Baltimore-bound USS Cyclops vanished 100 years ago. Its fate remains a mystery

There should have been a clue: a distress call on the radio, a shard of wooden lifeboat, even a sailors cap. How could 309 men and their ship, a naval vessel bigger than a football field, just vanish?

One hundred years ago Tuesday, the USS Cyclops was due to steam up the Chesapeake Bay and dock in Baltimore at what is now Port Covington.

The ship still hasnt shown up.

Its eerie absence is an enduring mystery, fueling fantastical theories of the Bermuda Triangle, giant squids and German spies. Truth is, no one knows what became of the Cyclops or its crew sailors such as Thomas Lee of West Baltimore; Adam Siewierski of Canton; and Dr. Burt Asper, who practiced at Sheppard Pratt.

There will be no ceremony for them Tuesday. Memories of the Proteus-class collier it hauled coal have faded. The only known monument to the ship is a plaque that hangs in France.

And yet, in this era of high-tech discovery when explorers have found a World War II cruiser sunk in the Philippine Sea and an aircraft carrier lost in the Coral Sea, when forensic anthropologists conclude that bones found on a Pacific island likely belonged to the missing aviatrix Amelia Earhart the old hope returns that the Cyclops might be found.

In terms of loss of life and size of ship, its probably the last great mystery left unresolved, said James Delgado, the renowned underwater explorer.

Nicole Martyn / Patuxent Publishing

The USS Cyclops, pictured here, has been missing for 100 years. Its eerie absence is an enduring mys....

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