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THE WHITE STAR LINE
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TITANIC was built in 1912 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 46329grt, a length of 883ft, a beam of 92ft 6in and a service speed of 21 knots. Sister of the Olympic she was launched at noon on 31st May 1911 shortly before the delivered Olympic sailed from Belfast. On 3rd April 1912 the largest ship in the world was handed over and on 10th April commenced her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York with calls at Cherbourg and Queenstown (Cobh). The Full Story of that fatal voyage is recounted in the White Star history pages.

BRITANNIC (2) was built in 1915 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 48158grt, a length of 883ft, a beam of 94ft 6in and a service speed of 21 knots. Sister of the Olympic the increased beam was due to the ship having more hull compartments and a double bottom. She was the largest four funnelled ship ever built and also the largest with triple expansion engines. Laid down as the Gigantic her name was changed during construction as it was too similar to the ill-fated Titanic and her completion was delayed until the outcome of the Court of Enquiry into the loss of of the Titanic was known. Launched on 26th February 1914 she was converted into a hospital ship with over 3,300 beds during fitting out. On 13th November 1915 her medical equipping began and on 8th December she was handed over in International Red Cross livery. She sailed from Belfast to Alexandria on 12th December and then made five voyages between Alexandria - Mudros - Southampton or Mudros to Marseilles. On 12th November 1916 she sailed from Southampton bound for Naples where she took on bunkers on the 17th before proceeding to Mudros. At 0815hrs on 21st November she ran into a minefield in Zea Channel 4 miles west of Port St. Nikolo, Kea which had been laid by U-73, a U-boat which had been transported to the Adriatic by rail and reassembled there. Although the channel had been swept the day before the Britannic was racked by an explosion on the starboard side below the bridge which killed seven persons. As the watertight doors failed to function her forward section flooded so the master set a course for the coast and preparations were made to save the 1125 people on board which included 25 medical officers, 75 nurses and 399 Royal Army Medical Corps personnel. There were no patients on board at the time. As she settled by the bow the order to abandon ship was given. Two boats were lowered which were slashed to pieces by the still rotating propellers killing 21 of the 34 occupants which included medical staff. An hour after the explosion she heeled over to starboard and sank in 600ft of water. The survivors were picked up by the escorting destroyers HMS Foxhound and HMS Scourge and the cruiser HMS Heroic. Two of the survivors, stewardess Violet Jessop and fireman John Priest, had previously been rescued after the Titanic sank. A French tug which had sailed from Port St. Nikolo also took part in the rescue. The Britannic was the largest ever British merchant ship ever lost during wartime. The German Kieler Zeitung claimed that she had been torpedoed because she was carrying troops and this led to speculation that she had not been mined; a theory backed up by the bridge officers who stated that she was hit by a torpedo when in full hospital livery. However, U-boat commander Siess' log stated that he only laid mines and torpedoed nothing. This was supported to some degree when Union-Castle's Braemar Castle hit a mine in the same area two days later. On 4th July 1919 her shore based equipment was auctioned. In 1976 Jacque Cousteau in his Calypso located the hull but it had disintegrated to such a degree that it was of no interest.
For more detailed information on the Britannic visit- http://members.aol.com/kumquatw/britannic.htm

NOMADIC (2) was built in 1911 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 1273grt, a length of 220ft 8in, a beam of 37ft 1in and a service speed of 12 knots. Launched on 25th April 1911 she was completed on 20th May as a tender. She was present at the sea trials of the Olympic on 28th May and accompanied her to Southampton before proceeding to Cherbourg where she replaced the Gallic. At 1900hrs on 12th April 1912 she carried passengers out to the Titanic. During the First World War she served as a naval tender at Brest. In 1927 it was decided that she was not being fully utilised as a tender serving just ships of the IMMC Group so she was sold with the Traffic to Soc. Cherbourgoeise de Transbordment of Paris but retained her name and service. She was acquired by Soc. Cherbourgeoise de Remorquage et de Sauvetage in 1934 and at that time was renamed Ingenieur Minard and given a black funnel with a red band. As there was insufficient tender work to keep her fully occupied she also undertook general towing and salvage work. During the Second World War she operated mainly along the south coast of England returning to Cherbourg in 1945. In 1968 she was sold to Somairec for demolition at Le Havre but before that happened she was resold and became a floating restaurant on the Seine at Paris with the name Nomadic. In 1990 she was still in use adjacent to the Eiffel Tower.

