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RMS Titanic

John

Deckhand
Titanic - Reliving the past

At 11:45pm on Sunday 14 April 1912 the SS Titanic struck an iceberg off the coast of Nova Scotia. The ship sank three hours later and took with her 1522 of the 2227 passengers and crew on board.

Titanic was described by some as Unsinkable.

SS Titanic was built in Belfast, N. Ireland and was owned by the White Star Company.
 

John

Deckhand
Do you have any stories or experiences that you want to share with us on this great ship?

I was born in Belfast. Just yards from the famous Harland & Wolff Docks.

My grandfather and great grandfather both were red-leaders on the ship when it was being built. That is they painted the red lead on the ship. My grandmother and great grandmother both clean the ship before it commence on it's maiden voyage from Belfast.
 

JSME

Deckhand
EJNutz said:
Do you have any stories or experiences that you want to share with us on this great ship?

I was born in Belfast. Just yards from the famous Harland & Wolff Docks.

My grandfather and great grandfather both were red-leaders on the ship when it was being built. That is they painted the red lead on the ship. My grandmother and great grandmother both clean the ship before it commence on it's maiden voyage from Belfast.
Oh John that is very interesting to know your family stepped foot on a doomed ship.
 

John

Deckhand
My Uncle belongs to some association in Belfast that is involved with the Titanic. Over the years he has been researching the Titanic. I hope to see him in September yo have a look at what he has got. I am also hoping to get a look at the SS Normandic, which has recently just returned to Belfast.
 

Ally

Deckhand
Titanic.


Probably the most enigmatic shipwreck of all time.....


# Gross Tonnage - 46,239 tons
# Dimensions - 259.83 x 28.19m (852.5 x 92.5ft)
# Number of funnels - 4
# Number of masts - 2
# Construction - Steel
# Propulsion - Triple screw
# Engines - Eight-cylindered triple expansion engines and steam turbines
# Service speed - 21 knots
# Builder - Harland & Wolff, Belfast
# Launch date - 31 May 1911

To cope with the construction of these giant vessels changes had to be made at the Queens Island shipyard of Harland & Wolff. During the building of the ships the number of employees at the yard doubled to over 11,300. On 31 March 1909 the keel of the Titanic was laid and it was launched on 31 May 1911, being watched by some 100,000 people. The construction cost of the two vessels had run to £3 million. They had service speeds of 21 knots and safety was well taken care of. The ship was subdivided into 16 watertight compartments by 15 transverse bulkheads. It was also designed to be a 'two compartment ship', which meant that it could stay afloat with two consecutive major compartments open to the sea. In the case of emergency the captain could close the watertight doors in the bulkhead from the bridge by moving an electrical switch and thereby make the vessel practically unsinkable.

The number of lifeboats carried was prescribed by a Board of Trade regulation formulated in 1894. This stated that the number of lifeboats carried was dependant upon the tonnage of the vessel and not the number of passengers on board. Any ship over 10,000 tons was required to carry sixteen lifeboats. Only ten years later the tonnage of large ships had doubled but the regulations had not changed to reflect these increases. White Star exceeded the regulations by providing four additional collapsible lifeboats. Perhaps it was reasoned that if anything serious did happen to the liner it could stay afloat for long enough for the lifeboats to transfer passengers to rescue craft and return to the ships to pick up more.

By 2 April 1912 the Titanic was ready for trials and sailed into the Irish Sea. The trials were successful. Captain Smith had been in charge, his experience with the Olympic reaping dividends in obviating any initial worries. Captain Smith lived in Southampton and was a popular skipper with the passengers and a respected favourite with the crew that sailed with him. He was White Star's ideal senior captain and was reputedly the highest paid on the North Atlantic. He held an Extra Master's Certificate and his two brothers were also with White Star, one a skipper and the other a marine superintendent in New York. For many years he had taken new White Star vessels on their maiden voyages, as he was shortly due to retire the maiden voyage of the Titanic was to be the pinnacle of his career.

