Olympic, Titanic & Britannic: An Issue of Finance (January 2021) (External Link)
It's widely believed that construction of the three 'Olympic' class ships was made possible by the use of American money - resources from either J. P. Morgan or IMM. The truth is the opposite. White Star was not supported by IMM's resources. IMM was supported by White Star. Construction was financed through capital raised in the United Kingdom. This article explains in detail how:
- White Star financed the ‘Olympic’ class ships and others by borrowing the money from largely United Kingdom-based investors, mortgaging its own fleet;
- White Star borrowed the money, rather than IMM, to take advantage of its stronger financial position and lower borrowing costs;
- The new ships provided additional security underlying IMM’s own debt, without increasing the money IMM itself borrowed;
- Dividends paid by White Star from 1908 to 1912 helped IMM meet its debt interest payments.
It was first published in the Titanic International Society’s Voyage July 2020: Pages 135-39.
Britannic: The Length and Breadth of the Ship (November 2020)
A longstanding myth about Britannic is that she was longer than her sisters, with an overall length of 903 feet. This is not correct and the evidence we have is very clear that she was the same length as her older sister ships. This article provides an analysis of the evidence about her length and discusses the reasons her beadth was increased. It was first published in the Titanic Historical Society’s Titanic Commutator February 2020: Pages 171-76.
Titanic's Centre Propeller: The Stephen Pigott Evidence (November 2020) (External Link)
This article analysed a discovery by researcher Joao Goncalves of a notebook in the papers of Stephen Pigott, a turbine engine specialist who worked for John Brown & Co. The Clyde shipbuilder was subcontracted by Harland & Wolff to work on the low pressure turbines for Olympic and Titanic. The notebook in Pigott's papers includes two proposed centre propeller configurations for the two White Star liners: a three-bladed and a four-bladed one. These are identical to the centre propeller configurations for each ship in the Harland & Wolff records, in terms of the propeller diameters and the area of the propeller blades. (The sole difference is that the pitch of the propeller blades was changed on the completed ship). It is worth reading in conjunction with this dossier.
The Oceanic Steam Navigation Company: Its Early Development In A Few Facts & Figures (August 2020)
This short article simply provides a few statistics highlighting the growth of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company's (White Star Line's) fleet and annual profits over its early decades of existance, including a comparison with Cunard from 1898 to 1907. It appeared in the British Titanic Society journal Atlantic Daily Bulletin in September 2019.
Olympic & Titanic: Refining A Design (April 2020)
An article discussing several minor refinements to Titanic's design based on experience with Olympic (similar changes were then incorporated into Olympic and Britannic). It is a greatly expanded version of an article originally made available on the Titanic Research & Modelling Association (TRMA) website in 2005, which published information about these changes for the first time. This expanded article appeared in the British Titanic Society journal Atlantic Daily Bulletin in December 2019.
HMHS Britannic: A Mystery of Numbers (February 2020)
This article discusses Britannic's official number, looking at the evidence that she was allocated both the number 'G.608' and 'G.618' during the different phases of her service as a hospital ship. It was published originally in the Titanic Historical Society journal Titanic Commutator in 2008 and has been reproduced as it was originally written, with an additional introductory note.
Titanic: 'She Sailed Only Half Full?' (August 2019)
It's not unusual for people to express surprise when they learn Titanic was little more than half full on her maiden voyage. However, there's no reason to assume she would have been fully booked - she sailed outside of the high season. The article was published in the Titanic Historical Society's Titanic Commutator journal in April 2019.
Titanic's Lifeboats: Fact & Fiction (May 2019)
A television programme made a number of false claims about Titanic's lifeboats, claiming that the ship's original design had included enough lifeboats for all the passengers and crew but that this had been changed. The programme showed viewers primary source documentation which purported to support these claims, but an examination of their source shows the programme completely misrepresented the contents. The article was published in the British Titanic Society journal Atlantic Daily Bulletin in March 2019.
