I find it funny just how many people are so nuts about raising the Britannic just so that they can have a floating link to the Titanic. They obviously don't consider the many structural differences between the two ships, and if a person were actually able to raise the ship they would still have to worry about getting rid of the oversized davits, the enclosed aft well deck, and the very large deck house on the poop deck. No point in it, if you ask me. As for Simon Mills, all I can say is thank God the wreck is owned by a person who sees more in the Britannic than the Titanic. Speaking of the Titanic, however, does anyone else think that it is rather fitting that the ship will have collapsed in on itself within the next twenty years?
Good point Matthew. Had Titanic and Britannic survived, it's very likely that the Olympic would be the one that was the most celebrated. Unfortunately, her sisters stole the limelight and save for die hard liner buffs such as ourselves, the Olympic is largely forgotten. (Strangely enough, so is Britannic.)
Sinkings will certainly grab attention, though it's a helluva way to become famous.
Fortunately, there are those of us liners enthusiasts who do remember Titanic's sisters. I know that several new books are in the works for the next few years from various authors and I think that interest in Olympic (and Britannic) will begin to truly pick up.
But sadly I doubt that the sisters will ever receive the attention that they truly deserve. As you said, sinking is a great attention-grabber. (Or *even* headline grabber!)
I definitely agree that sinkings grab more attention, but remember, many other ships that have been sunk in the past century have been easily forgotten by the public as well. The Lusitania is still well-remembered, but the average person on the street probably wouldn't have any idea what you were talking about if you mentioned it to him. The Empress of Ireland, the Britannic, the Republic and the Andrea Doria, forget about it. I've recently begun work on a new book about the Olympic Class, and I'm trying to approach this story from a much different angle.
"I definitely agree that sinkings grab more attention, but remember, many other ships that have been sunk in the past century have been easily forgotten by the public as well."
But interest is improving. The Empress of Ireland is coming into the spotlight through several new works, including David Zeni's and Derek Grout's [sic?]. Personally I must say that I am not very interested in her, but I do have a vague interest in Lusitania. I know Geoff Whitfield of the BTS has tried to introduce her into the society's Bulletin and other places, but the theme does not seem to catch on.
Yet, what about Mauretania? Or Aquitania, dame of the sea for thirty-six years? Those are all too often forgotten, as many an enthusiast will testify. Leviathan? Majestic? Or Homeric?
I've heard several people mention the BriTTanic [sic], but I prefer to talk about the Britannic. The false spelling even found its way onto the T-shirts of the 1997 dive. Simon Mills' second Britannic work should hopefully boost interest, though unfortunately not all interest is good.
I've recently begun work on a new book about the Olympic Class, and I'm trying to approach this story from a much different angle.
Yours was one of the works I referred to, you posted it on -- I think -- Michail Michailakis' Britannic site. I've had a crack at their story myself and wish you the best of luck with your research. Although my work was pretty much finished by the end of 2000, it is only now that publication is finally approaching for 2003. A new fourth work on the sisters would be welcomed wholeheartedly I am sure by many people in the community. There is so much undiscovered material about this incredible class.
Several other works I know about in confidence, so I can't mention those here and my apologies for that.
I agree that interest is rising in these ships, but I still don't think that Britannic will be coming out of the Titanic's shadow for at least another five or six years. Interest is rising, but it will take alot to get people to think of her as anything else. As for the book, thanks alot, I appreciate the encouragement.
I read some very interesting opinions.I fully agree with the six arguments presented above by Joshua so I won't consume your time by repeating the same things.However,I have some objections regarding ethics.
Many say that the Britannic shouldn't be salvaged because it's a war grave.That alone is not enough as a convincing argument.Following the same logic, all the archeologists who have explored and salvaged thousands of graves all over the world should be considered criminals and all the museums which host a great number of items taken from graves should be closed.So,I don't understand why Britannic should be an exception.
It's one thing to preserve something from the decay of time and the loss of memory and another thing to use it (and create a whole industry around it)just to make money.Two very recent examples to explain this better:
-If someone goes to Ground Zero today,he/she will find a large number of street merchants who make BIG money selling an equally large amount of items related to the Sep.11 attacks (T-shirts,coffee cups ecc)
-On the other hand,many items which were retrieved from the debris of the WTC from the rescue workers will be presented in a special exibition,and the earnings will go to the various relief funds.Many artists have also created works in order to support those funds (I've recently bought two excellent volumes -called "9-11"- created by the most famous comic book writers and artists).
