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THE STING OF THE HAWKE: COLLISION IN THE SOLENT - THE FULL STORY BEHIND THE COLLISION BETWEEN HMS HAWKE AND RMS OLYMPIC ON 20 SEPTEMBER 1911 PREVIEW PAGE

TheStingOfTheHawkeCover

On the 20th of September 1911 the White Star Liner RMS Olympic, coming out of Southampton Water, was making a turn to port around the West Bramble buoy in the Solent. At the same time, HMS Hawke, a protected cruiser of the Royal Navy, was making a turn to starboard around Egypt Point, a prominent landmark on the north end of the Isle of Wight.  As the two vessels completed their respective turns they steadied on what appeared to be almost parallel courses with Olympic accelerating rapidly towards her full ahead speed for restricted waters. As Olympic drew ahead of Hawke, the much smaller cruiser unexpectedly veered sharply to port, as if her helm was starboarded, and struck the massive White Star Liner in her starboard quarter.

What really happened that September day in 1911 in the Solent?  Was it a case of suction or negligent navigation on part of one or both vessels? For the first time, the events leading up to this collision is examined in great detail, with the claims of both sides thoroughly analyzed to see what was possible and what was not. Based on all the evidence presented, a most likely scenario of what really happened in the Solent that day is presented showing the minute-by-minute movements of each vessel before and after the collision. Finally, the question of could the collision have been prevented is critically analyzed.


This page is intended to provide a short preview of the book, including comments on the book’s history and some page preview shots.

Contents:

  • Preface

  • Prologue

  • 1. 'There's Going To Be A Collision'

  • 2. A One-Sided Enquiry

  • 3. Trial In the High Court of Justice

  • 4. Appeals and Judgements

  • 5. An Olympic Tale

  • 6. A Hawke's Tale

  • 7. In Search of Reality

  • 8. Damages and Repairs

  • 9. Causes and Alternatives

  • 10. Incident at Southampton

  • Epilogue

Appendices:

  • A: Hydronamic Forces and Interactions
  • B: The Equation of Continuity

A sneak peak inside:

Olympic Class Illustrated

 

Olympic Class Illustrated

 

Olympic Class Illustrated

 

Olympic Class Illustrated

 

Olympic Class Illustrated

 

Comments on the book:

The Olympic-Hawke collision caused a great deal of controversy and comment from the moment it happened in 1911.  An article that appeared the next day in the New York Times illustrates the point:

Collision Unexplained.
How the collision occurred is a mystery. Everybody agrees that the two ships were steaming parallel with one another, neither at high speed, and that suddenly, unaccountably, and amazingly, the Hawke swung around and crashed into the Olympic’s starboard side near the stern.

What really happened that September day in 1911 in the Solent? Was it merely a case of innocent suction that caused the accident, or a case of negligent navigation on part of one or both vessels?

The navy’s own internal enquiry was followed by lengthy court hearings that occupied three years from November 1911 to November 1914.  The case between the White Star Line and the government went to Britain’s highest court, but a very detailed analysis of the collision, its causes, consequences, and implications had not been published before in book form.

This monograph - a worthy collaboration between lead author Sam Halpern and Mark Chirnside - is intended to correct that.

 

 


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