TITANIC-TITANIC.com | SS Britannic I


Britannic I was laid down at Harland and Wolff's Belfast Yard in 1873, as Hellenic, but she was renamed Britannic I before her launch, and was the sister vessel of Germanic. The two ships had been designed with a drop-propeller system that enabled the angle of the propeller to be altered at sea, but it had proved to very ineffective in service, and Britannic I's drop-propeller system was removed after just nine voyages, whilst the on Germanic was removed whilst she was still under construction. The two ships were also fitted with four masts, and carried yards and sails, which were really only there for emergencies, however, these would prove their worth in time.

On 3rd February, 1874, Britannic I was launched, and was Harland and Wolff's largest vessel to date, and designed to compete with the ships like the Inman Line's City of Berlin.

On the 25th June, 1874, Britannic I underwent her maiden voyage to New York. Britannic I held the westward and eastward records, with passages of 7.5 days each way, averaging 15.7 knots, making her the only White Star Line ship to hold both records at the same time.

Om the 9th June, 1876, Britannic I returned to service after her drop-propellor shaft was removed, and in service, Britannic I proved to be a very reliable ship, putting in some decent times over the years.

In the year 1881, Britannic I was in collision off Belfast with the Julia, which sank. In the July of that year, Britannic I was found herself stranded in thick fog at Kilmore, in Ireland. She was successfully refloated, but was found to have an engine room leak, and she was beached until she could be temporarily repaired. She was then towed to Liverpool by four tugs, where she underwent more thorough repairs. On 13th July, Britannic I docked at Liverpool, and missed just one voyage.

In the January of 1883, Britannic I towed her crippled White Star Line stablemate Celtic I into Liverpool. Upon Britannic I's own departure from Liverpool, and not long into her voyage, a squeaking sound was heard, which turned out to be a cracked propellor shaft, and her voyage was cancelled.

On 19th May, 1887, Britannic I, whilst travelling in fog, collided with Celtic I, 300 miles from New York. Britannic I was holed at the waterline, aft of her superstructure. Three of her steerage passengers were killed, and two were injured in the accident. Britannic I was escorted into New York by Celtic I.

In 1889, Britannic I was once again in collision with a vessel, this time in Liverpool Bay, where she hit the brig Czarowitz, which broke in two.

In 1890, Britannic I made her fastest crossing, with a time of 7 days, 6 hours, and 55 minutes, giving an average of 16.1 knots. Britannic I and her sister Germanic both increased their speeds with age.

Britannic I was given taller funnels in 1895, and two more lifeboats, but she kept the same engines, unlike her sister Germanic.

On the 16th August, 1899, Britannic I made what turned out to be her final crossing, as in October, she was requisitioned as Boer War troopship, becoming H.M. Transport No. 62. She carried a livery of a white hull, with buff funnels, and made ten voyages, two of which were to Australia.

On the 12th November, 1900, Britannic I sailed from Liverpool to represent Great Britain at the Review in Sydney Harbour, Australia, to mark the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia. Britannic I carried the honour guard, and en-route, she was grounded in the Suez canal.

In he October of 1902, Britannic I was sent to Harland and Wolff's at Belfast for a survey, and to be re-engined, however, the report into her modernisation was unsatisfactory.

In the July of 1903, Britannic I was sold to a German scrapyard for £11,500, and on the 11th August, she was towed to Hamburg, Germany for demolition.


N.B. Image source Wikipedia



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