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The "Big Four" liners and chronology of the RMS CELTIC

2023.12.10. 04:55 Doki

The CELTIC, the first unit of the ‘Big Four’ of the White Star Fleet, ran aground on December 10, 1928, off Queenstown (today: Cobh). On December 10, 2023, it was 95 years ago. In commemoration of the anniversary, we recall the history of the design, building and service events of the type of ship immediately preceding the famous OLYMPIC-class, with the help of CELTIC's chronology.

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Fig.1.: 
The R.M.S. CELTIC in an Atlantic storm (drawing: Dr. Tamás Balogh).

18.01.1868.: The British Thomas Henry Ismay (1837-1899), director of the National Line shipping company, shareholder of the English shipping company, White Star Line (WSL), founded in 1845, buys the name, symbols and goodwill of the company for 1,000 pounds, and then founds his own company under the name Oceanic Steam Navigation Company (OSCN). OSNC is financially supported by Gustavus Schwalbe, a German banker and shipowner from Liverpool, if the company orders its ships exclusively from the Harland & Wolff (H&W) shipyard in Belfast, where Schwalbe's nephew, Gustav Wolff, is a co-owner. Ismay accepts the deal if H&W also undertakes not to build ships for WSL rivals. 

30.07.1869.: OSNC's first order from H&W for the construction of the company's first ship, the later OCEANIC (I.). In order to operate the OSNC, Ismay partners with William Imrie, the owner of the Imrie and Tomlinson Company (this company is William Imrie's paternal legacy, and together with Ismay both trained here as aprentice) and William Samuel Graves, and together they create the Ismay-Imrie and Co., which continues to operate as the parent company of OSNC. OSCN, led by Ismay, will be responsible for steamships, and North West Shipping Company (NWSC), led by Imrie, will be responsible for operating sailing ships.

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Fig. 2.: Builders of a shipping empire: Thomas Henry Ismay (1837-1899), Gustav Christian Schwalbe (1813-1897), Gustav Wilhelm Wolff (1834-1913) and Sir Edward Harland (1831-1895).
 

27.08.1870.: With the launch of its steamship OCEANIC (I.), the WSL shipping company led by Thomas Henry Ismay begins building its fleet of new passenger ships. The first unit will be followed in the next two years by three more identical ships (ATLANTIC, BALTIC, REPUBLIC) and two more ships of slightly increased size (ADRIATIC, CELTIC) built according to the same plans. Thomas Henry Ismay's goal is to create a fleet that provides the best - the most elegant, the most comfortable, the safest and the fastest - service in the North Atlantic traffic.

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Fig. 3.: OCEANIC and her sisters were the very first ocean-going passenger ships in which the "box-like" hull shape with flat bottom, developed by Sir Edward Harland in 1867 (and used only on cargo ships until then) was used, abandoning the semicircular or its approximate segmental arc shape, which was considered indispensable for the continuous recovery of the balance of the ship tossing and swaying by the waves in the transverse direction. White Star ships were long and narrow, with a completely flat bottom in the middle, connected to the vertical sidewalls only by an curve of a very small radius. Their critics called them "coffins" because of their box-like shape and were convinced that they could not withstand the storms during the ocean crossing. However, Harland also made the decks out of iron, adding internal reinforcement to the box girder (the hull), formed by and assembled from the side-frames. Contrary to the claims of the skeptics, the flat bottom of the ship would not have reduced it, but actually increased the stability, since by the angularization of the previously strongly curved bottom increased the storage and the load capacity of the ships  on underwater parts, which kept the center of gravity low, reducing the rolling to a minimum. Moreover, the new ships not only had a larger transport capacity than their rivals, but were also faster. The not-so-flattering epithet "coffin" was thus soon replaced by the amazed expression - mixed with wonder and respect - of "greyhound". In particular, the increased stability by increasing the volume of the underwater parts allowed the installation of larger windows on the upper decks, so that all the interior spaces on the ships of the White Star Line were spacious and bright. The general arrangement of the ships was subordinated to the needs of the first class, insofar as the first class accommodations and communal rooms were designed in the middle of the ship, the farthest from the vibrating and noisy machines, and at the same time the most balanced place, while the third class accommodations were placed in the bow and stern of the ship - with accommodation for single men at the bow, single women and families at the aft. In first class, for the first time, they could create a large dining room in which there was no need for rotating catering: all passengers could take a seat at their own table at the same time and call their stewards by ringing an electric bell to their staterooms and suites, based on the comfort and impressive appearance of which, according to the press of the time, the OCEANIC was "more of an imperial yacht than a passenger ship", which "inaugurated the White Star Line as the arbiter of comfort in the North Atlantic". (drawing: Dr. Tamás Balogh)

 

02.03.1874.: BRITANNIC (I.) and her sister ship GERMANIC, built a few months later - the first two-funnelled ocean liners of the WSL - continue to enhance the excellence introduced by OCEANIC and her sisters.

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Fig. 4.: On the ships, not only the well-known hull shape, increased stability, spacious and bright interiors, and lavish furnishings increased the comfort of the passengers, but also the ventilation system operated by a steam-powered fan, which provides hot or colda air to all parts of the ship as needed. Although, like the ships of the time, even the ships of the White Star Line were propelled by only single screw (therefore they were equipped with four masts of auxiliary sails to avoid unmanevourability due to engine failure), the ships crossed the Atlantic at record speeds (the speed record for the westbound crossing was held by the BRITANNIC until 1877, and by GERMANIC until 1882, and both kept the speed record of the eastbound crossing until 1876). BRITANNIC served until 1899, when she was used by the British government for troop transport purposes in the Boer Wars, and was scrapped in 1903, while the GERMANIC remained in the WSL fleet until 1910, when she was sold to Turkey, where she served until 1950. (drawing: Dr. Tamás Balogh)
 

19.01.1889.: Launching of the first unit of the TEUTONIC class, a new type of ocean liners ordered to replace the OCEANIC class - which was gradually becoming more and more obsolete - and replace the two ocean liners lost from the class, the ATLANTIC and the BALTIC.

Since Thomas Henry Ismay tried to obtain government support for the construction of the new ocean liner by negociating with the Admiralty: in case of governmental support, the ship will be built in accordance with the needs of the navy (this offer and its acceptance lead to the signing of the so-called British Auxiliary Armed Cruiser Agreement), TEUTONIC takes part in the fleet review equipped with guns, making deep impression to Kaiser Wilhelm II., who declares at the end of his visit: "we must have some of these" ships. TEUTONIC thus become the incentive of the German ocean liner construction program. 


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Fig. 5.: "The Emperor's visit to the TEUTONIC - Inspecting the 6-inch quick-fireing gun." – illustration from the Sunday issue of a British illustrated magazine, 'The Graphic' of August 10, 1889.

The start of the British armed merchant cruiser program was hastened by the practice of arming ocean liners, ordered in Great Britain to supplement the units of the Tsarist Russian Navy (i.e. the establishment of the Russian Volunteer Fleet in 1878), since Great Britain, under such circumstances, felt it necessary to protect its maritime commerce from the Russian commercial raiders by putting similar vessels into service. As a consequence of this, the offer of Thomas Hery Ismay was favorably received by the British government and, from 1889, the mail transport contracts concluded with civilian shipping companies were supplemented with the provisions of an auxiliary cruiser construction and operation agreement.

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Fig. 6.: While the displacement of the OCEANIC-class ships was only 3,807 tons, and that of the BRITANNIC-class ships was 5,004 tons, the displacement of the TEUTONIC and her sister, the MAJESTIC (I.), reached 9,984 tons. In parallel with the increase in size, the machine power (number of boilers, space for of engines and coalbunkers) had to be increased as well. The ship's plans were drawn up with a view to winning back the "Blue Ribbon", honorary award for the fastest Atlantic crossing for the WSL by setting a speed record, and at the same time she was made suitable to act as an armed merchant cruiser to join the navy in case of war. When her plans were presented to the Admiralty, they enthusiastically described them as "the best ship design ever made". The ship's designer, H&W engineer Alexander Carlisle, would prove his ability many times later. (drawing: Dr. Tamás Balogh)
 

17.05.1895.: Scrapping of OCEANIC. The WSL's North Atlantic fleet is once again in need of additions. Preparations begin for the construction of another large class of ships. The development is influenced by several aspects. 

On the one hand, by the end of the 1890s, WSL's highly prestigious TEUTONIC-class ocean liners were challenged by competitors: the British Cunard Line introduced the sister ships CAMPANIA and LUCANIA in 1893, and Germany's Norddeutscher Lloyd presented the plans for KAISER WILHELM DER GROßE, the first of its four new KAISER-class ocean liners to be built based on the experience of Kaiser Wilhelm II's visit to the Spithead naval review. To compete with these ships, the WSL needed a new flagship.

On the other hand, shipowners primarily wanted a return on their investment when they placed an order for the construction of a new ship. But the profitability was precisely that which had to be sacrificed on the altar of speed records at that time: a single knot of speed increases already required such an amount of extra fuel, machinery and personnel (trimmers and firemen) that the budget could no longer be based only the income from ticket, postal and freight charges. Especially since the increase in space requirements for coal and engines took away the space from the commercially important passenger and cargo spaces.

Moreover, for the majority of passengers, arriving at their destination a few hours earlier than the ships of the rival company had less and less appeal, especially if the powerful vibration of the engines, which were running at full power, made the journey miserable for them. And by this time, the world's public is used to the fact that shipping records don't last forever, only for a few months, before building another liner which will be bigger and/or faster. 

The result of a sober calculation was thus a preference for size and comfort over speed, which resulted in new ship designs that (although not the largest in the world) were larger than the TEUTONIC and MAJESTIC, or the CAMPANIA and LUCANIA , but they are not faster than those.

01.09.1897.: Laying of the keel of the first WSL steamer, CYMRIC, built according to the new concept.

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Fig. 7.: The ship was originally designed as a combined passenger and cargo ship that would have accommodated only first class passengers, with all other space reserved for the transport of live animals (cattle). However, the idea of the joint transport of passengers and livestock proved to be too unpopular already during the planning period, so third-class accommodations were planned instead of the cargo spaces without making any modifications to the relatively moderate-performance machinery. Thus, using the large interior provided by the previous cargo holds and the relatively small engine room, a ship was created that was relatively slow compared to speed-oriented fast passenger liners, but had much more interior space and, as a result, an unusually high level of comfort. In addition, the machines with lower power generated less noise and vibration, which on the one hand reassured the passengers, and on the other hand resulted in much lower operating costs. (drawing: Dr. Tamás Balogh)

Cymric introduces the 'luxury over speed' strategy. White Star Line is pursuing this strategy as it places another order with Harland & Wolff Shipyard to design new ships after all but one of the line's first six ships (the OCEANIC class) have left the WSL-fleet. From the beginning, the design follows two directions: 

On the one hand, they decide that the new strategy will be adapted to the new class of ships designed by further developing the plans of the TEUTONIC class, in which (as in the basic type) two more ships will be built, which will be named OCEANIC (II) and OLYMPIC, with only 21 knots (39 Km/h) service speed (which is advantageous for a schedule-planning, because in this way they can keep up with TEURONIC and MAJESTIC, which are capable of the same speed, and they will also be able to fulfill the conditions of the auxiliary cruise agreement), but they do not increase their speed more than that, since they are not expected to set a speed record.

On the other hand, specifically by further developing the plans of CYMRIC, four other ships will be built, optimized for the rather average speed of 16 knots (30 Km/h), but with uniquely large dimensions, large cargo spaces and lavishly furnished, spacious staterooms. For now, this type is only known as: the "Big Four". 

With this, according to the plans, four fast steamers (TEUTONIC, MAJESTIC, OCEANIC (II), OLYMPIC) and four cobined (passenger and freight) steamships of moderate speed but extremely high capacity would make up the WSL's North Atlantic fleet.

The customer specification handed over to the designers is determined by Thomas Henry Ismay, based on the "luxury over speed" strategy for both types: "Nothing but the very finest!" In the case of the OCEANIC (II) class, all of this means the construction of the longest ships in the world, and in the case of the "Big Four" the world's largest (displacement) ships. According to his calculations, this means that the British will continue to claim primacy in terms of all the characteristic performance of shipbuilding, since the fastest, longest and largest ships in the world would be built by British shipyards and operated by British companies. And WSL enjoys the glory of not having to participate in the rather expensive sport of building and operating high-speed ocean liners in the future (since it is relinquishing that glory to rival British shipping company Cunard Line in order to operate financially sustainably). 

18.03.1897.: Keel laying of OCEANIC (II) at H&W in Belfast. 

05.04.1897.: Launching of the German ocean liner KAISER WILHELM der GROßE.

04.03.1898.: KAISER WILHELM der GROßE conquers the Blue Ribbon at a speed of 22.29 knots (41.3 Km/h) from the Cunard liner LUCANIA. It is the first time that the largest and fastest ship in the world is not British, but German. From then until October 1907, the honorary award for the fastest Atlantic crossing was exclusively held by various German ocean liners. The "German decade" of transoceanic passenger traffic begins. The hurted British national pride is looking for satisfaction, so the planned WSL ships - the OCEANIC(II) class under construction, and the Big Four to be built immediately after - suddenly become the center of interest, since they have to regain at least the distinguished title of world's longest and largest ships from the Germans.

09.10-12.1898.: Exchange of letters between the White Star Line shipping company and the Harland & Wolff Shipyard regarding the conclusion of the contract confirming the order for the first unit of the Big Four. 

14.01.1899.: Launch of OCEANIC (II) at Belfast. The 215 m long new WSL steamer is the first ocean liner to surpass the 211 m length of the famous GREAT EASTERN giant steamer built 40 years earlier.

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Fig. 8.: 
The 17,274-ton OCEANIC (II) required 15 boilers to maintain her non-record speed of 21 knots. In comparison, the 12,552 ton CYMRIC needed only 7 boilers and much less coal (6,996 tons compared to 8,123 tons) to maintain its speed of 15 knots (27.8 Km/h), while much larger passenger and cargo space was available, due to the limited extent of the boiler- and engine-rooms. In other words, even though the OCEANIC (II) was a larger ship, the CYMRIC could be used better for the profitable transport of passengers and goods despite her smaller dimensions. The 21 January 1900 issue of The Graphic magazine nevertheless gave an enthusiastic account of the launching: "On Saturday there was launched from Messrs. Harland and Wolff's Yard, at Queen's Island, Belfast, the new twin-screw steamer OCEANIC, which has been built for the White Star Line. The event will mark an era in the history of shipbuilding as a feat of engineering, for the Oceanic is the largest vessel ever built.” For its construction, a new gantry crane was needed at the H&W shipyard, and hydraulic riveting was used for the first time.
 (drawing: Dr. Tamás Balogh)

After launching the OCEANIC, Thomas Henry Ismay complains of chest pains. Since he was rarely sick throughout his life, his doctor takes his complaints very seriously, despite this, Ismay's condition slowly but steadily worsens. The order for OCEANIC's sister ship is delayed. 

12.02.1899.: OCEANIC (I)'s sister ship ADRIATIC scrapped (and broken up at Thomas W. Ward's shipyard, Preston). This completes the decommissioning of the WSL's first class of ships (ATLANTIC sank in 1873, BALTIC and REPUBLIC were sold to the Netherlands in 1888/1889, CELTIC to Denmark in 1893, OCEANIC was demolished in 1895).

22.03.1899.: The keel of the first unit of the Big Four laid with yard number 335. Thomas Henry Ismay's health is beginning to improve. He travels with his wife to Windermere, where he is again ill. His wife calls a doctor, who prescribes morphine. After six days, Ismay feels better and they return to Dawpool. 

26.04.1899.: After six weeks of intense pain - which the doctor diagnosed as gallstones - Ismay feels well enough to work again. 

30.08.1899.: Ismay collapses and is forced to bed. He is operated on the next day, but the operation is unsuccessful. 

01.09.1899.: The bottom frames of the hull No. 335 is completed up to the height of the double bottom. 

04.09.1899.: Ismay's second operation. 

05.09.1899.: Ismay insists that his daughters take part in the OCEANIC's maiden voyage starting the next day, and asks his wife to arrange for the local church to pray for her. 

14.09.1899.: Ismay has a heart attack. 

23.11.1899.: Ismay dies at the age of 62. He was succeeded as president of the White Star Line by his eldest son, Joseph Bruce Ismay (1862-1937), who returned to the UK in 1891, after 10 years in New York as an agent for the company. The order of OLYMPIC is cancelled. J. Bruce Ismay devotes his full attention to the construction of the last class of ships ordered by his father, the Big Four.

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Fig. 9.: The hull No 335 is the same 680 feet (211 m) length as the GREAT EASTERN with a beam of 75 feet (22.86 m), making her displacement well above that of the largest ship to date (20,904 GRT compared to 18,915 GRT). With this, after OCEANIC (II) - which exceeded its length - the displacement of GREAT EASTERN is also exceeded, but the length-to-width ratio of the hull is greater compared to the OCEANIC (II) as well (9:1 compared to 10:1). The displacement of the Big Four is thus 21% larger than the displacement of the OCEANIC (II), and her interior spaces can be used much better, as she is built with only half as many (8) boilers compared to the 15 boilers of the OCEANIC (II). The large dimensions of the hull require special care during construction in order to ensure resistance to the torsional and shearing stresses caused by ocean waves (to avoid splitting the hull resting on two wave crests, floating above a wave valley in the middle, or a hull resting on a wave crest in the middle, floating above a wave valley at both ends). For this purpose, the lateral row of plates along the upper deck of the ship's hull and the plating of the middle section of the ship's bottom are doubled, and the deck frames are supported with columns. While in the case of the OCEANIC (II) the general arrangement was created based on the plans of the TEUTONIC class, and the navigation bridge was integrated with the superstructure (giving the ship an elegant, continuous appearance), in the case of the "Big Four" it was divided according to the plans of the CYMRIC (resulting a split superstructure called with the contemporary terminology an "island" superstructure), on which the superstructure containing the navigation bridge and the officers' quarters are separated from the other parts of the superstructures available to passengers. (drawing: Dr. Tamás Balogh)

01.24.1900.: The complete framing of the hull No 335 is completed. 

13.10.1900.: The second unit of the Big Four (yard number 337) is laid. 

04.04.1901.: Launch of hull No. 335 under the name CELTIC. 

11.07.1901.: Official handover of the ship to the WSL.

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Fig. 10.: Information on whether CELTIC really had been equipped with sail.
 

26.07.1901.: CELTIC takes her inaugural voyage to New York. 

04.08.1901.: At 07:00 in the morning the ship arrives in New York. The average speed measured under the voyage is 17 knots (31.5 Km/h), a full knot above the maximum speed prescribed in the specification. 

To heat the 8 double-ended boilers located in the ship's two boiler rooms, only 2,400 tons of coal are needed during the entire journey to maintain a speed above 16 knots, while in the case of OCEANIC II, 6,000 tons are needed for crossing by 21-knots (CELTIC's daily coal consumption is 235 tons, OCEANIC 450). A total of 2,859 people (347 first-, 160 second- and 2,352 third-class passengers) can be accommodated in the ship's three classes, next to the crew of 335 (64 deck crew and officers, 92 engine room and stokehold crew, and 179 stewards).

