Remembering the Titanic

100 years ago today the Titanic sunk and over 1513 people lost their lives. I remember studying titanic as a child in primary school and been completly consumed by wanting to learn more about it. I was convinced that my nana was alive then and would tell me storys about the sinking – needless to say she was a little offended as she’s not quite that old!

I dont think theres anything I can say that hasnt been said already, instead here are some accounts from those that survived the sinking. These are the stories that should never be forgotten

Robert W. Daniel

Philadelphia Banker

     “Not until the last five minutes did the awful realization come that the end was at hand. The lights became dim and went out, but we could see. Slowly, ever so slowly, the surface of the water seemed to come towards us. So gradual was it that even after I had adjusted the life jacket about my body it seemed a dream. Deck after deck was submerged. There was no lurching or grinding or crunching. The Titanic simply settled. I was far up on one of the top decks when I jumped. About me were others in the water. My bathrobe floated away, and it was icily cold. I struck out at once. I turned my head, and my first glance took in the people swarming on the Titanic’s deck. Hundreds were standing there helpless to ward off approaching death. I saw Captain Smith on the bridge. My eyes seemingly clung to him. The deck from which I had leapt was immersed. The water had risen slowly, and was now to the floor of the bridge. Then it was to Captain Smith’s waist. I saw him no more. He died a hero. The bows of the ship were far beneath the surface, and to me only the four monster funnels and the two masts were now visible. It was all over in an instant. The Titanic’s stern rose completely out of the water and went up 30, 40, 60 feet into the air. Then, with her body slanting at an angle of 45 degrees, slowly the Titanic slipped out of sight.”

 Mrs. Daniel Warner Marvin

On her honeymoon

     “As I was put into the boat, he cried to me, ‘It’s all right, little girl. You go. I will stay.’ As our boat shoved off he threw me a kiss, and that was the last I saw of him.”

 Alfred White

A greaser in the engine-room

     “I was on the whale deck in the bow calling the watch that was to relieve when the ice first came aboard. The collision opened the seams below the water-line but did not even scratch the paint above the line. I know that because I was one of those who helped to make an examination over the side with a lantern. I went down into the engine-room at 12:40am. We even made coffee, so there was not much thought of danger. An hour later I was still working at the light engines. I heard the chief engineer tell one of his subordinates that number six bulkhead had given way. At that time things began to look bad… I was told to go up and see how things were, and made my way up a dummy funnel to the bridge deck. By that time all the boats had left the ship, yet everyone in the engine-room was at his post. I was near the captain and heard him say, ‘Well boys, it’s every man for himself now.’”

 Marshall Drew

Eight-year-old traveling with his Aunt and Uncle

     “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.”

 Paul Chevre Spoke

French Sculpture

     “When our boat had rowed about half a mile from the vessel the spectacle was quite fairylike, The Titanic, which was fully illuminated was stationary, like some fantastic piece of stage scenery. The night was clear and the sea smooth, but it was intensely cold. Presently the gigantic ship began to sink by the bows, and then those who had remained on board realized the horror of their situation. Suddenly the lights went out and an immense clamor filled the air in one supreme cry for help. Little by little the Titanic settled down, and for three hours cries of anguish were heard. As moments the cries of terror were lulled and we thought it was all over, but the next instant they were renewed in still keener accents. As for is we did nothing but row, row, row to escape from the death cries. In our little boat we were frozen with cold, having left the ship without overcoats or rugs. We shouted from time to time to attract attention, but obtained no reply. A German baron who was with us fired off all the cartridges in his revolver. This agonizing suspense lasted for many hours until at last the Carpathia appeared. We shouted ‘Hurrah!’ and all the boats scattered on the sea made towards her.”

 Lawrence Beesley

English Schoolmaster

     “As I dressed, I heard the order shouted, ‘All the passengers on deck with life belts on.’ We all walked up slowly with the life belts tied on over our clothing, but even then we presumed that this was merely a wise precaution the captain was taking. The ship was absolutely still, and except for the gentle, almost unnoticeable, tilt downwards, there were no visible signs of the approaching disaster. But, in a few moments, we saw the covers being lifted from the boats and the covers being lifted from the boats and the crews allotted to them standing by and uncoiling the ropes, which were to lower them. We then began to realize that it was a more serious matter than we had at first supposed. Presently we heard the order, ‘All men stand back away from the boats. All ladies retire to the next deck below.’ The men all stood away and waited in absolute silence, some leaning against the end railings of the deck, others pacing slowly up and down. The boats were level with the deck where all the women were collected, the women got in quietly, with the exception of some, who refused to leave their husbands. In some cases they were torn from their husbands and pushed into the boats, but in many instances they were allowed to remain, since there was no-one to insist that they should go.”

 Colonel Archibald Gracie

Jumped from the top deck and was sucked down with her

     “After sinking with the ship, it appeared to me as if I was propelled by some great force through the water. This might have been occasioned by explosions under the water, and I remembered fearful stories of people being boiled to death. Again and again I prayed for deliverance, although I felt sure that the end had come. I had the greatest difficulty in holding my breath until I came to the surface. I knew that once I inhaled, the water would suffocate me. When I got under water I struck out with all my strength for the surface. I got to air again after a time, which seemed to me to be unending. There was nothing in sight save the ocean, dotted with ice and strewn with large masses of wreckage. Dying men and women all about me were groaning and crying piteously. By moving from one piece of wreckage to another, at last I reached a cork raft. Soon the raft became so full that it seemed as if she would sink if more came on board her. The crew for self-preservation had therefore to refuse to permit any others to climb aboard. This was the most pathetic and horrible scene of all. The piteous cries of those around us still ring in my ears, and I will remember them to my dying day. ‘hold on to what you have, old boy!’ we shouted to each man who tried to get on board. ‘One more of you would sink us all!’ Many of those whom we refused answered as they went to their death, ‘Good luck – God bless you!’”

 George Brayton

First Class Passenger

     “A number of us who were enjoyed the crisp air were promenading about the deck. Captain Smith was on the bridge when the first cry from the lookout came that there was an iceberg ahead. It may have been 30 feet high when I saw it. It was possibly 200 yards away and dead ahead. Captain Smith shouted some orders… A number of us promenaders rushed to the bow of the ship. When we saw he could no fail to hit it, we rushed to the stern. Then came a crash, and the passengers were panic-stricken.”

  Seaman Thomas Jones

Praised the courage of the Countess of Rothes in lifeboat number eight.

     “I saw the way she was carrying herself and the quiet, determined manner in which she spoke, and I knew she was more of a man than most aboard, so I put her in command at the tiller. There was another woman in the boat who helped, and was every minute rowing. It was she who suggested we should sing, and we sang as we rowed, starting with ‘Pull for the Shore.’ We were still singing when we saw the lights of the Carpathia, and then we stopped singing and prayed.”

All stories can be found here

It’s been 84 years, and I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. Titanic was called the Ship of Dreams, and it was. It really was.

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One thought on “Remembering the Titanic

  1. Pingback: Titanic in numbers « Its Only Erica

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