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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Wilmette (IX-29)
Wilmette (IX-29) (1941 - 1945)
USS Wilmette (1918 - 1941)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Alpha - Victor - Delta
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - World War I Victory Medal (with Atlantic Fleet clasp)
Bottom Row - American Defense Service Medal (with Fleet clasp) - American Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal

  • Built as SS Eastland in 1903 at Jenks Shipbuilding Co. Port Huron, MI.
  • Acquired by the Navy, 21 November 1917, from the Central Trust Co. of Illinois
  • Converted for Naval service as a Gunboat
  • Commissioned USS Wilmette, 20 September 1918, CAPT. William B. Wells in command
  • Placed In Ordinary, 9 July 1919 at Chicago, IL.
  • Recommissioned, 29 June 1920, Capt. Edward A. Evers, USNRF in command
  • Decommissioned, and placed in service, 15 February, 1940
  • Designated Miscellaneous Auxiliary (IX-29), 17 February 1941
  • Recommissioned, 9 April 1945
  • Decommissioned, 28 November 1945
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 19 December 1945
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping 31 October 1946 to Hyman Michaels Co.
    Displacement 2,600 t.(est)
    Length 265'
    Beam 38' 2"
    Draft 19' 6"
    Speed 16.5 kts.
    Complement 209
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    one single 4"50 cal gun mount
    four single 3"/50 cal dual purpose gun mounts
    Ship's Service Generators
    one recip-drive 60Kw 120V D.C.
    one recip-drive 35Kw 120V D.C.
    two triple expansion-steam turbines
    twin propellers, 3,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Merchant Service
    120k The Chicago - South Haven Steamship Line steamer SS Eastland moored pierside, circa 1905-07, location unknown.
    Source, PICRYL Public Domain
    Bob Canchola
    Wilmette 80k SS Eastland getting underway, circa 1905-07, location unknown. Photo source Eastland Disaster Historical Society. Robert Hurst
    131k SS Eastland underway, circa 1905-07, location unknown.
    Source, PICRYL Public Domain
    Bob Canchola
    Wilmette 20k Post card image of SS Eastland in the livery of the Eastland Navigation Co., Cleveland, OH. and SS Christopher Columbus underway from Chicago, in 1909. Robert Hurst
    Wilmette 123k SS Eastland circa 1915 in the markings of her new owner, the St. Joseph-Chicago Steamship Co.
    Photo courtesy
    Mike Green
    336k Eastland Memorial marker
    SS Eastland overturned at her pier on the Chicago River, 14 July 1915.
    Bob Canchola
    Wilmette 146k SS Eastland being raised with the assistance of SS Favorite (later IX-45) in the Chicago River in August 1915.
    Photo courtesy
    Mike Green
    USS Wilmette
    Wilmette 19k USS Wilmette moored pierside showing camouflage pattern N 77 design A. A World War One pattern. Aryeh Wetherhorn
    Wilmette 170k USS Wilmette moored south of the lock gate of the Chicago River in Chicago, IL. Navy Pier is visible in the background, circa winter 1918.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-10494, a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Ken Laesser
    U-boats German U-Boat Sunk in Lake Michigan
    The first shot at an enemy craft in 117 years, 7 June 1921, on the Great Lakes, was fired in Lake Michigan near Chicago when the destroyer Wilmette (IX-29) fired her guns on the German submarine UC-97 which was assigned to the United States by the terms of the armistice. Thirteen shots were fired altogether, but one would have been sufficient, as the first shot, fired by the same boy who fired the first American torpedo in the late war, was a direct hit. The illustration shows, above, the firing of that first shot, and below, the submarine as the shell exploded.
    University of Nevada Las Vegas University Libraries.
    Newspaper text courtesy of The Pioche Record. [volume] (Pioche, Nev.) 1908-1925, 08 July 1921, Image 7, via
    Wilmette 28k USS Wilmette moored at the US Naval Reserve Armory at the foot of Randolph St., Chicago, IL., date unknown. Gunter Krebs
    Wilmette 101k USS Wilmette underway off Chicago, IL. circa early 1920s.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo # 19-N-14232 a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command. Courtesy
    Mike Green
    Wilmette 145k USS Wilmette underway on the Great Lakes circa 1930s.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo # 76513. Courtesy
    Mike Green
    Wilmette 147k USS Wilmette moored at Chicago, IL., circa 1932. Robert Peterson
    Wilmette 202k USS Wilmette moored at th US Naval Reserve Armory at the foot of Randolph St., Chicago, IL., date unknown. Everett Sykes
    USS Wilmette (IX-29)
    271k USS Wilmette (IX-29) moored on the Chicago, IL., lake front, site of the 6th War Bond Exhibition, December 1944.
    US Naval History and Command photo # 80-G-K-2881
    Bob Canchola

    USS Wilmette (IX-29)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)

    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT. Wells, William Benefiel20 September 1918 - ?
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Eastland Disaster Historical Society
    Maritime Quest - SS Eastland / USS Wilmette IX-29
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Service Ship Type Index Back To The Miscellaneous Auxiliary (IX) Ship Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 7 August 2020