The third of the five Jubilee Class ships for the Australian service,
Persic was launched at Harland & Wolf, Belfast, in 1899. Her 7 December
1899 maiden voyage from Liverpool to Sydney was notable for two reasons.
The first is that the entire voyage was greatly influenced by the Boer
War. She carried 500 British troops to Cape Town from Liverpool; wounded
and ill Australian soldiers from Cape Town to Sydney; and horses from
Australia to South Africa on the return voyage. Second, her rudder
stock broke at Cape Town and Persic had to wait there for a replacement
to arrive from Belfast.
Persic remained in service under the liner Requisition Scheme during
World War I. In September 1918, while in convoy carrying 1,999 American
troops from New York, she was torpedoed off the coast of England. There
were no fatalities and the ship was beached and subsequently repaired.
She was refitted after the war and returned to White Star's Australian
She was again refitted in 1926, but during that refitting it was
determined that she suffered from significant engine wear. Because of
her age, the necessary engine repairs were economically unfeasible, so
she made her last voyage to Australia in September of that year. Upon
her return she was laid up and, in July 1927, towed to the Netherlands
Sources: The New York Times, 12 and 14 September 1918; Anderson's White
Star; Eaton and Haas' Falling Star; Anderson's White Star. Thanks to
Mike Ingham for his contribution to this page.