Wathena, a 6107 gross ton freighter built for the United States Shipping Board (USSB) in 1918 at Bristol, Pa., by the Merchants' Shipbuilding Corp., was taken over by the Navy on 1 February 1919 for operation by the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) and was placed in commission at Philadelphia on the same day.
Wathena conducted only one round-trip voyage for NOTS. Her holds loaded with 5,754 tons of cargo, she departed Philadelphia on 13 February, bound for the British Isles. After arriving at London, England, on 1 March, she discharged her cargo in the ensuing days, underwent voyage repairs, and sailed on the 17th to return to the United States.
She arrived back at Philadelphia on 3 April and was placed in line for demobilization soon thereafter. Decommissioned and struck from the Navy list on 10 April 1919, Wathena was simultaneously turned over to the USSB. Remaining in the ownership of the USSB and eventually laid up, the freighter deteriorated so much that she was abandoned in 1933 due to "age and deterioration" and was scrapped at Philadelphia in December 1937.
This page features all available views of the cargo ship Wathena, which served as USS Wathena in 1918-19.
Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
Photo #: None
S.S. Wathena (U.S. cargo ship, 1918)
Shown fitting out on 13 December 1918 at the Merchants' Shipbuilding Corp., Harriman, Pennsylvania.
Source: U.S. National Archives, RG-32-UB.
Page made 8 August 2015