Wachusett, a 3789 gross ton (9200 tons displacement) freighter, was built as Ceres at Hamburg, Germany, in 1896 for a German firm and was renamed Suevia in 1898. Interned at Manila in late 1914, she was seized there by the United States in April 1917 and renamed. Initially operated by the U.S. Shipping Board, Wachusett was turned over to the War Department on about 26 December 1917 for use as a cargo carrier. As part of this arrangement, the Navy was to provide a crew and commission her as soon as possible.
The Navy took the ship over on 6 January 1918, placing her in commission on 9 January as USS Wachusett (ID # 1840). Ten days later, on 19 January, she sailed from New York in a convoy bound for Brest, France, with a cargo of general Army supplies, but soon had to put in to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for repairs to her engine and radio. The ship arrived at Brest with another convoy on 24 February. Between April and December she made four more round trips between the United States and French or English ports with Army cargoes. In December 1918 Wachusett was transferred from Army to Shipping Board account and, still operated by the Navy, carried out another round trip to France between January and March 1919. She then loaded a cargo consigned to the Northern Food Relief, sailed from New York on 10 April for Gibraltar, where she was to receive further orders, and then proceeded to Singapore where her cargo was discharged in late May. After one local voyage between Singapore and the Dutch East Indies, she returned to New York via the Suez Canal, arriving on 21 September 1919. USS Wachusett was decommissioned and returned to the Shipping Board on 6 October 1919. She was scrapped at Baltimore in 1924.
This page features all available views concerning the American freighter Wachusett, formerly named Ceres and Suevia, which was USS Wachusett (ID # 1840) in 1918-1919.
Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
Photo #: NH 105236
S.S. Wachusett (Ex-German Freighter, 1896)
This ship, formerly the German Suevia, was seized by the United States at Manila and renamed in 1917. She was in commission as USS Wachusett (ID # 1840) from 9 January 1918 to 6 October 1919.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 56KB; 740 x 420 pixels
Page made 11 October 2007