Nikkosan Maru, a 5742 gross ton freighter, was built at Seattle, Washington, in 1917, presumably for commercial employment under the Japanese flag. She was, however, taken into U.S. registry and renamed Indiana soon after being completed in late 1917. After steaming around to the East Coast, she was taken over by the Navy and, in May 1918, placed in commission as USS Indiana (ID # 1787). Within a few days, her name was again changed, to Western Front. She began her first passage to France in May, but was damaged in a collision while in convoy and had to go to New York for repairs. Between June 1918 and August 1919 Western Front completed five round-trips across the Atlantic to France. Upon decommissioning in mid-August 1919, she was turned over to the U.S. Shipping Board.
This page features all available views of the freighter Nikkosan Maru, which served as USS Indiana and USS Western Front (ID # 1787) in 1918-1919.
Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
Photo #: NH 65084-A
Nikkosan Maru (American Freighter, 1917)
Underway off Seattle, Washington, in late 1917, probably during trials. Photographed by her builder, the Skinner & Eddy Corporation, Seattle.
This ship was renamed Indiana soon after completion. Acquired by the Navy on 9 May 1918, placed in commission two days later as USS Indiana (ID # 1787) and renamed USS Western Front on 17 May 1918. She was returned to the U.S. Shipping Board on 15 August 1919.
The original print is in National Archives' Record Group 19-LCM.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 71KB; 740 x 605 pixels
Page made 22 February 2004