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USS Southland (IX-168) on 14 July 1944
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Class:        LEYDEN (IX-167)
Design        Coastal Pass., 1908
Displacement (tons):        1,900 light, 3,117 full
Dimensions (feet):        305.0' oa, 291.2' pp x 51' x 17.75'
Original Armament:        1-3" 4-20mm (both, 1944)
Later armaments:        --
Complement        --
Speed (kts.):        15
Propulsion (HP):        3,000
Machinery:        1 screw, 1 4-cylinder triple expansion engine

IX Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
167 LEYDEN 22 May 44 Harlan & Hollingsworth -- 1911 22 May 44
168 SOUTHLAND 22 May 44 Newport News SB & DD 1908 3 Oct 08 22 May 44

IX Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
167 LEYDEN 23 Jul 45 3 Aug 45 23 Jul 45 MC/R 7 Nov 46
168 SOUTHLAND 24 Jul 45 3 Aug 45 23 Jul 45 MC/R 7 Nov 46

Class Notes:
FY 1944. In 1909 the Norfolk & Washington Steamboat Co. took delivery of a new steamer, SOUTHLAND, for its service between Washington, D.C., and Norfolk, Virginia, with stops at Alexandria and Old Point Comfort. In 1911 the company took delivery of a second steamer, NORTHLAND, for the same service. They were very similar and appear to have been built to the same specifications, but they were produced by different shipyards and differed in minor details. Specifications shown here are for SOUTHLAND for which there is more information. NORTHLAND differed in having 2,400 horsepower engines, although reported speeds were about the same.

The two ships served on the Norfolk to Washington run until they were requisitioned on 11 Jul 42 by the War Shipping Administration for war service with the British Ministry of War Transport. BMWT had asked for 11 coastal ships to transport troops across the Irish sea and for other auxiliary duties, replacing British cross-channel and short sea passenger vessels that had been lost during the conflict. Of these 11 steamers, 9 departed St. John's, Newfoundland, on 21 Sep 42 with British merchant crews in convoy RB-1 (code name Maniac). One, VIRGINIA LEE, had to turn back before the convoy was attacked on 25 and 26 September by 14 U-boats. Three (BOSTON, NEW YORK, and YORKTOWN) were sunk along with an escorting British destroyer while the other five (NORTHLAND, SOUTHLAND, PRESIDENT WARFIELD, NAUSHON, and NEW BEDFORD) survived to reach Scotland.

On 17 Apr 44 Commander Naval Forces, European Waters, requested that the NORTHLAND, SOUTHLAND, and PRESIDENT WARFIELD be acquired for naval use in the European Area. These steamers were owned by WSA and were on loan to BMWT under Lend-Lease. BMWT was reportedly making necessary repairs and reconditioning to make the vessels seaworty and suitable for the purpose desired, and on 2 May 44 the Auxiliary Vessels Board recommended that they be acquired by the Navy from WSA on bareboat charter, that they be assigned to ComNavEu for his use, ant that they be manned by naval crews from personnel then in the theater. The name of NORTHLAND was changed on 18 May 44 to LEYDEN (the name of a tug built by the Navy during the Civil War) to avoid confusion with the Coast Guard cutter NORTHLAND. (The same letter approved the retention of the civilian names for IX-168-169.) SOUTHLAND was converted in May 1944 by Thomas Tanahill & Sons, Glasgow, Scotland, to accommodate 457 men and 87 officers, and LEYDEN was probably similarly altered.

The ships were assigned to the 12th Fleet on or before 16 Sep 44. CNO considered them incapable of making an Atlantic crossing and on 6 Jun 45 he authorized their return to WSA in Europe. They were decommissioned at Falmouth, England and on 7 Nov 46 were delivered by WSA to their purchaser, Fu Chung International Corp. of Hong Kong, for operation. Their new owner sailed her to the Far East via Suez in 1947. The former SOUTHLAND and possibly her sister later served with the Pao Ching Co., also of Hong Kong, in river service before being scrapped in 1955.

Ship Notes:
IX Name Notes
167 LEYDEN Ex merc. NORTHLAND (ID-1669, completed Mar 11). To WSA and Lend-Leased to UK 11 Jul 42. To USN at Glasgow, Scotland, 22 May 44 and renamed, barracks ship. Laid up in Falmouth Harbor, UK, 24 Jul 45. To buyer for operation 7 Nov 46, merc. HUNG CHONG 1947, scrapped 1955.
168 SOUTHLAND Ex merc SOUTHLAND (completed 15 Feb 09). To WSA and Lend-Leased to UK 9 Jul 42. To USN at Glasgow, Scotland, 22 May 44, barracks ship. Laid up in Falmouth Harbor, UK, 24 Jul 45. To buyer for operation 7 Nov 46, merc. HUNG YUNG 1947, scrapped 1955.

Page Notes:
IX        1944
Compiled:        21 Dec 2010
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2010