Since most passengers can travel in third class, special attention is paid to the accommodation of the third class too: Separate cabins are created for almost two-thirds of all third class passengers, breaking with the previous practice of accommodation in large shared dormitories (although for the poorest single male passengers, there are 2 large sleeping compartments for 300 passengers each is maintained). In the aft part of the superstructure standing on the upper deck (on the saloon deck) there is a third-class smoking room and general room, and one deck lower there is a large dining room on the port- and starboard side of the hull. The rooms in the superstructure have the same seating furniture as the dining rooms, so they can also be converted into a dining room if the third class is fully booked. The third-class rooms are also equipped with electric fans, just like the other classes. 

Although the hull can be loaded to a maximum draft of 36 feet 6 inches (11.25 m), it will only be allowed to fill to a draft of 31 feet (9.44 m) until the fairways of New York Harbor are dredged at a suitable depth to fit with the ship's maximum draft.

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Fig. 11.: Issues of the contemporary press in Europe (left) and America (center and right) covering the birth of CELTIC, timed to the launch of the ship and her first arrival in America, detailing the ship's unique dimensions and equipment, as well as her cost-effectiveness. A typical excerpt from the August 17, 1901 issue of the scientific journal 'Scientific American': "The CELTIC can stow away 18,500 tons of cargo, including 2,400 tons of coal, passenger accommodation of an exceptionally spacious character is provided for 2,859 passengers. [...] An interesting comparison of the CELTIC and the OCEANIC is that based on the coal consumption as compared with the passenger accommodation. The OCEANIC carries 1,284 fewer passengers, and her maximum displacement is smaller than the CELTIC by 5,200 tons. Yet, to secure her additional speed of four knots an hour she burns double the amount of coal requires 115 more men in her crew." The image can be enlarged by clicking on the double arrow icon in the lower right corner. The image can be enlarged further into a readable size by selecting the "open image in a new window" command in the dialog box that appears when the mouse is placed over the enlarged image and click then with the right mouse button.

22.10.1901.: The CELTIC arrives in New York at the end of a voyage of 7 days, 12 hours, 41 minutes under the command of Captain Henry St-George Lindsay on her third voyage to New York. 

31.12.1901.: CELTIC - which has completed 6 westbound Atlantic crossings since entering service - starts its 6th eastbound crossing, with a low occupancy typical of the winter period (only 233 passengers). 

23.01.1902.: CELTIC's first arrival in New York that year. 

02.08.1902.: CELTIC departs from New York on a 74-day Mediterranean cruise from New York to the Holy Land and back via Madeira, Gibraltar, North Africa, Malta, Egypt, Turkey, Greece Italy, the rench Riviera and England, with 826 American "Bible-students" in first class.

The "bible students" are members of the millennialist-restorationist Christian movement founded in 1881 by Pittsburgh Unitarian minister Charles Taze Russel (1852-1916), who believe that the original teachings and practices of Christ have been forgotten/distorted over the centuries and therefore require restoration, and the coming golden age will occur after the millennium. 

The earliest history of the use of scheduled ocean liners for leisure cruises dates back to the operation of a British shipping company, the Peninsular & Orient Line (P&O), which first sold tickets for cruises in 1844 for its ships from London to the Mediterranean region. A similar service was first provided in America in 1867 by the s.s. QUAKER CITY, a wooden paddle-wheel steamer, whose passengers visited the ports of France, Italy, Greece, Turkey (the Holy Land) and Egypt (Mark Twain, who was on the ship, later wrote the novel "Innocents abroad" based on his experiences on board). The very first ship designed specifically for cruises (rather than be a scheduled ocean liner) - the British s.s. CEYLON - built in 1881, by which the Regent Street Polytechnic School offered affordable, educational leisure cruises to its working-class students. At that time, other organizations and shipping companies mostly offered cruises only with older ocean liners or ships that were not necessary for their other business activities in the off-season periods suitable for ocean crossings. Finally, in 1900, the director of the German company H.A.P.AG, Albert Ballin, ordered the first ship - the PRINZESSIN VIKTORIA LUISE - which was specifically designed for leisure shipping (until then, H.A.P.AG also used its reserve/out-of-service ocean liners for excursions). WSL also tried to catch up with this initiative by organizing the cruise, trying to use the ship economically in the off-season. 

19.04.1902.: The American investment banker John Pierpont Morgan, who has been trying to monopolize the North Atlantic shipping market for years by buying shipping companies operating on both sides of the ocean, buys the majority of shares of the White Star Line for 10,000,000 pounds. Joseph Bruce Ismay will remain as president and CEO, while James Ismay and William Imrie will retire. As WSL's largest shareholder until then, the owner and director of the Harland & Wolff Shipyard, William James Pirrie, hastened the acquisition, not by chance: part of the deal is that all shipping companies owned by Morgan will then have all their ships built at the Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast. As a result of the agreement, the shipyard builds more than 13 ships a year - i.e. one a month - and thus becomes the largest shipyard in the world. 

05.03.1902.: CELTIC arrives in New York after returning to North Atlantic service following her Mediterranean cruise. 

07.06.1902.: The keel of the third unit of the Big Four (yard number 352), is laid. 

21.08.1902.: Launch of the second unit, No. 337, under the name CEDRIC.

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Fig. 12.: CEDRIC moored in the fitting out basin after launching, in company with BRITANNIC (I). The displacement of the CEDRIC exceeded her predecessors' by four times. (photo: Robert Welsh, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, National Museums of Northern Ireland)


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Fig. 13.: Development of White Star Line ships. Above left are half-models of OCEANIC (I), TEUTONIC and OCEANIC (II), while above right of CEVIC, RUNIC and CELTIC. (photo: Robert Welsh, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, National Museums of Northern Ireland, 1st image, 2nd Image)
 

23.08.1902.: Order of the fourth unit of the Big Four (yard number 358). 

18.11.1902.: The keel laying of the No. 358. 

31.01.1903.: Official handover of CEDRIC. 

15.04.1903: CELTIC collides with steamer HEATHMORE off Liverpool on the River Mersey. There is a small tear on the side plates of the hull above waterline, which needs to be repaired.

21.11.1903.: Launch of hull No. 352 under the name BALTIC. 

26.11.1903.: A fire in the hold of the CELTIC destroys the cargo of cotton on board. 

23.06.1904.: Official handover of BALTIC. 

09.24.1904.: CELTIC arrives in New York with a crew of 2,957. So far, this is the highest number of people carried by White Star Line on a single voyage. In the same month, CEDRIC transports 2,723 passengers and BALTIC transports 2,890 passengers, i.e. the three units of the Big Four together transport 8,570 passengers across the Atlantic Ocean within three weeks. The correctness of the concept underlying the construction of the ships is thus clearly confirmed. So much so that following the success of the ships, the rival German shipping companies, H.A.P.AG and Norddeutscher Lloyd, decide to build similar ships (KAISERIN AUGUSTE VICTORIA, AMERICA and GEORGE WASHINGTON). Among the German ships, the AMERICA is built in Belfast at Harland & Wolff. This is spectacular evidence that William James Pirrie now considers the earlier agreement between Sir Edward Harland and Thomas Henry Ismay that the shipyard would not build ships for WSL rivals to be null and void. 

12.03.-30.12.1905.: CELTIC makes 12 Atlantic crossings during the year under the command of Captains Joseph Barlow Ranson and Bertram Hayes. On her last trip to America that year, on December 25th, a giant rogue wave struck the ship, damaging the second-class facilities (the wave smashed the windows of the smoking room, tore a 4-ton boarding door from the hull, and swept away a 30-meter section of the deck railing, seriously scaring the for passengers). 

A rogue wave – in contrast to a tsunami that is almost imperceptible in deep waters – is an episodic wave phenomenon that exists for a short time and is more than twice the height of the significant wave, which is formed when a normal - so-called: non-linear - wave gains energy from the surrounding waves as a result of the interaction of certain environmental factors like wind, currents, etc. (i.e. it is a result of linear superposition) and increases to many times its previous size for a while, posing a particular danger to shipping. 

31.01.-07.12.1906.: CELTIC crosses the Atlantic 11 times during the year under the command of Captain Joseph Barlow Ranson. 

20.09.1906.: Launch of the hull No. 358 under the name ADRIATIC. 

25.04.1907.: Official handover of the ADRIATIC.

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Fig. 14.: The ships of the Big Four look completely identical only at first glance. In fact, the first two units and the last two units are more similar to each other than to any member of the other pair. BALTIC and ADRIATIC, for example, with their displacement of 24,570 tons, are 17% larger than CELTIC and CEDRIC with her 20,904 tons. In the case of the ADRIATIC, the engine performance is also increased in order to increase the ship's speed above 17.5 knots (32.4 Km/h): so 4 extra single-ended boilers are also installed in addition to the 8 double-ended boilers. The above drawing shows the differences between the ships of the first and the second pairs (drawing: Dr. Tamás Balogh) as follows:

- The red circle shows the relative position and different installation of the three islands of the split-superstructure, formed at the rear of the ship (i.e. the presence or absence of rooms under the boat racks, bounded by side walls, and the different heights of the superstructure-islands), as well as shows the postion of deck cranes (where relevant - i.e. on a ship without such a marking, the arrangement is the same as on the previous ship).

- Red dashed lines mark the changes in the length of the middle part of the split-superstructure and the rear superstructure-group (which is formed by three islands), as well as the distance between them, in case of each ship (where relevant - i.e., on a ship without such a marking, the arrangement is the same as on the previous ship).

- The numbers 1-2-3-4 indicate the design and length of the parapets of the superstructures, which are different for each ship and deck (solid plate parapet or guardrails) (where relevant - i.e., on a ship without such a marking, the arrangement is the same as on the previous ship).
 

30.04.1907.: White Star Line commissioned Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast to prepare for the construction of three large ocean-going passenger steamships (the later OLYMPIC class) and to start developing the detailed plans based on the customer's specifications.

20.10.1911.: Deck Steward Robert MacGuffie disappears (probably washed overboard by a giant wave). Passengers raise $500 to help his widow and children.

14.04.1912.: The BALTIC, which had set sail from New York three days ago, signals ice for the TITANIC on her maiden voyage to New York, and at dawn the next day, she tries to save her fleetmate that collided with an iceberg during the night.

18.04.1912.: Joseph Bruce Ismay wants to send home the surviving crew of the TITANIC aboard the CEDRIC, but due to the Senate hearings ordered in the meantime, the ship will return to Europe without them.

02.05.1912.: Joseph Bruce Ismay arrives in Liverpool aboard the ADRIATIC after the conclusion of the Senate inquiry (the surviving crew members of the TITANIC are transported back to England by the Red Star Liner LAPPLAND). 

31.12.1912.: Joseph Bruce Ismay confirms that, in accordance with his January decision, resigns with effect on 6/30/1913. His decision was accepted on 01.02.1913. White Star Line's new president and CEO is the former vice president Harold Sanderson. 

23.01.-05.12.1913.: CELTIC makes 11 Atlantic crossings during the year under the command of Captains Frank Ernest Beadnell and Alexander Elvin Sherwin Hambelton.

The economy of transoceanic passenger transport is unbroken despite the tragedy of the TITANIC: while in 1912 the ships of the Big Four transported a total of 68,000 people back and forth between the two sides of the ocean, in 1913 no less than 77,000 people, and by the end of 1914 the combined performance of the four ships, projected on the entire time since they were enter into service, meant a total of 850,000 people.

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Fig. 15.: Despite her moderate speed, the CELTIC was one of the most popular ships of the period before the First World War. One of the reasons for this can be found in what Scientific American c. magazine summarized as follows: "At one time the transatlantic merchat steamers were divided sharply into two classes - one intended primrily for the carriage of passengers and mails, and tha other for carrying freight only. The demand of late years for passenger acommodation that shopuld be cheaper and not so luxurious as that of the mail steamers led the companies to provide, on the faster of the freight steamers, a certain amount of passenger accommodation; and the new departure has proved so successful that an entirely new type of steamer has been produced, of which such ships the CELTIC is the largest and most popular" (photo: Robert Welsh, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, National Museums of Northern Ireland, 1st image, 2nd image). 

08.01.-25.05.1914.: During the first half of the year, CELTIC makes 3 crossings between New York and Alexandria (Egypt), via Naples and Madeira under the command of Captain Alexander Elvin Sherwin Hambelton. 

11.06.1914.-08.10.1914: CELTIC completes 5 Atlantic crossings between Liverpool and New York for the remainder of the year - including the period following Britain's entry into the First World War on 08/04/1914 - under the command of Captain Alexander Elvin Sherwin Hambelton.

01.11.1914-02.08.1915.: CELTIC is requisitioned by the Government: the ship is armed according to the contract between the shipping company and the British government (the ship is equipped with 8 6-inch quick-fireing naval guns) and is used as an auxiliary cruiser of the fleet during the war, under the command of Captain Oswald McDonough English, with the task of acting for the British fleet in the Pacific. 

02.08.1915-04.01.1916.: CELTIC in military service under the command of Captain Christopher Russell Payne. The ship is in dry dock from 23/08/1915 to 07/09/1915 in Simonstown, South Africa, where the maintenance of her underwater parts will be carried out, and then she will remain in the bay until 12/1/1915, so that boiler and engine work can also be carried out. 

19.04.-03.12.1916.: The CELTIC is discharged from the navy as armed merchantmen, and for the rest of the year, she is in service as a troop transporter, she completes 7 crossings of the Atlantic Ocean between Liverpool and New York and back under the command of Captain Alexander Elvin Sherwin Hambelton, who is appointed as the commander of the ocean liner JUSTICIA (ex-STATENDAM) at the end of the year.

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Fig. 16.: CELTIC as armed merchant cruiser in dry dock at Simonstown (above). The picture shows the quick-fireing naval guns installed on the edge of the bow deck and on the well decks between the superstructure-islands (source). Center and bottom shows the dazzle paint camouflage used to confuse submarine commanders after the ship was discharged from AMC-service (source).
 

03.01.-21.04.1917.: CELTIC makes two voyages between Liverpool and New York under the command of Captain John Bradshaw.

14.02.1917.: CELTIC hits by a naval mine off the Isle of Man. 17 people on board die, but the ship remains afloat and is towed by the steamer CANADA to Peel Bay, from where she is later towed to Belfast, where she is completely repaired and then converted to transport fuel oil for naval vessels. 

13.05.1917.: Unsuccessful torpedo attack against the ship by the German submarine U-57 (the torpedo misses its target).

11.06.-26.12.1917.: After the repair works, CELTIC completes 5 more Atlantic crossings between Liverpool and New York and back under the command of Captain Hugh Frederick David. 

27.02.-17.12.1918.: CELTIC completes 3 Atlantic crossings between Liverpool and New York and back under Captains Hugh Frederick David and Alexander Elvin Sherwin Hambelton.

31.03.1918.: The submarine U 77 torpedoes the ship in the Irish Sea. Six die, but the CELTIC remains afloat this time as well (according to the sailors, this is because the submarine torpedoed her from both sides, so that, despite being flooded, the cargo did not moves away). She is managed to be towed to Liverpool, where she is repaired again. 

17.05.1919: CELTIC is returned by the British government to the White Star Line, which sends her to Belfast for renovation.

01.01.-29.12.1920.: CELTIC completes 9 crossings of the Atlantic between Liverpool and New York under the command of Captain Richard Owen Jones. 

08.01.-26.12.1921.: CELTIC completes 12 Atlantic crossings between Liverpool and New York and back under the command of Captains Frank Briscoe Howarth, Frank Ernest Beadnell and John Roberts.

24.04.1921.: The collier EVERETT nearly ramms with the CELTIC in dense fog near the lightship NANTUCKET. The collision is avoided at the last moment, but CELTIC's side dents, where the collier scour along it.

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Fig. 17.: Damaged side-pates of CELTIC after the collision. (photo: Leslie Jones, Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection)
 

18.02.-11.12.1922.: CELTIC completes 11 crossings of the Atlantic between Liverpool and New York under the command of Captains John Roberts and William Marshall.

25.04.1925.: CELTIC accidentally collides with the Coast Liner HAMPSHIRE COAST on the River Mersey. Both ships only sustain minor damage. That same year, the CELTIC loses a propeller in Boston Harbor and must return to dock, so her passengers take a train to New York to transfer to another ship. 

01.11.1926.: Lord Kylsant, the owner and CEO of the British Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. and H&W, buys the majority of the shares of the White Star Line back from its American owners, who announce that they will terminate the contract with the Harland & Wolff Shipyard. The White Star Line changes from American to British ownership and joins the conglomerate led by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co.

29.01.1927.: American Diamond Lines ship ANACONDA collides with CELTIC near Fire Island in heavy fog. The post-accident refit will be used by White Star Line to remodell the ship, so that CELTIC can keep up with the latest intermediate ships entering service in the North Atlantic. The previous three-class system will then be abandoned, and the ship will be equipped for 2,500 cabin class passengers. 

14.04.1927.: Laying of the keel of BRITANNIC (III), a modern medium-sized cabin motor ship ordered to replace the aging Big Four.

01.12.1928.: The CELTIC sets sail from New York to Boston, where it takes on board the European survivors of the steamer VESTRIS, which sank on November 12, and then begins her Atlantic crossing to Cobh, Ireland, and Liverpool, England, under the command of Captain Gilbert Parry. The ship is expected to arrive in Cobh between 03:00 and 04:00 a.m. on December 10th. 

10.12.1928.: CELTIC runs aground.

Approaching Cobh, the weather worsened, threatening to make it impossible to pick up the pilot, whose presence is necessary for a safe approach to the anchorage in front of the harbor. Captain Gilbert Berry therefore decides that if the weather does not improve, he will skip the stop in Ireland and go directly to Liverpool. The pilot who is prepared to welcome the CELTIC, sights the lights of the liner at 03:00 AM, a few miles away south-east of the entrance to Cobh harbor. Although the strong south-westerly wind is increasing to a gale in the meantime, Captain Berry believes that he will be able to pick up the pilot during the predicted high tide of 04:11, so he slowly approaches the harbor entrance with the CELTIC. She is almost in safe water, when at 04:55 a strong gust of wind drove her onto the Cow and Calf rocks off Roche's Point with a loud crash. As a result of the powerful impact, the porcelain and glass in the dining room falls from the tables onto the deck and breaks, several passengers lose their balance and fall, while CELTIC's hull swaying from side to side on the waves, and trembling as the still rotating propellers try to propel the ship stucked on the rock.

