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TITANIC's older sister,
RMS Olympic

The RMS Olympic was the first of TITANIC's 2 sisters, and was launched on October 20th, 1910. Because she was the first, the 3 ships became known as "Olympic Class Liners."

There were several ways to tell the difference between the Olympic, and the TITANIC.
1. Toward the front of B deck the Olympic had evenly spaced windows, and the promenade deck was completely open. On the TITANIC however the promenade deck had windows covering 1/3 of the promenade, and the windows on B deck had irregular spacing.
2. The TITANIC had a "sidewalk" cafe. The Olympic didn't.
3. The TITANIC had 2 private promenade areas, and the Olympic did not.
4. TITANIC's number, 401 was stamped on 1 of her propellers. The Olympic's number was also stamped on one of her propellers, but it was 400.
5. The TITANIC was slightly heavier.
6. Gee, how 'bout the name difference?

After the sinking of the TITANIC, Olympic was taken back to Harland & Wolff Shipyards, Belfast to be "safetivised." To convince people to sail on her again, she was given a double bottom skin, and extra lifeboats. By Spring of 1913, the now 46,359 ton Olympic was back in service.

On the Olympic's 5th voyage disaster struck. Well, not exactly a disaster, but there was an accident. In the morning of September 20th 1911, Olympic was departing from Southampton England with Captain Edward James Smith (also captain of the TITANIC) at the wheel. Shortly after noon as she was sailing at 19 knots, Olympic encountered the 7350 ton British cruiser Hawke. Both ships turned, as if to proceed down the Spithead channel, and actually did so on parallel courses for a while. They were 200-300 yards apart when the Hawke turned to starboard. The Hawke rammed into the starboard rear of the Olympic, about 85 feet from the stern.The Olympic's damage, above the waterline. The bow of the Hawke was badly damaged, and the Olympic suffered from 2 gashes, one above and the other below the waterline. Her starboard screw was badly damaged, and required replacing. Luckily there were no human injuries, and both vessels made it back to port under their own power. In court cases, the Olypmic was held responsible for the inccident, but I'm not so sure. I read somewhere that the Captain of the Hawke was jealous because his ship wasn't as big as the Olympic, and decided to ram into it. I also heard that the Hawke's captain was crazy, and I also heard that the Olympic's propellers sucked the Hawke into her. This was true with the TITANIC/New York incident, but I think otherwise on this one.

The Olympic painted in her bright geometric shapes for the war.In the beginning of World War I she remained a passenger liner, and managed to save the crew of the British battleship Audacious that struck a mine off the coast of Ireland. In 1915 she became a naval transport, and spent the rest of the war carrying soldiers to the front (whatever that is). Bright geometric shapes were painted all over her hull to confuse enemy subs. After surviving 4 submarine attacks, she was temporarily returned to the White Star Line. During this time she was fitted with 6 inch guns.

In May 1918 during her 22nd troop carrying voyage, the Olympic was attacked by the German submarine U-103. Suddenly she rammed the submarine, crushing it's hull, and sinking it. Only a few crew members managed to escape and be saved by an American destroyer.

After the war, she had carried a total of 41,000 civilian passengers, 66,000 Canadian and American troops, and 12,000 members of a Chinese labor battalion. Olympic had steamed 184,000 miles, and burned 347,000 tons of coal. This is why she became known as "Old Reliable." The name fit her well.

By 1920 she was back on the Atlantic run. For the next 15 years, she made hundreds of crossings, and had another accident on May 15th 1934. During heavy fog she collided with the Nantucket lightship and seven of the eleven crew members died. Later that year the White Star merged with Cunard, and in March 1935 after losing business to newer ships she made her last trip to New York before being sold, stripped and eventually scrapped.


The RMS Olympic