USS Pretoria (1897)
Pretoria circa 1898.
|Namesake:||Previous name retained|
|Builder:||Blohm + Voss, Hamburg, Germany|
|Acquired:||28 March 1919|
|Commissioned:||29 March 1919|
|Tonnage:||13,234 gross tons|
|Length:||561 ft 1 in (171.02 m)|
|Beam:||62 ft 2 in (18.95 m)|
|Draft:||25 ft 9 in (7.85 m)|
|Propulsion:||Steam engines, two shafts|
|Speed:||13 knots (maximum)|
SS Pretoria, a sister ship of SS Graf Waldersee and SS Patricia, was built in 1897 as a commercial passenger ship at Hamburg, Germany, by Blohm + Voss for Hamburg-Amerikanische Paketfahrt A.G.. The U.S. Navy acquired her on 28 March 1919 and commissioned her on 29 March 1919 at Cowes, England, as USS Pretoria with Commander Archibald Grahame Stirling in command.
Pretoria crossed the Atlantic in April 1919. Upon arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, on 28 April 1919, she was assigned to the New York Division of the Cruiser and Transport Force. Between 11 May 1919 and 25 August 1919, she made four transatlantic crossings from Brest, France, to New York City, during which she returned 10,380 U.S. military personnel to the United States after their World War I service in Europe. Among the United States Army units that Pretoria brought home were the 8th, 149th, and 150th Machine Gun Battalions, the 149th Field artillery Artillery Battalion, and the 144th Infantry Battalion.
Pretoria was reassigned to the custody of the Commandant of the 3rd Naval District in late September 1919 and subsequently was decommissioned. She was transferred to the United States Shipping Board at New York City on 25 November 1919.
Unlike most commercial ships commissioned into U.S. Navy service during and just after World War I, Pretoria never received a naval registry Identification Number (Id. No.).
The Pretoria transported many immigrants to America in her early years.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Department of the Navy: Naval Historical Center Online Library of Selected Images: U.S. Navy Ships: USS Pretoria (1919-1919). Originally German Steamship Pretoria (1897)
- NavSource Online: Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive: Pretoria