Georgic

MV Georgic Ablaze during World War II

The Georgic was the last ship to be built for the White Star Line and was launched on November 12, 1931. After a period of trials the ship was moved to Liverpool on 12th June 1932 and then made her maiden voyage, from Liverpool to New York, on 25th June. Like her sister ship, the Britannic, she cruised out of New York during the winter months. In September 1932 the Georgic was host to the first of a number annual charity banquets at Gladstone Dock, Liverpool.

On January 11th, 1933 the ship began to sail the Southampton to New York route. This was mainly in order to replace the larger Olympic during her overhaul. On 10th May 1934 the ship became part of the fleet of the newly amalgamated Cunard-White Star Line. After a minor fire was extinguished in January, the Georgic joined the Britannic on the London, Southampton, New York route. This made the ship the largest to use the 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.

At the beginning of April 1940 Georgic sailed to the Clyde and work began to convert it into a troopship for 3,000 men. In May the ship assisted in the evacuation of British troops from Andersfjord and Narvik, in Norway, landing them at the Clyde. Soon after it also assisted in the evacuation of troops from Brest and St.Nazaire. The rest of the year was spent transporting Canadian soldiers and carrying troops to the Middle East.

During may 1941 the Georgic arrived at Port Tewfik, in the Gulf of Suez, in a convoy that had been left almost unprotected during the hunt for the German battleship, Bismarck. Whilst awaiting Italian internees, on 14th July, the ship was bombed by German aircraft and set on fire. As fires continued to burn and ammunition exploded, wrecking the stern area, the ship was beached on 16th July.

In was not until 14th September that it was decided to try and salvage the burnt out ship. The hulk was raised during October and then towed to Port Sudan by the ships "Clan Campbell" and "City of Sydney". Temporary repairs were carried out here and the ship was made seaworthy. In March 1942 it was towed to Karachi for further repairs. After further cleaning and repairs at Bombay the Georgic sailed for Liverpool on 20th January 1943.

It arrived at Liverpool on 1st March and then went back to Harland & Wolff to be rebuilt as a troopship. After the refit the tonnage had been reduced to 27,268 tons and the ship now had only one funnel and one mast. During December 1944 she was placed under Cunard-White Star management, and like her sister Britannic, retained the buff and black funnels of White Star Line. During 1945 she carried troops to Italy, the Middle East and India.

On December 25th she arrived at Liverpool with troops from the Far East including General Sir William, commander in charge of South East Asia. In July 1948 she arrived at Tyneside for refitting by Palmers Hebburn. It was to be used for the Australian and New Zealand emigrant service. In January 1949 it made its first voyage on a route calling at Liverpool, Suez, Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney. By May 1950, however, the ship had returned to the Liverpool to New York service for Cunard. During the summer of 1951 the ship sailed on the Southampton to New York route. This continued until 19th October 1954 when the Georgic made its last voyage for Cunard.

In April 1955 she arrived in Liverpool with troops from Japan and was then offered for sale. In May she was chartered to the Australian Government for use in the "Assisted Passage Scheme". The Georgic made her final voyage on 19th November 1955 from Hong Kong to Liverpool with 800 troops. By December she was laid up at Kames Bay, Isle of Bute pending disposal. She was scrapped in February 1956 at Faslane.