HMHS Britannic.

HMHS Britannic 1914 - 1916

The HMHS Britannic the last and finel Olympic class liner. After the Titanic had went down she become from Gigantic to Britannic this one just one of the more modifications that were done another was more safety gear like larger life boats larger life boats davits (Titanic could of have these to they can take another row of boats but because she was the most lungeyx ship in wourld they wont more deck space. She was weight the most out of them all 48,158 tons she was a hospital ship well she was of course came out as a commercial liner but she was alomst compleate by fitting outing but then she was called up. White Star line announced she would start service between Southampton and New York in the spring of 1915. Outbreak of World War One was to change this of course. On December 12th 1915 she was ready for war service. She pulled in with er duties as a hospital ship with 2034 berths and 1035 cots for casualties. A medical staff of 52 officers, 101 nurses, 336 orderlies, and a crew of 675 men and women. The ship was under the command of Captain Charles A. Bartlett.

The Britannic was commissioned "His Majesty's Hospital Ship" on December 12, 1915 and departed Liverpool for her maiden voyage on December 23, 1915. She was going bound for Mudros on the isle of Lemnos.

She had to meat up with other great liners of the world Mauretania, Aquitania,Olympic(her sister)in the "Dardanelles Service." Joined later by the Statendam the five ships together were capable of carrying 17,000 sick and wounded or 33,000 troops. It was now Christmas on the Britannic she set sail for coaling port of Naples, arriving on 28th December, 1915. Once coaled, she departed on 29th December bound for Mudros in the Agean Sea. She spent four days at Mudros seeing the start of 1916 and taking on 3,300 wounded and sick military personnel like a floting hospital.

She come back to Southampton on January 9th, 1916 were she droped off all the people to the hospitals in London. She stay in port waiting for her next voyage she only went to Naples where she took on wounded and returned to Southampton on February 9, 1916. The third voyage was just as uneventful. She spent four weeks as a floating hospital off the Isle of Wight, Cowes. Following this service, the Britannic returned to Belfast on June 6th, 1916 and was released from war service.

Harland and Wolff started refitting her for Royal Mail and Passenger service once again, but work was halted when the Admiralty recalled her to war service and she once again returned to Southampton on August 28th, 1916.

The fourth voyage on September 24th, 1916 had members of the she had to all so stop at Naples for coal. the ship arrived at Mudros on October 3rd, 1916 where VAD members were transferred to His Majesty's Hospital Ship Galeka. The Britannic was detained at Mudros while officials investigated the possible cause of food poisoning which had stricken some of the staff. The ship returned to Southampton on October 11, 1916.

On the 5th Voyage she come heavy seas and storms. She finally made it to Southampton and over 3000 wounded were transferred to waiting trains. The Aquitania had suffered damage in the same storms and was laid up for repairs, and because of this Britannic was ordered to start her sixth voyage after only four days in port.

HMHS Britannic beening launched. Thank you to Draikar for this info.

The Britannic departed Southampton on Sunday 12th November 1916. she left the docks at 12:00 carrying no passageing Friday November 17th 1916 she arrived at Naples, for coaling and was to depart on Saturday but a fierce storm set in a delayed the departure.

On Tuesday November 21, 1916 she was in through the Kea Channel in the Aegean during World War One.Shortly after 8:00am she was struck by a tremendous explosion and quickly began to sink by the bow. Captain Bartlett tried unsuccessfully to beach her on Kea Island but in 55 minutes, Britain's largest liner had gone, and not quite a year from trials to sinking of only 351 days. The explosion apparently occurred at the watertight bulkhead between holds 2 and 3, and the bulkhead separating holds 2 and 1 were also damaged. At the same time, boiler rooms 5 and 6 began taking water. This was roughly the same damage as that sustained by her sister the Titanic four and a half years earlier. To my knolge to the water tight door wont shut, due to a shifting change.

She lies on her side in only 350 feet of water. So shallow, that the bow hit bottom before she totally sank and with the weight, the entire bow is now bent. She was discovered in 1976 on an Underwater Exploration by Jacques Cousteau. She is largely intact except for the massive hole in her forward bow. The hull below the Shelter Deck is completely blown away between holds 2 and 3. The hull sections of the keel are simply missing for a distance of about 60 to 70 feet. The port side hull plates are bent outward, indicating a large explosion from within, probably from ignition of coal dust in the reserve bunker. After all them modifications she sank in only fifty five minutes. She is the largest liner on the ocean floor today. HMHS Britannic was never to carry a fare paying passenger.

(This is how the great liner looks like today.)

Some of this info come from Nic W. pages thanks Nic!

If you have any Questions on the HMHS Britannic Please email me on any think about the HMHS Britannic and Sisters.



Copyright 1996- 2004 by Dean Quirke.