SS Kaiser Wilhelm II

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SS Kaiser Wilhelm II liner launched in 1902, history and image.

NAMES

SS KAISER WILHELM II / AGAMEMNON / MONTICELLO

CLASS

LINER

LAUNCHED

AUGUST 12th 1902

BUILT

VULCAN SHIPYARDS / STETTIN / GERMANY

WEIGHT

19,361 TONS

LENGTH

707 FEET

WIDTH

72 FEET

SPEED

23 KNOTS - PISTON ENGINES - TWO PROPELLERS

Kaiser Wilhelm was the North German Lloyd Line’s third liner built for speed. She joined their other two four-funnel ships on the Atlantic run, Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse and Kronprinz Wilhelm. Her maiden voyage from Bremen - Southampton, Cherbourg and New York began April 14th 1903. Kaiser Wilhelm’s owners were expecting her to capture the Blue Riband from the Hamburg Amerika Line’s Deutschland on that run. Due to serious vibration problems on the crossing, her attempt to break Deutschland’s record failed. Kaiser Wilhelm’s vibration problems were cured in 1904 by the fitting of new propellers. Although the refit led to her taking the eastbound record from Deutschland in June of that year by averaging 23.53 knots, the North German Lloyd Line were disappointed Kaiser Wilhelm failed  to capture the Blue Riband on the more testing westbound route.

SS KAISER WILHELM II liner image

Kaiser Wilhelm had to undergo a few months of repairs in 1907 after being damaged and sunk at her berth while loading coal at Bremerhaven. Seven years later, the outbreak of World War One forced the North German Lloyd Line to lay her up at Hoboken/New Jersey. After America entered the war in 1917, they seized Kaiser Wilhelm to be used as a troopship under the name Agamemnon. She served throughout the war without incident and continued operating as a troopship until the repatriation of US troops had been completed in 1920. Agamemnon was then laid up at Chesapeake Bay and renamed Monticello. Interests in having this ship overhauled and refurbished faded away as the years went by. After Britain turned down an offer to use the run down Monticello as a troopship at the outbreak of World War Two, work on her dismantling began at a Baltimore scrap yard a few months later.

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