TRAFFIC (2) was built in 1911 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 675grt, a length of 175ft 7in, a beam of 35ft 1in and a service speed of 12 knots. Launched on 27th April 1911 the intention was to use her as a back up vessel in any port and her size was determined by this criteria. Handed over on 27th May she attended the sea trials of the Olympic on the following day and then proceeded to Cherbourg to undertake IMMC tender duties. On 12th April 1912 she attended to the needs of the Titanic during her call at Cherbourg. In 1914 she served with the Nomadic at Brest. She was sold with the Nomadic in 1927 to Soc. Cherbourgoeise de Transbordment of Paris and in 1934 to Soc. Cherbourgeoise de Remorquage et de Sauvetage when she was renamed Ingenieur Riebell. On 17th June 1940, when in French Naval service, she was scuttled at Cherbourg when the town was taken by the Germans. Subsequently raised she was put back into service as a coastal convoy armed escort although she does not appear in the German naval lists. Whilst in German naval service she was sunk during an action in the English Channel on 17th January 1941.

ZEALANDIC was built in 1911 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 8090grt, a length of 477ft 6in, a beam of 63ft 1in and a service speed of 13 knots. Launched on 29th June 1911 she was built for the White Star - Shaw Savill & Albion Joint Service, delivered on 12th October and commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Wellington on 30th October. On 22nd January 1913 she left Wellington with what was then the record cargo for wool exports. Later in the year she was chartered to the Australian Government as an immigrant carrier. On 2nd July 1915 she was chased by U-39 but managed to outrun the U-boat. She was taken over under the Liner Requisition Scheme on 27th July 1917 and continued to operate the same route until 15th June 1919 when she was returned to White Star when the service was re-routed through the Panama Canal. In 1923, when off Cape Howe, she towed the disabled sailing ship Garthsnaid into Melbourne and earned £6,350 in salvage money. When trade started to decline in 1926 the White Star - Aberdeen and Blue Funnel Joint Service was started and in June of that year she was transferred to the Aberdeen Line and renamed Mamilus for operation with the Herminius between London and Australia. When the Kylsant empire including White Star Line crashed in 1932 she passed, with the Australian service, to Shaw Savill & Albion who renamed her Mamari. In 1933 Shaw Savill & Albion was acquired by the Furness Withy Group. She was sold to the Admiralty in September 1939 and was converted into a dummy version of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes. On 9th April 1941 the real HMS Hermes was sunk in the Indian Ocean by Japanese aircraft and on 4th June the dummy ship, whilst on her way to be re-converted into a cargo ship, hit a submerged wreck and was beached at Cromer after a German air attack. She was finished off by a torpedo from an E-boat before she could be refloated.

CERAMIC was built in 1913 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 18495grt, a length of 655ft 1in, a beam of 69ft 5in and a service speed of 15.5 knots. Launched on 11th December 1912 she was equipped with 2 permanent guns which were installed under covers on the after deck. She was delivered on 5th July 1913 and on 11th was present at the Mersey Pageant when King George V opened the Gladstone Dock. Third in a line of ships she had some 600 guests on board and at night was lit by white stars along the hull. On 24th July she sailed on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Australia on the Joint Service and was the largest ship on the Australian and New Zealand routes until 1923 when P&O's Mooltan joined their fleet. To this day she holds the record for the loftiest masts to go under Sydney Harbour bridge. She was also the largest ship on the Liverpool - Cape Town leg until Union-Castle's Arundel Castle entered service in 1921 and was designed to enter the old lock at Tilbury with a foot to spare. In August 1914, flying pennant A 40, she carried troops of the Australian Expeditionary Force to the United Kingdom. She was narrowly missed by a torpedo fired by an unidentified vessel in May 1916 when she was carrying 2500 troops in the Mediterranean. In May of the following year she began operating under the Liner Requisition Scheme carrying mainly refrigerated cargo. On 9th June 1917 she was missed by a torpedo in the English Channel and on 21st July 1917 was chased by a surfaced U-boat off the Canary Islands but managed to outrun it. She was returned to White Star in 1919 and was immediately refurbished before commencing her first post war sailing on 18th November 1920 from Liverpool to Sydney with a call at Glasgow. In 1930 she collided with P.S.N.C's Laguna in the Lower Thames. She was transferred to Shaw, Savill & Albion in 1934 when Cunard-White Star was formed and commenced her first sailing for that company on 25th August from Liverpool to Brisbane. In June 1936 she was modernised by Harland & Wolff at Govan when her tonnage was marginally increased to 18713grt, a verandah cafe added aft and the forward bridge deck glassed in. At the same time her crew accommodation was repositioned and improved. She returned to Shaw, Savill & Albion on 15th August 1936 and resumed service on 23rd August. In February 1940 she was requisitioned as a troopship and in December of that year she collided with Andrew Weir's Testbank. On 23rd November 1942 she sailed from Liverpool with 378 passengers and 278 crew and gunners. Around midnight on the 6th/7th December , enroute from Liverpool to South Africa and Australia she was torpedoed off the Azores by U-155 with the loss of 655 lives. A Royal Engineer sapper was picked up by U-515 and subsequently interrogated and the loss of the Ceramic went unrecorded for several months until the survivor was able to write from the POW camp Marlag-Milag-Nord near Hamburg.

