Cunard’s Ivernia was built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson at Newcastle. She was launched on 21st September 1899, and made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 14th April 1900. There was an almost identical sister ship, Saxonia. Ivernia ran aground in thick fog off Daunts Rock on 24th May 1911, but was salvaged and later rebuilt. She returned to service on 17th October 1911. She was later used on the emigrant service from Trieste to New York.
With the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914, Ivernia was hired by the UK government for use as a troop transport, mainly between Canada and the Mediterranean. On 28th December 1916 she sailed from Marseilles for Alexandria, Egypt, with HMS Rifleman as her escort. Carrying over 2,400 troops, mainly from the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, she was under the command of Captain Turner, who had previously been in command of Lusitania when she was torpedoed. On 1st January 1917 she was south-east of Cape Matapan, Greece, when she was torpedoed by the German submarine UB47. The torpedo hit on the starboard side and exploded in a boiler room, killing 22 of the crew. HMS Rifleman drew alongside and took off 666 troops and 36 crew, Other survivors were rescued by escorting trawlers. The ship sank soon after. Total casualties were 84 troops and 36 crew lost.