The first of many ships built by Harland & Wolff for Union-Castle and, at the time, the largest ship on the Cape Town mail run. She was considered to be well ahead of any other ship on the route in terms of facilities and comfort at the time.
She was built to Admiralty troopship specifications and was requisition for use during the Boer War in November 1899.
In 1900 she was transferred to Union-Castle following the merge whilst still on troopship duties.
She was refitted by Harland & Wolff in 1904 with accommodation for 170-1st, 108-2nd and 120-3rd class passengers and subsequently worked as a mail ship until 1910 when, after being replaced by the Balmoral Castle, she was laid up at Netley in Southampton Water.
At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 she was re-commissioned as a troopship for a short while before reverting to the mail run. During this time she was part of the first convoy to take men of the British Expeditionary Force to France.
1918 saw her on troopship duties again, this time in the Mediterranean.
In May 1919 she was chartered to P&O for one voyage to Australia before returning to the mail run.
She was replaced by the Arundel Castle in 1921 and transferred to the intermediate service and in 1923 she was deployed on the Round Africa service, out via Suez and home via the Cape.
In 1925 she was replaced by the Llandovery Castle on the Round Africa service, laid up in the River Blackwater off Tollesbury and broken up in 1926.
[Steamers of the Past by J.H.Isherwood] [Merchant Fleets, vol.18 Union-Castle Line by Duncan Haws]