LAPLAND was built in 1909 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 18695grt, a length of 605ft 8in, a beam of 70ft 3in and a service speed of 17 knots. Launched on 27th June 1908 as the Lapland for the Red Star Line she was, at the time, the largest ship to fly the Belgian flag and commenced her maiden voyage from Antwerp to New York, with a call at Dover, on 27th March 1909. In April 1912 she repatriated the surviving crew members of the Titanic, who had to be segregated in Third Class to avoid journalists, on conclusion of the Court of Enquiry. On 3rd October 1914 she took part in the famed convoy which brought the first Canadian troops to Europe. She was later transferred to White Star and on 29th October 1914 joined the Liverpool - New York run with the Zeeland and the Vaderland. In April 1917 she was mined in Liverpool Bay but managed to reach port safely and in the following June became a troopship under the Liner Requisition Scheme with the capacity for 3000 troops. On the conclusion of the First World War she was placed on what was a makeshift Liverpool to New York service with other ships as and when they were released from war duties. On 16th September 1919 she was transferred to the Southampton - New York run with the Adriatic but only until 26th November when she made her final sailing for White Star. She was replaced by the Olympic in January 1920 and reverted to Red Star's Antwerp - Southampton - New York service flying the Belgian flag. In December 1924 she collided with the Java, owned by Stoomboot Maats. 'Nederland', in the river Scheldt. During 1926 she was mainly deployed cruising from New York to the Mediterranean. On 11th June 1932 she made her final Atlantic crossing before being laid up at Antwerp. In the following year she was sold for £30,000 and broken up in Japan during 1934.

BELGIC (4) was built in 1917 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 24547grt, a length of 670ft 5in, a beam of 78ft 5in and a service speed of 17 knots. She was launched on 31st December 1914 as the Belgenland for the Red Star Line but remained incomplete at Belfast until 1917 when she was handed over to White Star by IMMC and renamed Belgic. Delivered on 21st June 1917 as a cargo ship she was dazzle painted in black, sky blue, dark and light grey camouflage and operated under the Shipping Controller on the Liverpool to New York service. Ownership was recorded as being the International Navigation Co. On 11th August she was unsuccessfully attacked by U-155 and in the same year was fitted out to carry 3,000 troops and actually carried 3,141 on one occasion. During 1919 she was used to repatriate US troops and was later painted in Red Star livery. She never carried the White Star livery. In April 1921 she was laid up at Liverpool until March 1922 when a berth became available in Belfast and she was completed to her original design. Converted to oil burning she was delivered to Red Star on 17th March 1923 and commenced her first sailing from Antwerp to New York on 4th April as the Belgenland, and as she had been registered in Liverpool, flying the red ensign. When the River Scheldt was re-dredged below Antwerp in 1924 London became her terminus and in the same year she became, at the time, the largest ship to undertake a 'Round the World' cruise. During the depression in 1930 she operated day trips out of New York and in January 1932 made her final Antwerp - New York crossing before operating cruises from Antwerp to the Mediterranean in the summer. In March 1933 she was laid up at Antwerp but resumed cruises from Antwerp to the Mediterranean during the following summer. She was sold in 1935 to the Atlantic Transport Co. of West Virginia who renamed her Columbia. With a white hull her new owners operated her on cruises from New York to California via the Panama Canal but this proved to be unprofitable as did a winter schedule from New York to the West Indies. Although her First and Second Class were fully booked Americans would not book the Third Class accommodation and, consequently, the services were uneconomical. On 22nd April 1936 she made her final Atlantic crossing from New York to Bo'ness on the Firth of Forth where, after arriving in the May, was broken up by P & W McLellan.

JUSTICIA was built in 1917 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 32234grt, a length of 740ft 6in, a beam of 86ft 5in and a service speed of 18 knots. She was laid down for Holland America Line in 1912 and launched on 9th July 1914 as the Statendam. Her completion was stopped in the following September and in 1915 she was requisitioned and purchased by the British Government. Work on her resumed but continued at a slow pace and to economise on sheet metal her funnels as installed were smaller in diameter than designed. She was completed as the Justicia on 7th April 1917 and destined for Cunard as a replacement for the Lusitania. However, Cunard experienced manning problems and as White Star were able to assemble the previously sunk Britannic's crew it was allocated to them. Initially delivered with a plain grey livery she was dazzle painted in 1918. At 1350hrs on 19th July, during a voyage from Belfast to New York, she was torpedoed by UB-64 23 miles south of Skerryvore in Scotland as she left the North Channel north of Fanad Head. She listed but did not sink and, despite the escorting destroyers, the UB-64 attacked again and recorded two more hits. Still she did not sink and all but a skeleton crew were taken off before the Justicia was taken in tow by HMS Sonia. The intention was to tow her to Lough Swilley which was the nearest safe deep water but at 1918hrs the UB-64 scored a fourth hit but incurred some damage herself and limped away from the action. On the following day at 0910hrs UB-124 fired two torpedoes which proved to be fatal. By noon the ship lay on her side and 16 engine room personnel had perished. The UB-124 was attacked with depth charges and was forced to surface whereupon she was sunk by gunfire from HMS Marne, HMS Millbrook and HMS Pigeon, all but two of the crew being taken prisoner. Other vessels took off the remaining crew of the Justicia and by the time she sank over 30 vessels were standing by. Since the escort ships had failed to prevent 6 torpedoes from being fired in broad daylight and over a period of 18 hours a Naval stern enquiry found that the bravery and determination of the U-boats had been 'beyond belief'.

