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Sinking of Titanic Facts

William Taft

Sinking of Titanic Facts: William Taft was the 27th American President who served in office from March 4, 1909 to March 4, 1913. One of the important events during his presidency was the Sinking of the Titanic.

Definition and Summary of the Sinking of Titanic Facts
Summary and definition:
The disaster known as the Sinking of the Titanic occurred at 11.40pm on 15 April 1912 when the British passenger ship struck an iceberg and sank into the North Atlantic Ocean. There were 2228 people on board: 337 were First Class passengers, 285 were Second Class passengers, 721 were Third Class passengers and there were 885 Crew.

A total of 1523 people perished at sea - there were only 705 survivors on the "unsinkable" ship. The reasons for the terrible disaster were insufficient lifeboats, low-grade rivets used in the building of the ship and slow or no response to messages from the Titanic for help.

Sinking of the Titanic for kids: FAQ's
Fast, fun facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) for kids about the Sinking of the Titanic.

What year did the Titanic sink? The date the Titanic sank was 15 April 1912.

Where did the Titanic sink? The Titanic ship sank in the North Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada in latitude 41.46 north, longitude 50.14 west.

How many people died on the Titanic? 1503 people died of the 2228 passengers and crew. There was a total of 705 survivors - (33%) of people were saved.

Why did the Titanic sink? The RMS Titanic ship collided with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City, United States of America

How did the Titanic sink? The "unsinkable" ship was hit by the iceberg along its starboard side, punching holes in the ship's steel plates which flooded six compartments. The Titanic split in half from bow to stern. The "unsinkable" Titanic took 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink after hitting the iceberg at 11.40pm.

What was the cause of the Titanic disaster?
The cause of the disaster after the iceberg was struck were delayed response for help, insufficient lifeboats and the use of low grade rivets.

Facts about Sinking of Titanic Facts
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on Sinking of Titanic Facts.

History of the Titanic ship: The twin sister ships Titanic and Olympic "45,000 tons each, the largest vessels in the world" were deemed to be the industrial wonders of their age and Titanic was to be the biggest, safest, fastest and most luxurious liner ever built - a five-star floating hotel..

An extract from a White Star Line publicity brochure produced in 1910 for the twin sister ships Olympic and Titanic stated that "these two wonderful vessels are designed to be unsinkable."

Captain E. J. Smith, admiral of the White Star Line fleet, was in command of the Titanic ship.

There were three classes of passengers on the Titanic: Fist Class, Second Class and Third Class (Steerage). The different classes were determined not only by the price of their ticket but also by wealth and social class of the passengers.

There were many nationalities on board the Titanic including English, Americans, French, Russians, Poles, Greeks, Romanians, Germans, Italians, Chinese, Finns, Spaniards and a strong contingent of Irish.

The accommodation of First Class passengers ranged from luxurious single-berth cabins to splendid multi-room parlour suites.

  • The picture on the left shows a single berth suite

  • The 1st class cabins were tastefully decorated in different styles from different periods

  • The cost of a one way ticket on the Titanic in first class was:

    • 1st Class (parlor suite) £870 / $4,350 ($83,200 today)

    • 1st Class (berth) £30 / $150 ($2975 today)

  • The First class passengers had their own restaurants, grand staircase, promenade decks, library, smoking room, barbers, squash court, swimming pool, gymnasium and a Turkish bath

The accommodation of Third Class (steerage) passengers were small. Non had en-suite facilities but were equipped with a sink with running water.

  • Most third class rooms accommodated 4 - 6 people

  • There were Third Class Public toilets and two bath tubs for the passengers

  • The cost of a one way ticket on the Titanic in third class was:

    • 3rd Class tickets were £3 to £8 / $40 ($298 to $793 today)

  • The third class passengers had their own dining room, staircase and smoking room. A piano was also provided  in the 3rd Class common room

  • Most third class passengers were immigrants moving to the United States of America

The ship left Southampton on its maiden voyage on Wednesday, April 10, 1912 and stopped at Cherbourg, France and Queenstown, Ireland to pick up passengers. On Thursday, April 11, 1912 set sail for New York. The Titanic traveled 484 miles as her first day's run, 519 miles on her second day and 549 miles on the third day.

The Unheeded Warning: On the afternoon of Sunday April 14 1912  the Titanic's wireless operator forwarded the following dispatch to Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and elsewhere. "April 14.—The German steamship Amerika (Hamburg-American Line) reports by radio-telegraph passing two large icebergs in latitude 41.27, longitude 50.08.—Titanic, Br. S. S."

On the night of Sunday 14 April many of the passengers had retired after dinner and enjoying the ship's concert. Others were in the smoking rooms and saloons. It was a clear starry night and the sea was calm. There a number of comparatively harmless-looking ice floes. First Officer William T. Murdock was in charge of the bridge. He received a message from the lookout in the crow's nest 15 minutes before the ship struck the iceberg.

First Officer William T. Murdock reacted to the message by making various maneuvers to avoid a collision with the iceberg. He ordered full speed ahead on the starboard propeller and reversing his port propeller in order to make a rapid turn and clear the iceberg. He succeeded in saving his bows from crashing into the ice-cliff but nearly the entire length of the underbody of the great ship on the starboard side was ripped open by the edge of the iceberg's spur that was protruding under the sea.

