History Podcasts

Coroner's Report: Titanic

Coroner's Report: Titanic

When the "unsinkable" ocean liner Titanic was lost after hitting an iceberg on April 15, 1912, lifeboats saved only 700 of her passengers. What did the 1,500 people who went down with the ship experience in the icy waters of the North Atlantic?


As sometimes happens when working with the scientific community, and new technologies are developed, further research reveals that previous findings were incorrect. This is what happened with the Secrets of the Dead episode Titanic’s Ghost.

Additional research performed by the American Armed Forces Identification Laboratory and bio-anthropologist Dr. Ryan Parr, who conducted the initial tests, determined that the remains of the unknown child were those of Sidney Leslie Goodwin and not Eino Panula, as the program concluded.

Joan Allison’s grandmother, Catherine Wallis.

Below are comments from Dr. Parr from interview he gave in 2009 with the producers of Titanic’s Ghost in which explains how and why his conclusion about the identity of the unknown child changed.

The first place we looked for the identity of the unknown child was Gosta Leonard Paulson.

And we were able to rule that possibility out by comparing the DNA signature to a maternal relative.

When we got to Eino Panula, there was a match. Or at least, we couldn’t disallow Eino Panula from the matching process. However, there was a child who was several months older, ninteen months older, that was Sidney Leslie Goodwin, that matched as well.

There was a genetic match between the Panula child, the Goodwin child and the DNA sequence from the unknown child. However you have this other line of evidence…

Some dental experts and some archaeological experts had been looking at the teeth. The three small teeth that had been recovered. Now asking someone to date someone or to age them using three small teeth that had been in the ground for close to ninety years, it’s a pretty big job. But nevertheless, the estimates went all the way from under six months to thirty-six months. Um, two of the investigators that had looked extensively at teeth in archaeological settings had sort of put this limit between six months and fifteen months.

Panula fit within that age range

So in that case of, we had this genetic tie, we broke the tie using the dental evidence,

…and went with the younger child, which seemed appropriate at that particular time.

But nevertheless, I think there was just a general sort of unease in the back of your mind. You always ask yourself, “Have I done everything I could do?” Was the effort good enough? Even though the evidence said that this was indeed Eino Panula, you know, you’re always second-guessing yourself. And at that time, oddly enough, there was the appearance of what I like to refer to as the Northover shoes. Where, um a family in Ontario had brought forth these small pair of shoes that was purportedly associated with the unknown child.

And if you look at the description of this small child that was written by the men on the Mackay-Bennett,

…that description records a pair of brown shoes, which is very consistent with the brown shoes that were donated by the Northover family.

If you look at the shoes, there are indications that this child is older. The Bata Shoes museum out of Toronto analyzed them and stated that these are the shoes of a two-year-old.

And those shoes… …were determined by the Maritime Museum to probably be authentic.

So now, you introduce this possibility that, wow, maybe you aren’t right, you ought to do more.

So really, what you’re trying to do, is you’re trying to match or disassociate three different individuals. The unknown child, the Goodwin child and the Panula child. And when we actually looked further in the DNA characterization,

…we found that there was one subtle difference in our second expanded analyses. And that subtly difference indicated that it was more likely the older child or the Goodwin child, as opposed to the Panula child.

But it was a very small difference. It was only one difference, which isn’t a lot.

At this point, we were fortunate enough to begin a collaboration with the American Armed Forces Identification Laboratory. And they told me that there actually has to be two differences for them to be able to conclude that there actually was a difference between the Goodwin and the Panula family pedigrees. So they took on the project and it was really quite difficult because these pedigrees were really quite close. But they persisted and worked very hard and were able to find one more difference that was consistent with the Goodwin family as opposed to the Panula child.

Now, we found two difference and there is a lot of relief. Because I think all of the obscurity, the nagging, the lingering doubts have just been washed away. So I think that we finally reached a conclusion. And a consensus that this was not Eino Panula, but was actually Sidney Leslie Goodwin.

Sydney’s father, Fredrick Goodwin was the patriarch of the family and he had a brother that was working at the Niagara Falls power plant. And he sent a message over to his brother, to Fredrick, saying, “Hey, you know what? I think there’s probably a job for you in America here, in the new land.” And so Fredrick brought his family over, or intended to. Interestingly enough, they were poor, like most of the, the um, passage trade. And they were booked to sail on a much smaller steamer. But because of the coal strike, they were upgraded to the Titanic.

On April 10, 1912, the largest, most elegant luxury liner in the world set sail from Southampton, England. At 46,000 tons, the Titanic was, at the time, the largest moving object ever built.

On the evening of Sunday, April 14, 1912, three passengers on board the Titanic were anticipating their arrival in America. Catherine Wallis was a 35-year-old widow with four children at home in Southampton, England. As a third-class matron, she tended to the needs of the third-class passengers. Two-year-old Gosta Paulson and his three siblings were traveling from Sweden with their mother, Alma, to meet their father, Nils, in Chicago. Two years earlier, Nils was forced to leave the country in the wake of a coal mining strike. He had since been working as a trolley operator and saving enough money to move his family to the United States. Although born and raised in rural England, Charlie Shorney’s work as the valet for a wealthy family had enabled him to travel. His worldliness spawned an ambitious plan with half the family silver in tow, Shorney was on his way to meet his fiancée Marguerite and start one of the first taxi cab companies in New York City. Inspired by the notion of sailing on the world’s greatest vessel, Shorney had changed his ticket so that he could ride on the Titanic. It was a fatal decision. Titanic was headed directly into an ice field 80 miles long.

At 11:40 p.m., April 14, lookouts spotted an iceberg in the ship’s path, but it was too late. Titanic hit the iceberg and water began to flood into the forward hull. The ship was totally submerged by 2:20 a.m. Catherine, Gosta, and Charlie never made it to America.

More than 1,500 passengers perished when Titanic sank. Two days later, a Canadian salvage ship, the Mackay-Bennett, left port in Halifax, Nova Scotia, sailing 700 nautical miles southeast to the scene of the ocean liner disaster. All in all, the sailors were able to recover over 300 bodies from the water. The sailors numbered each of the bodies, buried some at sea, and brought the rest back to Halifax. Many of the unidentified vctims were buried in graves in Halifax’s Fairview Lawn cemetery.

Among the unidentified victims recovered by the shipmates of the Mackay-Bennett was a young blond boy described in the coroner’s report as being around two years of age. The sailors were so moved by the fate of this unknown child that they arranged a funeral service for the boy and had a headstone placed on his grave, which they dedicated “to the memory of an unknown child.” The little boy’s grave has come to symbolize all the children who perished on the Titanic.

Ninety years later, Catherine Wallis’ granddaughter, Joan Allison, is trying to put her grandmother to rest. Hopeful that her grandmother might have been buried in one of these graves, Allison contacted historian Alan Ruffman. Searching through coroner’s reports in the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, Ruffman identified a victim that fit the description of Catherine Wallis and, with the help of DNA expert Dr. Ryan Parr of Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, sought to solve Joan Allison’s mystery. Inspired by their task, Ruffman and Parr continued working to identify victims of the Titanic. With a little luck, they hoped to pinpoint the resting-places of Gosta Paulson and Charlie Shorney.

Titanic's Unknown Child Given New, Final Identity

Five days after the passenger ship the Titanic sank, the crew of the rescue ship Mackay-Bennett pulled the body of a fair-haired, roughly 2-year-old boy out of the Atlantic Ocean on April 21, 1912. Along with many other victims, his body went to a cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the crew of the Mackay-Bennett had a headstone dedicated to the "unknown child" placed over his grave.

When it sank, the Titanic took the lives of 1,497 of the 2,209 people aboard with it. Some bodies were recovered, but names remained elusive, while others are still missing. But researchers believe that they have finally resolved the identity of the unknown child -- concluding that he was 19-month-old Sidney Leslie Goodwin from England. [Photo of Sidney Goodwin]

Though the unknown child was incorrectly identified twice before, researchers believe they have now conclusively determined the child was Goodwin. After his recovery, he was initially believed to be a 2-year-old Swedish boy, Gösta Leonard Pålsson, who was seen being washed overboard as the ship sank. This boy's mother, Alma Pålsson, was recovered with the tickets for all four of her children in her pocket, and buried in a grave behind the unknown child.

The effort to verify the child's identity using genetics began a little over a decade ago, when Ryan Parr, an adjunct professor at Lakehead University in Ontario who has worked with DNA extracted from ancient human remains, watched some videos about the Titanic.

"I thought 'Wow, I wonder if anyone is interested or still cares about the unidentified victims of the Titanic,'" Parr said.

A name for the unknown child?

In 2001, with permission from the Pålsson family, the unknown child's remains were exhumed from Fairview Lawn Cemetery, one of the Halifax cemeteries where Titanic victims were interred. Parr had hoped to investigate the identities of other victims as well, though decomposition interfered. Two of the coffins held only mud, and only a 2.4-inch-long (6 centimeter) fragment of an arm bone and three teeth remained of the unknown child. But this was enough.

From these remains, Parr and his team extracted DNA from a section of mitochondria (energy-producing centers of the cells) that rapidly accumulates mutations, called HV1. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to offspring, so the team compared the unknown child's DNA sequence with samples from the maternal relatives of the Pålsson child. These didn't match.

They broadened their search to include five other boys under age 3 who had died in the disaster. Alan Ruffman, who became involved in the project as a research associate of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, ultimately tracked down the maternal lines of all six children (including the Pålsson child) with help from genealogists, historians, Titanic researchers, translators, librarians, archivists and members of the families.

By comparing the unknown child's HV1 with these other young Titanic victims, the researchers eliminated all but two of the boys -- Eino Viljami Panula, a 13-month-old Finnish boy, and Sidney Goodwin. [History's Most Overlooked Mysteries]

An expert analysis of the child's teeth put his age somewhere between 9 months and 15 months -- seeming to eliminate Goodwin, who was older. So, the researchers concluded the boy was Panula and, in 2004, published their results.

A second try

But doubts remained. Ultimately, a pair of leather shoes recovered from the unknown child and held in the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic caused the researchers to question the identification.

The shoes had been saved by Clarence Northover, a Halifax police sergeant in 1912, who helped guard the bodies and belongings of the Titanic victims, according to the museum's website. A letter from Northover's grandson, Earle, recounts how the victim's clothing had been burned to stop souvenir hunters. Clarence Northover couldn't bring himself to burn the little shoes, and when no relatives claimed them, he put the shoes in his desk drawer at the police station. In 2002, Earle Northover donated them to the museum. These shoes were too large for a 13-month-old to wear.

Parr and his team attempted the identification again, this time with the help of the U.S. Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory.

They looked at another, less mutation-prone section of the mitochondrial DNA, where they found a single difference that indicated that Goodwin might actually be the unknown child. The Armed Forces lab confirmed this when they found a second, single difference in another section of the DNA.

"Luckily, it was a rare difference, so that is what gives you 98 percent certainty the identification is correct," Parr said.

The loss of a family

Before he died, Sidney Goodwin was traveling on the Titanic with his parents, Frederick and Augusta, and five siblings from England to Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Carol Goodwin, a 77-year-old Wisconsin resident, heard about the ill-fated family from Frederick Goodwin's sisters, one of whom was Carol's grandmother.

"I can't say that it really startled me or amazed me," Carol Goodwin said of the news that the unknown child was her relative. "I guess maybe it had been so long in coming."

As a child, she learned about Frederick Goodwin's family by eavesdropping on conversations between her grandmother and her great aunt.

"They didn't talk about the children that much," Carol Goodwin told LiveScience. "It was their brother who was a favorite brother, how kind he was to them growing up."

Goodwin's interest in family history didn't spark until her 13-year-old granddaughter Becky saw a Titanic exhibit and wrote an essay for school. When her teacher wanted to submit the article to the magazine "Junior Scholastic," Goodwin wanted to check the facts first.

Now Goodwin is working on two books on the subject, a smaller one about the unknown child and a larger book she has titled "The Goodwins Aboard the Titanic: Saga of a Third-Class Family." (The family was traveling third class.) And, in a year, she and her husband plan to take a centennial cruise in memory of the Titanic. [Titanic Versus the Lusitania: Time Determined Who Survived]

On Aug. 6, 2008, relatives of the Goodwin family held a memorial service in Fairview Lawn Cemetery where they now believe Sidney Goodwin was buried under the unknown child's headstone. A cousin read the names of about 50 children who had also perished when the Titanic went down and a bell was rung for each, she said.

A soft, drizzling rain began to fall as the first name was read, and stopped when the list was finished, she recalled. Ultimately, the family left the headstone and the grave as it was.

"The tombstone of the unknown child represents all of the children who perished on the Titanic, and we left it that way," she said.

The remains of the rest of the Goodwins family have never been recovered.

"From those (unidentified bodies) that were buried in Halifax, I have read the coroner's reports for each of them, and nothing fits," she said.

An article describing the genetic analysis that led to the final identification of the unknown child's remains is scheduled to be published in the June 2011 issue of the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics and is already available online.

Edward Thomas Lockyer

Mr Edward Thomas Lockyer was born in Sandhurst, Kent, England on 3 November 1892.

He was the son of Frederick Lockyer (b. 1859) and Jane Masters (b. 1860). His father, a clock and gunsmith, also hailed from Sandhurst and it seems, a long line of watchmakers. He was married to Jane Masters, a native of the village of Northiam in Sussex, in Kent in 1879 and went on to produce fifteen children.

Edward's siblings were: Millicent Martha May (b. 1880), Frederick Charles (b. 1881), Ernest (b. 1883), Herbert John (b. 1884), William b. (1886), Annie (b. 1887), Frank b. (1889), Harry (b. 1890), Edith (b. 1895), Arthur (b. 1896), Ethel (b. 1898), Agnes (b. 1900), Mary (b. 1902) and Sydney James (b. 1904).

In the year prior to Edward's birth his family were listed on the 1891 census living at Angel Cottage, Sandhurst and when Edward first appeared, on the 1901 census, he was resident at the same address and his family would continue to live there, appearing on the 1911 census at that address. Edward was not listed with his family on the latter census and was recorded elsewhere boarding at Wilds Cottage Pound in East Peckham, Kent and he was described as an unmarried assistant grocer and draper. Prior to travelling on the Titanic he had lodgings at 57 Lyall Mews, London.

Edward boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a third class passenger (ticket number 1222 which cost £7, 17s, 7d) and he was travelling to Ontario, Wayne County, New York where he would be reunited with a friend, Mr E. J. Robbins. During the voyage he became acquainted with a large group of similar-aged passengers who included Emily Badman, Sarah Roth, Edward Dorking, Thomas Theobald, and the Goldsmith family.

