As the last remaining White Star Line vessel in existence, SS Nomadic has had an exciting and turbulent past! From her time spent serving RMS Titanic, to wartime heroics and disco nights as a restaurant in Paris, to her beautiful restoration at her birthplace in Belfast, the famous tender ship has exceeded all expectations!
But what do you know about some of the other tenders in White Star's fleet?
We take a look at some of our favourites...
SS Traffic (1911 – 1941)
Launched just 2 days after her sister ship, SS Nomadic, on the 27th April 1911 Traffic (Yard No. 423) was purpose built to serve the Olympic-class ships. Based in Cherbourg alongside Nomadic, Traffic carried third class passengers as well as cargo, mail and baggage out to White Star Line vessels for more than 15 years, marking her place in history on 10th April, 1912 when she served RMS Titanic.
Traffic and Nomadic came as a pair and continued to serve as tenders through World War I when they carried American, British and Canadian soldiers out to waiting troop transport vessels. In 1927, both ships were sold to Société Cherbourgeoise Transbordement who renamed Traffic as Ingenieur Riebell.
Traffic was put to the test in World War II where she was separated from Nomadic and scuttled by the French navy in an attempt to block Cherbourg port from the Germans. However, the German navy salvaged Traffic and restored her to be used as an armed coastal convoy. Sadly, Traffic met her fate as she was torpedoed and sunk in 1941.
PS Ireland & PS America (1891)
Like SS Nomadic, both of these White Star ships played a key role in the Titanic story. Based in Queenstown, Ireland, both PS Ireland and PS America worked as tenders to transfer 123 passengers – 63 men and 60 women out to RMS Titanic, for many of whom Queenstown was a gateway to the new world. Read more about the Queenstown Connection here.
Unfortunately the fate of these paddle wheel steamships is unknown; it is assumed that they were broken up over time.
SS Magnetic (Yard No. 269) can be seen on Titanic Belfast's wall of ships!
SS Magnetic (1891 – 1935)
One of the first in White Star’s tender team, SS Magnetic was built and launched in 1891. During her time serving White Star Line, Magnetic was based in Liverpool as a passenger tender also carrying out duties as a water carrier and a tow boat. A highlight of Magnetic's career came in 1897 when she served as a tender to SS Teutonic at Spithead Review to mark celebrations of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee!
From 1903, Magnetic served RMS Baltic exclusively as a tender. Unfortunately, in 1925 a fire broke out on board forcing Magnetic to be beached in Liverpool for essential repairs and resulted in her eventual sale to the Alexandra Towing Company of Liverpool in December 1932 who renamed the vessel Ryde. Here she continued tendering duties for 3 years before being scrapped.
SS Gallic (1894 – 1913)
SS Gallic was a paddle wheel steamship built in 1894 - originally named 'SS Birkenhead' by John Scott & Co. she served as a ferry in Liverpool before being purchased by White Star Line in 1907.
Renamed Gallic I, she served as a tender for 5 years at Cherbourg, however she was rapidly replaced by SS Nomadic and Traffic who were built to serve the grand Olympic class liners of the time due to the increase of large ships in White Star Line’s fleet.
Gallic I remained as a baggage tender for a short period of time; however she could not compare to the elite new tenders of the time and was eventually scrapped in 1913.
Slipway No. 1 where SS Nomadic was built, as seen in Titanic Belfast!
To discover more of the White Star Line story visit the Titanic Experience and SS Nomadic - the world's last remaining White Star vessel and the largest Titanic artefact in the world.