SS Germanic (1874)
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SS ''Germanic'' was an
ocean liner An ocean liner is a passenger ship primarily used as a form of transportation across seas or oceans. Ocean liners may also carry cargo or mail, and may sometimes be used for other purposes (such as for pleasure cruises or as hospital ships). Ca ...
built by
Harland and Wolff Harland & Wolff is a British shipbuilding company based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It specialises in ship repair, shipbuilding and offshore construction. Harland & Wolff is famous for having built the majority of the ocean liners for the Wh ...
in 1874 and operated by the
White Star Line The White Star Line was a British shipping company. Founded out of the remains of a defunct Packet trade, packet company, it gradually rose up to become one of the most prominent shipping lines in the world, providing passenger and cargo servi ...
. She was the sister ship of '' Britannic'', serving with the White Star Line until 1904. She later operated under the name ''Ottawa'' until 1910. After passing into Turkish ownership she operated under the names ''Gul Djemal'' and ''Gülcemal'', until broken up in 1950 after a total career of 75 years.


Design and construction

In her original design, ''Germanic'' was nearly identical to her earlier sister ''Britannic'', and details about the technical features and facilities of the two ships can be found on the Britannic article. ''Germanic'' was originally intended to be fitted with the same experimental adjustable propeller system as her sister, however as this proved to be unsuccessful in service on her sister, it was removed during construction, and ''Germanic'' was instead fitted with a conventional fixed propeller arrangement. ''Germanic'' was built at
Harland and Wolff Harland & Wolff is a British shipbuilding company based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It specialises in ship repair, shipbuilding and offshore construction. Harland & Wolff is famous for having built the majority of the ocean liners for the Wh ...
,
Belfast Belfast ( , ; from ga, Béal Feirste , meaning 'mouth of the sand-bank ford') is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom ...
and was launched on 15 July 1874. Although fitting out was completed in early 1875, delivery was delayed until May of that year so that she would arrive in time for the summer transatlantic season. She was primarily steam powered, but was equipped with auxiliary sails. ''Germanic'' was the last
iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 element, group 8 of the periodic table. It is, Abundance ...
-hulled ship built for the White Star Line as all their future ships used
steel Steel is an alloy made up of iron with added carbon to improve its strength of materials, strength and fracture toughness, fracture resistance compared to other forms of iron. Many other elements may be present or added. Stainless steels that ...
from then on.


Career


''Germanic''