Edward Lockyer died in the sinking and his body was later recovered by the Mackay Bennett (#153) and buried at sea on 24 April 1912:

NO. 153. - MALE. BROWN - HAIR.

CLOTHING -Blue jacket grey vest black pants black boots.

EFFECTS - Scissors keys silver watch and chain medal marked "F.S.S." R.S.P.C.A. medal glasses two knives 5 studs 8s. in purse.



His father Frederick received his effects in July 1912.

Silver watch and chain,
Medal marked "F.S.S.",
Medal, R.S.P.C.A.,
Two knives,
Five (5) studs, One tie clip,
8 sh. in purse,

His parents also received weekly financial support from the Mansion House Relief Fund and both remained living in Sandhurst. His father Frederick died in 1919 and his mother in 1937.

Survivors' suicides

Now, with the revelation about Quartermaster Robert Hichens, consider this: it can now be said that nearly every member of the Titanic's crew who encountered the iceberg on April 14, 1912, at 11:40 p.m., and who were the most directly responsible for the collision, died, committed suicide, or was suicidal. Under my theory they were all killed in the Titanic disaster.

1. William Murdoch, First Officer - died in sinking, possible suicide.

2. James Moody, Sixth Officer - died in sinking.

3. Frederick Fleet, lookout - committed suicide.

4. Reginald Lee, lookout - survived sinking, later fate unknown.

5. Robert Hichens, Quartermaster - suicidal.

It appears that Joseph Boxhall and Alfred Oliver, were not quite on the bridge at the time of the collision.

Thus, except for Lee, whose fate is unknown, under my "mental illness" theory the Titanic disaster may have entirely killed off the crew who were the most directly responsible for it. And the killing didn't end on April 15, 1912. It persisted for many years.

Does anyone know what happened to Reginald Lee? I know his brother, a steward, went down with the ship, because one passenger in Boat No. 5 saw Lee cover his eyes when Titanic sank. Despite losing his brother, Lee tried to keep Boat No. 5's passengers in good spirits, and continued to encourage them while awaiting Carpathia's rescue.

Scott Blair

According to his grandaughter the
Rev. Pat Thomas he served in WW1
went ashore after it and worked
in and around Southampton.He
told stories about the disaster
to his family. He attended the
Cunard -White Star survivors
annual dinner and died in the
1960,s, apparently quite peacefully.

Source is p123 of Gardiner/ Van der Vat
book The Riddle of the Titanic. I
think it was called the Mystery of
the Titanic in the U.S.A.

No reference is given for this
information in the book.

Jan C. Nielsen

As one of the contributors, above, pointed out: the "mental illness" issue depends on each individual's ability to handle trauma. I think that the incident in Boat No. 5 suggests that Lee had the ability to accept tragedy, and move on. Perhaps this is something the others lacked.

Also, as his Senate testimony indicates, Lee perhaps found that the real fault resided on others', such as the White Star Line officers who failed to provide the crow's nest with binoculars.

Nonetheless, it would be interesting to know if Lee suffered the sort of residual trauma that others like Johan Svensson ("Titanic Johnson") encountered near the end of his life (see his bio on this site).

Heretofore, the instances of suicidal behavior, and death, set forth above, have been mostly random. To me, the high incidence of it among the crew on the bridge and crows nest, however, suggests a link for it to a particular event, i.e., the collision with the ice berg and concomitantly, fault for a horrible disaster.

One of the other contributors, above, suggested a link between suicidal behavior and male passengers who got into lifeboats when women and children were left to die. Certainly, this seems to have troubled, and hounded, Dr. Washington Dodge until he committed suicide in 1919. If you read his speech to the San Francisco Commonwealth Club on May 12, 1912 (see "Links" then "JShomi's pictures" and click under "Community Links"), he tries to explain himself, at length . . . which shows he felt a lot of public pressure and condemnation. Even more telling, newspaper accounts reveal that Dodge cried while he was giving the speech.

Another high profile, public person, Robert Daniel, who apparently made up a lot of stories about having swum around and been rescued from the water, eventually died of cirrhosis of the liver.

Thanks again for your input, and again, my compliments to the people who did the fine ET piece on Robert Hichens.

On rooting about in a Swedish Titanic Family Tree

Dr. Ryan Parr of Genesis Geonomics Inc. at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, and I have been involved in the 'LAST OF THE LOST', a TITANIC palaeo-DNA project, since the Fall of 1999. Dr. Parr is the Principal Investigator of the project. During this time, we have been looking intently at the family trees of the young male victims on board the TITANIC as we have considered the identity of the young male child recovered as Body No. 4 and buried in Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as "An Unknown Child". On May 3, 2002 a
press release from Lakehead University announced that we had established that this male child was not the Swedish child, Gösta Leonard Pålsson, as the earliest records had assumed.

The data now indicates that the "unknown child" is less than one year old, perhaps only six months old. Thus our focus has shifted to male children who were under one year old at the time the TITANIC sank on April 15, 1912. We have been looking at the Danbom infant, Gilbert Sigvard Emanuel Danbom, who was born on November 16, 1911 and who was exactly 5 months old when he became the youngest male victim of the TITANIC tragedy. As well, we have been attempting to detail the Danbom/Brogren family tree in an attempt to locate direct maternal descendents of
the infant's mother, aunts, grandmother, or grandaunts.

The scouring of genealogical data sources has had a side benefit. It appears that the oft-cited marriage date given on the Encyclopedia Titanica website for Ernst Gilbert Danbom (1877-1912) and Anna Sigrid Maria Brogren (1884-1912) is incorrect, as is the commonly-used name "Anna" cited for his wife "Sigrid". The present website entry notes that "He [Ernst Gilbert Danbom] married to Anna on 30 November, 1912."

Data from the "Coroner's" files in Halifax, Nova Scotia

The body of Ernst Gilbert Danbom was recovered by the MACKAY-BENNETT as Body No. 197. The Halifax "Coroner's" first printed list has Danbom's personal effects tabulated as:

"CLOTHING - Black overcoat dark suit white pleated shirt black boots.
EFFECTS - Wedding ring, marked "S. B. T. E. G. D., June 6, '10" gold
watch and chain knife keys opal and ruby ring fountain pen bracelet
ladies watch and chain knife 3 memo books solitaire diamond ring
scissors U. S. A. naturalization papers cheque $1315.79, Security Bank,
Sioux City pocketbook jewel case pin $266.00 in notes $30.00 in gold."

This entry is found in the first printed list of the White Star Line produced within about three days of the arrival of the cable ship MACKAY BENNETT at Coaling Jetty No. 4 within the naval Dockyard of Halifax at about 0930 on Tuesday, April 30, 1912. This list may be cited as:

[White Star Line.] 1912a. Record of Bodies and Effects (Passengers and Crew
S.S. "TITANIC") Recovered by Cable Steamer "Mackay-Bennett"
Including Bodies Buried At Sea And Bodies Delivered At Morgue In
Halifax, N.S. Details Compiled from Records of the "Mackay-Bennett".
Public Archives of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Manuscript Group
100, Volume 229, No. 3d, Accession 1976-191, circa Friday, May 3, dark
purple card covers, initial page entitled, Key to accompanying List
showing how Bodies have been disposed of:, probably printed in
Halifax, Nova Scotia, 76 pp., unpaged, Body No. 1 to 306 inclusive
annotated in red ink below each body's data with burial permit and
cemetery data, and with two extra typed pages added, following a handannotated
page [p. 77] reading '205 permits issued 1912', for the MINIA,
MONTMAGNY and ALGERINE Body Nos. 307 to 324 inclusive, Nos.
326 to 329 inclusive, and No. 330, respectively, titled on p. [78] 'BODIES
PICKED UP BY C.S. MINIA.' (typed), and on p. [79] 'BODIES PICKED
UP BY S.S. MONTMAGNY' (typed) and 'Body Picked up by
Newfoundland Steamer Algerine' (handwritten), respectively.

Very few TITANIC researchers have used the "Coroner's" materials at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. The microfilms made in about 1974 of the collection, and sold by the Archives, are rather difficult to use in that the materials are not always ordered by Body No., and may not be chronologically ordered (microfilm reels 16,595 and 16,596). In later years after Garry Shutlak of the Archives re-ordered the collection by Body No., a second but somewhat poor quality microfilm copy was made by the Church of Latter Day Saints, which the Archives is not permitted to distribute.

Garry Shutlak and I have done a complete inventory of the so-called "Coroner's" files held at the Archives, and the entry for the nine items in the file for Body No. 197 reads:

Data from the "Coroner's" files in Halifax, Nova Scotia (cont.)

Inventory, Catalogue and Index
of the 'Coroner's' TITANIC Files
of Record Group 41, Coroner's and Medical Reports,
Series C, Halifax County Inquest Case Files
Volumes 75, 76 and 76A on TITANIC,
held at
Public Archives of Nova Scotia
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Alan Ruffman and Garry D. Shutlak
copyright © 2000, all rights reserved

Record Group 41, Series C, Volume 76

Body No. 197, Folder No. 197: E.[rnst] Gilbert Danbom
Embarked: Southampton Passenger: '3 third class tickets, No. 3 347080.'
Disposition of body: [The second White Star Line printed list dated May 13,
1912 notes that the body was 'Forwarded to Alfred Danbom, Stanton Ia.[sic = Iowa], May 3rd'.]

[1] Master copy of body and clothing description and inventory of personal effects. The handwritten annotation has 'checked' written vertically in the lefthand margin opposite the typed list of personal effects. The wedding ring engravings are changed from 'S.B. to E.Y.D.' to 'S.B. to E.G.D.' [S.B. is Sigrid Brogen]. The '$266 in notes, 36 dollars in gold' has been altered by a note reading '$276.00 notes instead of 266.00 30. in gold.'. Below the typed text on the left is:

'Ex'd' 'Address - Stanton. Iowa U.S.A.'
'Mr. Alfred Danbom '1st mentioned gold watch
Stanton Iowa U S.A.' & chain not in this bag.
R.A MacLeod [signed]
John H. Barnstead [signed]
N. Power [signed]'

[These three witnesses to the watch and chain not being present are Richard A. MacLeod, Deputy Prothonotary, John H. Barnstead, District Registrar, Births, Marriages and Deaths, and probably Nicholas Power Sr., an ex-policeman and listed in 1912 as a 'private detective'.]

[2] Letter of 'R.W. Beeson, Attorney-At-Law Red Oak, Iowa Rooms 1, 2 and 3 Hysham
Blk. North Side Square' dated May 24, 1912 to the Provincial Secretary enclosing the Letters of Administration of 'Ernest[sic] G. Danbom' and noting 'I had him Mr. Alfred Danbom [a brother, the administrator] write to the White Star Line at New York and they wrote to him, informing him that "when the value of the effects amounts to a sum exceeding $100.00, the property has been retained by the Provincial Secretary at Halifax. To obtain the effects, the executor or administrator of the estate of the passenger should send to the Provincial Secretary at Halifax a court certificate, showing his appointment together with a receipt in duplicate for all effects in the
hands of the Provincial Secretary recovered from the body."'. R.W. Beeson also requested instructions as to 'what is necessary to be done in order to get the effects, if any, that were found upon the person of Ernest G. Danbom.'

Data from the "Coroner's" files in Halifax, Nova Scotia (cont.)

[3] Certified copy of the Letters of Administration for 'Ernest G. Danbom' enclosed in the above letter, dated April 29, 1912 signed by J.M. Halbert, clerk of the District Court of State of Iowa, Montgomery County, Iowa, and certified on May 17, 1912 by the same J.M. Halbert.

[4] Deputy Provincial Secretary (DPS) to R.W. Beeson, dated May 30, 1912 indicating that the effects would be forwarded 'in a few days'.

[5] Unsigned 'Inventory of property found on the body of the late Ernest G. Danbom.' included in the above letter. This list details the contents of the jewel case as 'Case containing pearl sun buvet brooch and silver coinbrooch.' The 'naturalization Paper.' is detailed as 'Passport of the Department of State, Washington, No. 38477.'

[6] DPS to R.W. Beeson, dated June 12, 1912 noting that he is sending the effects and enclosing 'all the effects'. DPS notes that 'The inventory of the effects taken from the body of the late Ernest G. Danbom that was printed by the White Star Line [the first printed list circa May 3, 1912] mentions two watches, but there was only one watch, a lady's gold one, among the effects. The second watch mentioned must have been a repetition at all events two watches were not delivered into the custody of this Department'.

[7] Money Receipt of the Canadian Express Co. at Halifax dated June 13, 1912 sending the personal effects to A. Danbom and valuing them at $1,500.00. [See June 21, 1912 letter of 'Royal Swedish Consul a.i. [E. Lindquist] of Montréal found in the Body No. 165 file wherein he thanks the Deputy Provincial Secretary for a list of the effects found on the body of Ernest G. Danbom.]

[8] Memo from LeB. Coleman of the Canadian Express Co. in Halifax to the Provincial Secretary dated July 3, 1912 stating that the delivery of Danbom's effects was made, and attaching the 'consignee's receipt for same'.

[9] Signed and witnessed Inventory of property stamped 'Council Bluffs, Iowa June 24, 1912'. Signed by 'Alfred Danbom administrator' and witnessed by 'L.W. Shubert' Surveyor of Customs -' and by 'W.A. MacVargan' [or MacTargan] Cashier Am Ex Co.'.

Thus according to item No. [1] in the corrected Halifax Coroner's files, the wedding band has "S.B. to E.G.D." - i.e. "[Anna] Sigrid [Maria] Brogren to Ernst Gilbert Danbom on June 6, 1910." It would appear that "Sigrid" was her commonlyused name, or at least it was her own choice of a first name at the age of almost 26 years when she married in 1910, rather than "Anna", and that the marriage occurred on June 6, 1910, not on November 30, 1910 as currently cited on the Encyclopedia Titanica website. The newly-married Danbom couple was in Sweden for 22 months before they headed back to the United States on the TITANIC. The marriage data of Ernst Gilbert Danbom and Sigrid Brogren was first cited by Claes-Göran Wetterholm in his 1988 book 'Titanic' published in Swedish, and repeated in the 1996 edition, as "30/11/1910 gifte han sig med Anna Sigrid Brogren . " which translated into English is "30 November 1910 married to Anna Sigrid Brogren". Wetterholm then uses "Anna" throughout his book for "Sigrid", especially in his
Swedish third class compilation at the back of his volume. It would appear that if there is ever a new edition of Wetterholm's book, the Danbom marriage date should be changed to June 6, 1910, and her common first name perhaps should be "Sigrid" rather than "Anna". The absolute proof would be to find the couple's marriage certificate which should be in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., according to the Encyclopedia Titanica website, or possibly in Stanton, Iowa, which is something that I have not yet done. So perhaps I am open to error? One suspects that Ernst Gilbert Danbom and his wife may well have registered their marriage in their families' home parishes (pastorsexpeditionen) of Horn or Kisa in southern Östergötland lån during their year-long visit back to Sweden?

