98 years ago on the morning of May 12th, 1918 HMT Olympic was on her way to Cherbourg, France full of American troops. The German U-boat U-103 was spotted ahead of the great liner. Olympic’s guns opened fired and Captain Bertram F. Hayes swung his vessel’s bow in an attempt to ram the submarine. As the U-boat began her emergency dive Olympic struck: damaging the sub aft of her conning tower, and as she passed her port propeller ripped through the German hull.
The U-boat was scuttled and Olympic went on her journey to France delivering her containment of troops. Olympic eventually returned to Southampton and her twisted prow was the only evidence of the impact.
Many people out in the world like to blame Titanic and her sisters for being “poorly built” or with “major construction flaws,” but Olympic proved time and time again why that was false. Titanic and Britannic had to deal with the unimaginable- they both had to deal with series of events which sealed their fate. The destruction of both ships could have occurred to any other vessel at the time.
Olympic, “Old Reliable,” was the workhorse of the White Star Line. She would be considered a terrific triumphant completing over 250 round trips across the Atlantic over the course of her career. While she is often ignored due to the dramatic events her younger sisters went through, she isn’t forgotten.
Next time you see a photograph of “Titanic’s grand staircase” remember that it is the Olympic’s! Often she is mislabeled as Titanic (there are NO photographs of Titanic’s staircase!)
More information on the Olympic class liners can be found at our website.
God Bless and keep reading.