The Titanic left Belfast for Southampton at 10PM on 2 April and steamed into Spithead at around 10PM the following evening. By midnight the ship was in the White Star dock. April 4 was spend readying the ship for sea and whilst it was at Southampton there was a reshuffle amongst the officers and crew. Captain Smith requested Henry Wilde as Chief Officer. Murdoch reverted from Chief to First Officer, Lightoller to Second and Blair, the former second, had to leave the ship. Board of Trade inspections were carried out on the ship whilst in Southampton. On 10 April the Titanic set sail for its maiden voyage , at noon. The movement of the ship displaced water to such an extent that the New York, which was moored along the Test quay just aft of the Oceanic, strained at its moorings and pulled away towards the Titanic. Tugs, however, managed to control the New York and thus avert any collision.

The ship reached Cherbourg at 6.30PM and embarked further passengers. It then sailed overnight to Queenstown and picked up further passengers, mainly emigrants. Whilst there a crew member deserted the ship and some passenger disembarked, their short journey to Ireland complete. On board now were 322 1st class, 277 2nd class and 709 3rd class passengers. The ship left Queenstown at 1.30AM, the following day, and headed past Roche Point to America. By Monday 15 April newspapers carried unconfirmed reports of an accident. Initial reports stated that the Titanic had been in collision, there was talk of an iceberg, but the liner was being towed to Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was then confirmed in the early hours of the following morning that the Titanic had sunk.

By 13 April, on board the Titanic, things were beginning to happen for the navigation department. Due to prevailing conditions in Greenland and Canada over the previous year an unusually large amount of ice had drifted further south than usual. This consisted of pack ice and icebergs stretching down from the north towards the shipping lanes. As the Titanic began to near these icefields it received several warnings from other vessels in the area. The fact that the ship's wireless had broken down two days previously meant that once it was repaired there was a backlog of messages which needed to be cleared.

The ship was due to make an alteration of course late in the afternoon on 14 April when it would reach 'The Corner', a point on the Atlantic route where ships using the track changed their heading for New York. Captain Smith delayed the timing of this change as he wanted to travel further south to avoid the reported ice. From early evening the temperature of the sea, taken at various points, had dropped 10 degrees. The lookouts were now following a special order to keep a careful watch for ice. The Titanic was now travelling at 22 knots. This may have been in an attempt to make up for time lost travelling further south or just due to the fact that it was now lighter due to consumed fuel.

At 9.40PM a wireless message was received from the Mesaba reporting heavy pack ice and large numbers of icebergs. Phillips, the wireless operator, noted the signal but, because his assistant was still off duty and there were a large number of private messages still waiting to be sent, put this message to one side for later delivery to the bridge. This message was telling the Titanic's navigators that they had not travelled far enough south and that the ice lay directly in their path. At 11PM the Leyland Line's Californian was not very far way. The Titanic's wireless was tuned to Cape Race and when the Californian's operator sent a message to say that his vessel had stopped, completely blocked in by ice, Phillips disregarded this.

At 11.40PM the message came from the crow's nest that there was an iceberg dead ahead. A collision seemed inevitable but at the last moment the Titanic swung slowly to port. As the iceberg passed along the starboard side, before disappearing aft, it seemed like a near thing. During the passing the iceberg had come into contact with the hull below the waterline. Over a length of 250 feet it had bumped and grazed the hull plates, sheared off rivet heads and opened the overlapping plate seams. The whole contact had taken just 10 seconds. Captain Smith ordered the watertight doors to be closed and the ship was ordered to stop. After inspections it was found that hull plates had been damaged in at least 6 compartments and that water was rapidly rising in 5 of them. It was calculated that so much water was being taken on board that it would eventually pull the liner's bow down further into the water until the affected compartments were completely filled. The water would then slop over the top of the next bulkhead and fill that compartment, and so on. It was estimated that the ship would stay afloat for 1.5 to 2 hours.

Captain Smith ordered the lifeboats to be uncovered and provisioned, knowing that there was only enough boat capacity for half the people on board the Titanic. At 12.15PM the wireless operator tapped the first CQD (Come Quickly, Distress), outlining the ships position. A revised signal was sent at 12.25PM. The Carpathia was around 60 miles away and the Captain, Arthur Rostron, immediately altered course at 12.45PM an SOS signal was sent. At about this time the first lifeboat was being lowered and rockets were being fired to attract the attention of any ships in the vicinity. By now the ship's band was playing on the deck to ease the passengers concerns and passengers were being woken by the stewards. Despite the fact that the lifeboats had been ordered to standby many moved away from the ship to avoid the suction, should the ship sink. Other lifeboats were ordered to row for a ship whose light had been spotted 4 or 5 miles away. They would then be able to land passengers and return. The source of this light would remain an elusive mystery.