I think that the difference is quite clear....
Concluding,I believe that some items must be retrieved from the Britannic,as reminders of its brief and unfortunate existence.Their number and nature must be carefully selected and then they should be placed in a maritime museum.Not because she was somehow related to the Titanic but because she was simply one of the greatest ships of her era.
I agree with you, Michail, that the memory of the Britannic should be preserved, but I don't think that a travelling display of artifacts from the wreck is the way to do it. First of all, there isn't very much aboard the wreck today that would be of much interest to anyone except people who are interested in the ship, i.e. rusty springs from hospital beds. Much of the deck equipment is still attached to the ship, so trying to retrieve those items is the undersea equivelent of vandalism. I feel that the wreck itself is a grave, but more than that I feel that these items have been on the bottom for more years than they were on land, and they are symbolic of one of the most tragic wrecks of World War I, simply because it never should have happened. Although I would be extremely curious to see a travelling display of artifacts from the Britannic, I believe that in the end I wouldn't go. So far I've had six chances to see items from the Titanic on display, but haven't because I don't believe that the people who retrieved them were doing it for the right reasons. There are plenty of items from the Britannic on land, and most interesting of them all would be her wonderful furnishings, which I would love to see exhibited someplace. Although many of my reasons for wanting to have those items kept on the seabed are sentimental, I just don't see what good salvaging them would do.
More books coming out Mark? You have my attention. I hope your own work manages to inspire some interest. The Olympics were indeed a remarkable class, but not because they were revolutionary. Rather it seems to me that they combined a lot of ideas knocking around at the time and put them in one hull with clean lines and excellant seakeeping qualities. Considering the topweight problems that bedeviled their contemporaries, they must have been a refreshing change. In their own way, they've been setting the standard ever since.
Oh, and Joshua, if you want to see eyes glaze over, just try mentioning that little fire that got slightly out of hand on the Yarmouth Castle.
Why does everyone post in the middle of the night? Sigh.
I agree that interest is rising in these ships, but I still don't think that Britannic will be coming out of the Titanic's shadow for at least another five or six years.
Who's to say she will ever come out of her sister's shadow? Unfortunately many of those interested will only like her because she is 'Titanic's sister.' It's something impossible to predict.
Regarding the salvage, I am neither pro- or anti- in a strict sense. I have seen dry Britannic artifacts at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.
Thanks for your well-wishes Mike. Hopefully more interest will develop in the Olympics. There is however so much misinformation that really needs to be uncovered. It's funny that at many museums such as the Maritime Museum at Greenwich and places like the PRO have their own 'Titanic' category in among the shipping material. Researches on Titanic vastly outnumber all others.
I'm delighted to hear that new works on Olympic and Britannic are in the works. They were a remarkable breed all right, and true ship buffs have every reason to honour them.
Sad to say, though, that to the average reader their biggest claim to fame will always remain the spectacular demise of their middle sister. Take Titanic out of the equation, and, well, you might as well try and sell a book about Majestic or Berengaria.
I have to agree that the designs for the Olympic were not all that new when they were put together. As far as I can see they were pretty much updated versions of the safety features aboard the Great Eastern. Even if the Britannic and Olympic are never as famous as the Titanic, they still make great subject matter for us, am I right?
Could you elaborate on your opinion of Olympic designs please Josh? I am slightly confused.
I don't think the safety features were updated compared to Great Eastern -- Walter Lord does a fascinating comparison in The Night Lives On. That said, despite all the undue criticism as to so-called 'deficient watertight bulkheads,' we cannot deny that the Olympics were certainly very safe for their time. Lusitania's design might be considered superior in some respects but it did not help when disaster struck.
It doesn't matter whether you are right or not as to whether Olympic and Britannic are a great subject matter; what matters is that any opinion is valid. Likewise the opinion that says that they are not.
I wasn't trying to knock anyone else's opinions, I'm sorry if it came out sounding that way. I also worded my comment about the Olympic's designs wrong, sorry about that too. What I meant to say was that all ships since the Great Eastern have been improving on her original designs while adding some new ones. I didn't mean to make it sound like the Olympic was just a bigger and more expensive version of the Great Eastern. However the Great Eastern was the first ship to feature watertight doors and the double skin, so it's safe to say that all ships that have incorporated this design into their plans are descendants of that particular ship. As for the opinions, that's why I started coming to this board. It's cool to hear other people's opinions about things like this, especially since I don't meet many people here who I can talk about this sort of thing with.