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UNITED STATES NAVY
TEMPORARY AUXILIARY SHIPS
WORLD WAR I

S.S. Callao circa April 1919


Online Library of Selected Images:
-- CIVILIAN SHIPS --

Callao (Peruvian Passenger and Cargo Vessel, 1912).
Originally named Sierra Cordoba.
Served as USS Callao (ID # 4036) in 1919

Callao, an 8226 gross ton passenger and cargo vessel, was launched at Stettin, Germany, on 2 November 1912 as S.S. Sierra Cordoba, one of four Sierra class sisters built for the South American service of the North German Lloyd line. She was at Buenos Aires in August 1914 when World War I broke out and became a supply ship for German commerce raiders, supplying coal off Brazil to Kronprinz Wilhelm in October 1914 and the cruiser Dresden off Chile between January and March 1915. She put in to Callao, Peru, after Dresden was sunk by the British on 14 March 1915.

The Peruvian Government seized Sierra Cordoba on 17 March 1917, renamed her Callao, and found that her crew had thoroughly sabotaged her machinery. Peru eventually handed her over to the United States Shipping Board for repairs and operation and in October 1918 she arrived at Balboa, Canal Zone, under tow by the Panama Canal dredge Culebra. After extensive work the mechanical division of the Panama Canal turned her over to the Shipping Board at Balboa ready for sea on 5 April 1919. Upon her arrival at New York the Shipping Board delivered Callao to the Navy for use as a troop transport. Placed in commission on 26 April 1919 as USS Callao (ID # 4036), she carried World War I veterans and other personnel back to the U.S. from France, making two voyages for this purpose from late June to early September 1919. USS Callao was decommissioned on 20 September and returned to the Shipping Board.

After brief commercial service as Callao the ship was sold at auction by the Shipping Board on 7 November 1921 to the Dollar Steamship Line which chartered her to H. F. Alexander's Admiral Line (Pacific Steamship Co.). Renamed Ruth Alexander, she was placed in coastal service between Puget Sound and northern Mexico. She was converted into a cargo ship in 1939. Attempting to escape from Manila to Balikpapan she was crippled by a Japanese flying boat in the Makassar Strait on 31 December 1941 and sank on 2 January 1942.

This page features all available views concerning the passenger and cargo vessel Callao, which served as USS Callao (ID # 4036) in 1919.


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

Photo #: None

S.S. Sierra Cordoba
(German Passenger and Cargo Vessel, 1912)

This view taken at Stettin in 1912 probably shows Sierra Cordoba or her sister Sierra Nevada fitting out at the Vulcan shipyards there.

Source: pastonglass.com/series/1912-series-4/1912-series-4-24.

 
Photo #: None

S.S. Callao
(American Passenger and Cargo Vessel, 1912)

This view, published in June 1919, shows the ship after her refurbishment in the Panama Canal Zone between October 1918 and April 1919.

Source: Wikipedia, from Pacific Marine Review, v.16, June 1919, p. 161.

 
Photo #: NH 99172

S.S. Callao
(American Passenger and Cargo Vessel, 1912)

In port, possibly in the New York City area at the time she was inspected for U.S. service, circa April 1919.
This former German passenger and cargo vessel was acquired by the Navy under a U.S. Shipping Board charter and placed in commission on 26 April 1919 as USS Callao (ID # 4036). After use as a transport she was returned to the Shipping Board on 20 September 1919.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 64KB; 590 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: None

S.S. Ruth Alexander
(American Passenger and Cargo Vessel, 1912)

The former S.S. Callao in commercial service with the Admiral Line on the U.S. Pacific coast in the 1920s or 1930s.
Probably from a post card printed by the Scenic Photo Publishing Co. of Seattle, Wash.

Source: www.soultones.com/pc_boats.html.

 
Photo #: None

S.S. Ruth Alexander
(American Passenger and Cargo Vessel, 1912)

The former S.S. Callao in commercial service on the U.S. Pacific coast in the 1920s or 1930s.

Source: www.wrecksite.eu.

 
Photo #: None

S.S. Ruth Alexander
(American Passenger and Cargo Vessel, 1912)

The former S.S. Callao in commercial service on the U.S. Pacific coast in the 1920s or 1930s.

Source: www.wrecksite.eu.

 
Photo #: None

S.S. Ruth Alexander
(American Passenger and Cargo Vessel, 1912)

The former S.S. Callao in commercial service on the U.S. Pacific coast in the 1920s or 1930s.

Source: www.wrecksite.eu.

 
Photo #: None

S.S. Bagé
(Brazilian Passenger and Cargo Vessel, 1912)

S.S. Sierra Nevada, a sister of S.S. Sierra Cordoba, was taken over by the Brazilian Government in 1917 as S.S. Bagé and transferred to the Lloyd Brasileiro in 1927. Shown here in service with that line, she was torpedoed and sunk off the Brazilian coast on 1 August 1943.

Source: Wikipedia, from naviosenavegadores.blogspot.com.

 


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Page made 24 March 2004