The Titanic's bows were now sinking lower and lower. Now that it seemed that all women and children were in the lifeboats men were allowed in. 1st and 2nd class passengers were led to the Boat Deck whilst 3rd class were generally left to their own devices. At 1.30AM an attempted rush on one of the lifeboats was quelled by 5th Officer Lowe, who fired his revolver. The final rocket was fired at 1.40AM. By the time boat number 4 was lowered it was only 15 feet above the level of the Boat Deck, the usual distance between deck and water being 62 feet. The last rigid boat was lowered at 1.55AM and then the crew turned their attention to the collapsibles. The last of these was lowered at 2.05PM. The order was then issued 'every man for himself'. The engineers remained below decks ensuring that there was enough power to provide light and use of the wireless.
titanic1.jpg
 

Ally

Deckhand
At 2.10AM there was sudden lurch and the bow sank deeper, the resulting wave washed men off the deckhouse and one of the collapsible boats that was in the process of being launched. The stern rose out of the water and the forward funnel crashed over to starboard, killing several swimmers in the water as it fell. 1,500 people were still on board the vessel with little or no hope of rescue. As the occupants of the lifeboats watched, the stern rose higher until it was almost vertical. The lights then flickered and the Titanic glided downwards, disappearing beneath the Atlantic Ocean.

Those in the lifeboats heard the cries of hundreds of people struggling in the freezing water but were either unable, because of already crowded conditions or distance, or unwilling, because of fear of being swamped, to attempt to return to the scene to rescue their former fellow travellers. It was ascertained from the surviving Marconi operator, Bride, who was standing on an upturned collapsible boat, that the Carpathia was on its way. The Carpathia arrived at the scene at 4.30AM on 15 April. At 8.30 AM, after taking 705 survivors on board, it left for New York. The Californian had meanwhile arrived on the scene and remained there to check for further survivors - none were found.

The Californian's actions of the 14 April were to cause furore in the coming weeks as it was believed by many that it was within rescue distance of the Titanic. It was also believed that the ship had actually witnessed the disaster from a distance several miles away. The arrivals of survivors in New York meant virtual arrest for the crew, as they were detained for enquiries. Memorial services were held and over the ensuing years maritime legislation, memorials, poems, books, films, plays, music, proposed salvage plans and the formation of special interest clubs have ensured that the legend of the Titanic is kept alive.

The wreck of the Titanic was lost until dicovered at 1AM on 1 September 1985 by an expedition from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute led by Dr Robert Ballard in the research vessel Knorr. Many photographs and footage of film was taken of this incredible voyage of discovery. On the second visit a manned submersible and remote controlled camera probe took incredible photographs of the wreck and its scattered artefacts in July 1986. The liner is still broken but on an even keel, its funnels gone. It is severed just aft of the second funnel and a good deal from in between is missing, laying in shattered segments over the sea bed.
 

John

Deckhand
Titanic - A brief history

1850 - White Star Line was founded
1867 - Thomas Henry Ismay purchases the White Star Line
1869 - Thomas Henry Ismay forms the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company in order to establish White Star as a high class steamship service in the transatlantic passenger trade
1869 to 1870 - First ships built at the Belfast Harland & Wolff shipbuilders for the White Star Line
1891 -J Bruce Ismay joins partnership of the White Star Line
1894 - William J Pirrie becomes chairman of Harland & Wolff shipbuilders
1898 - Author Morgan Robertson publishes a novel called Futility. It is a story about a British Passenger ship called The Titan that hits an iceberg and sinks on it's maiden voyage in the North Atlantic during the month of April.
1899 Thomas Ismay dies and J Bruce Ismay takes the reigns of the business
 

John

Deckhand
1902 - The White Star Line is purchased by the International Mercantile Marine Company, a shipping trust chaired by US Financier J Piermont Morgan. It is decided that the White Star Line will continue to fly the British flag and carry all British crews.
1904 - J Bruce Ismay becomes president and managing director of International Mercantile Marine Company.
1904 - William J Pirrie, Harland & Wolff chairman becomes a director of International Mercantile Marine Company.
1907 - Ismay discusses plans at William J Pirrie's London mansion to construct two large ships and a possible third one later. The aim is to compete with the luxury, size and speed of their competitors. It is decided that the ships will be known as the Olympic class of liners.
July 29th 1908 - White Star line approve the design plans for the Olympic class of liners. the ships are to be built at the Harland & Wolff shipbuilders.
July 31st 1908 -A contract is signed for the construction in the Belfast shipyards of the Olympic, the Titanic and the third ship later on, the Britannic. The size of the Titanic will be 882 ft 9 inches long, 94 feet wide and a 100 feet high to bridge level. The final cost to be £1,500,000.
 