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Fig. 18.: CELTIC on the rocks. (Source)

Captain Berry blows six short blasts on the CELTIC's steam whistle to signal to nearby vessels that he is requesting rescue, and the stewards walk through the cabins calling for passengers to put on their life jackets and assemble on the boat deck. Among them is steward Albert Knill, one of the 13 survivors who escaped in VESTRIS lifeboat No. 13, who was rescued from the sea on the 13th of November, the day after the ship sank, in his 13th year of service at sea. Although this is the second shipwreck in a short time, it feels like a real picnic compared to what he experienced on board the VESTRIS, since barely ten minutes after the collision, the CELTIC's stewards are already serving hot coffee to those gathered on the boat deck. The lifeboats are swung out ready to be lowered and passengers are prepared to board the boats, but the operation, which was considered too dangerous in stormy weather, was soon called off when it became clear that the ship was not in immediate danger of sinking, so the passengers were guided back inside the ship, and at the usual time, 06:30 AM., they were served breakfast in the dining room, where the tables were set as usual, as if nothing had happened. 

Meanwhile, the rescue ships - the Dutch tug GELEZEE and the local tug MORSECOCK - try to get close to the CELTIC without success. They only manage to take over the towing ropes well after breakfast, and then they attempt to pull the ocean liner off the rock, but after several hours of attemts, they finally give it up, as the tide recedes, making the task impossible. In order to lighten the ship, the passengers and luggage are taken out with the help of tugboats, and the passengers are taken by train to Belfast, from where they arrive in Liverpool at 06:00 AM the next morning. Only the officers, engineers and deck crew remain on board, knowing full well that every minute spent on the rock, brings CELTIC's final destruction closer and closer. At 15:30, the destroyer HMS SEAME of the British Royal Navy tries to tow the ocean liner off, which tries to help the success of the operation with running engines. At 17:00 p.m., however, the attempt is abandoned, as the flooding inside the CELTIC begins to rise. At 17:30 it is already 12 ft (3.7 m) deep in No 3 holds, 11 ft (3.4 m) deep in No 3 and 5 stokeholds, and 3 ft (0.9 m) deep in the engine room, above the tank top, and one of the tanks built into the double bottom is completely full. In such circumstances, further operation of the engines is impossible, and towing into deep water threatens to sink the ship.

11.12.1928.: The water level rises to 25ft (7.2m) in No 3 hold, but the situation worsens in the other compartments affected by the flooding as well. Using hand pumps, the crew are trying to reduce the amount of about 6,000 tons of water that broke in, and at the same time keep the situation under control. Charles Alfred Bartlett, chief marine superintendant of the White Star Line (last commander of TITANIC's younger sister, the BRITANNIC (II) at the time of her sinking in 1916) arrives on the scene, and after inspecting the CELTIC, he makes it likely that the rock supports the ship just forward of the navigating bridge, so in the midship area accumulates a lot of tension, as the strong waves hit the ship's hull again and again. Negotiations with the Chief Marine Inspector of Cobh, the representatives of the Harland & Wolff Shipyard and the insurance companies begin in the ship's dining saloon, the result of which is that even if it were possible to tow the ship off the rock and keep her afloat, even then it is questionable where she could be repaired. They finally decide to beach her at Whitebay, a few miles away, where they can carry out the most necessary repairs to get the ship to Belfast, where she can be completely repaired. The rescue ships already on the scene will be joined by the German SEEFALKE and the British RESTORER tugs. Four tugboats are now trying to free CELTIC - to no avail. 

14.12.1928.: With the exception of the fore and aft peaks (trim tanks) at the bow and at the stern, as well as No 1 hold, the entire ship is flooded of flooding fore and aft. The cargo - vegetables and grain - can only be unloaded from the starboard side of No. 1 and No. 2 cargo holds.

18.12.1928.: Intensive pumping in the engine room reveals extensive damage to the ship's bottom. Since the leak cannot be approached, it cannot be closed either, so rescuing the ship is impossible. 

28.12.1928.: The removal of the several thousand tons of cargo left in the ship begins.

03.02.1929.: Last attempt to towing off the CELTIC. The operation, timed for the peak of the tide, has to be interrupted due to the wind intensifying into a gale. 

29.07.1929.: WSL sells the wrecked ship to the Danish shipbreaking company Peterson & Albeck of Copenhagen, who offer a 50% share to Hills of Dover Shipbreakers, who begin dismantling the wreck in situ. 

First, the funnels will be removed, as they prevent the light signals of the lighthouse at Roche"s Point from being clearly visible from the sea, then three of the 4 masts will be removed, and finally all the superstructures will be demolished up to the level of the upper deck. According to the original plans, the remaining hull would be towed to Rotterdam, but when it turned out that it was still not possible to tow her off the rocks, they decided to cut her up in situ. The transportation of the dismantled material was originally planned to be carried out by help of a floating crane moored on the seaward side of the ship, but due to the weather it was not possible to secure the crane, and on the shore side, due to the conditions of the sea bed, only a crane with a much smaller load capacity could be placed next to the ship on a tied pontoon, so finally another crane is built on board the CELTIC to carry out the demolition with the coordinated work of the two cranes. The process is hindered by the toxic gases released during the rotting of the perishable goods left in the holds - bacon, grain - and the soggy coal left in the coalbunkers, from which they try to protect the breakers with the use of gas masks, who finally managed to finish the breaking of the ship's hull by 1933.

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Fig. 19.: The progress of the demolition in 1932. (Source)


Sources:

Chirnside, Mark: 
The ‘Big Four’ of the White Star Fleet: Celtic, Cedric, Baltic & Adriatic, The History Press 2017. ISBN-10 0750965975

de Kerbrech, Richard: 
Ships of the White Star Line. Shepperton: Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7110-3366-5

Eaton, John; Haas, Charles:
 Falling Star, Misadventures of White Star Line Ships. Patrick Stephens Ltd. 1989. ISBN 1-85260-084-5

Norway Heritage: The emigrant ship database, CELTIC (II)

Othfors, Daniel:
 CELTIC (II), in.: The Great Ocean Liners

The famous Big Four: 
brochure of the White Star Line, 1909.

It would be great if you like the article and pictures shared. If you are interested in the works of the author, you can find more information about the author and his work on the Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners Fb-page.

If you would like to share the pictures, please do so by always mentioning the artist's name in a credit in your posts. Thank You!

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Címkék: big four English Celtic Ocean liners Encyclopedia of ocean liners

Further secrets of the LUSITANIA in the National Geographic Magazine

2023.10.19. 21:22 Doki

The remains of the British giant steamer LUSITANIA, resting in the Atlantic Ocean, were visited again between July 13-21, 2023 by the the international expedition, which began in 2022, and was the first which had that most important task is the internal research of the areas affected by the explosion of the torpedo that sank the ship, and which for the first time in the history of the research of the wreck, included Hungarian members. On this occasion, the president of our association Dr. Tamás Balogh, who participated in the expedition by evaluating the underwater photoes and footage made by the divers, wrote an article, which can now be read on the website of the Hungarian edition of the National Geographic Magazine.


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Fig. 1: LUSITANIA is on the cover.

An article summarizing the latest research results is available
in Hungarian here
in English here.

By comparing all of this with a similar report on the 2022 research, readers can get a complete over-all picture of the wreckage of the LUSITANIA.

Below we share some drawings made by hand on site during the expedition, which show the state of the ship's bow section in 1915, immediately after the sinking of the wreck, and today, in 2023, which was in the focus of the 2023 expedition.


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Fig. 2: The bow of the LUSITANIA on the seabed as seen from the bow deck in 1915 (above) and in 2023 (below). Created by Dr. Tamás Balogh © 2023.


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Fig. 3: The bow of the LUSITANIA on the seabed as seen from the bottom of the ship in 1915 (above) and in 2023 (below). Created by Dr. Tamás Balogh © 2023.


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Fig. 4: The hull-section of the boiler room No 1. of LUSITANIA viewed from the top of the wreck (covered by the plates of the former port side) in 2023 (above) and the boilsers inside, "looking in" under the plates (below). Created by Dr. Tamás Balogh © 2023.


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Fig. 5: An overview of the wreckage of the LUSITANIA seen from the bow in 2023. Created by Dr. Tamás Balogh © 2023.


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Fig. 6: Tamás Balogh presents his images made of the LUSITANIA ocean liner and its wrecks to Shannon Forde, director of the Lusitania Museum & Old Head Signal Tower (owner o the wreck), in the company of the expedition leader, Stef Teuwen (left), and the ceremonial handing over of the images together with the members of the expedition in front of the ticket office of the Museum (right).


It would be great if you like the article and pictures shared. If you are interested in the works of the author, you can find more information about the author and his work on the Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners Fb-page.

If you would like to share the pictures, please do so by always mentioning the artist's name in a credit in your posts. Thank You!

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Címkék: underwater cultural heritage English balogh tamas wreck diving RMS Lusitania Ocean liners Encyclopedia of ocean liners

The largest liner never built - Design and design variants of OCEANIC (III)

2023.09.06. 23:02 Doki

White Star Line's last major effort was the design and construction program of the ocean liner OCEANIC (III), which was planned to be built between 1926-1929 but ultimately left unfinished. The ship would have been an unparalalled masterpiece if she had been built and - thanks to her unique propulsion system - she would have been such a huge advance for her time that she would not have been surpassed until the ocean liner QUEEN MARY (II) was entered into servie in 2004. This article is dedicated to her story.

I.) "Twilight of the Gods" - The TITANIC disaster, and the IMMC., the WSL and the H&W, 1912-1927

The majority of the shares of the British White Star Line shipping company, founded in 1867, were bought in April 1902 by the American financier John Pierpont Morgan, who announced the establishment ot the International Mercantile Marine Co. (IMMC) in October of the same year, that combined 7 shipping companies he owned. IMMC's fleet of 106 vessels accounted for 7% (30% including ships of the 2 partners and 1 joint venture) of the fleet of 1,555 vessels operating worldwide. 82 of the 106 ships belonged to the White Star Line, which was the only member of the group of companies that operated profitably in every year of the decade between 1904-1914 (in view of this, from 1904 the task of managing the entire IMMC was performed by the managing director of the White Star Line). The tragedy of the TITANIC occurred during the boom in passenger transport (the construction of the ship was also a result of it), which continued unabated despite the disaster: in 1913, more than 2.6 million passengers were transported across the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and America. This kind of traffic had never been achieved before, and it was never even approached again in peacetime. The White Star Line then carried 191,838 passengers compared to the Cunard Line's 199,746. White Star steamers completed 183 crossings, i.e. they transported an average of 1,048 passengers per trip, while Cunard completed 177 crossings, which means 1,128 passengers. The two British companies accounted for 7.3% of the total traffic, while the German HAPAG alone transported 244,661 passengers on 197 crossings (so an average of 1,242 passengers per trip), thereby obtaining 9.4% of the traffic. Although progress seemed unbroken despite the loss of the TITANIC, everything changed with the sinking of the flagship of the IMMC fleet. In addition to the human and material loss, the tragedy also affected the organization of the trust: As he had already decided before the sinking of the TITANIC - in January 1912 - J. Bruce Ismay retired from the position of president of the IMMC in 1913, where he was succeeded by Harold Sanderson. John Pierpont Morgan died in the same year, and in 1924 William James Pirrie, the owner and general manager of the giant shipyard serving the IMMC empire, Belfast's Harland & Wolff, succeeded him. The trust, in the form it had been known until then, had been declined.

As for Ismay, he was labeled a coward and ostracized by London society despite the fact that, according to the commission investigating the circumstances of the tragedy, he helped many other passengers before finding a place for himself in the last lifeboat that left the starboard side of the ship. On December 31, 1912, Ismay therefore confirmed that, in accordance with his decision in January, he would resign from the post of president of the IMMC with effect from June 30, 1913. His decision was accepted on January 2, 1913, but his request to remain general manager of the White Star Line was rejected. He was succeeded in both positions by former Vice President Harold Sanderson. And Ismay remained a member of the board of directors of IMMC for another 4 years (in the British Commission chaired by Edward Charles Grenfell, the first baron of Saint Just, alongside William James Pirrie and Harold Arthur Sanderson), but when he finally gave up all hope of being elected to head the White Star Line again, he also resigned from this position in 1916. He never recovered from the shock caused by the TITANIC disaster and the subsequent American press campaign against him. Even before his trip on the TITANIC, he was emotionally insecure, but the tragedy pushed him into a deep depression from which he never truly recovered. Most of his work was then given to the cases of The Liverpool & London Steamship Protection & Indemnity Association Ltd (the insurance company founded by his father): Hundreds of thousands of pounds were paid out as compensation to the relatives of the TITANIC victims. Ismay handled the plight of the applicants with great fortitude, despite the fact that he could have easily shied away from responsibility and resigned from the board of directors of this company. Still, he persevered with the difficult task, even though during the remaining years of his presidency it is difficult to find even a single page in the papers of the company that did not mention the TITANIC. What's more: he donated £11,000 from his private fortune to create a relief fund to support the relatives of the many shipwrecked survivors, and in 1919 another £25,000 to support merchant seamen who served in the First World War. Although his wife, Florence, consistently made sure that the TITANIC was never discussed in the family again, it still haunted Ismay, who tormented himself with useless speculations about how he could have avoided the disaster.

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Fig. 1: J. Bruce Ismay in front of the US Congressional Commission of Inquiry and in the US press as "J. Brute Ismay". (Source: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. digital ID cph.3b15542, file no. LC-DIG-hec-00933, New York American)


At Christmas 1936, at a family gathering, one of his grandchildren, Evelyn, who had learned that Ismay had also worked in shipping, asked him if he had ever been shipwrecked. Ismay then broke his quarter-century silence about the tragedy that ruined his life and replied: "Yes, I was once on a ship that was thought to be unsinkable." On October 14, 1937, Ismay, who had already been suffering from diabetes for several years (whose right leg had to be amputated below the knee in 1936), suffered a stroke on October 14, 1937, as a result of which he lost consciousness, became blind and mute. He died three days later.

Morgan died in his sleep in his hotel room on March 31, 1913, during a trip to Rome. Corpse stake in s.s. FRANCE transported him back to New York, where the flags were lowered to half-mast and the stock exchange closed for two hours. His company empire was taken over by his son, John Pierpont ("Jack") Morgan, Jr., who did not have nearly as much influence as his father. Based on the antitrust laws, the company empire had to be divided into three smaller companies in 1933, but the shipping interests were no longer among them. IMMC was an over-leveraged company that borrowed too much money compared to its solvency (it also bought up the debts of its member companies), so it went bankrupt, when the news of the outbreak of the First World War caused prices to collapse and the group's solvency was shaken: in September 1914 the directors of IMMC announced that the October 1 interest payment on the 4.5% bonds would be postponed due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the outbreak of war. The bond foreclosure stipulated that the six-month deferral would not constitute default, but by the spring of 1915, IMMC was bankrupt with $3.3 million in interest debt, and on April 3, a receiver was appointed in a person of Philip Albright Small Franklin, the White Star Line's representative in New York at the time of the TITANIC tragedy. After the years of bankruptcy trusteeship in 1915/16, he succeeded Sanderson as president of IMMC and was determined to save the group of companies. Under his leadership, the IMMC was able to recover when the war economy boosted shipping again (and despite the losses it suffered, the IMMC, which still had the largest fleet, was able to benefit the most from this, since its steamers accounted for a quarter of the entire American expeditionary force and nearly 15 million tons of munitions were delivered to France). By the end of the war, future trade conditions had become unpredictable, as North Atlantic liner shipping was affected by two circumstances that no one would have considered before the war. One was the elimination of the German ships confiscated as war reparations from the competition, and the other was the huge increase in the tonnage of American merchant shipping through the Emergency Shipbuilding Program and the seizure of German ships (the latter represented approximately 300,000 gross register tons of passenger space). For the first time since the dawn the Age of steam, the United States was in a position to challenge Britain's world dominance of maritime commerce, at least in terms of carrying capacity. However, IMMC found itself in an awkward position. After all, although he wanted to share in the expected renaissance of American shipping, most of his income came from the income of British ships it owned.

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Fig. 2: The news of the death of J.P. Morgan - the "uncrowned king" of the stock market - in the American newspapers and Morgan at the White Star pier in New York at the arrival of the OLYMPIC on her maiden voyage in 1911. (Source: Morgan Library)


In the atmosphere of fierce nationalism that developed in the United States after the war, Morgan's promise in 1903 that he would "not pursue a policy injurious to British merchant shipping or injurious to British commerce" was effectively used to prevent the trust from purchasing ships in the United States. Thus, the paradoxical situation arose that the only American company that had enough capital, management experience, and agent network to manage European traffic, essentially could not participate in it. The IMMC was thus still maintained by the White Star Line, which, with the exception of 1917, maintained its Atlantic voyages throughout the war years (102 in 1914, 61 in 1915, 44 in 1916, 41 in 1918, 1919 and 47 passengers arrived to America on board of the company's ships). The scheduled Southampton-New York service was reopened in 1920 with OLYMPIC and ADRIATIC, for which they completed 37 crossings, carrying a total of 60,120 passengers - an average of 1,624 per voyage. At the same time, Cunard's steamers MAURETANIA and AQUITANIA completed 57 crossings with a total of 88,295 passengers (an average of 1,549 per voyage). Taking advantage of the respite to avoid another insolvency, the IMMC Act sold its foreign subsidiaries in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1920, they first bought all the ordinary shares of the Leyland Line that they did not yet own, then the steamers of the Red Star Line were also transferred to the property of the Leyland Line (they no longer operated under the Belgian but the British flag), while the names of the Dominion Line and the Red Star Line were kept for commercial purposes only. By 1924, the White Star Line - which was still the second largest passenger carrier on the North Atlantic - was already making a loss. This was related to the United States re-regulating immigration in 1924 and established quotas per ethnic group on the number of foreigners that can be admitted each year, the number of people who can still be accommodated in a given ethnic group in one year, which was maximized at 2% of the number of people belonging to the given ethnic group, according to the 1890 census data. All this had a drastic effect on emigrant traffic, so in 1926 the shareholders of IMMC accepted the British offer to buy back the White Star Line for the equivalent of 33.9 million dollars. The buyer was the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., which took over in January 1927.

