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USS Willimantic (ID-3549)
SS Willimantic (1918)
SS Willimantic being launched as a commercial cargo ship at the Todd Drydock and Construction Company at Seattle, Washington, on 29 May 1918 with her bow heavily decorated and the tug Prosper, of Seattle, standing by.
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Name: USS Willimantic
Namesake: Previous name retained
Builder: Todd Drydock and Construction Company, Seattle, Washington
Launched: 29 May 1918
Completed: October 1918
Acquired: 2 November 1918
Commissioned: 2 November 1918
Decommissioned: 21 April 1919
Fate: Transferred to U.S. Shipping Board 21 April 1919
Notes: In U.S. Shipping Board and U.S. Maritime Commission custody 1919-1942;
Transferred to United Kingdom early 1942;
Sunk 24 June 1942
General characteristics
Type: Cargo ship
Tonnage: 5,100 gross tons
Displacement: 10,690 long tons (10,862 t) normal
Length: 396 ft 0 in (120.70 m)
Beam: 53 ft 0 in (16.15 m) waterline
Draft: 24 ft (7.3 m) aft
Propulsion: Steam engine
Speed: 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph)
Complement: 52

USS Willimantic (ID-3549) was a United States Navy cargo ship in commission from 1918 to 1919.

Construction, acquisition, and commissioningEdit

Willimantic was constructed in 1918 as the commercial steam cargo ship SS Willimantic for the United States Shipping Board by the Todd Drydock and Construction Company at Seattle, Washington. She was launched on 29 May 1918 and completed in October 1918. On 2 November 1918, the Shipping Board transferred her to the U.S. Navy at the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington, for naval use during World War I; the Navy assigned her the naval registry identification number 3549 and commissioned her the same day as USS Willimantic (ID-3549) with Lieutenant Commander Erik G. Froberg, USNRF, in command. The Armistice with Germany ended World War I nine days later on 11 November 1918.

Operational historyEdit

Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, Willimantic completed sea trials, then loaded a cargo of 6,400 tons of flour and put to sea on 14 December 1918. She transited the Panama Canal and arrived at New York City on 9 January 1919. After bunkering, she departed New York on 21 January 1919 bound for Gibraltar, where she was to await further orders.

Still carrying her flour, Willimantic arrived at Gibraltar on 7 February 1919, but remained there only briefly because she immediately received orders to gut underway for Fiume on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. She reached Fiume on 18 February 1919 and unloaded her flour, which was used to relieve hunger in Eastern Europe in the aftermath of World War I.

After almost a month at Fiume, Willimantic departed on 12 March 1919 for Gibraltar loaded only with water for ballast. From Gibraltar she proceeded to the Azores and then to New York City, where she arrived on 13 April 1919.

Decommissioning and later careerEdit

Willimantic was decommissioned at New York on 21 April 1919. The Navy transferred her back to the U.S. Shipping Board the same day. Once again SS Willimantic, she remained in the custody of the Shipping Board and its successor, the United States Maritime Commission, until early in 1942, when she was transferred to the United Kingdom for service during World War II. She was sunk by gunfire from the German submarine U-156 under the command of Werner Hartenstein on 24 June 1942.[1]



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