Encyclopedia Titanica

RMS Olympic at Cherbourg

Passengers board from tenders Nomadic and Traffic and enjoy deck games

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16mm home movie footage of tourists leaving the continent for America aboard the RMS Olympic, shots of tenders and on shipboard as passengers enjoy deck games...

This film beginning with views of the RMS Olympic at anchor at Cherbourg was shot in early 1928 but for the passengers on the Nomadic, waiting to board the Titanic at Cherbourg on 10 April 1912 this must have been an almost identical view.

The views come from a 16mm home movie that also takes in Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, and Italy, also included are a few ocean liner and boat-related snippets from Alexandria and somewhere off the coast of Turkey or Greece.  If you can identify any of the mystery ships let us know!


RMS Olympic Shot 1
1.  The starboard side of the Olympic seen at Cherbourg as our travellers return home to America.

Towards the bow of the Olympic there is an open door, this may be the location of the door to the 3rd class open space.

RMS Olympic Shot 2
2.  The camera pans the full length of the Olympic.

The tender Traffic is first seen towards the stern of the Olympic, moving forward, there was an entrance for 2nd class passengers and their baggage on E-Deck around this spot.

RMS Olympic Shot 3
3. The Traffic at Olympic's side

The Traffic is further forward now and not quite up against the hull of the Olympic.  The film is probably being shot from the Nomadic which pulls around the Olympic's stern. It is not perfectly clear but it appears that there is an entrance open on the Olympic's port side, so perhaps first-class passengers were embarked on that side, although as the starboard side would be the lee side the port entrance may only have been used in calm conditions.

Olympic at Sea

RMS Olympic Shot 4
4. Looking over toward the port side poop deck as the Olympic steams at speed.

The railings have windbreaks attached to them. The camera pans across revealing a gangway along the length of the open third-class promenade connecting the poop deck to the bridge deck. An officer emerges from behind a ventilator and sits down with two colleagues outside the 2nd class entrance.  On A deck passengers are playing shuffleboard and mini-golf near the main mast. A steward is seen walking around a little aimlessly!

RMS Olympic Shot 5
5. Olympic steaming along with possibly a slight heel, this time looking over the starboard poop deck.

Arrival in New York

RMS Olympic Shot 6
6., 7. At New York a tug approaches "NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD, FAST MAIL AND PASSENGER [??]" on its side

8. The American flag flying from (presumably) the Olympics mast.

9.,10 The Statue of Liberty at a distance and quite overexposed!


RMS Olympic Shot 11
11. Crew at work on the Olympic's forecastle. The camera pans across New York.

12. Passing Battery Park. The Whitehall building visible. The camera pans back to the forecastle as the crew prepare for docking.

13. Tugs alongside the hull of the Olympic.


14. The camera pans across the harbour right to left.  
An unidentified large two-funnel liner can be seen in the distance.  A single-funnelled steamer comes into view and the camera pans across its entire length.  This may be the Royal Mail Steam Packet Line SS Arcadian, ex-Asturias?  In the distance, beyond her bow can be seen the Ras el Tin Palace.

15. Beginning with the Ras el Tin Palace we pan right from a slightly different location... perhaps aboard the vessel seen in the previous shot?  
A white-hulled passenger/cargo vessel can be seen.  A lovely sailing dinghy passes nearby.  In the distance the same (probably) two-funnelled steamer.

16. A grey-hulled cargo vessel with a distinctive counter stern is seen.  
Many smaller boats are seen as the camera pans, and then the three-funnel Belgenland comes into view.

17. More vessels are seen as the camera pans again.

Turkey or Greece

18. Shots of the coast, and a cargo ship is passed. Various other small boats.

19. The Laurentic II is seen.

Related Ships



Credits: Unknown photographer, original films courtesy of Jim Kalafus.
Scanned in 2k.


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Comment and discuss

  1. Sam Brannigan

    Absolutely remarkable, especially the sense of speed from the stern as she races along. Thanks for this!

  2. Jason D. Tiller

    Incredible footage and what a treat for all us to see! Thanks for uploading it, Phil.

  3. Jason D. Tiller

    I am working on (or at least attempting to) identifying the vessels in question. But at this point, I can confirm that the ship seen at 3:50-4:00 is definitely the SS Arcadian, ex Asturias of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, not the Orient Line. The liner seen at 4:18 and 6:05 appears to be one and the same, but I'm not sure which ship it is yet.

  4. Jason D. Tiller

    The ship is the Laurentic II. Since she made only two cruises to the Mediterranean in January and March of 1928 it is either or, as to when this footage was filmed. Someone else identified the vessel as the Laurentic II, on the Encyclopedia Titanica Facebook page.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2022) RMS Olympic at Cherbourg ( ref: #690, published 20 August 2022, generated 2nd June 2023 08:12:02 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/film-of-rms-olympic-at-cherbourg.html