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Identification Numbered Ships Photo Archive

Nansemond (ID 1395)

Civilian call sign:
Love - Have - Mike - Jig

Call sign (Early 1919):
George - Jig - Boy - Nan

Call sign (1919):
Nan - Item - Tare - Love

Nansemond served both the U. S. Army and Navy


  • The second Nansemond was built in 1896 as Pennsylvania by Harland and Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Renamed Nansemond by the United States Shipping Board (USSB)
  • Acquired by the U.S. Army in 1917
  • Acquired by the Navy 20 January 1919 and commissioned USS Nansemond (ID 1395) at Hoboken, NJ
  • Decommissioned 25 August 1919 at New York and returned to the USSB
  • Scrapped in 1924.


  • Displacement 25,000 t.
  • Length 559' 5"
  • Beam 62' 2"
  • Draft 32' 8"
  • Speed 13 kts.
  • Complement 399
  • Armament: Two 6"/40 and two 3"/50 mounts
  • Propulsion: Three double ended and two single ended boilers, two 2,750hp vertical quadruple expansion steam engines, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Pennsylvania
    Nansemond 107k Undated post card Tommy Trampp
    Nansemond 197k Hamburg America Line cargo liner Pennsylvania, underway off New York sometime between 1896 and 1900
    Library of Congress photo det. 4a15907 by John S. Johnston (1839-1899) for the Detroit Publishing Co. (Photo 022376)
    Robert Hurst
    Nansemond 98k Post card postmarked 15 March 1902, Hamburg Tommy Trampp
    Nansemond 215k c. 1910
    The German Steamship Pennsylvania was owned by the German, Hamburg-America Line and made trips back and forth from New York and Hamburg. It was one of the steamships that they had built a take off ramp to have J.A.D. McCurdy, the most famous Canadian pilot of the day, fly his Curtiss pusher from to shore. They were looking at possibly getting a contract to transport mail. The flight was scheduled for November 5, 1910 in New York Harbor. Bad weather prevented the historic first flight of an airplane from a ship and then the airplane was damaged when being removed from the ship to the dock. The ship had a schedule to keep and had to sail. Nine days later on November 14, 1910, Eugene B. Ely flew his Curtiss pusher off the USS Birmingham (CL-2) at Hampton Roads, Virginia and made history for the first ship to shore flight. A few months later on January 18, 1911, Ely would again make history on another ship named Pennsylvania when he made the first landing in history on the USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco Bay. Later when World War I broke out the German Steamship Pennsylvania was seized and later became the troop transport Nansemond that would bring our troops back after the war
    Photo from the George Grantham Bain Collection Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division
    Tom Kerman
    Nansemond 176k c. 1910
    Photo from the George Grantham Bain Collection Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division
    Nansemond 154k
    Nansemond 296k 16 February 1911
    The famous Canadian pilot J.A.D. McCurdy in his Curtiss pusher. He was the first person to fly an 'aeroplane' over British soil, but missed being the first pilot to take off from a ship. Eugene B. Ely flew off the cruiser USS Birmingham (CL-2) nine days later on November 14, 1910 and into the history of Naval Aviation
    Photo from the George Grantham Bain Collection Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division
    USS Nansemond (ID 1395)
    Nansemond 76k Vintage Cabinet Card photo Tommy Trampp
    Nansemond 113k Photographed circa 1917-1918, after installation of guns
    U.S. Navy photo NH 102051
    Naval Historical Center
    Nansemond 100k Photographed with troops on board in 1919, probably while arriving in a U.S. East Coast port at the end of a voyage from Europe
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2005
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 103076
    Robert Hurst
    Nansemond 95k In port in 1919, while employed transporting U.S. service personnel home from Europe
    Photographed by Holladay, Newport News, Virginia
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2007
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 104809
    Nansemond 97k Photo from the 10 July 1919 edition of Hospital Corps Quarterly Michael Rhode

    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR William MacLeod, USNRF20 January 1919
    02CDR William H. Allen, USN1919
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    View the Nansemond (ID 1395)
    DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command
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