RMS Celtic II

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RMS Celtic II liner launched in 1901, history and image.

CLASS

LINER

LAUNCHED

APRIL 4th 1901

BUILT

HARLAND & WOLFF / BELFAST / IRELAND

WEIGHT

20,904 TONS

LENGTH

700 FEET

WIDTH

75 FEET

SPEED

16 KNOTS - PISTON ENGINES - TWO PROPELLERS

The White Star Line’s Celtic was the first ship to exceed the 18,915 tons of Brunel’s Great Eastern. However, with the White Star Line’s previous ship Oceanic being five feet longer, she was only the second longest liner at that time. Although Celtic had a top speed of around 19 knots, her owners ignored speed to concentrate on comfort and saving fuel. The captains of this line were instructed to travel at a leisurely 16 knots. Celtic set out on her maiden voyage from Liverpool - New York July 20th 1901. This new size of ship forced the port authorities at New York to dredge the harbor before her arrival. Thirteen years later, the British Admiralty requisitioned Celtic to serve as an armed merchant cruiser during World War One.

RMS Celtic II liner image

With Britain's coal supplies running low by 1916, and these large armed merchant cruisers using up vast amounts of coal for fuel, the Admiralty had Celtic converted to a troopship. She was then used to transport troops from Britain - Egypt and to provide an occasional passenger service between Liverpool and New York. During one of these voyages to New York in 1917, 17 people were killed after she struck a mine off the Isle of Man. The extensive damage caused by the blast forced the Admiralty to put Celtic into Belfast for repairs. The following year, she was traveling through the Irish Sea when the German Submarine UB-77 succeeded in hitting her with one torpedo. Although that attack killed six people and left Celtic drifting without power, rescue vessels managed to tow her into Liverpool for repairs. Work to restore Celtic’s interiors after the war delayed her return to the Liverpool - New York run until 1920. Eight years later, she ran aground at the mouth of Queenstown Harbor (now Cobh/Ireland). With all attempts to pull Celtic off the rocks failing, the White Star Line was forced to have her scrapped where she lay. The Danish salvage company contracted to dismantle Celtic took until 1933 to clear the last of her wreckage from the site.

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