The Lives and Deaths of Ships


Mark Baber

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On 1 January 1889, cattle carrier Runic I (yard number 211) was launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast. She was sold by White Star in 1895, and then served three other lines under the names Tampican, Imo and Guvernoren.

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Mike, I've had several offers over the years to make my White Star history notes available "on demand," as it were, by putting them on a web site or message board, including ET and Great Ships. I can't quite put my finger on the reason(s), but I've never taken up any of those offers, preferring instead to leave them as a mailing list phenomenon.
 

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On 3 January 1885 Belgic II (yard number 171) was launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, for the White Star/Occidental & Oriental transpacific service. In 1898 she was sold to Atlantic Transport and renamed Mohawk. She was scrapped five years later.

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On 3 January 1912 Romanic made her final White Star sailing, from Genoa to Glasgow. She was then sold to the Allan Line, which renamed her Scandinavian, a named she retained after Allan was acquired by Canadian Pacific. Scandinavian was scrapped in 1923.

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On 5 January 1897, Delphic I was launched at Harland & Wolff. After three New York roundtrips (two from Liverpool and one from London), she was placed on the White Star/Shaw, Savill & Albion service to New Zealand, on which she spent her entire peacetime career.

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On 11 January 1883 Ionic I (yard number 152) was launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast. A freighter with accommodations for 70 passengers, Ionic carried the first engine made by Harland & Wolff for White Star. She served on the New Zealand service until 1899 and was sold to the Aberdeen Line in 1900.

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And on 11 January 1932 Cedric left Liverpool for breaking up at Inverkeithing.

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On 14 January 1899, Oceanic II, the first ship to exceed Great Eastern in length (although not in tonnage), thought by many to be the finest liner of the nineteenth century, was launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast. [For a more appropriate image, look here. MAB, 19 Feb. '08]


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Five years later, Canopic began her first sailing for White Star, from Liverpool to Boston.

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And on 14 January 1914 Majestic I left Southampton for New York on her final roundtrip voyage before being sold for breaking up.

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On 17 January 1873 Belgic I (yard number 81) was launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast. Like her sister, Gaelic I, she was purchased on the stocks from J. Bibby for White Star's South America service.
 

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Hmmm...looks like I missed one last time, then fell behind after taking last weekend off. Time to get up to date here.

On 17 January 1941, an apparently unnamed German convoy escort (ex-Traffic II) was sunk by a British torpedo during action in English Channel.

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On 19 January 1889 Teutonic (yard number 208) was launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast. The first passenger ship ever designed to be converted into an armed merchant cruiser Teutonic was also White Star's and Harland & Wolff's first twin screw vessel and first without square rigged masts.

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On 23 January 1909, while en route from New York to Madeira and Naples, Republic II was rammed by Lloyd Italiano's Florida in fog off Nantucket. Republic sank the next day, but Florida made it safely to New York. Six deaths resulted from the collision---three Republic passengers and three Florida crew members---but eventually all of the remaining passengers from both ships were transferred to Baltic II and were taken to New York.

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On 23 January 1921 Haverford (Capt. Jones) completed her first White Star sailing after being transferred from the American Line, arriving at Philadelphia from Liverpool with 533 passengers.

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[A paragraph about Majestic I and an image have been removed as redundant of what appears earlier for 14 January. MAB]
 

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On 25 January 1917, en route from Liverpool to Halifax, armed merchant cruiser Laurentic I (Capt. Reginald Norton, R. N.) hit two mines laid by U 80 and sank in 125 feet of water off Lough Swilley. Of the 475 on board, 354 died, many of exposure after reaching safety in the sinking ship's lifeboats. Also on board was £5 million in gold, to pay for Canadian munitions; between 1919 and 1924, all but 25 out of the 3211 gold bars were recovered.

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On 27 January 1889 Republic I arrived at New York on her final White Star sailing. Later in 1889, Republic was sold to Holland America and renamed Maasdam; still later, she was sold several more times and had several other names before being broken up in Genoa in 1910.

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On 3 February 1874 Britannic I (yard number 83) was launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast. Laid down as Hellenic, but renamed before launch, Britannic was White Star's first two-funneled steamer.

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On 3 February 1894 the tender Pontic (yard number 283) was launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
 

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On 4 February 1891 Celtic I (Capt. Nicol) made her final White Star voyage, from Liverpool and Queenstown to New York. After two years of inactivity, she was sold to the Thingvalla Line in 1893 and renamed Amerika, but made only eight Copenhagen-New York roundtrips for Thingvalla in four years before being scrapped at Brest in 1898.

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Thanks for the kind words, Grant. Much appreciated.

On 7 February 1898 Holland America's Veendam (ex-Baltic I, an image of which will appear here when we get to an event that occurred when she was Baltic) foundered in the North Atlantic twelve hours after striking a submerged wreck. There were no fatalities; all aboard transferred safely to the American Line's St. Louis, which responded to Veendam's distress signals. After the ship was abandoned, she was set afire to prevent her from being a danger to navigation.
 

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On 10 February 1896 Oceanic I, Thomas Ismay's pioneering steamer, left Belfast for breaking up on the Thames, after it was decided that it would not be economical to refurbish her for further service.

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On 11 February 1891 livestock carrier Nomadic I (yard number 236; shown here in her later incarnation as Cornishman) was launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast.

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Two years later, on 11 February 1893, her sister Naronic left Liverpool on her 7th round-trip to New York, with 74 people aboard, including 14 cattlemen. After putting off her pilot, William Davis, at Port Lynas, she was never seen again. Naronic is the only White Star ship ever to have gone missing.
 

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On 12 February 1899 Adriatic I arrived at Preston, where she was broken up.

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On 12 February 1917 Afric was torpedoed twice by UC 66 twelve miles off Eddystone light, en route from Liverpool to Sydney, and sank with 22 deaths and 145 survivors. Afric was one of only five Australian-requisitioned transports sunk during the war.

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On 13 February 1936 Majestic II left Southampton on what would turn out to be her final transatlantic roundtrip; on her return she was laid up due to the imminent arrival of Queen Mary. Sold to Thos. W. Ward for scrapping in May, she was then resold to the Admiralty for use as a cadet training ship called HMS Caledonia. Caledonia burned and sank at her mooring at Rosyth in 1938, was sold back to Ward for scrapping in 1940, and was broken up at Inverkeithing in 1943.

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