Built at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, the RMS Georgic was the last ship built for the White Star Line before its merger with the Cunard Line. She was the running mate of the Britannic. Like Britannic, Georgic was a motorship, and not a steamer, fitted with a diesel electric powerplant.
She was built for the Liverpool–New York route. She was launched in 1931, and, after fitting out sailed her maiden voyage on 25 June 1932. In 1933, she replaced the aging RMS Olympic on the Southampton–New York route for a brief time while that vessel was overhauled. Her design was very similar to that of Britannic, with a sleek profile and two squat smokestacks. She was equipped with a diesel powerplant which powered electric motors, which in turn drove the propellers. She recorded a top speed of 19 knots on her speed trials. At 711 ft long (217 m), and a gross tonnage of 27,759 gross tons, she wasn’t the greatest liner of her time, but she assisted in keeping the White Star Line afloat during the Great Depression.
In January 1933 the Georgic began to sail the Southampton to New York route. This was mainly in order to replace the larger RMS Olympic during her major overhaul. On 10 May 1934 the ship became part of the fleet of the newly amalgamated Cunard-White Star Line, and Georgic joined the Britannic on the London, Southampton, New York route. This made the ship the largest to use the River Thames. In August 1939 the Georgic returned to the Liverpool to New York route and made five round trips before being requisitioned for trooping duties in the conflicts of World War II.
After the outbreak of World War II, the Georgic was requisitioned by the Admiralty for troopship duties. On 7 July 1941, the Georgic was docked at Port Tewfik. German aircraft were sweeping the skies in that area and spotted the Georgic, which they proceeded to attack, resulting in two bombs being dropped, with one striking Georgic’s stern. A large fire ensued, spreading to the ship’s dummy funnel which was holding ammunition. This ammunition exploded, seriously damaging the stern area of the vessel. The order was given to abandon ship, with Georgic now sinking by the stern. The ship settled at the bottom of the shallow water and was left to burn out. On 14 September, the damage to the Georgic was assessed and during October the ship had its holes and openings temporarily plugged and then the water was pumped out to refloat the vessel. An inspection of the ship structure and its engines was then carried out and a decision was made to send the ship back to Harland and Wolff in Belfast for complete refurbishment into a troopship.
In the next month Georgic had her hull made watertight and more temporary plugging of the hull was carried out. Georgic was then towed stern first to Port Sudan where she had major structual repairs carried out, and her hull and engines were made ready for service. After a year she arrived in Bombay, where further repairs were carried out. In January, 1943 she left Bombay for Belfast, where Harland and Wolff would give her a complete refit. After December 1944, her exterior was altered considerably, with the forward funnel removed and the foremast shortened to a stump.
Georgic resumed service as a troop transport, carrying out war duties between Italy, the Middle East and India until 1948, after which she was returned to Cunard-White Star to begin the immigrant service between Liverpool, Australia, and New Zealand. In May 1950, however, the ship had returned to the Liverpool to New York service for Cunard. Both she and her sister would retain their White Star Line colours, and flew their original company flags until both vessels were retired. During the summer of 1951, the ship sailed on the Southampton to New York route. In November 1951, the Georgic was commissioned to carry troops for the Commonwealth Division, fighting for the United nations in the Korean War. She made her final voyage in 1954, and after a brief stint transporting troops home from Japan, she was laid up at Kames Bay, Isle of Bute, pending disposal. She was scrapped in February 1956 at Faslane.
|Route:||Liverpool – New York|
|Builder:||Harland and Wolff
|Maiden voyage:||18 May 1933|
|Fate:||Scrapped in Scotland 1956|
|Tonnage:||27,759 gross tons|
|Propulsion:||Burmeister & Wain Diesels / Twin Screws|
– 479 Cabin Class
– 557 Tourist Class
– 506 Third Class