Ionic I

Ionic I was the first of the White Star Line's vessels to be equipped with engines constructed by Harland and Wolff, and she was launched on the 10th January, 1883. She was chartered, with fellow White Star Line stablemates Coptic and her sister ship, Doric I, to the New Zealand Shipping Company, until the arrival of their five new steam ships. On the 1st April, 1883, Ionic I began her maiden voyage between London and Wellington, which she completed in a record of 43 days, 22 hours, and 5 minutes.

In the December of 1884, Ionic I was placed on the joint White Star-Shaw Savill & Albion service. The four White Star Line ships were crewed by the company, but she ships were all managed by Shaw, Savill & Albion.

On the 8th February, 1893, Ionic I broke her propeller shaft shortly after leaving Cape Town, and was forced to return to port under sail, until she was towed in by the Hawarden Castle. The Hawarden Castle was awarded £7,000 salvage rights, and in April, Ionic I resumed her voyage.

In 1894, Ionic I underwent an extensive refit, including the fitting of more economical quadruple expansion engine, which gave her another knot or two, and her funnel was also heightened at this time.

In the December of 1899, Ionic I made her final voyage on the London, Cape Town and New Zealand route, however, she did visit Cape Town once more, with horses for the Boer War.

In the April of 1900, Ionic I chartered to the Spanish Government to bring home troops from Manila, following the war with the U.S. She was then sold to the Aberdeen Line, to replace the loss of their ship Thermopylae, for £47,000, and was renamed Sophocles, and made her first sailing for them on the 23rd October.

Sophocles made her final voyage, on the 21st August, 1908, and was broken up at Thomas W. Ward's Morecambe yard, where Majestic I was also later scrapped.


N.B. Image source: National Library Of New Zealand



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