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Identification Numbered Ships Photo Archive

Imperator (ID 4080)

Navy call sign (Early 1919):
George - Jig - Cast - Fox

Call sign (1919):
Nan - Item - Vice - Nan


  • Built in 1910 by Vulcan Works, Hamburg, Germany
  • Launched 23 May 1912
  • Acquired by the Navy 5 May 1919 and commissioned USS Imperator (ID 4080) the same day at Brest, France
  • Decommissioned 24 November 1919 at New York and transferred to the British Ministry of Shipping the same day
  • Renamed RMS Berengaria and put back into the North Atlantic passenger trade. Later, she was also used for warm weather cruising to Bermuda and the Caribbean. Plagued by electrical fires beginning in
    the mid-1930s, she had to be withdrawn from service in 1938
  • Sold for scrap prior to the outbreak of World War II, but was not completely dismantled until 1946.


  • Displacement 51,969 t.
  • Length 906'
  • Beam 98' 3"
  • Draft 35' 2"
  • Speed 23.5 kts.
  • Complement 1,180 (1919)
  • Propulsion: Forty-six 265psi Vulcan Yarrow watertube boilers, four 15,000shp AEG/Vulcan/Parsons steam turbines, four shafts
    1921 - Converted to oil.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Imperator
    Imperator 108k 23 May 1912
    Tommy Trampp
    Imperator 88k The Kaiser's Launch - The launching of the Biggest Liner in the World the "Imperator" by the German Emperor at Hamburg
    Press Agency photo
    Imperator 197k Fitting out circa 1912-1913 in Hamburg, Germany
    Library of Congress photo LC-B2-2544-1
    Mike Green
    Imperator 29k Tommy Trampp
    Imperator 112k At anchor, circa 1913
    U.S. Navy photo NH 41938
    Naval Historical Center
    Imperator 100k "The Hamburg American liner Imperator, which was turned over to the U.S. Navy to be used as a transport as the result of the agreement made at Brussels between the German and Allied representatives. Imperator is the third largest vessel now afloat, being of 52,000 tons. This photo was made on her arrival in New York in 1913 on her maiden voyage. She was tied up in Hamburg during the war." (quoted from the original 1919 caption)
    U.S. Navy photo NH 53223
    Imperator 132k In port in 1913, before she lost her massive eagle figurehead and had her smokestacks reduced in height.
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2006
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 103645
    Robert Hurst
    Imperator 197k Closeup of eagle figurehead Tommy Trampp
    Imperator 210k Postcard postmarked 19 April 1913, New York, NY
    Imperator 208k Docking at New York City on June 19, 1913
    Library of Congress photo LC-DIG-ggbain-13365 ©Bain
    Mike Green
    Imperator 201k Postcard postmarked 25 December 1913, Hamburg, Germany Tommy Trampp
    Imperator 35k 22 June 1914
    Cover of the 20th anniversary dinner invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Houdini
    Imperator 111k Postcard postmarked 7 July 1914, Hamburg, Germany
    Imperator 228k c. 1915
    USS Imperator (ID 4080)
    Imperator 158k 18 July 1918
    Off Brest, France
    The photo was taken from the deck of the USS Philippine [ID 1677] during troop rotation back to the United States
    Library of Congress photo LC-DIG-ppmsca-11462
    Mike Green
    Imperator 111k Imperator, at left, and USS Leviathan (ID 1326) at Hoboken, New Jersey, probably after Imperator's first trans-Atlantic voyage as a U.S. Navy ship, circa late May 1919. At that time, these were the World's largest ships, hence the photo's title: "The 'Giants' of the Sea."
    Panoramic photograph by Picot, 15 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.
    Donation of Georgia Adams Grann and Caryl L. Adams, 2005. The original print came from the collection of their father, George W. Adams, who enlisted in the Navy in 1908.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 103126.
    Naval Historical Center
    Imperator 100k At Hoboken, New Jersey, probably after her first trans-Atlantic voyage as a U.S. Navy ship, circa late May 1919.
    Panoramic photograph by Picot, 15 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.
    Donation of George Adams Grann and Caryl L. Adams, 2005. The original print came from the collection of their father, George W. Adams, who enlisted in the Navy in 1908
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 103126-A
    Robert Hurst
    Imperator 293k Ship's Officers and Crew, posed on her after boat deck, circa late spring or summer 1919
    Panoramic photograph by H.A. Helm, 121 West 68th Street, New York
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2008
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 105700
    Imperator 53k c. 1919
    Returning with servicemen from Europe
    Tommy Trampp
    Imperator 112k Halftone reproduction of a photograph showing the ship underway in 1919, while she was employed bringing U.S. service personnel home from Europe
    Courtesy of William H. Davis, 1977.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 85172.
    Naval Historical Center
    Imperator 112k In harbor, with tugs alongside, 1919
    Donation of Staff Sergeant Craig Ingersoll, USMC, 1980.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 99104
    Imperator 64k Off Manhattan Island, New York City, in 1919
    U.S. Navy photo NH 94
    Imperator 111k In port, possibly at New York City in 1919 while she was serving as USS Imperator (ID 4080).
    U.S. Navy photo NH 99379
    Imperator 116k Being assisted by tugs, probably at Hoboken, New Jersey, in mid-1919
    Photographed by the Bain News Service, New York City
    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein, Jr., 2008
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 105815
    Robert Hurst
    RMS Berengaria
    Imperator 231k Undated postcards Tommy Trampp
    Imperator 587k
    Imperator 156k
    Imperator 156k
    Imperator 89k
    Imperator 150k Undated iconic Odin Rosenvinge postcard of the Cunard Liners RMS Mauretania, Berengaria and Aquitania
    Imperator 196k French postcard postmarked 5 July 1924
    Imperator 64k c. 1925
    Vintage tobacco/cigarette card issued by WD & HO Wills, Bristol & London, England
    Imperator 159k 15 - 17 June 1926
    Itinerary of Events Program
    Photos added 21 March 2019
    Imperator 143k
    Imperator 148k
    Imperator 95k Postcard postmarked Bournemouth, England 29 November 1927
    Imperator 181k Postcard postmarked 27 June 1931, Southhampton, England
    Imperator 112k Berengaria in harbor, during the 1920s or 1930s
    U.S. Navy photo NH 697
    Naval Historical Center
    Imperator 122k
    Japanese Ambassador Arrives in New York

    His Excellency Hiroshi Saito, new Japanese Ambassador to the United States, with his wife [Miyoko] and two daughters, Sakiki (left) and Masaka, are pictured as they arrive in New York, 9 February 1934 on the RMS Berengaria
    Photo by ACME

    Tommy Trampp

    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT John Keeler Robison, USN - USNA Class of 1891
    Awarded the Navy Cross (1919) - Retired as Captain
    5 May 1919 - 23 May 1919
    02CAPT Casey Bruce Morgan, USN - USNA Class of 1888
    Awarded both the Army and Navy Distinguished Service Medals (1919) - Retired as Rear Admiral
    23 May 1919 - July 1919
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves and Joe Radigan

    View the Imperator (ID 4080)
    DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command website
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