As it turned out, Britannic gave up her life for King and country. Before ever carrying a paying passenger, she was thrust into service in November 1915 as a hospital ship. On 21 November 1916, while stationed in the Mediterranean, HMHS Britannic struck a mine (or, less likely, was hit by a torpedo) and sank.
The silent newsreel footage above, which begins on a foggy day at the Harland &Wolff shipyard in Belfast, presents various views of the Britannic construction. Most impressive are the views of a funnel being readied for installation. It’s hard not to think of Titanic while viewing this rare film.
If World War I hadn’t intervened, Britannic might have become one of the greatest ocean liners ever, but she never got the chance.
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