April 1912. The recent news of the South Korean ferry-boat tragedy harkens one to recall yet another ship that also went down 102 years Aprils ago. Of course, that ship was the Titanic, part of a huge shipping company then-known as the White Star Line.
It was the largest ship afloat in the world at that time, designed to compete with Cunard’s ships the Mauritania and the Lusitania. It was thought to be unsinkable due to its double bottom hull and its compartment design. And it was advertised to be a liner unsurpassed luxuries. It’s maiden voyage embarked from South Hampton, England and was intended to arrive in New York City about a week later.
The cause of its sinking, it striking an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, remains the subject of lively discussion. Was the ship was going too fast? Were warnings of an icepack ignored by the Captain? Others believe that the metallurgy of the ship was substandard. Did the metal fail (become too brittle) in those frigid waters? And then there are questions about how the disaster itself was handled. Were there enough lifeboats? Were they loaded properly? Did the protocols to alert other nearby ships (there were two in the area) of its ongoing distress cause additional lives to be lost? Often tragedies such as these pave the way for additional safety measures to be implemented, and that is true about the experience of this particular sinking
Below are many pictures from the Titanic. We have a Jesuit Priest, Father Francis Browne, to thank for some of the photography here. Father Browne (actually, he was studying to be a Priest at the time) loved photography and he was briefly onboard the Titanic from its voyage from South Hampton to Queenstown, Ireland. The Titanic thereafter departed Queenstown for its intended final destination, New York City.