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THE WHITE STAR LINE
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NARONIC was built in 1892 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 6594grt, a length of 470ft, a beam of 53ft 1in and a service speed of 13 knots. A slightly enlarged version of the Nomadic duo with extra passenger accommodation to meet increased demand on non-New York routes and costing £121,685, she was launched on 26th May 1892 and commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 15th July. On 11th February 1893 she sailed from Alexandra Dock, Liverpool under the command of Capt. W. Roberts with 74 persons, including 14 cattlemen, 3,572 tons of general cargo and 1,017 tons of Welsh coal. It was her seventh voyage and after dropping the pilot at Point Lynas was never heard of again. On 3rd March a bottle was found at Bay Ridge, New York Bay with the message "Naronic is sinking with all hands. L.Winsel". A second message was found on the beach at Ocean View, Virginia which read "February 19 1893. The ship is sinking fast. We can never live in the small boats-one has already sunk. The ship struck an iceberg in blinding snow...she has floated for two hours, it is now 3.20 in the morning and the deck is level with the sea". The writer was John Olsen, a cattlemen, but neither names were among those listed as being on board. Sivewright, Bacon's steamer Coventry, on a voyage from Newport News to the UK, reported that she had, on 4th March, passed one of Naronic's lifeboats floating keel up in position 44N, 47.37W and next day passed one which was empty in position 44.34N, 46.24W, 500 miles off Halifax and roughly on the great circle route. Although the two boats were well separated the second boat was trailing a sea anchor which would have reduced her rate of drift. The ship probably sank well east of Nova Scotia. The messages in the bottles were put into doubt as the ship was well south of the Newfoundland iceberg danger zone and the Court of Enquiry even recorded that there was no ice within 100 miles of her route.

BOVIC was built in 1892 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 6583grt, a length of 470ft, a beam of 53ft 1in and a service speed of 13 knots. Sister of the Naronic she was launched on 28th June 1892 and commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 26th August. On 14th February 1914 a service from Manchester to New York was introduced, known as White Star - Leyland - Lamport & Holt Joint Service, to which she was transferred as White Star's contribution to operate with Leyland's Memphian and Lamport & Holt's Canning. . To facilitate the Manchester Ship Canal bridges her masts were shortened. In April 1917 she was taken over by the Shipping Controller under the Liner Requisition Scheme and was deployed on war service until 1919 when she was returned to her owner. She resumed the Manchester Joint Service in 1921 and on 16th January 1922 was transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co. who renamed her Colonia. After six years further service she was broken up at Rotterdam in 1928.

GOTHIC was built in 1893 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 7755grt, a length of 490ft 8in, a beam of 53ft 2in and a service speed of 14 knots. Launched on 28th June 1892 she was designed for service in the North Atlantic but under the ownership of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Co. was placed on the Australian joint service. Her refrigeration was the newly introduced brine, carbon anhydride cooling system as opposed to cold air. Only five ships were required for the service and her arrival released Shaw Savill & Albion's Arawa for charter. She was delivered in November 1893 and after a positioning voyage from Belfast to London with calls at Cardiff for bunkers and Liverpool where she was inspected by guests, she commenced her maiden voyage to Cape Wellington on 28th December. At the time she was the largest ship to enter the Pool of London and being the first ship on the route with twin screws she made a record passage of 37.5 days. During the summer of 1902 she was deployed as a Boer War repatriation transport and operated between the Cape and the UK and the Cape to New Zealand. In June 1906 her cargo of wool caught fire when she was off Lands End and had to be beached at Cattewater, Plymouth. Her repairs took eight months and when she resumed service her accommodation was configured as 104 1st Class and 250 3rd Class. The First Class cabins were reduced to 3rd Class shortly afterwards. She was refitted in 1907 and transferred to IMMC's Red Star Line and renamed Gothland for a service under the Belgian flag between, initially, Antwerp and Philadelphia and then Antwerp and New York. In 1911 she was placed on White Star's Australian service with the name Gothic and accommodation for 1500 steerage passengers. Two years later she was transferred back to the Red Star Line under the ownership of Soc. Anon de Nav. Belge-Americaine of Antwerp for a summer service Rotterdam - Quebec - Montreal as the Gothland. In June 1914 she ran aground on Gunners Rock in the Scilly Isles. All 281 persons aboard were safely taken off by the West Cornwall Steamship Co's Lyonese and local lifeboats. Her repairs at Southampton took six months and by the time she resumed service Belgium had been overrun by the Germans and, consequently, she was transferred to the Rotterdam - New York service which she maintained spasmodically. After a refit in March 1919 she returned to the Antwerp - New York - Baltimore service and in May 1921 operated for White Star as the Gothland. During 1922 she spent many months laid up and in May 1923 was tried out on an Antwerp - Vigo - Havana - New York service but that proved to be too protracted so she reverted to the Antwerp - Philadelphia run. She made her final Red Star voyage from Antwerp to Philadelphia in March 1925 and in January 1926 was sold for £16,000 and broken up at Bo'Ness, Firth of Forth.

