RMS Titanic was a passenger liner that struck an iceberg on her maiden
voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, and sank on 15th April
1912, resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest
peacetime maritime disasters in history.
The largest passenger steamship in the world at the time, the
Olympic-class RMS Titanic was owned by the White Star Line and constructed
at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland, UK.
After setting sail for New York City on 10th April 1912 with 2,223 people
on board, she hit an iceberg four days into the crossing, at 11:40 pm on
14th April 1912, and sank at 2:20 am on the morning of 15th April.
The high casualty rate resulting from the sinking was due in part to the
fact that, although complying with the regulations of the time, the ship
carried lifeboats for only 1,178 people. A disproportionate number of men
died due to the 'women and children first' protocol that was enforced by the
The 100th Anniversary falls on 15th April 2012
The ship was loaded with only enough lifeboats to hold half of the
Titanic passengers. There were 20 of them with a total capacity of 1'178
people; many lifeboats were lowered to the waters only half-full.
Further facts on the Titanic indicate that the ship received information
earlier regarding the presence of ice floes in the vicinity, yet continued
to speed full throttle ahead towards tragedy.
Among the property
reported as lost on the Titanic were over ,3000 bags of mail and an
Each first class passenger paid a whopping $4,350 for a
parlour suite ticket and $150 for a berth ticket.
The ship contained a
heated swimming pool, a first for any sailing vessel.
The ship was still
so brand new when passengers boarded it on April 10th, 1912 that some of the
paint was still wet.
Every stateroom contained electric lighting and
Of the 1,517 people of perished in the sinking of the Titanic,
only 306 bodies were recovered.
The largest percentage of survivors came
from first class passengers.
Even though directions have been given for
women and children to board the lifeboats first, a number of men were
reported as survivors while a surprisingly large number of women and
children perished in the disaster. Most of the women and children lost in
the sinking came from second and third class.
Sadly, Captain Smith had
made plans to retire after seeing the Titanic safely across the Atlantic on
her maiden voyage.
It cost $7,500,000 to build the Titanic.
three years to fully construct the ship.
Among the provisions when the
Titanic set sail in Southampton, England were 40,000 eggs, 75,000 pounds of
fresh meat and 1,000 bottles of wine.
The Titanic's total capacity was
3,547 passengers + crew.
The Titanic's weight fully loaded was 46,328
The Titanic was 882 feet/268 meters long.
There were 29 boilers
on board of the ship.
The ship consumed 825 tons of coal in one day.
The top speed of the Titanic was 23 knots.
Other Claims and Interesting Titanic Snippets
A further interesting morsel of information is that between
November 1911and April 1912, 20 other boats had sunk off the shores of
When the Titanic began sending out distress signals, the Californian,
rather than the Carpathia, was the closest ship; yet the Californian did not
respond until it was much too late to help. At 12:45 a.m. on April 15th ,
1912, crew members on the Californian saw mysterious lights in the sky (the
distress flares sent up from the Titanic) and woke up their captain to tell
him about it. Unfortunately, the captain issued no orders. Since the ship's
wireless operator had already gone to bed, the Californian was unaware of
any distress signals from the Titanic until the morning, but by then the
Carpathia had already picked up all the survivors. Many people believe that
if the Californian had responded to the Titanic's pleas for help, many more
lives could have been saved. We have a
video of how the Titanic was created.
Ruth Elizabeth Becker, known later as Ruth Becker Blanchard, was
one of the youngest passengers on the Titanic at 12 years old, and until
relatively recently was one of the few remaining Titanic survivors. Her
story is harrowing, but it's inspirational that someone so young was able to
exhibit such bravery, even in the face of a horrific disaster that few of us
can truly picture in our minds.
The daughter of a Lutheran missionary, Ruth was born in Guntur, India in
1899. When her brother became ill, her mother Nellie decided to take him and
the rest of the family to Benton Harbour, Michigan for medical treatment.
Ruth, her mother, and her younger brother and sister boarded the RMS Titanic
as second-class passengers, with her father waiting behind in India to
rejoin them later.
