SS Laurentic (1927)

For other ships with the same name, see SS Laurentic.
SS Laurentic (II)
Name: Laurentic
Owner: White Star Line
Route: LiverpoolQuebec CityMontreal
Builder: Harland & Wolff, Belfast
Yard number: 470
Launched: 16 June 1927
Completed: 1 November 1927
Maiden voyage: 12 November 1927
In service: 1927
Out of service: 1940
Fate: Torpedoed and sunk by U-99 off the west coast of Ireland on 3 November 1940. 49 people killed.
Status: wreck
Notes: The final White Star Line vessel and the last ship in the possession of the White Star Line to sink.
General characteristics
Tonnage: 18,724 Gross Register Tonnage
Length: 600 ft(182.88m)
Beam: 75.4 ft(22.98192 m)
Decks: 5 decks
Propulsion: Triple Expansion plus Low Pressure Turbines by builders.
Speed: 16 knots
  • 594-Cabin Class
  • 406-Tourist Class
  • 500-3rd Class

The second SS Laurentic was an 18,724-ton ocean liner built in 1927 by Harland and Wolff, Belfast, for the White Star Line.[1] She served the White Star Line from 1927 to 1936, undergoing two collisions during her career. The ship was then transformed into an auxiliary cruiser for the Royal Navy in the Second World War. Laurentic was torpedoed by the German submarine U-99 on 3 November 1940 off Bloody Foreland, County Donegal, Ireland, but she remained afloat. But after two more torpedoes smashed into the ship, Laurentic sank beneath the waves, taking the lives of 49 people. This was the second ship of the company to have worn the name. The first, commissioned in 1909, suffered the same fate during the First World War.

Passenger career

Postcard of Laurentic

Laurentic was built in the Harland & Wolff of Belfast with the hull number 470. Launched on 16 June 1927, she was the last ship of the company using coal, and used two quadruple expansion engines powering sided propellers and a low pressure turbine for the central propeller, initiated by the RMS Laurentic (1908).[2] The ship was completed on 1 November 1927.

On 31 December 1927 she completed her maiden voyage, sailing from Liverpool and cruising around the Mediterranean before returning to Liverpool on 17 April 1928. On 27 April 1928, the ship was transferred to the Liverpool - Quebec - Montreal route and remained there for most of her commercial career but also occasionally cruised the Mediterranean..[3] In January 1931, it was expected that the ship transferred to a Mediterranean cruise but the Great Depression made it unprofitable and eventually left the passengers for the RMS Homeric.[2]

Laurentic had two collisions during her career. The first occurred on 3 October 1932 with Lurigethen of the HE Moss Line. Both vessels remained afloat following the collision. The second occurred on 18 August 1935 with Napier Star of the Blue Star Line, leaving six dead among the crew of Laurentic.[4]

Military service and sinking

The White Star Line and Cunard Line merged in 1934, without this having an impact on the career of the ship. The ship was docked in December 1935 and served the following September as troop transport bound for Palestine. In this capacity, she made her last trip for the White Star Line in December of that year. In 1937 she took part in the Coronation Naval Review at Spithead carrying government guests. In 1939, with the start of the Second World War, Laurentic was requisitioned as HMS Laurentic and converted into an auxiliary cruiser, losing her recasting part of the superstructure aft. On 3 November 1940, the Laurentic was called for help from a ship torpedoed by a U-boat. Arriving at the scene, she was torpedoed twice by U-99 commanded by Otto Kretschmer, but the torpedoes missed their target. Laurentic answers, but after four hours of fighting, she was struck by two torpedoes which sent her to the bottom. Out of the 416 people on board, 49 died. She was the last White Star vessel to sink and one of the final four White Star vessels along with Georgic, Britannic and Nomadic.[5]


  1. "S/S Laurentic (2), White Star Line". Retrieved 2008-05-11.
  2. 1 2 Laurentic 2, The White Star Line. Retrieved 11 August 2009
  3. SS Laurentic (II), White Star Liner. Retrieved 11 August 2009
  4. White Star Liner RMS and HMS Laurentic (2nd) 1927-1940 torpedoed and sunk by U-99 - 49 killed, White Star Ships. Retrieved 11 August 2009
  5. White Star Line Ships and the U boats, White Star Ships. Retrieved 11 August 2009

Coordinates: 54°9′N 13°44′W / 54.150°N 13.733°W / 54.150; -13.733

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