Pirrie and Harland & Wolff could not escape their fate either. Lord Pirrie was really in his element during the war years, as the Royal Navy heaped the shipyard with orders, but with the end of the war, the orders also dried up, and with this Pirrie felt that his position within the company was shaken. He tried to demobilize disobedient workers with social measures - the establishment of recreation parks - and the higher-ranking workers were still fairly regularly given gifts by his wife every Christmas. The first signs that all was not well came when they discovered that the directors were holding their own event in 1920, separate from the Pirrie couple's Christmas party. Pirrie didn't want to stay away from the affairs of the shipyard even for a minute, so he kept putting off taking the advice of his doctors, who had been recommending long-term rest for a long time. He finally gave in in the spring of 1924, when he agreed to go on a tour of South America and Europe with his wife to assess whether the infrastructure of the ports of the countries concerned was developed enough to serve the ships of the yard's largest partners, the Royal Mail Line, Pacific Steam Navigation Co. and Lamport & Holt Line companies, and can also take a summer and winter trip, combining the comfortable with the useful. On March 21, they left for Buenos Aires on board the ARLANZA Royal Mail liner built by Harland & Wolff and from there they extended the trip to Valparaiso, Chile by going around Cape Horn. While they were waiting for the connection in Valparaiso, Pirrie caught a cold, and the cold soon turned into pneumonia. They sailed from Antofagasta on board the EBRO towards the Panama Canal. Pirrie was already convalescing when they reached the canal, and against the advice of his doctors, even on his sickbed in his usual dictatorial manner, he ordered to be taken on board because he wanted to see the canal. It was a fatal decision. Despite the heroic struggle of the ship's medical and nursing staff, the 78-year-old shipbuilder died on the night of June 7, 1924, at 11:30 p.m. When EBRO arrived in New York, his embalmed body was transferred aboard his masterpiece, the OLYMPIC, which took him to Europe (he was given what Morgan was not, whose powder pod was only transported as a piece of cargo in the refrigerated hold of a ship that didn't even belong to the huge ocean-going fleet he created). He was laid to rest in Belfast on June 23, 1924, the day he joined the company's workforce 62 years earlier. He did not make any preparations for his retirement or his death, so the members of the board of directors did not even know what new tonnage construction he was discussing before the trip started. He took his secrets, if any, to the grave, as his ambition and exclusive management style blinded him to training his directors in the methods he used to acquire business and manage the company. He surrounded himself only with people who tried to imitate his lifestyle, but were weak to contradict him: George Cuming was dead, Edward Wilding was suffering from a nervous breakdown (Pirrie took back direct control of the drawing office tasks at his expense in February 1924), and Robert Crighton was also ill; John Westbeech Kempster was a nice old gentleman who spent more time in the university cloister than in the business world, J.P. Dickinson, the manager of the Govan site, was incompetent and weak, and Charles Payne from Belfast was a showman. Among the directors, only F. E. Rebbeck had the necessary skills, but he was regularly voted out by his senior colleagues. Apart from him, only William Tawsee, the chief accountant, and John Phillip, the chief executive's secretary, had any idea of what and how Pirrie was doing. In any case, all directors agreed that the position of president and CEO held by Pirrie would be abolished and the management of the factory would be taken over by the board of directors. Having only a sketchy knowledge of the factory's finances and knowing nothing about which of the oral negotiations on new constructions had led to results, the members of the board of directors could not rise to their responsibilities. Harland & Wolff, the largest shipyard in the world, was left without effective leadership on the brink of its biggest economic crisis...

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Fig. 3: 'Lord Pirrie's Book' – a gift from the shipyard workers to Pirrie on his 1921 ennoblement (left), Pirrie and his wife at the start of the fatal voyage on the steamer ARLANZA (centre) and Pirrie's tombstone in Belfast (right). (Source: Maritime Belfast Trust, Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images, J146580607, Find a grave/Paul Fryer)


II.) Lord Kylsant, the new favorite:

However, the Harland & Wolff Shipyard soon had a new owner. Namely, the same man who was behind the repurchase of the White Star Line into exclusive British ownership: Owen Cosby Phillips (1863-1937), 1st Baron of Kylsant.

Owen Phillips was born in the rectory at Warminster, Wiltshire, the third of five sons of Rev. Sir James Erasmus Philllips - 12th Baron of Picton Castle - and his wife Mary Margaret Best. After his schooling in Devon, in 1880 he entered the Dent & Co. Shipping Company in Newcastle upon Tyne as an apprentice, and in 1886 he joined the Allen Line in Glasgow. In 1888, he founded his own shipping company under the name Phillips & Co. with the financial support of his eldest brother, John Phillips. Their first ship was purchased in 1889, but by 1900 the two brothers owned two shipping companies (the King Line and the Scottish Steamship Co.), an investment company (the London Maritime Investment Co.), and the London and Thames Haven Petrol Port. In 1902 - when J.P. Morgan bought the majority of shares in the White Star Line - taking advantage of the low share prices, the Phillips brothers also acquired a dominant share in the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. (RMSPC), of which 39-year-old Owen Phillips became the president and managing director.

RMSPC was founded in 1839 by the Scotsman James MacQueen, and originally transported mail and passengers to the ports of the Caribbean and South America with the firm intention of supporting the abolition of slavery in the British colonies of the Caribbean by launching the first steamship in the region. The government trying to master political and social instability through British economic hegemony in achieving its goals. The support was generously rewarded by the government - with a subsidy of £240,000 per annum - which provided ample funding for RMSPC to grow into one of the leading companies in British shipping, both financially and technically (a convincing example of the latter being that RMSPC was the first British shipping company to equip its ships with compound steam engines developed by John Elder in the 1850s and perfected since then in the 1870s). Between 1902 and 1922, under the management of Owen Phillips, the RMSPC acquired a decisive share in more than twenty other shipping companies, including those such as the Union-Castle Line, which ran to the British colonies in Africa, or the Peninsular & Orient, which maintained maritime links with the Far East and Australian colonies. (P&O).

Owen Cosby Phillips was also a Member of Parliament between 1906-1922 (between 1906-1910 for the Liberal Party for Pembroke and Haverfordwest, and between 1916-1922 for the Conservative Party, as a delegate for Chester). In 1922, he received a knighthood (he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George), and in 1923 he was ennobled, when the king made him the first baron of Kylsant, and awarded him with the Commander's Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. From then on, Phillips participated in the legislature as a member of the House of Lords. Owen Cosby Phillips did not meet William James Pirrie for the first time here, as they had been in contact since he first ordered ships for his company from Harland & Wolff as the President and CEO of RMSPC. Between 1904 and 1916, 17 ships of the company were built in Belfast, while only 15 ships were built for the White Star Line (Oceanic Steam Navigation Co. - OSNC) in the same period[1]. This made Phillips Pirrie's most important customer. It is therefore hardly a coincidence that already in 1914 Pirrie stated as part of a private conversation with Edward Holten that according to his plans after his death "Phillips will be in charge of everything".

Apart from the fact that Kylsant owned the majority of Harland & Wolff's shares from 1919 onwards, the similarity of the two men's uncompromising, violent and autocratic characters, which made him appear much more suitable from the beginning, therefore made him more sympathetic in the eyes of Pirrie, who perhaps saw him as a first-generation "empire builder" similar to himself (as Pirrie liked to see himself, generously forgetting that his shipyard, of which he was so proud, was created by Sir Edward Harland's engineering knowledge and Gustav Wilhelm Wolff's financial prowess). Bruce Ismay, who was born with a silver spoon and inherited his business empire from his father, was not respected by Pirrie, which is clearly shown by the fact that he did not let him know when he started negotiations with J.P. Morgan about the sale of White Star Line behind his back. (Perhaps it was precisely for this reason that he later prevented his return to the head of the White Star Line, as he was able to personally see that Ismay was a man from whose hands even the family company had been wrested out. He apparently did not care that this could not have been done without him.)

It is not known how seriously Lord Pirrie thought about having Lord Kylsant manage the Harland & Wolff Shipyard after his death, as he did not shared the content of his conversation with Edward Holten to either the vice-president, Robert Crighton, or to his lawyer, Charles Crisp. At the meeting of the board of directors of Harland & Wolff Shipyard held three days after Pirrie's death, something happened however, because Pirrie's London office with all its accessories was available to Kylsant within days, where he declared himself the new president and CEO of Harland & Wolff Shipyard. We are hardly disappointed if we guess the fear of responsibility of the largely incompetent board members selected by Pirrie in the background. As Crighton (himself reluctant to take on the chairmanship) reminded the board members: 'hitherto Lord Pirrie has been approached individually to do certain works, to adopt certain policies, or to authorize various expenditures, but in future all must consult the with others because of the shared responsibility". Of course, Lady Pirrie must have known of her husband's intention (if he had such an intention), but in any case she was in no hurry to confirm it, as she disliked the lord of Kylsant. He found her arrogant and aloof, although she believed that this had more to do with Phillips's extraordinary height of more than 2 meters, his maypole appearance and his stammer, rather than his deliberate attitude towards her. At the same time, she steadfastly avoided being seen in the company of either Kylsant or his wife.

Despite this with a generous gesture, Kylsant offered Lady Pirrie the position of chairman of Harland & Wolff for the entire period of her life. Nevertheless, Lady Pirrie wanted Lord Inverforth to be elected as president (mistakenly thinking that as administrator of the Pirrie estate and her husband's heir, she also had a decisive say in corporate decision-making, which had not been the case since 1919, since, the majority of the shares were owned by Kylsant). Kylsant's first task was to investigate the shipyard's finances. While Pirrie was first and foremost an engineer with a thorough knowledge of every sub-process of shipbuilding, who had the attitude that "whether for profit or loss, it doesn't matter, just let the shipyard produce", Kylasnt was primarily a financial specialist who (even though he worked with shipping companies) did not have a similar background knowledge in shipbuilding, but - perhaps influenced by the upbringing of his father, who held an ecclesiastical profession - he threw himself into the business with an almost missionary zeal, seeing it as his moral obligation to give work to people (who respected him for this in the midst of the ever-increasing unemployment situation). However, he quickly saw through the disastrous finances of Harland & Wolff: Pirrie's generous way of life almost brought the company to financial ruin. He overdrawn his line of credit with the Midland Bank, for which he offered the Witley Court estate as collateral, worth some £325,000, and undertook to personally buy back £473,260 worth of Harland & Wolff preference shares from members of the Colville family. His most important financial assets were the shares he owned in the Harland & Wolff Shipyard and in the Elder Dempster shipping company. However, Kylsant knew full well that these would not provide any serious dividends to shareholders in the near future (not even the annuity due to Pirrie's testamentary heirs could be paid from them). The company's finances looked so bleak that Kylsant's first reaction was to suggest to the estate's trustees that they file for bankruptcy (which would also have allowed them to ignore Pirrie's will, which was to take the privately owned shipyard public—that is, shares for public trading on the stock exchange - and stipulated the mandatory continued employment of the directors for that case). Kylsant was only willing to desist from this intention at the persuasion of Pirrie's two closest friends - Lord Inchcape and Lord Inverforth.

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Fig. 4: Lord Kylsant (painting by Philip Tennyson Cole in Carmarthenshire County Museum).


Inchcape reasoned that surely Kylsant didn't want the bankrupt widow to cause him various inconveniences as she traveled around London. Kylsant thus finally persuaded the boards of directors of the companies previously owned by Pirrie to combine the annuities for Lady Pirrie and the other beneficiaries of the will. However, the biggest concern was not Lady Pirrie, but Harland & Wolff's finances, which were in an shocking state.

As an experienced investor, Kylsant was horrified by the shipyard's fragile financial situation, as he clearly saw that the demands for repayment of unsecured loans would not be met if the creditors demanded them at the same time during a possible crisis. The danger was not just a theoretical possibility at all, since the John Brown Shipyard had already submitted a claim for unpaid debts worth 252,000 pounds, but before the end of the financial year there was no other option than to cover up the serious situation. In particular, Harland & Wolff actually made a loss with every ship it delivered. With the steamers KATHIAWAR and INVERBANK recently built in Govan, £160,000, but even after the ocean liners MOOLTAN, MALOJA and MINNETONKA, the income was only 4% of the total purchase price, which was also taken into account in the previous year's closing accounts. The payment of the depreciation provision of £224,013 was again deferred, bringing the total shortfall to £643,173. The repayment of the interest on the loans was also postponed, while the nearly £262,000 in dividends could only be paid by borrowing another £360,000. This increased the company's total loan stock to nearly £3,000,000. All this was shown in the annual financial statement presented to the shareholders under the heading "Miscellaneous creditors, including bank overdrafts" together with a further £240,000 which was shown as a reserve under "Miscellaneous extraordinary accounts and pending sums". However, Kylsant knew exactly that he could not be smart forever, and the misery of Harland & Wolff could bring the entire Royal Mail empire to ruin.

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Fig. 5: Lord Kylsant (centre), Duchess of Abercorn (left), Charles Payne (right) and Lady Kylsant (far right) in company on July 7, 1925, at the launching ceremony of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. ocean liner ASTURIAS, in Belfast (Source: Moss and Hume, p. 246.).


Kylsant therefore tried to run forward and, terminating the private nature of Harland & Wolff Shipyard, decided to take it to the stock market in order to stabilize the company's finances, which had been shaken by the abnormal management of the previous period, by involving publicly available investor capital. However, the share subscription that started on July 4, 1924 did not bring the expected results: out of the 4,000,000 pounds worth of 6% preference shares issued (with a face value of 1 pound) - as a result of the devastating news about other shipyards and machine factories - only 750 000 pounds of shares were subscribed (just under 19% of the total stock package). After the failure, the board was left with no other option than to introduce new operating and tender procedures to reduce overheads and boost competitiveness (as virtually no one knew the full details of the previous negotiation and pricing procedures introduced by Pirrie). Meanwhile - between the beginning of February and the end of August 1924 - Harland & Wolff received orders for a total of 10 new ships, but the construction of only 1 of these ships, Belfast Steamship Co.'s 9,000-ton steamer APAPA, did not result in a loss. During this period, the shipyard practically only received orders to retain workers. Kylsant held the first meeting of the board of directors between January 8-10, 1925. Revealed that the directors leading individual departments had handled the general and development costs with excessive carelessness until now. When Kylsant asked, for example, how the construction of the two large ocean liners for P&O (the MOOLTAN and the MALOJA) could have been unprofitable, he was met by the directors only to blame Pirrie's high quality expectations. After that, it was decided to explore all indispensable expenses, to reduce or freeze wages, and to reduce stocks by 25%, but no one could draw the conclusion that the Queen's Island site might have to be closed for a while. The cost reduction also resulted in a saving of only 25,000 pounds per year, the 1924 closing accounts had to be cosmeticized in this way: the annual income of 307,392 pounds on paper was then supplemented with 380,000 pounds transferred from the published company reserve, which thus hid the factory's 600,000 important loss. Despite Kylsant's best efforts, the final accounts were also evaluated by Price Waterhouse & Coopers, the shipyard's auditor, and stated the following: "depending on the adequacy of the reserves, we believe that the balance sheet has been properly drawn up to give a true and fair view of the state of the company's affairs give a correct picture”. This meant some respite…

It turned out to be an encouraging turn for both Kylsant and Harland & Wolff when, in August 1925, the White Star Line came forward with an order for the construction of a new, large ocean liner. Back in 1922, Pirrie suggested to Kylsant that he buy back the patina shipping company (who knows, maybe it hurt his British pride that Harland & Wolff could only become the world's largest shipyard by American capital, and by the transfer from British to American majority ownership of its biggest customer, White Star Line, of which it was the main shareholder, what might have disturbed his conscience, so he wanted to retrieve his honour). However, Kylsant's purchase offer at the time was personally vetoed by US President Warren G. Harding. In 1926, the British shipping company Furness Withy & Co. also came forward with a purchase offer. (Sir Cristofer, the first baron of Furness, the owner of Furness Withy & Co., founded in 1891, requested government support in 1900 in order to establish a British counter-combinate against the Americans initiated by J.P. Morgan, without success. After his death in 1912, the Furness family sold their interests in the company in 1919 to a consortium led by the former managing director, Frederick Lewis.) The agreement was reached, but the contract contained a stipulation that the contract was invalid if a general strike breaks out in Great Britain before the sale is completed. Although the biggest work stoppage of the 1920s - which was announced by the unions due to the continuous deterioration of the situation of coal miners and in order to stop the reduction of wages - only held between May 4-12, 1926., thwarted the hopes of the Furness company. Kylsant then re-entered the scene and by November bought all the shares of the White Star Line, together with all its financial and other assets, for which he paid a total of 33.9 million dollars, i.e. 7 million pounds at the 1926 exchange rate. Taking into account the financial deterioration that had occurred in the meantime, this means that the company was bought back for less than half of its 1902 purchase price (J.P. Morgan paid £10 million for the White Star Line in 1902, which was worth 20 million pounds at the exchange rate of 1926).


III.) New ocean liner designs in the 1920s and their impact on the White Star Line

When Harland & Wolff, taken over by Lord Kylsant, began to design the latest ocean liner of the White Star Line, which returned to exclusive British ownership, its construction has been on the agenda for more than a decade (with technical content redefined and redefined periodically according to the ever-changing needs), as the White Star Line had been considering the construction of a large new ocean liner since 1914.

What's more, on July 9, 1914, the giant steamer for the Liverpool-New York route, considered the second most important in the company's business policy, began to be built at the Harland & Wolff Shipyard, with production number 470. The ship was first named GERMANIC, after a successful ship built for the White Star Line in 1875 (sistership of BRITANNIC I), which left the company's fleet during the construction of the TITANIC (when it was also sold to the Ottoman Empire, where it was entered into service as GÜLCEMAL), so her name became usable again. Since this was the first ship to be built for the White Star Line after the loss of the TITANIC, many people think that its task was to replace the lost TITANIC, but this is contradicted by its technical data and intended use, which the IMMC's 1913 annual business report and IMMC director Harold Sanderson's June 1914 press statement make it clear beyond any doubt. According to the report: "Directors have authorized the construction of a steamer of about 33,600 tons and 19 knots speed for the New York-Liverpool service of the White Star Line, to be named GERMANIC, and to be of the ADRIATIC type, with such alterations and improvements as experience has suggested and as are made possible by her greater size. It is expected that the GERMANIC will be completed in time to enter the service in 1916, and that she will be an exceedingly attractive steamer” more spacious than before - equipped with private bathrooms, with finer furnishings - first-class accommodations and a larger swimming pool. Sanderson's statement went into further detail: "She will be a larger ship than the ADRIATIC but would be smaller than OLYMPIC." Her length overall would be about 746 feet and 88 feet wide (that is, her gross tonnage would have exceeded that of the LUSTIANIA and MAURETANIA), and she would have been fitted with three propellers, the two extremes of which would have been driven by reciprocating steam engines, the middle by a low-pressure steam turbine, that is, the In all likelihood, the ship was planned to be built based on the first preliminary design for the OLYMPIC-class, but nothing came of the plans: The name of the ship was changed from GERMANIC to HOMERIC at the outbreak of the First World War, and then at the end of 1914 the double bottoms completed until then dismantled to make way for urgent naval orders on Falcon Square. On May 27, 1916, the ship's keel was laid down again, but on May 13, 1917, the construction was interrupted for the second time - this time for good - and at the end of August 1917, they began to dismantle the hull that had been completed until then.

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Fig. 6: The first draft of the OLYMPIC class from June 1907. Perhaps this design - which also evokes the main characteristics of the ADRIATIC - was considered as a basis for the design of GERMANIC. (Drawing by Dr. Tamás Balogh).


The second occasion took place already after the First World War, when Philip Albright Small Franklin, president of the IMMC, announced in 1919 that, as part of the White Star Line's post-war construction program, a new 35,000-ton ship would be built at Harland & Wolff " with a speed of 21 knots, and each cabin on the two upper decks has its own bathroom". Since the features mentioned in the announcement are very similar to those of the HOMERIC (ex-GERMANIC II.) built during the war and then abandoned (35,000 tons compared to 33,600 and first-class cabins with private bathrooms), it is hardly an exaggeration to assume that In 1919, they did not announce a brand new ship design, but that they would start again and this time try to complete the project, which had been forced to be interrupted in 1917. Soon, however, this plan also failed, this time due to war reparations.

