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Photo # NH 101390:  SS Challenger underway, 1918

Online Library of Selected Images:

S.S. Challenger (American Freighter, 1918).
Served as USS Challenger (ID # 3630) in 1918-1919

Challenger, a 7953 gross ton freighter, was built in 1918 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company at Alameda, California, for the U.S. Shipping Board's Emergency Fleet Corporation. Upon completion in early October 1918 she was turned over to the Navy, which placed her in commission as USS Challenger (ID # 3630). Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, the ship made her maiden voyage to Chile, where she picked up a cargo of nitrates for transportation to Pensacola, Florida. During January and February 1919 she took cargo to France. In early May 1919, after returning to the U.S., Challenger was decommissioned and returned to the Shipping Board. Later operated by the American-South African Line, she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-155 on 17 May 1942, while in the West Indies en route to Capetown, South Africa. Eight lives were lost with her, among them two members of her U.S. Navy armed guard detachment.

This page features all available views concerning the freighter Challenger, which served as USS Challenger (ID # 3630) in 1918-1919.

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

Photo #: None

S.S. Challenger
(American Freighter, 1918)

Photographed on 22 September 1918 at the yard of her builder, Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Union Plant, Alameda, Calif.

Source: U.S. National Archives, RG-32-S.

Photo #: NH 101390

S.S. Challenger
(American Freighter, 1918)

Underway, probably during builder's trials, circa early October 1918.
Note her "dazzle" camouflage scheme.
Constructed by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company at Alameda, California, for the U.S. Shipping Board, this freighter was acquired by the U.S. Navy on 4 October 1918 and commissioned the same day as USS Challenger (ID # 3630). She was returned to the Shipping Board on 2 May 1919.

The original print is in National Archives' Record Group 19-LCM.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 66KB; 740 x 530 pixels


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Page made 26 February 2005