the late 1920s, probably because of the onset of the Depression. She is carried on a period merchant vessel register as being “abandoned due to age and deterioration” in 1933 but was apparently saved from the scrapper's torch when acquired by the Japanese firm of Kokoku Risen K. K. in the late 1930's.
Homeported at Kobe, Japan, the merchantman was renamed Westward Ho Maru in 1937 and Izan Maru in 1938. She survived the crippling U.S. submarine onslaught against her nation during World War II and operated with her prewar owner until about 1949, as Japan advanced along the road to recovery from wartime devastation.
Updated, Robert J. Cressman
11 August 2022