Encyclopedia Titanica. 2002 Third Class Passenger Ernst Gilbert Danbom.
accessed 17:17:54 April 2, 2002.
Wetterholm, Claes-Göran. 1988. TITANIC. First Edition, Båtdokumentationsgruppen
HB, Skårham, Sweden (in Swedish), 296 pp. Second Edition, 1966, Bokförlaget
Rabén Prisma, Stockholm, Sweden (in Swedish), 320 pp.

Titanic Shoes

This pair of leather children’s shoes (Accession Number: M2005.4.1 A+B ) is believed to be from Body No. 4, the “Unknown Child”. This very young boy, recovered by the crew of Mackay-Bennett, was buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax.

Oral History

Clarence Northover, a Halifax Police Department Sergeant in 1912, helped guard the bodies and belongings of the Titanic victims.

“Clothing was burned to stop souvenir hunters but he was too emotional when he saw the little pair of brown, leather shoes about fourteen centimeters long, and didn’t have the heart to burn them. When no relatives came to claim the shoes, he placed them in his desk drawer at the police station and there they remained for the next six years, until he retired in 1918.”

Excerpt from July 26, 2002 letter by Earle Northover, grandson of Clarence Northover.

Documentary Research

Research confirmed the role of the Halifax Police in guarding the bodies and belongings of the Titanic victims and Halifax Police Department records, along with City Directory records, confirm Clarence Northover was a Sergeant in 1912.
“. under the closest police supervision were nearly 200 little piles of clothing neatly tied up by the ship’s company on the Mackay-Bennett.”
Halifax Herald, Wednesday, May 1st 1912.

The Coroner’s Report

The coroner’s report for Body No. 4, a boy approximately 2 years old, the only baby recovered. The description includes a pair of “brown shoes”. It is important to note that there are no records of the recovery of loose clothing from the water which was not associated with bodies.
NO. 4. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 2. - HAIR, FAIR. CLOTHING - Grey coat with fur on collar and cuffs brown serge frock Brown Petticoat flannel garment pink woollen singlet brown shoes and stockings.
Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, RG 41 Vol.75

Footwear Research

Research through period catalogues and consultation with clothing and footwear museums shows that the style of the shoes are appropriate for the period, roughly 1900 - 1925, and are likely English in manufacture. Science Chemical tests were made to look for traces of seawater and an electron scanning microscope was used to search for saltwater diatoms but the results were inconclusive. The testing found large amounts of salt on the shoes, but the trace elements did not exactly match the proportions in sea water. The testing lab suggested that the chemical components may have been distorted by salts in the tanned leather, by washing or by abrasion. Titanic Shoes Return To Halifax Clarence Northover moved to Ontario when he retired as Deputy Chief in 1919. In 2002, his grandson Earle Northover decided the shoes belonged back in Halifax and donated them to the Museum.

The Titanic, One Century Later

To Whom Belongs The Tiny Pair Of Shoes?

One of the enduring mysteries surrounding the sinking of RMS Titanic 100 years ago concerns a tiny pair of shoes retrieved from the remains of a toddler.

The child’s body was found floating face up without a life jacket in the icy North Atlantic five days after Titanic struck an iceberg and sank more than 700 miles from the Nova Scotia coast at approximately 2:20am on April 15, 1912.

Of the 2,200 people aboard, more than 1,500 perished in horrifying conditions. Only 300 bodies were pulled from the water, including the one of a small boy, who became known as the “Unknown Child” and who was later buried in Halifax’s Fairview Lawn cemetery.

His identity remained a sorrowful mystery until 2002, when scientists using the latest DNA technology and dental analysis concluded the exhumed remains were that of Eino Viljami Panula of Finland, who was only 13 months old when he died at sea.

However, even the best technology can fail, as demonstrated by the Titanic tragedy.

Two years after the official announcement of the child’s presumed identity, a family from Ontario gave a pair of small brown shoes to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, contending they belonged to the boy.

Maritime Museum, Halifax-Pair of Shoes of the Unknown Child

The family told the curators at the Museum that their grandfather, Sargent Clarence Northover of Halifax police, had been responsible for guarding the bodies recovered after the Titanic disaster.

They related that their grandfather had told them that the victims’ families had asked that all clothing belonging to the victims should be burned. But he could not bring himself to eliminate the child’s shoes. He saved them in a drawer in his desk and wrote on the bottom: “Shoes of the only baby found. SS Titanic 1912.”

The museum’s curator of marine history, Dan Conlin, confirmed the story through a check of city records.

The shoes were too big for a 13-month-old.

“That made the DNA team wonder about their first conclusion,” Conlin said in an interview.

Furthermore, consultation with clothing and footwear experts revealed that the shoes were manufactured in Britain, not Finland and the coroner’s report included a description of the shoes worn by the child, known then as Body No. 4, which matched the museum’s latest artifact.

Another round of more advanced genetic testing and DNA analysis was conducted on the samples exhumed in 2001. Live Science reported that the newer test gave: 󈭒 percent certainty the identification is correct”.

“It wasn’t the Finnish boy,” says Conlin. “It was an English boy … He fit the shoes, quite literally.”

His name was Sidney Leslie Goodwin. He was 19 months old when he perished in the sinking.

His shoes are now part of the Halifax Maritime Museum’s permanent display.

“A lot of visitors find them very moving,” says Conlin. “It’s one of our most compelling objects from the Titanic … The fact there was once a small person in those shoes really tugs at the heartstrings for a lot of people.”

The youngest of a family of eight who all died in the disaster, Sidney Goodwin was a third-class passenger traveling with his parents and five siblings from England to New York on the Titanic’s maiden voyage.

The boy’s father, Fred Goodwin, an electrician, sought out a better life by moving to Niagara Falls, N.Y., where he had secured a job at a hydroelectric generating station.

Reflecting on this moving story, Conlin warns about the limits of technology:

“Technology can often surprise us and not do the things we expect it to do,” he says. “It’s worth keeping in mind that this is a story about the fallibility of science and engineering.”

Incredible photos of Titanic’s last lifeboat show rotting bodies one month after the disaster and 200 miles away

WITH a groan of tortured metal and the screams of the remaining passengers still clinging to her hull, Titanic sank beneath the waves and the last unlaunched canvas lifeboat was washed from her deck into the foaming, whirlpool of freezing water.

Third class passenger Edvard Lindell, floundering in the maelstrom, struck out desperately in the direction of the half-submerged craft and managed to drag himself aboard but wife Gerda, already exhausted by the numbingly-cold water, did not have the strength to clamber into the swamped Collapsible Lifeboat A.

Like a scene from James Cameron’s Titanic movie, she held on for as long as she could but, as she finally lost her grip and sunk beneath the waves, all husband Edvard had left grasped in his hand was the wedding ring that had slipped from her finger.

Edvard did not last much longer himself and, having succumbed to the cold, his fellow survivors pushed his body overboard to lighten the load in the stricken vessel until the few that were still alive hours later were rescued and Collapsible Lifeboat A was abandoned to drift off into the Atlantic.

Now, 104 years later, photos and eye-witness testimony have emerged of the dramatic moment, a month later, when the ghost lifeboat was spotted by another White Star Line ship, RMS Oceanic, floating 200 miles away, still with three bodies in it.

Whitened by the chill wind and salt spray, two dead Titanic firemen lay prone in the water-logged wreck.

Beside them was the corpse of first class passenger Thomson Beattie, 37, still in his dinner suit and, in the bottom of the boat, a gold wedding ring inscribed ‘Edvard to Gerda’.

The long-hidden account of the recovery has come to light because the photos and gruesome testimony of the discovery, and of the reburial at sea of the decomposed bodies, are being put up for sale on Saturday, St George’s Day, by auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes, Wiltshire.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: “These are three first generation photographs of the recovery of Titanic’s last lifeboat.

“Accompanying them is a very graphic handwritten description by a passenger of the condition of those on board and the recovery operation.

The first grainy black and white photo shows six Oceanic crew members being lowered on a tender while a second picture shows them rowing towards the abandoned lifeboat in the distance.

The third snap shows two Oceanic seamen stood on the wooden base of Titanic’s Collapsible lifeboat A, still with its canvas sides down and still partially submerged in the water.

Sadly it is not know who the Oceanic passenger was who wrote the ghoullish accompanying statement, but on May 13th, 1912, he wrote: "I crossed the Atlantic one month after the Titanic catastrophe. We picked up one of the lifeboats with two n****r-like unrecognisable corpses of a passenger in evening dress and two firemen, wedged below the seats.

“The arms came off in the hands of the Oceanic boarding officer.

“The bodies were buried and the prayer service read. The lifeboat then hauled on to our deck when I cut this piece out of the boat covering.”

Shoe-maker Edvard Lindell, 36, and wife Gerda, 30, from Helsingborg, Sweden, were emigrating to the USA, bound for Connecticut, when they boarded Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers.

As the ship sank, they struggled with fellow Swedes August Wennerstrom and Gunnar Tenglin to climb up the sloping deck towards the stern until it became too steep and they slid back down towards the officers’ quarters where the only two unlaunched lifeboats - Collapsible boats A and B - were situated.

As Lifeboat A was washed off the deck, so were they and Edvard and Wennerstrom climbed into it. It was Wennerstrom who tried to help Gerda into the boat but he did not have the strength to do it and she perished.

He said later: “Edvard’s hair turned all grey in lesser time than 30 minutes,” and he died soon after. Neither his nor Gerda’s bodies were ever found and Gerda’s father Nils Persson was eventually given his daughter’s wedding ring, but only after he had shown proof of his right to have it.

Around 30 people had desperately climbed aboard the lifeboat but many had perished and just 13 were eventually rescued alive.

Thomson Beattie was a Canadian land owner and successful businessman who had gone to Europe with two friends for a holiday but, exhausted, they had decided to return.

He wrote to his mother in Ontario three days before they boarded Titanic at Southampton: “We are changing ships and coming home in a new, unsinkable boat.”

He paid £75 4s 10d for first class cabin C-6 which he shared with his friend Thomas McCaffry, and when Titanic slipped beneath the water he had been on the roof near to the officers’ quarters and managed to climb into Collapsible Lifeboat A after he and it were washed overboard, but he died from exposure.

A Canadian newspaper, four days after the grisly discovery of the drifting raft, ran the headline: ‘Tooth marks on cork and collapsible lifeboat tell grim tale - Liner found three.’

It went on to report: “Two of the bodies were secured to thwarts by pieces of chains. The body of a cabin passenger was identified by the clothing as that of Thomson Beattie. The other two were members of the crew.”

Sir Shane Leslie, who had been aboard the RMS Oceanic when the lifeboat was found, recalled: “The sea was calm at noon when the watch called out that something could be seen floating ahead. The ship slowed down and it was apparent that the object was an open ship’s lifeboat floating in mid-Atlantic.

“What was horrifying is that it contained three prostate figures. Orders from the bridge dispatched a lifeboat with an officer and a medical officer.

“What followed was ghastly. Two sailors could be seen, their hair bleached by exposure to sun and salt, and a third figure, wearing evening dress, flat on the benches.

“All three were dead and the bodies had been tossing on the Atlantic swell under the open sky ever since it had seen the greatest of ocean liners sink.

“The three bodies were sewn into canvas bags with a steel bar at the end of each. Then one after the other the bodies were draped in the Union Jack, the burial services was read, and they splashed into the sea.”

In a final, ironic twist, it turned out that Beattie’s body was buried at sea on his mother’s birthday, almost at the exact spot in the Atlantic where she had been born 82 years previously on a ship bound for Canada.


The name Titanic derives from the Titans of Greek mythology. Built in Belfast, Ireland, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the RMS Titanic was the second of the three Olympic-class ocean liners—the first was the RMS Olympic and the third was the HMHS Britannic. [13] Britannic was originally to be called Gigantic and was to be over 1,000 feet (300 m) long. [14] They were by far the largest vessels of the British shipping company White Star Line's fleet, which comprised 29 steamers and tenders in 1912. [15] The three ships had their genesis in a discussion in mid-1907 between the White Star Line's chairman, J. Bruce Ismay, and the American financier J. P. Morgan, who controlled the White Star Line's parent corporation, the International Mercantile Marine Co. (IMM).

