Norlina (No. 1597), a freighter built as Harfleur in 1909 by William Gray & Co., Ltd, West Hartlepool, England, was renamed Georgiana in 1915; acquired at Baltimore by the Navy under bare boat charter from Garland S. S. Corp. of New York City 15 April 1918; renamed Norlina and commissioned at Baltimore 1 May 1918, Lt. Comdr Carl G. Muller, USNRF in command.
While still in merchant service as Georgiana, the freighter was steaming in convoy toward Liverpool when a German U-boat attacked her off the coast of Ireland 4 June 1917. Turning hard to avoid an approaching torpedo, the ship reached a position which allowed the deadly missile to strike only a glancing blow before bouncing off without exploding. Meanwhile, the merchantman’s Navy gun crew spotted a periscope about 700 yards away and opened fire. One shot hit the submarine’s deck and another carried away her periscope before she disappeared.
Assigned to NOTS upon entering the Navy, Norlina carried Army cargo to Norfolk before proceeding to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to join a convoy sailing for France 30 May 1918. After reaching Le Harve 18 June and discharging her cargo, she headed home 2 July, arriving Baltimore on the 21st. During the remainder of the war Norlina made two more voyages to France with cargoes for the AEF: first, steaming from Sydney, Nova Scotia 23 August, arriving Bordeaux 8 September and returning to Norfolk 9 October, then departing New York on the 27th, arriving Nantes 15 November, and returning to Baltimore 14 December.
Norlina next got underway from Norfolk 29 December laden with coal for Chile, arriving Mejillones 19 January 1919. She returned to Charleston, S.C., 21 March with nitrates and copper ore. After a run to Savannah, Ga., she arrived New York 18 April where she decommissioned 2 May and was returned to her owner the same day.