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HMHS Britannic, the third and largest Olympic-class ocean liner of the White Star Line, sister ship of RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic, was launched on 26th February 1914 at the Harland & Wolff shipyards in Belfast and fitting out began. Before Britannic could commence transatlantic service between New York and Southampton, in August 1914, World War 1 broke out. On November 13th, 1915 Britannic was requisitioned as a hospital ship and repainted white with large red crosses and a horizontal green stripe, she was renamed HMHS (His Majesty's Hospital Ship) Britannic and placed under the command of Captain Charles A. Bartlett.

After completing five successful voyages to the Middle Eastern theatre and back to the United Kingdom, transporting the sick and wounded, Britannic was laid up in April 1916 and decommissioned a month later. However, before she was completely refitted for passenger service, she was recalled to hospital ship duty and resumed that service in September.

On her third trip after being recalled, she struck a mine off Kea Island on 21st November 1916 and sank 55 minutes later. Various sources give the number of deaths as between 21 and 41; all occurred when two lifeboats were shredded by the ship's still turning propellers. Fortunately, no patients were aboard; the balance of the 1,125 medical staff and crew were rescued.

See also (HMHS Britannic) and Wikepedia - HMHS Britannic

Last updated 15 August, 2008

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