RED JACKET was a clipper with a composite hull built in 1845 and one of the original White Star Line ships.
ELLEN was a clipper with a composite hull built in 1845 and one of the original White Star Line ships.
BLUE JACKET was a clipper with a composite hull built in 1845 and one of the original White Star Line ships and later renamed White Star.
ROYAL STANDARD was built in 1863 by Palmer Bros. at Jarrow-on-Tyne with a tonnage of 2033grt, a length of 255ft, a beam of 40ft and a service speed of about 8 knots. She was launched in August 1863 for H. T. Wilson & Chambers and operated by them under the White Star flag. Her maiden voyage, which commenced on 23rd November, was from Liverpool to Melbourne via the Cape of Good Hope and during which her master, Capt. J. E. Allen, died. On 4th April 1864 she hit an iceberg with a glancing blow when 14 days out from Melbourne and was subsequently repaired at Rio Janeiro. During 1866 she made one voyage from Liverpool to New York which commenced on 23rd May and on 27th September she sailed on her last steam voyage to Melbourne. Unfortunately, her steam engine was under powered and she was regularly overtaken by the clipper ships. In 1867 she was sold to a Liverpool syndicate and converted to sail. On 10th October 1869 she was wrecked near Cape Sao Thomas in Brazil.
SIRIUS was built in 1865 by C. W. Earle & Co. at Hull with a tonnage of 620grt, a length of 203ft 6in, a beam of 26ft 1in and a service speed of 9 knots. She was launched in February 1865 for Henry T. Wilson & Co’s White Star Line service to the Mediterranean out of Liverpool under charter to regular shippers. Following the collapse of Henry T. Wilson & Co. she was sold in January 1866 to a syndicate of virtually the same shareholders and renamed Columbia. In December 1868 she was acquired by the Anchor Line for their Scandinavian feeder service out of Granton, Leith, renamed Scandinavia and commenced her first sailing in March 1869. Passengers arriving at Leith would then travel by train to Glasgow to join Anchor Line sailings from that port. In 1878 more passenger space was added when she was lengthened at the stern to 258ft. During 1873 when the feeder service ended at the end of the summer season she was transferred back to the Mediterranean service. On 31st August 1888 she was sold to Christopher Furness who changed her name back to Columbia. Two years later she was acquired by J. Meek of West Hartlepool who renamed her Sirius and in 1893 by Oliver & Co. of San Francisco who retained her name. In 1894 she was operating a cargo and passenger service from Honolulu to San Francisco as the Kahului for new owner, C. Nelson of Honolulu. She was, in 1897, transferred to San Francisco by her owner who, at the same time, changed her name to Cleveland. When gold was discovered in the Yukon during 1898 she became a ‘Gold Rush’ ship with room for 1200 persons. To call them berths would be inappropriate as on one voyage she carried nearly twice that number. On 24th October 1900 she was wrecked on Cape Rodney in Alaska.
OCEANIC (1) was built in 1871 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 3707grt, a length of 420ft 4in, a beam of 40ft 10in and a service speed of 14.5 knots. She was launched on 27th August 1870 for the Oceanic Steam Navigation Co. at a cost of £120,000. Often referred to as the “Mother of Modern Liners” she was the first White Star liner acquired by Thomas Ismay and the first ship to have promenade decks and bathtubs with running water for the passengers. The first class dining room which doubled as a lounge was amidships and equipped with separate chairs for each passenger and had larger than normal port holes to give more light. There were two bridal suites each equipped with double beds and the fares to New York were, Saloon £16.16s.0d (Return £28. 7s.0d), Steerage £6.6s.0d. On 26th February 1871 she arrived at Liverpool looking ‘more like an Imperial yacht’ than a passenger ship to inaugurate White Star’s Atlantic service. Although the finest ship on the New York run at the time she failed to attract much custom and when she departed on her maiden voyage under the command of Capt. Digby Murray, who was later knighted, on 2nd March she carried only 64 passengers as compared with Cunard’s Calabria which carried 300 on a parallel sailing. Unfortunately, when she was off Holyhead her bearings overheated and she had to return to Liverpool where she remained until 16th March when her voyage was resumed. When she arrived in New York she was visited by some 50,000 people. In service she was very wet forward and on the slow side so when she returned to Belfast in January 1872 for her first annual overhaul the opportunity was taken to add a 72ft whale backed forecastle and breakwater which became a standard feature on subsequent buildings until the Teutonic in 1889. To provide more steam pressure two additional boilers were installed and her masts were shortened to reduce rolling. When the Britannic joined the fleet in 1875 she commenced her last sailing from Liverpool to New York on 11th March before being chartered to Occidental & Oriental Steam ship Co. to operate a service from San Francisco to Hong Kong and Yokohama. With White Star officers and Chinese crew she sailed from Liverpool on 14th April 1875 bound for San Francisco via Suez, Hong Kong and Yokohama, and arrived on 29th June after making a record passage. In December 1876 she completed a voyage from Yokohama to San Francisco in a record time of 14 days 15 hours at an average speed of 13 knots. With a trans-USA rail crossing of 7 days and an Atlantic passage of 9 days, the journey time from Yokohama to London was reduced to 32 days as opposed to 60 days via Singapore. In late 1879 she was refitted at Liverpool resuming service on 16th March 1880 when she sailed for the Suez Canal and Hong Kong. On 2nd August 1882 she collided with the coastal liner City of Chester, when off the Golden Gate, San Francisco, which sank with the loss of 16 lives. In November 1889 she made a record crossing from Yokohama to San Francisco in 13 days 14 hrs 5 mins. On 17th May 1895 she arrived at Harland & Wolff’s yard for re-engining but following a survey the plan was abandoned and she was sold for scrap, realising £8,000. She left Belfast on 10th February 1896 under the tow of L. Smit & Co’s tug Oceaan II bound for the river Thames where she was broken up.