HUNSLET was built in 1898 by Wigham Richardson at Walker-on-Tyne with a tonnage of 5341grt, a length of 418ft, a beam of 54ft and a service speed of 10 knots. She was launched on 28th March 1898 as the Tannenfels for D. D. G. 'Hansa' of Bremen and delivered in the April for their Hamburg - India route. In August 1914 she was at Batvia when the First World War broke out and became a German naval auxiliary attached to the Pacific Squadron. On 14th September she was captured by the destroyer HMS Chelmer in the Basilan Strait, Philippines and subsequently became an Admiralty supply ship in the Pacific being renamed Basilan at Hong Kong on 8th October 1914. After the elimination of the German Pacific Squadron in 1915 she returned to the UK and in the December was renamed Hunslet by the Shipping Controller. In January 1917 her management was given to White Star Line but later transferred to the Union-Castle Line. She was sold to Woermann Line in September 1921 and renamed Waganda for a joint Deutsche Ost Afrika - Woermann service to Africa. She commenced her first sailing on that route on 15th May 1922 and continued until 21st December 1932 when she was sold for scrap at Hamburg and broken up in Germany.

GALLIC (2) was built in 1918 by Workman Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 7914grt, a length of 465ft, a beam of 58ft 3in and a service speed of 12.5 knots. She was one of 22 Standard 'G' type ships and completed as the War Argus on 12th December 1918 for the Shipping Controller with White Star as managers. In August 1919 she was purchased by White Star and renamed Gallic for the Australian cargo service. After fourteen years service she was sold to Clan Line Steamers Ltd in 1933 for £33,000 and renamed Clan Colquhoun for deployment on the same route. In 1947 she was sold to Zarati Steamship Co. of Panama and renamed Ioannis Livanos. Two years later she was acquired by Dos Oceanos Cie de Nav. S. A. of Panama who renamed her Jenny. In 1951 she was purchased by Djakarta Lloyd N. V. of Indonesia who initially changed her name to Imam Bondjol and then, in 1952, to Djatinegra. She was sold for scrap in 1955 and on 1st December during her final voyage from Djakarta to Osaka had to put ashore at Lingayan near Manila with a flooded engine room. Refloated on 21st February 1956 she was towed to Hong Kong where she was broken up.

BARDIC was built in 1918 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 8010grt, a length of 465ft, a beam of 58ft 3in and a service speed of 12.5 knots. Sister of the Gallic she was launched as the War Priam for the Shipping Controller on 19th December 1918. In 1919, during her fitting out, she was sold to White Star and renamed Bardic. Following her trials on 13th March 1919 she commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 18th March operated by the Atlantic Transport Line. In 1921 she was transferred to White Star's Australian service. On 31st August 1924 she stranded in fog on Stag Rock, Lizard and remained there until 29th September when she came off with severe damage to her bottom. She was patched up at Falmouth and subsequently repaired by her builder at Belfast. In 1925 she was transferred to the Aberdeen Line and renamed Hostilius. She was renamed Horatius in the following year and in 1932 was transferred to Shaw, Savill & Albion who renamed her Kumara. In 1937 she was sold to John Latsis of Piraeus who renamed her Marathon. On 9th March 1941 she was sunk by the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst north-east of the Cape Verde Islands. At the time she was a convoy straggler proceeding at her own speed and her transmitted RRR signal and subsequent sinking enabled the remainder of the convoy to escape.

DELPHIC was built in 1918 by Workman Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 8006grt, a length of 465ft, a beam of 58ft 3in and a service speed of 12.5 knots. Sister of the Gallic she was launched as the War Icarus for the Shipping Controller and when completed in the following November was managed by Booth Line. In May 1919 she was purchased by the Atlantic Transport Line who changed her name to Mesaba. She was refitted in 1925 and transferred to White Star who renamed her Delphic for the Australian service. In 1933 she was sold to Clan Line Steamers Ltd for £53,000 after being laid up at Milford Haven. Renamed Clan Farquhar she continued to operate to Australia until July 1948 when she was broken up at Milford Haven.

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