News from 1933: WHITE STAR'S 'BIG 4' PASSING FROM SEAS

Mark Baber

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The New York Times, 12 February 1933

WHITE STAR'S 'BIG 4' PASSING FROM SEAS
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Celtic, Cedric and Baltic Gone and the Adriatic Is Expected to Follow Soon
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FIRST SHIPS OF THE TYPE
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Long the Standard of Size and Comfort---The Baltic the Favorite of the Fleet

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The White Star liner Adriatic, which has just sailed for Liverpool via
Queenstown, is scheduled for two more voyages to this port, one in March and
the second in May. It is expected she will then be sold.

She is the last of the "Big Four" which made the fortune of the line and
enabled the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company to pay a dividend of 10 per
cent to its stockholders for more than twenty-five years. The three others,
Celtic, Cedric and Baltic, have been sold for breaking up.

The announcement that the Baltic was sold to a Japanese firm and would go
out to Kobe via the Suez Canal to be scrapped, was made by the White Star
Line management in London on Jan. 26. According to advices received
yesterday she is in the dock at Liverpool fitting out to be ready when the
Japanese crew arrives. The contract says that the ship is to be broken up
but does not stipulate when. She might be hidden away somewhere in the Gulf
of Po, west of Dairen, or to the eastward of that port in the Yellow Sea,
and possibly transport troops to Manchuria and be made otherwise useful, the
shipping men said.

When the Adriatic is sold the four big White Star liners, the first of their
type---size with slow speed, insuring steadiness and comfort to their
passengers---will be only a memory.

In the palmy days of Atlantic shipping these ships often carried in the rush
season 300 first, 400 second and 1,200 third class passengers and 15,000
tons of cargo. The Baltic, which made her last voyage to New York last
October, was the favorite of the four with the regular passengers. The
Liverpool wool and cotton men swore by her and would wait a week or more to
travel out or home on the Baltic.

Some members of the crew came out in the ship when she made her maiden
voyage in the Summer of 1903, and remained with her until she was turned
over to the Japanese ship-breakers recently.

One of these men was Peter James, the Singhalese bathroom steward on the B
deck, who was known to the late Andrew Carnegie, J. Pierpont Morgan, Colonel
W. C. Whitney and other noted Americans of bygone days who had their special
cabins reserved when the Baltic was one of the crack liners of the Atlantic.

The Adriatic on its last trip brought the news from Liverpool that Peter
James had died suddenly of influenza. He had made the last trip on the
Baltic in October and seemed sad when he was finally convinced that his old
ship would come to New York no more.

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