ATLANTIC was built in 1871 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 3707grt, a length of 420ft 4in, a beam of 40ft 10in and a service speed of 14.5 knots. Sister of the Oceanic she was launched on 1st December 1870 and, although a voyage to South America was advertised as sailing in the following January, she didn’t commence her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York until 8th June 1871. On 20th March 1873 she sailed from Liverpool on her 19th voyage and under the command of Capt. J. H. Williams. She was carrying a total of 789 passengers comprising 28 Saloon Class, 577 3rd Class, including 78 children, and 178 Steerage who joined the ship at Queenstown as well as 142 crew members. Fierce gale force headwinds were encountered and on 31st March, after 11 days, only 127 tons of coal remained. Sandy Hook, her landfall at New York, was 460 miles away but Halifax in Nova Scotia was only 170 miles distant and, as a precaution because of the weather and the fuel shortage, course was set for the nearer port. Few sun sights had been possible and as a consequence the ship was some miles off course. At 0300hrs on 1st April, in clear but cloudy weather with a high sea running and whilst searching for the Sambro Light which should have been visible from 20 miles, she ran aground at 9 knots on Marr’s Rock, Meaghers Island near Halifax. The ship lay with a list to starboard and the heavy seas soon tore away her lifeboats and burst open the hull. The Third Officer, Brady, and quartermasters Speakman and Owen swam to the rock with a rope and by dawn five lines had been rigged via the rock to the shore. One passenger saw a sea of heads in the water which he almost mistook for floating cargo as the mass was so dense. As each wave burst over the mass there was a cry of terror and gradually the whole lot were carried out to sea and lost from view. Gradually the passengers were dragged to the shore but many, cold and exhausted, were carried away. As the situation deteriorated the master told the passengers to climb into the rigging until they could be pulled ashore, but in the biting wind many more fell into the sea and were lost while others died where they hung. When dawn broke the islanders came to help with the rescue but out of a total complement of 931 persons 585 drowned including all but one of the children. The survivors were taken to Halifax in the steamships Delta and Lady Head. The company denied that the ship ran out of coal even though the Court of Enquiry at Halifax found that this was a contributing factor on the basis that had there been sufficient the ship would have been nowhere near Halifax. A subsequent enquiry in England confirmed this finding but, on appeal, the Board of Trade Commissioner ruled otherwise as Captain Williams had survived and confirmed that there was coal on board and that his diversion was ‘in case of further gales’ not ‘shortage’. Captain Williams was found to be negligent approaching a coast that was unfamiliar to him and banned for two years. As the ship was self insured the Asiatic and Tropic had to be sold to replace the lost capital.
PACIFIC/BALTIC (1) was built in 1871 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 3707grt, a length of 420ft 4in, a beam of 40ft 10in and a service speed of 14.5 knots. Sister of the Oceanic she was launched on 8th March 1871as the Pacific but was later renamed when the press recalled the loss in the Atlantic of Collin’s paddle steamer Pacific some fifteen years earlier and harped on the potential superstition of passengers. She commenced her maiden as the Baltic from Liverpool to New York via Queenstown on 14th September. In January 1873 she gained the ‘Blue Riband’ when she crossed the Atlantic in 7 days 20 hrs 9 mins at an average speed of 15.09 knots. On 18th November 1875, during her return voyage to Liverpool, she picked up the crew of the sailing ship Oriental which had become waterlogged in mid-Atlantic. When, in 1883, Inman Line returned the City of Rome to her builder because she was performing below contract speed the Baltic was chartered to the company for fourteen round voyages which commenced on 3rd April. On 10th March 1885 she was again chartered to Inman Line to replace the City of Paris which had been sold to stave off financial collapse. During the second voyage Inman’s went into voluntary liquidation but the liquidators continued the charter for a further ten voyages. In June 1888 she was laid up at Birkenhead and sold for £32,000 to the Holland America Line who renamed her Veendam. She commenced her first voyage for Holland America on 3rd November when she sailed from Rotterdam bound for New York with a call at Cherbourg. In 1890 she was equipped with a triple expansion engine which increased her tonnage to 4036grt. On 6th February 1898 she struck a submerged derelict in the North Atlantic and foundered the next day without loss of life.