She departed on her maiden voyage on 20 May 1875 from
Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the List of English districts by population, 10th largest English district by population and its E ...
to New York, arriving ten days later. In doing so, she replaced , the White Star's first post- Ismay steamship that was placed on charter by the company in the same year. In February 1876 ''Germanic'' made a record eastbound crossing, sailing from New York to Queenstown in 7 days, 15 hours and 17 minutes at an average speed of 15.81 knots, and winning the much coveted record which would become known as the
Blue Riband The Blue Riband () is an unofficial accolade given to the passenger liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean in regular service with the record highest average speed. The term was borrowed from horse racing and was not widely used until after 1910. ...
from the
Inman Line The Inman Line was one of the three largest 19th-century British passenger shipping Freight transport, also referred as ''Freight Forwarding'', is the physical process of transporting Commodity, commodities and merchandise goods and cargo ...
's City of Berlin. In April 1877 she broke the westbound record, crossing from Queenstown to New York in 7 days 11 hours and 37 minutes, averaging 15.76 knots. Meaning that ''Germanic'' and ''Britannic'' (which had also set records) were recognised as among the finest liners on the Atlantic. On 7 November 1880, she collided with ''Samarang'' off
Sandy Hook Sandy Hook is a Spit (landform), barrier spit in Middletown Township, New Jersey, Middletown Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. The barrier spit, approximately in length and varying from wide, is located at the north end ...
,
New Jersey New Jersey is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York (state), New York; on the ea ...
, United States whilst on a voyage from Liverpool to New York. ''Germanic'' was undamaged and resumed her voyage. ''Samarang'' had to be beached. In January 1883 whilst on an eastbound crossing, ''Germanic''s propeller shaft sheared at sea, and she was forced to make the rest of the journey by sail. In April 1885, ''Germanic'' encountered a severe storm whilst on a westbound crossing with 850 passengers onboard. When she was around west of Ireland, an exceptionally large wave broke over the ship causing substantial damage, with several lifeboats torn away, the skylights to her engine rooms smashed, and her pilot house being stove in. Water flooded into the boiler and engine rooms, a hole was torn into the side of the reading room, which was flooded, along with the saloon and staterooms, and 13 people were injured, with one sailor being washed overboard. The captain decided that it would be unsafe to continue the journey, and so the ship was turned around and returned to port in order for the ship to be repaired. This was the first recorded incident where a White Star ship had to abort a journey due to a weather related incident. On 14 January 1886, she was driven ashore at Egremont, Lancashire. She was refloated and taken in to
Birkenhead Birkenhead (; cy, Penbedw) is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside Merseyside ( ) is a metropolitan county, metropolitan and ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in North West England, with a population o ...
,
Cheshire Cheshire ( ) is a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial and Historic counties of England, historic county in North West England, bordered by Wales to the west, Merseyside and Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire to the east, and Sta ...
for examination. In 1895, after twenty years of service, ''Germanic'' was withdrawn from service and returned to her builders to undergo a major refit, in order to modernise the ship and extend her service life: New higher pressure boilers were fitted, and her original compound engines were replaced by more modern
triple expansion engine A steam engine is a heat engine In thermodynamics and engineering, a heat engine is a system that converts heat to mechanical energy, which can then be used to do work (physics), mechanical work. It does this by bringing a working ...
s made by Harland & Wolff. New funnels were fitted which were taller than the originals, most of her rigging was removed, and her
superstructure A superstructure is an upward extension of an existing structure above a baseline. This term is applied to various kinds of physical structures such as buildings, bridges, or ships. Aboard ships and large boats On water craft, the superstruct ...
was enlarged by the addition of an extra deck. Her interiors were also extensively remodelled. ''Germanic''s gross tonnage was increased to 5,066 tons by the refit, and she returned to regular service on 15 May that year under the command of Edward Smith, becoming the first vessel to embark passengers at Liverpool's new floating landing stage. The new engines improved ''Germanic''s speed; her first voyage using them shaved several hours off her previous record. Being more efficient, they also reduced coal consumption. On 11 December 1895, ''Germanic'' left Liverpool for New York in dense fog; shortly after leaving the mouth of the
River Mersey The River Mersey () is in North West England. Its name derives from Old English and means "boundary river", possibly referring to its having been a border between the ancient kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria. For centuries it has formed part ...
she collided with the 900-ton Glasgow registered steamship ''Cumbrae'', with ''Germanic''s bow penetrating into the side of the smaller ship. ''Germanic''s captain kept the ship moving forward at dead slow, in order to keep the vessels locked together, so that the ''Cumbrae''s 28 passengers and crew would have time to scramble aboard ''Germanic'' for safety. When the two vessels were parted, the ''Cumbrae'' rapidly sank. ''Germanic''s bow was badly damaged, and she immediately returned to port, and was withdrawn from service for repairs. She re-entered service in January 1896. On 11 February 1899, ''Germanic'' arrived at New York with her upper decks and rigging laden with ice and snow after sailing through a blizzard, which gave the ship a
list A ''list'' is any set of items in a row. List or lists may also refer to: People * List (surname) Organizations * List College, an undergraduate division of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America * SC Germania List, German rugby uni ...
to starboard. The crew chipped away enough of the ice to allow the ship to dock and the passengers to disembark, however on 13 February 1899, while being refuelled with coal at White Star's New York City pier, another heavy blizzard added an even heavier layer of ice and snow, which added an estimated 1,800
ton Ton is the name of any one of several units of measure A unit of measurement is a definite magnitude (mathematics), magnitude of a quantity, defined and adopted by convention or by law, that is used as a standard for measurement of the ...
s to her topweight. Now top heavy, and aided by strong winds, she listed to port, so much so that water began to enter doors opened for coaling. ''Germanic'' sank and settled upright on to the shallow harbour bottom. She was pumped out and raised by salvage teams; an operation which took just over a week. The ship had sustained water damage to her accommodation but was otherwise undamaged, and was determined to be worth saving, so she returned to
Belfast Belfast ( , ; from ga, Béal Feirste , meaning 'mouth of the sand-bank ford') is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom ...
for a refurbishment that lasted three months. The salvage and refurbishment cost White Star £40,000, (), an enormous sum for the time. On 23 September 1903, ''Germanic'' left on her final run as a White Star liner after 28 years of service. She was then laid up for the winter, and in 1904 she was transferred to the
American Line The American Line was a shipping company founded in 1871 and based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It began as part of the Pennsylvania Railroad, although the railroad got out of the shipping business soon after founding the company. In 1902, it ...
, one of White Star's sister companies within the International Mercantile Marine Co. (IMMCo), the holding group which White Star had been bought by in 1902. Still named ''Germanic'', she served on the Southampton to New York route, with her first voyage starting on 23 April 1904, she completed only six round trips on this route, before being transferred yet again in October that year to another IMM company, the
Dominion Line The Dominion Line was a trans-atlantic passenger line founded in 1870 as the ''Liverpool & Mississippi Steamship Co.'', with the official name being changed in 1872 to the ''Mississippi & Dominion Steamship Co Ltd.'' The firm was amalgamated in ...
, to be used on that company's Canadian service, and her passenger accommodation was converted to carry 250 second class, and 1,500 third class passengers.


