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Megantic

Megantic was originally laid down in 1908 as Albany for the Dominion Line. However, by the time she was launched on the 10th December, at Harland and Wolff's Belfast yard she was under White Star Line ownership, and now called Megantic.

Megantic was one of two vessels, the other being her sister ship Laurentic I, that were to play a small but never-the-less important part in deciding what propulsion would be the most suitable for the upcoming Olympic-class liners. The two near-identical ships were fitted with different propulsion systems to compare how each setup performed; Megantic was fitted with two quadruple-expansion reciprocating engines driving two wing propellers, a standard propulsion method for the era. Laurentic I had the same setup but with an additional centerline propeller driven by a steam turbine utilising the exhaust steam from the outer engines, and it was this latter method that White Star Line and Harland and Wolff incorporated when designing the Olympic-class liners, Olympic, Titanic and Britannic. Laurentic I did in fact operate more economically than her sister, but it wasn't considered cost-effective retro-fitting the centerline propeller and turbine to Megantic.

Dr. Crippen escorted off MeganticMegantic started her career on 17th June, 1909, her maiden voyage taking her from Liverpool to Montreal, and became one of the quartet of ships which operated the weekly White Star/Dominion Joint Service.

Megantic was the ship used to transport Dr. Hawley Crippen and his lover, Miss. Ethel Clare Le Néve back to England to face trial over the disappearance of Dr. Crippen's wife, the actress Belle Elmore. They had tried to flee to Canada, making their way there on the Canadian Pacific Line's Montrose. However, the crew of the Montrose had become suspicious of Dr. Crippen, and had the forethought to wireless Scotland Yard about Dr. Crippen and Miss. Le Néve. But Dr. Crippen, who was an American citizen, would be outside British jurisdiction if he made it to land in Canada, so Inspector Dew of Scotland Yard booked a ticket on Megantic's sister ship Laurentic I, and caught-up with Crippen's ship the Montrose at Father Point, St Lawrence. The Montrose allowed Inspector Dew on-board, and Crippen was arrested, and returned on Megantic, arriving in Liverpool on the 27th August, 1910. Crippen was subsequently tried, found guilty of murder, and hanged.

On Saturday, 3rd October, 1914, Megantic left Gaspé as part of the famous 32 trooper convoy, escorted by Charybdis, Diane, Eclipse, Glory and Talbot. After 10 days at sea, and approaching the U.K., the massive armada split  into smaller squadrons, and broke-off for the relative ports of disembarkation. Megantic was allocated the White Squadron with Bermudian, Royal Edward and Franconia, and set off at full speed for Plymouth. The squadron were to arrive a tide ahead of the Blue Squadron. On the 14th October, she was anchored off Devonport.

On 30th November, 1914, Megantic was placed on the Liverpool to New York route.

During April, 1915, Megantic was used as a troopship, and carried 1,800 men.

On 24th April, 1917, and attack on Megantic by U-Boat UB-43 failed. During the same month, Megantic was taken over under the Liner Requisition Scheme.

On the 11th December, 1918, Megantic's made her first post-war sailing between Liverpool and New York.

In 1919, Megantic was reconditioned at Harland And Wolff and returned to the Canadian service, her consort was Canada which replaced the lost Laurentic I.

Off season Megantic cruised on the New York - West Indies route.

In January 1920, Megantic made one sailing on the White Star - Shaw, Savill and Albion Joint Service, but to Sydney with Government staff, then on to Wellington.

In 1924, Megantic was converted to cabin class. 452 in cabin, 260 in second cabin and 550 3rd.

1927Megantic was used for one trooping voyage to Shanghai.

On the 22nd March, 1928, Megantic was transferred to the London - Le Havre - Halifax - New York service until the St. Lawrence opened, then to Quebec and Montreal. This became Megantic's annual schedule.

Between 1930 and 1931, Megantic was used on economy cruises with Adriatic II, Calgaric and Laurentic I.

In May, 1931, reverted to Liverpool - Quebec - Montreal route. In July of the same year, Megantic was laid-up in Rothesay Bay.

In the February of 1933, Megantic left for Osaka, Japan, and was broken-up.

 

 

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