REPUBLIC (1) was built in 1871 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 3707grt, a length of 420ft 4in, a beam of 40ft 10in and a service speed of 14.5 knots. Sister of the Oceanic she was launched on 4th July 1871, hence her name, and was the last of the initial quartet built for the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company. She commenced her maiden voyage to New York on 1st February 1872 and encountered an extremely rough crossing which caused a great deal of superficial damage. A lot of water was shipped through the ventilators and waves smashed the engine room skylight extinguishing the boilers. As a result of the damage incurred the company changed its policy regarding the stowage of lifeboats. During the voyage the lifeboats which were securely lashed down were smashed to pieces whereas those which were lightly tethered and free to move about survived. On 5th October 1872 she made the first sailing from Liverpool – Bordeaux – Vigo – Lisbon – Rio de Janeiro – Montevideo – Buenos Aires – Valparaiso and thereafter continued to operate around the Chilian and Peruvian coasts. She was deliberately chosen to be the finest ship ever seen on the route and as a challenge to the Pacific Steam Navigation Co. Meeting the challenge PSNC dispatched the Tacora on her maiden voyage the previous day but, unfortunately, she was wrecked near Montevideo on 28th October. However, despite good payloads, the route was not financially successful for White Star. When the Britannic and the Germanic were completed in 1875 she was relegated to the reserve ship. During 1885 she scraped Cunard’s Aurania, which was on a three month charter to Inman Line, in the river Mersey with only minor damage to both vessels. When she was overhauled in 1888 second class accommodation was added at the expense of third class berths. On 16th January 1889 she commenced her final White Star sailing before being sold for £35,000 to the Holland America Line who renamed her Maasdam. Prior to commencing to operate the Rotterdam – Boulogne – New York service on 15th March 1890 she was equipped with triple expansion engines. On 1902 she was sold to ‘La Veloce’ Nav. Italiana of Genoa who initially renamed her Vittoria and later Citta di Napoli for operation on the Genoa – Naples – Palermo – Gibralta – New York service carrying emigrants. When Messina in Sicily was destroyed by an earthquake on 28th December 1908 ‘La Veloce’ placed her, together with the Nord America and the Savoia, at the disposal of the Italian Government for use as an accommodation ship. She was returned to her owner in 1909 and on her arrival in Genoa was sold foe scrap and broken up there.
ASIATIC was built in 1871 by Thos. Royden & Sons at Liverpool with a tonnage of 2122grt, a length of 326ft 5in, a beam of 35ft 2in and a service speed of 12 knots. Launched on 1st December 1870 she was built ‘on spec’ and purchased by the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company in 1871 while she was being fitted out. In March of that year she was placed on the unsuccessful Calcutta trade and in 1872 on the equally unsuccessful South America route although her first voyage was on charter to Lamport & Holt. On 25th February 1873 she commenced her first voyage to South America for White Star but it was not profitable. When the Atlantic was lost in 1873 she was sold to the African Steam Ship Co., later to become Elder, Dempster Lines, and renamed Ambriz. Their largest ship at the time she commenced her first sailing to West Africa on 12th September. In December 1883 she was refitted and reboilered and in the following year was placed on the Liverpool to New Orleans cotton run. She was sold to Cie Francaise Charbonnage et de la Batelage a Madagasgar of Majunga in 1896 and was deployed as a mobile coal depot ship which steamed to Europe, usually Cardiff, when stock needed replenishing. In February 1903 she was wrecked on the coast of Madagasgar.
TROPIC was built in 1871 by Thos. Royden & Sons at Liverpool with a tonnage of 2122grt, a length of 326ft 5in, a beam of 35ft 2in and a service speed of 12 knots. Sister of the Asiatic she was purchased during fitting out for deployment on the Liverpool – Suez Canal – Calcutta service in competition with Thomas Royden’s Indra Line. On 5th November 1872 she was transferred to the South American service to Valparaiso but only until 4th June 1873 when she commenced her final sailing before being sold to J. Serra y Font of Bilbao who renamed her Frederico. She was acquired by Cia de Nav. ‘La Flecha’ of Bilbao in 1886 who retained her name. After a further eight years service she was broken up at Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire during September 1894.
ADRIATIC (1) was built in 1872 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 3888grt, a length of 452ft 4in, a beam of 40ft 10in and a service speed of 14.5 knots. The first of a pair, the usual habit of White Star when ordering ships, she was launched on 17th October 1871and during fitting out by Aveling, Porter & Co. of Lincoln was equipped with gas lamps in place of candles and oil lamps. The gas was manufactured on board from coal but it proved to be a failure in heavy seas due to gas leaks and pipe fractures so the company quickly reverted to the use of oil lamps. She commenced her maiden voyage to New York on 11th April 1872 and in the following May took the record from Cunard’s Scotia, which it had held since 1866, with an average speed of 14.52 knots. In October 1874 she collided with Cunard’s Parthia when they both left New York at the same time and on parallel courses. The venturi effect pulled the ships together so that they brushed against each other causing slight damage to the Adriatic’s port side. If the lifeboats had been slung out, as was the custom, the consequences would have been far worse. In March 1875, whilst proceeding in fog, she ran down and sank the US schooner Columbus off New York and during a night in the following December hit and sank the sailing schooner Harvest Queen in St. George’s Channel. The ship was not identified at the time but the Harvest Queen was the only vessel unaccounted for. On 19th July 1878, when off Tuskar Rock, South Wales, she cut into W. Glenn of Ardrossan’s brigantine G. A. Pike causing the loss of five crew members. The Adriatic was blamed for travelling at an excessive speed. She made her final sailing in November 1897 before being laid up in reserve at Birkenhead. On 12th February 1899 she arrived at the yard of Thos. W. Ward at Preston where she was broken up.