Titanic's Lifeboats: An Increased Capacity(January 2019)
Titanic's lifeboats are one of the most talked about features of the ship, but a lot of information about them is inaccurate. This short article draws a contrast between the shipbuilder's original design proposals in July 1908 and Titanic's lifeboat configuration when she was completed in April 1912, demonstrating that her total lifeboat capacity (measured as a proportion of the total passengers and crew she could carry) actually increased about 39 percent. It was published in the British Titanic Society journal Atlantic Daily Bulletin in September 2018.
Olympic: A Floating French Hotel (May 2018)
It discusses in detail some of the various schemes to purchase her and, in particular, one consortium's plan to acquire her and use her as a floating hotel in the south of France.
Titanic's Centre Propeller Dossier (November 2016)
This dossier collates all the evidence we have available about Titanic's centre propeller configuration and links to various sources, documenting the information that has become available since 2008 to support further the argument that Titanic was actually fitted with a three-bladed centre propeller.
Titanic: Allegations & Evidence (August 2016)
This article discusses a number of questionable claims made about Titanic in recent years, including unsubstantiated claims of deliberately flawed construction It was published originally in the Titanic International Society journal Voyage in December 2015.
The Enclosure of Titanic's Forward A-deck Promenade: Popular Myth (April 2016)
This article examines a last-minute change to Titanic's design: the enclosure of the fore end of the ship's promenade deck, A. It proved to be one of the most obvious external features to distinguish Olympic and Titanic at a distance, but a lot of claims have been made about the reason for the change which do not stand up to scrutiny. The article looks at them in detail and provides little-known evidence from Olympic's career. It was first published in the British Titanic Society journal Atlantic Daily Bulletin in March 2016.
Target Olympic: Feuer! (July 2013)
Olympic was subject to a failed torpedo attack in the final months of the war. This article, first published in the Titanic Historical Society’s Commutator journal in 2008, examines the evidence surrounding what happened and suggests the identity of the U-boat that launched the attack, and the date it took place.
Whatever Happened to Germanic/Homeric? (May 2013)
The White Star Line placed an order for a new liner, larger than Mauretania, and her keel was laid in July 1914. Popularly believed to be intended as a replacement for Titanic, she was actually intended for the Liverpool service, however mystery has surrounded her. This article takes a look, with newly published construction photographs and information.
General Arrangement ‘Design “D”’ Concept for Yard Nos. 400 and 401 (Olympic and Titanic) July 1908 (January 2012)
The original ‘Design “D”’ concept, presented by Harland & Wolff to a party of directors from the White Star Line on July 29th 1908, is displayed today at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum (National Museums Northern Ireland). It has also been published in Michael McCaughan's wonderful The Birth of the Titanic (Blackstaff Press, 1998). Lionel Codus has drawn these plans to reflect the original concept.
Britannic Hospital Shop Plans, 1916 (January 2012)
Cyril Codus’ remarkable depiction of Britannic as she appeared in hospital ship service, including an aerial view of the ship’s boat and upper decks.
Britannic Hospital Ship Voyage Chronology: 1915-16 (January 2012)
A full chronology of Britannic’s service as a hospital ship, including the voyages she made and each port of call, from her maiden voyage in December 1915 until she foundered in November 1916.
Britannic: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (February 2011)
Several questions about Britannic are examined and the answers given. How long was Britannic? Was she originally going to be called Gigantic? And what was her identification number as a hospital ship?
Majestic Rigging Plan (February 2011)
An impressive profile of Majestic by Lionel Codus with Cyril Codus.
Lusitania and Mauretania: Perceptions of Popularity (October 2009)
Cunard’s two sisters proved an immediate success when they entered service in 1907. Although Mauretania enjoyed a lengthy career spanning more than a quarter of a century, Lusitania was cut down in her prime. In their early years of service, a friendly rivalry saw Mauretania wrest the Blue Riband from her older sister. It has long been believed that Lusitania proved herself the passengers’ favourite, but an examination of the available evidence shows that this was not the case. This article first appeared in the Titanic Historical Society’s Titanic Commutator.
