Joseph Bell was employed in the engineering department of S S Britannic, this was his second appointment with White Star Line. It is good that this ship’s original wheel has survived, as illustrated, fitted out for Brtannic’s maiden voyage to New York on the 25th of June 1874.
Britannic was a steamship that was still equipped with sails when, on her maiden voyage, she broke both the eastbound and westbound records with passages of less than 7.5 days at an average speed of 15.7 knots. She continued on the Liverpool – New York route until August 1899 when she was requisitioned by the Royal Navy to be a troopship taking soldiers to the Boer War in South Africa. She then became known as HMT [Her Majesty’s Transport] Britannic. Until the war ended in 1902, she had transported around 37000 troops to and from the conflict.