''Ottawa''

On 5 January 1905, ''Germanic'' was renamed ''Ottawa''. For the next four years, ''Ottawa'' served on the Canadian route, alternating between the Liverpool to Halifax route during the winter months, and Liverpool to
Quebec City Quebec City ( or ; french: Ville de Québec), officially Québec (), is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Quebec. As of July 2021, the city had a population of 549,459, and the Communauté métrop ...
and
Montreal Montreal ( ; officially Montréal, ) is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, second-most populous city in Canada and List of towns in Quebec, most populous city in the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian ...
during the summer season, when the
Saint Lawrence River The St. Lawrence River (french: Fleuve Saint-Laurent, ) is a large river in the middle latitudes of North America. Its headwaters begin flowing from Lake Ontario in a (roughly) northeasterly direction, into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, connecting t ...
was ice free. In 1909, ''Ottawa'' joined four other liners to ensure a weekly joint White Star-Dominion Line service between Liverpool and the Canadian ports. After the 1909 summer season, ''Ottawa'' was laid up for winter.


''Gul Djemal'' / ''Gülcemal''

In 1910, the
Government of the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synonymous * and el, Оθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία, Othōmanikē Avtokratoria, label=none * info page on book at M ...
bought the ship from IMM for £20,000 (), to be used as a troop transport, as part of a five-ship transport fleet. She left Liverpool for the last time on 15 March 1911 for
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse), Tsargrad (Slavs, Slavic), Qustantiniya (Arabic), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopo ...
, and was renamed ''Gul Djemal'', in honour of the Sultan's
mother ] A mother is the female parent of a child. A woman may be considered a mother by virtue of having given childbirth, birth, by raising a child who may or may not be her biological offspring, or by supplying her ovum for fertilisation in the cas ...
. She was operated as part of the Ottoman Navy by the Administration de Navigation à Vapeur Ottomane (Ottoman Steamship Administration) of
Istanbul Istanbul ( , ; tr, İstanbul ), formerly known as Constantinople ( grc-gre, Κωνσταντινούπολις; la, Constantinopolis), is the List of largest cities and towns in Turkey, largest city in Turkey, serving as the country's economic, ...
. Within a few months, she was carrying Turkish soldiers to war duty in
Yemen Yemen (; ar, ٱلْيَمَن, al-Yaman), officially the Republic of Yemen,, ) is a country in Western Asia. It is situated on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, and borders Saudi Arabia to the Saudi Arabia–Yemen border, north and ...
at the southern extremity of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synonymous * and el, Оθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία, Othōmanikē Avtokratoria, label=none * info page on book at Martin Luther University) ...
in order to quell an uprising. In 1912 she was transferred to the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
. She was also used to transport thousands of
Muslim Muslims ( ar, المسلمون, , ) are people who adhere to Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the ...
pilgrims to
Jeddah Jeddah ( ), also spelled Jedda, Jiddah or Jidda ( ; ar, , Jidda, ), is a city in the Hejaz region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the country's commercial center. Established in the 6th century BC as a fishing village, Jeddah's promi ...
, the nearest port to
Mecca Mecca (; officially Makkah al-Mukarramah, commonly shortened to Makkah ()) is a city and administrative center of the Mecca Province of Saudi Arabia, and the Holiest sites in Islam, holiest city in Islam. It is inland from Jeddah on the Red ...
, for the annual
Hajj The Hajj (; ar, حَجّ '; sometimes also spelled Hadj, Hadji or Haj in English) is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Holiest sites in Islam, holiest city for Muslims. Hajj is a Fard, mandatory religious duty for Mu ...
pilgrimage. When
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
began and the Ottoman Empire joined forces with Germany, she again became a troop ship, ferrying soldiers to the
Gallipoli Peninsula The Gallipoli peninsula (; tr, Gelibolu Yarımadası; grc, Χερσόνησος της Καλλίπολης, ) is located in the southern part of East Thrace, the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles st ...
for the Gallipoli campaign. On 3 May 1915, ''Gul Djemal'' was on this run, with a full complement of 1,600 soldiers, when she was torpedoed by the British submarine . The ship was damaged but did not sink, and was assisted back to Istanbul, where her bow was found to be broken through. British sources incorrectly claimed that the ship was sunk with great loss of life. ''Gul Djemal'' was repaired with German assistance and put back into service, at first as a naval auxiliary in the Black Sea. In November 1918, she was used to repatriate 1,500 German troops from Turkey after the Armistice. She turned up unannounced to the Allied control point at
Dover Dover () is a town and major ferry port in Kent, South East England. It faces France across the Strait of Dover, the narrowest part of the English Channel at from Cap Gris Nez in France. It lies south-east of Canterbury and east of M ...
