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Celtic II

Celtic II was the first of the four near-identical White Star liners which would be launched in the space of five years, often referred to as the 'Big Four'. She was launched at Harland and Wolff's Belfast yard on 4th April, 1901, and her maiden voyage between Liverpool and New York would take place just over three months later, on 26th July. Her weight, at 21,035 tons, would make her the first ever vessel to exceed the 20,000 ton mark, and more importantly, the first vessel to outweigh Brunel's Great Eastern.

The Liverpool - New York route would be Celtic's stamping ground for almost her entire twenty-seven year career, apart from one or two cruising stints, and a VERY fortuitous war service, during which she managed to hit a mine in 1917, just off the Isle of Man. The mine tore a huge hole in her, but luckily, the flooding only affected her No. 1 hold, and after a tow to Liverpool, she was fixed and back in war service in six weeks. Then in 1918, she was torpedoed by a U-boat soon after departing Liverpool, and this time there were six fatalities. She was beached to prevent her from sinking, and later refloated, and taken to Belfast for repairs.

Celtic's good luck ran out in 1928, when she ran aground not half-a-mile from the entrance to Queenstown harbour. There were no casualties, but efforts to refloat the vessel failed, and the White Star Line, faced with the prospect of repairing the badly damaged and ageing vessel decided to cut their losses, and scrap her. In a rather sad end to her steady career, she was shorn of her rigging, masts and funnels so as not to block the view of vessels approaching the harbour, and left on the rocks rusting for some months before the Danish ship-breaking company Peterson & Albeck bought her and scrapped her where she lay.

 

 

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