The destination for history

RMS Olympic postcard collection


RMS Olympic was created during a period of intense competition between the north Atlantic shipping lines. The lead ship from the White Star Line, sister to the ill-fated Titanic and Britannic, Olympic encompassed all the qualities the line was striving for in size, opulence and luxury. Moreover, she was the only sister to enjoy a lengthy and distinguished career, including time spent as a troopship in the First World War. She served as the White Star flagship from 1911 to 1935, when she was finally scrapped.

As a young boy in the late fifties, whilst on holiday with my family in Bournemouth, I went to the cinema to see A Night to Remember after which I became fascinated by the story of the sinking of Titanic. So much so, that my Mother bought me the Corgi paperback, with the same title, by Walter Lord.

This then was the start of my interest in Titanic and later her sister ships Olympic and Britannic. I was thrilled when, in 1983, I bought from a memorabilia dealer a ‘pre-sinking’ postcard of Titanic and, from then on, I was hooked on collecting images of all the major vessels of The White Star Line.

The acquisition of postcards became not just an enjoyable hobby but a major source of knowledge and information about the subject. Most of my cards have come from dealers and postcard fairs but, more recently, I have made many purchases on Ebay. Some of these are ‘one-off’ images while others are very rare indeed. I have now amassed a collection of many thousands of postcards of The White Star line. These include views of Titanic and Olympic under construction and numerous images of the White Star Line’s impressive and stately vessels, in dock and at sea. I have also collected many postcards showing the splendid interiors of cabins and lounges, restaurants and cafes, swimming pools and Turkish baths. The collection also includes postcards of Olympic at war with her dazzle-paint camouflage, and of course many produced during her glamorous period as a transatlantic liner.

Few books have been published concerning the story of Titanic’s sister ship compared to the plethora of books printed at the time of the one hundredth anniversary of that ship’s loss in 2012. In Unseen Olympic I have attempted to tell the story of the first, and less well known, vessel of the Olympic class liners and illustrate that story with some of the cards from my collection. Not wanting to include only pictures of the Olympic, I decided to also feature cards illustrating vessels involved in her quarter of a century career from launch in 1910 to demolition in 1935.

By Patrick Mylon

Sign up for our newsletter

show more books