White Star Line launched Cymric on 12 October 1897. Not many people noticed.
Originally envisioned as a combination first class passenger liner and livestock carrier, the vessel was redesigned when it was realized that combining top-paying passengers with cattle wasn’t a particularly brilliant marketing strategy (although, on some of today’s cruise ships…). The liner’s designers were ordered to quickly reconfigure the livestock space into third class accommodations. Problem solved!
While not a glamorous liner, Cymric—her name (pronounced “kimric”) means “Welsh”—served White Star Line’s main Liverpool-New York route until 1903 when she was downgraded to the less important Liverpool-Boston route. She sailed this route for nine years before being returned to her original route in 1912.
On 8 May 1916, while serving as a troop transport during World War I, Cymric was torpedoed three times by U-20, the same German U-boat commanded by the same captain—Walther Schweiger—that had sunk Cunard Line’s Lusitania a year earlier. Cymric sank the following day 140 miles northwest of Fastnet. There were five fatalities. Her wreckage has yet to be discovered.
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