Britannic (III)

On 6th August 1929 Harland and Wolff launched a new ship for White Star Line, MV Britannic (III). Britannic, although a small ship at just 26,943 tons, was to be a very modern and successful ship. Britannic was not powered by steam but by diesel powered motor engines.

Britannic and her younger sister Georgic were the last two ships ever built for the White Star Line.

Britannic's maiden voyage began on 28th June 1930 from her home port, Liverpool. From Liverpool she stopped at Glasgow and Belfast before heading to New York. Britannic's passengers had the choice of cabin, tourist or third class accommodation.

After Cunard and White Star merged in May 1934, to form Cunard White Star, like all Cunard and White Star ships, Britannic flew both the Cunard and White Star flag, with the White Star flag on top in Britannic’s case.

In April 1935 Britannic was moved to the London to New York service.

By the end of 1936 all of the White Star Line’s ships had been sold except for Britannic, her sister ship Georgic, and Laurentic; although, Laurentic was mostly laid up until the Second World War.

In August 1939 she become a troop transport, serving until 1947; by the end of the war she had transported over 180,000 troops and had gone 376,000 miles.

After she was returned to Cunard White Star in March 1947, she was given a refit at Liverpool before being returned to service.

At the very end of 1949 – with the last White Star shares by now having been bought by Cunard – Cunard Line completely took over the remainder of the White Star Line and the name White Star disappeared. Despite this, Britannic did remain in White Star colours and flew the White Star flag underneath Cunard’s.

When leaving New York on 1st June 1950, in heavy fog, Britannic collided head on with a cargo ship, Pioneer land. Pioneer land with a damaged bow returned to land, while Britannic, although with damage to her bow, was able to safely continue on her voyage.

After Georgic made her last voyage for Cunard, in October 1954, Britannic become the last ship to service as a ‘White Star’ ship.

In April 1955, while on her way home to Liverpool from New York, 4 cars, 550 bags of mail and a lot of passenger's luggage was destroyed after a fire broke out in a cargo hold and burnt for around 6 hours and smouldered for days. When Britannic returned, her Captain, GH Morris, said that he did not know how the fire started.

In May 1960 Britannic arrived in New York with a cracked crank shaft in need of being repaired, resulting in her not leaving New York again until 7th July. By then, Britannic was getting to be an old ship and it was not long before Cunard decided it was time for her to retire.

On 11th November 1960 Britannic left Liverpool for New York on her and White Star’s last passenger voyage. Britannic left New York for the last time on 25th of November 1960, escorted by a fireboat and given a good farewell send-off.

After returning to Liverpool on her 275th and last voyage, Britannic was sold for scrap. On 16th December 1960 she left Liverpool for the last time, to go to Inverkeithing, Scotland, UK to be broken up. She arrived at Inverkeithing on 19th December. Britannic, the last ship serving as a White Star Line ship was then broken up.

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