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Identification Numbered Vessel Photo Archive

Western Chief (ID 3161)

Civilian call sign (1919):
Love - Mike - Boy - Rush


  • Laid down 14 January 1918 as Marne by the Northwest Steel Co., Portland, OR for Compagnie Generale of France
  • Launched 20 April 1918
  • Completed by Willamette Iron Works of Portland and delivered to the United States Shipping Board (USSB) 30 June 1918
  • Acquired by the Navy 3 July 1918 and commissioned USS Western Chief (ID 3161) the same day at Portland
  • Decommissioned 28 June 1919, struck from the Navy list and returned to the USSB
  • Sold to the British Government
  • Torpedoed and sunk 14 March 1941, 250 miles south of Iceland by the Italian submarine Emo at 58 52'N, 21 13'W.


  • Displacement 12,185 t.
  • Length 423' 9"
  • Beam 54'
  • Depth of hold 29' 9"
  • Draft 24' 2"
  • Speed 10.5 kts.
  • Complement 70
  • Armament: One 5"/51 and one 3"/50 mount
  • Propulsion: Three single ended boilers, one 2,500shp Curtis steam turbine with reduction gear, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Western Chief 587k 20 April 1918
    Photo from Northwest Steel employee newspapers, published 1 November 1919
    Darryl Baker
    Photos added 5 November 2019
    Western Chief 519k
    Western Chief 220k
    Western Chief 268k Photo from Northwest Steel employee newspapers, published 1 November 1919
    Western Chief 117k In a European port, 1919 with canal barges alongside the ship and in the foreground
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2010
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 107037
    Robert Hurst

    Commanding Officers - USS Western Chief (ID 3161)
    01LCDR Thomas H. Thompson, USNRF3 July 1918
    02LT Samuel J. Miller, USNRF1919
    Commanding Officers - SS Western Chief
    01Master Eric Alexander Brown14 March 1941
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    View the Western Chief (ID 3161)
    DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command website
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