At 11.40pm on 14 April, 1912, the famously 'unsinkable' ocean liner, Titanic, struck an iceberg. Two hours and 40 minutes later she sank deep into the freezing Atlantic waters. Less than a third of the people on board survived.
Over the years, the BBC has heard from some of the men and women who lived through that 'night to remember'. Their memories, and internal BBC documents about the controversies that followed, are now gathered together to tell the true story of the disaster.
Lightoller was decorated for gallantry as a naval officer in the First World War and later, in retirement, further distinguished himself in the Second World War by providing and sailing one of the "little ships" during the perilous Dunkirk evacuation.
In this film 'The Titanic Disaster' Lightoller gives his version of events on the fateful night in April 1912. He lays great weight on the fact that a warning message about the amount of ice in the area was never delivered to the bridge, seeming to imply that if this news had been received, the accident could have been avoided.
The memories of Eva Hart
The sinking of theTitanic
This terrible tragedy occurred on April 15, 1912, and resulted in the deaths of 1,517 people. This shipwreck also turned out to be one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. Why? Well, it was party due to the shiping regulations of the time as the ship carried lifeboats for only 1,178 people. Even so, a disproportionate number of men died due to the "women and children first" protocol that was enforced by the ship's crew. This procedure meant that many of the life boats ended up only being half filled. This was a tragedy in itself as since the sea was calm, it would have been safe to fill all boats to capacity and thereby rescue an additional 500 persons! Furthermore, only a few passangers were picked up from the water after the sinking out of fear of the boats being overfilled or capsizing.
However, incredible photographic evidence from Father Frank Browne has helped to bring this disaster to life and so the world is able to learn the story of the Titanic from his personal perspective.
A student of theology who later was to be ordained a Roman Catholic priest, Father Browne had been sent a ticket for the first leg of the maiden voyage of the Titanic, which went from Southampton to Cherbourg, France, to Queenstown, Ireland.
During this leg of the voyage, an American millionaire offered to pay for Father Browne's passage for the rest of the trip to New York! Luckily for him, upon being apprised of this offer, Browne's Jesuit superior cabled Queenstown saying - succinctly, "Get off that ship -- Provincial."
Browne's great collection of photographic negatives of the Titanic - and other subjects - lay forgotten for 25 years after his death. In 1986, the Rev. E.E. O'Donnell, another Jesuit, accidentally discovered it in a large metal trunk. He brought the negatives to the attention of the features editor of the London Sunday Times who called them:
"the photographic equivalent to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls."
Luckily for Father Frank Browne, he didn't get to experience the horrors of what happened next!
The sinking of the Titanic - minute by minute.
Those aboard Titanic were poorly-prepared for such a terrible emergency. There was only enough space in the lifeboats for a third of her maximum number of passengers and crew, and worse still, the crew had not been trained adequately in carrying out an evacuation. Furthermore, the officers did not know how many they could safely put aboard the lifeboats and launched many of them barely half-full. As the nightmare progressed, third-class passengers were largely left to fend for themselves, causing many of them to become trapped below decks as the ship filled with water. A "women and children first" protocol was put in place and generally followed for the loading of the lifeboats and most of the male passengers and crew were left aboard.
The severed bow section headed for the sea bed, while the stern remained afloat for a few minutes longer, rising to a nearly vertical angle with hundreds of people still clinging to it
At 2.20 am, the stern sank, pitching the remaining passengers and crew into lethally cold water with a temperature of only 28 °F (−2 °C). Almost all of those in the water died of hypothermia or cardiac arrest within minutes. Increadibly, only 13 of them were helped into the lifeboats though these had room for almost 500 more occupants.
A nearby ship, the Californian, which was the last to have been in contact with her before the collision, saw her flares but failed to assist.
Around 4 am, RMS Carpathia arrived on the scene in response to Titanic's earlier distress calls. 710 people survived the disaster and were conveyed by Carpathia to New York, Titanic's original destination.
