William Robert Wolf and USS Cyclops

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USS Cyclops collier. PN983. Photo courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

What was USS Cyclops and what happened to it?

One of America’s greatest mysteries is the disappearance of US navy collier Cyclops. The ship was taken over by the Naval Overseas Transportation Services on January 9, 1918 and directed to head to Rio de Janeiro from Norfolk with 9,960 tons of coal. Then, the vessel departed from Rio de Janeiro on Feb 15, 1918 with 10,800 long tons, or 11,000 tons, of manganese ore before entering Bahia on February 20, 1918. Only a few days later, on February 22, 1918, Cyclops steamed for Baltimore, Maryland with no stops planned. However, it later deviated to Barbados, arriving on March 3rd. Finally, Cyclops left Barbados on March 4, 1918 with its starboard engine inoperative due to a cracked cylinder.  The vessel was never seen again.   Read more