Caledonia Dossier (February 2009)
‘Despite her relatively short lifespan, Majestic – the White Star Line’s largest liner – experienced life under three names. As she was launched, she was known as Bismarck – Albert Ballin’s largest liner to date and the largest in the world, ready to lead the German merchant marine; following the war, she was ceded to Britain and became White Star’s (and, subsequently, Cunard White Star’s) Majestic; and in the summer of 1936, she was given several years’ reprieve from the scrappers, becoming the Royal Navy training ship Caledonia. Her service in that capacity should have taken her right through to 1941, if not longer, but the fire of September 1939 caused extensive damage and led to her ultimate destruction at the hands of the scrappers in the early 1940s...’
‘Aquitania’ – The Cunard Steamship Company (January 2009)
Cunard issued a brochure showcasing Aquitania in the early 1920s
Majestic Gallery (August 2008)
The ‘Majestic Gallery’ contains upwards of forty images of the ship: from artists’ impressions, to exterior photographs, interior images, brochures, deckplans and other material.
Homeric’s First Class Dining Saloon (August 2008)
Homeric’s ‘palatial’ first class dining saloon stood up to any comparison with her rivals. After ten years of service, in July 1932 the White Star Line issued a plan for cruise passengers.
Adriatic Mediterranean Cruise 1931 (August 2008)
Adriatic spent an increasing amount of time cruising as the depression took its toll in the early 1930s.
Baltic’s Cabin Class 1928 (August 2008)
A splendid, rare set of plans showcasing Baltic’s cabin class acommodation.
Majestic Tourist Third Cabin Accommodation 1929 (August 2008)
Following the decline of third class immigrant traffic, by the late 1920s the new tourist third cabin accommodation was proving very popular.
Majestic Second Cabin 1931 (August 2008)
After carrying second class passengers in tandem with tourist third cabin passengers for several years, Majestic carried her final second class passengers late in 1931. The original second class accommodation was then combined with tourist third cabin into one single tourist class, as the depression worsened and the White Star Line sought to keep Majestic competitive.
Majestic: Vedute in Terza Classe (August 2008)
An extremely rare brochure, printed in Italian, advertised Majestic’s third class accommodation in the 1920s.
Aquitania Tourist Third Cabin 1929 (August 2008)
Aquitania emerged from a refit at the beginning of 1929 with an entirely new range of public rooms for tourist third cabin passengers.
Majestic: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (August 2008)
This extensive article examines several questions that are frequently raised regarding Majestic’s career and history, examining aspects such as her popularity, the passenger records she set, her speed, her size compared to that of Leviathan, and other matters.
Olympic: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (August 2008)
This article examines several questions relating to Olympic, including her speed and changes made to her in later years.
Aquitania: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (August 2008)
This article examines several questions relating to Aquitania, including some myths about the intended use of her first class grill room.
Dossier: Aquitania ‘The Grand Old Lady’ (June 2008)
Additional information regarding Aquitania’s service and upkeep that did not make the final version of the Aquitania book.
Dossier: Titanic: Time and Speed (March 2008)
This dossier groups together material relating to Titanic, the ship’s local time, and her speed.
Dossier: Gigantic (March 2008)
The ongoing debate regarding the third sister’s name is covered in a number of new articles, which analyse recent research into the issue. It provides a link to order a copy of ‘The Gigantic Question,’ an extensive article by Mark Chirnside and Paul Lee, published in the Titanic Historical Society’s Titanic Commutator 2008: Volume 31 Number 180: Pages 181-92.
Dossier: Titanic ‘Conspiracy’ (March 2008)
However absurd they are, it seems there is always interest in far-fetched conspiracy theories. Fantasy seems more interesting than reality to some people.
Dossier: Majestic Model (March 2008)
Several models of Majestic survive today, including an interesting one at the Auckland Maritime Museum. Photos of several models, and the ship herself, are provided here with additional commentary.
Aquitania ‘Down The Years’ (February 2008)
This short article examines Aquitania as she was in 1914 and 1938, highlighting several aspects of her accommodation that changed radically over the years.
Dossier: Homeric’s Interior (February 2008)
Although a smaller vessel than her running mates, Homeric’s interiors were magnificent. Period deckplans and a few illustrations provide an interesting glimpse inside.
