Today, 12th April 2012, is the centenary of the sinking of the purportedly unsinkable Titanic on her maiden voyage between Southampton, England and New York in America Captain Edward J Smith in charge. Captain Smith went down with his ship.
The largest passenger steamship of her day, RMS Titanic hit an iceberg during the night of 14th April 1912 and sank early the next morning. Of the 2,223 people on board 1,517 people died. The high casualty rate resulting from the sinking was due in part to the fact that the ship carried lifeboats for only 1,178 people.
Representing the last word in luxury, the Titanic had a telephone system, a lending library, a barber shop, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, a squash court, Turkish baths. It had three electric lifts in first class and one in second class, electric lights and two Marconi radios.
Such luxury had attracted some of the most prominent people of the day – John Jacob Astor IV and his wife Madeleine, Benjamin Guggenheim, Margaret “Molly” Brown, Sir Cosmo and Lady Lucy Duff Gordon. Also on board was the White Star Line’s managing director, J. Bruce Ismay, and Titanic’s builder, Thomas Andrews. Ismay survived the disaster and was savaged by the press on both sides of the Atlantic for deserting the ship while women and children were still on board.
Almost immediately attempts were made to find the lost ship but none were successful until September 1985, when a joint American-French expedition located the wreck using sonar technology. The wreck was found at a depth of 2.5 miles (4 km) about 370 miles (600 km) south-east of Mistaken Point, Newfoundland. The ship had split apart with the stern section lying 1,970 feet (600 m) from the bow section. Surrounding the wreck is a large debris field with pieces of the ship, furniture, dinnerware and personal items scattered over 2 square miles (5.2 km2). Approximately 5,500 artefacts have been removed from the wreck, many of which have been put on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. [Wikipedia]
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