1903 - 1932
beginning of the construction of White Star’s quartet ‘The Big Four’ had
started off with Celtic in 1901. That was the last ship ordered
by Thomas Henry Ismay, father of the new Managing Director; Joseph Bruce
Ismay. After T. H. Ismay’s death the order of Oceanic’s sister-ship
Olympic was cancelled, and all effort was put in Bruce Ismay’s project
of expanding the sole Celtic into what was to be known as the ‘Big
vessel in the Big Four was the Cedric; the first ship ordered with
a quartet in mind. The Celtic, when launched in 1901, had been the
first vessel to exceed the Great Eastern’s tonnage. The Cedric
would be almost an identical sister to the Celtic, except for some
minor details. She would have her Welin davits in place of radials (the
only one with that construction amongst the Big Four), and a double tier
of decks was placed below the mizzen mast. The Cedric’s net tonnage
was 71 tons more than the Celtic’s.
|The Cedric - the
second ship of White Star's popular quartet.
the Celtic, the Cedric’s name was not obvious in pronunciation.
Celtic was strangely enough pronounced [Seltik], whilst the Cedric should be
pronounced as [Si:drik]. The public would however use the more obvious
21, 1902, the Cedric was launched. Because of her extra net tonnage,
she became the largest moving object ever built. On January 31, the next
year, the ship was handed over to the White Star Line, after satisfactory
sea trials. Just as the Celtic, the Cedric had an average
service speed of about 16 knots. The White Star Line’s slogan was now:
Comfort, safety and size. Speed was left behind in order to gain economic
success. The Cedric’s maiden voyage was on February 11, the same
year. She sailed the company’s main route from Liverpool to New York. During
the voyage, it was noticed that the Cedric had slightly surpassed
her sister, the Celtic, in the matter of luxury.
winter of 1906, the Cedric sailed off to the Mediterranean on a
5-week cruise just as the Celtic had done when she was new. There
always seemed to be people for such things, and the company decided that
it should be an annual service for the Cedric. The popularity for
these cruisings continued, and in early 1911, the Cedric took two
sailings to the Mediterranean.
14-15, 1912, the Cedric was at New York. At the same time the White
Star Line’s new flagship, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank
beneath the waves with over 1,500 souls. The surviving commanders on board
the rescue vessel Carpathia telegraphed to New York and ordered
the Cedric to remain in port until the Carpathia arrived.
Among others, Bruce Ismay wanted to go straight back to England before
getting stuck in the American disaster hearings. When in New York, Ismay
was ordered to the Senate Investigation, and he remained in New York while
great many survivors of the Titanic’s crew returned home on board
|The Cedric at
her Liverpool dock.
World War 1 began in 1914, the Cedric was handed over to the Admiralty,
who converted her to an Armed Merchant Cruiser. The ship served in the
10th Cruiser Squadron together with for instance the Celtic and
Teutonic. Both the Cedric and the Teutonic sailed
in the ‘A’ patrol. In 1916 she was turned into a troop ship on the Atlantic
and later on the route to Egypt. In 1918, before the war’s end on January
29, the Cedric accidentally rammed and sank the Canadian Pacific
steamer Montreal when they sailed together in convoy. On December
14, the war was over and the Cedric returned to commercial service
before she had been converted back to her old accommodations. However,
in September 1919, the Cedric was refitted and returned entirely
to peace-time service.
who had lived a rather peaceful and happy life until now, was not all immune
to peace-time problems, though. In 1923 she collided in extreme fog with
the Cunarder Scythia just outside Ireland. None of the ships sank,
fortunately, but the material damage was considerable. Soon, however, the
Cedric was back in service, which continued as before until 1928
when she was converted into a Cabin Class liner as so many other ships in
this period of time.
the Depression came and all of those old ships that were still in service
went to the scrap yard one by one. The Cedric was no exception,
and on September 5, 1931 she made her final crossing to New York. When
she was home again and taken out of service the dashing new motor vessel
Britannic had already replaced her. The next year the Cedric
was sold for £22,150 to Thos. W. Ward, and on January 11 she sailed
under own steam from Liverpool to be broken up at Inverkeithing. The second
ship of the ‘Big Four’ was also the second to leave company service.
|The Cedric - Specifications:
||700 feet (213.8 m)
||75.3 feet (23 m)
||21,035 gross tons (13,520
||Steam quadruple expansion
engines powering two propellers.