The RMS Titanic was a passenger liner that struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, and sank on 15 April 1912, resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. Today it is One Hundred Years since that Great Maritime Tragedy.
The largest passenger steamship in the world at the time, the Olympic-class Royal Mail Ship RMS Titanic was owned by the White Star Line and constructed at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland, UK. After setting sail for New York City on 10 April 1912 with 2,223 people on board, she hit an iceberg four days into the crossing, at 11:40 pm on 14 April 1912, and sank at 2:20 am on the morning of 15 April. The high casualty rate resulting from the sinking was due in part to the fact that, although complying with the regulations of the time, the ship carried lifeboats for only 1,178 people. A disproportionate number of men died due to the “women and children first” protocol that was enforced by the ship’s crew. Experienced engineers, using some of the most advanced technologies and extensive safety features of the time, designed Titanic. The sinking of a passenger liner on her maiden voyage, the high loss of life and media frenzy over Titanic’s famous victims, the legends about the sinking, the resulting changes in maritime law, and the discovery of the wreck have all contributed to the enduring interest in the Titanic.
April 15 2012 marks Titanic’s 100th anniversary. The sinking of the RMS Titanic is one of the largest peacetime maritime tragedies in history. My friend Hemant sent me this remarkable picture postcard. This is the only known postcard issued by the White Star Line to celebrate both of their new liners entering service. The image portrays OLYMPIC westbound for Queenstown as TITANIC makes her way to Southampton on the 2nd April 1912.
As an aside I’d like to mention that, while I was in Singapore in January this year, I had the opportunity to see an extremely interesting exhibition on the Titanic. The exhibition was being held at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. The theme of the exhibition was “TITANIC The Artifact Exhibition – 100th Anniversary”. As the name suggests the exhibition featured about 275 recovered artifacts – 14 of which have never been seen before – along with realistic re-creations and personal stories, each highlighting a different chapter in the compelling story of the Titanic’s maiden voyage.