White Star’s Delphic was launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast on 5th January 1897. She was jointly owned by White Star and Shaw, Savill & Albion for their service to New Zealand. She was a steel-hulled steamer with twin propellers, one funnel and four masts. She was designed to carry refrigerated meat in three forward holds and could also carry 1,000 emigrants. Originally she carried yards on the foremast plus three jibs and a two trysails. Delivered on 15th May 1897, she left on her maiden voyage to New York on 17th June, under Captain Sowden. After a second Atlantic crossing in July, she was placed on the New Zealand service.
On 30th September 1897 she left on her maiden voyage for Wellington, arriving on 21st November. After visiting several ports in New Zealand, she was back in London on 27th February 1898. She then settled into a regular service. Delphic also made two trooping runs to South Africa during the Boer War.
The German submarine U60 fired a torpedo at Delphic on 16th February 1917, but it missed. She was taken over in March 1917 under the Liner Requisition Scheme along with White Star’s Athenic, Bovic, Canopic, Cufic and Northland. Sailing from Cardiff to Montevideo with a cargo of coal, on 16th August 1917 Delphic was torpedoed by German submarine UC72; five crew died. The remainder were picked up by an escorting destroyer. Delphic stayed afloat but sank the next day.