The White Star Line faced an increasing challenge from its main rivals Cunard, which had recently launched the Lusitania and the Mauretania—the fastest passenger ships then in service—and the German lines Hamburg America and Norddeutscher Lloyd. Ismay preferred to compete on size rather than speed and proposed to commission a new class of liners that would be larger than anything that had gone before as well as being the last word in comfort and luxury. [16] The company sought an upgrade in their fleet primarily in response to the Cunard giants but also to replace their oldest pair of passenger ships still in service, being the SS Teutonic of 1889 and SS Majestic of 1890. Teutonic was replaced by Olympic while Majestic was replaced by Titanic. Majestic would be brought back into her old spot on White Star Line's New York service after Titanic 's loss. [17]

The ships were constructed by the Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff, who had a long-established relationship with the White Star Line dating back to 1867. [18] Harland and Wolff were given a great deal of latitude in designing ships for the White Star Line the usual approach was for the latter to sketch out a general concept which the former would take away and turn into a ship design. Cost considerations were relatively low on the agenda and Harland and Wolff was authorised to spend what it needed on the ships, plus a five percent profit margin. [18] In the case of the Olympic-class ships, a cost of £3 million (approximately £310 million in 2019) for the first two ships was agreed plus "extras to contract" and the usual five percent fee. [19]

Harland and Wolff put their leading designers to work designing the Olympic-class vessels. The design was overseen by Lord Pirrie, a director of both Harland and Wolff and the White Star Line naval architect Thomas Andrews, the managing director of Harland and Wolff's design department Edward Wilding, Andrews' deputy and responsible for calculating the ship's design, stability and trim and Alexander Carlisle, the shipyard's chief draughtsman and general manager. [20] Carlisle's responsibilities included the decorations, equipment and all general arrangements, including the implementation of an efficient lifeboat davit design. [b]

On 29 July 1908, Harland and Wolff presented the drawings to J. Bruce Ismay and other White Star Line executives. Ismay approved the design and signed three "letters of agreement" two days later, authorising the start of construction. [23] At this point the first ship—which was later to become Olympic—had no name, but was referred to simply as "Number 400", as it was Harland and Wolff's four hundredth hull. Titanic was based on a revised version of the same design and was given the number 401. [24]

Titanic was 882 feet 9 inches (269.06 m) long with a maximum breadth of 92 feet 6 inches (28.19 m). Her total height, measured from the base of the keel to the top of the bridge, was 104 feet (32 m). [25] She measured 46,328 gross register tons and with a draught of 34 feet 7 inches (10.54 m), she displaced 52,310 tons. [26]

All three of the Olympic-class ships had ten decks (excluding the top of the officers' quarters), eight of which were for passenger use. From top to bottom, the decks were:

  • The Boat Deck, on which the lifeboats were housed. It was from here during the early hours of 15 April 1912 that Titanic ' s lifeboats were lowered into the North Atlantic. The bridge and wheelhouse were at the forward end, in front of the captain's and officers' quarters. The bridge stood 8 feet (2.4 m) above the deck, extending out to either side so that the ship could be controlled while docking. The wheelhouse stood within the bridge. The entrance to the First Class Grand Staircase and gymnasium were located midships along with the raised roof of the First Class lounge, while at the rear of the deck were the roof of the First Class smoke room and the relatively modest Second Class entrance. The wood-covered deck was divided into four segregated promenades: for officers, First Class passengers, engineers, and Second Class passengers respectively. Lifeboats lined the side of the deck except in the First Class area, where there was a gap so that the view would not be spoiled. [27][28]
  • A Deck, also called the Promenade Deck, extended along the entire 546 feet (166 m) length of the superstructure. It was reserved exclusively for First Class passengers and contained First Class cabins, the First Class lounge, smoke room, reading and writing rooms and Palm Court. [27]
  • B Deck, the Bridge Deck, was the top weight-bearing deck and the uppermost level of the hull. More First Class passenger accommodations were located here with six palatial staterooms (cabins) featuring their own private promenades. On Titanic, the À La Carte Restaurant and the Café Parisien provided luxury dining facilities to First Class passengers. Both were run by subcontracted chefs and their staff all were lost in the disaster. The Second Class smoking room and entrance hall were both located on this deck. The raised forecastle of the ship was forward of the Bridge Deck, accommodating Number 1 hatch (the main hatch through to the cargo holds), numerous pieces of machinery and the anchor housings. [c] Aft of the Bridge Deck was the raised Poop Deck, 106 feet (32 m) long, used as a promenade by Third Class passengers. It was where many of Titanic ' s passengers and crew made their last stand as the ship sank. The forecastle and Poop Deck were separated from the Bridge Deck by well decks. [29][30]
  • C Deck, the Shelter Deck, was the highest deck to run uninterrupted from stem to stern. It included both well decks the aft one served as part of the Third Class promenade. Crew cabins were housed below the forecastle and Third Class public rooms were housed below the Poop Deck. In between were the majority of First Class cabins and the Second Class library. [29][31]
  • D Deck, the Saloon Deck, was dominated by three large public rooms—the First Class Reception Room, the First Class Dining Saloon and the Second Class Dining Saloon. An open space was provided for Third Class passengers. First, Second and Third Class passengers had cabins on this deck, with berths for firemen located in the bow. It was the highest level reached by the ship's watertight bulkheads (though only by eight of the fifteen bulkheads). [29][32]
  • E Deck, the Upper Deck, was predominantly used for passenger accommodation for all three classes plus berths for cooks, seamen, stewards and trimmers. Along its length ran a long passageway nicknamed Scotland Road, in reference to a famous street in Liverpool. Scotland Road was used by Third Class passengers and crew members. [29][33]
  • F Deck, the Middle Deck, was the last complete deck and mainly accommodated Second and Third Class passengers and several departments of the crew. The Third Class dining saloon was located here, as were the swimming pool, Turkish bath and kennels. [29][33][34]
  • G Deck, the Lower Deck, was the lowest complete deck that carried passengers, and had the lowest portholes, just above the waterline. The squash court was located here along with the travelling post office where letters and parcels were sorted ready for delivery when the ship docked. Food was also stored here. The deck was interrupted at several points by orlop (partial) decks over the boiler, engine and turbine rooms. [29][35]
  • The Orlop Decks and the Tank Top below that were on the lowest level of the ship, below the waterline. The orlop decks were used as cargo spaces, while the Tank Top—the inner bottom of the ship's hull—provided the platform on which the ship's boilers, engines, turbines and electrical generators were housed. This area of the ship was occupied by the engine and boiler rooms, areas which passengers would have been prohibited from seeing. They were connected with higher levels of the ship by flights of stairs twin spiral stairways near the bow provided access up to D Deck. [29][35]


Titanic was equipped with three main engines—two reciprocating four-cylinder, triple-expansion steam engines and one centrally placed low-pressure Parsons turbine—each driving a propeller. The two reciprocating engines had a combined output of 30,000 horsepower (22,000 kW). The output of the steam turbine was 16,000 horsepower (12,000 kW). [25] The White Star Line had used the same combination of engines on an earlier liner, the SS Laurentic, where it had been a great success. [38] It provided a good combination of performance and speed reciprocating engines by themselves were not powerful enough to propel an Olympic-class liner at the desired speeds, while turbines were sufficiently powerful but caused uncomfortable vibrations, a problem that affected the all-turbine Cunard liners Lusitania and Mauretania. [39] By combining reciprocating engines with a turbine, fuel usage could be reduced and motive power increased, while using the same amount of steam. [40]

The two reciprocating engines were each 63 feet (19 m) long and weighed 720 tons, with their bedplates contributing a further 195 tons. [39] They were powered by steam produced in 29 boilers, 24 of which were double-ended and five single-ended, which contained a total of 159 furnaces. [41] The boilers were 15 feet 9 inches (4.80 m) in diameter and 20 feet (6.1 m) long, each weighing 91.5 tons and capable of holding 48.5 tons of water. [42]

They were heated by burning coal, 6,611 tons of which could be carried in Titanic ' s bunkers, with a further 1,092 tons in Hold 3. The furnaces required over 600 tons of coal a day to be shovelled into them by hand, requiring the services of 176 firemen working around the clock. [43] 100 tons of ash a day had to be disposed of by ejecting it into the sea. [44] The work was relentless, dirty and dangerous, and although firemen were paid relatively generously, [43] there was a high suicide rate among those who worked in that capacity. [45]

Exhaust steam leaving the reciprocating engines was fed into the turbine, which was situated aft. From there it passed into a surface condenser, to increase the efficiency of the turbine and so that the steam could be condensed back into water and reused. [46] The engines were attached directly to long shafts which drove the propellers. There were three, one for each engine the outer (or wing) propellers were the largest, each carrying three blades of manganese-bronze alloy with a total diameter of 23.5 feet (7.2 m). [42] The middle propeller was slightly smaller at 17 feet (5.2 m) in diameter, [47] and could be stopped but not reversed.

Titanic ' s electrical plant was capable of producing more power than an average city power station of the time. [48] Immediately aft of the turbine engine were four 400 kW steam-driven electric generators, used to provide electrical power to the ship, plus two 30 kW auxiliary generators for emergency use. [49] Their location in the stern of the ship meant they remained operational until the last few minutes before the ship sank. [50]

Titanic lacked a searchlight in accordance with the ban on the use of searchlights in the merchant navy. [51] [52]


Compartments and funnels

The interiors of the Olympic-class ships were subdivided into 16 primary compartments divided by 15 bulkheads that extended above the waterline. Eleven vertically closing watertight doors could seal off the compartments in the event of an emergency. [53] The ship's exposed decking was made of pine and teak, while interior ceilings were covered in painted granulated cork to combat condensation. [54] Standing above the decks were four funnels, each painted buff with black tops only three were functional—the aftmost one was a dummy, installed for aesthetic purposes and kitchen ventilation. Two masts, each 155 ft (47 m) high, supported derricks for working cargo.

Rudder and steering engines

Titanic ' s rudder was so large—at 78 feet 8 inches (23.98 m) high and 15 feet 3 inches (4.65 m) long, weighing over 100 tons—that it required steering engines to move it. Two steam-powered steering engines were installed, though only one was used at any one time, with the other one kept in reserve. They were connected to the short tiller through stiff springs, to isolate the steering engines from any shocks in heavy seas or during fast changes of direction. [55] As a last resort, the tiller could be moved by ropes connected to two steam capstans. [56] The capstans were also used to raise and lower the ship's five anchors (one port, one starboard, one in the centreline and two kedging anchors). [56]

Water, ventilation and heating

The ship was equipped with her own waterworks, capable of heating and pumping water to all parts of the vessel via a complex network of pipes and valves. The main water supply was taken aboard while Titanic was in port, but in an emergency, the ship could also distil fresh water from seawater, though this was not a straightforward process as the distillation plant quickly became clogged by salt deposits. A network of insulated ducts conveyed warm air, driven by electric fans, around the ship, and First Class cabins were fitted with additional electric heaters. [48]

Radio communications

Titanic 's radiotelegraph equipment (then known as wireless telegraphy) was leased to the White Star Line by the Marconi International Marine Communication Company, which also supplied two of its employees, Jack Phillips and Harold Bride, as operators. The service maintained a 24-hour schedule, primarily sending and receiving passenger telegrams, but also handling navigation messages including weather reports and ice warnings. [57] [58] [6]

The radio room was located on the Boat Deck, in the officers' quarters. A soundproofed "Silent Room", next to the operating room, housed loud equipment, including the transmitter and a motor-generator used for producing alternating currents. The operators' living quarters were adjacent to the working office. The ship was equipped with a 'state of the art' 5 kilowatt rotary spark-gap transmitter, operating under the radio callsign MGY, and communication was conducted in Morse code. This transmitter was one of the first Marconi installations to use a rotary spark-gap, which gave Titanic a distinctive musical tone that could be readily distinguished from other signals. The transmitter was one of the most powerful in the world and guaranteed to broadcast over a radius of 350 miles (563 km). An elevated T-antenna that spanned the length of the ship was used for transmitting and receiving. The normal operating frequency was 500 kHz (600 m wavelength) however, the equipment could also operate on the "short" wavelength of 1,000 kHz (300 m wavelength) that was employed by smaller vessels with shorter antennas. [59]

Passenger facilities

The passenger facilities aboard Titanic aimed to meet the highest standards of luxury. According to Titanic ' s general arrangement plans, the ship could accommodate 833 First Class Passengers, 614 in Second Class and 1,006 in Third Class, for a total passenger capacity of 2,453. In addition, her capacity for crew members exceeded 900, as most documents of her original configuration have stated that her full carrying capacity for both passengers and crew was approximately 3,547. Her interior design was a departure from that of other passenger liners, which had typically been decorated in the rather heavy style of a manor house or an English country house. [60]

Titanic was laid out in a much lighter style similar to that of contemporary high-class hotels—the Ritz Hotel was a reference point—with First Class cabins finished in the Empire style. [60] A variety of other decorative styles, ranging from the Renaissance to Louis XV, were used to decorate cabins and public rooms in First and Second Class areas of the ship. The aim was to convey an impression that the passengers were in a floating hotel rather than a ship as one passenger recalled, on entering the ship's interior a passenger would "at once lose the feeling that we are on board ship, and seem instead to be entering the hall of some great house on shore". [61]

Among the more novel features available to first-class passengers was a 7 ft (2.1 m) deep saltwater swimming pool, a gymnasium, a squash court, and a Turkish bath which comprised electric bath, steam room, cool room, massage room, and hot room. [61] First-class common rooms were impressive in scope and lavishly decorated. They included a Lounge in the style of the Palace of Versailles, an enormous Reception Room, a men's Smoking Room, and a Reading and Writing Room. There was an À la Carte Restaurant in the style of the Ritz Hotel which was run as a concession by the famous Italian restaurateur Gaspare Gatti. [62] A Café Parisien decorated in the style of a French sidewalk café, complete with ivy-covered trellises and wicker furniture, was run as an annex to the restaurant. For an extra cost, first-class passengers could enjoy the finest French haute cuisine in the most luxurious of surroundings. [63] There was also a Verandah Café where tea and light refreshments were served, that offered grand views of the ocean. At 114 ft (35 m) long by 92 ft (28 m) wide, the Dining Saloon on D Deck, designed by Charles Fitzroy Doll, was the largest room afloat and could seat almost 600 passengers at a time. [64]

The Forward First Class Grand Staircase of Titanic's sister ship RMS Olympic. Titanic's staircase would have looked nearly identical. No known photos of Titanic's staircase exist.

The gymnasium on the Boat Deck, which was equipped with the latest exercise machines

The Á La Carte restaurant on B Deck, run as a concession by Italian-born chef Gaspare Gatti

The 1st-Class Lounge of the RMS Olympic, Titanic ' s sister ship

The 1st-Class Turkish Baths, located along the Starboard side of F-Deck

Third Class (commonly referred to as Steerage) accommodations aboard Titanic were not as luxurious as First or Second Class, but even so, were better than on many other ships of the time. They reflected the improved standards which the White Star Line had adopted for trans-Atlantic immigrant and lower-class travel. On most other North Atlantic passenger ships at the time, Third Class accommodations consisted of little more than open dormitories in the forward end of the vessels, in which hundreds of people were confined, often without adequate food or toilet facilities.

The White Star Line had long since broken that mould. As seen aboard Titanic, all White Star Line passenger ships divided their Third Class accommodations into two sections, always at opposite ends of the vessel from one another. The established arrangement was that single men were quartered in the forward areas, while single women, married couples and families were quartered aft. In addition, while other ships provided only open berth sleeping arrangements, White Star Line vessels provided their Third Class passengers with private, small but comfortable cabins capable of accommodating two, four, six, eight and ten passengers. [65]

Third Class accommodations also included their own dining rooms, as well as public gathering areas including adequate open deck space, which aboard Titanic comprised the Poop Deck at the stern, the forward and aft well decks, and a large open space on D Deck which could be used as a social hall. This was supplemented by the addition of a smoking room for men and a General Room on C Deck which women could use for reading and writing. Although they were not as glamorous in design as spaces seen in upper-class accommodations, they were still far above average for the period.

