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Completed in 1931, the French built L’Atlantique was a passenger liner of 42,512 grt with four propellers and accommodation for 1,156 passengers in three classes plus a crew of 663. Unfortunately, her lavish internal décor was not matched by either her design or performance and she soon came to be regarded as looking more like the archetypal toy boat than a serious passenger-iner. In a bid to remove some of the stigma attached to the ship, her funnels were heighted within her first year for no other reason that to try and change the ship’s appearance.

During a short voyage to Le Havre for dry-dock repairs with no passengers and a reduced crew, at 0330 hrs 4 January 1933, when approx. 22 miles from Guernsey, fire broke out on board. In spite of the efforts of those on board, the fire was not contained and the ship was abandoned at 0800 hrs. Some men were trapped on board and others perished when their lifeboat failed. Altogether 19 lives were lost. After two days, the fire burned out and the ship was towed to Cherbourg before eventually being scrapped in Scotland.

It was, therefore, a tragically short-lived career and, had it not been such a large ship, she might easily have been forgotten by history. Instead author Les Streater has produced just about as much information regarding the vessel as one might hope to find.

As mentioned elsewhere, one of my current projects involves researching passenger vessels - past and present and I purchased this work because I knew so little about this particular ship. Very rarely does anyone provide so many images for a single ship - and I am grateful for the amount of research undertaken to source those which are found here. In one instance, I counted 8 images on one page.

Altogether, therefore, we have a fully-researched document which, although somewhat disjointed in places, does nevertheless, provide all the information required - and that is always valuable.

NM
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