Olympic’s Expansion Joints (January 2008)
First published in the Titanic Historical Society’s Titanic Commutator in September 2007, this article takes a short look at Olympic’s expansion joints and the progressive philosophy of continuous improvement that Harland & Wolff practised. It argues that changes made to Britannic’s expansion joints were probably the usual lessons learned from her older sister, and not a conspiracy to cover up any defect supposedly brought to light by Titanic’s loss.
RMS Majestic: Weekend Cruise to Nassau, 1935 (January 2008)
Shortly before she was withdrawn forever from service as a passenger liner, Majestic made a weekend New Year’s Eve cruise to Nassau at the end of 1935. She attracted 1,501 passengers, who were attracted by the liner’s comfort and luxury, but unfortunately the end of the line was a mere few weeks away.
The 66,000-ton Myth (December 2007)
In an article first published by the Irish Titanic Historical Society’s White Star Journal, the myth that Titanic displaced 66,000 tons is addressed and refuted. Although the figure is often repeated, it has no basis in reality. The article does not address a new discovery - rather it brings together information that was previously known.
RMS Majestic Specification File (November 2007)
As the largest liner in the world for more than a decade, Majestic’s size was impressive. This specification file examines her dimensions and capacities.
RMS Olympic Specification File (November 2007)
When she entered service, Olympic was by far the largest liner in the world; almost one hundred feet longer than Mauretania and with a gross tonnage almost fifty percent higher. Her specifications are interesting to record.
RMS Majestic: An Interior Glimpse (November 2007)
Majestic’s career was all too short, yet in her heyday she was the most popular liner afloat. This concise article examines the magnificence of her first class dining saloon, for - like Majestic herself - it has long since ceased to exist.
‘To The Editor...’ (July 2007)
A listing of letters that have been published in various maritime journals. This page will be updated as additional letters are written and published.
Olympic and Titanic: Maiden Voyage Mysteries (April 2007) (External Link)
An article co-authored by Mark Chirnside and Sam Halpern explores some of the navigational aspects of the maiden voyage of Olympic and her ill-fated sister. In 2006, it was discovered that there was an error in the time calculation on Olympic’s maiden voyage log card, which meant that Olympic’s average speed was understated and that the new liner performed better than anyone realised at the time.
RMS Aquitania Captains Page (April 2007)
Intended to be read alongside the listing available as an appendix in the Aquitania book, this is believed to be the most comprehensive documentation of Aquitania’s commanders available.
RMS Olympic & The Poderjay Case (November 2006)
In December 1933, Olympic left New York with a suspected murderer onboard.
The 1920 Bismarck Files (November 2006)
In 1920, Bismarck was incomplete and the White Star Line, in conjunction with Harland & Wolff, hoped to have her finished as soon as possible. Edward Wilding was among those who reported upon the ship’s condition and prospects.
RMS Olympic: The Mis-dated Refit (August 2006)
An article helps to pinpoint the dates of specific changes to Olympic in the late 1920s, including the installation of new first class suites forward on B-deck.
RMS Olympic’s Retirement (July 2006)
An extensive examination of the reasons for Olympic’s retirement, and why it took place in 1935.
Cunard’s ‘Queens’ and the 1960s (July 2006)
Although it is popularly believed that Queen Mary was more popular than her sister Queen Elizabeth, the passenger lists that are available expose this as a myth.
Olympic & Titanic An Analysis Of The Robin Gardiner Conspiracy Theory (July 2006)
This is the most extensive critical analysis available online, prepared to academic standards and endorsed accordingly. It concludes that the conspiracy theory does not stand up to scrutiny, and is unsupported by reliable evidence.
RMS Majestic Notebook (April 2006)
A number of interesting facts and figures about Majestic’s life, including some rare images courtesy of John Creamer.
HMHS Britannic Officers’ Appointments (December 2005)
This provides the most complete and up-to-date listing of Britannic’s officers (including the dates of their appointments) available, as well as highlighting Second Officer Brocklebank’s service onboard throughout 1915-16.
Thomas Andrews’ Olympic Notes, Summer 1911 (July 2005)
Although not widely available, Thomas Andrews’ notes from Olympic’s maiden voyage to
provide a fascinating insight into his philosophy of continuous improvement. It seems that no detail or improvement was too small to warrant his attention.