A Titanic Disaster

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.

First Class.  The Dining Saloon, photo taken by Father Browne.

First Class. The Dining Saloon, photo taken by Father Browne.

Third Class.  Menu for the day the Titanic hit the iceberg.  Note the emphasis on a large breakfast and a fairly light supper--"gruel, cabin biscuits, and cheese."

Third Class. Menu for the day the Titanic hit the iceberg. Note the emphasis on a large breakfast and a fairly light supper–“gruel, cabin biscuits, and cheese.”

The Gymnasium.in 1912. The man on the rowing machine was the "physical educator" or "trainer." Behind is was the ship's electrician who is on a mechanical "camel."

The Gymnasium.in 1912. The man on the rowing machine was the “physical educator” or “trainer.” Behind him was the ship’s electrician who is on a mechanical “camel.” Photo taken by Father Browne.

Life onboard.

Life onboard.

Last known picture of the Titanic as it steams away from the coast of Ireland. Taken by Father Browne.

Last known picture of the Titanic as it steams away from the coast of Ireland. Taken by Father Browne.

Two Lifeboats carrying survivors about to board the Carpathia.

Two lifeboats carrying Titanic survivors heading toward the rescue ship Carpathia.

Survivors on the rescue ship Carpathia.

Survivors aboard the Carpathia.

Wrecked bow.  The Titanic today.

The Titanic today.

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One comment on “A Titanic Disaster

  1. Jeff says:

    Whoops. I hit the “publish” button before I had a chance to edit this.

    Like

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