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White Star Line SS Traffic (Ist)


White Star Line Traffic (I) 1872-1955

(Sunk while docked in Liverpool by a German Messerschmitt Bf 109 E in 1941. Later raised and refurbished)

Image: Merchant Fleets: White Star Line No. 19 by Duncan Haws


SS Traffic (I) was a baggage tender built in 1872 by Harland and Wolff shipbuilders in Belfast, for the White Star Line. She was 102 feet long and had a 21 foot beam. She was powered by a 2-cylinder single expansion steam engine and had a cruising speed of 8 knots.

Traffic was based at the Port of Liverpool, and used by White Star for 24-years. She briefly served as a cargo vessel, but soon returned to tendering service.

In 1896, White Star sold Traffic the Liverpool Lighterage Co., where she served for an additional fifty-nine years. In May of 1941 (The May Blitz) , while docked in Liverpool, Traffic was attacked and sunk by the German Luftwaffe during an air raid. (Luftflotte 5) She was raised afterward and returned to service.

In 1955, after 82 years of reliable service, Traffic was broken up for scrap. Traffic holds the record for being the longest time an engine propelled vessel has ever continuously served at sea. (The second longest is the White Star Liner Germanic at 75 years) Traffic was also the only baggage tender used by the White Star Line until the company purchased SS Gallic (ex-Birkenhead) in 1907.




A Messerschmitt Bf 109 E, the type of aircraft that sunk Traffic













Damage to the Docks at Liverpool after the May Blitz in 1941








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