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© Copyright Kerry McCoy
© Copyright Kerry McCoy

Almost Home

RMS Olympic off Bishop Rock Light, July 4, 1911.

It is just after noon on July 4th, 1911. The weather is beautiful with clear skies and a light westerly breeze. R.M.S. Olympic, darling and flagship of the White Star Line, is nearing the end of a successful maiden voyage as she races towards Plymouth, England. Bishop Rock Light, situated at the westernmost end of the Isles of Scilly, can be seen in the distance. The brand-new liner is making just shy of 22.5 knots as her knifelike bow slices effortlessly through the gentle North Atlantic swells.

The current Bishop Rock Light was constructed in 1851 and was strengthened during the 1870s when erosion of the foundation and footings caused by the pounding seas was discovered. The lighthouse saw multiple changes over the years, including the addition of a helipad in 1976 and complete automation in 1992. It is still in operation today.

Unlike her short-lived sisters Titanic and Britannic, Olympic went on to lead a distinguished career that included service as a troop transport in World War 1. It was her valiant service during this war that earned her the nickname "Old Reliable."

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