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RMS Olympic sunk between 6 April 1917 and 11 November 1918

Discussion in 'Olympic' started by George GJY, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. George GJY

    George GJY Member

    If RMS Olympic was sunk after its sister ships and the American entrance into WW1 during the time frame of WW1 or shortly after, what happens? What will White Star Line get after WW1 as war reparations? And, how will the company survive without all 3 of its best liners as intended for the company?
    [Preferably 1918 for minimal butterflies, but the British and American could better use, rotate or repair their liners and army divisions with Olympic's loss and WW1 shouldn't be affected too much.]

    Now, what if RMS Olympic was sunk on a post-war transatlantic voyage between the German war reparations received by White Star and the Great Depression with heavy loss of life?

    Title applies for a 11 November 1918 to 24 October 1929 sinking as well.

    Especially interesting would be a late 1918 sinking of RMS Olympic.

    Mark Chirnside's Reception Room: Olympic, Titanic & Britannic: Target Olympic - Feuer!

    Or U 103 getting its torpedoes ready for a down the throat sinking of Olympic.
    SM U-103 - Wikipedia
  2. George GJY

    George GJY Member

    Even more interesting would be Olympic sinking between 1921 and 1925. What happens?
  3. White Star would receive cash compensation for her loss in government service, as they did for Britannic. The government underwrote such losses given the difficulties (or rather, impossibility) of obtaining private insurance under such conditions.

    White Star would not 'get' any particular ship in reparation. (For example, Bismarck was not a replacement for Britannic, contrary to popular belief.) The tonnage they purchased after the war was on their decision, purchased from the United Kingdom government. Therefore, White Star would have been able to purchase Bismarck and Columbus (Majestic and Homeric) just as they did in reality.

    Given the profits generated by the remainder of the fleet, the company would have been damaged but not fatally. Cunard and White Star were already operating a profit-sharing agreement with joint ownership of Majestic and Berengaria in 1922-32, so perhaps we would have seen further co-operation with some sort of joint operation of an express service.

    Best wishes

    Tim Aldrich likes this.
  4. It didn't happen. 'Nuf said.

    -- David G. Brown
    Harland Duzen likes this.
  5. George GJY

    George GJY Member

  6. SS Columbus remained in German hands after the war, with her original owners. On that basis, the answer is no.

    More broadly, although her sister Homeric operated on White Star's express service for about a decade, she was more of an intermediate liner and so not really suited to the service she was employed in. To illustrate the point, her average passenger lists (the total carried in all three classes) could be less than Majestic's average first class passenger list on its own. White Star were discussing replacement tonnage early in the 1920s.

    Best wishes

  7. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    The American Immigration Act of 1924 imposed heavy restrictions and a sharp decline in immigrants to America e.g. Between 1901-1914, 2.9 million Italians immigrated to America, with an average of 210,000 per year. Under the 1924 Act the number was reduced to 4,000 per year with quotas, caps, and bans on various countries. The loss of the Olympic would probably not affect the service as the shipping lines were building smaller and faster ships for first class and tourist class passengers, rather than sticking to the older larger immigrant ships.

  8. We need to be careful not to exaggerate the impact of the decline in third class traffic in the early 1920s. That was something much more evident in overall passenger numbers than revenues, the vast bulk of which were from first and second class. Ships of Olympic's ilk continued to generate substantial profits and all the evidence and figures we do have makes clear they remained profitable on both a gross and net basis until the Great Depression sent them into the red in the early 1930s.

    If we take Olympic as an example, before the war she tended to average between six and seven hundred passengers in third class; in the years immediately after 1922, the average came down to over two hundred. She retained her pre-war popularity with first class passengers until 1930 but, although the smaller numbers of third class passengers resulted in lower average passenger lists, the companies were losing the passengers who paid the least per person per ticket.

    I'm not sure about the reference to 'smaller and faster ships'. Cunard and White Star, from the mid 1920s onward, were both looking at much larger and faster designs for replacement tonnage as far as the express service was concerned. Meanwhile, White Star's cabin liners subsequently operated on a smaller, slower and more economical model and achieved considerable success.

    Best wishes

    Tim Aldrich likes this.
  9. Scott Mills

    Scott Mills Member

    Well, it was in compensation for Britannic from the point of view that White Star used the money they received for the loss of Britannic to purchase her from the British government to replace the gap in White Star's planned service that Britannic's loss represented.
  10. Scott

    The issue here is that Britannic was a mortgaged asset, as with all other vessels in the fleet. In consequence the cash compensation had to be lodged with the trustees for the bondholders.

    Best wishes

  11. Scott Mills

    Scott Mills Member

    Certainly, and once White Star paid off Britannic mortgage(s)/the shareholders and creditors, new financing was made available for the purchase of Majestic. Again, to be used in place of Britannic on the North Atlantic express run. Really though, I agree with you and am only pointing out that whether or not Majestic was a "replacement" for Britannic depends entirely on the point of view from which you are looking at White Star's acquisition of Bismarck following the First World War.

    Was Bismarck/Majestic given to White Star by the government of the United Kingdom to replace Britannic? No. Was Bismarck acquired via a complex system of government cash compensation, the pay off of preexisting obligations, and the securing of new funding for the purposes of taking Britannic's place in White Star's post-war express service? Yes.
  12. There's a fairly common misconception both that Imperator was directly given to Cunard to replace Lusitania and that Bismarck was directly given to White Star to replace Britannic, which isn't true and is what I was addressing - very briefly - earlier.

    Bear in mind that the mortgage debentures, which were secured against the White Star fleet including Britannic, were not 'paid off' prior to White Star's purchase of Bismarck. (The purchase cost was substantially less than Britannic's value at the time of her loss.)

    Best wishes

  13. Scott Mills

    Scott Mills Member

    Here is a question I have no idea about the answer to: was special consideration given to a bid for these war prizes to either company in virtue of the fact that both had lost ships impressed into services for the British armed forces?