2:20am on the 14th of April, 1912, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic ocean. It took two and a half hours to sink, and out of the 2,200 passengers and crew there were around 705 survivors.
The story of the Titanic has always interested me since a young age. It could be something to do with James Cameron’s epic film. But nevertheless I’ve read countless books, visited museums and read personal accounts of what really happened the night it sank.
Different people blame different things, most blame Captain Edward J. Smith, some blame the owner of White Star line at the time, J. Bruce Ismay who convinced the captain to push the new engines of the ocean liner to its limit before it had been properly broken in. It was a mixture of Smith wanting to end his long career with a bang, and Ismay wanting to show off the ship of dreams by arriving early at its destination in New York.
After the disaster the first International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea was created along with International Ice Patrol.
Here are a few facts that not many people know:
- The infamous band that played until the ship sank in the film, actually happened in real life. They continued to play for hours, and unfortunately, none of them survived.
- The British newspaper the London Daily Mail reported ‘Titanic Sinking; No Lives Lost’ the day after the sinking. They presumed everyone were safely rescued aboard the Carpathia. When in fact, the Carpathia only rescued 705 passengers out of 2,200.
- For the 700 third class passengers on board, there were only 2 bath tubs for them to share….
- As many people know. The Carpathia was the first ship on the scene of the disaster an hour and a half after it happened. But, there was another ship on 20 miles away, the Californian, however the ship’s radio operator was in bed and the crew ignored the flares in the sky from the Titanic. Acordingly, If they had responded, it is highly likely there would have been many more survivors.
- The Titanic had an almost identical twin sister ship, the RMS Olympic. The Olympic was actually returning from New York on the night the Titanic went down. It responded to Titanic’s distress calls but it was 500 nautical miles away from the last known position of the Titanic. When the Carpathia had reached the survivors of the Titanic. However, the captain advised the Olympic to not continue on course to help the rescue mission as they feared it would terrify the passengers and crew if they saw a mirror image ship of the one that had just sank.
More facts you never knew:
- The Olympic ended her service in 1935 after the Queen Mary took her place as the largest British built liner in 1934. Olympic was unfortunately scrapped.
- Out of the 4 smoke stacks that the Titanic had, only 3 of them actually worked. The 4th was added for aesthetics, to make the ship look more impressive.
- The RMS Titanic’s wreckage was not discovered until the 1st of September, 1985, By Dr. Robert Ballard. It took 73 years to find it. Furthermore, the ship broke in two on the night it sank, and Ballard and his team discovered that the stern part of the ship was 1970ft away from the bow section.
- The head baker survived in the icy water for around 2 hours until he was rescued. Because he had consumed a large amount of alcohol.
- The Titanic had enough room in all the lifeboats to evacuate every soul on board. However, they did not fill the boats to full capacity because of classism. It was mainly women and children who survived, and the upper classes were evacuated with priority.
- The RMS Titanic is the only ocean liner ever to be sunk by an iceberg.