Rear Admiral David W. Taylor, Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair, to Naval District Commandants, District Supervisors of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, and Industrial Manager, New York Navy Yard
BUREAU OF CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR
May 6, 1918.
To: Industrial Manager, New York.
Commandant, 1st Naval District.
Commandant, 2nd Naval District.
Commandant, 3rd Naval District.
Commandant, 4th Naval District.
Commandant, 5th Naval District.
Commandant, 6th Naval District.
Commandant, 7th Naval District.
Commandant, 8th Naval District.
Commandant, 9th, 10th and 11th Naval Districts.
Commandant, 12th Naval District.
Commandant, 13th Naval District.
Commandant, 14th Naval District.
Commandant, 15th Naval District.
District Supervisor N.O.T.S., Boston.
District Supervisor N.O.T.S., New York.
District Supervisor N.O.T.S., Philadelphia.
District Supervisor N.O.T.S., Norfolk.1
Subject: Dutch Ships Manned by Navy Department.
Reference: (a) Navy Dept. let.Apr. 20/18,Mat-2-JL-4/19
1. Reference (a) is quoted for information and guidance as follows:
“1. There is given below a list of the names of the Dutch Ships which are to be manned and operated by the Navy Department. These ships are grouped as troop transports or cargo transports, according to their assignments for service.
Cargo Transport. Troop Transport.
BALI KONINGIN DER NEDERLANDEN
BUITENZORG xx TJOSONDARI
JAN VAN NASSAU
XX These have been inspected with the idea of making them troop transports, but until report is received no decision can be made.
“2. Batteries are authorized following the usual practice for troop and cargo transports. Radio is authorized and when the complements have been settled upon, the alterations necessary to fit the ships to accommodate these complements are also authorized.
“3. In making the alterations, only the time the ships are in port for loading and necessary repairs should be used, and if the ships are not available long enough at one time the successive stays between trips should be used. Any District should be prepared to carry on work begun in another district.
“4. The importance of reducing the time which ships remain in port unnecessarily is again called to the attention of all concerned and it is hoped that actual work will be begun as soon as possible after a ship is available.”
2. Arrangements have already been made for the conversion of the ZEELANDIA and RIJNDAM at New York, and for the conversion of the KONINGIN DER NEDERLANDEN at the Canal Zone. Final decision as to the designation of the OPHIR for conversion to a troop transport, has not yet been made,3 and special instructions will be issued by the Department relative to making the OPHIR, TJISONDARI and
TJISENGANG <Tjikembang> available for conversion.4
3. The Bureau has no information relative to the ports at which the vessels designated for cargo transports will be made available, but the work required is of such nature that it can be undertaken from time to time as opportunity presents in connection with the service of the vessels, and the work under this Bureau is authorized to proceed accordingly. When work in connection with this conversion is started at any port, the Commanding Officer on his departure will be furnished with a statement showing the proposed method of conversion, and the work that has actually been undertaken, which report should be accompanied by such plans as are necessary for a clear understanding of the work. This information will permit proceeding with the work at another port should the vessel become available for a sufficient length of time to permit. When the work is continued either at the port at which it was initiated or at another port, the statement in the hands of the Commanding Officer will be brought up to date. A copy of the original statement and any additions thereto should be forwarded to the Bureau for its information.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identifier: “No. 18257-A3” and “Sc.” On some of the ship names, someone typed through the name that was typed and handwrote a corrected version adjacent to the original.
Footnote 1: The individuals in these respective commands are in order: RAdm. George E. Burd, RAdm. Spencer S. Wood; Capt. Patrick W. Hourigan, Adm. Nathaniel R. Usher, RAdm. James M. Helm, RAdm. William McLean, Capt. Bejamin C. Bryan, RAdm. William B. Fletcher; Commo. Valentine S. Nelson; Capt. William A. Moffett, Capt. Robert L. Russell, Capt. Robert E. Coontz, Capt. George R. Clark, RAdm. Marbury Johnston, Capt. Patrick W. Hourigan; Lt. Cmdr. Robert T. Merrill; Cmdr. Francis W. Hoffman; Cmdr. William S. Whitted.
Footnote 2: This letter has not been found, but is quoted at length below.
Footnote 3: Ophir remained a cargo ship and was not used as a troop transport. Clephane, Naval Overseas Transportation Service: 234.
Footnote 4: The “special instructions” have not been found; Tjikembang and Tjisondari were converted into horse transport ships. Ibid., 240.