MAGNETIC was built in 1891 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 619grt, a length of 170ft 6in, a beam of 32ft 11in and a service speed of 13.5 knots. She was delivered on 6th June 1891 for use as a passenger tender at Liverpool. Suitably equipped she was also used as the company tug and as a water carrier. On 26th June 1897 she acted as Teutonic's tender at the Spithead Review to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. On 3rd October 1925 she caught fire and had to be beached at Tranmere where she was subsequently repaired. In December 1932 she was sold to the Alexandra Towing Co. of Liverpool, renamed Ryde and refitted for similar duties. When the No.2 Stanlow Oil Dock was opened in the Manchester Ship Canal in 1933 she carried the guests and in the following year she was moved to Llandudno in North Wales where she was used as an excursion steamer. On 20th August 1935 she was sold after 44 years service and broken up at Port Glasgow.

PONTIC was built in 1894 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 395grt, a length of 150ft 6in, a beam of 26ft 1in and a service speed of 8 knots. Launched on 3rd February 1894 and delivered on 13th April she was used as a water carrier and baggage tender at Liverpool until 9th October 1919 when she was sold to the Rea Towing Co. of Liverpool for similar duties. On 23rd January 1925 she was sold to John Donaldson's Beardmore Steam Ship Co., with Donaldson Coal Trimmers Ltd of Glasgow as managers, for use as a collier and later as a sand ballast carrier. She was scrapped on the Clyde in 1930.

CEVIC was built in 1894 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 8301grt, a length of 523ft, a beam of 60ft and a service speed of 13 knots. A livestock carrier for 1000 head she was launched on 23rd September 1893 as a replacement for the Naronic. She commenced her maiden voyage on 12th January 1894 from Liverpool to New York and on the return voyage loaded the largest cargo to date which comprised 14,000 bushels of grain, 9,000 bales of cotton, 3,500 sacks of flour, 400 tons of metal, 300 tons of fresh meat, 8,400 packages of produce and 896 head of cattle. When the New York cattle service ended in 1908 she was transferred to the Australia route, initially via the Cape of Good Hope, and then, as an experiment, through the Suez Canal. However, her capacity was large for the the route and her deep draught caused her to ground in the canal. On 1st December 1914 she was converted by her builder into the dummy battleship HMS Queen Mary. As she left Loch Ewe on 11th February 1915 she struck a rock which holed her and she had to put back for repairs. On 10th April 1915 she grounded on Ratlin Island in fog as she left Belfast but came off on the following tide. She sailed from Loch Ewe for patrol on 13th April and by 25th April was patrolling off New York after the German raider Kronprinz Wilhelm had applied for internment there. She was decommissioned in September 1915 and restored for commercial duty by Harland & Wolff. At no time was her disguise penetrated. In 1916 she was converted into an oil tanker with circular tanks for use by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as the Bayol. She was transferred to the Shipping Controller in 1917 and renamed Bayleaf under the management of Lane & McAndrews, continuing as a fleet oiler servicing Royal Navy shore establishments. On 9th June 1920 she was sold to the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co. (Shell) for use as a depot ship at New York and renamed Pyrula. She was transferred to Curacao in 1925 for employment as a depot ship and classified as an oil hulk. On 25th July 1933 she was sold for scrap and broken up by Henrico Haupt at Genoa.

