12th January 1894 –
Cevic’s maiden voyage

cevicOn 12th January 1894, White Star’s Cevic sailed on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York. She had been launched on 23rd September 1893 at Harland & Wolff, as yard number 270. Built as a large cattle carrier, she could carry 800 head of cattle and 20 horses, as well as having a large cargo capacity. She sailed from New York on 30th January 1894, with what was claimed to be the largest cargo to leave the port at that time. On 1st February she rescued the crew of a sinking brig, W.G. Gordon. En route from Liverpool to New York, on 15th November 1895 Cevic encountered a 90mph gale which tossed the ship so violently that barrels in the hold broke loose!

Cevic encountered the disabled Cunarder Catalonia on 22nd January 1896, some 1,000 miles off Fastnet. Catalonia requested a tow, but Cevic declined, as the distance was too great, but did inform the owners. She was delayed by bad weather in 1897, arriving in New York on 30th January, five days late. On 2nd May 1899 Cevic was the first vessel to enter the Canada Graving Dock in Liverpool. In 1908 the cattle-carrying service to New York was closed down, and Cevic was used on the Australian service.

Cevic as_HMS QM2She was requisitioned by the Admiralty in October 1914, and was sent to Belfast, where she was converted into a dummy battleship, HMS Queen Mary. This was as part of a fleet of merchant ships converted to resemble various warships. After grounding twice she finally left Belfast on 13th April 1915. The disguised warships were not particularly successful, and in September 1915 Cevic was purchased by the Admiralty and converted into a Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker. Renamed Bayol, she was renamed again in 1917, becoming Bayleaf. On 18th February 1918 she was severely damaged by bad weather and repairs took over three months. In June 1920 she was purchased by British Tanker Co. then re-sold to Anglo-Saxon Petroleum and renamed Pyrula. By November 1921 she was a floating depot ship in New York harbour, and by September 1925 she was being used as a hulk at Curacoa, as a bunker ship. Finally on 25th July 1933 Pyrula was sold to Henrico Haupt and scrapped at Genoa.