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Identification Numbered Ships Photo Archive

Astoria (AK 8)

Call sign (1919):
Nan - George - Mike


  • Built in 1902 as the SS Burbo Bank by John Blumer and Co., Sunderland, England
  • Renamed SS Frieda Leonhardt in 1914
  • Acquired by the Navy 5 April 1917 and renamed Astoria
  • Commissioned USS Astoria (ID 2005), 15 November 1917
  • Reclassified a Cargo Ship, AK-8, 17 July 1920
  • Decommissioned 20 April 1921 at Boston, MA and transferred to the United States Shipping Board
  • Sold 20 December 1921 to the Astoria Steamship Co., Inc. of Boston, MA
  • Sold in 1929 to H. N. Hartwell and Sons of Boston and renamed Hartwelson
  • Ran aground 5 May 1943 on Bantam Rock, Sheepscot Bar, ME and foundered.


  • Displacement 7,150 t.
  • Length between perpendiculars 319' 7"
  • Beam 46'
  • Draft 20' 9"
  • Speed 9.5 kts.
  • Complement 129
  • Armament: Four 3"/50 mounts and two machine guns
  • Propulsion: Two single ended boilers, one 1,400hp vertical triple expansion steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    USS Astoria (ID 2005)
    Astoria 106k In the Panama Canal, circa January 1920 or November 1921
    Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1970
    U.S. Navy photo NH 71562
    Naval Historical Center
    SS Hartwelson
    Astoria 52k Pictured as a New England coal carrier, entering port in 1942
    U.S. Coast Guard photo
    Mike Green

    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR Warren Frederick Purdy, NNV15 November 1917
    02LT Waldemar Lobger, USNRF1918 - 1919
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships:


    A city and port of entry in northwestern Oregon located on the southern bank at the mouth of the Columbia River. It is the seat of government for Clatsop County.

    The first Astoria-a steel-hulled, coal burning steam cargoman constructed in 1902 at Sunderland, England, by J. Blumer & Co. as SS Burbo Bank for the Fenwick Shipping Co., Ltd.-was acquired by Leonhardt & Blumberg of Hamburg, Germany, shortly before the beginning of World War I and was renamed SS Frieda Leonhardt. After the outbreak of hostilities, she took refuge in Jacksonville, Fla., and remained there until the United States entered the war against Germany in the spring of 1917. She was then seized by United States Customs officials and was turned over to the United States Shipping Board (USSB). Transferred to the Navy by an executive order dated 22 May 1917, the freighter was moved to Charleston, S. C., to be prepared in the navy yard there for naval service. Renamed Astoria, she completed conversion late in 1917 and was commissioned on 15 November 1917, Lt. Comdr. Warren F. Purdy, NNV, in command.

    Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, Astoria departed Charleston on 23 November for a voyage to Gulfport, Miss., and back; reentered Charleston on 19 December; and remained until the last day of the year when she got underway for Hampton Roads, Va. The ship loaded a cargo of Army supplies, put to sea on 26 January 1918, and reached the French coast early in February. On 15 February-while anchored in port at Brest, France-Astoria was rammed by the French ship SS La Drome and suffered damage which required several of repairs before she could resume action.

    On 10 May the ship was assigned duty as a coal carrier for the Army. In that capacity, she shuttled between Cardiff, Wales, and the French ports of Brest, St. Nazaire, and La Pallice for the remainder of the war and into 1919. After a stop at Queenstown, Ireland, between 2 and 22 February, she got underway for the United States and operated along the east coast until April 1919 when she began one more round-trip voyage to France. Upon her return, she resumed cargo-carrying operations out of Norfolk and continued that role through the end of 1919. She stood out of Norfolk, on 5 January 1920, and steamed through the Panama Canal to the west coast. During her 10 months of operations with the Pacific Fleet, she was classified AK-8 on 17 July 1920. On 11 November, the ship headed back toward the east coast. Astoria was decommissioned at Boston, Mass., on 20 April 1921; and she was sold on 20 December 1921 to Mr. Richard T. Green of Chelsea, Mass. Thereafter, the ship remained active in merchant service-under the names Astoria and, later, Hartwelson-more than two decades. On 5 May 1943, she ran aground on Bantam Rock, Sheepscot Bar, Maine, and foundered.

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