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Cargo ship Laura, which was USS Ausable in 1918-19

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S.S. Laura (Dutch cargo ship, 1901).
Served as USS Ausable (ID # 1631) in 1918-19

The 3154 gross ton freighter Laura was completed in December 1901 by Jan Smit at Ablasserdam, Holland and traded under the Dutch flag for the next decade and a half. In 1915 she was acquired by American owners, transferred to U.S. registry, and renamed Ausable. After the United States entered World War I and began arming American merchant ships, the vessel received a battery of two 3-inch guns manned by a Navy armed guard crew.

On 2 February 1918 the United States Shipping Board turned Ausable over to the War Department for use as a cargo transport. Later that same year, on 19 July, Vice Admiral William S. Sims, commanding United States Naval Forces in European waters, was authorized to assume custody of Ausable on a bare-ship basis, manning her with a Navy crew and operating her for the Army.

Accordingly, on 1 October 1918, Ausable, assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS), was commissioned at Cardiff, Wales. Upon commissioning her armed guard complement became "ship's company" and other Navymen soon supplanted her civilian crew to operate the ship. The ship began loading a cargo of coal the following evening and then embarked 16 American soldiers and a deck cargo of tractors. Departing on 7 October, she arrived at Bayonne, France, on 19 October to deliver the tractors and then moved to Boucau, a port on the Adour River, to unload her coal. On 11 November, Armistice Day, she got underway to return to the British Isles, arriving at Barry, southwest of Cardiff, three days later.

After the armistice Ausable conducted two more coal voyages to France, in the process rendering aid in late November to the disabled British steamer Kilburne and, on 14 December at Bordeaux, embarking the officers and men from the cargo ship Lake Bloomington which had run aground on the llth and had been abandoned as a total loss. These 52 men, however, disembarked before Ausable left Bordeaux. On 15 February 1919 the ship departed St. Nazaire with 1,355 tons of general cargo (including 10 tons of ammunition) bound for New York. On 19 April 1919, she was placed out of commission and simultaneously returned to her former owners.

Ausable remained under the American flag until 1924 when she became the Danish Mette Jensen. She became the Latvian Kuhrs in 1928 and was scrapped in the U.K. at Bo'ness in March 1937.

This page features all available views of the cargo ship Laura, which served as USS Ausable in 1918-19.

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photo #: None

S.S. Laura
(Dutch cargo ship, 1901)

In the locks of the New Entrance at Saint Nazaire, France, before World War I.
This ship served as USS Ausable between October 1918 and April 1919.

Source: archives-maritimes.blogspot.com/2010/10/.

Photo #: None

S.S. Laura
(Dutch cargo ship, 1901)

This thumbnail gives an impression of the profile of the ship. She is wearing neutrality markings. Unfortunately the full image has not been located.

Source: www.marhisdata.nl.


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Page made 16 August 2015