John

Deckhand
1908 - New docks to be built either side of the Atlantic to accommodate the size of the ships.
1908 - Harland & Wolff build new gantry's
December 16th 1908 - Keel laid down and Olympic construction begins
March 31 1909 - Keel laid down and Titanic construction begins
October 20th 1910 - Olympic hull successfully launched
May 31 1911 - Titanic hull successfully launched watched by more than 100,000 people. The Titanic is taken away to the fitting out basin for outfitting.
June 1911 - The Olympic leave son her maiden voyage
July 1911 - White Star Line and Harland & Wolff agree date of maiden voyage for Titanic, the 20th March 1912
 

John

Deckhand
September 20 1911 - The Olympic has it's hull badly damaged in a collision with the Royal Navy cruiser, Hawke. The Titanic's launch is delayed as the workers are all reassigned to repair the Olympic.
October 11 1911 - White Star announce mew launch date for the Titanic, 10th April 1912.
January 1912 - 16 wooden lifeboats are installed on Titanic. a total of 10 lifeboats are installed, 10 wooden and 4 collapsible. British Board of Trade regulations indicate that the Titanic exceeds it's legal requirement for lifeboat capacity by 10%.
February 3 1912 -Titanic is dry docked at Belfast's Thompson Graving Dock.
March 1912 - Engineering crew assemble and lifeboats are tested.
March 31 1912 - The outfitting of Titanic is complete. the Titanic has had more staterooms and suites added than the identical Olympic, therefore making it a lot heavier out of the two.
 

John

Deckhand
April 1 1912 - sea trials delayed due to high sea winds
April 2 1912 - The sea trials begin at 6.00am. All equipment is tested.
April 2 1912 - The Titanic leaves Belfast for Southampton
April 5 1912 - it is Good Friday. The Titanic is dressed in a panoply of flags and pennants as a salute to the people of Southampton. this is the only time that Titanic is dressed.
April 6 1912 - Final recruitment day for crew members.
April 8 1912 - fresh food supplies are taken on board.
 

John

Deckhand
April 10 1912 - Sailing day. The entire crew are mustered at 8.00am followed by a brief lifeboat drill. passengers start to board at 9.30am. At noon the Titanic casts off and is escorted out of Southampton by tugs.
April 10 1912 - During the downstream passage into the River Test, under her own steam, the water displaced by the Titanic's movement causes all six mooring ropes on the New York to break and her stern to swing towards the Titanic. Quick thinking averts a collision. Departure is now delayed by an hour.
April 10 1912 - Passengers board in Cherbourg.
April 11 - 12 1912 - The Titanic covers 386 miles in fine calm clear weather.
April 12 -13 1912 - the Titanic covers 519 miles in fine weather. Various ice warnings are received, however, this is not uncommon.
 

John

Deckhand
April 13 1912 - Rappahannock, a passenger ship, signals a heavy ice pack warning. This ship itself had sustained some damage.
April 14 1912 - The Titanic receives a message from Caronia warning of field ice and icebergs ahead.
April 14 1912 - The Dutch liner Noordam reports much ice in the same area as Caronia
April 14 1912 - the Titanic's ship officers gather on the wing of the navigating bridge at noon to calculate daily position.
April 14 1912 - The Baltic warns of large quantities of ice about 250 miles ahead of Titanic. the message is delivered to the Captain who later gives it to J Bruce Ismay, who puts it in his pocket.
April 14 1912 - German liner Amerika warns of large iceberg
April 14 1912 - 5.50pm air temperatures drop by ten degrees
April 14 1912 - 6pm Second Officer Lightoller takes over on the bridge
April 14 1912 - 7.15pm First Officer Murdoch orders forward forecastle hatch closed to stop the glow from inside affecting the crow's nest.
 