Leisure facilities were provided for all three classes to pass the time. As well as making use of the indoor amenities such as the library, smoking rooms, and gymnasium, it was also customary for passengers to socialise on the open deck, promenading or relaxing in hired deck chairs or wooden benches. A passenger list was published before the sailing to inform the public which members of the great and good were on board, and it was not uncommon for ambitious mothers to use the list to identify rich bachelors to whom they could introduce their marriageable daughters during the voyage. [66]

One of Titanic ' s most distinctive features was her First Class staircase, known as the Grand Staircase or Grand Stairway. Built of solid English oak with a sweeping curve, the staircase descended through seven decks of the ship, between the Boat Deck to E deck, before terminating in a simplified single flight on F Deck. [67] It was capped with a dome of wrought iron and glass that admitted natural light to the stairwell. Each landing off the staircase gave access to ornate entrance halls paneled in the William & Mary style and lit by ormolu and crystal light fixtures. [68]

At the uppermost landing was a large carved wooden panel containing a clock, with figures of "Honour and Glory Crowning Time" flanking the clock face. [67] The Grand Staircase was destroyed during the sinking and is now just a void in the ship which modern explorers have used to access the lower decks. [69] During the filming of James Cameron's Titanic in 1997, his replica of the Grand Staircase was ripped from its foundations by the force of the inrushing water on the set. It has been suggested that during the real event, the entire Grand Staircase was ejected upwards through the dome. [70]

Mail and cargo

Although Titanic was primarily a passenger liner, she also carried a substantial amount of cargo. Her designation as a Royal Mail Ship (RMS) indicated that she carried mail under contract with the Royal Mail (and also for the United States Post Office Department). For the storage of letters, parcels and specie (bullion, coins and other valuables), 26,800 cubic feet (760 m 3 ) of space in her holds was allocated. The Sea Post Office on G Deck was manned by five postal clerks three Americans and two Britons, who worked 13 hours a day, seven days a week sorting up to 60,000 items daily. [72]

The ship's passengers brought with them a huge amount of baggage another 19,455 cubic feet (550.9 m 3 ) was taken up by first- and second-class baggage. In addition, there was a considerable quantity of regular cargo, ranging from furniture to foodstuffs, and a 1912 Renault Type CE Coupe de Ville motor car. [73] Despite later myths, the cargo on Titanic ' s maiden voyage was fairly mundane there was no gold, exotic minerals or diamonds, and one of the more famous items lost in the shipwreck, a jewelled copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, was valued at only £405 (£40,400 today). [74] According to the claims for compensation filed with Commissioner Gilchrist, following the conclusion of the Senate Inquiry, the single most highly valued item of luggage or cargo was a large neoclassical oil painting entitled La Circassienne au Bain by French artist Merry-Joseph Blondel. The painting's owner, first-class passenger Mauritz Håkan Björnström-Steffansson, filed a claim for $100,000 ($2.4 million equivalent in 2014) in compensation for the loss of the artwork. [71]

Titanic was equipped with eight electric cranes, four electric winches and three steam winches to lift cargo and baggage in and out of the holds. It is estimated that the ship used some 415 tons of coal whilst in Southampton, simply generating steam to operate the cargo winches and provide heat and light. [75]


Like Olympic, Titanic carried a total of 20 lifeboats: 14 standard wooden Harland and Wolff lifeboats with a capacity of 65 people each and four Engelhardt "collapsible" (wooden bottom, collapsible canvas sides) lifeboats (identified as A to D) with a capacity of 47 people each. In addition, she had two emergency cutters with a capacity of 40 people each. [76] [f] Olympic carried at least two collapsible boats on either side of her number one funnel. [77] [78] All of the lifeboats were stowed securely on the boat deck and, except for collapsible lifeboats A and B, connected to davits by ropes. Those on the starboard side were odd-numbered 1–15 from bow to stern, while those on the port side were even-numbered 2–16 from bow to stern. [79]

Both cutters were kept swung out, hanging from the davits, ready for immediate use, while collapsible lifeboats C and D were stowed on the boat deck (connected to davits) immediately inboard of boats 1 and 2 respectively. A and B were stored on the roof of the officers' quarters, on either side of number 1 funnel. There were no davits to lower them and their weight would make them difficult to launch by hand. [79] Each boat carried (among other things) food, water, blankets, and a spare life belt. Lifeline ropes on the boats' sides enabled them to save additional people from the water if necessary.

Titanic had 16 sets of davits, each able to handle four lifeboats as Carlisle had planned. This gave Titanic the ability to carry up to 64 wooden lifeboats [80] which would have been enough for 4,000 people—considerably more than her actual capacity. However, the White Star Line decided that only 16 wooden lifeboats and four collapsibles would be carried, which could accommodate 1,178 people, only one-third of Titanic 's total capacity. At the time, the Board of Trade's regulations required British vessels over 10,000 tons to only carry 16 lifeboats with a capacity of 990 occupants. [76]

Therefore, the White Star Line actually provided more lifeboat accommodation than was legally required. [81] [g] At the time, lifeboats were intended to ferry survivors from a sinking ship to a rescuing ship—not keep afloat the whole population or power them to shore. Had the SS Californian responded to Titanic 's distress calls, the lifeboats may have been adequate to ferry the passengers to safety as planned. [83]

Construction, launch and fitting-out

The sheer size of Titanic and her sister ships posed a major engineering challenge for Harland and Wolff no shipbuilder had ever before attempted to construct vessels this size. [84] The ships were constructed on Queen's Island, now known as the Titanic Quarter, in Belfast Harbour. Harland and Wolff had to demolish three existing slipways and build two new ones, the largest ever constructed up to that time, to accommodate both ships. [19] Their construction was facilitated by an enormous gantry built by Sir William Arrol & Co., a Scottish firm responsible for the building of the Forth Bridge and London's Tower Bridge. The Arrol Gantry stood 228 feet (69 m) high, was 270 feet (82 m) wide and 840 feet (260 m) long, and weighed more than 6,000 tons. It accommodated a number of mobile cranes. A separate floating crane, capable of lifting 200 tons, was brought in from Germany. [85]

The construction of Olympic and Titanic took place virtually in parallel, with Olympic ' s keel laid down first on 16 December 1908 and Titanic ' s on 31 March 1909. [24] Both ships took about 26 months to build and followed much the same construction process. They were designed essentially as an enormous floating box girder, with the keel acting as a backbone and the frames of the hull forming the ribs. At the base of the ships, a double bottom 5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m) deep supported 300 frames, each between 24 inches (61 cm) and 36 inches (91 cm) apart and measuring up to about 66 feet (20 m) long. They terminated at the bridge deck (B Deck) and were covered with steel plates which formed the outer skin of the ships. [86]

The 2,000 hull plates were single pieces of rolled steel plate, mostly up to 6 feet (1.8 m) wide and 30 feet (9.1 m) long and weighing between 2.5 and 3 tons. [87] Their thickness varied from 1 inch (2.5 cm) to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm). [53] The plates were laid in a clinkered (overlapping) fashion from the keel to the bilge. Above that point they were laid in the "in and out" fashion, where strake plating was applied in bands (the "in strakes") with the gaps covered by the "out strakes", overlapping on the edges. Commercial oxy-fuel and electric arc welding methods, ubiquitous in fabrication today, were still in their infancy like most other iron and steel structures of the era, the hull was held together with over three million iron and steel rivets, which by themselves weighed over 1,200 tons. They were fitted using hydraulic machines or were hammered in by hand. [88] In the 1990s some material scientists concluded [89] that the steel plate used for the ship was subject to being especially brittle when cold, and that this brittleness exacerbated the impact damage and hastened the sinking. It is believed that, by the standards of the time, the steel plate's quality was good, not faulty, but that it was inferior to what would be used for shipbuilding purposes in later decades, owing to advances in the metallurgy of steelmaking. [89] As for the rivets, considerable emphasis has also been placed on their quality and strength. [90] [91] [92] [93] [94]

Among the last items to be fitted on Titanic before the ship's launch were her two side anchors and one centre anchor. The anchors themselves were a challenge to make, with the centre anchor being the largest ever forged by hand and weighing nearly 16 tons. Twenty Clydesdale draught horses were needed to haul the centre anchor by wagon from the Noah Hingley & Sons Ltd forge shop in Netherton, near Dudley, United Kingdom to the Dudley railway station two miles away. From there it was shipped by rail to Fleetwood in Lancashire before being loaded aboard a ship and sent to Belfast. [95]

The work of constructing the ships was difficult and dangerous. For the 15,000 men who worked at Harland and Wolff at the time, [96] safety precautions were rudimentary at best a lot of the work was carried out without equipment like hard hats or hand guards on machinery. As a result, during Titanic ' s construction, 246 injuries were recorded, 28 of them "severe", such as arms severed by machines or legs crushed under falling pieces of steel. Six people died on the ship herself while she was being constructed and fitted out, and another two died in the shipyard workshops and sheds. [97] Just before the launch a worker was killed when a piece of wood fell on him. [98]

Titanic was launched at 12:15 p.m. on 31 May 1911 in the presence of Lord Pirrie, J. Pierpont Morgan, J. Bruce Ismay and 100,000 onlookers. [99] [100] Twenty-two tons of soap and tallow were spread on the slipway to lubricate the ship's passage into the River Lagan. [98] In keeping with the White Star Line's traditional policy, the ship was not formally named or christened with champagne. [99] The ship was towed to a fitting-out berth where, over the course of the next year, her engines, funnels and superstructure were installed and her interior was fitted out. [101]

Although Titanic was virtually identical to the class's lead ship Olympic, a few changes were made to distinguish both ships. The most noticeable exterior difference was that Titanic (and the third vessel in class, Britannic) had a steel screen with sliding windows installed along the forward half of the A Deck promenade. This was installed as a last minute change at the personal request of Bruce Ismay, and was intended to provide additional shelter to First Class passengers. [102] Extensive changes were made to B Deck on Titanic as the promenade space in this deck, which had proven unpopular on Olympic, was converted into additional First Class cabins, including two opulent parlour suites with their own private promenade spaces. The À la Carte restaurant was also enlarged and the Café Parisien, an entirely new feature which did not exist on Olympic, was added. These changes made Titanic slightly heavier than her sister, and thus she could claim to be the largest ship afloat. The work took longer than expected due to design changes requested by Ismay and a temporary pause in work occasioned by the need to repair Olympic, which had been in a collision in September 1911. Had Titanic been finished earlier, she might well have missed her collision with an iceberg. [98]

Sea trials

Titanic ' s sea trials began at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, 2 April 1912, just two days after her fitting out was finished and eight days before she was due to leave Southampton on her maiden voyage. [103] The trials were delayed for a day due to bad weather, but by Monday morning it was clear and fair. [104] Aboard were 78 stokers, greasers and firemen, and 41 members of crew. No domestic staff appear to have been aboard. Representatives of various companies travelled on Titanic 's sea trials, Thomas Andrews and Edward Wilding of Harland and Wolff and Harold A. Sanderson of IMM. Bruce Ismay and Lord Pirrie were too ill to attend. Jack Phillips and Harold Bride served as radio operators and performed fine-tuning of the Marconi equipment. Francis Carruthers, a surveyor from the Board of Trade, was also present to see that everything worked and that the ship was fit to carry passengers. [105]

The sea trials consisted of a number of tests of her handling characteristics, carried out first in Belfast Lough and then in the open waters of the Irish Sea. Over the course of about 12 hours, Titanic was driven at different speeds, her turning ability was tested and a "crash stop" was performed in which the engines were reversed full ahead to full astern, bringing her to a stop in 850 yd (777 m) or 3 minutes and 15 seconds. [106] The ship covered a distance of about 80 nautical miles (92 mi 150 km), averaging 18 knots (21 mph 33 km/h) and reaching a maximum speed of just under 21 knots (24 mph 39 km/h). [107]

On returning to Belfast at about 7 pm, the surveyor signed an "Agreement and Account of Voyages and Crew", valid for 12 months, which declared the ship seaworthy. An hour later, Titanic departed Belfast to head to Southampton, a voyage of about 570 nautical miles (660 mi 1,060 km). After a journey lasting about 28 hours, she arrived about midnight on 4 April and was towed to the port's Berth 44, ready for the arrival of her passengers and the remainder of her crew. [108]

Both Olympic and Titanic registered Liverpool as their home port. The offices of the White Star Line, as well as Cunard, were in Liverpool, and up until the introduction of the Olympic, most British ocean liners for both Cunard and White Star, such as Lusitania and Mauretania, sailed out of Liverpool followed by a port of call in Queenstown, Ireland. Since the company's founding in 1845, a vast majority of their operations had taken place out of Liverpool. However, in 1907 White Star Line established another service out of the port of Southampton on England's south coast, which became known as White Star's "Express Service". Southampton had many advantages over Liverpool, the first being its proximity to London. [109]

In addition, Southampton, being on the south coast, allowed ships to easily cross the English Channel and make a port of call on the northern coast of France, usually at Cherbourg. This allowed British ships to pick up clientele from continental Europe before recrossing the channel and picking up passengers at Queenstown. The Southampton-Cherbourg-New York run would become so popular that most British ocean liners began using the port after World War I. Out of respect for Liverpool, ships continued to be registered there until the early 1960s. Queen Elizabeth 2 was one of the first ships registered in Southampton when introduced into service by Cunard in 1969. [109]

Titanic 's maiden voyage was intended to be the first of many trans-Atlantic crossings between Southampton and New York via Cherbourg and Queenstown on westbound runs, returning via Plymouth in England while eastbound. Indeed, her entire schedule of voyages through to December 1912 still exists. [110] When the route was established, four ships were assigned to the service. In addition to Teutonic and Majestic, the RMS Oceanic and the brand new RMS Adriatic sailed the route. When the Olympic entered service in June 1911, she replaced Teutonic, which after completing her last run on the service in late April was transferred to the Dominion Line's Canadian service. The following August, Adriatic was transferred to White Star Line's main Liverpool-New York service, and in November, Majestic was withdrawn from service impending the arrival of Titanic in the coming months, and was mothballed as a reserve ship. [111] [112]

White Star Line's initial plans for Olympic and Titanic on the Southampton run followed the same routine as their predecessors had done before them. Each would sail once every three weeks from Southampton and New York, usually leaving at noon each Wednesday from Southampton and each Saturday from New York, thus enabling the White Star Line to offer weekly sailings in each direction. Special trains were scheduled from London and Paris to convey passengers to Southampton and Cherbourg respectively. [112] The deep-water dock at Southampton, then known as the "White Star Dock " , had been specially constructed to accommodate the new Olympic-class liners, and had opened in 1911. [113]

Titanic had around 885 crew members on board for her maiden voyage. [114] Like other vessels of her time, she did not have a permanent crew, and the vast majority of crew members were casual workers who only came aboard the ship a few hours before she sailed from Southampton. [115] The process of signing up recruits had begun on 23 March and some had been sent to Belfast, where they served as a skeleton crew during Titanic ' s sea trials and passage to England at the start of April. [116]

Captain Edward John Smith, the most senior of the White Star Line's captains, was transferred from Olympic to take command of Titanic. [117] Henry Tingle Wilde also came across from Olympic to take the post of Chief Mate. Titanic ' s previously designated Chief Mate and First Officer, William McMaster Murdoch and Charles Lightoller, were bumped down to the ranks of First and Second Officer respectively. The original Second Officer, David Blair, was dropped altogether. [118] [h] The Third Officer was Herbert Pitman MBE, the only deck officer who was not a member of the Royal Naval Reserve. Pitman was the second to last surviving officer.

