RMS Arabic – 30 James Street

RMS Arabic

The RMS Arabic was the second of three White Star Line ships of the same name. She was built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast in 1902.

Originally, the ship was named Minnewaska, however when it was transported to the White Star Line from the Atlantic Transport Line, they chose to rename the ship Arabic.

The ships first voyage was always intended to be from Liverpool to America and on 23rd June 1903 she began sailing to New York, arriving on 5th July.

The Arabic spent most of its life sailing between Liverpool and New York, but would also occasionally sail from Liverpool to Boston. Extra lifeboats were added to the ship after the Titanic disaster.

During World War I, the ship remained to serve as a passage ship, which was unusual for ships of this kind. However  on the morning of 19th August 1915, with William Finch as Captain, the Arabic was spotted by Germans off the coast in Ireland,  and was torpedoed.

There were 434 people aboard at the time and 44 lost their lives. The ship sank in 11 minutes, making the Arabic the first White Star Line ship lost during the First World War.

As some of the passengers that lost their lives were American. America responded with anger as there had been no warning of an attack. In response to this, Germany agreed not to launch any more attacks on passenger ships without warning, an agreement they kept until 1917.