Carrying only 153 paying passengers and painted drab gray, White Star Line’s Olympic (1911) was on her last civilian voyage before conversion into a World War I troopship. Suddenly, on 27 October 1914, her wireless operator picked up a message that the British battleship HMS Audacious had struck a mine and was sinking.
Olympic, inbound to Glasgow (White Star, unlike Cunard Line, wisely believed that the U-boat infested approaches to both Southampton and Liverpool were too dangerous to use), immediately steamed to Audacious’ location: Tory Island, off the northern coast of Ireland.
Upon reaching the scene, Olympic was able to rescue 230 of Audacious’ 900-man crew. Several nearby British warships retrieved nearly all of the remaining crew (two men perished).
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