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SS Ionic (1902)

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Title: SS Ionic (1902)  
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Subject: World War I passenger ships of the United Kingdom, PS Ireland, PS America, SS Delphic, SS Vedic
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SS Ionic (1902)

Career (UK) White Star Line Ensign
Name: SS Ionic
Operator: White Star Line; Shaw, Savill & Albion Line
Builder: Harland and Wolff, Belfast
Yard number: 346
Laid down: 1902
Launched: 22 May 1902
Completed: 15 December 1902

UK official number 115337
code letters TSFH (until 1933)

call sign GLSZ (from 1934)

Status: Scrapped in 1936, Osaka, Japan
General characteristics
Class & type: Athenic-class ocean liner
Tonnage: 12,352 GRT
Length: 500.3 feet (152.5 m)
Beam: 63.3 feet (19.3 m)
Depth: 45 feet (14 m)
Installed power: 604 NHP
Propulsion: quadruple expansion steam engines;
twin screw
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h)
Capacity: 688 passengers

SS Ionic was a steam-powered ocean liner built in 1902 by Harland and Wolff in Belfast for the White Star Line. She was the second White Star Liner to be named Ionic and served on the United KingdomNew Zealand route. Her sister ships were SS Athenic and SS Corinthic.


Ionic was originally built to carry passengers and refrigerated meat between the United Kingdom and New Zealand. She began her maiden voyage from London to Wellington via Cape Town on 16 January 1903. Ionic was the first ship on the New Zealand route to be fitted with a Marconi wireless set. She was built with only one buff-coloured, black topped smokestack and four passenger decks. Ionic was also equipped with four masts. She was fitted with electrical lighting and had an open promenade deck and the golden White Star Line stripe along her hull.

In 1914, at the beginning of World War I, Ionic was requisitioned as a troop ship for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and in 1915 she narrowly missed a torpedo by less than 15 yards while steaming through the Mediterranean Sea. On 31 January Ionic returned to her former New Zealand passenger service via the Panama Canal.

In 1927 Ionic came to the aid of the crew aboard a French fishing vessel, Daisy, that had run aground in Grand Banks.

Ionic '​s final refit before the Cunard-White Star merger was completed in 1929. She was converted to accommodate only cabin class and third class passengers. In 1934 after the White Star Line and Cunard Line merged, Ionic was sold to Shaw, Savill & Albion Line. Ionic kept her name but her prefix "SS" was changed to "RMS". The RMS Ionic was scrapped two years later in 1936 in Osaka, Japan. The Auckland War Memorial Museum has preserved her ship's bell.

See also


  • "Ionic's Last Trips In Pacific Recall 33-Year Service".  

External links

  • Titanic-White Star Ships, Ionic 2nd
  • Norwegian Heritage: Ionic (2), White Star Line
  • water colour painting of SS Ionic by William Jeneway (Prince).
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