HMHS Britannic The Last Titan
HMHS Britannic built in Harland and Wolff, Belfast in 1914 as the last of the White Star trio, Oceanic, Titanic and the Britannic. It was taken over by the Admiralty before completion to be used as a Hospital Ship from December 1915 to March 1916. She was then laid up, discharged from service, refurbished by White Star Line in Belfast in May 1916. At the end of August 1916 she was recalled for service as a Hospital Ship. After her 8th voyage she was enroute from Naples to Madras with 625 crew and 500 medical officers to take on board wounded when she struck a mine in the Kea Channel, Greece, laid by a German submarine U73. HMHS Britannic sank in less than 1 hour with the loss of 30 lives.
Simon Mills researched and published this book in 1992, hoping to stir an interest in this Titan which inevitably he did, with the result he was part of the historical team on Dr Robert Ballard’s expedition to the wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1995. During this voyage it was reported in papers, Greek divers wished to salvage the Britannic, but having the status of a war grave and a wreck owned by the Ministry of Defense ensured her and any artefacts from her would remain where she is today.
This book by Simon Millsa details the birth of the White Star Line’s third Titan, to it becoming ‘the Most Wonderful Hospital Ship that Ever Sailed the Seas’, to its demise. He recognises it will never hold the mystique of the Titanic but that it equally as an illustrious history to tell with the result this book was reprinted in 1996.