8th May 1907 – White Star’s Adriatic’s maiden voyage

ADRIATIC 1907On 8th May 1907 Adriatic sailed from Liverpool for New York, on her maiden voyage. Captained by E.J. Smith, among the passengers aboard was the company chairman, J. Bruce Ismay. Adriatic was the largest of the group of ships known as the ‘Big Four’, with bigger engines and an extra four boilers to give her a better service speed. By the time she left Queenstown, she had 2,502 passengers aboard, as well as a large cargo. She arrived in New York on 16th May, having taken 7 days 1 hour 45 minutes for a crossing that had encountered very bad weather.

Adriatic and us tenderAdriatic had been built at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, as Yard Number 358. Launched on 20th September 1906, once completed she could carry 425 in First Class, 500 in Second Class and 1,900 in Steerage. She was handed over on 25th April 1907. The Big Four were very distinctive, with two tall, thin funnels and four masts. Noticeably different to the others in the group, she had an extra pair of derricks on the foredeck and an additional deckhouse between the mizzen and jigger masts. She was unusual in that she had a swimming pool, although it was quite small and narrow and was called a ‘plunge bath’, and also had a Turkish bath.

8th May 1916 – White Star’s Cymric torpedoed and sunk

CYMRIC in 1898White Star’s Cymric sailed from New York on 26th April 1916, under Captain Beadnell, with very few passengers and a crew of 106. She was loaded with over 18,000 tons of war matériel and supplies for the battlefields of Europe, and was heading for Liverpool. On 8th May 1916 she was intercepted about 140 miles WNW of Fastnet by the German submarine U-20, under Captain Schwieger, who had sank Lusitania just a year earlier. He attacked, without warning, firing a spread of three torpedoes. Five crew died in the attack, and the vessel sank early the next day.

Cymric in MerseyCymric had been launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast on 12th October 1897, as Yard Number 316. Originally she was intended as a cattle carrier although in service she was primarily used to carry up to 1,500 in Steerage and about 100 in Cabin Class. Her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York was on11th February 1898.