The Photographic History of RMS Olympic (Titanic's Sister Ship), 1911-1935

For two periods during 1910–13 RMS Olympic was the largest ocean liner in the world, interrupted by a brief stint of the slightly larger Titanic (which had similar dimensions but greater gross register tonnage) before the German SS Imperator entered service. happened. June 1913.

Olympic also held the title of largest British-built liner until the launch of RMS Queen Mary in 1934, interrupted only by the short careers of Titanic and Britannic.

The foundation stone for Olympic, Harland and Wolff Yard No. 400, was laid on December 16, 1908, under new Errol Gantry of the Harland and Wolff shipyard. It was here that he and his sister built the Titanic together. Tea

Progress on Itanic was delayed by a few months in view of the Olympics, and will enter service some time after the Olympics. The Olympics opened on October 20, 1910, and when it debuted, it became the world's largest moving object.

The Olympic – the world's newest, largest and most luxurious ocean liner – made her maiden voyage on June 14, 1911. It features J.J., president of the White Star Line and son of the line's founder. Bruce Ismay was on board.

Also aboard was Thomas Andrews of Harland and Wolfe, nephew of Lord Pirrie of Harland and Wolfe. Captain Smith – who was to command the Titanic on her legendary and ill-fated maiden voyage the following year – was in command.

Olympic was so notable that by the time she arrived in New York, a formal order had been placed for the third Olympic-class entrant.

During the next ten months, Olympic won the lion's share of fame on the Atlantic. Her sister Titanic was not given as much attention, simply because she was second in class. It was only after her sinking that the Titanic eclipsed Olympic fame.

Olympic made four round trips to New York and back to Southampton in the summer of 1911. Then, on September 20, 1911, she departed from Southampton on her fifth voyage westward.

As she proceeded towards the open sea, she encountered the 360-foot-long cruiser HMS Hawke. The two ships were sailing side by side on a nearly parallel course, with the cruiser on the starboard side of the liner.

At first, the smaller ship was overtaking Olympic, but then Olympic's engine speed was increased and the cruiser began to lag behind.

Suction from the larger ship's propeller began to increase, and Hawk was pulled head first into Olympic's starboard stern quarter. Hawk's bow was crushed, while Olympic's hull was breached, and her two largest watertight compartments were flooded.

Her crossing was cancelled, and she limped back to Belfast for repairs. This procedure kept her out of commission until late November.

Once she returned to service, Olympic proved that she was still a strong, dependable ship, even enduring severe punishment from the North Atlantic while sailing westward to New York.

On 9 October 1912, White Star withdrew Olympic from service and returned her to her builders in Belfast to incorporate lessons learned from the Titanic disaster six months earlier and make modifications to improve safety.

The number of lifeboats carried by Olympic was increased from twenty to sixty-eight and additional davits were installed on the boat deck to accommodate them. An inner watertight skin was also constructed over the boiler and engine rooms, creating a double hull.

On 4 August 1914, Britain joined the First World War. Olympic initially remained in commercial service under Captain Herbert James Haddock.

As a wartime measure, Olympic was painted grey, portholes were blocked, and lights on deck were turned off to make the ship less visible. The schedule was hastily changed to end in Liverpool instead of Southampton, and was later changed again to Glasgow.

The first few wartime voyages were filled with Americans stranded in Europe eager to return home, although eastbound voyages carried few passengers.

By mid-October, bookings declined sharply as the threat from German U-boats became increasingly serious and the White Star Line decided to withdraw Olympic from commercial service.

After the war, the ship underwent extensive renovation at Harland & Wolff, which included her conversion to an oil-firing power plant. She was then returned to commercial service.

Throughout the 1920s, she proved herself to be a solid, reliable ship. But even the great Olympics could not withstand the changing times. With the advent of newer, more modern-looking liners with more private bathrooms for first class passengers, Olympic began to look outdated.

When the Great Depression hit, this situation became even worse as passenger bookings continued to decline. Nevertheless, the ship managed to help keep the White Star Line running financially.

In 1934, at the behest of the British government, White Star Line merged with Cunard Line, forming Cunard White Star. This merger allowed funds to be provided to complete the construction of the future Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.

When completed, these two new ships will take over Cunard White Star's express service; So their old fleet of ships became redundant and gradually retired.

After being laid up for five months alongside her former rival Mauritania, she was sold for £97,500 to Sir John Jarvis, Member of Parliament, to be partially dismantled at Jarrow to provide work for the buried sector .

Olympic departed from Southampton for the last time on 11 October 1935 and arrived at Jarrow two days later. Scrapping began after the ship's fittings were auctioned.

Between 1935 and 1937, Olympic's superstructure was dismantled, and then on 19 September 1937, her hull was towed to Thos. W Ward's yard in Inverkeithing for the final demolition which was finished by the end of 1937.

At the time, the ship's chief engineer commented, "If the 'Old Lady' had lost her efficiency I could understand the necessity of it, but the engines are as good as ever".

By the time of her retirement, Olympic had completed 257 round voyages across the Atlantic, and traveled 1.8 million miles, carrying 430,000 passengers on her commercial voyages.

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