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  • In 1898, Morgan Robertson published a book called Futility

  • It was a novel about an ocean liner called The Titan

  • That sinks in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage

  • After, a collision with an iceberg.

  • Of the many people, who read that book that would not realise that the significance of it.

  • Until 14 years later, when a ship called Titanic

  • Took over 1500 souls with her when she sank in the Atlantic.

  • And became one of the most devastating and talked about naval disasters in history.

  • Still very much studied and remembered to this day.

  • Here, we look at the event leading up to the disaster.

  • The people involved and their incredible stories.

  • Alongside, some of the theories that have since been published

  • Pointing to the failings in its design

  • And the greed of those involved.

  • Leading many to believe the sinking of the RMS Titanic was a preventable disaster.

  • And should have never happened.

  • The White Star Line was originally a company making traditional sailing ships during The Great Australian Gold Rush.

  • As the Gold Rush faded, the company faced bankruptcy.

  • And was taken over by Thomas Henry Ismay in 1868.

  • It was after this take over that the company started to commission ships

  • From Belfast, shipbuilders Harland and Wolff.

  • Two years later, in 1870

  • They launched their first breakthrough ship

  • Oceanic I

  • This was the first of a series of state-of-the-art super liners that the company built.

  • That dominated the Australian business and eventually transatlantic routes.

  • In 1899, Thomas Ismay died and left the way clear for his son Joseph.

  • It was him who introduced the comfort rather than speed policy the White Star Line would adopted.

  • A few years later in 1902,

  • The company was taken over by the International Mercantile Marine.

  • Headed by John Pierpont Morgan.

  • And soon after, Joseph Ismay was appointed the overall President of the company.

  • By 1907, rival company Cunard

  • Was having unrivalled success with their two quadruple funelled super fast liners

  • Lusitania and Mauretania.

  • And in an effort to remain competitive

  • Ismay proposed the construction of three Olympic-class liners with opulent interiors.

  • Although, they couldn't rival Cunard for speed

  • They would make up for it in grandeur and never-before-seen luxury.

  • The ships were to be called Olympic, Titanic and Britannic

  • All three ships, were to be equipped with the ultimate in-turn of the century design and technology.

  • Including sixteen watertighted compartments in their lower sections.

  • That could easily be sealed off in the event of a punctured hole.

  • First of the superliners to be launched is Olympic.

  • And she officially becomes the world's largest man-made moving object.

  • However, this title was short lived when on May the 31st, 1911.

  • Titanic is launched in Belfast.

  • In front of a crowd of over 100,000 people.

  • After the launch, Titanic's interior was fitted out.

  • And she turned into a floating palace.

  • Her lavish rooms were expertly created by highly skilled craftsman.

  • To produce cabins fit for some of the richest people in the world.

  • She was also equipped with 20 lifeboats

  • And surprisingly, this was more than the number required by the Broad of Trade Regulations at the time.

  • Meaning that were well within the law.

  • However, this law did not take in consideration the fact

  • That Titanic was 46,000 tons.

  • And 20 lifeboats, packed to capacity, would only be enough for 52% of the passengers.

  • But lifeboats, were considered as ferries

  • That would take multiple trips to and from a sinking ship to a rescue vessel.

  • And not as a sole means of escaping.

  • So as long as a ship is in close proximity of a sinking vessel

  • The number of lifeboats would have been sufficient.

  • A date for her maiden voyage to New York is announced as the 20th of March, 1912.

  • However, after Olympic is damaged during her maiden trip

  • Titanic is given a revised sale date of the 10th of April, 1912.

  • One must wonder if the Olympic had not had a collision

  • altering Titanic's sale date

  • what would the fate of the Titanic had been?

  • On April the 3rd, 1912

  • Titanic arrives in Southampton from Belfast

  • in preparation for her much anticipated maiden voyage.

  • The ship has her signal flags and pennants, and the final crew members are recruited.

  • She is loaded up with cargo and coal,

  • and on the 8th of April, all the fresh food is stored in preparation for the many mouths

  • she is to feed during the 7 day trip.

  • Finally, the day arrives to set sail

  • the Captain, Edward John Smith, is a much respected and well-liked employee of the White Star Line.

  • And at 62, was coming to the end of his career at sea

  • It was reported in fact, although disputed that Titanic was to be his last voyage before retirement.

  • But, despite his experience, he has encountered many mishaps while in command.

  • Especially with the introduction of much larger vessels than he was used to.

  • White Star, however, considered him competent enough to be at the helm of the world's greatest ship.

  • And he was given a handsome salary

  • around 6,250 dollars per year

  • plus a yearly bonus of a 1000 dollars if he returned his ships undamaged.

  • Smith would be accompanied by Chief Officer, Henry Wilde and First Officer William Murdoch.

  • Along with a total of 885 crew members.

