The second SS Laurentic was an 18,724-ton ocean liner built in 1927 by Harland and Wolff, Belfast, for the White Star Line. She served the White Star Line from 1927 to 1936, undergoing two collisions during her career. The ship was then transformed into an auxiliary cruiser for the Royal Navy in the Second World War. The Laurentic was torpedoed by the German submarine U-99 on 3 November 1940 off Bloody Foreland, County Donegal, Ireland, but she remained afloat. But after two more torpedoes smashed into the ship, Laurentic sank beneath the waves, taking the lives of 49 people. This was the second ship of the company to have worn the name. The first, commissioned in 1909, suffered the same fate during the First World War.
The Laurentic was built in the Harland & Wolff of Belfast with the hull number 470. Launched on 16 June 1927, she was the last ship of the company using coal, and used two quadruple expansion engines powering sided propellers and a low pressure turbine for the central propeller, initiated by the RMS Laurentic (1908). The ship was completed on 1 November 1927.
On 31 December 1927 she completed her maiden voyage, sailing from Liverpool and cruising around the Mediterranean before returning to Liverpool on 17th April 1928. On 27 April 1928, the ship was transferred to the Liverpool - Quebec - Montreal route and remained there for most of her commercial career but also occasionally cruised the Mediterranean.. In January 1931, it was expected that the ship transferred to a Mediterranean cruise but the Great Depression made it unprofitable and eventually left the passengers for the RMS Homeric.
The Laurentic had two collisions during her career. The first occurred on 3 October 1932 with the Lurigethen of the HE Moss Line. Both vessels remained afloat following the collision. The second occurred on 18 August 1935 with the Napier Star of the Blue Star Line, leaving six dead among the crew of Laurentic.
Military service and sinkingEdit
The White Star Line and Cunard Line merged in 1934, without this having an impact on the career of the ship. The ship was docked in December 1935 and served the following September as troop transport bound for Palestine. In this capacity, she made her last trip for the White Star Line in December of that year. In 1937 she took part in the Coronation Naval Review at Spithead carrying government guests. In 1939, with the start of the Second World War, the Laurentic was requisitioned as HMS Laurentic and converted into an auxiliary cruiser, losing her recasting part of the superstructure aft. On 3 November 1940, the Laurentic was called for help from a ship torpedoed by a U-boat. Arriving at the scene, she was torpedoed twice by U-99 commanded by Otto Kretschmer, but the torpedoes missed their target. The Laurentic answers, but after four hours of fighting, she was struck by two torpedoes which sent her to the bottom. Out of the 416 people on board, 49 died. She was the last White Star vessel to sink and one of the final four White Star vessels along with MV Georgic, MV Britannic and SS Nomadic.