On April 14, 1912, in a perfect storm of engineering flaws, pride and sheer bad luck, the RMS Titanic descended to the depths of the North Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. But while the Titanic made history, it wasn’t the only ship in its line to experience an aquatic end. In fact, 100 years ago today, its sister ship the British HMHS also met his loss at sea.
While the sinking of the “Unsinkable Ship” made headlines, its owners of the White Circle Line already had its next Olympic-class counterpart in production. Originally called the Gigantic, its owners renamed the liner with the name a little more humble British shortly after the sinking of its predecessor, according to History.com.
Following investigations into the spectacular failure of its predecessor, the British has undergone big changes, including a thicker hull to protect against icebergs and the addition of enough lifeboats to accommodate everyone on board, according to History.com. However, he did not have much luck in purchasing his sister ship as an ocean liner â shortly after the British launched in 1914, the British government requisitioned it for use as a hospital ship at the start of the First World War.
As the largest of the British fleet, the British was not a bad place for soldiers to rest and heal before returning to the front lines. The ship’s senior surgeon, Dr JCH Beaumont, called it “the most wonderful hospital ship to ever sail the seas”, and with the capacity to transport and treat up to 3,309 patients at a time. , British military officials believed the former passenger ship would be of great help to the war effort, according to PBS.
On November 21, 1916, the British was heading towards the Aegean Sea to pick up wounded soldiers. But at 8:12 am, his adventure ended with a bang. The source of the explosion is still unknown, but many believe the ship struck a mine left by a German submarine.
The explosion caused more damage to the ship than even the Titanic had experienced, PBS reports. Only this time, thanks to the improvements made in the wake of this tragedy and the preparation of the crew, many more lives were saved.
âThe explosion happened while we were at breakfast. We heard something, but we had no idea that the ship had been hit or was sinking â, the British matron, EA Dowse, said The New York Times a few days after the disaster. “Without an alarm, we got on the deck and waited for the boats to launch. All the staff behaved in the most beautiful way, waiting calmly lined up on the deck … The Germans, however, Couldn’t have picked a better time to give us the opportunity to save those on board, as we were all up, we were close to land and the sea was perfectly smooth.
The evacuation, however, was not perfectly smooth, according to History.com. The ship’s captain steered the ship toward the nearest land in an attempt to run aground. But as the ship charged ahead, the crew attempted to launch several lifeboats uninvited. The ship’s spinning propellers quickly sucked them in, killing those aboard the rafts. Despite this, more than 1,000 passengers lost their lives and the 30 people who died in the sinking of the British in stark contrast to the more than 1,500 lives lost aboard the Titanic.
The disasters that hit the British, the Titanic, and the couple’s older sister, the Olympic, all had something (or someone) in common, writes Emily Upton for Today i found Outside-a woman named Violet Jessop. As a crew member and nurse, Jessop worked on all three ships and miraculously escaped each one alive even though the incidents left two of the ships nestled on the ocean floor. After cheating on death three times, Jessop finally died in 1971 at the age of 84.