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NavSource Online: Army Ship Photo Archive

Lost to enemy action, 19 February 1942

USAT Meigs

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal

cargo ship :
  • Laid down, 30 July 1920, as the Cargo Ship SS West Lewark for the United States Shipping Board (USSB) by Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. San Pedro, CA
  • Launched, 24 February 1921
  • Delivered in June 1921 to the United States Shipping Board
  • Evaluated for naval use with a temporary designation of ID-4490
  • Allocated to Williams, Diamone & Co. for the Pacific Coast-European trade
  • Directed by Executive Order dated 7 January 1922 to be turned over to the War Department
  • Turned over at Seattle, WA, and assigned to the U.S. Army Transport Service (A.T.S.) Pacific Fleet with homeport at Fort Mason, CA.
  • Commissioned, 25 May 1922, as USAT Meigs in honor of Maj. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army during the Civil War
  • Meigs was a basically a refrigerator/supply as well as an animal transport
  • She held stalls for 268 animals, as such, the Commanding Officer of Troops for the Meigs was typically a U.S. Army Veterinary Corps officer
  • Meigs generally serviced the San Francisco—Honolulu—Manila route with occasional voyages to Panama and Puerto Rico
  • She transported earthquake relief supplies to Yokohama after the disastrous earthquake that hit Japan in September 1923
  • Assigned the Navy hull number AK-34 Shortly before the US entry into the World War II
  • On 7 December 1941, the Meigs was en route to the Philippines as part of the “Pensacola Convoy” on a resupply mission until ordered to sail to Australia.
  • Assignment to the Navy cancelled December 1941
  • Final Disposition, bombed and sunk, 19 February 1942. by Japanese planes attacking Darwin harbor. Meigs, one of six ships sunk
    Displacement 7,358 gross tons
    Length 430'
    Beam 54'
    Draft 38'
    Speed unknown
    Armament unknown
    Complement unknown
    Troopship Passenger Capacity unknown
    Cargo Capacity unknown
    Cruise Radius unknown
    one triple expansion reciprocating steam engine
    single shaft, 3,500shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    Merchant Service
    Meigs 60k SS West Lewark moored pierside in June 1921, soon after completion, showing the configuration of the after portion of this large freighter.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo No. NH 102524
    Courtesy Shipscribe. com
    USAT Meigs
    General M C Meigs

    Montgomery Cunningham Meigs, born in Augusta, Ga., 3 May 1816, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1836. He served with the Corps of Engineers for a quarter of a century and in 1861 became Quartermaster General. In addition to equipping and supplying the Union Armies during the Civil War, General Meigs supervised the construction of the Washington Aqueduct and the dome and wings of the United States Capitol. After the Civil War, he was a member of the Commission for the Reform and Reorganization of the Army. General Meigs retired in 1882 and died in Washington, D.C., 2 January 1892.
    Digital ID: cwpbh 03709 Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
    Bill Gonyo
    Meigs 89k USAT Meigs under way circa 1920s or 1930s.
    US National Archives RG-11 Army Signal Corps photo SC 131485.
    Courtesy Shipscribe. com
    45k USAT Meigs in the harbor at Darwin Australia some days before the Japanese air raid on 19 February 1942. Meigs was laden with with munitions, railway track, tracked machine gun carriers and trucks of the Australian Army 2/4 Pioneer Regiment, which was destined for Allied forces in Portuguese Timor. However, prior to sailing she was attacked by Japanese aircraft. As the largest vessel in Darwin Harbor on the day of the attack, USAT Meigs was a prime target and she went down in flames after being struck by numerous bombs and aerial torpedos. Two of the crew were killed. Ironically after the war, the superstructure of the wreck was salvaged by the Fujita Salvage Company of Osaka, Japan. Note the anti aircraft gun platforms mounted fore and aft. John Spivey

    The history for USAT Meigs is from US Army Order of Battle 1919-1941, Vol. 4
    Army Transportation Service Ship's Masters
    01CAPT. Olsen, Carl A., A.T.S.31 December 1921 - 21 August 1928
    02CAPT. Pujmphrey, Daniel, A.T.S.21 August 1928 - October 1928
    03CAPT. Scott, W. James, A.T.S.October 1928 - June 1930
    04CAPT. Kerr, L.R.M., A.T.S.June 1930 - January 1936
    05UnknownJanuary 1936 - June 1938
    06CAPT. Cotter, John P., A.T.S.June 1938 - 24 January 1940
    07CAPT. Link Frank S., A.T.S.24 January 1940 - 19 February 1942

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    Last Updated 5 May 2023