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Fig. 7:
The R.M.S. HOMERIC (ex-COLUMBUS), 1913-1935 (drawing by Dr. Tamás Balogh).


Due to the sinking of the TITANIC and then the GIGANTIC (later BRITANNIC II.), the new express service planned by White Star Line with the OLYMPIC trio could only be realized after the First World War, when the German ocean liners MAJESTIC (ex-BISMARCK) and HOMERIC (ex-COLUMBUS), seized as war reparations, replaced the sunken ships. The size of the 34,000-ton COLUMBUS just matched the size category of the previously designed ships, but it was driven by only two propellers, which were moved by piston steam engines (making COLUMBUS the world's largest ship powered by a conventional steam engine). As the ship was still half-finished in Danzig, Germany (now Gdansk, Poland) when it was handed over to the White Star Line, its completion could only take place a year later, at the end of 1921, and the first voyage could not be started until February 15, 1922. The White Star Line's biggest rival, the British Cunard Line, was also needed seized tonnage to able to maintain its three-ship service with seized ship - the BERENGARIA (ex-IMPERATOR) - which was put into service alongside MAURETANIA and AQUITANIA to compensate for the loss of LUSITANIA. While MAJESTIC surpassed BERENGARIA's speed (23.9 knots against 20.4 knots) and OLYMPIC competed relatively successfully with AQUITANIA (21.4 knots against 23.1 knots), HOMERIC's 18.1 knots speed was far below the MAURETANIA's average speed of 23.9 knots typical of the 1920s, so even though she was a newer and larger ship, fewer passengers bought tickets for her. By 1926, the differences became obvious: in the MAJESTIC-OLYMPIC-HOMERIC trio, MAJESTIC carried 50% of all passengers, OLYMPIC 33%, HOMERIC 17% (MAJESTIC transported as many passengers in its first 4 years of its service as HOMERIC did during its entire service period up to 1935). On the Southampton-New York route, the HOMERIC competed in a service for which, compared to her competitors, she was not suited, so it became clear to White Star Line that they needed another new ship of at least comparable performance to the OLYMPIC but more to the MAJESTIC.

What this new ship should be like, it was defined by the design starting points of the era. In the period between the two world wars, three circumstances had a fundamental impact on the design and construction of ocean liners: 1) the transition from burning coal to burning oil, 2) the entry into force of American immigration laws and the corresponding change in travel habits, and 3) the use of diesel-electric motors as the main engine of large ocean liners.

1) Transition from coal to oil burning

The liquid fuel that was first used to generate heat in ship boilers was petroleum produced by distilling crude oil, either in its original crude form, but more often in its syrupy (viscous) black tarry form after refining (so-called: "C-type bunker oil"). The calorific value of the fuel is characterized by the amount of heat that can be extracted from 1 kg of fuel (without the heat of vaporization of the amount of water leaving in the form of steam together with the flue gases), its unit of measure is MJ/Kg (Megajoule / kilogram). While the calorific value of coal used for ships was 14.24 MJ/Kg, that of contemporary heating oils was 19.51 MJ/Kg (5.4 kWh/kg).

The first ships equipped with oil-burning boilers - made by Spakovsky -  (on which oil was injected into the combustion chamber of the coal-burning boilers as a combustion accelerator and heat enhancer), the cargo ships IRAN and CONSTANTINOPLE, were put into service in Russia on the oil-rich coast of the Caspian Sea in 1870 in , and then the vessel KHIVENYEC of the Caspian Sea fleet of the Tsarist Russian Navy was converted to oil-burner in 1874. They also burned a low-quality crude oil derivative that was left over as a by-product of oil refining - called mazut - but available in large quantities and cheaply (15 oil refineries were operating on the Abseron Peninsula near Baku, so mazut was an easily accessible fuel). The first ocean-going ship to be equipped with boilers available for oil-burning as well was the British tanker S.S. BAKU STANDARD sailing between Newcastle and New York in 1894, and the first ship equipped exclusively for oil-burning was the destroyer HMS SPITEFUL after she converted to oil burning in 1904. The very first ocean liner to cross the Atlantic using oil was the American-Belgian Red Star Line ocean liner KENSINGTON, created to transport American crude oil to Europe, in 1903.

Oil-burning in shipping had several significant advantages compared to coal-burning. On the one hand, the hydrogen content of oil is 11% higher than that of coal, which results in a much higher calorific value. On the other hand, liquid oil can also be stored in places on the ship where coal is not (e.g.: in the double bottom, in the narrowing space in the underwater parts of the bow and stern, etc.). In addition, the continuous oil injection kept the combustion of the oil (and thus the vapor pressure) constant and provided uninterrupted heat development throughout the journey (unlike the combustion of coal, which had to be interrupted while the resulting ash was removed). The handling of the oil involved much less time, noise and pollution, and required a much smaller staff. After all, while on a coal-fired ship 1 heater could attend to a maximum of 3 furnaces (i.e. 1 boiler), on an oil-burner ship 12 (i.e. 4 boilers), with much less physical work (on an oil-fired ship, all the work processes of fuel handling are 75% compared to a coal-fired ship)! With this, an average of around 200 members of the crew of a large ocean liner became dispensable.

The savings in labor and fuel costs more than covered the costs of the conversion investments. The conversion of coal-burner ocean liners to oil-burner ones primarily required the conversion of boilers and former coal bunkers. In the latter, the convex-headed rivets had to be replaced with smooth-headed ones in order to create a completely leak-free space, in which heaters had to be installed in order to prevent the oil from thickening due to cooling. In addition, the walls of the tanks had to be modified in such a way that they could withstand the hydraulic shock that might occur with the drop in the liquid level. However, there was no need to build new storage facilities, since much less oil was needed to travel the same distance compared to coal. The average time required for such a transformation was about 8 months.

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Fig. 8: Stokers and trimmers in the boiler room of a coal-burner ocean liner in 1910 (left) and the boiler room of NORMANDIE in 1936 (right). The often illiterate members of the coal-dusted "Black Gang" were replaced by fuelmen, trained mechanics in white (!) overalls. The engine and boiler room personnel were reduced to a tenth and hundreds of thousands of people were lost their job and put on the streets in the course of a few years. (Sources: Richard P. de Kerbrech, Gamma-Keystones/Getty CollectionK006377-A4)


The solution therefore had many advantages, despite this, it had to wait from the 1870s until the 1920s before it became widespread. There were several reasons for this: on the one hand, obtaining oil outside the Caspian Sea was expensive at first (until the discovery of the American oil fields), and on the other hand, the efficiency of early burners remained low for a long time. Oil as a general fuel for commercial shipping thus only really spread with the development of marine diesel engines. By the second half of the 1920s, however, most ocean liners were converted to oil-burning. As a result, many of the masses (the former stokers and trimmers) who went out on the streets and were left without jobs and their ability to pay (the disappearance of the demand they generated) were later considered by many to be a sign and one of the causes of the Great Depression of 1929...

2) Changes in travel habits

In 1926, Major Frank Bustard, director of passenger traffic for the White Star Line, gave a lecture at the Liverpool Commercial School on the six classes of service offered on North Atlantic passenger ships, adapted to the identified needs of passengers. According to this, the services of ocean liners are usually used by passengers with the following needs:

a) First class by the express steamers from Southampton, used particularly by businessmen and others to whom time is of monetary consideration; also by members of the theatrical profession and film industry who, for publicity purposes, cannot afford to travel other than in the ‘monster’ steamers.

b) Some of the companies are still running similar steamers, though not quite so large or fast and at slightly lower rates, from other ports, especially Liverpool. Their patrons atre mainly business travellers and the American tourist class, to whom time is not of primary importance and who have learnt by experience the estimable sea-going qualities that prevail on the type of steamer of 20.000-30.000 tons making the passage to and from New York in just over a week.

c) Cabin class. This class is supported by mainly passengers who formerly travelled First class, but who desire to combine economy with their travels, and there are also many travellers who previously crossed Second class in the three-class ships, who prefer Cabin accommodation because in no better class above them on the ship. The Cabin fares are only slighter higher than the Second class rates.

d) Second class retains its popularity, particularly on the 'monster' steamers.

e) Tourist Third Cabin is an entirely new class, and it is to this particular traffic thet the steamship lines look to take the place of the reduced emigration movement brought about by the US Quota Restrictions (United States Immigration Act, 1924). The Tourist Third Cabin quarters afford most comfortable accommodation to passengers to whom economy in travel is the primary consideration; and the development of this travel since 1925 shows clearly the possibilities of an increase in this movement of Americans desiring to visit Europe. Efforts are also being made to encourage the Tourist Third Cabin movement from Great Britain and Ireland to the United States, but it is expected that the bulk of this traffic will emanate from America.

f) Third class continues to be maintained more particularly for the emigrant type of passenger, and the worker in the United States or Canada when returning home on seasonal or occasional visits.

3) Application of desel-electric motors as main power plant of ocean liners

Diesel engines with compression ignition (i.e. igniting the liquid fuel with the increase in temperature occurring during the mechanical compression of the air in the cylinder space) are the most efficient types of internal combustion engines due to the simplicity of their operating principle, as well as their size and fuel economy. The first commercial ship powered by a diesel engine was the Russian oil carrier VANDAL, launched in 1903, whose diesel-electric drive train enabled a shallow dive in contrast to the space requirements of earlier long-stroke piston steam engines, therefore, the ship could travel in the Volga River waterway system, from the Caspian Sea to the Baltic Sea. However, after their first use in 1903, marine diesel engines operated with a lower power/space ratio for several years, and only the appearance of turbocharging in 1907, which ensured higher power density, accelerated their spread, as they could now operate with greater efficiency than steam turbines. From 1911, the new power source was installed in submarines, and from 1912 in ocean liners. The first diesel-powered ocean liner was the Danish SELANDIA. The possible prospects of the development were discussed by several engineers, including Dr. Ernst Förster, the designer of the largest ships of the time, the LEVIATHAN (ex-VATERLAND) and the MAJESTIC (ex-BISMARCK), whose study entitled "Big and Fast Liners of the Future" was published on April 23, 1923 in a technical journal 'Scientific American'. Förster also analyzed the issues of the main dimensions and propulsion and came to an interesting conclusion, insofar as he saw the solution in increasing the height instead of the length and width, without increasing the draft, but the diesel propulsion was strangely not considered seriously and the steam turbines counted on its long-term survival as the main engine of large ocean liners:

With respect to the modern and most economical design of turbines and boilers, as well as maximum passenger accommodation and maximum dimensions of the vessels, the Majestic and the Leviathan have to be regarded as marking the hight level of development in the North Atlantic trade, distinctly showing the extreme limit under present conditions in the way of further progress. The draught being almost 39 feet may not be increased for the next 10 or 15 years by much more than one foot, the draft being controlled by the depth of the main entrances to New York harbor as well as to Plymouth, Southampton and Cherbourg. The length of the biggest vessel being 954 feet over all, cannot reasonably be increased by any considerable amount; for it is limited by the present length of the piers in the North River. Furthermore, any increase in length, draft, and size will increase the difficulties of handling and navigation. Even stronger is the argument against much larger and aster ships on the grounds of economy.

[…] The most important technical question bearing on progress is that of the propelling machinery. The promising development o the internal-combustion engine (on the Diesel-principle) has in some quarters created illusions with respect to future possibilities, which, in the direction of Diesel reciprocating engines, do not appear to be based upon sufficient grounds. As to the gas turbine, there is nothing in the success so far achieved in experimental work to warrant the conclusion that this type can be applied for many years to come as a drive or large and fast Atlantic liners. However, the development of the geared steam turbine has reached a point where it would be possible to build a Mauretania, a Majestic, or a Leviathan that would show an economy of operation far superior to the existing vessels that carry those names. The saving in weight and space, as well as the smaller consumption of fuel oil on account of the far higher speed of revolution of the main turbines, has established, without any doubt, the wisdom and practicability of applying the geared drive to the big liners of the future.

Profiting by the advantages of the reduction gear, there are two diverging directions for future development: one aiming at a higher speed, the other economizing the management to the highest possible degree. In considering the question of higher speed, the question is, how far may this be carried; what will be the saving of time accomplished; and will this shortening of the passage justify the far greater cost of construction and operation? Adopting a maximum possible speed of 29.12 knots and an average ocean speed o 28.35 knots, we get the following results: On the Winter Course, the passage between Ambrose Channel and Cherbourg would be made in 4 days 15 hours; between Ambrose Channel and Plymouth in 4 days 13 hours. On the Summer Course the AMbrose Channel-Cherbourg course would be covered in 4 days 12 hours, and the Ambrose Channel-Plymouth course in 4 days 10 hours. Going eastward in summer time it may be desirable to leave New York for Plymouth (or Cherbourg) one, (or three) hours later, in order to utilize the day o departure as a whole working day. In this case the average speed would have to be increased to 28.6 or 29.12 miles an hour.

The article included a diagram showing the features of the planned "improved MAJESTIC".


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Fig. 9: Design (top), cross-section (bottom left), side and top view of the boiler and engine room (bottom right) of the "improved MAJESTIC". Captions are as follows: “Above: Although the ship shown above would be of 6.900 tons less displacement and 11.000 less horsepower than the MAJESTIC, and would require 1.135 tons less oil each trip, she would carry 1.146 more passengers at the same sea speed of 23 knots. Bottom left: Midship section showing the bulges at the waterline, which afford sufficient stability to permit the use of one deck more for passengers (shown shaded) than there are in the MAJESTIC. By this means the passenger accommodation is raised from 3.100 in the MAJESTIC to 4.246 in the proposed ship, the speed (23 knots) being the same. Bottom right: Elevation showing engine and boiler rooms necessary to drive an enlarged MAJESTIC at 28.35 knots sustained sea speed. (For plan view see below). Plan view of the engine and boiler plant necessary to drive an enlarged MAJESTIC across the Atlantic at 28.35 knots. To supply steam for the turbines of 165.000 horsepower would require 64 water-tube boilers.” (Source: Scientific American)


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Fig. 10:
The arrangement of the superstructure in the "improved MAJESTIC", which at first seems unusual, is not without precedent. The White Star steamer CALGARIC, launched in 1917 at the Harland & Wolff Shipyard, had a similar one. (Source: Dr. Tamás Balogh)


IV.) Design-variants of the OCEANIC (III):

In June 1923, the still American-owned White Star Line asked Harland & Wolff to begin designing a new ship to replace the HOMERIC. However, due to US immigration restrictions in 1924, Harold Sanderson, Chairman of the IMMC Board of Directors, withdrew from the investment. In August 1925, following the introduction and acceptance of tourist class, the White Star Line requested a new offer from Harland & Wolff. Following this, the shipyard prepared several sets of plans[2] for the company between 1926 and 1928, which wanted to name the new ocean liner after OCEANIC (I) built in 1871 – the very first ship of the company – and OCEANIC (II) built in 1899. Both ships were harbingers of great changes: the first OCEANIC introduced the hull form with an almost square cross-section in the middle, which later became common at White Star Line, and the second OCEANIC introduced the corporate business policy of prioritizing comfort over speed. From the third OCEANIC by comparison they expected a rebirth after the great losses – the TITANIC disaster and the World War. The OCEANIC (III) was partially built between 1928-1929, but finally she remained unfinished and her completed parts were dismantled. If completed, she would have been the world's first ocean-going passenger ship longer than 1,000 feet (300 m) and, until 2004 - the launch of the QUEEN MARY 2 - the largest diesel-electric powered ocean liner (moreover, she could have claimed the title of the most powerful diesel-electric powered ship to date).

Of the several plans that were completed, the drawings of only three have surfaced, to varying degrees.

The first among them was completed on January 28, 1926. This first version of the design featured only a conventional steam-powered, 904-foot (276 m) long, four-stacker ocean liner (essentially a fourth OLYMPIC-class ship) that deviated from the traditional WSL outlines in only one respect: she got the so-called "cruiser stern", which was already common in the design of the 1920s. German engineer Jochann Schütte already proposed the use of this stern-shape - typical of cruisers - in 1900, during the design of the german greyhound KAISER WILHELM II., but the first ocean liner with a cruiser stern, the ALSATIAN, was only built in 1913. In any case, Harland & Wolff used this structural element on its ocean liners since the launching of BELGENLAND (1914) and WINDSOR CASTLE (1921) due to its beneficial properties (increasing the waterline length affecting stability and speed and the deck surfaces that can be used for accommodating passengers).

Apart from that, the number and arrangement of the ship's decks - the whole appearance of the ship in general terms - basically reflected to the OLYMPIC class (as far as can be judged from the surviving partial documentation). However, compared to the TITANIC, which was considered as a model for the design, some things have still changed:

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Fig. 11:
RMS WINDSOR CASTLE, the ship used as a starting point for the concept design (the RMS OLYMPIC shown in the background). (Source: Wikipedia)

First of all, the front end of the superstructure was changed following the angular form of British Art Deco villa architecture (the curved parapet on wings of the navigating bridge on OLYMPIC and TITANIC was replaced by a more simple parapet, similar to that was used in WINDSOR CASTLE which was completely straight and flat rom top view). The glass-enclosed section of the forward end of the "A" deck first-class promenade was shortened on the model of WINDSOR CASTLE (this design-element derived from the plans of the unfinished liner NEDERLAND of 1914), and most of the deck was thus occupied by the open promenade. Only at the aft end of the "B" deck was a larger, open promenade created for the second class and a glass-closed one for the first class passengers on the territory belonged to the Café Parisien. On deck "C" in the front (where the forward well deck had been situated on the TITANIC) an open promenade was designed for the third class, while at the end of the ship, a glass-enclosed promenade was created for the second- and behind that an open promenade for the third class passengers.

The planned passenger-carrying capacity of the ship was 792 in first class, 380 in second class, and 1,240 in third class, but there were also 326 berths in first class that could be used both for the first or for the second class, and 318 berths in second class that could be used both for the first or for the third-class, and with 126 berths that could be sold as second- or as third-class berths when needed. All in all, the number of places was sufficient for 2,066 people. The plan of the first-class suites was generally similar to the arrangement of the first-class suites on board of the OLYMPIC (decks B and C would have been occupied by luxury suites in the same way as on the TITANIC and on the OLYMPIC after she was transformed due to the loss of the TITANIC). Perhaps that is why Philip Albright Small Franklin - the president of the IMMC - mentioned in the first public communication about the start of the design work, in August 1926, that "The White Star Line is considering the construction of a gigantic ocean liner with a speed of 25 knots to replace the HOMERIC. The new ship will be superior and will have the best qualities of MAJESTIC and OLYMPIC and will show a family resemblance to the latter.” However, at the time of this announcement, new preliminary plans for the ship were ready...