Titanic ' s crew were divided into three principal departments: Deck, with 66 crew Engine, with 325 and Victualling, with 494. [119] The vast majority of the crew were thus not seamen but were either engineers, firemen, or stokers, responsible for looking after the engines, or stewards and galley staff, responsible for the passengers. [120] Of these, over 97% were male just 23 of the crew were female, mainly stewardesses. [121] The rest represented a great variety of professions—bakers, chefs, butchers, fishmongers, dishwashers, stewards, gymnasium instructors, laundrymen, waiters, bed-makers, cleaners, and even a printer, [121] who produced a daily newspaper for passengers called the Atlantic Daily Bulletin with the latest news received by the ship's wireless operators. [57] [i]

Most of the crew signed on in Southampton on 6 April [24] in all, 699 of the crew came from there, and 40% were natives of the town. [121] A few specialist staff were self-employed or were subcontractors. These included the five postal clerks, who worked for the Royal Mail and the United States Post Office Department, the staff of the First Class A La Carte Restaurant and the Café Parisien, the radio operators (who were employed by Marconi) and the eight musicians, who were employed by an agency and travelled as second-class passengers. [123] Crew pay varied greatly, from Captain Smith's £105 a month (equivalent to £10,500 today) to the £3 10s (£350 today) that stewardesses earned. The lower-paid victualling staff could, however, supplement their wages substantially through tips from passengers. [122]


Titanic ' s passengers numbered approximately 1,317 people: 324 in First Class, 284 in Second Class, and 709 in Third Class. Of these, 869 (66%) were male and 447 (34%) female. There were 107 children aboard, the largest number of whom were in Third Class. [124] The ship was considerably under capacity on her maiden voyage, as she could accommodate 2,453 passengers—833 First Class, 614 Second Class, and 1,006 Third Class. [125]

Usually, a high prestige vessel like Titanic could expect to be fully booked on its maiden voyage. However, a national coal strike in the UK had caused considerable disruption to shipping schedules in the spring of 1912, causing many crossings to be cancelled. Many would-be passengers chose to postpone their travel plans until the strike was over. The strike had finished a few days before Titanic sailed however, that was too late to have much of an effect. Titanic was able to sail on the scheduled date only because coal was transferred from other vessels which were tied up at Southampton, such as SS City of New York and RMS Oceanic, as well as coal Olympic had brought back from a previous voyage to New York, which had been stored at the White Star Dock. [102]

Some of the most prominent people of the day booked a passage aboard Titanic, travelling in First Class. Among them (with those who perished marked with a dagger†) were the American millionaire John Jacob Astor IV† and his wife Madeleine Force Astor, industrialist Benjamin Guggenheim†, painter and sculptor Francis Davis Millet†, Macy's owner Isidor Straus† and his wife Ida†, Denver millionairess Margaret "Molly" Brown, [j] Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon and his wife, couturière Lucy (Lady Duff-Gordon), Lieut. Col. Arthur Peuchen, writer and historian Archibald Gracie, cricketer and businessman John B. Thayer† with his wife Marian and son Jack, George Dunton Widener† with his wife Eleanor and son Harry†, Noël Leslie, Countess of Rothes, Mr.† and Mrs. Charles M. Hays, Mr. and Mrs. Henry S. Harper, Mr.† and Mrs. Walter D. Douglas, Mr.† and Mrs. George D. Wick, Mr.† and Mrs. Henry B. Harris, Mr.† and Mrs. Arthur L. Ryerson, Mr.† and Mrs.† Hudson J. C. Allison, Mr. and Mrs. Dickinson Bishop, noted architect Edward Austin Kent†, brewery heir Harry Molson†, tennis players Karl Behr and Dick Williams, author and socialite Helen Churchill Candee, future lawyer and suffragette Elsie Bowerman and her mother Edith, journalist and social reformer William Thomas Stead†, journalist and fashion buyer Edith Rosenbaum, Philadelphia and New York socialite Edith Corse Evans†, wealthy divorcée Charlotte Drake Cardeza, French sculptor Paul Chevré [fr] , author Jacques Futrelle† with his wife May, silent film actress Dorothy Gibson with her mother Pauline, President of the Swiss Bankverein Col. Alfons Simonius-Blumer, James A. Hughes's daughter Eloise, banker Robert Williams Daniel, the chairman of the Holland America Line Johan Reuchlin [de] , Arthur Wellington Ross's son John H. Ross, Washington Roebling's nephew Washington A. Roebling II, Andrew Saks's daughter Leila Saks Meyer with her husband Edgar Joseph Meyer† (son of Marc Eugene Meyer), William A. Clark's nephew Walter M. Clark with his wife Virginia, great-great-grandson of soap manufacturer Andrew Pears Thomas C. Pears with wife, John S. Pillsbury's honeymooning grandson John P. Snyder and wife Nelle, Dorothy Parker's New York manufacturer uncle Martin Rothschild with his wife, Elizabeth, among others. [126]

Titanic ' s owner J. P. Morgan was scheduled to travel on the maiden voyage but cancelled at the last minute. [127] Also aboard the ship were the White Star Line's managing director J. Bruce Ismay and Titanic ' s designer Thomas Andrews†, who was on board to observe any problems and assess the general performance of the new ship. [128]

The exact number of people aboard is not known, as not all of those who had booked tickets made it to the ship about 50 people cancelled for various reasons, [129] and not all of those who boarded stayed aboard for the entire journey. [130] Fares varied depending on class and season. Third Class fares from London, Southampton, or Queenstown cost £7 5s (equivalent to £700 today) while the cheapest First Class fares cost £23 (£2,300 today). [112] The most expensive First Class suites were to have cost up to £870 in high season (£87,000 today). [125]

Collecting passengers

Titanic ' s maiden voyage began on Wednesday, 10 April 1912. Following the embarkation of the crew, the passengers began arriving at 9:30 am, when the London and South Western Railway's boat train from London Waterloo station reached Southampton Terminus railway station on the quayside, alongside Titanic ' s berth. [131] The large number of Third Class passengers meant they were the first to board, with First and Second Class passengers following up to an hour before departure. Stewards showed them to their cabins, and First Class passengers were personally greeted by Captain Smith. [132] Third Class passengers were inspected for ailments and physical impairments that might lead to their being refused entry to the United States – a prospect the White Star Line wished to avoid, as it would have to carry anyone who failed the examination back across the Atlantic. [129] In all, 920 passengers boarded Titanic at Southampton – 179 First Class, 247 Second Class, and 494 Third Class. Additional passengers were to be picked up at Cherbourg and Queenstown. [102]

The maiden voyage began at noon, as scheduled. An accident was narrowly averted only a few minutes later, as Titanic passed the moored liners SS City of New York of the American Line and Oceanic of the White Star Line, the latter of which would have been her running mate on the service from Southampton. Her huge displacement caused both of the smaller ships to be lifted by a bulge of water and then dropped into a trough. New York ' s mooring cables could not take the sudden strain and snapped, swinging her around stern-first towards Titanic. A nearby tugboat, Vulcan, came to the rescue by taking New York under tow, and Captain Smith ordered Titanic ' s engines to be put "full astern". [133] The two ships avoided a collision by a distance of about 4 feet (1.2 m). The incident delayed Titanic ' s departure for about an hour, while the drifting New York was brought under control. [134]

After making it safely through the complex tides and channels of Southampton Water and the Solent, Titanic disembarked the Southampton pilot at the Nab Lightship and headed out into the English Channel. [135] She headed for the French port of Cherbourg, a journey of 77 nautical miles (89 mi 143 km). [136] The weather was windy, very fine but cold and overcast. [137] Because Cherbourg lacked docking facilities for a ship the size of Titanic, tenders had to be used to transfer passengers from shore to ship. The White Star Line operated two at Cherbourg, the SS Traffic and the SS Nomadic. Both had been designed specifically as tenders for the Olympic-class liners and were launched shortly after Titanic. [138] (Nomadic is today the only White Star Line ship still afloat.) Four hours after Titanic left Southampton, she arrived at Cherbourg and was met by the tenders. There, 274 additional passengers were taken aboard – 142 First Class, 30 Second Class, and 102 Third Class. Twenty-four passengers left aboard the tenders to be conveyed to shore, having booked only a cross-Channel passage. The process was completed within only 90 minutes and at 8 p.m. Titanic weighed anchor and left for Queenstown [139] with the weather continuing cold and windy. [137]

At 11:30 a.m. on Thursday 11 April, Titanic arrived at Cork Harbour on the south coast of Ireland. It was a partly cloudy but relatively warm day, with a brisk wind. [137] Again, the dock facilities were not suitable for a ship of Titanic 's size, and tenders were used to bring passengers aboard. In all, 123 passengers boarded Titanic at Queenstown – three First Class, seven Second Class and 113 Third Class. In addition to the 24 cross-Channel passengers who had disembarked at Cherbourg, another seven passengers had booked an overnight passage from Southampton to Queenstown. Among the seven was Father Francis Browne, a Jesuit trainee who was a keen photographer and took many photographs aboard Titanic, including the last known photograph of the ship. A decidedly unofficial departure was that of a crew member, stoker John Coffey, a Queenstown native who sneaked off the ship by hiding under mail bags being transported to shore. [140] Titanic weighed anchor for the last time at 1:30 p.m. and departed on her westward journey across the Atlantic. [140]

Atlantic crossing

Titanic was planned to arrive at New York Pier 59 [141] on the morning of 17 April. [142] After leaving Queenstown, Titanic followed the Irish coast as far as Fastnet Rock, [143] a distance of some 55 nautical miles (63 mi 102 km). From there she travelled 1,620 nautical miles (1,860 mi 3,000 km) along a Great Circle route across the North Atlantic to reach a spot in the ocean known as "the corner" south-east of Newfoundland, where westbound steamers carried out a change of course. Titanic sailed only a few hours past the corner on a rhumb line leg of 1,023 nautical miles (1,177 mi 1,895 km) to Nantucket Shoals Light when she made her fatal contact with an iceberg. [144] The final leg of the journey would have been 193 nautical miles (222 mi 357 km) to Ambrose Light and finally to New York Harbor. [145]

From 11 April to local apparent noon the next day, Titanic covered 484 nautical miles (557 mi 896 km) the following day, 519 nautical miles (597 mi 961 km) and by noon on the final day of her voyage, 546 nautical miles (628 mi 1,011 km). From then until the time of her sinking, she travelled another 258 nautical miles (297 mi 478 km), averaging about 21 knots (24 mph 39 km/h). [146]

The weather cleared as she left Ireland under cloudy skies with a headwind. Temperatures remained fairly mild on Saturday 13 April, but the following day Titanic crossed a cold weather front with strong winds and waves of up to 8 feet (2.4 m). These died down as the day progressed until, by the evening of Sunday 14 April, it became clear, calm and very cold. [147]

The first three days of the voyage from Queenstown had passed without apparent incident. A fire had begun in one of Titanic 's coal bunkers approximately 10 days prior to the ship's departure, and continued to burn for several days into its voyage, [148] but passengers were unaware of this situation. Fires occurred frequently on board steamships at the time, due to spontaneous combustion of the coal. [149] The fires had to be extinguished with fire hoses by moving the coal on top to another bunker and by removing the burning coal and feeding it into the furnace. [150] The fire was finally extinguished on 14 April. [151] [152] There has been some speculation and discussion as to whether this fire and attempts to extinguish it may have made the ship more vulnerable to its fate. [153]

Titanic received a series of warnings from other ships of drifting ice in the area of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, but Captain Edward Smith chose to ignore them. [154] One of the ships to warn Titanic was the Atlantic Line's Mesaba. [155] Nevertheless, the ship continued to steam at full speed, which was standard practice at the time. [156] Although the ship was not trying to set a speed record, [157] timekeeping was a priority, and under prevailing maritime practices, ships were often operated at close to full speed, with ice warnings seen as advisories and reliance placed upon lookouts and the watch on the bridge. [156] It was generally believed that ice posed little danger to large vessels. Close calls with ice were not uncommon, and even head-on collisions had not been disastrous. In 1907 SS Kronprinz Wilhelm, a German liner, had rammed an iceberg but still had been able to complete her voyage, and Captain Smith himself had declared in 1907 that he "could not imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that." [158] [k]


At 11:40 p.m. (ship's time) on 14 April, lookout Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg immediately ahead of Titanic and alerted the bridge. [161] First Officer William Murdoch ordered the ship to be steered around the obstacle and the engines to be reversed, [162] but it was too late the starboard side of Titanic struck the iceberg, creating a series of holes below the waterline. [l] The hull was not punctured by the iceberg, but rather dented such that the hull's seams buckled and separated, allowing water to seep in. Five of the ship's watertight compartments were breached. It soon became clear that the ship was doomed, as she could not survive more than four compartments being flooded. Titanic began sinking bow-first, with water spilling from compartment to compartment as her angle in the water became steeper. [164]

Those aboard Titanic were ill-prepared for such an emergency. In accordance with accepted practices of the time, as ships were seen as largely unsinkable and lifeboats were intended to transfer passengers to nearby rescue vessels, [165] [m] Titanic only had enough lifeboats to carry about half of those on board if the ship had carried her full complement of about 3,339 passengers and crew, only about a third could have been accommodated in the lifeboats. [167] The crew had not been trained adequately in carrying out an evacuation. The officers did not know how many they could safely put aboard the lifeboats and launched many of them barely half-full. [168] Third-class passengers were largely left to fend for themselves, causing many of them to become trapped below decks as the ship filled with water. [169] The "women and children first" protocol was generally followed when loading the lifeboats, [169] and most of the male passengers and crew were left aboard.

