What Happened to the Other Two 'Titanics'?
Did you know that Titanic wasn't the only one of its kind but actually had two sisters – the Britannic and the Olympic?
The story of the Titanic is well-known, but few are aware of its two sister ships. On the fateful night of the Titanic's sinking, one of its sister ships was rushing to its aid but arrived too late. Despite their shared ill luck, each of these ships had memorable moments etched in the memories of those who sailed on them.
Before the Titanic's demise, the idea that such a grand ship could meet such a tragic end seemed unthinkable. The White Star Line, the company that built the Titanic and had high hopes for its sister ships, envisioned a bright future for the trio. The Olympic was the first to set sail on June 11, 1911, on its maiden voyage to New York. It impressed the crowds with its sheer size, and its journey went without incident. While docked in New York, 8,000 people had the opportunity to explore its luxurious accommodations. However, just two months later, the Olympic collided with the HMS Hawk, leaving the bow of the Hawk severely damaged. The Olympic returned slowly to Belfast, where the Titanic was being constructed. The sight of these two enormous ships side by side on the dock was a rare spectacle
The Titanic's collision with an iceberg on April 14, 1912, is a well-known tragedy. On that fateful night, the Olympic received the distress signal while returning from New York. Despite its efforts to reach the Titanic, the Olympic had to abandon its course and the survivors were eventually rescued by the Carpathia.
Following the Titanic's demise, the Olympic underwent significant changes, including the addition of more lifeboats, watertight bulkheads, and a double hull. It served a crucial role during World War I, carrying over 200,000 passengers, including troops and American refugees. It even sank a German submarine that was preparing to attack it. Despite previous accidents, the Olympic became known as the "Old Reliable" and continued sailing the seas for three decades. It provided assistance to the survivors of the sinking HMS Audacious, fulfilling what it couldn't do for its sister ship, the Titanic. Unfortunately, the Olympic's bad luck continued, and it eventually collided with the Nantucket light ship, leading to its dismantlement after years of service.
While the Olympic faced its end, White Star Line was already constructing the HMHS Britannic, initiated before the Titanic sank. Despite the Britannic being the youngest and largest of the trio, its name was changed from "Gigantic" to Britannic after the Titanic's tragedy. The Britannic underwent rigorous design changes and safety measures, becoming an impressive hospital ship during World War I.
Painted all white with prominent red crosses, the Britannic served as a floating hospital, accommodating up to 3,309 patients simultaneously. However, its time as a hospital ship was short-lived, as it encountered an explosion in the Aegean Sea. Although the exact cause remains uncertain, the Britannic sank in just ten minutes. Fortunately, the majority of passengers survived, aided by warmer water temperatures and the nearby Greek island of Chao.
Most impressively, there was a woman who sailed on all three ships and survived. Violet Jessup, a crew member and nurse, aboard the ships. She was there when the Olympic collided with the HMS hawk in 1911 and disembarked safely two years later she escaped the sinking of the Titanic in Lifeboat number 16. Few years later she served as a nurse in the Britannic while it was used as a hospital ship. When the explosion occurred, Violet jumped overboard. She pulled under by the water and hit her head on the Keel but survived.
In summary, the trio of ships experienced both triumphs and tragedies. Despite their ill fate, they left behind incredible stories.
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