Titanic True Story
Here are true stories of the tragic sinking of the White Star's liner, the Royal Mail Steamer (R.M.S) Titanic.
RMS Titanic was a passenger liner that struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, and sank on 15th April 1912, resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.
The largest passenger steamship in the world at the time, the Olympic-class RMS Titanic was owned by the White Star Line and constructed at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland, UK.
After setting sail for New York City on 10th April 1912 with 2,223 people on board, she hit an iceberg four days into the crossing, at 11:40 pm on 14th April 1912, and sank at 2:20 am on the morning of 15th April.
The high casualty rate resulting from the sinking was due in part to the fact that, although complying with the regulations of the time, the ship carried lifeboats for only 1,178 people. A disproportionate number of men died due to the 'women and children first' protocol that was enforced by the ship's crew.
The 100th Anniversary falls on 15th April 2012
Other Claims and Interesting Titanic Snippets
When the Titanic began sending out distress signals, the Californian, rather than the Carpathia, was the closest ship; yet the Californian did not respond until it was much too late to help. At 12:45 a.m. on April 15th , 1912, crew members on the Californian saw mysterious lights in the sky (the distress flares sent up from the Titanic) and woke up their captain to tell him about it. Unfortunately, the captain issued no orders. Since the ship's wireless operator had already gone to bed, the Californian was unaware of any distress signals from the Titanic until the morning, but by then the Carpathia had already picked up all the survivors. Many people believe that if the Californian had responded to the Titanic's pleas for help, many more lives could have been saved. We have a video of how the Titanic was created.
Ruth Elizabeth Becker, known later as Ruth Becker Blanchard, was one of the youngest passengers on the Titanic at 12 years old, and until relatively recently was one of the few remaining Titanic survivors. Her story is harrowing, but it's inspirational that someone so young was able to exhibit such bravery, even in the face of a horrific disaster that few of us can truly picture in our minds.
The daughter of a Lutheran missionary, Ruth was born in Guntur, India in 1899. When her brother became ill, her mother Nellie decided to take him and the rest of the family to Benton Harbour, Michigan for medical treatment. Ruth, her mother, and her younger brother and sister boarded the RMS Titanic as second-class passengers, with her father waiting behind in India to rejoin them later.
Ruth and her family marvelled at the beauty and grandeur of the ship, but their trip took a nasty turn when disaster struck. More specifically, the Titanic struck an iceberg and began sinking rapidly.
Ruth's mother managed to get into Lifeboat No. 11 with her two youngest children, but there was no room left for Ruth. Nellie sobbed as she was separated from her daughter, who ended up in Lifeboat No. 13.
As Ruth's lifeboat was lowered into the water, it was very nearly crushed by Lifeboat No. 15, which was being lowered too quickly. A crew member managed to cut the ropes binding No. 13 to the ship at the last minute, and the boat slid away in the nick of time. The air was filled with the chilling sound of screams from those stranded in the icy water. A young Polish woman in Ruth's lifeboat lamented her missing baby, who had been separated from her much like Ruth had been separated from her family. Though she didn't understand German, Ruth did her best to comfort the upset mother.
Finally, the lifeboat was rescued by the RMS Carpathia. After several tense hours of waiting and dreading the worst, Ruth was overjoyed to see her mother and siblings alive and well. She was also happy to discover that the Polish woman from her lifeboat had been reunited with her baby.
Ruth refused to talk about the traumatic Titanic sinking incident for many years. Later, she began to talk more about it, and made appearances at Titanic Historical Society conventions along with other Titanic survivors.
In 1990, Ruth Becker Blanchard took a cruise to Mexico, her first time as a passenger on a ship since the Titanic disaster. She died later that year at the age of 90, and her ashes were scattered at sea, directly over the Titanic wreck.
The Titanic Story of Violet Jessop
One of the most amazing stories of any Titanic survivors, Violet Constance Jessop was an ocean liner stewardess and a nurse who survived the sinking of both the RMS Titanic and the HMHS Britannic in 1912 and 1916.
Even more amazingly, she had been aboard the Britannic's other sister ship the RMS Olympic when it nearly sank after colliding with the naval vessel the HMS Hawke in 1911. For more of this Titanic story see here:
The Story of Titanic Survivor Marshall Drew [8 years old]
'When the Titanic struck the iceberg, I was in bed. However, for whatever reason I was awake and remember the jolt and cessation of motion. A steward knocked on the stateroom door and directed us to get dressed, put on life preservers and go to the boat deck, which we did. The steward as we passed was trying to arouse passengers who had locked themselves in for the night. Elevators were not running. We walked up to the boat deck. Al was calm and orderly. An officer was in charge. 'Women and children first,' he said, as he directed lifeboat number 11 to be filled. There were many tearful farewells. We and Uncle Jim said good-bye.
The lowering of the lifeboat 70 feet to the sea was perilous. Davits, ropes, nothing worked properly, so that first one end of the lifeboat was tilted up and then far down. I think it was the only time I was scared. Lifeboats pulled some distance away from the sinking Titanic, afraid of what suction might do. As row by row of the porthole lights of the Titanic sank into the sea this was about all one could see. When the Titanic upended to sink, all was blacked out until the tons of machinery crashed to the bow. As this happened hundreds and hundreds of people were thrown into the sea. It isn't likely I shall ever forget the screams of these people as they perished in water said to be 28 degrees.
At this point in my life I was being brought up as a typical British kid. You were not allowed to cry. You were a 'little man.' So as a cool kid I lay down in the bottom of the lifeboat and went to sleep. When I awoke it was broad daylight as we approached the Carpathia. Looking around over the gunwale it seemed to me like the Arctic. Icebergs of huge size ringed the horizon for 360 degrees.'
One of the most moving stories regarding the passengers on the Titanic that Will and Guy have researched is the tale of an elderly wealthy couple, the Straus'.
As it became apparent that no male passengers on the Titanic would be allowed to board the limited lifeboats, Mrs Straus chose to stay by the side of her husband; even though it meant certain death.
Sadly, the couple perished with the ship.
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