Rebuild the HMHS Britannic
Rebuild the HMHS Britannic
Almost ten years, when I was merely in Elementary School, Alexandre Deblois had started a petition to construct a replica of the HMHS Britannic, sister ship of the RMS Titanic. Sadly his petition had closed after gaining twenty supporters, but nevertheless, I support his dream. When I was young, I was deeply fascinated by the White Star Line's Olympic Class liners, the RMS Titanic and her two twin sister ships, the RMS Olympic and the HMHS Britannic.
When I came across Alexandre's petition recently after my childhood fascination was revitalized, a childhood fantasy had come back. The HMHS Britannic should be rebuilt. The Britannic was the last and the largest of the Olympic class trio. She was meant to be the most luxurious of the liners and the most improved as well. Ultimately she sunk in the Mediterranean Sea during the Great War, but it wasn't a disaster in the likes of her sister. Thirty people sadly perished, but their deaths were the result of two lifeboats being launched without the authorization of the ship's captain, Charles Alfred Bartlett, and not the mine that had claimed her.
I have a few reasons for why the Britannic should be rebuilt:
- She never got to experience the exemplary passenger service that she was meant to have. Having been requisitioned by Royal Navy and then sunk in the Mediterranean, she was meant to be a passenger ship and she disappeared in the snap of a finger.
- I'm a history buff, I've always been one since I was a child. Rebuilding the HMHS Britannic is one way to bring back a forgotten but at the same time an important piece of British history. She carried wounded British troops back home and brought over nurses to care for these men during the Great War.
- A Replica Britannic, or Britannic II, could serve as a memorial dedicated to the soldiers and nurses who sailed on board her during her service as a military hospital ship, but as a memorial dedicated to Thomas Andrews, the thirty lives lost during the original Britannic's sinking, the Olympic class liners, and the White Star Line. But generally as a reminder of what passenger ships once were "back in the day".
- I just want to fulfill a crazy childhood fantasy, but I also want to help Alexandre Deblois fulfill his dream of seeing this beautiful ship come back to life. I feel bad that Alexandre was never able to fulfill his dream, and while I am unsure if he is still interested, I still nonetheless want to help him bring it life. If Clive Palmer's shelved Titanic II project can come back to life, then Alexandre has his right to build his dream.
Granted I understand that building a replica of an old ship may not sound appealing to some people for many reasons. They either don't want to sail on an old fashioned ship, they view it as disrespectful, they don't care for history, etc. Well, here's how I could try to rebuke those arguments.
Britannic II is a replica of the HMHS Britannic, but it doesn't have to be an entire clone of the old liner. If she is ever built, I believe that she must meet every modern day safety standard and regulation, although I don't understand the modern day lifeboat rule, especially since the Olympic class liners barely make it pass the safety decks of the Oasis-class liners (if you exclude the funnels and masts). Britannic II doesn't (and shouldn't) need to be powered on coal.
And in order to attract people to the Britannic II, she could include a casino, theater, ice staking rink, library, cafe, and a pub(s), which I hope would not sacrifice the integrity of the ship. She must have (in my opinion) a museum dedicating to the White Star Line and the Olympic class liners. She shouldn't be segregated by class and her interior doesn't have to be a replica of the old Britannic (or rather what she was meant to be). I would like for her to have a grand staircase in honour of the Olympic class liners.
The HMHS Britannic was an ocean liner, and I would love for Britannic II to be an ocean liner. But nowadays, the ocean liners of yore was rendered almost obsolete with the invention of the passenger jet, as the ocean liners purpose was to transport people across the ocean. Nowadays ships are used for cruises. Britannic II doesn't have to serve as a Transatlantic liner (perhaps on the maiden voyage for symbolic purposes), she could follow the same route as her predecessor for Mediterranean cruises between Britain and Greece. History buffs can enjoy part of the feeling of what it felt to sail on the HMHS Britannic by following the same route, while others can enjoy a lovely Mediterranean holiday.
I don't necessarily see a Britannic II as disrespectful. When she sank, almost everyone on board survived, and those who perished were the result of an accident or rather, not receiving the authorization of the ship's master. As I have stated before, a replica Britannic should partly serve as a memorial to the soldiers and nurses of the Great War, as the original Britannic was a hospital ship.
While I do not expect to see this petition succeed, there is nothing wrong with trying. I would love to see a piece of history restored, a childhood fantasy fulfilled, and to help Alexandre Deblois fulfill his dream of restoring a lost titan. If he is reading this, I want to express that he has my total respect and I feel sorry that he didn't get to see his dream fulfilled.
Sincerely, Daniel Bull, a crazy American obsessed with world history and sailing.