(Photo: John Clarkson)
ARCTIC/CELTIC (1) was built in 1872 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 3867grt, a length of 452ft 4in, a beam of 40ft 10in and a service speed of 14.5 knots. Sister of the Adriatic she was laid down as the Arctic but renamed on the stocks because a ship of the same name owned by Collins had, in 1854, been lost with the loss of 322 persons. The decision to rename was taken at the same time the Pacific was changed to Baltic following media pressure. Initially gas lit she was launched on 8th June 1872 and commenced her maiden voyage to New York on 24th October. In January 1874 she lost two blades of her propeller, in days when they were bolted on, and was towed into Queenstown by the Gaelic. Nine years later, in January 1883, she was towed into Liverpool by the Britannic when her propeller shaft snapped when only 24 hours out of New York and after continuing her voyage under sail. On 19th May 1887, when bound for New York and in thick fog, she hit the Britannic at right angles 300 miles off Sandy Hook. The Britannic was holed and the bow plates of the Celtic were stove in. The Court of Enquiry censured both vessels for excessive speed in fog and recommended the Maury’s separate ‘in and out’ passage lanes be extended right across the Atlantic. Second class accommodation was added during the repairs. In October 1892 she was taken out of service and puts up for sale at Birkenhead. On 6th April 1893 she was sold to the Thingvalla Line (Damdsibs Selskabet Thingvalla) and renamed Amerika flying the Danish flag. She commenced her first sailing Copenhagen – Christiana – Christiansand – New York on 27th May 1893 but the service was not a success as she was too big for that market. Consequently, she only made eight voyages during the peak summer seasons. She was the last ship acquired by Thingvalla Line as they were taken over by Det Forende D/S, the forerunner of D. F. D. S., but the Amerika was broken up at Brest before the takeover
GAELIC (1) was built in 1873 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 2685grt, a length of 370ft, a beam of 36ft 4in and a service speed of 12 knots. The first of two cargo ships laid down for J. Bibby she was acquired on the stocks for the South American service and launched on the 4th October 1874. A typical ‘narrow boat’ she commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Valparaiso with calls at South American ports on 29th January 1873 but on the following 10th July was transferred to the New York route. In January 1874 she towed the Celtic into into Queenstown after she had shed two propeller blades. On 3rd June of the same year she was transferred to the London – New York service for the summer season and then, on 24th December, to the Liverpool – New York route. From 29th May 1875 she was chartered to the Occidental & Oriental Steamship Co. for a five year term and deployed on their San Francisco – Japan – Hong Kong service. During 1883 she was sold for £30,000 for Cia de Nav. ‘La Flecha’ of Bilboa who renamed her Hugo. On 24th September 1896 she stranded on Terschelling Islands in the Netherlands and was declared a constructive total loss. Later refloated she was sold by auction and towed to Amsterdam where she was broken up.
BELGIC (1) was built in 1873 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 2652grt, a length of 370ft, a beam of 36ft 4in and a service speed of 12 knots. Sister of the Gaelic she was launched on 14th January 1873 and commenced her maiden voyage to Valparaiso on 16th April. On 17th December she made White Star’s last steam sailing on the South American route although the sailing ships continued to trade to that continent. On 30th May 1874 she commenced a voyage from Liverpool to New York before being transferred to the London – New York route for four trips. In the same year, on 20th July, she encountered the disabled Spanish steamer Tornas and towed her into New York. She was transferred back to the Liverpool – New York service in January 1875 but only until 29th May when she was chartered with her sister to the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Co. for deployment out of San Francisco. In 1883 she was sold for £30,000 to Cia de Nav. ‘La Flecha’ of Bilbao who changed her name to Goefredo. On 27th January 1884 she went aground outside Santiago de Cuba and was dispatched to Liverpool for repairs. However, on 26th February 1884 during a voyage to Havana she was wrecked on Burbo Bank at the mouth of the River Mersey.
TRAFFIC (1) was built in 1873 by Speakman & Co. at Runcorn with a tonnage of 155grt, a length of 101ft 10in, a beam of 23ft 7in and a service speed of 8 knots. She was launched on 22nd September 1872 as a baggage and stores tender at Liverpool. In 1896 she was sold to the Liverpool Lighterage Co. for port duties with the same name and in 1919 her engine was removed when she was converted into a dump barge. On 5th May 1941 she was sunk in Liverpool docks by German aircraft during the ‘May Blitz’. She was later raised and returned to service until 1955 when she was broken up on Tranmere beach in the River Mersey.
