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Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive

USAT Meigs
ex-West Lewark (ID 4490)


  • Laid down 30 July 1920 by the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, San Pedro, CA
  • Launched 15 March 1921
  • Delivered in May 1921
  • Originally part of the World War I merchant shipbuilding program, her original construction contract was cancelled in September 1919, and she was completed in 1921 to an enlarged design
  • In June 1921 she was inspected for possible Navy use and assigned the registry ID-4490
  • West Lewark was never commissioned in the U.S. Navy
  • In about 1923 West Lewark was taken over by the U.S. Army and placed in service as the Army cargo ship USAT Meigs
  • Following some two decades of Army employment, mainly in the Pacific, the ship was sunk at Darwin, Australia, on 19 February 1942 by a Japanese air attack.


  • Displacement 12,568 t.
  • Length 430' 7"
  • Beam 54' 3"
  • Draft 26' 2"
  • Speed 12.33 kts.
  • Complement 66
  • Propulsion: Three Scotch single ended boilers, one 3,500ihp triple expansion steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS West Lewark
    West Lewark 103k In port, probably upon completion of construction. Photograph is dated June 1921, when the ship was inspected by the Navy and assigned registry ID-4490
    U.S. Navy photo NH 102524
    Naval Historical Center
    USAT Meigs
    West Lewark/Meigs 345k Allen-Knight Maritime Museum photo from "U.S. Army Ships and Watercraft of World War II" by David H. Grover Robert Hurst
    Meigs/West Lewark 77k Peacetime photo of the Meigs during the 1920s or 1930s
    U.S. Army Signal Corps photo SC 131485 from the National Archives
    Mike Green
    Meigs/West Lewark 47k c. February 1942
    Underway in Darwin harbor some days before the Japanese air raid on 19 February 1942
    Photo P05303.019 from Australian War Museum
    Robert Hurst
    Meigs/West Lewark 66k c. February 1942
    Aerial view of the wreck of USAT Meigs, sunk in Darwin Harbor during the first Japanese bombing raid on 19 February 1942
    Photo 027328 from Australian War Museum

    There is no DANFS history available for West Lewark (ID 4490)

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