Monday, July 2, 2007

Titanic's sister ship Britannic

What of the other sister ship to the Titanic? Britannic was the last out of the three ships to be constructed. After the Titanic disaster in 1912, the Britannic was considered to be even more 'unsinkable' than the Titanic, and was even more luxurious! She carried 48 lifeboats, she had a double side and bottom which was constructed out of steel. Her watertight bulkheads extended all the way up to boat-deck.
She was launched on the 26th of February, 1914. These are the following statistics of the Britannic... gross tonnage 48,158, 882 ft, and 9 in, 94 ft wide, 34 ft of ship was under water. 4 funnels, 2 masts, 3 engines, 3 propellers.
The Britannic was going to serve in route between Southampton, and New York. At the break of WW1 she never saw commercial use. The British Navy paid for the use of commercial ships, but did not compensate for the loss of them. The maiden voyage began on December 23d, 1915, as a hospital ship.
After disastrous results from the Gallipoli campaign, the military needed hospital ships, and the Britannic was called for! She was painted white with red crosses and had a green strip running across about midway. She was placed under command of Captain Charles A. Bartlett!
She successfully completed five missions between the Mediterranean and the United Kingdom carrying the sick and wounded. She began her sixth voyage on the 12th of November 1916, and reached the first leg of her mission, she stopped to take on coal and water, as normal.
At 8:12, on Tuesday November 21st 1916, a terrible explosion shook the ship from bow to stern. In the dining room the reaction was the same, doctors and nurses rushed to their posts. The captain was on the bridge at the time of impact, and the first reports of news were very disturbing! The explosion had taken place on the starboard side of the ship, and damaged two holds, and the force of the explosion damaged a watertight bulkhead. This means that the two first watertight compartments were filling rapidly with water! Boiler room six had been severely damaged, as water poured in at an uncontrollable rate.
Captain Bartlett ordered the watertight doors shut, and sent out a distress signal, and ordered the crew to ready the lifeboats. For some unknown reason several of the watertight doors did not shut, and as a result the Britannic was brought to her maximum flooding level. She could stay afloat at this rate if she remained motionless. But there was one bad mistake that sealed the fate of the Britannic, in the lower areas of the ship the nurses had opened the portholes to vent the ship, as the Britannic began to settle in the water the water poured into the open portholes, thus filling the Britannic's seventh watertight compartment. Her fate as well as the Titanic was sealed, nothing could be done.
On the bridge the Captain was trying to save his ship, the Britannic was sinking fast, too fast! In just ten minutes the Britannic had developed a bad list to starboard. To his right the Captain could see the shores of Kea, three miles away. He was going to make a last effort to beach the ship, but this would not be an easy task, because of the bad list to starboard, and to make things worse the 100 ton rudder was not responding, somewhere the steering gear had broken. But giving more power to the left propeller would serve the purpose. Britannic slowly started to turn right, she was sinking!!!
At the same time sailors were standing next to the lifeboats waiting for orders, not knowing what to do since the Captain was trying to beach the Britannic. Stewards came up from below decks running to the lifeboats in panic, the officer by the boat kept his nerve, and refused them to get in, but then changed his mind thinking that he did not want them around when the evacuation began! This officer in particular was not aware of any orders not to lower the lifeboats, but when he saw that the engines were running he order the lifeboats to stop six feet above the water until further orders, stopping six feet above the water was not received very well by the occupants of the lifeboat, as they began to curse the officer.
Assistant Commander Harry W. Dyke was organizing two lifeboats to be launched to rescue men that had already jumped into the water. The two lifeboats that were hanging six feet above the water were dropped into the water and hit violently. They were launched without the permission of the officer who had declined earlier. Then something happened that was not expected, and could not be helped. The two lifeboats were headed straight to the giant propellers that were now well out of the water, as the lifeboats reached them they were instantly ripped apart along with the people in them. When news of the massacre reached the bridge, the Captain ordered the engines stopped. There was no need of killing everybody that got into a lifeboat. The propellers stopped just as a third lifeboat came upon them!
With that Captain Bartlett gave the order to put the boats away, and abandon ship!
At 09:00 Bartlett sounded one last blast on the whistle and then just walked into the water, which had already reached the bridge. He swam to a collapsible boat and began to co-ordinate the rescue operations. The whistle blow was the final signal for the ship's engineers {commanded by Cheif Engineer Robert Fleming} who, like their heroic colleagues on the Titanic, had remained at their posts until the last possible moment. They escaped via the staircase into funnel #4 which ventilated the engine room.
The Britannic rolled over onto her starboard side and the funnels began collapsing. Violet Jessop saw the last seconds: "She dipped her head a little, then a little lower and still lower. All the deck machinery fell into the sea like a child's toys. Then she took a fearful plunge, her stern rearing hundreds of feet into the air until with a final roar, she disappeared into the depths, the noise of her going resounding though the water with undreamt-of violence...". It was 09:07, only fifty five minutes after the explosion. The Britannic then became a time capsule on the bottom of the Aegean. She is the largest liner at he bottom of the ocean! There we have the whole story of the Olympic class of liners. Two of them led short and sad lives, and the other was sold for scrap. What was to become the last word in luxury never served as a commercial liner, the other sank on its maiden voyage, and the other led a hard life. It was a doomed idea!


mom said...

Jolly good post Daniel!!!

Pastor McEntire said...

Great story!

Olivia said...

Top stuff, oh brother of mine.

Anonymous said...

What a story all three of the Olympic Line ships made! Each in her own way, the three of them made history and changed history. What a legacy!

Daniel said...

I'm glad that you all could derive something from the sad story!
Truly the story of the Olympic class ships are second to none on the life of ocean liners at sea!!!


That was such a good story, I read and re read every line. I did not know all of that and it is so sad. I am glad I visited you today, Daniel. Grandma

The Holy Pope...Just joking said...

Aha, actually my name is Faith. I love your website on these ships! It really helped me understand what had happened and I was so interested that I decided to do my Social Studies project on it! Thanks to your help I got 1st place and am going to States! Thanks again.


Anonymous said...

My dad said the designer who died in thte titanic incident said not even God can destroy it. God must've sent it to the murky depths.

That was good!! I'm only in 7th grade!

Anonymous said...

It's not 4:50 its past 7:00.

same person

Anonymous said...

That was a great read, I like the pictures too.

Anonymous said...

wow i didnt know that some how i feel related to the titanic im searching to see who went on it to see if any of my family or friends were on it or died on it

krissy k.

Anonymous said...

yeah you shouldn't challenge when they said that not even god could sink titanic,maybe that was gods way of prooving them wrong,but you never really know

frankv said...

A great story !! A Movie must follow suit !! Titanic's Sister "Britannic"

frankv said...

A great story. A Movie Should be made of this incredible story; Titanic's Unsinkable Sister "Britannic".

amanda said...

I have four this very informative.I have never heard a lot about any of the sister ships.It is a very sad story.Now a sad part of history.I agree that a movie should be made.Thanks for your information.

Mike said...

Wonderful information Danial, thank you!