HELLENIC/BRITANNIC (1) was built in 1874 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 5004grt, a length of 455ft, a beam of 45ft 2in and a service speed of 16 knots. Costing £200,000 she was designed by Sir E. J. Harland and was initially equipped with an adjustable propeller shaft which could be lowered in deeper water to increase the thrust. The arrangement was not a success and after nine voyages it was replaced with a conventional propeller shaft. Harland & Wolff’s largest ship to date she was laid down as the Hellenic but renamed before her launch on 3rd February 1874. The first of a pair she was designed to compete with vessels such as Inman’s City of Berlin and commenced her maiden voyage to New York on 25th June 1874. She broke both the eastbound and westbound records with passages of less than 7.5 days at an average speed of 15.7 knots. When she returned to service after her propeller shaft modifications on 9th June 1876 she ran like clockwork for the next decade averaging 8 days 9 hrs to New York and 8 days 2 hrs to Queenstown, the best distance in 24 hours being 468 miles. In 1881 she collided with and sank W. Hinde’s sailing ship Julia off Belfast and in July of the same year stranded in fog at Kilmore, near Wexford, Ireland. She was refloated but due to an engine room leak was beached again prior to being patched up and towed to Liverpool by four tugs where she arrived on 13th July. In January 1883 she towed the Celtic into Liverpool and shortly afterwards a squeaking developed and a crack in her propeller shaft was discovered. The voyage upon which she just embarked was cancelled. On 19th May 1887 whilst travelling at 15 knots in fog she was hit at right angles by the Celtic although full speed had been ordered in an attempt to clear the approaching ship before she hit. She was holed at the waterline aft of the superstructure and she put back to New York accompanied by the Celtic. Three steerage class passengers were killed and a further two were injured. In 1889 she collided with J. Marshall’s Czarowitz in Liverpool Bay. She made her fastest Atlantic crossing of 7 days 6hrs 55mins at an average sped of 16.1 knots in 1890 and the speed of both the Britannic and her sister, the Germanic, increased with age. On 16th August 1899 she commenced what was to be her final crossing as, in the following October, she was requisitioned as a troopship for duties during the Boer War. As HM Transport No.62 she was given a white hull and buff funnels and made ten voyages including two to Australia. On 12th November 1900 still with a white hull but with black topped funnels she sailed from Liverpool to Australia to represent Great Britain at a review in Sydney Harbour to mark the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia. Among her passengers was the honour guard and during the voyage she grounded in the Suez Canal. In October 1902 she was sent to Belfast for a survey prior to being re-engined to triple expansion but the ensuing report was unsatisfactory and in July 1903 she was sold to German shipbreakers for £11,500. On 11th August 1903 she left under tow for Hamburg where she was broken up.
GERMANIC was built in 1874 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 5008grt, a length of 455ft, a beam of 45ft 2in and a service speed of 16 knots. Sister of the Britannic she was launched on 15th July 1874, the drop propeller shaft having been removed during construction. After spending 3 months at Belfast before she was finished and painted due to the fact that White Star did not require her until the start of the Summer season when she replaced the Oceanic, her maiden voyage to New York commenced on 30th May 1875. In the following July she broke the eastbound record when she completed the crossing in 7 days 11 hrs 17 mins at an average speed of 15.76 knots. By February 1876, when the New York – Queenstown record was broken again, both ships were recognised as the best liners on the North Atlantic. In January her propeller shaft snapped and she was forced to resort to sail to complete her voyage to Waterford. Being before the days of wireless her problem was reported by Donald Currie’s Westmoreland whose offer of a salvage tow was refused. Triple expansion engines and new high pressure boilers were fitted in 1895 and on 15th May she was the first ship to embark passengers at Liverpool’s new floating landing stage. On 13th February 1899, whilst coaling at New York in a blizzard, her port side coaling doors were open and she half capsized due to snow and ice on the upper decks causing her to heel over and came to rest almost upright and leaning against the dock wall. Had her sodden passenger accommodation been damage she would have been scrapped but in the event she was refloated on 23rd February and sent to Belfast where she remained out of service for four months. On 23rd September 1903 she made her final voyage for the White Star Line before being laid up for the winter. In 1904 she was transferred to the International Mercantile Marine Company and became American Line’s Germanic. On 24th April she commenced the first of six voyages from Southampton to New York before being transferred again to the Dominion Line for carrying emigrants. She was renamed Ottawa on 5th January 1905 and deployed on the Liverpool – Halifax service during the winter months and from 27th April between Quebec and Montreal for the summer. At the end of the summer season in October 1909 she was laid up and in the following year was sold to the Turkish Government for use as a transport. On 15th March 1911 she sailed from Liverpool as the Gul Djemal operated by the Administration de Nav. a Vapeur Ottomane of Istanbul and commenced carrying troops to the fighting in the Yemen. She was transferred to the Black Sea in 1912 and, although too big for that area, was a prestigious deployment. In April 1915 she was used to carry troops to the Gallipoli Peninsular following the Anglo-French landings and on 3rd May was torpedoed whilst at anchor in shallow water in the Sea of Marmara, by the submarine E-14. She settled with her superstructure above water and the majority of the 4000 men said to be aboard were lost. When she was raised the submarine shared a bounty of £31,000 based on £5 per Turk plus assessed value. In November 1918 she was used to repatriate German troops from Turkey and arrived at the Allied control point off Dover totally unannounced with 1500 armed troops on board which caused much confusion. She was, however, disarmed and sent to Germany. In 1920 she was transferred to the Ottoman – America Line for deployment on an emigrant service from Istanbul to New York and on 10th October 1921 commenced her first voyage. She later operated along Turkey’s Black Sea coast to Trabzon. By 1928 and still government owned she was being operated by Turkiye Seyrisefain Idaresi as the Gulcemal. In 1931 she grounded in the Sea of Marmara and by 1949 she was being used as a store ship at Istanbul. She briefly became a floating hotel in 1950 before being towed to Messina on 29th October where she was broken up after 40 years service with the Turkish Government.
