Memory of R.M.S. Titanic
page is dedicated to the 2,224 passengers and crew of the R.M.S. Titanic.
1,523 of those people perished in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912 when Titanic
struck an iceberg and sank in the middle of the North Atlantic. This
dedication is not for the movie "Titanic" but for the real ship.
Even though I think the movie was fantastic it was still a Hollywood production
and just a recreation. We sometimes tend to forget that the Titanic
was real and carried real people who lost their lives on that fateful night
all those years ago.
a struggling author named Morgan Robertson concocted a novel about a fabulous
Atlantic liner, far larger than any that had ever been built. Robertson
loaded his ship with rich and complacent people and then wrecked it one
cold April night on an iceberg. This somehow showed the futility
of everything, and in fact, the book was called Futility when it appeared
that year, published by the firm of M.F. Mansfield. Robertson called his
ship the Titan; the White Star Line called its ship the Titanic.
years later a British shipping company named the White Star Line built
a steamer remarkably like the one in Robertson's novel. The new liner
was 66,000 tons displacement; Robertson's was 70,000. Both could
carry about 3000 people, and both had enough lifeboats for only a fraction
of this number. The real ship was 882.5 feet long; the fictional one was
800 feet, the real ship was 92.5 feet wide, 60.5 feet from waterline to
Boat Deck, or 175 feet from keel to the top of her four huge funnels.
She was, in short, 11 stories high and four city blocks long. Titanic had
two sets of four-cylinder reciprocating engines, each driving a wing propeller,
and a turbine driving the center propeller. This combination gave
her 50,000 registered horsepower, but she could easily develop at least
55,000 horsepower. At full speed she could make 24- 25 knots.
Perhaps her most arresting feature was her watertight construction.
She had a double bottom and was divided into 16 watertight compartments.
These were formed by 15 watertight bulkheads running clear across the ship.
Curiously, they didn't extend very far up. The first two and the
last five went only as high as D Deck, while the middle eight were carried
only up to E Deck. Nevertheless, she could float with any two compartments
flooded, and since no one could imagine anything worse than a collision
at the juncture of two compartments, she was labeled "unsinkable".
The "unsinkable" Titanic was launched at the Belfast shipyard of Harland
and Wolff on May 31, 1911. The next ten months were spent in fitting
her out. She completed her trials on April 1, 1912, and arrived in
Southampton on April 3. A week later she sailed for New York.
10, 1912, the real ship left Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York.
Her cargo included a priceless copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and
a list of passengers collectively worth two hundred fifty million dollars.
On her way over she struck an iceberg and sank to her grave 2 1/2
miles down into the frigid North Atlantic on that cold April night.
is a reconstructed log of the main events of her maiden voyage.
Southampton dock; narrowly escapes collision with American liner New York.
at Cherbourg, France for passengers.
Cherbourg for Queenstown.
at Queenstown for passengers and mail. One crewman deserts.
Queenstown for New York, carrying 1316 passengers and 891 crew.
reports ice Latitude 42 N from Longitude 49 to 51 W.
reports Latitude 40 51' N, Longitude 49 51 W.
P.M. Amerika reports ice Latitude 41 27 N, Longitude 50 8' W.
P.M. Temperature 43 degrees.
P.M. Temperature 39 degrees.
P.M. Californian reports ice Latitude 42 3 ' N, Longitude 49 9'
P.M. Temperature 33 degrees.
P.M. Second Officer Lightoller warns carpenter and engine room
to watch fresh water supply--may freeze up; warns crow's nest to watch
P.M. Mesaba reports ice Latitude 42 N to 41 25' No. Longitude 49
to 50 30' W.
P.M. Temperature 32 degrees.
P.M. Temperature of sea down to 31 degrees.
P.M. Californian warns of ice but cut off before she gives location.
P.M. Collides with iceberg Latitude 41 46' N, Longitude 50 14 W.
A.M. Orders are given to uncover the boats, muster the crew
A.M. First wireless call for help.
A.M. First rocket fired.
A.M. First boat, No. 7, lowered.
A.M. Last rocket fired.
A.M. Last boat, Collapsible D, lowered.
A.M. Last wireless signals sent.
A.M. Lights fail.
A.M. Ship founders.
A.M. Carpathia's rockets sighted by boats.
A.M. First boat, No. 2, picked up by Carpathia.
A.M. Last boat, No. 12, picked up.
A.M. Carpathia heads for New York with 705 survivors.
playing is "Nearer My God to Thee". The legend is, of course, that
the band went down playing this song. Many survivors still insist
this was so, and there's no reason to doubt their sincerity. Others
maintain the band played only ragtime. One man says he clearly remembers
the band in its last moments, and they were not playing at all. In
this maze of conflicting evidence, Junior Wireless Operator Harold Bride's
story somehow stands out. He was a trained observer, meticulously
accurate, and on board to the last. He clearly recalled that, as
the Boat Deck dipped under, the band was playing the Episcopal hymn "Autumn"
As a result of the disaster, the first International Convention for Safety of Life
at Sea was called in London in 1913. The convention drew up rules requiring
that every ship have a lifeboat space for each person embarked (the Titanic
had only 1,178 boat spaces for the 2,224 persons aboard; that lifeboat drills
be held during each voyage; and, because the Californian had not heard the
distress signals of the Titanic, that ships maintain 24-hour radio watch. The
International Ice Patrol also was established to warn ships of icebergs in the
North Atlantic shipping lanes.
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Most information about the Titanic from the book "A Night to Remember"
by Walter Lord
Picture of Titanic courtesy of Mary
Jane's Titanic Page
MIDI courtesy of Remember
the RMS Titanic