  • With the crew now in place, the Titanic passengers begin the pleasure of boarding.

  • These included, 325 first class passengers

  • Where no expense was spared in their cabins

  • Two of which were called "The Millionaire Suites"

  • and were considered to be the most luxurious accommodations of the day.

  • One of these suites was booked by J.P Morgan

  • but since he did not travel, it was taken up by Joseph Bruce Ismay.

  • As a first class guest, he and the others could also enjoy Jacobean style dining room

  • a sumptuous reception room which could be entered using one of Titanic's most priced features.

  • The Magnificent Grand Staircase.

  • Gentlemen had the options to retiring to the smoking room for port and cigars

  • and in the day, they could relax in Verandah Café or Café Parisien.

  • Or make use of the fully-equipped state-of-the-art gymnasium.

  • As for the 285 second class passengers,

  • they too enjoyed a luxury that rivalled first class on any other liner of the day

  • and they were first to enjoy electric elevators.

  • In comparison, the 706 third class or steerage passengers did not enjoy such luxuries.

  • Although they did have more comfort than you may think.

  • Most of them had a one-way ticket in search for a better life in America

  • and would have all of their worldly belongings in just a few bags.

  • These passengers, were mainly immigrants and consisted of a diverse group of nationalities.

  • Ranging from Finland to Hong Kong.

  • Although the bulk of them were British, Irish or Scandinavian.

  • Some were travelling alone while others with their families.

  • Meals were basic but regular,

  • although nothing in comparison to that enjoyed by first and second class.

  • But it wasn't all bad, they did have a smoking and general room

  • where they would meet and make their own entertainment with the children playing

  • and dancing on the deck.

  • A little fact about third class

  • they enjoyed automatically flushing toilets

  • although rather for necessity than luxury.

  • As it was thought, third class passengers would not be familiar with indoor plumbing

  • and would not understand the need to flush the toilets themselves.

  • Before boarding, third class passengers were checked for lice and other infectious diseases.

  • Just before noon, on the 10th of April, 1912

  • Titanic's triple valve whistle could be heard across Southampton.

  • The ropes were cast and the five tugs started to slowing nudge the massive liner out into deeper water.

  • When she was out in the River Test, the tugs dropped their lines and Titanic's

  • triple expansion 30,000 horsepower engines started to turn the propellers.

  • Titanic's maiden voyage had begun and she had already made history.

  • As she powered down the river, the turbulence she created was causing some alarm.

  • As the large volume of water, displaced by Titanic caused two moored liners to cut adrift

  • and they collision were narrowly avoided when Captain Smith ordered full astern

  • and a tug intervened to prevent an early disaster.

  • Titanic arrived at her first port of call in Cherbourg, France at around 6 p.m.

  • Where a further 274 passengers boarded.

  • However, she was far too big to fit into the tiny port.

  • So passengers and luggage had be frayed by specially tended boats provided by the White Star Line.

  • This included the Titanic's richest passenger,

  • John Jacob Aster IV

  • with an equivalent 2017 net worth of 2.1 billion dollars.

  • As the Titanic turned out, final port of call was Queenstown, Ireland.

  • She here early on the 11th of April

  • and it was here that one lucky crew member decided to disembark by hiding in the mail bags.

  • He was later named as John Coffey, one of Titanic's fireman.

  • He had only signed up to the crew to get a lift to Queenstown.

  • Leaving Ireland, Titanic heads out into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

  • The next stop is New York City.

  • The crew settled into their routines and the passengers began to explore

  • and familiarize themselves with the maze of corridors and rooms on the beautiful ship.

  • In particular, the first class passengers enjoy meeting up with their wealthy and famous friends.

  • And attending the lavish parties organized for them in the splendour of their extravagant surroundings.

  • All while, Titanic moves steadily westward towards New York.

  • Throughout this part of the journey, the crew continuously receive warning from other vessels

  • that there is a serious threats of icebergs.

  • Despite, Titanic being the most sophisticated liner of it's era

  • it's radio room, by comparison, was tiny.

  • No bigger than a broom cupboard and it relied on Morse Code for communication.

  • It's operators, John George Phillips and his junior Harold Sydney Bride

  • worked a shift system to ensure the radio was covered at all times.

  • From the time, Titanic left Queenstown the majority of these messages were from and for passengers.

  • In total, between the 11th and 14th of April,

  • the pair received 21 ice warnings, that would have been passed on to officers and ultimately Captain Smith.

  • They were fully aware of the dangers that lay ahead

  • and steered 20 miles off course to try and avoid the ice fields but ultimately this wasn't enough.

  • On Sunday the 14th,

  • another iceberg warning comes in early at 9 a.m. from the RMS Caronia.

  • Meanwhile, passengers were attending divine services in the first-class dining room.

  • The morning service was also attended by Captain Smith.