GEORGIC (1) was built in 1895 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 10077grt, a length of 558ft 8in, a beam of 60ft 4in and a service speed of 13 knots. She was launched on 22nd June 1895 to fill the trading gap left by the Naronic. The largest livestock carrier built at the time and the last of her type she commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 26th August. Operationally she was too large for her particular trade as she had difficulty switching to lesser ports because of her deep draught so she remained on the New York run for virtually all her career. On 10th December 1916, during a voyage from Philadelphia to Liverpool via Brest with 1,200 horses, 10,000 barrels of oil and a cargo of wheat, she was shelled, captured and sunk 500 miles south east of Cape Race by the German merchant raider Möwe. She was the largest of 40 ships sunk by the Möwe during her two sorties. After the capture there was protracted arguments between the British and Germans and between the Germans themselves on board the Möwe about the fate of the horses. Finally it was ruled that the placing of a prize crew on the Georgic in order to save the horses was out of the question and the sinking went ahead with consequent results.

DELPHIC (1) was built in 1897 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 8273grt, a length of 475ft 11in, a beam of 55ft 3in and a service speed of 12 knots. Launched on 5th January 1897 her reduced power and lower speed earmarked her for eventual service to Australasia and after her maiden voyage to New York which commenced on 17th June and a subsequent sailing she was transferred to the New Zealand joint service. She commenced her first White Star, Shaw, Savill & Albion Joint Service sailing on 30th September 1897. On 31st March 1900 she was employed as a Boer War troop transport and carried 1,200 men from London to Cape Town during a voyage to New Zealand. She commenced a similar voyage on 4th April 1901 when she carried troops from Queenstown to Cape Town whilst en-route to New Zealand. On 16th February 1917 she was missed by a torpedo fired by U-60 when she was off southwest Ireland. In the following March she was taken over under the Liner requisition Scheme and on 17th August 1917 was torpedoed by UC-72 135 miles of Bishop Rock during a voyage from Cardiff to Montevideo with a cargo of coal. Five lives were lost.

CYMRIC was built in 1898 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 13096grt, a length of 585ft 6in, a beam of 64ft 4in and a service speed of 14.5 knots. Originally intended to be an enlarged Georgic she was altered during construction when the cattle space was omitted and the space increased for 3rd Class (Emigrant) accommodation. By this time the concept of carrying passengers on the outward trip and live cattle on the return had become unpopular especially in public relations when terms like 'treated like cattle' were bandied about. Launched on 12th October 1897 she commenced her maiden voyage on the Liverpool to New York secondary service on 11th February 1898. Although slow in passenger ship terms she was very economical and her high passenger carrying capacity soon proved very profitable. On 1st January 1900 she made the first of two consecutive Boer War trooping voyages from Liverpool to Cape Town as HM Transport No.74. She commenced service on the experimental secondary Liverpool to Boston route on 10th December 1903 and remained there for many years. On 20th December 1914 she returned to the Liverpool - New York service. On 29th April 1916 she sailed from New York bound for Liverpool fortunately with no passengers. At 1600hrs on 8th May she was torpedoed three times by U-20 140 miles west north west of Fastnet. Commanded by Cdr. Von Schiewger the U-20 had in the previous year sank the Lusitania. The Cymric remained afloat until 0300hrs on the following day. Five lives were lost (4 killed by the explosion and a steward lost when abandoning ship) and 105 persons were saved.

AFRIC was built in 1899 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 11948grt, a length of 565ft, a beam of 63ft 4in and a service speed of 13.5 knots. The first of three 'Jubilee' Class ships she was launched on 16th November 1898 for a five ship monthly service to Australia. She commenced her maiden voyage on 8th February 1899 from Liverpool to New York and on her return went back to Belfast for improvements before commencing her first voyage to Sydney via Cape Town on 9th September. During 1900-02 she carried troops to the Boer War on the first leg of her voyage to Australia. On 2nd February 1917, during a voyage from Liverpool to Sydney, she was torpedoed and sunk by UC-66 twelve miles south of the Eddystone Light in the English Channel. Five lives were lost in the explosion, 17 persons were drowned and there were 145 survivors.

