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HAPAG flag
RMS Majestic postcard White Star Line logo

White Star Line had TWO Majestics in their history the first sailed between 1890 -- 1914.  This is the story of the second Majestic and some of  its crew members. 

The Majestic has quite a history. Luckily not like the other White Star Line ship the "Titanic" but none the less interesting. Having had three names and a number of owners.

I detail some of the history on the next few pages. More will be added when available.  Any assistance will be happily accepted and duly added to the site. Enjoy the visit.

Weight....56,551 tons
Encompassed Parson's direct-acting (non-gear) steam turbine engines
Steam Turbine Quadruple screw engines (375 tons each)
48 boilers
240 furnaces burning 56,000 tons of oil per journey
100,000 horsepower
Max speed.25 Knots
Cruising speed...23 knots
Overall length.280 metres
bridge to Keel depth..102 feet
Crowsnest 180 feet (via ladder inside mast)
Rudder weighs 140 tons on single pin weighing 2 tons
3 funnels 30 feet in diameter and reach 184 feet above keel Electricity provided by 5 dynamos
supplying 15,000 light bulbs, fans, elevators and 122 motors

Crew when operating approx 1,000 (275 engine room .. 140 on deck .. 550 Stewart services .. 100+ kitchen)
First Class Passengers..750 (860 after 1928)
Second Class Passengers..545 (705 after 1928)
Third Class Passengers.850 (1067 after 1928)
Bismarck at sea


Built at the Blohm & Voss A/G Hamburg shipyard on behalf of the German shipping company  The Hamburg-Amerika Line (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft) or (Hapag). The dream of its General Manager .. Albert Ballin who designed the German "Big Three".

Full side view of Bismarck Bismarck with smaller boats alongside

Bismarck at sea -- dates would be around 1922.

The three new super german ships were designed in response to Cunard's Mauretania and Lusitania, not to mention the White Star Line's Olympic and Titanic. Indeed the then named Bismarck was for a long time the World's Largest Ship weighing in at a mere 56,500+ tons (European). The Sister ships were:  The "Vaterland" and the "Imperator".

Building started in 1908 but was held up by outbreak of the First World War.

Eventually on 26th June 1914 she was launched.  The ceremony was carried out by Countess Hanna Von Bismarck the Grand Daughter of the then Kaiser.  The ceremony was also attended by the Kaiser - after whom the ship was named - which proved fortunate as the Countess released the bottle of Champagne but it failed to break against the steel hull.  Up stepped the Kaiser who succeeded in breaking the bottle and the ship was permitted to go down the slipway into the sea for the first time.  She was the last of the Big Three to be launched.

However the  "Treaty of Versailles"  in march 1922 decreed all German ships were to be surrendered to the Allies as compensation for vessels lost during the War.  The Big Three were split up with the Bismarck going to the United Kingdom.

The main problem was that despite being launched she was incomplete.  Under the Treaty she had to be completed by the Germans who were not pleased at the task.

Indeed work was carried out very slowly and at one stage a fire broke out destroying part of the vessel. Despite the fact that the overseers were british she was handed over to the UK with here three funnels painted in the Hapag colours and the name Bismarck blazoned on the stern. It was also later discovered that the cabin assigned to the Captain had been used as a garbage disposal area and needed alteration and fumigation.

The question arises what were the british overseers overseeing or were there a few threats issued??

On the launch ramp Launch day

Bismarck on the launch ramp and after launching.