  • At 13:42 p.m., Smith was handed an ice warning message from follower White Star Liner, the Baltic.

  • He handed it to Joseph Ismay, who placed the message in his pocket.

  • Ismay, allegedly shows the warning to several passengers

  • before Captain Smith asked for it back at around 19:15 p.m.

  • and posts it in the chart room before dining in the ala carte restaurant.

  • After dining, Captain Smith returns to the bridge

  • and chats briefly with the Second Officer Charles Lightoller.

  • Smith then retired to his cabin, giving instructions to wake him if anything becomes at all doubtful.

  • Officer Lightoller, advised his lookouts in the Crow's nest for icebergs.

  • Then at 21:40 p.m., a message comes through from the Mesaba, once again warning of heavy ice pack,

  • large icebergs, and field ice.

  • At 22:00 p.m., second officer Lightoller is replaced by first officer William Murdoch.

  • At around the same time, just 15 miles north of the Titanic

  • the British Leyland Line steamship, SS Californian

  • had stopped for the night after spotting three icebergs and thick ice-beds.

  • As her captain, Stanley Lord made his way back to his cabin, he spotted a light on the horizon.

  • He asked his third officer, if they were any ships in vicinity, to which he replied "Only Titanic."

  • Captain Lord replied "That's not the Titanic, she's closer in size to us."

  • Despite this, Lord asked for the Titanic to be contacted to let her know that they were stuck in ice.

  • Third officer Evans, duly dispatched a message

  • and reportedly received a curt reply from Titanic's operator, Jack Phillips

  • "Shut up! I'm busy. I'm working Cape Race."

  • Evans listened for a while longer, and at 35 minutes past 23:00 p.m., turned off the wireless system.

  • At the same time, after various reports of unusually calm ocean.

  • Now known to be a sign of ice pack, which was causing a mirage and making lookout duties almost impossible.

  • Just 10 minutes later, they realized they are on a collision coarse with a giant iceberg.

  • Immediately, they sound the warning bell and telephone the bridge with the message: "Iceberg, right ahead!"

  • Officer Murdoch, orders hard-a-starboard to the helmsman

  • and calls for the engine room to stop engines.

  • He also activates the water-tight doors below that were essentially subdivisions in the hull

  • in order to seal off any given 16 compartments.

  • It had been calculated that the Titanic could stay afloat with four of these compartments fully flooded.

  • Titanic slowly veers to port and for a few tantalizing seconds, it looks like she's averted a disaster.

  • But it's too little too late, and it's starboard side makes contact with the iceberg.

  • Damaging nearly 300 foot of the right side of the hull, both below and above the water.

  • A grinding sound could be heard throughout the ship, mainly on the lower levels closer to the impact zone.

  • Which caused alarm to the passengers on board.

  • Some began to ask questions and were told that everything was under control.

  • As it was, at least everywhere but down in fore-peak tank, the three forward holes and boiler room no.5 and 6.

  • All of which were taking in icy water and fast.

  • Despite the workers confused effects to prevent any further water breach

  • Boiler room no.5 was the only area they were able to keep somewhat under control.

  • Less then 10 minutes after impact, the water had risen 14 feet above the keel

  • and almost 4 million litres of sea water had entered the ship.

  • By midnight, the mail room was flooded and mail bags could be seen floating to the surface.

  • As water rushes into the starboard sides, the ship begins to tilt downwards listing sightly to the right

  • And water begins to spill over into the other watertight compartments.

  • Captain Smith is joined on the bridge by Titanic's architect, Thomas Andrews

  • And the pair go below the deck to assess the damage.

  • It's at this point, that Andrews reveals to Captain Smith that she would sink.

  • He estimated she would stay afloat for a maximum of one and a half hours.

  • Orders are given to uncover the lifeboats and most of the crew and passengers.

  • It's at this point, Captain Smith must have realized, that even full to capacity

  • The lifeboats would only hold 1,178 of the 2,227 passengers and crew on board.

  • Titanic's frantic distress calls are heard by several ships in the vicinity

  • But they are all too far away and the closest being SS Californian had their radios off.

  • But the Carpathia, 58 miles away, immediately changes coarse and started the journey towards Titanic.

  • At around 00:25 a.m., the first lifeboat is loaded with just 28 women and children

  • less than half its capacity of 65.

  • The lifeboats continue to be lowered with less capacity than they are capable.

  • This is due to many factors, but many the facts that the crew told passengers it was a precaution

  • and refused to let husbands join their wives in the boats.

  • During the lowering of these lifeboats, Joseph Ismay starts to interfere with the process.

  • Trying to get as many off the ship as he could

  • And has to be put in his place by fifth officer, Harold Godfrey Lowe.

  • It's said that Joseph was having a breakdown.

  • After all, this was technically his ship.

  • By 1:15 a.m., water had reached Titanic's name badge