S S Nomadic: White Star lives on…..


Harland and Wolff Belfast built ‘Nomadic’ for White Star on the Queens Island site where the Titanic was also in mid construction. She was launched on 25th April 1911 and delivered to the White Star Line on 27th May that year. The ship was 233.6’ long, 37.3’ wide with a speed of 12 knots and gross tonnage of 1273. She was powered by two steam driven engines serving twin three bladed props that each had a diameter of 5.9 feet. ‘Nomadic’ was in attendance on the departure for Liverpool on the 31st May 1911 of ‘Olympic’ whose Chief Engineer was Joseph Bell, the same day as ‘Titanic’ was launched.

‘Nomadic’ and her sister-ship ‘Traffic’ were built to ferry the passengers embarking on transatlantic voyages from Cherbourg out to the awaiting liners lying off the coast. In particular ‘Nomadic’ and ‘Traffic’ were built to service the three new White Star Line liners: ‘Olympic’, ‘Titanic’ and ‘Britannic’. Nomadic was built to carry the more wealthy 1st and 2nd class passengers and was fitted out accordingly, ‘Traffic’ carried the third class passengers and all of the mail, all these liners were awarded the prestigious R.M.S. title. On 10th April 1912 the Nomadic took on-board 172 passengers and carried them out to the awaiting ‘Titanic’, more poignantly she also returned 24 passengers to Cherbourg, how fortunate those 24 individuals.  The advent of WW1 brought to a halt the transatlantic trade, and in 1917 ‘Nomadic’ relocated to Brest where she was subsequently used to move American soldiers around the coast of France.

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This small tender Titanic’s little sister survived both world wars, has had three shipping line owners and in 1974 became a floating restaurant on the river Seine, Paris. After this venture failed the owner was forced to put her up for auction. On 26th January 2006 she was bought by the Dept of Social Development for Northern Ireland for 250,000 Euros and was returning home to Belfast after a period of 95 years where she has been restored to her former glory.

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