Cymric (Yard No. 316) was launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast on 12th October 1897. Designed primarily as a cattle and horse transport, she could also carry around 100 passengers. She could also be adapted to carry around 1,500 passengers in steerage. Handed over on 5th February 1898, she was to be used primarily for passengers and not cattle. Cymric began her maiden voyage to New York on 11th February 1898, arriving on 22nd February after being severely delayed by bad weather.
In January 1900 Cymric was commissioned as HM Transport 74 to carry troops and horses to South Africa for the Boer War, but returned to commercial service after just two trips. In 1903 she was transferred to the Boston service. In February 1908 she was involved in the rescue of the crew of St Cuthbert, on fire and sinking off the coast of Nova Scotia.
Cymric returned to the Liverpool to New York service in December 1914. On 23rd January 1916 Cymric arrived at New York with over $26 million in American securities aboard, plus $100,000 in gold. She was given a strong escort to protect her from submarines! She sailed from New York on 26th April 1916 with over 18,000 tons of munitions and war matériel. On 8th May she was hit by three torpedoes from German submarine U20, 140 miles WNW of Fastnet,and sank the next day: four crewmen died in the explosion.