John

Deckhand
April 14 1912 - Three warning messages received from the ship Californian warning of large icebergs. The message is delivered to the Bridge but the Captain is below having dinner
April 14 1912 - 8.55pm Captain Smith finishes dinner and goes to the bridge and discusses the weather as well as the visibility of icebergs at night. he goes to bed withe the instruction to contact him if there is any doubt about anything.
April 14 1912 - 9.30pm Lightoller sends instruction to Crow's Nest to keep an eye out for icebergs until morning.
April 14 1912 - The ship Mesaba sens warnings of heavy ice packs and icebergs.
April 14 1912 - 10.00pm Lightoller is replaced on the bridge by First Officer Murdoch. The lookouts in the Crows Nest are also replaced. A warning to watch out for icebergs is exchanged between the watches.
April 14 1912 - 11:40pm, the lookout spotted an iceberg straight ahead. He rang his warning bell and on the bridge, the First Officer Murdoch orders the helm hard over. However, at a speed of 22 knots, the message had come too late.
April 14 1912 - The collision takes place
April 14 1912 - Captain Smith orders that the damage be assessed. The finding was bad; a gash 300 feet long through the single steel skin of the ship's hull on the starboard side.
 

John

Deckhand
April 15 1912 - 00:05 am, Captain Smith asked Jack Phillips to send an all stations distress call 'CQD'. The message ran "CQD. Position 41.46N 50.14W require assistance struck iceberg."
April 15 1912 - The closest, a mere ten miles distant, was the 4,000-ton Californian.
April 15 1912 - On the Titanic, Bride told Phillips to send 'SOS', which was not widely used yet.
April 15 1912 - 00:25am, Captain Smith gave the order to "load the lifeboats", women and children first.
April 15 1912 - 01:45am, Smith instructs Phillips and Harold Bride to abandon the wireless room.
April 15 1912 - 02:20am, the Titanic sank
April 15 1912 - 03:35am the Carpathia first spots lifeboats located 34 miles from the Titanic's last position
April 15 1912 - There are 705 survivors
 

John

Deckhand
April 15 1912 - The captain of the Titanic, E.J. Smith, had gone down with his ship.
April 15 1912 - The White Star Line's chairman, Bruce Ismay, had taken a seat in a lifeboat, and from the Carpathia, informed his New York office: "Deeply regret advise your Titanic sank this morning after collision iceberg resulting serious loss life further particulars later." His message did not arrive until April 17, and soon the world knew the awful truth; more than 1,500 souls had perished, passengers and crew. Ismay was never forgiven, and nor was the White Star Line.
 

John

Deckhand
Following this disaster, official boards of inquiry were held by the British and American governments. By July 1912 they had reached similar conclusions concerning the necessity of providing sufficient lifeboat places and holding drills for everyone aboard ship, also of maintaining 24-hour wireless cover. A permanent iceberg patrol was instituted as well and in March 1913, equipped with Marconi apparatus, the Scotia left Dundee to begin the first British iceberg watch in the North Atlantic sea lanes.
 

John

Deckhand
Nationality: British
Owners: White Star Line
Builders: Harland and Wolff yards in Belfast, Ireland
Captain: Edward John Smith
Port of registry: Liverpool, England
Laid down: March 31, 1909
Launched: May 31, 1911
Christened: Not christened
Maiden voyage: April 10, 1912
Fate: Hit an iceberg at 11:40 P.M on April 14, 1912. Sank on April 15, 1912 at 2:20 am; wreck discovered in 1985.
 

John

Deckhand
Gross Tonnage: 46,328 GRT
Displacement: 52,310 Long Tons
Length: 882 ft. 9 in.
Beam: 92 ft. 6 in.
Draught: 34 ft. 7 in.
Power: 24 double-ended and 5 single-ended Scotch boilers at 215 psi. Two four cylinder triple expansion reciprocating engines each producing 16000 hp (12 MW) for outer two propellers. One low pressure (about 7psi absolute) steam turbine producing 18000 hp (13.5 MW) for the center propeller. Total 50,000 hp (37 MW)
Propulsion: Two bronze triple blade side propellers. One bronze quadruple blade central propeller.
Speed: 23 knots (42.5 km/h) (26.4 mi/h)
 
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