On November 21 in 1916 the Britannic – the new and improved version of the Titanic – became the largest ship sunk during the First World War. The third of the Olympic class ocean liners by White Star, having been built after the Olympic and Titanic, incorporated new design features to prevent a disaster like the 1912 loss of Titanic. Despite upgraded safety features, such as watertight bulkheads raised much higher than Titanic’s and a large part of the hull being doubled, the doomed ship sank in under an hour.
But lessons learnt from the Titanic disaster meant 30 of the 1,066 people on board lost their lives, compared to 1,503 out of 22,08 on the Titanic.
In 2019 Channel 5 documentary Titanic’s Lost Sister, maritime experts discuss how the sister ship was already in construction when Titanic sunk.
Speaking in the documentary Ken Marschall, best known as the world’s foremost creator of Titanic artwork revealed that the Britannic was in the “very early stages” of her construction when the Titanic sank.
He said: “They stopped the construction and re-thought everything in order to make Britannic really really safe.
“And they learned from the Titanic, they made the bulkhead much much higher, they gave her a complete double skin, it just covered all the basis.
“And here she went down in less than an hour.”
In 1994 book Titanic Warning: Could this disaster have been prevented?, author Casey M. Sabella claims “one cannot walk away from the Britannic without considering her final end.
“In the same pride that built her sister ship, she was designed to withstand the breaching of six compartments.
“Almost as if White Star was attempting to out-do God.
“Titanic was defeated by an iceberg because up to six compartments were breached. So the Britannic was crafted to overcome such an obstacle.”
On November 21, the Britannic was hit by a violent explosion that rocked the ship.
The blast had already managed to flood six whole compartments—even more extensive damage than that which had sunk the Titanic.
The cause of the explosion remains unknown, but many believe that the Britannic hit a mine.