The Navy retained the name that had been assigned to the ship at the time of her acquisition. Given the nationality of the vessel (German), it is likely that the name recognized the state in southeastern Germany.
(Freighter: t. 3,898; l. 371'5"; b. 44'0"; dr. 24'0" (max.); s.11 k.; cpl. 85; a. 1 6", 1 6 pdr.)
Bavaria--a steel hulled, single screw cargo vessel built in 1905 at Hamburg, Germany, by the Recherstine Schiffwerke that had been seized at Havana by the Cuban government in 1917 and turned over to the United States Shipping Board (USSB)--was inspected by the Navy on 31 December 1917; given the identification number (Id. No.) 2179; fitted out for naval service by the New Orleans Navy Yard; and commissioned there on 4 January 1918. Four days later, on 8 January 1918, Lt. Comdr. Carl A. von Heygendorff, USNRF, assumed command.
Assigned to duty with the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS), Bavaria sailed for Hampton Roads on 13 January and reached Norfolk, Va., on the 21st. After remaining there for over a month undergoing repairs and alterations at the Norfolk Navy Yard, she sailed on 23 February for New York City. There, she loaded cargo and soon sailed for European waters, but returned to New York on 1 March to undergo emergency repairs.
Resuming her voyage in convoy on 8 March, Bavaria crossed the Atlantic in a litle more than two weeks and stopped at Brest on 24 March before reaching Bordeaux 26th to begin discharging cargo. She shifted to Verdon sur Mer on 6 April, and sailed thence on the 15th for the United States, arriving at Newport News on the 30th. After calling at Brunswick, Ga., from 3 to 15 May, she returned to Norfolk on the 18th.
On 11 June 1918, Bavaria was decommissioned at Newport News, Va., and her name was struck from the Navy list. In spite of being returned to the USSB that same day, Bavaria retained her guns and a Navy armed guard to man them. The Shipping Board then operated her for the Army, under charter from the Cuban government, until well after the war ended. The navy finally removed her guns at Baltimore, Md., on 3 January 1919. The USSB retained the ship under its original name until she was turned over to the Cuban government in or near 1922. She was then renamed Calixto Garcia to honor a Cuban patriot.
In the mid 1920's, a German firm, Boning and Co., of Bremen, acquired the ship but apparently operated her only briefly--under the name Lotte--before selling her to Globus Reederei Aktien Gesellschaft around 1927. She sailed under the German flag as Gernis into the early 1930's, and disappeared from Lloyd's shipping registers in 1934.
Robert J. Cressman
28 February 2006