Bob Read

Active Member
There are those who would say that it never was intended to be named Gigantic. There are however a number of other pieces of evidence that seem convincing that it was. I personally believe it was intended to be Gigantic. The names of this class were supposed to convey massive size. After the sinking of Titanic it was clear that size alone did not necessarily mean safety which became a more important factor.
Originally it was thought that the larger vessel was necessarily safer. Titanic changed that. White Star now did not want to emphasize size and especially with a name like Gigantic. They emphasized safety and went to a more stately name like Britannic which had no negative connotations. Whether one agrees with that theory or not, it is the conventional "wisdom" at this time.

Mark Baber

Staff member
Hello, Ryan---

1. We're quite aware of the Greek mythological origins of the names, and have discussed it many times. Look, for example, here, here and here.

2. It might not be a bad idea to search the prior posts before posting a message suggesting that "I know something that you don't know." That kind of message is probably not appropriate in any event, but particularly when it's something that's been discussed here before.
I think that White Star changed the name because after the Titanic disaster, White Star knew that it would lose public support. White Star therefore changed the name to Britannic because it had a patriotic ring to it, which would hopefully gain back some public support.
I think the Gigantic story should be quietly scuttled in deep water.

In my e-book, I have assembled good evidence against it, including a hand-written document from Harland and Wolff.

The claims about the name come from unauthoritative sources and look very like a media beatup.
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Bob Read

Active Member
I must disagree with you. I believe from the links given above where Greek mythology was referenced that very strong evidence would suggest the Olympians, the Titans and the Giants
were to be represented in these names.
In addition to that I would point to the advertisement which I have linked to below.
Idle scuttlebutt? I think not.

Bob Read
Sorry, Bob, but that poster is exactly what I mean about unauthoritative sources.

It has no indication that it was issued by White Star or H & W. Worse still, the ship is in an approximation of Cunard livery. Anybody could draw and issue a fantasy poster.
Thank you Bob. I find it utterly ridicules that people take the word of H and W on this matter when other evidence proves otherwise. Obviously they were envisioned as Olympic Titanic and Gigantic. Britannic just does not have the same "tone" as Gigantic. It is more than obvious that H and W as well as WSL would do anything to put themselves in a better light. Just my idea. I don't see why they would make an ad for Gigantic just for fun.
"I don't see why they would make an ad for Gigantic just for fun."

I do. Whoever made the poster made it for the same reason people make posters of all kinds of things today. Today it's imaginary space ships, fantasy racing cars, mythical monsters and goodness knows what else.

All the sources for Gigantic are of this kind. There's a particularly silly story in The New York Times of 25 November 1911.

I stick to my guns and my source.

Bob Read

Active Member
I can't argue the authenticity of the poster. You would seem to have a larger problem. How do you discount the obvious incongruity of the name Britannic with the Greek mythological figures of the Olympians, the Titans, and the Giants? Unless I have forgotten my Greek mythology I don't remember the Britons. Stick by your guns but make sure they haven't been spiked.

Bob Read
Unless I have forgotten my Greek mythology I don't remember the Britons.

Perhaps White Star was indulging an extreme sense of "God is an Englishman" nationalism? ;-)

Forgive me if this post comes as pointless but both the 'Inside The Britannic' and the book 'Titanic Survivor Violet Jessop' both very briefly touch on the name change from Gigantic to Britannic and didn't say if it was anything related to Greek mythology, but did say that it was changed because the owners of White Star didn't want to tempt fate again with a name as suggestive as Gigantic. Doubt this is of any help, I just thought I'd throw it in.

In a small article published in The Nation titled "The Monster Ship" (May 9, 1912, vol.94, #2445, pp.454 - 455), which questions whether ships are getting too big, as a response to the Titanic disaster, the third ship from the Olympic class is referred to as "Gigantic". Someone obviously spread the word that the ship was going to be named "Gigantic". I have read the Britannic being referred to as Gigantic in many of the earlier sources. I thought this was perhaps even as late as August 1912, but I have no sources to confirm that. If the world was calling the third ship "Gigantic" incorrectly, wouldn't WSL would have wanted to do something about it?



PS. This article also proves that the ship was still being referred to as "Gigantic" at least almost a month after the Titanic disaster, which dispoves the common belief that WSL changed the name in a hurry after the disaster.