Pollockshields had undergone several name changes. Originally when it was built in 1890 in Hamburg, Germany, it was known as The Herodot. This German vessel displaced 2744 tons of water, was 323 ft long and 40 ft wide. Later in 1903, it was sold to the Hamburg American Lines and it's name was changed to Graecia. Soon the World War-1 broke out and it then became a German Navy supply vessel. In August 1914, she started sailing from New York to Azores. In October, it was captured by the British. The British then registered the ship under the new ownership of Tyack & Branfoot, Newcastle, and renamed it to Pollockshields.