Transport Ships and Voyages of World War 1


Soldiers on Deck of the USS Madawaska Awaiting Their Turn to Go Ashore.

Soldiers on Deck of the USS Madawaska Awaiting Their Turn to Go Ashore. A History of the Transport Service, 1921. GGA Image ID # 18a74916b7


The arrival of the first convoy carrying the soldiers and Marines of the American Expeditionary Force at Saint-Nazaire, France, on 26 June 1917 surprised the world and provided much-needed encouragement to the Allies. The GG Archives has curated the stories behind these troopships that brought American soldiers back to Europe after the war.


The USAT Finland, a Transport Ship During WW1, in Harbor.

Army Charted Transport Finland Struck by Torpedo

Eleven days later, on 28 October 1917, the SS Finland, an army chartered transport, was struck by a torpedo from U-93 near the French coast.


Troops of the American Expeditionary Force Boarding the Ship at Hoboken, New Jersey, Circa 1917-1918.

Loss of the USS President Lincoln - 1919

Of the 715 men present, all told on board, it was found after the muster that three officers and 23 men were lost with the ship and that one officer, Lieutenant Isaacs had been taken prisoner.


The Ex-German SS Imperator While in Transport Service of the United States.

Moving Our Troops Overseas - 1920

In the middle of April 1917, the condition of the Allies was desperate; General Nivelle’s offensive of April 16th had been lost to France with disastrous consequences; the Russian revolution had taken place; and conditions in England were desperate.


USS Covington, Sunk by German U-Boat Submaring on 2 July 1918. A History of the Transport Service, 1921.

Saving the Transport Ship Covington - 1918

On July 1st, 1918, at 9:15 P. M., the transport Covington, which had sailed from Brest with several other large transports, was struck by a torpedo, the explosion throwing in the air a column of water reaching a height above the smokestacks.


Group of Sailors on the Transport Ship "Princess Matoika" a Few Days Before Reaching France, 13 May 1919.

Summary of Transport Operations During World War 1

Of the twenty-four cruisers later gathered together for war service in this command, some were in the Atlantic Fleet, some on special duty, some unassigned, while others were in the navy yards in reserve, manned by reduced complements.


SS Antilles of the U. S. Army Transport Service Arriving at a French Port Laden with American Troops.

Transport "Antilles" Sunk by Submarine - 1917

On October 17th, 1917, the first loss of an American transport, the Antilles, was torpedoed by a submarine about 300 miles west of Quiberon Bay. The ship sank four minutes after she was struck.


Men of the 43rd Railway Artillery Going Aboard the USS Princess Matoika, Bound for the United States at St. Nazaire, Loire Inferieure, France.

Voyage on the Transport Ship “Princess Matoika” during July 1918

The historian of Company K of the 113th Infantry describes typical preparations for embarkation and some of the experiences of the voyage overseas in the Princess Matoika.


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