MEDIC was built in 1899 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 11985grt, a length of 565ft, a beam of 63ft 4in and a service speed of 13.5 knots. Sister of the Afric she was launched on 15th December 1898 but her completion was delayed while the modifications put into the Afric were incorporated. She commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Sydney via Cape Town on 3rd August 1899 and was the company's first scheduled voyage to Australia. She was the largest ship on the route and on her return carried Australian troops and their horses to the Boer War which had started on 16th October. When the First World War broke out she remained in commercial service, because of her high meat capacity, until April 1917 when she was taken over under the Liner Requisition Scheme. She was returned to White Star on 26th March 1919 and remained with the company until January 1928 when she was sold to N. Bugge of Tonsberg and converted by H. C. Grayson into a whale factory ship and renamed Hektoria. During conversion she was given a stern ramp, which was a comparatively new innovation, which enabled whales to be hauled onto the ship for flensing. Previously whales were inflated with air and flensed alongside the ship. In 1932 she was transferred to Hektoria Ltd, a London subsidiary of N. Bugge which later became Hector Whaling, and flew the Red Ensign. On 11th September 1942, while in service as at oil tanker for the Ministry of War Transport, she was torpedoed by U-608 in the North Atlantic.

PERSIC was built in 1899 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 11973grt, a length of 565ft, a beam of 63ft 4in and a service speed of 13.5 knots. Sister of the Afric she was launched on 7th September 1899, handed over on 16th November and commenced her maiden voyage to Sydney on 7th December. On her first voyage she carried 500 troops to Cape Town where her rudder stock broke and she had to wait there until a replacement was shipped out from Harland & Wolff's. When the voyage resumed in 1900 she repatriated wounded and sick Australian troops and on 26th October of that year she rescued the crew of the burning schooner Madura. During 1917-19 she operated with the Medic under the Liner Requisition Scheme and in September 1918 was torpedoed by UB-87 off Sicily but managed to reach port safely. She returned to White Star in 1920 and was immediately refitted and modernised. In 1926 she was refitted at Govan but due to unrepairable engine wear she eventually left Liverpool on 26th September on her final voyage before being laid up. On 7th July 1927 she was sold for £25,000 and left the Mersey for Hendrik ido Ambacht in Holland where she was broken up.

OCEANIC (2) was built in 1899 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 17274grt, a length of 705ft, a beam of 68ft 4in and a service speed of 19.5 knots. Costing £750,000 and launched on 14th January 1899 she was the first ship to exceed the length of the Great Eastern but not the tonnage. Designed by Marine Superintendent Capt. Cameron it was intended that, although she was the largest passenger liner, she was not a record breaker. Capitalising on the experience gained by the Cymric she maintained a 'slow and sea steady' service. She left Belfast on 26th August and on 30th August was thrown open to the Press. On 6th September she commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York which she completed in 6 days, 2 hrs, 37 mins at an average speed of 19.57 knots but suffered badly from vibration aft at full power. In 1900 she was struck by lightning whilst at anchor in the Mersey and lost her topmast. She collided with and sank Waterford Steamship Co.'s Kincora in fog off Tuskar Rock with the loss of 7 lives in September 1901. During 1905 there was a crew mutiny on board over staff conditions and 35 stokers were later charged. On 2nd May 1907 she made her last sailing from Liverpool before being transferred to Southampton. With the Majestic, Teutonic and Adriatic as consorts she commenced her first voyage from Southampton on 19th June 1907. On 22nd July 1914 she made her last sailing to New York before being commissioned as an Armed Merchant Cruiser on 8th August. Attached to the 10th Cruiser Squadron on the Northern Patrol she was commanded by Capt. W.F. Slater RN, who had no experience on so large a ship, with her own Master Capt. Henry Smith in attendance. On 8th September 1914 she was wrecked while trying to navigate to the west of Foula Island, 20 miles west of Shetland, at high water and in flat calm and clear weather. Due to a navigational error which was compounded by dual responsibility when Smith was overuled by Slayter when he said that she was too close in, the fast current carried her off course and she grounded on Hoevdi in the Shaalds. The trawler Glenogil stood by and transferred some 400 men to Alsatian and other ships which were in the area. On 11th September attempts to save the ship failed when the battleship Hannibal put a 6 inch hawser aboard but the Oceanic was impaled. Two weeks during a period of rough seas the movement of the ship on the rocks eventually stove her bottom in. At the subsequent Courts Martial the Navigator, D Blair, was blamed and the two captains absolved but, as a result, the Admiralty changed the procedures so that ships of this size, which were comparable to battleships ,would be commanded by the regular captain and staff with the Royal Navy being responsible for Northern Patrol actions. By March 1924 much of the ship was still visible and she was cut down to the water level and salvaged. In 1973 work started to remove the remaining wreck and by 1979 the last worthwhile remnants were taken.

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