Ship Number
Vessel Type
Passenger Ship
Slip Number
Launch Date
July 5, 1902
November 11, 1902
George Warren & Co.
8369 grt
BP Length
500 feet
58 feet
No. of Screws
Speed (approx)
12 knots
Triple expansion constructed in Belfast
Official No.

[USN Photo NH 57657-A]

Iowa was owned by the White Diamond Steamship Company, Ltd., and operated by George Warren and Company, of Liverpool, England, until acquired by the German Hamburg-America Line and renamed Boemia in 1912. The outbreak of hostilities in Europe in the summer of 1914 stranded many German and Austrian ships - Bohemia among them-in American ports. Seized by American customs officials after the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Bohemia was renamed Artemis, armed with a main battery of one 5-inch and one 3- inch gun, and placed in service as an Armtransport.
She served as Usat Artemis during World War I. Her battery was removed at Norfolk on 30 November 1918, and she completed her last voyage as an Army transport at New York on 23rd February 1919. Turned over to the Navy at Fletcher's Drydock in Hoboken, N. J., she was given the identification number (Id. No.) 2187- commissioned there on 8 April 1919.
Artemis was decommissioned on 18th October 1919. During her career as a Navy transport, she had brought home 11,760 troops. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 18th October 1919, and the ship was transferred to the United States Shipping Board (USSB) for disposition.
The USSB's fourth annual report, for the fiscal year ending 30th June 1920, lists Artemis as being transferred to the France and Canada Steamship Corp. to be operated by that company, but this may never have come to pass, since contemporary merchant vessel registers refer only to her USSB ownership. Likewise, lists of ships operated by the France and Canada Steamship Company do not contain the name Artemis.
Laid up by 1923, Artemis remained inactive through the 1930's and into World War II, in the hands of the USSB and its successor, the United States Maritime Commission.
Acquired by the British Ministry of War Transport in 1941, the ship was renamed Empire Bittern. She remained under the British flag until expended as a blockship off the Normandy beaches in June 1944.