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UNITED STATES NAVY
TEMPORARY AUXILIARY SHIPS
WORLD WAR I

Photo # NH 46619:  USS Mercury sailing in convoy during 1918

Online Library of Selected Images:
-- U.S. NAVY SHIPS --

USS Mercury (ID # 3012), 1917-1919.
Originally the German Passenger Liner Barbarossa and was briefly USS Barbarossa in 1917

USS Mercury, a 10,984 gross ton troop transport, was built at Hamburg, Germany, in 1896 as the passenger liner Barbarossa. For nearly two decades she served in commercial trade under the flag of the North German Lloyd firm. Laid up at Hoboken, New Jersey, after the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, she was seized there when the United States entered the conflict in April 1917. The ship was turned over to the Navy for repair and conversion and commissioned as USS Barbarossa in early August 1917. Soon renamed Mercury, and later assigned the registry ID # 3012, she began carrying military personnel to France a few days after the beginning of 1918. The ship made seven trips to France, with over 18,000 passengers, until the 11 November 1918 Armistice halted the fighting. Mercury then began the process of bringing American troops home. She made eight more trips for this purpose, carrying over 20,000 men.

In September 1919, after her final trip, USS Mercury was decommissioned and transferred to the War Department for use as an Army transport. The Army turned her over to the U.S. Shipping Board in August 1920. Though subsequently sold to a private shipping firm, her new owners defaulted and the ship came back to the Shipping Board in January 1921. She was sold for scrapping in February 1924.

This page features all available views of S.S. Barbarossa, and of USS Mercury (ID # 3012) in 1917-1918. It also provides links to all the other available images concerning that ship.

For more pictures related to USS Mercury, see:

  • USS Mercury (ID # 3012) -- Views taken in 1919;
  • USS Mercury (ID # 3012) -- On Board (Exterior) & Close Up Views; and
  • USS Mercury (ID # 3012) -- On Board (Interior) & Miscellaneous Views.


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

    Photo #: Unknown

    USS Mercury (ID # 3012)


    Underway circa May-June 1918.

    Donation of J. G. Krieger (UA-403).

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

     
    Photo #: Unknown

    USS Mercury (ID # 3012)


    At Bassens, France, circa mid-1918.

    Donation of J. G. Krieger (UA-403).

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

     
    Photo #: NH 46619

    USS Mercury (ID # 3012)


    Sailing in convoy during 1918.
    Photographed from USS Little (Destroyer # 79).
    Note the ship's pattern camouflage.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 65KB; 740 x 510 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 51343

    World War I Atlantic Convoy


    Photographed from on board USS Little (DD-79) as it approached the harbor of Brest, France, on 26 October 1918.
    A French blimp is patrolling overhead. The transport Mercury (ID # 3012), in "dazzle" camouflage, is at right and another U.S. Navy destroyer is in the left distance.

    The original print bears U.S. Army Signal Corps markings.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 83KB; 740 x 585 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 63553

    USS Mercury (ID # 3012)


    Alongside a pier at the New York Navy Yard, 1918.
    Note the ship's pattern camouflage.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 96KB; 620 x 765 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 98565

    USS Mercury (ID # 3012)
    , in center

    In a French port, probably St. Nazaire, in 1918.
    The transport at right is unidentified.
    Note trucks in the foreground, with a two-masted schooner beyond.

    Courtesy of James Russell, 1980.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 120KB; 740 x 545 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 98564

    USS Mercury (ID # 3012)


    In a floating drydock, possibly in France, 1918.
    She is painted in pattern camouflage.

    Courtesy of James Russell, 1980.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 64KB; 740 x 485 pixels

     


    S.S. Barbarossa (later USS Mercury) is faintly visible in the following photograph:

    Photo #: NH 105619

    S.S. Barbarossa
    (Ex-German Passenger Liner, 1896)

    Probably photographed during the summer of 1917 while the ship was under repair at the Robins Dry Dock and Repair Company, Brooklyn, New York.
    The ship served as USS Mercury (ID # 3012) in 1917-1919. Note the dry dock in the lower right corner of the photo.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 59KB; 740 x 480 pixels

     


    Related image: Photo # NH 106288, a view of a World War I troop transport convoy, bears an erroneous inscription identifying one of the ships seen as USS Mercury (ID # 3012). The ship is actually USS Madawaska (ID # 3011), which had one smokestack instead of Mercury's two stacks.


    For more pictures related to USS Mercury, see:

  • USS Mercury (ID # 3012) -- Views taken in 1919;
  • USS Mercury (ID # 3012) -- On Board (Exterior) & Close Up Views; and
  • USS Mercury (ID # 3012) -- On Board (Interior) & Miscellaneous Views.


    NOTES:

  • To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.

  • Some images linked from this page bear obsolete credit lines citing the organization name: "Naval Historical Center". Effective 1 December 2008 the name should be cited as: "Naval History and Heritage Command".


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    Page made 27 June 2003
    New image added and page divided 5 January 2009