Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • DANFS (Dictionary of American Fighting Ships)
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  • Ship History
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  • World War I 1917-1918
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Mobile II (Id.No. 4030)


A city in the southwestern part of the state of Alabama, located at the mouth of the Mobile River and at the head of Mobile Bay.


(Id.No. 4030: displacement 27,000; length 608'; beam 65'3"; speed 16 knots; complement 573; troop capacity 4,620)

The twin-screw passenger liner Cleveland was completed in 1908 at Hamburg, Germany, by Blohm and Voss, for the Hamburg‑America Line, and operated between Germany and the United States until the outbreak of World War I. Held at the Isle of Wight throughout the war; she was taken over by the Allied Maritime Council. Allocated to the United States after the Armistice of 11 November 1918; she was given the identification number (Id.No) 4030, and was commissioned on 26 March 1919, Cmdr. Frank Rorschach in command.

Assigned to the Cruiser‑Transport Force, Cleveland departed Cowes Roads, Isle of Wight, on 27 March 1919, and sailed to Liverpool where, due to the presence on the Navy Register of Cleveland (Cruiser No. 19), her name was changed to Mobile on 29 March, and she was fitted out as a troop transport. On 6 April, she sailed for Brest, France, to embark her first contingent of troops bound for Hoboken, N.J. In nine transatlantic crossings, a cycle that ended on 3 September at Hoboken, she carried 21,073 men from, and 22 passengers to, Europe.

Mobile was decommissioned on 25 November 1919 and turned over to the U.S. Shipping Board. Transferred to the United Kingdom in 1922, the former troop transport was sold to Byron Steamship Co., Ltd., for service under British registry as King Alexander, and she operated between the U.S. and Mediterranean ports. The United States Lines purchased the vessel in 1923, changed her name back to Cleveland, and she resumed U.S.-to-Germany voyages. Acquired by the Hamburg-America Line three years later (1926), she continued to operate as Cleveland until removed from active service in 1931. Ultimately, the ship that returned scores of "doughboys" after the Great War was broken up in 1933.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

8 December 2020

Published: Wed Dec 09 18:04:00 EST 2020