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HMHS Britannic
His Majesty's Hospital Ship (HMHS) Britannic
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMHS Britannic
Owner: White Star flag NEW.svg White Star Line
Operator: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Royal Navy
Port of registry: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Liverpool, United Kingdom
Builder: Harland and Wolff, Belfast
Yard number: 433
Laid down: 30 November 1911
Launched: 26 February 1914
Completed: 12 December 1915
In service: 23 December 1915 (hospital ship)
Out of service: 21 November 1916
Fate: Sank after hitting a mine on 21 November 1916 near Kea in the Aegean Sea
Status: Wrecked
Notes: Largest ocean liner ever sunk
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General characteristics
Class and type: Olympic-class ocean liner
Tonnage: 48,158 gross register tons
Displacement: 53,200 tons
Length: 882 ft 9 in (269.06 m)
Beam: 94 ft (28.7 m)
Height: 175 ft (53 m) from the keel to the top of the funnels
Draught: 34 ft 7 in (10.5 m)
Depth: 64 ft 6 in
Decks: 9 passenger decks
Installed power:
  • 24 double-ended, 5 single-ended (coal-fired) boilers
  • Two four-cylinder triple-expansion reciprocating engines, each producing 16,000 hp (12,000 kW) for outboard wing propellers, one low-pressure turbine producing 18,000 hp (13,000 kW) for the centre propeller
  • Total 50,000 hp (37,000 kW)
  • Two bronze triple-blade outboard wing propellers
  • One bronze quadruple-blade central propeller
  • 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph)
  • 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph) (maximum)
Capacity: 3309

The Britannic was a British passenger ship. The ship was also used as a war ship and a Royal Mail steamer. The Britannic was finished on 26 February 1914, for the White Star Line. It was a sister ship to the Olympic and the Titanic. The building of the ship was held up when the Titanic sunk, and extra safety items were added to the Britannic.

World War I

The start of World War I meant the ship was not used for passenger work. It was set up as a hospital ship with 3,300 beds. She sailed to Mudros on the 23 December 1915, to pick up wounded soldiers from Gallipoli. She continued as a hospital ship until 1916 when it was turned back into a Royal Mail and passenger ship. Before this latest change was carried out, the ship was called back into war service and went back to Mudros.


Britannic sinking
Britannic sinks after hitting a mine.
Britannic's survivors
Survivors from the Britannic onboard HMS Scourge

On 21 November 1916 the Britannic hit a naval mine in the Zea Channel, off the Greek island of Kea. The mines had been put there by the German submarine U-73. A huge explosion tore a hole in the side of the ship which sunk one hour later. The ship which was carrying 1,125 people, and nearly all were saved. Two lifeboats were struck by the ship's propellers and 30 people were killed.

The German newspapers claimed that the ship had been sunk by a torpedo because it might have been carrying soldiers. The captain of the U-73 said this was not true, he had only been laying the naval mines.

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