16th April 1873 –
Belgic’s maiden voyage

On 16th April 1873, White Star’s Belgic left Liverpool for Valparaiso and Callao, on her maiden voyage. She had a full passenger list, and en route made calls at Pauillac, Lisbon and Montevideo. Built at Harland & Wolff, Belfast as Yard Number 81 for Bibby’s, she and her sister, Gaelic, were purchased by White Star while still on the stocks. As well as having a single propeller driven by a 2-cylinder compound engine, capable of 12 knots, she was barque-rigged with a full complement of sails. Launched on 17th January 1873, she was completed and handed over on 29th March that year.

Belgic (1) sketchThere are apparently no proven photographs of her, but there is a line drawing of her in Duncan Haws’ White Star book. Just over a year later, Belgic was transferred from the now-discontinued South American route, and on 30th May 1874 made her first voyage from Liverpool to New York. In April 1875 White Star confirmed that three of their ships – Belgic, Celtic and Oceanic – had been placed on long-term charter to the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Co. for a joint Pacific operation. They would remain in White Star livery but fly the Occidental housefly; they were to have White Star officers but a Chinese crew. Belgic left Liverpool on 8th May, heading for Hong Kong and Yokohama. In July 1883 Belgic was withdrawn from this service and returned to London, where she was sold to La Flecha of Bilbao and renamed Goefredo. Sadly she went aground in the Mersey on 26th February 1884, broke in two and was declared a total loss.