RMS Titanic: a brief history

By Miroslav Talar

rmst_clip_image001The Titanic was a luxury steamship owned by the White Star Line, which sank during its first voyage on the night of 14 to 15 of April 1912. Along with the boat 1500 passengers and crew members died. The destruction of the Titanic in one of the most famous maritime disasters of all the time. The Titanic has an Irish link as it was built in Belfast by shipyard Harland and Wolff on the order of the White Star Line. The Chief Engineer of the ship was Thomas Andrews and he was regarded as the top engineers in his field. To build this ship the best materials and the best technique, as in the time existed.

The Titanic when finished was 269, 02 meters length, 28, 25 meters beam and displacement was around 52,250 tons. It was the largest marine vessel, which was produced at the tin. Its hull was divided into 16 watertight chambers and at the bottom of the ship was a double hull. Overall, the Titanic was considered one of the safest boats in the world.

On the 10. April the Titanic sailed on its only voyage from Southampton route – to New York. On board were 2227 persons, of which 337 passengers were in first class. Amongst others on board were CEO of White Star Line and the Chief Engineer of the ship. The ship was commanded by Captain Edward Smith, Commodore of the fleet White Star Line, who previously had served on the Olympic (sister ship of Titanic).

During the first day of the Atlantic Crossing “The Titanic sailed 386 miles, the second day 519 and the third day over 546 miles”. All the passengers were to get to New York as early a possible and the captain increased the speed even more on the fourth DAY, which was the 14th April 1912. Ice reports had been received by the Titanic from as early on in the voyage as Friday 12th and by Sunday evening the liner had received seven more warnings including some from the Carolina, Baltic, America, California and the Mesaba. At 10 p.m. Mr. Lightroller, the ships second officer turned over the ship to Mr. Murdoch, The first officer telling him that “The ship was within the region of reported ice”. At this point the temperature was 32 degrees F. The sky cloudless and the air clear that meant spotting an iceberg would be extremely difficult. At 10:50 p.m. the Californian sent a wireless message directly to the Titanic telling them that they were surrounded by ice. Jack Phillips the wireless operator on the Titanic irrated by the interruption in his work replied “Shut up, shut up, I am busy”.

At 11:39 the ship was moving at a speed of 20.5 knots when lookouts, Fredrick Fleet and Reginald Lee, stopped an iceberg dead ahead about 500 yards away towering some 55-60 feet above the sea. They immediately sounded the warning and telephoned the bridge “Iceberg right ahead”. Sixth officer Moody on the bridge head the warning and relayed the message to Murdoch who instinctively called “hard-a-starboard” to the helmsman and ordered the engine room to stop engines and then ordered full astern. Murdoch then activated the lever to close all watertight doors below the waterline. The Titanic begins to veer to port, but the iceberg struck the starboard side and brushed along the side of the ship and passed by into the night. The impact, although jarring to the crew down in the forward area, was not noticed by the passengers.

At 11:50 p.m. Captain Smith asked designer Thomas Andrews to conduct a visual inspection of the damage. Water at this stage had poured in and risen fourteen feet in the front of the ship and Andrews warned that the ship could only stay afloat for “an hour or an hour and half” Smith ordered radio operators, Harlod Bride and Jack Smith to send out a distress call. By 12:05 a.m. orders were given to uncover the lifeboats and to get passengers and crew ready on deck. But there was only room in the lifeboats for half of the 2, 228 people on board.
Twenty minutes later crew began loading the lifeboats with women and children. By 12:45 the first of the lifeboats was lowered away safely. It could have carried 65 people but pulled away from the Titanic holding only 28. By 1:15 a.m. water began to reach the Titanic’s name on the bow and the tilt of the deck crew increasingly steeper.

Lifeboats now started to leave more fully loaded. Within half an hour most of the forward lifeboats had been lowered passengers now moved towards the back of the ship. At 2:05 a.m. the last lifeboat departed. There was now over 1,500 people left on board the sinking ship with the tilt of the decks growing steeper by the minute at this stage Phillips sent the last radio message and Capt. Smith told crewmembers “It’s every man for himself”. He returned to the bridge to await the end. Thomas Andrews, the ships builder, was seen alone in the first- class smoking room staring into space. As the Titanic’s bow plunged under, father Thomas Byles heard confession to over 100 second and third class passengers. The ships band stopped playing and many crew and passengers jumped overboard. However the Titanic’s forward funnel collapsed at this point crushing many of the swimming passengers.

At 2:18a.m. Items in the ship were heard crashing threw walls and falling toward the sinking bow. The ship’s lights blinked once then went out. Several survivors saw the ship break in two with the bow section sinking first. Two minutes later the Titanic’s broken off stern section back into the water, becoming level for a few moments. Slowly it filled with water, before sinking vertically into the sea.

Those struggling in the icy water slowly froze to death with over 1,500 people perishing. By 3:30 a.m. the rescue ship rockets were sighted by the survivors in the lifeboats and within 40 minutes the first lifeboat was picked up. By 8:05 a.m. the Carparthia left the area bound for New York, carrying 705 survivors. J. Bruce Islamy wired the White Star New York offices with the following message “Deeply regret to advise you Titanic sank this morning after collision with iceberg, resulting in serious loss-of-life full particulars later”.

Inquiries held in the United States and Great Britain alleged that the Leyland liner California, which was less than 20 miles away all night, could have aided the stricken vessel had its radio operator been on duty and thereby received The Titanic’s distress signals.

Legends arose almost immediately around the night’s events, those who had died, and those who had survived. Heroes and heroines, such as American Molly Brown, were identified and celebrated by the press. The disaster and the mythology that has surrounded it have continued to fascinate millions. 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 lifeboat space for each person embarked; that lifeboat drills be held during each voyage; and, because the Californian had not heard the distress signals of the Titanic, that ships maintain a 24- hour radio watch. The international ice patrol also was established to warn ships of icebergs in the north Atlantic shipping lanes.

On steps 1. 1985 the wreck of the Titanic was found lying upright in two pieces on the ocean floor at depth of about 13, 000 feet. The ship, located at about 41 degrees 46’ N 50 degrees 14’ W, was submersibles under the direction of American and French scientists. The expeditions found no sign of the long gash previously thought to have been ripped in the ship’s hull by the iceberg. The scientists posited instead that the collision’s impact had produced a series of thin gashes as well as brittle fracturing and separation of seams in the adjacent hull plates, thus allowing water to flood in and sink the ship. In subsequent years marine salvagers raised small artefacts from the wreck age and even attempted to lift a large piece of the hull. Titanic disaster was the biggest in the history.






David Hutchings, The Story Titanic, pg. 106

Martin  Jankins and Brian Sanders, Titanic pg.12


Martin  Jankins and Brian Sanders,Titanic pg. 7

Martin  Jankins and Brian Sanders, Titanic pg. 24

Martin  Jankins and Brian Sanders, Titanic pg.25

Martin  Jankins and Brian Sanders, Titanic pg. 25

Daniel Allen Butler, The Full Story of the RMS Titanic