Between 2:10 and 2:15 a.m., a little over two and a half hours after Titanic struck the iceberg, her rate of sinking suddenly increased as the boat deck dipped underwater, and the sea poured in through open hatches and grates. [170] As her unsupported stern rose out of the water, exposing the propellers, the ship broke in two main pieces between the second and third funnels, due to the immense forces on the keel. With the bow underwater, and air trapped in the stern, the stern remained afloat and buoyant for a few minutes longer, rising to a nearly vertical angle with hundreds of people still clinging to it, [171] before foundering at 2:20 am. [172] [ unreliable source? ] It was long generally believed the ship sank in one piece but the discovery of the wreck many years later revealed that the ship had broken fully in two. All remaining passengers and crew were immersed in lethally cold water with a temperature of −2 °C (28 °F). Sudden immersion into freezing water typically causes death within minutes, either from cardiac arrest, uncontrollable breathing of water, or cold incapacitation (not, as commonly believed, from hypothermia), [n] and almost all of those in the water died of cardiac arrest or other bodily reactions to freezing water, within 15–30 minutes. [175] Only five of them were helped into the lifeboats, though the lifeboats had room for almost 500 more people. [176]

Distress signals were sent by wireless, rockets, and lamp, but none of the ships that responded were near enough to reach Titanic before she sank. [177] A radio operator on board the SS Birma, for instance, estimated that it would be 6 a.m. before the liner could arrive at the scene. Meanwhile, the SS Californian, which was the last to have been in contact before the collision, saw Titanic ' s flares but failed to assist. [178] Around 4 am, RMS Carpathia arrived on the scene in response to Titanic ' s earlier distress calls. [179]

About 710 people survived the disaster and were conveyed by Carpathia to New York, Titanic ' s original destination, while at least 1,500 people lost their lives. [114] Carpathia's captain described the place as an ice field that had included 20 large bergs measuring up to 200 feet (61 m) high and numerous smaller bergs, as well as ice floes and debris from Titanic passengers described being in the middle of a vast white plain of ice, studded with icebergs. [180] This area is now known as Iceberg Alley. [181]

Arrival of Carpathia in New York

RMS Carpathia took three days to reach New York after leaving the scene of the disaster. Her journey was slowed by pack ice, fog, thunderstorms and rough seas. [184] She was, however, able to pass news to the outside world by wireless about what had happened. The initial reports were confusing, leading the American press to report erroneously on 15 April that Titanic was being towed to port by the SS Virginian. [185]

Later that day, confirmation came through that Titanic had been lost and that most of her passengers and crew had died. [186] The news attracted crowds of people to the White Star Line's offices in London, New York, Montreal, [187] Southampton, [188] Liverpool and Belfast. [189] It hit hardest in Southampton, whose people suffered the greatest losses from the sinking. [190] Four out of every five crew members came from this town. [191] [p]

Carpathia docked at 9:30 p.m. on 18 April at New York's Pier 54 and was greeted by some 40,000 people waiting at the quayside in heavy rain. [194] Immediate relief in the form of clothing and transportation to shelters was provided by the Women's Relief Committee, the Travelers Aid Society of New York, and the Council of Jewish Women, among other organisations. [195] Many of Titanic ' s surviving passengers did not linger in New York but headed onwards immediately to relatives' homes. Some of the wealthier survivors chartered private trains to take them home, and the Pennsylvania Railroad laid on a special train free of charge to take survivors to Philadelphia. Titanic ' s 214 surviving crew members were taken to the Red Star Line's steamer SS Lapland, where they were accommodated in passenger cabins. [196]

Carpathia was hurriedly restocked with food and provisions before resuming her journey to Fiume, Austria-Hungary. Her crew were given a bonus of a month's wages by Cunard as a reward for their actions, and some of Titanic ' s passengers joined together to give them an additional bonus of nearly £900 (£90,000 today), divided among the crew members. [197]

The ship's arrival in New York led to a frenzy of press interest, with newspapers competing to be the first to report the survivors' stories. Some reporters bribed their way aboard the pilot boat New York, which guided Carpathia into harbour, and one even managed to get onto Carpathia before she docked. [198] Crowds gathered outside newspaper offices to see the latest reports being posted in the windows or on billboards. [199] It took another four days for a complete list of casualties to be compiled and released, adding to the agony of relatives waiting for news of those who had been aboard Titanic. [q]

Insurance, aid for survivors and lawsuits

In January 1912, the hulls and equipment of Titanic and Olympic had been insured through Lloyd's of London and London Marine Insurance. The total coverage was £1,000,000 (£102,000,000 today) per ship. The policy was to be "free from all average" under £150,000, meaning that the insurers would only pay for damage in excess of that sum. The premium, negotiated by brokers Willis Faber & Company (now Willis Group), was 15 s (75 p) per £100, or £7,500 (£750,000 today) for the term of one year. Lloyd's paid the White Star Line the full sum owed to them within 30 days. [201]

Many charities were set up to help the victims and their families, many of whom lost their sole wage earner, or, in the case of many Third Class survivors, everything they owned. In New York City, for example, a joint committee of the American Red Cross and Charity Organization Society formed to disburse financial aid to survivors and dependents of those who died. [202] On 29 April, opera stars Enrico Caruso and Mary Garden and members of the Metropolitan Opera raised $12,000 ($300,000 in 2014) [203] in benefits for victims of the disaster by giving special concerts in which versions of "Autumn" and "Nearer My God To Thee" were part of the programme. [204] In Britain, relief funds were organised for the families of Titanic ' s lost crew members, raising nearly £450,000 (£45,000,000 today). One such fund was still in operation as late as the 1960s. [205]

In the United States and Britain, more than 60 survivors combined to sue the White Star Line for damages connected to loss of life and baggage. [206] The claims totalled $16,804,112 (appr. $419 million in 2018 USD), which was far in excess of what White Star argued it was responsible for as a limited liability company under American law. [207] Because the bulk of the litigants were in the United States, White Star petitioned the United States Supreme Court in 1914, which ruled in its favour that it qualified as an LLC and found that the causes of the ship's sinking were largely unforeseeable, rather than due to negligence. [208] This sharply limited the scope of damages survivors and family members were entitled to, prompting them to reduce their claims to some $2.5 million. White Star only settled for $664,000 (appr. $16.56 million in 2018), about 27% of the original total sought by survivors. [207] The settlement was agreed to by 44 of the claimants in December 1915, with $500,000 set aside for the American claimants, $50,000 for the British, and $114,000 to go towards interest and legal expenses. [206] [207]

Investigations into the disaster

Even before the survivors arrived in New York, investigations were being planned to discover what had happened, and what could be done to prevent a recurrence. Inquiries were held in both the United States and the United Kingdom, the former more robustly critical of traditions and practices, and scathing of the failures involved, and the latter broadly more technical and expert-orientated. [209]

The US Senate's inquiry into the disaster was initiated on 19 April, a day after Carpathia arrived in New York. [210] The chairman, Senator William Alden Smith, wanted to gather accounts from passengers and crew while the events were still fresh in their minds. Smith also needed to subpoena all surviving British passengers and crew while they were still on American soil, which prevented them from returning to the UK before the American inquiry was completed on 25 May. [211] The British press condemned Smith as an opportunist, insensitively forcing an inquiry as a means of gaining political prestige and seizing "his moment to stand on the world stage". Smith, however, already had a reputation as a campaigner for safety on US railroads, and wanted to investigate any possible malpractices by railroad tycoon J. P. Morgan, Titanic ' s ultimate owner. [212]

The British Board of Trade's inquiry into the disaster was headed by Lord Mersey, and took place between 2 May and 3 July. Being run by the Board of Trade, who had previously approved the ship, it was seen by some [ Like whom? ] as having little interest in its own or White Star's conduct being found negligent. [213]

Each inquiry took testimony from both passengers and crew of Titanic, crew members of Leyland Line's Californian, Captain Arthur Rostron of Carpathia and other experts. [214] The British inquiry also took far greater expert testimony, making it the longest and most detailed court of inquiry in British history up to that time. [215] The two inquiries reached broadly similar conclusions: the regulations on the number of lifeboats that ships had to carry were out of date and inadequate, [216] Captain Smith had failed to take proper heed of ice warnings, [217] the lifeboats had not been properly filled or crewed, and the collision was the direct result of steaming into a dangerous area at too high a speed. [216]

Neither inquiry's findings listed negligence by IMM or the White Star Line as a factor. The American inquiry concluded that since those involved had followed standard practice, the disaster was an act of God. [218] The British inquiry concluded that Smith had followed long-standing practice that had not previously been shown to be unsafe, [219] noting that British ships alone had carried 3.5 million passengers over the previous decade with the loss of just 10 lives, [220] and concluded that Smith had done "only that which other skilled men would have done in the same position". Lord Mersey did, however, find fault with the "extremely high speed (twenty-two knots) which was maintained" following numerous ice warnings, [221] noting that without hindsight, "what was a mistake in the case of the Titanic would without doubt be negligence in any similar case in the future". [219]

The recommendations included strong suggestions for major changes in maritime regulations to implement new safety measures, such as ensuring that more lifeboats were provided, that lifeboat drills were properly carried out and that wireless equipment on passenger ships was manned around the clock. [222] An International Ice Patrol was set up to monitor the presence of icebergs in the North Atlantic, and maritime safety regulations were harmonised internationally through the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea both measures are still in force today. [223]

On 18 June 1912, Guglielmo Marconi gave evidence to the Court of Inquiry regarding the telegraphy. Its final report recommended that all liners carry the system and that sufficient operators maintain a constant service. [224]

Role of the SS Californian

One of the most controversial issues examined by the inquiries was the role played by SS Californian, which had been only a few miles from Titanic but had not picked up her distress calls or responded to her signal rockets. Californian had warned Titanic by radio of the pack ice (that was the reason Californian had stopped for the night) but was rebuked by Titanic ' s senior wireless operator, Jack Phillips. [225]

Testimony before the British inquiry revealed that at 10:10 pm, Californian observed the lights of a ship to the south it was later agreed between Captain Stanley Lord and Third Officer C.V. Groves (who had relieved Lord of duty at 11:10 pm) that this was a passenger liner. [225] At 11:50 pm, the officer had watched that ship's lights flash out, as if she had shut down or turned sharply, and that the port light was now visible. [225] Morse light signals to the ship, upon Lord's order, were made between 11:30 p.m. and 1:00 am, but were not acknowledged. [226] If Titanic was as far from the Californian as Lord claimed, then he knew, or should have known, that Morse signals would not be visible. A reasonable and prudent course of action would have been to awaken the wireless operator and to instruct him to attempt to contact Titanic by that method. Had Lord done so, it is possible he could have reached Titanic in time to save additional lives. [83]

Captain Lord had gone to the chartroom at 11:00 p.m. to spend the night [227] however, Second Officer Herbert Stone, now on duty, notified Lord at 1:10 a.m. that the ship had fired five rockets. Lord wanted to know if they were company signals, that is, coloured flares used for identification. Stone said that he did not know and that the rockets were all white. Captain Lord instructed the crew to continue to signal the other vessel with the Morse lamp, and went back to sleep. Three more rockets were observed at 1:50 a.m. and Stone noted that the ship looked strange in the water, as if she were listing. At 2:15 am, Lord was notified that the ship could no longer be seen. Lord asked again if the lights had had any colours in them, and he was informed that they were all white. [228]

Californian eventually responded. At around 5:30 am, Chief Officer George Stewart awakened wireless operator Cyril Furmstone Evans, informed him that rockets had been seen during the night, and asked that he try to communicate with any ship. He got news of Titanic ' s loss, Captain Lord was notified, and the ship set out to render assistance. She arrived well after Carpathia had already picked up all the survivors. [229]

The inquiries found that the ship seen by Californian was in fact Titanic and that it would have been possible for Californian to come to her rescue therefore, Captain Lord had acted improperly in failing to do so. [230] [r]

Survivors and victims

The number of casualties of the sinking is unclear, due to a number of factors. These include confusion over the passenger list, which included some names of people who cancelled their trip at the last minute, and the fact that several passengers travelled under aliases for various reasons and were therefore double-counted on the casualty lists. [232] The death toll has been put at between 1,490 and 1,635 people. [233] The tables below use figures from the British Board of Trade report on the disaster. [114] While the use of the Marconi wireless system did not achieve the result of bringing a rescue ship to Titanic before it sank, the use of wireless did bring Carpathia in time to rescue some of the survivors who otherwise would have perished due to exposure. [6]

The water temperature was well below normal in the area where Titanic sank. It also contributed to the rapid death of many passengers during the sinking. Water temperature readings taken around the time of the accident were reported to be −2 °C (28 °F). Typical water temperatures were normally around 7 °C (45 °F) during mid-April. [234] The coldness of the water was a critical factor, often causing death within minutes for many of those in the water.

Fewer than a third of those aboard Titanic survived the disaster. Some survivors died shortly afterwards injuries and the effects of exposure caused the deaths of several of those brought aboard Carpathia. [235] The figures show stark differences in the survival rates of the different classes aboard Titanic. Although only 3% of first-class women were lost, 54% of those in third-class died. Similarly, five of six first-class and all second-class children survived, but 52 of the 79 in third-class perished. The differences by gender were even bigger: nearly all female crew members, first- and second-class passengers were saved. Men from the First Class died at a higher rate than women from the Third Class. [236] In total, 50% of the children survived, 20% of the men and 75% of the women.