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Fig. 12:
The first known concept design of OCEANIC (III) (below), and the sample ships BELGENLAND (above) and WINDSOR CASTLE (middle). (Drawings: Dr. Tamás Balogh)

 

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Fig. 13:
General arrangement drawing of the first known concept design of OCEANIC (III). (Drawing: Dr. Balogh Tamás, on the basis of the original plans, publiched by the TITANIC Historical Society)


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Fig. 14:
Profile and longitudinal section of the first remained proposal made for the OCEANIC (III). (Drawing: Dr. Tamás Balogh

Such a reconstruction is an ideal tool to better understand certain elements of the ship's design. With the help of this, it also turns out, for example, that some parts of the plan come from other, earlier ships.

1) The appearance of the ship (hull shape, superstructure design, number of masts and funnels) is an improved version of the OLYMPIC class - OLYMPIC, TITANIC and BRITANNIC.

2) The proportion of the glass-enclosed and open part of the upper promenade on the "A" deck (below the boat deck) and the cruiser stern (which had not been used on White Star Line's superliners until then) are clearly comes from the plans of the NEDERLAND and the ARUNDEL CASTLE, both designed by the Harland & Wolff Shipyard on the basis of the TITANIC.

3) The general arrangement of the interior spaces - the "floor plan" - comes from two sources: On the one hand, the designers adopted several elements of the OLYMPIC-class (e.g. the Café Parisien and the a la carte restaurant on deck "B", or the 1st class dining saloon and reception room on deck "D", the location and size of which are exactly the same as their prototypes designed for TITANIC). On the other hand, the HOMERIC (ex-COLUMBUS), which was taken over from the Germans as war-reparation, was also one of the ships taken into account in the design, insofar as this ship provided the model for the design of the two-deck high public spaces of the "A" deck (the maximum headroom on White Star Line's ships was only one and a half decks, but HOMERIC's spacious interiors proved to be very popular).

4) At the same time, the reconstruction above reveals that the main characteristics of the planned ship not only reflects the shape of other ships built earlier, but also introduced innovations that later gave an inspiration for the designers of other ships: The terraced-design of the aft end of the superstructure and the cruise stern, as well the cabs placed on the wing's ends of the navigation bridge, for example, later reappeared on the designs of the QUEEN MARY.



The second set of the plans which can still be known today, dated 9 March 1926, shows a 935-foot (285 m) long, 52,000 BRT three-stacker ocean liner, also built with a cruiser stern, roughly the size of the later German BREMEN and EUROPA. This ship has already differed significantly from the previous design in several points, and adopted more of the structural solutions used in the case of MAJESTIC (II) – the former German BISMARCK: for example, used split funnel uptakes, and the interior height of the large communal rooms in the boat deck superstructures reached 13 feet (4 m). The height of the hull from the keel to the bridge is 105 feet (32 m). Ship designers clearly aimed to create a modern exterior (the front view of her superstructure, for example, is clearly reminiscent of the facade of Villa Stein, also designed by Le Corbusier in 1926).

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Fig. 15:
Model of the ship made by Richard D. Edwards in 2006 based on the second known preliminary design of OCEANIC (III) (M=1:350).


The general arrangement of the hull and the design of the superstructures were essentially the same as the previous design version, since the only significant modification was the relocation of the navigating bridge from the boat deck to the top of the officers' quarter, as well as the shortening of the "A" deck promenade and the moving of the mainmast forward. The fundamental difference between the second version of the design and the first one, lay in the propulsion of the ship, in that the combined system of piston steam engines and low-pressure steam turbine was planned to be replaced by a turboelectric drive system on the new ship, which is clearly indicated by the characteristic three, large-diameter, squat funnels.

The combination of diesel engines and electric motors enabled a more flexible distribution of the machines inside the ship and, thanks to the flexible axle connections, considerably dampened the significant vibrations that had been continuously occurring until then, while moving forward at a high speed. Another version of the electric drive chain is the turboelectric drive, in which steam turbines are used to drive electric generators, and they convert the kinetic energy into electrical energy, which is then used to drive the electric motors that turn the ship's propellers. The extraordinary advantage of this solution is the safe connection (without complicated gearboxes) between the fast-rotating main engines and the slow-rotating propeller shaft in the water, as well as the operation of all the other electrical systems of the ship without a separate power generator. Frank V. Smith, an employee of the Federal and Shipping Department of the American General Electric company, summarizes the technical novelty of this in terms of the design of the OCEANIC (III) in the January 1929 issue of the technical journal "Pacific Marine Review", in an article describing the propulsion system of the American ocean liner VIRGINIA:

High-speed, modern transportation is still of the utmost commercial and competitive importance in the seeking of mail contracts, the dispatch of valuable cargo, and in catering to first- class passenger traffic, and means are now being sought to increase again the power and speed of ships. In 1913. United States naval engineers, in cooperation with W. R. L. Emmet, consulting engineer of the General Electric Company, saw the tremendous advantage which electric propelling equipment would have for ships. Through their concerted efforts this type of propulsion was tried out on the collier Jupiter as an experiment. It was an unqualified success—so much so, in fact, that all of the later battleships were so equipped.

Our great background of electrical experience now stands us in good stead; we have a power in our hands which can be carried to any limit desired. Electric drive was installed on the airplane carriers Saratoga and Lexington, and, in a recent trial, the latter developed the unprecedented power of 210,000 horsepower at the propeller shafts; this amounts to 262 per cent of the greatest power ever applied on a North Atlantic liner and 131 per cent that which had ever been applied to a naval vessel of any type whatsoever. Our merchant marine was slow to adopt this new form of drive, until in 1926 the International Mercantile Marine Company, with great vision into the future, decided to build three electric liners for its Panama Pacific Line. This company had the utmost confidence that such a project would stimulate trade between the east and west, and that the traveling public would give its unanimous support to ships that provided both speed and the ultimate in comfort to its passengers.

The steamship California was a brilliant success, and in its one year of service has become one of the most popular ships afloat. Its passenger accommodations have been booked ahead for as much as five months. Its economies usher- ed in a new era in ship propelling machinery' which made it possible to give high speed service at reasonable rates. The fuel rate was but from 60 to 70 per cent of that existing on the large ships of the North Atlantic. The eyes of Europe were turned westward, and the far-reaching effect of the California's performance can hardly yet be fully visualized. The Peninsular & Oriental Line contracted for the building of a similar ship for its India and Australia trade route; this ship, named the Viceroy of India, is now nearing completion, and will soon be placed in service, Lord Kylsant recently announced that the new 1000-foot passenger liner now being built by the White Star Line is to be electrically driven. Other European lines are also thoroughly investigating the new possibilities which have been opened up because of the unlimited and economical power which can now be produced electrically on ships.

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Fig. 16:
Contemporary depiction of the OCEANIC (III) turboelectric propulsion system in the Popular Mechanics Magazine by S. W. Clatworthy (Source: Research by Eric Okanume). The caption to the picture was as follows:

„Giant liner to be driven by electric motors – When the White Star Line puts its first big post-war liner into service, it will be not only the biggest ship ever built - 1.050 feet in length and displacing 60.000 tons - but also the biggest electric-driven ship. This type of drive, pioneered by the American navy in battleships some years ago, has been applied to the 17.000-ton liner California and the Virginia, now building, both under the American flag, and in the new 19.000-ton P & O liner Viceroy of India, recently launched in England. The White Star ship, on which work has been started at Belfast, will have four boiler rooms, the aftermost of which is shown in the foreground of the artist's drawing. Oil fuel, with automatic firing, will be used. High-pressure water-tube boilers will be fitted with forced draft of supreheated combustion air. In the main engine room, seen beyond the boiler room, the steam will drive turbo-generators at about 3.000 revolution per minute to generate the electricity for the driving motors, directly connected to the propeller shafts and revolving at about 100 revolutions per minute. The electric drive has many advantages, including ease in maneuvering, quickness of reversing power, and the fact that the propellers cannot race when thrown clear in heavy seas.”


The performance achieved with turboelectric propulsion is typical of the fact that the American aircraft carrier LEXINGTON, mentioned in the quoted article of the Pacific Marine Review, after its launch in 1925 and commissioning in 1927, in the turn of 1929-1930 - for almost a month - supplied the city of Tacoma in Washington State with electricity. During the dry summer of 1929, the western part of the state was drought-stricken, resulting in low water levels at the first dam of Lake Cushman. Since the hydroelectric plant there was the city's primary source of energy, but by December the water level had dropped below the dam's intakes, the city asked for help from the United States federal government, which sent the LEXINGTON to the scene, where the ship's engines - the 4 4 47,200 HP (35,200 KW) generators feeding a 22,500 HP (16,800 KW) electric motor were connected to the city's power grid. The generators provided a total of 4,520,960 kilowatt-hours between December 17, 1929 and January 16, 1930, until melting snow and rain raised the reservoir's water again to a level sufficient to provide the city's entire electrical power supply. This case was an excellent demonstration of the potential of turboelectric propulsion. Although this example was not yet known at the time the OCEANIC (III.) was designed, the propulsion system of the new British ocean liner was modified to introduce turboelectric propulsion, and this change was clearly influenced by the Americans.

However, the implementation of the plans was forced to be suspended in the fall of 1926, when Harland & Wolff's supply of raw materials suffered a serious shortage, and when Lord Kylsant bought the White Star Line from IMMC in November of that year. Kylsant was the champion of (diesel and turbo) electric propulsion in Great Britain, since until then only shipping companies belonging to the interests of Royal Mail Lines built ships with such a drive chain in Great Britain. Since 1920, Harland & Wolff has gained experience in building various motor ships (their first diesel ship was the freighter GLENOGLE built for the Glen Line, launched on 15 April 1920 at Govan, near Glasgow, and their first diesel ocean liner was the Royal Mail Lines ASTURIAS (II.) built for ocean liner launched on 15 Sep 1928 at Alexander Stephen and Son's Shipyard in Glasgow). For OCEANIC (III), Kylsant therefore proposed a diesel-electric drive train instead of the American turbo-electric technology, which presents a fundamentally new design and production challenge.

Kylsant also changed the main dimensions of the ship: he added a deck to its height (which increased the tonnage from 60,000 to 65,000 tons), and he also increased its length, although regarding the exact dimensions of the ship - as the final shipyard blueprints and the builders model were lost - only estimates, oral communications, and recollections are known (the shipyard had to be remodeled in any case, just as it was before the construction of the OLYMPIC-class). C.J. Slater, an employee of Harland & Wolff, who began his career as an architect and civil engineer in 1928 (taking over from his father, who was a consulting civil engineer at the factory), later wrote that he was the "innocent junior" to whom the abolition of labor was entrusted after the decision to dismantle the finished parts of the ship was made. Prior to the laying of the ship's keel, he was also responsible for the extension of slipway 14 established at Harland & Wolff's new, northern building site, the so-called Musgrave yard. This extension alone consisted of driving more than 1,000 40- to 60-foot piles, each 15 inches in diameter, and reinforcing ("wrapping") the pre-existing concrete piles. In his memoirs, he states that "the contours of the ship were always marked as 1,001 feet long on drawing of the slipway." However, some sources (such as the author of the article cited in Figure 13) mention a total length of 1,050 feet.

The concepts of length between perpendiculars (LBP) and length over all (LOA) must be clarified here. The length between the perpendiculars is the value of the distance between the vertical stern post (column in front of the rudder) and the stem (column between the keel and the upper deck, erected at the very forward end of the hull). Compared to this, the total length is the value of the distance between the farthest points of the structural elements extending beyond the bow and stern (the tip of the bow that leans forward and the stern that bends over the rudder).

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Fig. 17:
The construction site of the OCEANIC (III), at Harland & Wolff's northeastern (Musgrave) yard, which was expanded in the 1920s.


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Fig. 18:
The original slipway No 9. – after the expansion, slipway No 14. – on which the keel of the OCEANIC (III) was laid. Since the ship would not have been able to dock in the available docks, the construction of a 1,500-foot (460 m) long dry dock was started on March 24, 1928, simultaneously with the preparation of the construction site.


On later large liners of the era, the difference between LBP and LOA ranged from 40 to 70 feet. For the French NORMANDIE, the overall length was 1,029 ft (313.6 m), the length between the perpendiculars was 962 ft (293.2 m) (67 ft - 20.5 m - the overhang), and for the QUEEN MARY LOA 1 019 (310.7 m) to LBP 975 (294.1 m) with an overhang of 44 ft (13.4 m). Based on this, it cannot be ruled out that OCEANIC (III)'s planned length between perpendiculars of 1,001 feet (306.3 m) was accompanied by an overall length of 1,050 feet (320 m), while its width was 120 feet (36.6 m), its draft and was determined to be 38 feet (11.6 m).

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Fig. 19: Artist's rendition of OCEANIC (III), as seen on the cover of the book "Damned by Destiny", from 1982. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)


The third version of the plans to resurface - dated from 1927 and finally accepted by the White Star Line - accordingly shows a giant of 80,000 GRT built with three squat funnels and a cruiser stern, with a height of 144 feet (44 m) from the keel to the bridge. Unfortunately, the information has remained about this design is the least detailed.

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Fig. 20:
Princess Mary - the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary - visits the keel of OCEANIC (III) in the Harland & Wolff Shipyard, in October 1928. This is the only known surviving photographic representation of the ship. (Source: British Pathé, 746.22)


The White Star Line ordered the ship on June 18, 1928, and the keel was laid ten days later. It is typical of the level of public interest surrounding the event that even the heir to the throne visited the Motherwell Steel Works, the manufacturer of the ship's keel plates, where he took part in the producing of one of the them. However, work soon slowed as OCEANIC's propulsion system had to be completely redesigned again, this time with performance in mind. The frenzy for size and speed that revived after the First World War necessarily led to an increase in the performance of ship machines: after all, the White Star Line wanted to build not only the largest but also the fastest ship in the world with the new OCEANIC, when it decided to recapture the Blue Ribbon lost in 1892. While at first it seemed that it would be enough "only" to break the MAURETANIA's speed record of 26.06 knots (48.26 km/h) set in 1909, for which a sustained speed of at least 27, but even more 30 knots (50-55 km/h ) needed to maintain speed, until the time of the keel laying of OCEANIC (III), the situation changed, as new rivals appeared on the horizon: In 1926, Cunard Line announced its brand new ocean liner to replace the AQUITANIA built in 1913 - the later QUEEN MARY – the beginning of its design, while in France they started to design a new mammoth ocean liner, the later NORMANDIE, capable of surpassing all previous competitors. In addition, it was already under construction in Germany since June 18, 1927, and were launched on August 15 and 16, 1928, the pair of ships EUROPA and BREMEN, which were also constructed to win the Blue Ribbon. Construction was therefore suspended on 23 July 1929, immediately after BREMEN had captured the Blue Ribbon from MAURETANIA on 16 July at a speed of 27.83 knots (51.54 km/h), as it became apparent that OCEANIC (III), knowing the new developments, it is necessary to design a machinery that provides really convincing performance, which was made difficult by the fact that the main dimensions of the ship had previously been considerably increased.

The president of White Star Line and the CEO of Harland & Wolff continued to argue in favor of modern diesel-electric propulsion: "Lord Kylsant told in his recent speech in connection with the power plant of the new "super-leviathan", being built for the White Star Line, will be electrically driven, and that preliminary investigation figures indicate diesel-electric drive is the most economical power plant for a ship," as he quoted by the contemporary press. However, Harland & Wolff, in view of the demands for increased performance, accepted this argument with difficulty, as both the procurement and own production of exceptionally high-performance and reliable diesel engines were a serious challenge, so the shipyard proposed to build the huge ship with the usual steam turbine propulsion like EUROPA and BREMEN. In any case, in addition to the unique dimensions, the diesel-electric drive chain advocated by Kylsant would have been the real specialty of the OCEANIC (III), since this drive method has never been used anywhere on such a large scale. Now, however, it was precisely this (and the complexity of the solution) that set back the construction of the new White Star liner for a long time. When the order was accepted in 1928, Harland & Wolff calculated another 2-3 years of planning and construction time and a construction cost of 7,000,000 pounds. The redesign to increase the performance of the drive train, however, meant an additional half-year delay.

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Fig. 21:
Reports on the suspension of the construction of OCEANIC (III) (Source: Pacific Marine Review).

Although a great many rumors are in circulation as to the intentions of the Cunard and White Star lines to build four mammoth record breakers or the transatlantic service, no definite announcement has as yet been made by either company. The White Star has, however, placed an order with its regular builders, Harland and Wolff, for a 60.000-ton liner to be called OCEANIC; but this vessel has long been projected; in fact. P. A. S. Franklin, president of the International Mercantile Marine Company, stated before the control of the White Star Line passed out of American hands that the order was under consideration even then. Very little has been made public regarding the ship except that she is to be equipped with electric drive, and it was recently announced in the British daily press that all work had been suspended as the design was being altered with a view to increasing the speed owing tot he initial success of the North German Lloyd new liner BREMEN. […]”

The White Star Line has recently issued an official statement to the effect that all work on their new 60.000-ton liner OCEANIC is to be suspended as no decision has as yet been made regarding the ultimate design or type propelling machinery to be installed. It has been definitely started that electric drive is to be employed, but whether high speed airless injection diesel sor high pressure watertube boilers and turbines are to be adopted for generating purposes is apparently still under consideration. The keel plates will, however, remain undisturbed in Harland & Wolff’s Belfast shipyard […]”


The details of the final engine arrangement of OCEANIC (III) were first reported in September 5, 1952 by Dr. Denis Rebbeck - son of Frederick E. Rebbeck (who was a chief executive officer of Harland & Wolff from June 1930.) - later director of the shipyard, enhancing that “The Musgrave Shipyard will also be long remembered by the people of Belfast as the yard where the keel of a 1000-ft. Diesel-electric passenger liner was laid down for the White Star Line in the late 1920’s …” and “the total power of the ship was designed to be 200,000 shaft horse-power on four screws, and there were to be 47 six-cylinder super-charged four-stroke Diesel engines, coupled in pairs. [...] the fact that such a bold design was ever contemplated suffices to prove how far Harland and Wolff had by then progressed along the path of diesel engine development for marine propulsion [...] and nailed the flag of the oil engine for ships of the highest power to the top of the mast.” Mr. Cuthbert Coulson Pounder, Director and Chief Technical Engineer of Harland & Wolff after World War 2, gave a less pathetic, but more useful description of the machines in his book "Diesel Engine Principle & Practice" published in 1955: "The propulsive power was 200,000 shp total for four screws, and there were 47 exhaust turbo-charged, 4-stroke single-acting trunk engines each having 6 cylinders 670 mm (26,38 in) bore, 930 mm (36.61 in) stroke delivering 3,400 bhp at 260 rev/min. Most of the engines were arranged end-to-end, in pairs, forming 12-cylinder units with the dynamos at the ends. The propulsion motors were 24 ft in diameter, the engine dynamos and the propulsion motors being direct-current machines. The total installation weight was 17,000 tons." In other words, in the case of the OCEANIC (III), the weight of the machinery alone exceeded the total weight of a traditional steamship! Denis Rebbeck attached to his presentation an original drawing illustrating the final engine arrangement of the ship. It can be clearly read from this that in the five engine rooms connected to the ship's three funnels (the first two funnels had 2 each, the last one had 1 engine room) the diesel engines would have been placed in 5 rows: in the first engine room three in one row, in the second two rows a total of eight, and in the three engine rooms after that, a total of twelve in two rows per engine rooms, so a total of forty-seven diesel engines. In addition to the 200,000 hp allocated to the ship's propellers, the engines provided an additional 75,000 hp for the operation of the heating and lighting, as well as for the operation of other on-board electrical equipment (cranes, winches, etc.).