William T. Murdock   succeeded in saving the bows of the ship from crashing into the ice-cliff but nearly the entire length of the underbody of the great ship on the starboard side was ripped open by the edge of the iceberg's spur that was protruding out of sight under the sea.

The Titanic struck the iceberg on 15 April 1912 at 11.40 pm. The exact size of the iceberg is unknown but, according to early newspaper reports the height and length of the iceberg was approximated at 50 to 100 feet high and 200 to 400 feet long

The Titanic was in 41.46 north latitude and 50.14 west longitude and traveling at the speed of 21 knots when she struck the iceberg.

There was only a slight vibration to the ship on impact, the passengers were not wakened or disturbed and the First Officer did not realize the extent of the damage until water started to flood into the ship which began to list starboard.

Captain E. J. Smith ordered that the engines should be put to work pumping out the ship and all hands were ordered on deck. The alarm sirens were sounded

The Captain ordered the alarm sirens to be sounded. Signals were sent by the Marconi and distress and rockets were sent up from the bridge by Quartermaster Rowe.

The passengers took little heed of the alarm sirens and for all passengers to be go deck with lifebelts on. Stewards were ordered to rouse the passengers from their cabins - some refused to move and doors were opened by force.

This was the Titanic the "unsinkable" ship, there had been no sound of a crash or any problem. The passengers were not alarmed and moved to the deck at a leisurely pace.

The water was rushing in and filling the bottom of the ship. The locks of the water-tight compartments were sprung by the shock of the collision with the iceberg. The telegraph officer, J. G. Phillips, sent out a distress message to ships in the area. "We have struck an iceberg. Badly damaged. Rush aid."

The crew began shouting across the "All passengers on deck with life-preservers."  The seriousness of the situation then began to dawn on the passengers. There was panic on deck as people clamored to find a place on the lifeboats. The order was given "Women and Children first".

There were 20 lifeboats on the Titanic and their total full capacity was 1,178 people. There was obviously not enough lifeboats to save all the 2228 people on board the ship.

  • There had never been any lifeboat drills and the crew had not been informed that each lifeboat could be safely lowered when filled to capacity

  • The life jackets were made of canvas and cork

Lifeboat number 7 was the first to be launched at 12:45 AM (65 minutes after hitting the iceberg.) The lifeboat only carried 27 people yet was rated to hold 65.

There were three ships who were close enough to respond to the distress call. The Virginian, the Cunard ship, the Carpathia and the Allan liner Parisian

The heroic musicians of the band of the Titanic played the music to keep up the courage of the souls aboard the sinking ship. One of the last songs the band reportedly played before their death was, "Songe d'Automne"

The Carpathia reached the Titanic and Captain Rostron and his crew rescued a total of 712 people from the lifeboats.

  • The lifeboats were scattered over an area of five miles, and it was 8 a. m. before they had all been picked up

  • The Carpathia subsequently returned to New York with the passengers and crew she had rescued

All of the lights on the ship stayed ablaze as the Titanic was sinking. Over two hours after the iceberg was struck the ship's bow plunged under and the stern rose high above the ocean surface. At 02:18 am the lights blinked once and then go out.

At 02:19 am the Titanic broke into 2 pieces between the third and fourth funnels.

At 02:20 am, two hours and forty minutes after striking the iceberg, the "unsinkable" Titanic sank below the waters to the ocean floor.

A total of 1503 people died, there were only 703 survivors.

There have been many movies made about the Sinking of the Titanic but the most famous film is the 1997 movie 'Titanic' which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet and produced, directed and written by James Cameron

Strange but True: In 1898 (14 years before the Titanic disaster), author Morgan Robertson wrote "Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan". The fictitious novel featured the ocean liner Titan, the largest ship ever built, hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic ocean on a cold April night. The fictitious story is strangely, and chillingly, similar to the real disaster:

  • The ship in the novel was called the Titan, the largest ship ever built

  • Both ships were labeled "unsinkable"

  • Like the Titanic, the fictional ship sank in April in the North Atlantic

  • There were not enough lifeboats for all of the passengers

  • Both ships sank and lost over half their passengers

Strange but True: William Thomas Stead was a famous English newspaper editor of The Pall Mall Gazette. Stead was extremely interested in spiritualism and telepathy and practiced automatic writing. William Stead wrote and published two strangely prophetic articles.

  • On 22 March 1886, he published an article called "How the Mail Steamer went down in Mid Atlantic by a Survivor"

    • The article tells of a steamer that collides with another ship, resulting in a high death toll due to an insufficient ratio of lifeboats to passengers

    • William Stead had added: "This is exactly what might take place and will take place if liners are sent to sea short of boats"

  • Then, in 1892, William Stead published a story entitled "From the Old World to the New"  which told of a ship, called the Majestic, that rescues survivors of another ship that collided with an iceberg

William Thomas Stead (5 July 1849 – 15 April 1912) had always predicted he would die by drowning. His prophecy came true. William Stead was a passenger on the Titanic. He was traveling to America to take part in a peace congress at Carnegie Hall at the request of President William Howard Taft. William Stead died clinging to a raft with John Jacob Astor IV. Both men lost their hold on the raft as they became numb from the freezing water.

The Sinking of the Titanic shocked the world and the story of the disaster is still remembered to this day.

US American History
1881-1913: Maturation Era
Facts about the Titanic Ship

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