The last living survivor, Millvina Dean from England, who at only nine weeks old was the youngest passenger on board, died aged 97 on 31 May 2009. [237] Two special survivors were the stewardess Violet Jessop and the stoker Arthur John Priest, [238] who survived the sinkings of both Titanic and HMHS Britannic and were aboard RMS Olympic when she was rammed in 1911. [239] [240] [241]

Age/ sex Class/ crew Number aboard Number saved Number lost Percentage saved Percentage lost
Children First Class 6 5 1 83% 17%
Second Class 24 24 0 100% 0%
Third Class 79 27 52 34% 66%
Women First Class 144 140 4 97% 3%
Second Class 93 80 13 86% 14%
Third Class 165 76 89 46% 54%
Crew 23 20 3 87% 13%
Men First Class 175 57 118 33% 67%
Second Class 168 14 154 8% 92%
Third Class 462 75 387 16% 84%
Crew 885 192 693 22% 78%
Total 2224 710 1514 32% 68%

Retrieval and burial of the dead

Once the massive loss of life became known, White Star Line chartered the cable ship CS Mackay-Bennett from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, to retrieve bodies. [242] Three other Canadian ships followed in the search: the cable ship Minia, [243] lighthouse supply ship Montmagny and sealing vessel Algerine. [244] Each ship left with embalming supplies, undertakers, and clergy. Of the 333 victims that were eventually recovered, 328 were retrieved by the Canadian ships and five more by passing North Atlantic steamships. [245] [s]

The first ship to reach the site of the sinking, the CS Mackay-Bennett, found so many bodies that the embalming supplies aboard were quickly exhausted. Health regulations required that only embalmed bodies could be returned to port. [247] Captain Larnder of the Mackay-Bennett and undertakers aboard decided to preserve only the bodies of first-class passengers, justifying their decision by the need to visually identify wealthy men to resolve any disputes over large estates. As a result, many third-class passengers and crew were buried at sea. Larnder identified many of those buried at sea as crew members by their clothing, and stated that as a mariner, he himself would be contented to be buried at sea. [248]

Bodies recovered were preserved for transport to Halifax, the closest city to the sinking with direct rail and steamship connections. The Halifax coroner, John Henry Barnstead, developed a detailed system to identify bodies and safeguard personal possessions. Relatives from across North America came to identify and claim bodies. A large temporary morgue was set up in the curling rink of the Mayflower Curling Club and undertakers were called in from all across eastern Canada to assist. [248] Some bodies were shipped to be buried in their home towns across North America and Europe. About two-thirds of the bodies were identified. Unidentified victims were buried with simple numbers based on the order in which their bodies were discovered. The majority of recovered victims, 150 bodies, were buried in three Halifax cemeteries, the largest being Fairview Lawn Cemetery followed by the nearby Mount Olivet and Baron de Hirsch cemeteries. [249]

In mid-May 1912, RMS Oceanic recovered three bodies over 200 miles (320 km) from the site of the sinking who were among the original occupants of Collapsible A. When Fifth Officer Harold Lowe and six crewmen returned to the wreck site sometime after the sinking in a lifeboat to pick up survivors, they rescued a dozen males and one female from Collapsible A, but left the dead bodies of three of its occupants. [t] After their retrieval from Collapsible A by Oceanic, the bodies were buried at sea. [250]

The last Titanic body recovered was steward James McGrady, Body No. 330, found by the chartered Newfoundland sealing vessel Algerine on 22 May and buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax on 12 June. [251]

Only 333 bodies of Titanic victims were recovered, one in five of the over 1,500 victims. Some bodies sank with the ship while currents quickly dispersed bodies and wreckage across hundreds of miles making them difficult to recover. By June, one of the last search ships reported that life jackets supporting bodies were coming apart and releasing bodies to sink. [252]

Titanic was long thought to have sunk in one piece and, over the years, many schemes were put forward for raising the wreck. None came to fruition. [253] The fundamental problem was the sheer difficulty of finding and reaching a wreck that lies over 12,000 feet (3,700 m) below the surface, in a location where the water pressure is over 6,500 pounds per square inch (450 bar). [254] A number of expeditions were mounted to find Titanic but it was not until 1 September 1985 that a Franco-American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel and Robert Ballard succeeded. [255] [256] [257]

The team discovered that Titanic had in fact split apart, probably near or at the surface, before sinking to the seabed. The separated bow and stern sections lie about a third of a mile (0.6 km) apart in Titanic Canyon off the coast of Newfoundland. They are located 13.2 miles (21.2 km) from the inaccurate coordinates given by Titanic ' s radio operators on the night of her sinking, [258] and approximately 715 miles (1,151 km) from Halifax and 1,250 miles (2,012 km) from New York.

Both sections struck the sea bed at considerable speed, causing the bow to crumple and the stern to collapse entirely. The bow is by far the more intact section and still contains some surprisingly intact interiors. In contrast, the stern is completely wrecked its decks have pancaked down on top of each other and much of the hull plating was torn off and lies scattered across the sea floor. The much greater level of damage to the stern is probably due to structural damage incurred during the sinking. Thus weakened, the remainder of the stern was flattened by the impact with the sea bed. [259]

The two sections are surrounded by a debris field measuring approximately 5 by 3 miles (8.0 km × 4.8 km). [260] It contains hundreds of thousands of items, such as pieces of the ship, furniture, dinnerware and personal items, which fell from the ship as she sank or were ejected when the bow and stern impacted on the sea floor. [261] The debris field was also the last resting place of a number of Titanic ' s victims. Most of the bodies and clothes were consumed by sea creatures and bacteria, leaving pairs of shoes and boots—which have proved to be inedible—as the only sign that bodies once lay there. [262]

Since its initial discovery, the wreck of Titanic has been revisited on numerous occasions by explorers, scientists, filmmakers, tourists and salvagers, who have recovered thousands of items from the debris field for conservation and public display. The ship's condition has deteriorated significantly over the years, particularly from accidental damage by submersibles but mostly because of an accelerating rate of growth of iron-eating bacteria on the hull. [263] In 2006, it was estimated that within 50 years the hull and structure of Titanic would eventually collapse entirely, leaving only the more durable interior fittings of the ship intermingled with a pile of rust on the sea floor. [264]

Many artefacts from Titanic have been recovered from the sea bed by RMS Titanic Inc., which exhibits them in touring exhibitions around the world and in a permanent exhibition at the Luxor Las Vegas hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. [265] A number of other museums exhibit artefacts either donated by survivors or retrieved from the floating bodies of victims of the disaster. [266]

On 16 April 2012, the day after the 100th anniversary of the sinking, photos [267] were released showing possible human remains resting on the ocean floor. The photos, taken by Robert Ballard during an expedition led by NOAA in 2004, show a boot and a coat close to Titanic 's stern which experts called "compelling evidence" that it is the spot where somebody came to rest, and that human remains could be buried in the sediment beneath them. [268] The wreck of the Titanic falls under the scope of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. This means that all states party to the convention will prohibit the pillaging, commercial exploitation, sale and dispersion of the wreck and its artefacts. Because of the location of the wreck in international waters and the lack of any exclusive jurisdiction over the wreckage area, the convention provides a state co-operation system, by which states inform each other of any potential activity concerning ancient shipwreck sites, like the Titanic, and co-operate to prevent unscientific or unethical interventions. [269] [270] [271]

Submersible dives in 2019 have found further deterioration of the wreck, including loss of the captain's bathtub. [272] Between 29 July and 4 August 2019, a two-person submersible vehicle that was conducting research and filming a documentary crashed into the shipwreck. EYOS Expeditions executed the sub dives. It reported that the strong currents pushed the sub into the wreck leaving a "red rust stain on the side of the sub." The report did not mention if the Titanic sustained any damage. [273]


After the disaster, recommendations were made by both the British and American Boards of Inquiry stating that ships should carry enough lifeboats for all aboard, mandated lifeboat drills would be implemented, lifeboat inspections would be conducted, etc. Many of these recommendations were incorporated into the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea passed in 1914. [274] The convention has been updated by periodic amendments, with a completely new version adopted in 1974. [275] Signatories to the Convention followed up with national legislation to implement the new standards. For example, in Britain, new "Rules for Life Saving Appliances" were passed by the Board of Trade on 8 May 1914 and then applied at a meeting of British steamship companies in Liverpool in June 1914. [276]

Further, the United States government passed the Radio Act of 1912. This Act, along with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, stated that radio communications on passenger ships would be operated 24 hours a day, along with a secondary power supply, so as not to miss distress calls. Also, the Radio Act of 1912 required ships to maintain contact with vessels in their vicinity as well as coastal onshore radio stations. [277] In addition, it was agreed in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea that the firing of red rockets from a ship must be interpreted as a sign of need for help. Once the Radio Act of 1912 was passed, it was agreed that rockets at sea would be interpreted as distress signals only, thus removing any possible misinterpretation from other ships. [277]

Finally, the disaster led to the formation and international funding of the International Ice Patrol, an agency of the United States Coast Guard that to the present day monitors and reports on the location of North Atlantic Ocean icebergs that could pose a threat to transatlantic sea traffic. Coast Guard aircraft conduct the primary reconnaissance. In addition, information is collected from ships operating in or passing through the ice area. Except for the years of the two World Wars, the International Ice Patrol has worked each season since 1913. During the period, there has not been a single reported loss of life or property due to collision with an iceberg in the patrol area. [278] In 1912, the Board of Trade chartered the barque Scotia to act as a weather ship in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, keeping a look-out for icebergs. A Marconi wireless was installed to enable her to communicate with stations on the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland. [279] [280]


Titanic has gone down in history as the ship that was called unsinkable. [u] For more than 100 years, she has been the inspiration of fiction and non-fiction. She is commemorated by monuments for the dead and by museums exhibiting artefacts from the wreck. Just after the sinking, memorial postcards sold in huge numbers [281] together with memorabilia ranging from tin candy boxes to plates, whiskey jiggers, [282] and even black mourning teddy bears. [283] The sinking inspired many balads such as "The Titanic". [284] . Several survivors wrote books about their experiences, [285] but it was not until 1955 that the first historically accurate book – A Night to Remember – was published. [286]

The first film about the disaster, Saved from the Titanic, was released only 29 days after the ship sank and had an actual survivor as its star—the silent film actress Dorothy Gibson. [287] The British film A Night to Remember (1958) is still widely regarded as the most historically accurate movie portrayal of the sinking. [288] The most financially successful by far has been James Cameron's Titanic (1997), which became the highest-grossing film in history up to that time, [289] as well as the winner of 11 Oscars at the 70th Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Cameron. [290]

The Titanic disaster was commemorated through a variety of memorials and monuments to the victims, erected in several English-speaking countries and in particular in cities that had suffered notable losses. These included Southampton, Liverpool and Belfast in the United Kingdom New York and Washington, D.C. in the United States and Cobh (formerly Queenstown) in Ireland. [291] A number of museums around the world have displays on Titanic the most prominent is in Belfast, the ship's birthplace (see below).

RMS Titanic Inc., which is authorised to salvage the wreck site, has a permanent Titanic exhibition at the Luxor Las Vegas hotel and casino in Nevada which features a 22-ton slab of the ship's hull. It also runs an exhibition which travels around the world. [292] In Nova Scotia, Halifax's Maritime Museum of the Atlantic displays items that were recovered from the sea a few days after the disaster. They include pieces of woodwork such as panelling from the ship's First Class Lounge and an original deckchair, [293] as well as objects removed from the victims. [294] In 2012 the centenary was marked by plays, radio programmes, parades, exhibitions and special trips to the site of the sinking together with commemorative stamps and coins. [190] [295] [296] [297] [298]

In a frequently commented-on literary coincidence, Morgan Robertson authored a novel called Futility in 1898 about a fictional British passenger liner with the plot bearing a number of similarities to the Titanic disaster. In the novel, the ship is the SS Titan, a four-stacked liner, the largest in the world and considered unsinkable. And like the Titanic, she sinks after hitting an iceberg and does not have enough lifeboats. [299]

In Northern Ireland

Only recently has the significance of Titanic most notably been given by Northern Ireland where it was built by Harland and Wolff in the capital city, Belfast. While the rest of the world embraced the glory and tragedy of Titanic, in its birth city, Titanic remained a taboo subject throughout the 20th century. The sinking brought tremendous grief and was a blow to the city's pride. Its shipyard was also a place many Catholics regarded as hostile. [300] In the latter half of the century, during a 30-year sectarian conflict, Titanic was a reminder of the lack of civil rights that in part contributed towards the Troubles. While the fate of Titanic remained a well-known story within local households throughout the 20th century, commercial investment in projects recalling RMS Titanic 's legacy was modest because of these issues. [301]

After the Troubles and Good Friday Agreement, the number of overseas tourists visiting Northern Ireland dramatically increased to 30 million (100% rise by 2008). [302] It was subsequently identified in the Northern Ireland Tourism Board's Strategic Framework for Action 2004–2007 that the significance of and interest in Titanic globally (partly due to the 1997 film Titanic) was not being fully exploited as a tourist attraction. [303] Thus, Titanic Belfast was spearheaded, along with some smaller projects, such as a Titanic memorial. [304]

In 2012 on the ship's centenary, the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction was opened on the site of the shipyard where Titanic was built. [305] It was Northern Ireland's second most visited tourist attraction with almost 700,000 visitors in 2016. [306]

Despite over 1,600 ships being built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast Harbour, Queen's Island became renamed after its most famous ship, Titanic Quarter in 1995. Once a sensitive story, Titanic is now considered one of Northern Ireland's most iconic and uniting symbols. [307]

In late August 2018, several groups were vying for the right to purchase the 5,500 Titanic relics that were an asset of the bankrupt Premier Exhibitions. [308] Eventually, Titanic Belfast, Titanic Foundation Limited and the National Museums Northern Ireland joined with the National Maritime Museum as a consortium that was raising money to purchase the 5,500 artefacts. The group intended to keep all of the items together as a single exhibit. Oceanographer Robert Ballard said he favored this bid since it would ensure that the memorabilia would be permanently displayed in Belfast (where Titanic was built) and in Greenwich. [308] The museums were critical of the bid process set by the Bankruptcy court in Jacksonville, Florida. The minimum bid for the 11 October 2018 auction was set at US$21.5 million (£16.5m) and the consortium did not have enough funding to meet that amount. [309] [310] On 17 October 2018, The New York Times reported that a consortium of three hedge funds—Apollo Global Management, Alta Fundamental Advisers, and PacBridge Capital Partners—had paid US$19.5 million for the collection. [311]

  • 17 September 1908: Ship ordered. [312]
  • 31 May 1911: Ship launched. [313]
  • 1 April 1912: Trials completed. [314]
  • 10 April, noon: Maiden voyage starts. Leaves Southampton dock, narrowly escaping collision with American liner New York. [314]
  • 10 April, 19:00: Stops at Cherbourg for passengers. [314]
  • 10 April, 21:00: Leaves Cherbourg for Queenstown. [314]
  • 11 April, 12:30: Stops at Queenstown for passengers and mail. [314]
  • 11 April, 14:00: Leaves Queenstown for New York. [314]
  • 14 April, 23:40: Collision with iceberg (Latitude 41° 46′ N, Longitude 50° 14′ W). [315][v]
  • 15 April, 00:45: First boat, No. 7, lowered. [316][v]
  • 15 April, 02:05: Last boat, Collapsible D, lowered. [316][v]
  • 15 April, 02:20: Foundering. [316][v]
  • 15 April, 03:30–08:50: Rescue of survivors. [316][v]
  • 19 April – 25 May: US inquiry. [211]
  • 2 May – 3 July: British inquiry. [318]
  • 1 September 1985: Discovery of wreck. [256]

There have been several proposals and studies for a project to build a replica ship based on the Titanic. A project by South African businessman Sarel Gaus was abandoned in 2006, and a project by Australian businessman Clive Palmer was announced in 2012, known as the Titanic II.

A Chinese shipbuilding company known as Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group Co., Ltd commenced construction in November 2016 to build a replica ship of the Titanic for use in a resort. The vessel will house many features of the original, such as a ballroom, dining hall, theatre, first-class cabins, economy cabins and swimming pool. [319] [320] Tourists will be able to reside inside the Titanic during their time at the resort. It will be permanently docked at the resort and feature an audiovisual simulation of the sinking, which has caused some criticism. [321]

The RMS Olympic was the sister ship of the Titanic. The interior decoration of the dining salon and the grand staircase were in identical style and created by the same craftsmen. Large parts of the interior of the Olympic were later sold and are now in the White Swan Hotel, Alnwick, which gives an impression of how the interior of the Titanic looked.

Watch the video: RMS TITANIC ABANDONED BODIES (December 2021).