Well we all know the fate of the Titanic, but what became of her sister ships, the Olympic, and Britannic?
We often zone out the Titanic like she was the only glorious ship of the day, but she had two rival sisters. The Titanic was out of a class of liners called the Olympic class, there were three ships in this class. So we'll go down the line in the order that they were built, the purpose that they served, and the fate that they suffered.
1. Though the Titanic and Olympic were built close to the same time, the Olympic was started a few months earlier.
Her keel was laid down December 1907, in shipyard No. 400. Her gross tonnage was 45,342 tons of riveted steel. She was driven by three propellers, and could make 21 knots. H&W built this ship, and she was launched October 20, 1910. She could carry 735 in first class, 674 in second, and 1,026 in third class.
She was the first of the three to cross the Atlantic Ocean, she made the first four trips uneventful, but alas on the fifth crossing she was rammed by the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Hawke. The Olympic stayed afloat and no one was injured, and it seemed to prove the fact that these new class of ships were unsinkable. It took workers two weeks to just patch her so she could return to Belfast to have repairs done, and after that it took six weeks to get her on the seas again.
In February of 1912 she had to return to H&W for repairs, after dropping a propeller blade!
Disasters have a way of getting men's attention to make them see the errors of previous ways. Thus was the case with the Titanic, after the disaster the Olympic again returned to the place of her berth to be 'updated.' The most notable thing was, she had more lifeboats added, as was the law now, but she also had her bulkheads extend all the way up to boat-deck, and she was given another layer of steel all the way around.
World War 1 broke out and the Olympic sailed on as normal, but as the war progressed less and less passengers began crossing the Atlantic fearing that the Olympic would be easy game. But on her return journey she ran across a British Battleship mortally wounded after hitting a mine, the Olympic took off all the crew and attempted to tow the warship into safe waters, but the magazine of the Battleship exploded, and she went to her watery grave.
After this transaction she was intended to be laid up until the war ended, but the Government required her services, as a fast troop transport. She was stripped of all her luxurious fittings, and had the famous 'dazzle paint' job.
She could carry up to 7,000 troops at one time.
The Olympic served proudly through the whole war, rescuing ships crews in distress, and she topped it all by being the attacker, instead of being on the run. During her 22nd troop carrying run the crew spotted a German submarine, the Captain ordered the ship to be turned around in order to ram the submarine, by the time the German crew knew what was happening it was to late, the Olympic tore a whole through the hull of the sub, some of the crew were rescued by a destroyer that was at hand.
The hard earned nick-name "old reliable" was soon put in place by the Captain, crew, and all who sailed on her.
In 1918 she again returned to Belfast too be fitted out to carry passengers again. she was converted to run on oil instead of coal, and this meant that she would need 300 less crew, she would be more efficient this way too. After 2.5 million to the White Star Line she returned to passenger traffic, and was loved, admired, and adored by all.
By 1933 sea travel diminished tremendously, due to several different reasons. The White Star Line, and the Cunard merged together in the early 1930's and began to sell off some of their ships, the Olympic's future seemed doubtful, after all she was 25 years old at this time.
By 1935 her time was up. They tried to sell her, but nobody wanted her, so she was stripped of her fittings, and superstructure, and the rest was sold for scrap.
I guess that's what happens to everything sooner or later, it is just kind of sad to me. She was built at the height of shipping engineering, she was a loved ship by everyone, she served well, and worked hard, and then was sold for scrap! She was built first out of the class, and survived the longest out of the Olympic class. There is just something eerie about that picture above to me.
Since we all know what happened to the Titanic, I'll be posting something on the sister ship Britannic. She as well had an interesting, and short life.