022_2.jpg
Fig. 22:
The machinery of OCEANIC (III) with the diesel engines and the electric generators driving the propellers. (Source: research by Eric Okanume). According to Eric Okanume: "This was likely the design used when ordering the ship on 06/28/28. Included in Mr. Rebbeck’s September 5th 1952 paper read on the history of H&W (the drawing was included in the Sept 15/16 1952 issue of the 'Engineering' magazine). It was labeled as dating from 1927, and although it gives us a good idea of the diesel power plant layout that was proposed (which was the main purpose of the sillouette drawing anyway), that date also adds further validity to the claim that the silhouette may not have been 100% representative of Oceanic’s final design (given the possible 1928/1929 changes to the design)."


In other respects, no credible representation of the third design version has survived in 100%. Nevertheless, several people have attempted to reconstruct the general arrangement of the ship in recent decades.

The British captain John H. Isherwood (merchant mariner and maritime historian) first made a profile drawing of the ship's exterior and final appearance in the early 1950s, which then served as the basis for E.W. Bearman's painting in 1966 and also was published by Roy Andersson's in his 1971 book "White Star".

In addition to the uncertainty of the details, the reconstruction proved to be a more difficult task than average, since according to some sources Harland & Wolff no longer kept the plans after 1939, so only the highly sketchy first two design versions and the fragmentary surviving details of the third (the final) version (it was possible to start from the 1928 side view of the engine arrangement - the "engine room profile" - and the painting for advertising purposes based on the final plans).

So it is no wonder that the creator himself wrote the following about the profile drawing he created:

"This drawing is not authentic. It is merely based on a sketch published in a contemporary shipping magazine, which I filled in with details based on my own imagination and a study of Harland & Wolff's general shipbuilding practices at the time. It contains everything that might seem quite good and reasonable when creating such a general arrangement drawing, but most of it is the product of my own fantasy".

Isherwood's reconstruction must therefore be treated with reservations and can only be accepted with respect to those details where no other information is available.

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Fig. 23:
Reconstruction drawing of OCEANIC (III) by Captain John H. Isherwood. (Source: Research by Eric Okanume)


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Fig. 24:
Model made by Richard D. Edwards in 2013 based on the third preliminary design of OCEANIC (III) (M=1:350).


The third attempt was made by the American Eric Okanume for the reconstruction of the external appearance of OCEANIC (III) between 2014-2020. He used both the Isherwood and Edwards reconstructions for his work, but he also made a thorough collection of contemporary newspaper reports about the ship, which enriched the sources of the reconstruction activity with additional information. These sources contain several references to the fact that between 1929-1930 - as a result of the success of BREMEN - the square superstructures originally designed for OCEANIC (III) were streamlined, the traditional sharp bow were replaced by more streamlined one, and the originally round cross-section of the funnels, designed by T.C. Tobin, was replaced by a teardrop-form. These changes in the overall design actually resulted in a possible fourth variation of the plans.

In August of 1929, it was reported by the New York Times that "White Star's new vessel [had] been entirely redesigned as a response to Bremen's remarkable performance during her maiden voyage one month earlier. This new design was to be larger than the previous as the decision to increase the length of the Oceanic is in conformity with the view of naval architects that length is an essential factor when the speed of great liners is of paramount importance." In January of 1930, an article on the Saturday Evening post stated that "eighty feet were added" to the 1,000-foot figure, and while other changes were kept secret, "in her wind and water resistance features she will strongly resemble Bremen." Additionally, "whether turbo electric or propelled by electricity produced by internal-combustion engines [...] the Oceanic will go in for high speed in an attempt to regain the blue ribbon of the Atlantic for Britain."

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Fig. 25:
Digital model created by Eric Okanume between 2014-2020 based on the third preliminary design of OCEANIC (III) (in the foreground), compared to Richard D. Edwards' model (in the background).



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Fig. 26:
The OCEANIC III. (1928) and II. (1899) comparison (Eric Okanume, 2020).


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Fig. 27:
Images of the digital model created by Eric Okanume between 2014-2020 based on the third design of OCEANIC (III).


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Fig. 28:
Images of the digital model created by Eric Okanume between 2014-2020 based on the third design of OCEANIC (III).


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Fig. 29:
Preliminary plans of OCEANIC (III) January 1926, March 1926, June 1928, January 1930 (left), and models built according to the plans of March 1926 and January 1930 and photo manipulations to aid visualization (right). (Drawings by Eric Okanume)


030_2.jpg
Fig. 30:
First and last preliminary plans for OCEANIC (III) (January 1926, January 1930). (Drawing by Dr. Tamás Balogh)

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Fig. 31:
The general arrangement of the OCEANIC (III) and the reconstruction of its steel structure drawings according to the preliminary plans of January 1930, reconstructed by Ander Mägi in 2020.

 032.jpg
Fig. 32:
Visual plan for the intended equipment of OCEANIC (III). (Source: research of Eric Okanume). Eric Okanume said: "This Image made by Daniel Adamson, and has been claimed to have panelling and decorative furnishing planned for the OCEANIC (III). There is very little evidence to back this up, however, it is a possibility nonetheless. Only evidence is the word “Oceanic” written on the back of the panels. To story also states that panelling intended for the OCEANIC was also used on the QUEEN ELIZABETH."


As for the interior spaces, based on the third version of the design, OCEANIC would have had spacious interiors, which were to be furnished in the popular Art Deco style, based on the example introduced just a year earlier by the French ILE de FRANCE, which introduced the style in ocean shipping.

 033.jpg
Fig. 33:
Artist's rendering of OCEANIC (III) (source: Anton Logvinyenko, 2020).


V.) Abdication and aftermath - the end of the White Star Line

When construction was suspended in late July 1929, Harland & Wolff workers oiled the keel plate to protect it from the elements. The work did not progress significantly, since even the holes required for riveting were not perforated along the plate edges. No one expected a long, let alone a permanent shutdown. At the same time, by the time all parties agreed to use diesel engines in the fall of 1929, the Great Depression broke out...

The New York Stock Exchange crashed on October 24, 1929. This burst the financial bubble of the "roaring twenties". 11,000 of the 25,000 banks in the USA bankrupted, all the savings of the depositors were lost. By 1933, all stock market investments lost 92% of their value (the stock market index fell back to the value of 1896 when stock market trading began). In 1932, 273,000 families were evicted, and by 1934, the farms of more than 1,000,000 families were auctioned off due to their debts. In the country with 126,000,000 inhabitants, 13,000,000 were unemployed and 34,000,000 people lived without a fixed income. All this lasted until the American government, following the principles of the English John Maynard Keynes, absorbed the mass of the unemployed with a large public demand-stimulation program (significant government investments) called the New Deal, and generated new demand in order to stimulate the economy.

The "Black Thursday" in New York in 1929 also felt its influence in Europe the following week, when on the "Black Tuesday" of October 29, 1929, the London stock market also faltered, which also seriously affected the shipping industry. To avoid collapse, the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, which owns the White Star Line, has asked the Treasury to extend the term of government loans to the company. The Ministry of Finance made the fulfillment of the request subject to a preliminary audit of the company's accounting, and asked Sir William McClintock to prepare a report on the financial situation of the RMSPC. The report then revealed that the company had not made a trading profit since 1925 but continued to pay dividends from reserves. The group showed a profit of £439,000 in 1926, but deducted £750,000 from reserves and falsified accounts to make it appear as if the money came from trading. In 1927, the loss was £507,000, but again the reserves were used to cover the deficit to make it appear as if the company had made a profit of £478,000. The report also revealed that a false prospectus was issued in 1928 in which customers were persuaded to buy shares by claiming that the company had made an average profit of £500,000 a year in the previous decade. In 1929, the deficit realized up to the preparation of the report reached almost £300,000. Arrest warrants were then issued for Kylsant and his accountant, John Moreland.

The trial of the criminal case known as the Royal Mail Case began on July 20, 1931. In the lawsuit, Philips stood before the court on three charges: 1) for falsifying the 1926 annual report with the intention of deceiving the shareholders, 2) for falsifying the 1927 annual report with the same purpose, 3) for the 1928 share issue information for falsification with the intention of damaging future shareholders. Moreland stood trial for aiding and abetting in charge 1) and as an accomplice in charge 2). As a result of the trial, charges 1) and 2) were dropped, but in charge 3) Phillips was sentenced to one year of imprisonment and deprivation of his titles, despite the fact that the court admitted: "although the statements in the information are all true, the document as a whole is false because of what it concealed, omitted or implied". As a result of the financial problems experienced in management, lending and control of companies' accounting were tightened by law. The RMSPC was liquidated and re-established with government support as The Royal Mail Lines. The completion of OCEANIC (III), which was also planned to be built with a loan from the government, was cancelled.

A common assumption is that, under pressure from the British government, it was then decided that two smaller sister ships should be built from the loan and the construction material accumulated in Belfast for OCEANIC (III). However, the construction of BRITANNIC (III) and GEORGIC - the last ships of the White Star Line - was decided much earlier, in January 1927,  to replace the outdated "Big Four" (CELTIC, CEDRIC, BALTIC, ADRIATIC), and the construction of the first of the two ships, the BRITANNIC (III), began on April 14, 1927, and was launched on August 6, 1929, just a week after the OCEANIC (III) construction was suspended. GEORGIC's keel was also laid on November 30, 1929, and she was unceremoniously launched on November 12, 1931, shortly after the OCEANIC (III) keel and the frames assembled but finally not installed on the keel were completely dismantled.[3]

In the 4 years following 1929, maritime trade fell to a third. The vaults of the Bank of England operating in London keep valuable files that are also important for historians researching the history of ocean liners. They also provide important data about the last few years of the White Star Line. The files cover the years 1928-1935. Their interesting piece is the report of certified public accountant Thomas McClintock dated April 15, 1930. This is a preliminary report on the Kylsant Shipping Companies, collectively known as the "Royal Mail Group". The detailed report spans dozens of pages and exhaustively describes all incoming and outgoing data. Data for 1929 were apparently not available at the time the report was compiled. However, the report notes in the section devoted to shipping that on December 31, 1928, the company had 35 vessels in operation, in whole or in part, with a total tonnage of 434,747 gross register tons. The value of the ships was £15,150,513, which after adjusting for depreciation was reduced to £8,624,805. Within the corporate empire, the position of White Star Line was not enviable either: it could not pay dividends to its shareholders and its balance - with bank debt of 1,239,382 pounds - showed a loss for the first time in its 61 years of existence: in the amount of 379,069 pounds.

Passenger traffic also showed a dramatic decline:

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Source: Paul Lee: The TITANIC, White Star Line and Bank of England.


When the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. acquired the White Star Line in 1926, it became the largest shipping group in the world, so during the Depression of 1929 the knowledge that Kylsant's empire might crumble filled quite a few caused deep concern in British shipping circles, so much so that even the Cunard Line offered to help. On October 15, 1930, Percy E. Bates, chairman of Cunard, wrote a letter to Walter Runciman, MP and vice-chairman of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, the umbrella company that included the White Star Line, offering on behalf of Cunard to buy the MAJESTIC, OLYMPIC and HOMERIC and 50% ownership of ADRIATIC, ARABIC, BALTIC, BRITANNIC, CEDRIC, DORIC, LAURENTIC and MEGANTIC for £1,595,000 and would assume responsibility for BRITANNIC (III) and also for loans in the amount of 1,655,000 pounds taken out for the construction of LAURENTIC. However, Runciman politely declined the offer. Despite this, Cunard persisted, and in a letter sent to the governor of the Bank of England in July 1931, he wrote that in view of the declining passenger numbers, there were only two options: either a single shipping company would be formed under Cunard's management, or Cunard would buy out the White Star Line. The governor preferred the second option. The rest of the story is well known: The Atlantic fleets of Cunard and White Star Line were merged, and the former was the dominant partner in the forced marriage, which eventually absorbed the smaller entity.

Owen Cosby Phillips - William James Pirrie's best student - was released from Wormwood Scrubs prison in August 1932, where he had been serving his sentence. He died on June 5, 1937, at the age of 74. The Times, which reported on his death, wrote of him: "Lord Kylsant bore his trial with great dignity, cast no blame on any colleagues, and on return to ordinary life retired to his residence in South Wales. On his return to Coomb he was given a warm welcome and his car was drawn by 40 men at a running pace for about a quarter of a mile to the entrance of the house, and passed under an arch of laurel and evergreen which had been built over the gates. All who knew him acquitted him of any desire to act criminally, and they laid the responsibility on the assumption of duties beyond the power of any individual to bear and on a certain financial recklessness and a belief in the future which events showed was unjustified."
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Fig. 34:
The enthusiastic crowd towing Phillips' car home in Wales, at the reception of the tycoon coming from prison (Source: Encyclopedia Titanica).


OCEANIC (III) was the last giant ship of the White Star Line. After the decision to abandon the project was made, the construction material accumulated in Belfast for its construction was transferred to the John Brown Shipyard in Clydebank during the merger of the White Star Line and the Cunard Line (where most of it was used for the current repair work, but it is possible that the building materials even found their way into QUEENs later). After her nearly completed keel was quietly dismantled, the ship was slowly forgotten, depriving the workers of the Harland & Wolff Shipyard of the glory of fulfilling the goal set by the factory's founder, Sir Edward Harland: the construction of the first 1,000-foot ocean liner. Cuthbert Coulson Pounder wrote of it in 1955: "Thus was a history-making engineering achievement lost for the nation." He was right: the first ocean liner over 1,000 feet was finally built in France in 1932.[4]


V.) Chronology:

04/15/1912: The TITANIC, flagship of the IMMC and White Star Line, sinks.

12/31/1912: Joseph Bruce Ismay confirms that, in accordance with his decision in January, he will resign as President of the IMMC effective June 30, 1913. His application was accepted on January 2, 1913, but his request to remain president of the White Star Line was rejected.

03/31/1913: John Pierpont Morgan, the founding owner of IMMC, dies in his sleep while on a trip to Rome.

05/20/1918: The USS NEW MEXICO, the world's first warship with turboelectric propulsion, enters service.

1919: Philip Albright Small Franklin, the new president of IMMC and White Star Line, announces in 1919 that the White Star Line will build a new 35,000-ton ship at Harland & Wolff as part of its post-war construction program. Owen Cosby Phillips, president of the British Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., acquires the majority of shares in Harland & Wolff Shipyard.

04/15/1920: The Harland & Wolff Shipyard launches its first diesel-powered ship, the freighter GLEOGLE, built for the Glen Line, in Govan, near Glasgow.

1921: William James Pirrie, CEO of Harland & Wolff, is knighted.

1922: William James Pirrie suggests to Owen Cosby Phillips that he buy back British ownership of the White Star Line, but this is thwarted by the veto of the President of the United States. 

04/23/1923: Ernst Förster, the designer of LEVIATHAN and MAJESTIC, talks about future ocean liners in the Scientific American magazine. According to him, the main dimensions (length, width, draft) do not change, the height can be increased, and the speed must be increased with efficient, oil-fired boilers. The profitable operation can be ensured by the thus reduced operating costs and the increased passenger capacity and ticket revenue with an extra deck.

06/1923: The still American-owned White Star Line asks Harland & Wolff to begin designing a new giant ship to replace the HOMERIC. Owen Cosby Phillips is ennobled as the first Lord of Kylsant.

06/07/1924: Lord Pirrie dies. Lord Kylsant is the new CEO of Harland & Wolff. The United States significantly restricts immigration.

07/07/1925: The Harland & Wolff Shipyard launches its first diesel-powered ocean liner, the ASTURIAS (II) passenger ship built for the Royal Mail Lines, in Belfast. The Harland & Wolff Shipyard and the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. shipping company belonging to Lord Kylasnt's empire - which did not make a commercial profit during their annual management - maintain the appearance of solvency by paying dividends from reserves.

08/1925: The White Star Line, which is still American-owned, introduces the tourist class to compensate for its losses resulting from the decrease in emigrant traffic, and then requests a new offer from Harland & Wolff for the giant ship to be built to replace the HOMERIC.

01/28/1926: The first preliminary design is completed: a design for a 904-foot (276 m) long, four-stacked, cruiser-stern ocean liner powered by conventional steam engines.

03/09/1926: The second preliminary design is completed: a design for a 935 ft (285 m) long, 52,000 BRT three-pipe, cruiser-stern ocean liner powered by conventional steam engines.

05/04/1926: A general strike in Great Britain thwarts the intention of the shipping company Furness Vithy & Co. to buy the White Star Line back into British ownership.

08/03/1926: IMMC President Philip Albright Small Franklin officially announces that “The White Star Line is considering building a gigantic 25-knot ocean liner to replace the HOMERIC. The new ship will surpass the best features of MAJESTIC and OLYMPIC and bears a family resemblance to the latter." Cunard Line announces the start of planning for its new giant ship to replace AQUITANIA. Upon learning of the news, the French also started planning a new giant ocean liner.

11/1/1926: Lord Kylsant collects White Star Line shares from IMMC, which announces that it is terminating all ship repair contracts with Harland & Wolff Shipyard. The White Star Line changes from American to British ownership and joins the conglomerate led by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. 

04/14/1927: The keel laying of BRITANNIC (III), ordered to replace the outdated "Big Four".

09/25/1927: The third preliminary plan is prepared: the same as the second preliminary plan, only the traditional steam locomotives are replaced by a turboelectric propulsion system.

01/28/1928: The world's first turbo-electric powered ocean liner, the American CALI-FORNIA, enters service (construction started on 20.03.1926 and launched on 10.01.1927).

15/09/1928: VICEROY of INDIA, the first British ocean liner with turboelectric propulsion, is launched in Glasgow at the Alexander Stephen and Son Shipyard.

05/24/1928: The New York Times reports that the Harland & Wolff Shipyard is beginning construction of a 1,500-foot (460 m) dry dock for the new White Star giant ship, to be christened the OCEANIC.

06/18/1928: Modification of the plans of the OCEANIC by the client (increasing its length and volume), approval of the modified plans and conclusion of the construction contract.

06/28/1928: Laying of the keel of the OCEANIC with yard number 844 at the eastern (Musgrave) yard of the Harland & Wolff Shipyard, in the former 9 (the new 14) slipway extended for this purpose to a length of 1,001 feet (305 m).

08/15-16/1928: The ship pair EUROPA and BREMEN are launched in Germany. Although they operate with a traditional steam turbine propulsion system, their task is to conquer the Blue Ribbon.

10/15/1928: The British heir to the throne visits the Motherwell Steel Works, which produces the ship's keel plates, where he participates in the processing of one of the plates.

