ICONIC PHOTOS: THE TITANIC, REMEMBERING 100 YEARS AGO

On April 14, 1912 on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, the RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg at 11:40 pm roughly 375 miles south of Newfoundland. Over the next two and a half hours, the ship gradually filled with water and eventually sank to the bottom of the ocean early morning on April 15, 1912. The sinking of Titanic caused the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

At the time of her maiden voyage she was the largest ship afloat. One of three Olympicclass ocean liners operated by the White Star Line, she was built between 1909–1911 by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. She carried over 2,200 people – 1,316 passengers and about 900 crew. Her passengers included some of the wealthiest people in the world, such as millionnaires John Jacob Astor IV, Benjamin Guggenheim and Isidor Strauss, as well as over a thousand emigrants fromIreland, Scandinavia and elsewhere seeking a new life in America. Designed to be the last word in comfort and luxury, the Titanic had an on-board gymnasium, swimming pool, libraries, high-class restaurants and opulent cabins. She also had a powerful wireless telegraph provided for the convenience of passengers as well as for operational use.

Even though the Titanic had advanced safety features such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, she lacked enough lifeboats to accommodate all of those aboard. Due to outdated maritime safety regulations, she carried only enough lifeboats for 1,178 people which was only a third of her total passenger and crew capacity. As the Titanic sank under the moonlight passengers and some crew members were evacuated in lifeboats, many of which were launched only partly filled. A disproportionate number of men, over 90% of those in Second Class, were left aboard due to a “women and children first” protocol followed by the officers loading the lifeboats. Just before 2:20 am Titanic broke up and sank bow-first with over a thousand people still on board. Those in the water died within minutes from hypothermia caused by immersion in the freezing ocean. The 710 survivors were taken aboard from the lifeboats by the RMS Carpathia a few hours later.

The disaster was greeted with worldwide shock and outrage at the huge loss of life and the regulatory and operational failures that had led to it. Public inquiries in Britain and the United States led tomajor improvements in maritime safety. One of their most important legacies was the establishment in 1914 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which still governs maritime safety today. Many of the survivors lost all of their money and possessions and were left destitute; many families, particularly those of crew members from Southampton, lost their primary bread-winners. They were helped by an outpouring of public sympathy and charitable donations. Some of the male survivors, notably the White Star Line’s chairman, J. Bruce Ismay, were accused of cowardice for leaving the ship while women and children were still on board, and they faced social ostracism.

The wreck of the Titanic remains on the seabed, gradually disintegrating at a depth of 12,415 feet (3,784 m). Since its rediscovery in 1985, thousands of artefacts have been recovered from the sea bed and put on display at museums around the world. Titanic has become one of the most famous ships in history, her memory kept alive by numerous books, films, exhibits and memorials.

Although we now know more or less why she went down, @RealTimeTitanic seeks to do something really unique and show us how it happened from the standpoint of its crew. This is a really cool idea I stumbled across and starting today, their new Twitter handle will be tweeting about everything Titanic related from the last stages of its construction, to her final resting place on the bottom of the North Atlantic. All of the tweets will be written from the perspective of someone who was alive while the events were unfolding. With each tweet tagged with the role of the person supposedly writing it (e.g. #captain, #engineer, etc). Hundreds of photo’s were captured of the Titanic during her construction and during her maiden voyage launch. Commemorating the 100 Year Anniversary next month, here are a few Iconic Photo’s of the RMS Titanic.

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