ASIATIC (2)/ARABIC (1) was built in 1881 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 4368grt, a length of 430ft 2in, a beam of 42ft 2in and a service speed of 14 knots. White Star’s first steel hulled ship she was launched as the Asiatic on 30 April 1881 but completed as the Arabic. Similar in appearance to the Adriatic class the intention was to charter her to the Occidental & Oriental Steamship Co for operation on their transpacific route but before being transferred to San Francisco she made three end of season voyages from Liverpool to New York, her maiden voyage commencing on 10th September 1881. On 4th February 1882 she sailed from Liverpool to Hong Kong via the Suez Canal to begin her transpacific service. In 1886 she made one sailing to Australia for Occidental & Oriental. When she came off charter in 1887 fifty second class berths were added which were referred to as the Intermediate Class and on 12th May began to operate on the Liverpool – Queenstown – New York service. In May 1888 she reverted to Occidental & Oriental service and in February 1890 was sold to Holland America Line for £65,000 and renamed Spaarndam. She commenced her first sailing from Rotterdam to New York on 29th March and remained with the company until 7th February 1901 when she made her final sailing. In August of the same year she was broken up by Thos. W. Ward at Preston.
COPTIC was built in 1881 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 4367grt, a length of 430ft 2in, a beam of 42ft 2in and a service speed of 14 knots. Sister of the Asiatic she was launched on 10th August 1881 for deployment on the transpacific service of Occidental & Oriental Steamship Co. However, she made two voyages from Liverpool to New York commencing 16th November before, on 11th March 1882, sailing to Hong Kong via Suez to join the transpacific service. In 1883 the Occidental & Oriental Steamship Co. became over tonnaged and, as a result, she was chartered to the New Zealand Shipping Co. while they were awaiting the arrival of ships under construction. A 750 ton capacity refrigeration plant was installed in 1884 to enable her to participate in a new joint venture with Shaw, Savill & Albion to New Zealand, a service which had been devised by Walter Savill and Thomas Ismay. Five ships were required and White Star provided three. Her name became a Shaw, Saville & Albion nomenclature and was not repeated by White Star. She made the inaugural sailing of the service, London – New Zealand – Cape Horn – South America – UK, on 26th May 1884 when the First Class fare was £77, the Steerage £7 7s 0d and the First Class ‘Round the World ticket, £105. In 1889 she went aground near Rio de Janeiro, was flooded forward and repaired locally. She was modernised with triple expansion engines in 1894 and reverted to Occidental & Oriental service to replace the Oceanic which was due for re-engining. On 30th October 1906 she made the final Occidental & Oriental sailing from San Francisco and went off charter when she arrived at Hong Kong. In the following December she was sold to the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. and renamed Persia for the same service. She also retained the Red Ensign as she had not been built in the USA. Refitted in 1911 she was sold to Toyo Kisen Kabusiki Kaisya of Tokyo in 1915 and renamed Persia Maru for their transpacific service. By 1922 she was operating on the Dutch East Indies route and in December 1924 was laid up at Yokohama where her furnishing and fittings were sold by auction. She was broken up at Osaka during 1926 after 44 years service.
IONIC (1) was built in 1883 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 4753grt, a length of 439ft 11in, a beam of 44ft 2in and a service speed of 14 knots. A slightly larger version of the Asiatic she was launched on 10th January 1883 and was powered, for the first time, by a Harland and Wolff engine. A fast freighter with limited passenger accommodation she was initially chartered with the Doric and the Coptic to the New Zealand Shipping Co. who were awaiting the delivery of new buildings for a joint service with Shaw, Savill & Albion. She sailed from Belfast on 26th March, arrived in London on 1st April and commenced her maiden voyage from London to Wellington via the Cape on 26th April completing the voyage in a record time of 43 days 22 hrs 5 mins. Prior to sailing from London she was inspected by the Prince of Wales who later became Edward V11. In December 1884 she was placed on the joint White Star – Shaw, Savill & Albion. the White Star vessels being crewed by their own personnel but managed by Shaw, Savill. On 8th February 1893 her propeller shaft snapped shortly after leaving Cape Town and she had to return there initially under sail and, then after three days, under the tow of Donald Currie’s Hawarden Castle. She arrived in Cape Town on 15th February when £7,000 was awarded as salvage and resumed her voyage in the April. In 1894 she returned to her builder and was extensively refurbished during which an economical quadruple expansion engine was installed which increased her speed to 15 knots. She made her last voyage from London to New Zealand via Cape Town, where she disembarked cavalry horses for the Boer War, in December 1899. In April 1900 she was chartered to the Spanish Government to repatriate troops from Manila following the war with the United States before being sold to the Aberdeen Line for £47,000 to replace the Thermopylae which had been lost in the previous September. Renamed Sophocles she commenced her first voyage for the Aberdeen Line on 23rd October 1900. On 21st August 1906 she made her final voyage and in April 1908 was broken up by Thos. W. Ward at Morecambe, Lancashire.
DORIC (1) was built in 1883 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 4784grt, a length of 440ft 11in, a beam of 44ft 2in and a service speed of 14 knots. Sister of the Ionic she was launched for the New Zealand trade on 10th March 1883 and during her positioning voyage to London called at Holyhead to embark Thomas Ismay and a party of celebrated guests. On 26th July she commenced her maiden voyage from London to Wellington via the Cape under charter to the New Zealand Shipping Co. During the voyage, on 27th August, a baby was born and christened William Doric Jenkin. In July 1885 she was allocated to the White Star – Shaw, Savill & Albion joint venture. She was chartered to the Occidental & Oriental Steamship Co. in 1896 for their San Francisco – Yokohama – Hong Kong service and after ten years commenced her final voyage on 8th August 1906 before being sold to the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. who renamed her Asia. After a refit she made her first sailing for Pacific on 11th June 1907. On 23rd April 1911 she was wrecked on Hea Chu Island near Wenchow in South China during a voyage from Hong Kong to San Francisco with no loss of life. The survivors were taken to Shanghai by China Navigation’s Shaoshing and the Doric was looted and and set on fire by local fishermen.