10/28/1928: Princess Mary - the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary - visits the Harland & Wolff Shipyard at the nearly completed keel of OCEANIC (III).

07/16/1929: BREMEN conquers the Blue Ribbon held by MAURETANIA since 1909 at a speed of 27.83 knots (51.54 km/h).

07/23/1929: Construction work on the OCEANIC is suspended. At the same time, The New York Times publishes a report with Lord Kylsant, who announces that, according to his plans, William Marshall, captain of the MAJESTIC, will take the OCEANIC on its maiden voyage, which will be the Cunard Line's proposed 1,000-foot giant steamer (the later QUEEN MARY) will also be bigger.

08/06/1929: Launch of BRITANNIC (III), barely a week after the suspension of construction of OCEANIC (III).

08/14/1929: The New York Times reports that the White Star Line has announced a complete overhaul of the OCEANIC's plans in order to build a larger ship to beat the BREMEN's speed record.

9/1/1929: The New York Times reports that the White Star Line is adamant that the OCEANIC will be built.

9/26/1929: The New York Times reports that the White Star Line is suspending construction of the OCEANIC due to the success of the BREMEN, pending investigations into the final propulsion system.

10/24/1929: "Black Thursday": the New York Stock Exchange crashes.

10/29/1929: "Black Tuesday": the London stock market also wobbles. Lord Kylsant requests an extension of the term of the government loans taken out, before the government appoints auditor Sir William McClintock and orders an audit of the Kylsant interests.

11/30/1929: The keel laying of GEORGIC started to be built as a running mate of BRITANNIC (III).

02/26/1930: The New York Times reports that if construction on the OCEANIC continues, it will be based on entirely new plans, resulting in a larger ship. Sir William McClintock publishes his inquiry report, which reveals that the unpaid debts of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. exceed £10,000,000. Most of Kylsant's powers will then be given to the trustees appointed by the banks, although Kylsant's position as chairman will remain for the time being.

05/17/1930: The New York Times reports that Lord Kylsant is working on the OCEANIC, stressing that he must study different types of engines.

15/10/1930: Sir Percy Bates, CEO of Cunard Line, makes a buyout bid for the White Star Line - unsuccessfully.

02/01/1931: Lord Kylsant and his wife go on a trip to Africa. When they return home, the authorities take Kylsant into custody.

20/07/1931: The trial of Lord Kylsant and his accountant begins in the criminal case known as the Royal Mail Case. Cunard Line's second takeover bid is supported by the president of the Bank of England. The Atlantic fleets of the White Star Line and the Cunard Line are combined in 45%-55%, the Cunard-White Star Line comes into existence.

11/01/1931: Dismantling of the completed keel of OCEANIC and transfer of the accumulated construction material to the John Brown Shipyard in Clydebank, which built the QUEENS.

12/11/1931: Launch of the GEORGIC in Belfast.

6/5/1937: Owen Cosby Phillips dies.

17/10/1937: Joseph Bruce Ismay - the eldest son of Thomas Henry Ismay, who founded and prospered White Star Line, and the heir destined to manage the company - dies.



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Fig. 35:
The evolution of the ship's design from 1926 to 1928. (Drawings by Dr. Tamás Balogh).


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Fig. 36: A souvenir booklet in the shape of the liner. It was printed by the Southern Railway and contains information about the different steamships and liners using the docks.


Notes:

[1] Distribution of the number of ships built at Harland & Wolff Shipyard for RMSPC and WSL (OSNC):

RMSPC:    51 between 1904-1960 (17 between 1904-1916, 4 between 1921-1926, 30 between 1938-1960).
OSNC:       64 between 1870-1931 (59 between 1870-1917, 5 between 1927-31).


[2] Several plans were drafted between 1925 and 1929. According to Tim Trower’s „The Unfinished Dream” Tom McCluskie, former archivist for Harland & Wolff stated that various "...profiles [for the Oceanic] were developed ranging from approximately 980 feet to 1,100..."


[3] When the „Post-Bremen” design variant – referred by the Times Magazine as “Super-Oceanic” – were made, this was likely the set of plans used when attempting to restart contraction in 1929 (also final set of plans/improvements drawn). Design and decorative changes made for the OCEANIC (in comparison to the 1927 design) were also applied on a smaller scale to the GEORGIC (in comparison to Britannic).


[4] As far as the propulsion of the OCEANIC (III), Eric Okanume stated: "I do not think that any final decisions were made regarding propulsion. Kylsant’s last public statement regarding the Oceanic was in May of 1930. He stated that he was delaying construction due to the need to study her engines. By that time he knew very well that there was no feasible possibility of completing the liner, and it appears that the diesel technology was not quite mature enough at the time to power a ship of that magnitude. Additionally, the 1929 Popular Mechanics article (which post-dates the 1927 diesel power plant arrangements released in 1952) mentions turbo-electric power by steam as the chosen option. As much as I want to believe that she would have been a diesel liner, I suspect that she would have been powered by steam if completed. Nonetheless, we will probably never know what the realistic and most probable choice would have been."


Sources:

I.) "Twilight of the Gods"

William B Saphire: The White Star Line and the International Mercantile Marine Company, in.: The Compass, Ships and the Sea and Sea Breezes. Posted by the Titanic Historical Society.

Paul Lee: The Titanic, the White Star Line and the Bank of England, Posted by Paul Lee on Titanic pages.

Mark Baber: News from 1913: Ismay's resignation from White Star Line. Various post on Encyclopedia Titanica.

II.) Lord Kylsant, the new favorite:


David Lewis Jones: Philips, Owen Cosby, Baron Kylsant (1863-1937), in.: Welsh Biography Online, National Library of Wales, 2011.

III.) New ocean liner designs in the 1920s:

Ernst Foerster: Big and fast liners of the future. in.: Scientific American, Vol. 128, No. 4 (April 1923), pp. 221-223. 

Frank V. Smith: Propulsion machinery of the Virginia, in.: Pacific Marine Review, Vol. XXVI., 1929. January, pp. 10-12.

Richard P. de Kerbrech: Ships of the White Star Line, Ian Allen Publishing, 2009., pp. 209-211.

IV.) Design-variants:


Eric Okanume: M.V. OCEANIC, posted in.: White Star Moments, 2017.

David L. Williams, Richard P. de Kerbrech: Great Passenger Ships That Never Were: Damned by Destiny Revised, History Press, 2019.

Dr. Denis Rebbeck: Ships and Shipbuilding in Belfast, in.: Engineering, 1952. Sept. 15/16. pp. 385-417.

Giant Liner to be driven by Electric Motors, in.: Popular Mechanics Magazine, 1929/5. pp. 728-729.

Richard P. de Kerbrech: Ships of the White Star Line, Ian Allen Publishing, 2009., pp. 221-222.

Oceanic III never built, various posts in Encyclopedia Titanica, 2002-2022.

V.) Abdication and aftermath:


Hume, John R, Moss, Michael S.: Shipbuilders to the World: 125 Years of Harland and Wolff, Belfast, 1861-1986, Blackstaff Press Ltd, 1986., pp. 245-282.

Janette McCutcheon: White Star Line, Amberley Publishing Limited, 2008.

William H. Miller: Royal Mail Liners, 1925-1971, Amberley Publishing Limited, 2017.


It would be great if you like the article and pictures shared. If you are interested in the works of the author, you can find more information about the author and his work on the Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners Fb-page.

If you would like to share the pictures, please do so by always mentioning the artist's name in a credit in your posts. Thank You!

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Secret of the Lost Liners VI. - AMERICA

2022.09.01. 22:05 Doki

The first episode of the band-new six-part documentary series "Secrets of the Lost Liners" started on Sky/History in the UK on Wednesday 27 July 2022 at 21:00. The six episodes will be shown as follows: NORMANDIE (27.07.2022.), QUEEN ELIZBETH (04.08.2022.), ANDREA DORIA (11.08.2022.), REX (18.08.2022.), CAP ARCONA (25.08.2022.), AMERICA (09.01.2022). International broadcasts are likely to follow later in 2022-2023.

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This is the most extensive and detailed 6 x 1 hour on the subject. Charting a century of history of ocean liners, the most informed experts and authors tell the story how these ships were designed, built and served on the oceans, and how they eventually became victims of war, accident or human error.

On the occasion of the beginning of the presentation of the series, on the day of the screening of each episode, we will publish the background materials summarizing the research related to the history of the ocean liners in the given episode and the preliminary plans made for the animations to be shown in the series, both prepared by the president of our association, Dr. Tamás Balogh, who worked as animation director, responsible for the design and production of the technical animations presented in the series.

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The background material on the historical research of the American ocean liner AMERICA (1939-1994) featured in the sixth episode can be downloaded here.

The uncut version of the animation draft for the AMERICA episode can be downloaded here.

It would be great if you like the article and pictures shared. If you are interested in the works of the author, you can find more information about the author and his work on the Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners Fb-page.

If you would like to share the pictures, please do so by always mentioning the artist's name in a credit in your posts. Thank You!

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National Geographic Magazine reports on the secrets of LUSITANIA

2022.08.30. 09:40 Doki

The remains of the British giant steamer LUSITANIA, resting in the Atlantic Ocean, were visited by the first expedition, which included both German and Hungarian members between July 6-14, 2022, of which members for the first time managed to get into the No. 1. boiler room of the ship and explore it thoroughly. On this occasion, the president of our association Dr. Tamás Balogh, who participated in the expedition by evaluating the underwater photoes and footage made by the divers, wrote an article, which can now be read on the website of the Hungarian edition of the National Geographic Magazine.

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Fig. 1: LUSITANIA is on the cover.


An article summarizing the latest research results is available
in Hungarian here
in English here.


Below we share some drawings made by hand on site during the expedition, which show the state of the wreck in 1915 immediately after the sinking, and today, 2022, of the stern of the ship, which was the research area of ​​the first half of the 7-day expedition.

 

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Fig. 2: The stern of the LUSITANIA on the seabed as seen from the boat deck in 1915 (above) and 2022 (below). Drawing by Dr. Tamás Balogh © 2022.

 

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Fig. 3: The stern of the LUSITANIA on the seabed as seen from the bottom of the ship in 1915 (above) and 2022 (below). Drawing by Dr. Tamás Balogh © 2022.

 

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Fig. 4: An overview of the wreckage of the LUSITANIA seen from the bow in 2022. Drawing by Dr. Tamás Balogh © 2022.

 

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Fig. 5: The points visited by the expedition on the wrecks of the LUSITANIA. Drawing by Dr. Tamás Balogh © 2022.


It would be great if you like the article and pictures shared. If you are interested in the works of the author, you can find more information about the author and his work on the Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners Fb-page.

If you would like to share the pictures, please do so by always mentioning the artist's name in a credit in your posts. Thank You!

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Secret of the Lost Liners V. - CAP ARCONA

2022.08.25. 22:05 Doki

The first episode of the band-new six-part documentary series "Secrets of the Lost Liners" started on Sky/History in the UK on Wednesday 27 July 2022 at 21:00. The six episodes will be shown as follows: NORMANDIE (27.07.2022.), QUEEN ELIZBETH (04.08.2022.), ANDREA DORIA (11.08.2022.), REX (18.08.2022.), CAP ARCONA (25.08.2022.), AMERICA (09.01.2022). International broadcasts are likely to follow later in 2022-2023.

imdb.jpg

This is the most extensive and detailed 6 x 1 hour on the subject. Charting a century of history of ocean liners, the most informed experts and authors tell the story how these ships were designed, built and served on the oceans, and how they eventually became victims of war, accident or human error.

On the occasion of the beginning of the presentation of the series, on the day of the screening of each episode, we will publish the background materials summarizing the research related to the history of the ocean liners in the given episode and the preliminary plans made for the animations to be shown in the series, both prepared by the president of our association, Dr. Tamás Balogh, who worked as animation director, responsible for the design and production of the technical animations presented in the series.

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The background material on the historical research of the German ocean liner CAP ARCONA (1927-1945) featured in the fifth episode can be downloaded here.

The uncut version of the animation draft for the CAP ARCONA episode can be downloaded here.

It would be great if you like the article and pictures shared. If you are interested in the works of the author, you can find more information about the author and his work on the Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners Fb-page.

If you would like to share the pictures, please do so by always mentioning the artist's name in a credit in your posts. Thank You!

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Címkék: tit hajózástörténeti modellező és hagyományőrző egyesület English balogh tamas Ocean liners Encyclopedia of ocean liners Secret of the Lost Liners

Secret of the Lost Liners IV. - REX

2022.08.18. 22:02 Doki

The first episode of the band-new six-part documentary series "Secrets of the Lost Liners" started on Sky/History in the UK on Wednesday 27 July 2022 at 21:00. The six episodes will be shown as follows: NORMANDIE (27.07.2022.), QUEEN ELIZBETH (04.08.2022.), ANDREA DORIA (11.08.2022.), REX (18.08.2022.), CAP ARCONA (25.08.2022.), AMERICA (09.01.2022). International broadcasts are likely to follow later in 2022-2023.

This is the most extensive and detailed 6 x 1 hour on the subject. Charting a century of history of ocean liners, the most informed experts and authors tell the story how these ships were designed, built and served on the oceans, and how they eventually became victims of war, accident or human error.

On the occasion of the beginning of the presentation of the series, on the day of the screening of each episode, we will publish the background materials summarizing the research related to the history of the ocean liners in the given episode and the preliminary plans made for the animations to be shown in the series, both prepared by the president of our association, Dr. Tamás Balogh, who worked as animation director, responsible for the design and production of the technical animations presented in the series.

The background material on the historical research of the Italian ocean liner REX (1931-1944) featured in the fourth episode can be downloaded here.

The uncut version of the animation draft for the REX episode can be downloaded here.

It would be great if you like the article and pictures shared. If you are interested in the works of the author, you can find more information about the author and his work on the Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners Fb-page.

If you would like to share the pictures, please do so by always mentioning the artist's name in a credit in your posts. Thank You!

Szólj hozzá!

Címkék: tit hajózástörténeti modellező és hagyományőrző egyesület English balogh tamas Ocean liners Encyclopedia of ocean liners Secret of the Lost Liners

Secret of the Lost Liners III. - ANREA DORIA

2022.08.11. 22:02 Doki

The first episode of the band-new six-part documentary series "Secrets of the Lost Liners" started on Sky/History in the UK on Wednesday 27 July 2022 at 21:00. The six episodes will be shown as follows: NORMANDIE (27.07.2022.), QUEEN ELIZBETH (04.08.2022.), ANDREA DORIA (11.08.2022.), REX (18.08.2022.), CAP ARCONA (25.08.2022.), AMERICA (09.01.2022). International broadcasts are likely to follow later in 2022-2023.

imdb.jpg

This is the most extensive and detailed 6 x 1 hour on the subject. Charting a century of history of ocean liners, the most informed experts and authors tell the story how these ships were designed, built and served on the oceans, and how they eventually became victims of war, accident or human error.

On the occasion of the beginning of the presentation of the series, on the day of the screening of each episode, we will publish the background materials summarizing the research related to the history of the ocean liners in the given episode and the preliminary plans made for the animations to be shown in the series, both prepared by the president of our association, Dr. Tamás Balogh, who worked as animation director, responsible for the design and production of the technical animations presented in the series.

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The background material on the historical research of the Italian ocean liner ANREA DORIA (1951-1956) featured in the first episode can be downloaded here.

The uncut version of the animation draft for the ANREA DORIA episode can be downloaded here.

It would be great if you like the article and pictures shared. If you are interested in the works of the author, you can find more information about the author and his work on the Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners Fb-page.

If you would like to share the pictures, please do so by always mentioning the artist's name in a credit in your posts. Thank You!

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Címkék: tit hajózástörténeti modellező és hagyományőrző egyesület English balogh tamas Ocean liners Encyclopedia of ocean liners Secret of the Lost Liners

Secret of the Lost Liners II. - QUEEN ELIZABETH

2022.08.04. 22:02 Doki

The first episode of the band-new six-part documentary series "Secrets of the Lost Liners" started on Sky/History in the UK on Wednesday 27 July 2022 at 21:00. The six episodes will be shown as follows: NORMANDIE (27.07.2022.), QUEEN ELIZBETH (04.08.2022.), ANDREA DORIA (11.08.2022.), REX (18.08.2022.), CAP ARCONA (25.08.2022.), AMERICA (09.01.2022). International broadcasts are likely to follow later in 2022-2023.

imdb.jpg

This is the most extensive and detailed 6 x 1 hour on the subject. Charting a century of history of ocean liners, the most informed experts and authors tell the story how these ships were designed, built and served on the oceans, and how they eventually became victims of war, accident or human error.

On the occasion of the beginning of the presentation of the series, on the day of the screening of each episode, we will publish the background materials summarizing the research related to the history of the ocean liners in the given episode and the preliminary plans made for the animations to be shown in the series, both prepared by the president of our association, Dr. Tamás Balogh, who worked as animation director, responsible for the design and production of the technical animations presented in the series.

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The background material on the historical research of the French ocean liner NORMANDIE (1932-1942/48) featured in the first episode can be downloaded here.

The uncut version of the animation draft for the QUEEN ELIZABETH episode can be downloaded here.

It would be great if you like the article and pictures shared. If you are interested in the works of the author, you can find more information about the author and his work on the Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners Fb-page.

If you would like to share the pictures, please do so by always mentioning the artist's name in a credit in your posts. Thank You!

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Secret of the Lost Liners I. - NORMANDIE

2022.08.03. 13:14 Doki

The first episode of the band-new six-part documentary series "Secrets of the Lost Liners" started on Sky/History in the UK on Wednesday 27 July 2022 at 21:00. The six episodes will be shown as follows: NORMANDIE (27.07.2022.), QUEEN ELIZBETH (04.08.2022.), ANDREA DORIA (11.08.2022.), REX (18.08.2022.), CAP ARCONA (25.08.2022.), AMERICA (09.01.2022). International broadcasts are likely to follow later in 2022-2023.

imdb.jpg

This is the most extensive and detailed 6 x 1 hour on the subject. Charting a century of history of ocean liners, the most informed experts and authors tell the story how these ships were designed, built and served on the oceans, and how they eventually became victims of war, accident or human error.

On the occasion of the beginning of the presentation of the series, on the day of the screening of each episode, we will publish the background materials summarizing the research related to the history of the ocean liners in the given episode and the preliminary plans made for the animations to be shown in the series, both prepared by the president of our association, Dr. Tamás Balogh, who worked as animation director, responsible for the design and production of the technical animations presented in the series.

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The background material on the historical research of the French ocean liner NORMANDIE (1932-1942/48) featured in the first episode can be downloaded here.

The uncut version of the animation draft for the NORMANDIE episode can be downloaded here.

It would be great if you like the article and pictures shared. If you are interested in the works of the author, you can find more information about the author and his work on the Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners Fb-page.

If you would like to share the pictures, please do so by always mentioning the artist's name in a credit in your posts. Thank You!

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Címkék: tit hajózástörténeti modellező és hagyományőrző egyesület English balogh tamas Ocean liners Encyclopedia of ocean liners Secret of the Lost Liners

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