HMHS Britannic was the third and largest Olympic-class ocean liner of the White Star Line. She was the sister ship of RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic, and was intended to enter service as a transatlantic passenger liner. She was launched just before the start of the First World War and was laid up at her builders in Belfast for many months before being put to use as a hospital ship in 1915. In that role she struck a mine off the Greek island of Kea on 21 November 1916, and sank with the loss of 30 lives.
An improved Titanic?Edit
Following the loss of the Titanic and the subsequent inquiries, several design changes were made to the remaining Olympic-class liners. With Britannic, these changes were made before launching (Olympic was refitted on her return to Harland and Wolff). The main changes included the introduction of a double hull along the engine and boiler rooms and raising six out of the 15 watertight bulkheads up to 'B' Deck.
A more obvious external change was the fitting of large crane-like davits, each capable of holding six lifeboats. Additional lifeboats could be stored within reach of the davits on the deckhouse roof, and in an emergency the davits could even reach lifeboats on the other side of the vessel. The aim of this design was to enable all the lifeboats to be launched, even if the ship developed a list that would normally prevent lifeboats being launched on the side opposite to the list. However, several of these davits were placed abreast of funnels, defeating that purpose. Similar davits were not fitted to Olympic.
Britannic's hull was also 2 feet (0.61 m) wider than her predecessors due to the redesign after the loss of Titanic. To keep to a 21 knots (39 km/h) service speed, the shipyard installed a larger turbine rated for 18,000 horsepower (13,000 kW)—versus Olympic's and Titanic's 16,000 horsepower (12,000 kW)—to compensate for the vessel's extra width.