Ruth and her family marvelled at the beauty and grandeur of the ship, but
their trip took a nasty turn when disaster struck. More specifically, the
Titanic struck an iceberg and began sinking rapidly.
Ruth's mother managed to get into Lifeboat No. 11 with her two youngest
children, but there was no room left for Ruth. Nellie sobbed as she was
separated from her daughter, who ended up in Lifeboat No. 13.
As Ruth's lifeboat was lowered into the water, it was very nearly crushed
by Lifeboat No. 15, which was being lowered too quickly. A crew member
managed to cut the ropes binding No. 13 to the ship at the last minute, and
the boat slid away in the nick of time. The air was filled with the
chilling sound of screams from those stranded in the icy water. A young
Polish woman in Ruth's lifeboat lamented her missing baby, who had been
separated from her much like Ruth had been separated from her family. Though
she didn't understand German, Ruth did her best to comfort the upset mother.
Finally, the lifeboat was rescued by the RMS Carpathia. After several
tense hours of waiting and dreading the worst, Ruth was overjoyed to see her
mother and siblings alive and well. She was also happy to discover that the
Polish woman from her lifeboat had been reunited with her baby.
Ruth refused to talk about the traumatic Titanic sinking incident for
many years. Later, she began to talk more about it, and made appearances at
Titanic Historical Society conventions along with other Titanic survivors.
In 1990, Ruth Becker Blanchard took a cruise to Mexico, her first time as
a passenger on a ship since the Titanic disaster. She died later that year
at the age of 90, and her ashes were scattered at sea, directly over the
The Titanic Story of Violet Jessop
One of the most amazing stories of any Titanic survivors, Violet
Constance Jessop was an ocean liner stewardess and a nurse who survived the
sinking of both the RMS Titanic and the HMHS Britannic in 1912 and 1916.
Even more amazingly, she had been aboard the Britannic's other sister
ship the RMS Olympic when it nearly sank after colliding with the naval
vessel the HMS Hawke in 1911.
For more of this Titanic story see here:
The Story of Titanic Survivor Marshall Drew [8 years old]
'When the Titanic struck the iceberg, I was in bed. However, for whatever
reason I was awake and remember the jolt and cessation of motion. A steward
knocked on the stateroom door and directed us to get dressed, put on life
preservers and go to the boat deck, which we did. The steward as we passed
was trying to arouse passengers who had locked themselves in for the night.
Elevators were not running. We walked up to the boat deck. Al was calm and
orderly. An officer was in charge. 'Women and children first,' he said, as
he directed lifeboat number 11 to be filled. There were many tearful
farewells. We and Uncle Jim said good-bye.
The lowering of the lifeboat 70 feet to the sea was perilous. Davits,
ropes, nothing worked properly, so that first one end of the lifeboat was
tilted up and then far down. I think it was the only time I was scared.
Lifeboats pulled some distance away from the sinking Titanic, afraid of what
suction might do. As row by row of the
porthole lights of the Titanic sank into the sea this was about all one
could see. When the Titanic upended to sink, all was blacked out until the
tons of machinery crashed to the bow. As this happened hundreds and
hundreds of people were thrown into the sea. It isn't likely I shall ever
forget the screams of these people as they perished in water said to be 28
this point in my life I was being brought up as a typical British kid. You
were not allowed to cry. You were a 'little man.' So as a cool kid I lay
down in the bottom of the lifeboat and went to sleep. When I awoke it was
broad daylight as we approached the Carpathia. Looking around over the
gunwale it seemed to me like the Arctic. Icebergs of huge size ringed the
horizon for 360 degrees.'
One of the most moving stories regarding the passengers on the Titanic
that Will and Guy have researched is the tale of an elderly wealthy couple,
As it became apparent that no male passengers on the Titanic would be
allowed to board the limited lifeboats, Mrs Straus chose to stay by the side
of her husband; even though it meant certain death.
Sadly, the couple perished with the ship.
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