, which caused alarm and confusion, however the German soldiers were disarmed and sent home. In 1919 the ship embarked returning German troops of General Kress's Caucasus expedition, and the remaining German residents of Constantinople, from there to
Bremen Bremen (Low German also: ''Breem'' or ''Bräm''), officially the City Municipality of Bremen (german: Stadtgemeinde Bremen, ), is the capital of the Germany, German States of Germany, state Bremen (state), Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (''Freie H ...
, arriving 29 June 1919. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1920, ''Gul Djemal'' became a Turkish ship. In 1920, ''Gul Djemal'' went to work for the ''Ottoman American Line'', and was put to work on a service from
Istanbul Istanbul ( , ; tr, İstanbul ), formerly known as Constantinople ( grc-gre, Κωνσταντινούπολις; la, Constantinopolis), is the List of largest cities and towns in Turkey, largest city in Turkey, serving as the country's economic, ...
to New York City, once again carrying immigrants across the Atlantic to America. She made her first journey on this route on 6 October 1920. This made history as being the first Turkish flagged ship to reach America.Eser Tutel
''Seyr-i Sefain: Öncesi ve sonrası''
(İletişim Yayınları, 1997, sf.118-126)
However after only one year and four round trips, the service was terminated. She was later in service in the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
. She was one of the ships responsible in transporting
Turks Turk or Turks may refer to: Communities and ethnic groups * Turkic peoples, a collection of ethnic groups who speak Turkic languages * Turkish people, or the Turks, a Turkic ethnic group and nation * Turkish citizen, a citizen of the Republic o ...
from
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern: , Ancient: ) is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, ...
,
Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, and is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders with ...
to Turkey during the
population exchange between Greece and Turkey The 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey ( el, Ἡ Ἀνταλλαγή, I Antallagí, ota, مبادله, Mübâdele, tr, Mübadele) stemmed from the "Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations" signed at ...
after the
Turkish War of Independence The Turkish War of Independence "War of Liberation", also known figuratively as ''İstiklâl Harbi'' "Independence War" or ''Millî Mücadele'' "National Struggle" (19 May 1919 – 24 July 1923) was a series of military campaigns waged by th ...
. After this mission she returned to regular services along the Turkish Black Sea coast between Istanbul and
Trabzon Trabzon (; Ancient Greek: Tραπεζοῦς (''Trapezous''), Pontic Greek#Ophitic, Ophitic Pontic Greek: Τραπεζούντα (''Trapezounta''); Georgian language, Georgian: ტრაპიზონი (''Trapizoni'')), historically known as T ...
. The famed Turkish leader
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, or Mustafa Kemal Pasha until 1921, and Ghazi Mustafa Kemal from 1921 Surname Law (Turkey), until 1934 ( 1881 – 10 November 1938) was a Turkish Mareşal (Turkey), field marshal, Turkish National Movement, re ...
made several voyages onboard the ship between 1926 and 1934. In 1928, the ship was transferred to the Turkiye Seyrisefain Idaresi (Turkish Navigation Administration) and the spelling of her name amended to ''Gülcemal'' to comply with the new Turkish alphabet. In January 1931, she grounded in the
Sea of Marmora The Sea of Marmara,; grc, Προποντίς, Προποντίδα, Propontís, Propontída also known as the Marmara Sea, is an Inland sea (geology), inland sea located entirely within the borders of Turkey. It connects the Black Sea to th ...
, but was refloated and returned to service. In 1937, ''Gülcemal'', now 63 years old, was retired from regular service, and rarely left port after this date, by 1939 her voyages were few and far between. She survived
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, although playing no notable part in it, and was last mentioned in the International Lloyd's records in 1945. By 1949, she was being used as a warehouse ship in the port. In 1950 it was rumored that she would be used briefly as a floating hotel, however on 29 October 1950, ''Gülcemal'' was taken from Istanbul under tow to
Messina Messina (, also , ) is a harbour city and the capital city, capital of the Italian Metropolitan City of Messina. It is the third largest city on the island of Sicily, and the 13th largest city in Italy, with a population of more than 219,000 in ...
for scrapping, arriving on 16 November. The ship had lasted 75 years, surviving numerous major mishaps and two World Wars. When being demolished, her original White Star Line gold stripe could still be seen along her hull. Only Cunard's SS ''Parthia'' (1870) served a longer time afloat than ''Germanic'', ending her days as a lumber tug in 1956. ''Parthia''s record (84 years) as longest serving "floating palace", in any capacity, still holds today.''Falling Star:The Misadventures of White Star Line Ships'' by John Eaton & Charles Haas c. 1990


References


The Ships List


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Germanic (1875) Ships built in Belfast Steamships Ships of the White Star Line Ships built by Harland and Wolff 1874 ships Ocean liners Maritime incidents in January 1886 Maritime incidents in 1899 Maritime incidents in 1915