The SS Grampian

Photo of the Grampian after her collision, showing the buckled bow

Wikipedia had this on its Did you know… section:

Did you know that the captain of the SS Grampian intentionally rammed an iceberg head-on so as to avoid the Titanic’s fate?

I did not know that! And frankly I’m ashamed, given I consider myself a intermediate beginner expert on early twentieth-century liners. From the article:

During the summer of 1919, Grampian was on her way to Liverpool, with 750 passengers and a crew of 350. Of the passengers, 500 were women and children. On July 10, 1919, the ship struck an iceberg off St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Two men were killed and two injured during the collision.

The crash was very similar to the sinking of the RMS Titanic seven years before. However, Grampian was spared the Titanic’s fate as the iceberg did not strike the side of the ship, as had happened with the Titanic. The decision to hit the iceberg head-on was a conscious choice by the captain, who knew the dangers of an iceberg slicing open the ship’s metal plating. When the iceberg was sighted, the captain realized he could not avoid it and so decided to hit it squarely in the bow. The ship was traveling slowly at the time. Passengers in the smoking-room reported that the impact was slight and they were not even thrown from their seats. Even with the slow speed, the front of the ship was crushed. Grampian was not damaged below its waterline and was able to steam to port in New York.

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