BELGIC (2) was built in 1885 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 4212grt, a length of 420ft 4in, a beam of 42ft 5in and a service speed of 14 knots. The first of a pair of sisters which were virtually the same as the Ionic she was launched on 3rd January 1885 and delivered on 7th July for charter to the Occidental & Oriental Steamship Co’s Pacific service. After completing her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York she commenced first voyage for O & O on 28th November from San Francisco to Hong Kong via Yokohama. In 1898 she made her final Pacific crossing before returning to the United Kingdom when, in the following year, she was sold to the Atlantic Transport Line who renamed her Mohawk. She commenced her first sailing from London to New York on 7th September 1899 and in the following December was requisitioned for service during the Boer War. After she was released in 1902 it was decided not to refurbish her and she was broken up at Garston, Liverpool during the following year.
GAELIC (2) was built in 1885 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 4206grt, a length of 420ft 4in, a beam of 42ft 5in and a service speed of 14 knots. Sister of the Belgic she was launched on 28th February 1885, commenced her maiden voyage from London to New York on 18th July and her first Pacific crossing for the Occidental & Oriental Steamship Co. on 10th November. In May 1904 O & O gave six months notice prior to cancelling the charter contract and on 13th December the Gaelic commenced her final voyage from San Francisco before returning to the United Kingdom. She was overhauled by her builder early in 1905 and in March of that year was sold to the Pacific Steam Navigation Co. who changed her name to Callao. Purchased for the Liverpool – Valparaiso – Callao service as a stopgap until the new Quillota was delivered she was finally broken up at Briton Ferry during September 1907.
CUFIC (1) was built in 1888 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 4639grt, a length of 430ft 8in, a beam of 45ft 2in and a service speed of 13 knots. The company’s first triple expansion engined vessel she was launched on 10th October 1888 for the carriage of general cargo outward bound to the USA and a 1000 head of cattle on the return. She commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 8th December. In 1896 she was chartered to Cia Trasatlantica Espanola of Cadiz for use as a horse remount carrier between Spain and Cuba during the Cuban revolution as the Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe. She came off charter in 1898 when she was renamed Cufic. In December 1900 she lost her propeller in the Atlantic and was towed into Queenstown by the Bristol City Line’s Kansas City for which a salvage award of £6,800 was made. She was sold to the Mississippi & Dominion Line Steamship Co. in 1901 and renamed Manxman for their Liverpool to New Orleans during the cotton season and US and Canadian ports at other times. In February 1902 the Dominion Line was taken over by J Peirpoint Morgan’s International Mercantile Marine Co. but that did not affect the ship’s operational programme. She was acquired by Elder, Dempster in 1915 who, in the following year, sold her to R. Lawrence Smith Ltd of Montreal for employment on Canadian Government service. In April 1917 she was taken over by the Shipping Controller under the Liner Requisition Scheme and in February 1919 was sold to the Universal Transport Co. of New York, later restyled United States & Canadian Transport & trading Co. of Toronto, who retained her name. On 18th December 1919 she foundered in the North Atlantic during a voyage from Portland, Maine to Gibraltar carrying wheat with the loss of all hands.
RUNIC (1) was built in 1889 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 4833grt, a length of 430ft 8in, a beam of 45ft 2in and a service speed of 13 knots. Sister of the Cufic she was launched on 21st February 1889 as a livestock carrier across the Atlantic. In May 1895 she was sold to the West India & Pacific Steamship Co. who renamed her Tampican. On 31st December 1899 she was transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co. with the rest of the fleet. She was sold to H. E. Moss & Co. of Liverpool in 1912 with the intention of being used within their non-tanker fleet which was owned by the Sefton Steamship Co. but, in the event, was almost immediately sold to the South Pacific Whaling Co. of Christiana who changed her name to Imo and converted her for the carriage of whale oil during the Antarctic whaling season. At 0845 on 6th December 1917 she collided with the French Line’s Mont Blanc, which was fully laden with explosives, in Halifax roadstead. The French ship blew up seventeen minutes later and the blast, which was felt some 120 miles away, obliterated the suburb of Richmond. 1,500 people were killed, 2,000 were never found, 8,000 were injured and 3,000 buildings in Richmond were destroyed. Across the water at Dartmouth thousands of buildings were damaged by the blast. The Mont Blanc was totally lost but the Imo, which had drifted clear, was swamped but only lost two masts, her funnel and all of her lifeboats. After she had been repaired she was, in 1918, tactfully renamed Guvernoren. On 26th October 1921 she sailed from Sandford and on 30th November, while proceeding in fog, grounded on rocks 20 miles from Port Stanley, Falkland Islands and was a total loss.