Another 1,517 people were lost, either drowning inside the sinking ship or freezing to death on the surface (kept from drowning by their lifebelts).
What happened next?
Carpathia took three days to reach New York after leaving the scene of the disaster. It should have been much sooner but the journey was slowed by pack ice, fog, thunderstorms and rough seas. However, the Carpathia was able to pass news to the outside world by wireless about what had happened. Unfortunately the initial reports were confused, leading the American press to mistakenly report on the 15th April that Titanic was being towed to port by the SS Virginian.
It hit hardest in Southampton, whose people suffered the greatest losses from the sinking. According to the Hampshire Chronicle on 20 April 1912, almost 1,000 local families were directly affected. Furthermore, almost every street in the Chapel district of the town lost more than one resident and over 500 households lost a member.
The British Army's newspaper, The War Cry, reported that:
'...none but a heart of stone would be unmoved in the presence of such anguish. Night and day that crowd of pale, anxious faces had been waiting patiently for the news that did not come. Nearly every one in the crowd had lost a relative...'
The Carpathia docked at 9.30 pm on 18 April at New York's Pier 54, and was greeted by some 40,000 people waiting at the quayside in heavy rain. Many of Titanic's surviving passengers did not hang around in New York but immediately headed onwards to relatives' homes.
Some of the wealthier survivors chartered private trains to take them home, and the Pennsylvania Railroad laid on a special train free of charge to take survivors to Philadelphia.
Titanic's 214 surviving crew members were taken to the Red Star Line's steamer SS Lapland, where they were accommodated in passenger cabins. Carpathia was then hurriedly restocked with food and provisions before resuming her journey to Fiume, Austria-Hungary. Her crew were given a bonus of a month's wages by Cunard as a reward for their actions, and some of Titanic's passengers joined together to give them an additional bonus of nearly £900 (£66,038 today), which was divided between the crew members.
The sinking of the RMS Titanic was one of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century. In a mere four hours after striking an iceberg, the largest passenger ship so far built sank while on its maiden voyage, and claimed the lives of over 1,500 persons. Many of those lost were from the upper crust of British and American society.
The sinking of the Titanic, which had been popularly regarded as unsinkable, put doubt in the belief that modern man had dominance and control over nature, a mistaken belief that had grown out of the Industrial Revolution and the Progressive Era.
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Based on an article by By Monami Thakur and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Titanic and http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/titanic/Titanic.html
Photos are of http://www.amdg.ie/2006/12/19/411/ and http://www.titanicphotographs.com/galleryB.asp?GalleryID=8&ID=271 and http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/293192/20120205/rare-unseen-images-rms-titanic-father-frank.htm and http://www.bridgemanart.com/en-us/news-and-features.aspx and http://www.fanpop.com/spots/rms-titanic/images/5702422/title/b-deck-photo and http://www.abratis.de/ship/construct/ and http://www.goldposters.com/item-5149337/rms-titanic-which-sank-after-hitting-an-iceberg-on-its-maiden-voyage-1912.html and http://piyo-halliwell.livejournal.com/124676.html and http://www.jmilfordrmstitanic.com/2011/06/titanic-ship-magnificent.html and http://www.titanicdiclaudiobossi.com/Html/Turni%20di%20guardia%20sul%20Titanic_105.htm http://www.maritimequest.com/liners/titanic_interior_page_2.htm and http://www.superstock.com/stock-photos-images/4048-2061 and http://wn.com/Gross_Tonnage and http://www.titanicebook.com/radio.html and http://hdwallpapersdesktop.com/wallpapers/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/23/Titanic-Wallpaper-RMS-Titanic.jpg and http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/04/dayintech_0415 and http://soletitbewrittensoletitbedone.blogspot.com/2010/09/this-date-in-history.html and http://intellectualviews.blogspot.com/2010/05/titanic.html and http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Crowd_awaiting_survivors_from_the_Titanic.png and http://titanic3.tripod.com/news.html