HMT Olympic history:
The Olympic was the first of the White Star Line’s Olympic Class trio. Had her younger sister, the Titanic, not sank on her maiden voyage, Olympic would have been the most famous ship of her class. The Olympic and her sisters were the largest ships in the world and designed with safety and comfort as priorities. Unlike her two unfortunate sisters, the Olympic celebrated a long and illustrious career, gaining the nickname ‘Old Reliable’.
Construction began in December, 1908 in the Harland and Wolff shipyard, Belfast. She and the Titanic were built alongside one another, with Olympic launching first on October 20, 1910, sailing her maiden voyage in 1911. Later that year, the Olympic was rammed by the British cruiser HMS Hawke, and the White Star Line was unjustly held accountable for the damages. In 1912, the Olympic received the Titanic’s distress calls, but she was too far to assist.
As a result of the Titanic disaster, Olympic was extensively rehauled, and was requisitioned in the First World War as a troop transport. She was repainted by the British Admiralty in a jagged camouflage pattern known as ‘dazzle paint’, as depicted in this LEGO kit. It was during this time that she was designated as “His Majesty’s Transport”, or HMT for short.
During the war, she successfully dodged torpedoes from a U-Boat attack and then ran down said U-Boat, becoming the only merchant vessel in history to sink an enemy submarine. She survived the war and continued on as the ocean liner of choice for many of the British and American elite of the 1920’s. When prohibition was passed in the US, she ran booze cruises along the East Coast and up to Canada. In 1934, in a heavy fog, the Olympic collided with yet another ship - the Nantucket Lightship, sinking her and killing some of her crew.
The Olympic, already antiquated by this point, was serving less than 10,000 passengers a year and was no longer viable for the White Star Line. In 1935, the decision was made to scrap her. She was towed to Jarrow, England, where she was stripped and struck, then brought to Inverkeithing for final demolition. Many artifacts from her survive to this day, including the majority of her First Class Lounge, now the dining hall of the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick, England.