Wheatland Montana

Other Names
later: Seattle
later: Lihue
Vessel Type
Cargo ship » General cargo vessel
Ship Dates
Date built: 1919
End date: February 23 1942
Vessel Description

Completed in September 1919 as Wheatland Montana for US Shipping Board (USSB). 1928 renamed Seattle for Tacoma-Oriental SS Co, Tacoma WA. 1937 renamed Lihue for Matson Navigation Co, San Francisco CA.

On 23 Feb 1942, the unescorted Lihue (Master W.G. Leithead) was torpedoed by U-161 about 275 miles west of Martinique. One torpedo struck on the port side forward of the #1 hold. About 15 minutes later, the U-boat surfaced and fired a few shots from its deck gun until the armed guards returned fire, forcing the U-boat to submerge. The ship then evaded two torpedoes and the U-boat ceased the attack, because Achilles thought that the Lihue was possibly a Q-ship.

But after the unsuccessful attack in the evening, the crew of eight officers, 28 crewmen and nine armed guards abandoned ship in two lifeboats and three rafts. They were all picked up four hours later by the British steam tanker British Governor, after a US Navy aircraft had directed the ship to the lifeboats. A salvage party from HMCS Prince Henry (F 70) boarded the Lihue in an attempt to save her, but the ship sank on 26 February while being towed to St. Lucia by USS Partridge (AM 16).

Source: uboat.net: Lihue

Related Archival Item
graphic materials: SS "Wheatland Montana" (PA096.008)