RMS (later HMT[Note 1]) Royal Edward was a passenger ship belonging to the Canadian Northern Steamship Company that was sunk during the First World War with a large loss of life while transporting Commonwealth troops. She was launched in 1907 as RMS Cairo for a British mail service to Egypt.
Cairo and sister shipHeliopolis were built by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company of Govan, Scotland.Cairo was launched in July 1907 and entered service in January 1908. As built, she was 160.3 metres (525 ft 11 in) long (overall) and 18.4 metres (60 ft 4 in)abeam. She was powered by three steam turbines that drove three propeller shafts, at up to 19 knots (35 km/h). She could accommodate up to 1,114 passengers in three classes: 344 in first class, 210 in second class, and 560 in third.
Cairo entered service for the Egyptian Mail Steamship Company, a British-owned company that provided a fast mail service between Marseilles and Alexandria. The service was not successful and Cairo and sister ship Heliopolis were laid up in 1909 when the service ended.
Both ships were sold to the newly established Toronto-based Canadian Northern Steamship Company, a subsidiary of the Canadian Northern Railway, in 1910, operating under its Royal Line brand. Cairo was renamed Royal Edward, HeliopolisRoyal George, and they were refitted for the North Atlantic. Royal Edward sailed from Avonmouth to Montreal in the summer and to Halifax in the winter. At the outbreak of World War IRoyal Edward and Royal George were requisitioned for use as troopships.