Georgic II
  • Builder: Harland and Wolff
  • Yard No.: 896
  • Launched: 12th November, 1931
  • Maiden Voyage: 25th June, 1932, Liverpool - New York
  • Gross Tonnage: 27,759 tons
  • Length: 682 ft.
  • Beam: 67.3ft.
  • Decks: 8
  • Funnels: 2 (Fore funnel dummy, containing radio room.)
  • Masts: 2
  • Propellers: 2
  • Engines: 2 x 10 cylinder, oil burning engines, 4 stroke double acting, creating 13,000h.p. each
  • Boilers: N/A
  • Speed: 18 knots
  • Port of Registry: Liverpool
  • Carrying Capacity: 504 cabin, 551 tourist, 498 third class
  • Sister Ships: Britannic III

Georgic II was built at the Belfast yard of Harland and Wolff, and was launched on the 12th November, 1931. She had the sad distinction of being the very last ship to be constructed for the White Star Line fleet. She differed to her sister ship, Britannic III, in that Georgic II had a curved bridge, opposed to her sister's flat one.

Georgic II underwent her sea trials on the 4th June, 1932, and the invited guests were taken to her aboard the Ulster Monarch. Georgic II's trials were a success, and she was handed over on the 10th June, and she arrived at Liverpool on the 12th, ready for her maiden voyage, which followed on the 25th June, between Liverpool and New York, where she arrived 12 hours early.

In the September of 1932, Georgic II hosted the first of a number of annual charity banquets in the Gladstone Dock, in Liverpool. Out of season, she cruised out of New York, like her sister, Britannic III.

On the 11th January, 1933, Georgic II replaced her fellow White Star Line ship Olympic during her overhaul on the Southampton to New York run, and later the same year, she landed a record cargo of 3,000 tons of fruit at Liverpool.

On the 10th May, 1934, Georgic II became part of the Cunard-White Star Line fleet, after the merger of the two.

In January, 1935, a fire in Georgic II's forward hold, of cotton, was extinguished before it took hold. In the April of the same year, Georgic II joined her sister Britannic III on the London, Southampton to New York service, making her first sailing on the route on the 3rd May. Georgic II was the largest vessel to use the Port of London, however, she didn't use it again.

In the September of 1939, Georgic II reverted to the Liverpool to New York route, making five return voyages, before being requisitioned for trooping.

On 11th March, 1940, Georgic II was requisitioned, and on the 19th April, work began to convert her into a troopship capable of carrying 3,000 troops. In May, Georgic II was used to evacuate British troops from Andesfjord and Narvik, in Norway, landing them on the Clyde. After that, Georgic II assisted in the evacuation of troops from Brest and St. Nazair in France. After making two Atlantic trips, between July and September, Georgic II travelled to the Middle East with soldiers from Canada. This was followed by two more crossings of the Atlantic.

MV Georgic Wrecked

On 22nd May, 1941, Georgic II left the Clyde, carrying the 50th Northumberland Division, heading for Fort Tewfik. She was in a convoy that was under protected, due to the vessels involved in finding the Bismarck, arriving on the 7th July. On the 14th July, whilst anchored at Fort Tewfik, in the Gulf of Suez, and whilst waiting to move 800 Italian internees, Georgic II was bombed by German planes, suffering two hits, which set her on fire, aft. Georgic II's fuel caught fire, which gutted her mid ship section, and caused her ammunition store to explode, wrecking the stern area too. On 16th July, Georgic II was beached, half submerged, and burnt out. On the 14th September, a decision was made to salvage Georgic II. On the 9th October, using the pumps of the salvage vessel Confederate, the hull of Georgic II was eventually raised on the 27th October. On the 5th December, the plugging of Georgic II's hull was complete, and on 29th December, she was towed by Clan Campbell, of the Clan Line, and with City of Sydney, of the Ellerman Line, astern, to Port Sudan. It took thirteen days, and Georgic II was then made more seaworthy.

On the 5th March, 1942, Georgic II was towed to Karachi, by the Hong Kong tug, H.M.S. Sampson, together with the cargo ship Recorder, of T. & J. Harrison's, plus Haresfield, of the British India, astern. On 31st March, after 26 days, Georgic II arrived at Karachi in India for further repairs, which were all completed on the 11th December. On 13th December, Georgic II was dry docked at Bombay, to enable further repairs, and hull cleaning. She was then loaded with 5,000 tons of pig iron ballast, which earned £10,000 as freight.

MV Georgic Single Funnel

On the 20th January, 1943, Georgic II left Bombay for Liverpool, arriving on the 1st March, and then on to Belfast, where she had to anchor in Bangor Bay awaiting a berth.

On the 12th December, 1944, and after 17 months of work and repairs, Georgic II emerged with just one funnel, and a stump foremast. She was owned by the Ministry of War Transport, with Cunard-White Star Line as her managers. Georgic II was handed over, on the 16th December, at Liverpool.

In 1945, Georgic II found herself on trooping duties once again, this time to Italy, the Middle East, and India too. On the 25th December, Georgic II arrived in Liverpool with troops from the far east, among them the Commander in Chief of South East Asia, General Sir William Slim.

In 1946, Georgic II repatriated over 5,000 Italian prisoners of war, and then was involved in trooping for the Royal Air Force from India. On one of these voyages, Georgic II landed two cases of smallpox at Suez. Once she reached Liverpool, she was then out of quarantine. In the June of same year, Georgic II was inbound from Bombay, when a disturbance broke out between civilian and service women, over their status, and accommodation. This led to the end of carrying civilians on troopships, unless their was no other ship available.

In the September of 1948, Georgic II was refitted by Palmers & Co., of Hepburn, for the Australian and New Zealand emigrant service, with White Star Line livery. After the refit, Georgic II could carry 1,962 single class passengers. She also carried out some troop garrison replacement sailings.

In the January of 1949, Georgic II made her first sailing on the Liverpool, Suez, Freemantle, Melbourne and Sydney route, with 1,200 assisted passengers aboard. Upon leaving Liverpool, a rope got tangled around a propellor, and Georgic II had to return to port.

On 4th May, 1950, Georgic II was chartered back to Cunard to operate on the Liverpool to New York route, and continued in her White Star Line livery.

On 22nd March, 1951, Georgic II was chartered once more to Cunard, on the Southampton to New York route for the summer. This schedule, of seven round voyages, was repeated for the next three years.

On 19th October, 1954, Georgic II made her final sailing from New York, and came off charter.

On 16th April, 1955, Georgic II arrived at Liverpool carrying troops from Japan, and was then offered for sale. In May, Georgic II was chartered by the Australian Government. On 19th November, Georgic II made her final voyage, between Hong Kong and Liverpool, with 800 troops. On the 11th December, Georgic II was laid up at Kames Bay, on the Isle of Bute, pending disposal.

In the January of 1956, Georgic II was sold for scrapping, and on the 1st February, she arrived at Faslane, for demolition at Shipbreaking Industries Ltd.


N.B. Image source (top)  Wikipedia

N.B. Image source (middle) Titanic White Star Ships

N.B. Image source (bottom) Britain's Small Wars



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