Olympic During War Time

James Doyle

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Jul 30, 2002
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I have always wondered about Olympic's interiors during WWI when she was a troop transport. What was done with the furnishings? I suspect large rooms such as the dining saloon and reception areas were made into bunks for the soldiers. Anyone have any pictures? Thanks
 
Jan 5, 2001
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No pictures, but dining rooms and other public areas were generally converted to house mass numbers of sleeping soldiers. Other rooms became dining halls. Suites and staterooms generally lost their fittings, although some of the finer first class suites evidently retained a bulk of their furnishings, and I know of one famous room that was used a number of important times during the war, in its plush condition.

The á la Carte restaurant retained its panelling (boarded over) until spring 1917. Meanwhile, the first class gymnasium retained its outfit and was available for use until at least 1915.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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James and Mark:

I am afraid I don't have any picture of the Olympic's hospital wards.

But I have attached a very rare image of the Aquitania's Hospital wards. IMO the layout of the public room would look very much the same.

Attached is a image of the Aquitania's First Class Carolean Lounge with the furniture removed and Hospital Beds Added.

52203.jpg
 
Sep 2, 2009
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Attached is an other image of Aquitania's Hospital Wards during World War I.

This image being Aquitania's First Class Paladian Lounge as a hospital ward complete with wounded.

52206.jpg
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi Steve,

Thanks for the pictures. In Olympic's case, I tend to believe that she was even more spartan in wartime for her trooping duties. (She asn't a hospital ship.) Nevertheless, these pictures are very interesting, as I have a mild interest in Aquitania; many thanks for taking the time and effort to scan and post them.

Kindest regards,

Mark.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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Mark:

I meant to say the officer's quarters on the Olympic not hospital wards. As I was thinking the public rooms would have been converted in basically the same manor only the might have been bunk beds instead of hospital beds.

I have a great Cunard Line brochure in the collection someplace called "On War Service" which is more a book then a brochure that gives details on all the various Cunarder's Services during World War I. It is full of fantastic images of the various interiors of the Cunard Liners as Troopships and Hospital Ships.
 

Meikel

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May 29, 2011
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I have always wondered: Was the Olympic's Grand Staircase removed for her wartime service? On the one hand, I doubt it, because it would be a huge effort to get it out of the ship and later back in, but on the other hand I have a hard time imagining soldiers sauntering up and down this marvelous staircase. If it was not removed, was it actually used by the soldiers?
 
Dec 29, 2006
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Witney
I have always wondered: Was the Olympic's Grand Staircase removed for her wartime service? On the one hand, I doubt it, because it would be a huge effort to get it out of the ship and later back in, but on the other hand I have a hard time imagining soldiers sauntering up and down this marvelous staircase. If it was not removed, was it actually used by the soldiers?
I would imagine that, as a general rule, the first class areas were reserved for officers, whereas the men would be confined to the third class areas. This would mirror the arrangements in barracks such as Cowley and Lancaster, where the officers mess was, in effect, a sort of "country house hotel" in which the officers could live in suitable comfort.
 

Meikel

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May 29, 2011
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I would imagine that, as a general rule, the first class areas were reserved for officers, whereas the men would be confined to the third class areas. This would mirror the arrangements in barracks such as Cowley and Lancaster, where the officers mess was, in effect, a sort of "country house hotel" in which the officers could live in suitable comfort.
Thank you for your quick reply.

This makes sense, but I wonder: The first class accomodations aboard the ship were quite large, were they not? Would there be that many officers to occupy them all or were some of them converted to house the lower ranks?