Largest ship in the world at her launching on the 20 October 1910 she weighed 27 000 tonnes and was built by Harland and Wolff. From keel to bridge she stood 105 ft high with four huge funnels rising another 70 ft on top of that.
She was designed for a speed of 21 knots, obviously not a record breaker, but worthy of inclusion here because of her sheer size, huge payload and unashamed luxury, the epitome of the Atlantic liner. even so, she was no pleasure boat and, in July 1922 she maintained 27.82 knots during an Eastward voyage which actually beat the mauretania by 0.31 knots, but unfortunately her westward journey saw her average speed dip below that needed to claim the prize.
Having completed her fitting out, she was in the basin as Titanic was launched on 31 May 1911 and so, the two largest ships in the world were side by side for a short while before Olympic left for Liverpool.
Her maiden voyage was on 14 June and she made the crossing in 5 days, 16 hours and 42 mins at an average speed of 21.17 knots. During the voyage she proved herself to be an excellent sea boat and, on docking her designer Bruce Ismay, cabled Liverpool. "Olympic is a marvel!"
Three months later, outward bound for New York with 1,313 passengers aboard she collided with the 7,600 tonnes British battle cruiser Hawke in the Solent off Southampton, and had to return to Belfast for repairs lasting six weeks. Legal action was instigated by the White Star, who sued Commander William Blunt of the Hawke for damages, but naval officers pleaded that the huge bulk of the Olympic had drawn them towards the ship. In the end the White Star were held solely to blame, which brought a storm of indignation and protest from actual eyewitnesses, but to no avail, the court stood by its curious decision.
In 1914 the White Star fleet was called to war and, in September of that year, Olympic acting as a troop ship, was bound for the Clyde. As she headed north she passed the 2nd Battle Squadron, which had steamed into a minefield, and one of them, the Audacious, had struck a mine and was sinking fast. Despite the threat of the hundreds of mines all around the Olympic, under Captain H J Haddock (absolutely true), succeeded in rescuing the crew and taking the ship in tow. Unfortunately Audacious sank soon afterwards before she could be brought to port.
Olympic was narrowly missed by torpedoes and, on a voyage out of Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1918, she was attacked by the German U-boat U103 as she was approaching the Lizard. Evading torpedoes the Olympic ran straight at the U-boat and crushed it beneath her huge bows, there were no survivors.
Olympic returned to normal service after the war and was still carrying passengers in 1924 before being finally broken up in 1937.
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