TEUTONIC was built in 1889 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 9984grt, a length of 582ft, a beam of 57ft 8in and a service speed of 20 knots. When her keel was laid in March 1887 her design was approved by the Admiralty who said that “it was the finest ever put forward”. As she had twin screws she was the first ship to have no square rigged masts and, in fact, despite having three gaffs carried no sails at all. Designed by the Hon. Alexander Montgomery Carlisle, Harland and Wolff’s chief designer, she was built under the Auxiliary Armed Cruiser Agreement and launched on 19th January 1889. Completed on 25th July 1889 she was delivered to Liverpool where she was converted into an Armed Merchant Cruiser within 24 hours and equipped with 8 4.7 inch guns. On 1st August she sailed from Liverpool to attend the Spithead Naval Review to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria as the first AMC. At Spithead she was inspected by the Prince of Wales and Kaiser Willhelm II on August 3rd but because the actual review was postponed until the following Monday because of bad weather the Teutonic had to leave on the Sunday because of her maiden voyage. Hence her omission from the Review line up. On her return to Liverpool she was disarmed for commercial service and sailed on her maiden voyage to New York with a call at Queenstown on 7th August, replacing the Baltic. In August 1891 she broke the westbound crossing record with a passage time of 5 days, 16hrs, 31mins at and average speed of 20.5 knots, a record which she held for the following twelve months. On 26th June 1897 she took part in Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Spithead Review, again as an Armed Merchant Cruiser and with the Megantic as her tender. During the review Charles Parsons took his yacht Turbinia ,which was the first vessel powered by steam turbines driving three propellers on three shafts, through the line of ships at an unheard of speed of 32 knots. The Turbinia was later moored alongside the Teutonic and Thomas Ismay and his guest were given a trial run at ’40 miles per hours’. In 1898 she collided with the US transport Berlin in New York harbour. When the Boer War was declared she was deployed as a transport in 1900. In February 1901 she was swamped by a massive tsunami following an earthquake and two men in the crows nest were washed onto the deck and survived. Had the incident happened during the day many passengers on the decks would have been washed overboard. In 1907 her departure port was changed to Southampton and on 12th June she made her first sailing to New York with a call at Cherbourg. She was rebuilt in 1911 and in June of that year operated on the White Star – Dominion Line summer service to Montreal and the winter service to Portland, Maine. In 1913 the First Class was discontinued and she was reconfigured to carry 550 2nd Class and 1000 3rd Class passengers. On 12th September 1914 she was urgently requisitioned for Armed Merchant Cruiser duties to replace the Aquitania which had been damaged following a collision with Frederick Leyland’s Canadian. Attached to the 18 ship 10th Cruiser Squadron she operated on Patrol ‘A’, North Faeroes to the ice belt. On 16th August 1916 she was acquired by the Admiralty and equipped with 6 inch guns and in December of the following year was placed in reserve for a year. She was recommissioned for White Sea convoy escort duties in October 1917 and attached to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron whose flagship was the Alsatian. In 1918 she was taken over by the Shipping Controller, with the White Star Line as managers, and used as a troopship between the UK and Alexandria with the capacity for 1500 persons. She was laid up in Cowes Roads in 1921 where she was sold and eventually broken up at Emden.
MAJESTIC (1) was built in 1890 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 9965grt, a length of 582ft, a beam of 57ft 8in and a service speed of 20 knots. Sister of the Teutonic she was ordered in March 1887, launched on 29th June 1889 and delivered on 23rd March 1890.Replacing the Republic she commenced her maiden voyage to New York on 2nd April and in July 1891 broke the westbound record between Queenstown and Sandy Hook with a time of 5 days, 18hrs, 8mins at an average speed of 20.1 knots, her only record. On 13th December 1899 she was requisitioned as a Boer War transport for service between Liverpool and Cape Town and on 12th February 1900 made a second trooping voyage between Southampton and Cape Town. During 1902-3 she was refitted by Harland & Wolff when her funnels were heightened by 10ft, her mast reduced to two and new boilers installed which increased her tonnage to 10,147grt. During 1905 she was damaged following a bunker fire when in dock at Liverpool. Her terminal port was changed to Southampton in 1907 and she commenced her first sailing to New York on 26th June. In November 1911 she was relegated to a reserve ship and spent much of her time laid up at Bidston Dock, Birkenhead. The wisdom of retaining a reserve ship was demonstrated in May 1912 when the Majestic replaced the Titanic which had been tragically lost in previous April. On 17th October she rescued the crew of the French schooner Garonne and on 14th January 1914 made her final sailing to New York after 24 years service. She was sold for £25,000 and on 5th May 1914 arrived at the yard of Thos. W. Ward at Morecambe where she was broken up.
NOMADIC (1) was built in 1891 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 5749grt, a length of 460ft 10in, a beam of 49ft 1in and a service speed of 13 knots. She was launched as a livestock carrier on 11th February 1891 and commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 24th April. In October 1899 she was the first White Star ship to be requisitioned as a Boer War troopship and horse transport and as HMT No.34 served for nearly two years. She was transferred within the International Mercantile Marine organisation to the Dominion Line under the company’s Steamship Amalgamation Plan in 1903 and in the following year was renamed Cornishman and deployed on the USA and Canadian routes. In 1921 she was transferred to Frederick Leyland & Co. for deployment on the same routes and with the same name. Sold for £10,500 she arrived at Hayle, Cornwall on 12th May 1926 and broken up at Lelant.
TAURIC was built in 1891 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 5728grt, a length of 460ft 10in, a beam of 49ft 1in and a service speed of 13 knots. Sister of the Nomadic she was launched on 12th March 1891 and commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 16th May. In 1903 she was transferred to the Dominion Line and made her first sailing from Liverpool to Portland on 12th March. She was renamed Welshman in 1904. Transferred with her sister to Frederick Leyland & Co. in 1921 she was eventually broken up at Bo’ness, Firth of Forth in December 1929.
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.