USS Celtic (AF-2) Fleet Provision Store Ship

RMS Cedric, 1903-1932

White Star Line ship used during WWI to Transport American troops

Displacement: 21,035 tons Length: 680.9 ft 1 in Beam: 75 ft 3 in Depth of Holds: 44 ft
Propulsion: Quadruple-expansion steam engine. Two funnels, Twin ScrewsSpeed: 16 kts

RMS Cedric was a passenger liner owned and operated by the White Star Line. The Cedric was one of the four ships of the White Star Line known as “The Big Four.” The four ships were all over 20,000-tons and were similar in construction. The Cedric at the time of her launching in 1903 was the largest ship in the world. Cedric made her maiden voyage in 1903 and she would serve until 1932.

Cedric was laid down in 1902 at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. She was the second of White Star's series known as the "Big Four", the other three being RMS Celtic, Baltic and Adriatic.

For over 40-years the SS Great Eastern which was built by the J. Scott Russell & Co. and designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the English engineer, had held the world record for being the largest vessel ever built. But when the RMS Cedric was launched the Cedric became the largest vessel afloat in the world.

RMS Cedric was a 21,035-gross ton ship, 681-feet in length and had a beam of 75-feet, 3.6-inches, with two funnels, four masts, two propellers and a service speed of 16-kts. She had accommodation for 365 first-, 160 second- and 2,352 third-class passengers, and a crew of about 350. Her ships holds were 44-feet deep.

Her coal fired steam engines were quadruple expansion with eight cylinders of 33-inches; 47 ½-inches; 68 ½-inches and 98-inches in diameter in each pair with a stroke of 63-inches. This gave her a nominal horsepower 1,524 which gave her a service speed of 16-knots. Her call sign was TSVB and her official registration number was 115351.

She was launched in Belfast on August 21, 1902, in a private ceremony which included several guests, among who were William Pirrie, the chairman of Harland and Wolff and Bruce Ismay, chairman of White Star Line and future builder of the Titanic.

RMS Cedric commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on February 11, 1903. This was the only route on which she was ever used, although Cedric was also sometimes used for winter cruises to the Mediterranean. In the first two years of this service from Liverpool to New York, Cedric made 28 round trip voyages.

For the next 11-years RMS Cedric plied the Atlantic crossing without any major incident. When the RMS Titanic sank in April of 1912, Cedric was in New York City and the ship's departure was delayed until the RMS Carpathia arrived with survivors, including crew members not required for the court of inquiry, who wished to travel back to Liverpool. However, Cedric had to sail without any of Titanic's survivors or crew due to their mandated appearances for testimony at the U.S. inquiry. Her last voyage on the Liverpool-New York service started on October 21, 1914, after which she was requisitioned for war service, and she was then converted to an armed merchant cruiser.

Cedric was decommissioned in 1916, when she was converted into a troopship for operation initially to Egypt and then to the United States. In April of 1917, her operation came under the auspices of the Liner Requisition Scheme.

On July 1, 1917 Cedric collided with and sank the French schooner Yvonne-Odette with 24 crew drowned from the schooner. Later in the fall of 1917 Cedric on October 3, 1917 took her first load of American troops to Europe when she left the dock in New York Harbor at 7:10 in the evening. She made a second voyage with American troops on November 14, 1917 and a third on January 17, 1918.

On January 29, 1918, Cedric collided with and sank the 6,870-ton Canadian Pacific ship Montreal off Morecambe Bay in northwest England. Montreal was taken in tow, but she sank the next day 14-miles from the Mersey Bar lightship.

Her fourth voyage with American troops on March 6, 1918 when at 3 o’clock in the afternoon she left the pier in Hoboken, New Jersey with 59 officers and 1,274 enlisted men. On March 17, 1918 as the Cedric had reached English waters she ran aground off the Isle of Man during the morning hours due to very dense fog. She sent for help and tugs quickly came to render assistance and pulled her free by that afternoon. By the next day she was safely in Liverpool offloading her valuable American passengers.

By April 16, 1918 the Cedric had crossed the ocean again and was taking units of the 77th Division to the war in France. And on May 27, 1918 she takes units of the 78th Division across the Atlantic.

After the war ended in November 1918 the Cedric was used to return American Troops back home. She made a trip from Brest, France on January 26, 1919 with the 60th Artillery CAC and the 44th Artillery, CAC aboard and reached New York on February 4, 1919.

Cedric was returned to her owner in September of 1919 and refitted by the Harland & Wolff Yards. She was refitted to accommodate 347 first-, 250 second- and 1000 third-class passengers, and then resumed the Liverpool to New York route. On September 30, 1923, Cedric collided with the Cunard Liner RMS Scythia in Queenstown Harbor during dense fog, with neither vessel being seriously damaged. On October 23, 1926, she was again altered to cabin, tourist and third-class arrangements. Her last Liverpool to New York sailing commenced on September 5, 1931 and she was sold later the same year, for £22,150 to the Thos W. Ward Company. Cedric was then sent to the breakers torches and scrapped at Inverkeithing, Scotland in the Firth of Forth in 1932.

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This page was created on December 20, 2018, and last modified on: December 20, 2018

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