Ships hit during WWI

President Lincoln

Photo courtesy of the Ellis Island website

NamePresident Lincoln
TypePassenger steamer
GRT18,168 tons (one of the largest ships hit)
Country  American
BuilderHarland & Wolff, Ltd., Belfast
OperatorU.S. Navy Cruiser-Transport Force
HistoryService speed 14.5 knots. 3828 passengers (324 first-class, 152 second class, 1004 third class, 2348 steerage). Only one of two six-masted passenger ships ever built. The President Lincoln was a clever blend of passenger and cargo operations. President Lincoln, formerly the German steamer President Lincoln of the Hamburg-American Line, was built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Ireland, in 1907; seized in New York harbor in 1917; turned over to the Shipping Board, and transferred to the Navy for operation as a troop transport. Having been damaged severely by her German crew, President Lincoln underwent extensive repairs and conversion at Robin’s Dry Dock and Repair Co., Brooklyn, N.Y. The ship commissioned as a Navy troop transport 25 July 1917 at Brooklyn, Comdr. Yates Sterling, Jr., in command. President Lincoln made five voyages from New York to France, transporting approximately 23,000 American troops which she disembarked at Brest and St. Nazaire. Four cycles were completed without incident: October to November 1917, December 1917 to January 1918, February to March, and March to May. She sailed from New York on her fifth and final trip to Europe 10 May 1918. Arriving at Brest on the 23rd, she disembarked troops, and got underway 29 May with troopships Rijndam, Susquehanna and Antigone, escorted by destroyers, for the return voyage to the United States. At sundown 30 May 1918, having passed through the so-called danger zone of submarine activity, the destroyers left the convoy to proceed alone. About 9 a.m., 31 May 1918, President Lincoln was struck by three torpedoes from the submarine U–90, and sank about 20 minutes later. Of the 715 persons on board, 26 men were lost with the ship, and a Lt. Isaacs was taken aboard the U–90 as prisoner. Survivors were rescued from lifeboats late that night by U.S. Destroyers Warrington and Smith. They were taken to France, arriving at Brest 2 June. Source : the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

U-boat attacks on Passenger steamer President Lincoln

DateU-boatLoss typePositionLocationRouteCargoCasualties
131 May 1918U 90 (Walter Remy)SunkAbout 300 miles west of Brest
47° 45'N, 15° 24'W
Brest - U.S.

Lt. Edouard V.M. Isaacs taken prisoner. Isaacs would win the Medal of Honor for his escape from Germany in 1918.

Position of attack on President Lincoln

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