Basic Titanic Facts

I know I’ve mentioned before that I’m a little of a Titanic fanatic. I’ve been researching all things relating to the building and sinking since I was in 4th grade (that’s a good 8 years before the movie came out). I always like to re-read books relating to the great ship in the month of April (around the anniversary of the sinking), and thought I’d share some info with you! I’ll post the basic rundown (from memory and I won’t cheat by looking anything up!) and also debunk some movie myths tonight…and if you’re interested I’ll post some facts tomorrow that will convince you the ship was fated to sink.

And away we go!

The R.M.S. (Royal Mail Steamer) Titanic was built by Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast, Ireland. She set sail April 10th, 1912 from Southampton, and made two additional stops (Cherbourg, France and Queenstown, Ireland) before heading to open sea. She struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean at 11:40pm, April 14th, and sank at 2:20am on April 15th, 1912. There were 2,228 people on board (passengers and crew). 705 people were saved and picked up on board the Carpathia, while 1523 perished.

The Titanic had two sister ships, identical in size. One named the Olympic, and the other Brittanic (Called Gigantic prior to the Titanic tragedy). All three were named for Greek Mythological races: The Titans, The Olympians, and The Giants. In 1934, after a long WWI career, the Olympic struck another ship and sank, and The Brittanic (acting as a Hospital ship) struck a mine during WWI (1916) and sank.

Debunking movie myths:

Information that some people may believe to be true, but has been proven otherwise…

1-JACK AND ROSE WERE REAL—They were not on board the ship. It was not a true story, nor loosely based on one.

2-“THE HEART OF THE OCEAN” DIAMOND REALLY EXISTED–Though it may have existed at some point in history (I can’t prove or disprove), it WAS NOT on board the Titanic (or at least not mentioned in the manifest which I DO have a copy of).

3-THE SHIP WAS CARRYING TOO FEW LIFEBOATS–This one is a little sticky…they didn’t have enough room in the lifeboats to accommodate all passengers, true. However, during this time, lifeboat requirements were based on gross tonnage of the steamer, not occupants on board. The Titanic actually added more lifeboats, and more collapsible lifeboats to accommodate additional passengers. (Although now we can look back and see the fallacy of their logic, at the time they were abiding by the laws and going above and beyond what was required of them.)

So now that you have the basic facts of the ship, its heritage and voyage, and know the obvious things that are not true, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow (the 98 year anniversary of the sinking) to discover why that enormous ship was never going to make it to NYC–iceberg or not.

EDIT: Forgot to mention last night…while I’m on the shipping kick, if you aren’t watching Deadliest Catch this season, hurry up and get on board. There are boatfulls of hunky alpha males with ego to share and quotas to reach. Go Northwestern! (Especially now that Jake from the Cornelia Marie is on board!)


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