Titanic: The History & Maiden Voyage of the Luxury Liner (2017) - full transcript

The ship that shouldn't have sank. The RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of April 15th 1912, after colliding with an ...

In 1898, Morgan Robertson published a book called Futility

It was a novel about an ocean liner called The Titan

That sinks in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage

After, a collision with an iceberg.

Of the many people, who read that book that would not realise that the significance of it.

Until 14 years later, when a ship called Titanic

Took over 1500 souls with her when she sank in the Atlantic.

And became one of the most devastating and talked about naval disasters in history.

Still very much studied and remembered to this day.

Here, we look at the event leading up to the disaster.

The people involved and their incredible stories.

Alongside, some of the theories that have since been published

Pointing to the failings in its design

And the greed of those involved.

Leading many to believe the sinking of the RMS Titanic was a preventable disaster.

And should have never happened.

The White Star Line was originally a company making traditional sailing ships during The Great Australian Gold Rush.

As the Gold Rush faded, the company faced bankruptcy.

And was taken over by Thomas Henry Ismay in 1868.

It was after this take over that the company started to commission ships

From Belfast, shipbuilders Harland and Wolff.

Two years later, in 1870

They launched their first breakthrough ship

Oceanic I

This was the first of a series of state-of-the-art super liners that the company built.

That dominated the Australian business and eventually transatlantic routes.

In 1899, Thomas Ismay died and left the way clear for his son Joseph.

It was him who introduced the comfort rather than speed policy the White Star Line would adopted.

A few years later in 1902,

The company was taken over by the International Mercantile Marine.

Headed by John Pierpont Morgan.

And soon after, Joseph Ismay was appointed the overall President of the company.

By 1907, rival company Cunard

Was having unrivalled success with their two quadruple funelled super fast liners

Lusitania and Mauretania.

And in an effort to remain competitive

Ismay proposed the construction of three Olympic-class liners with opulent interiors.

Although, they couldn't rival Cunard for speed

They would make up for it in grandeur and never-before-seen luxury.

The ships were to be called Olympic, Titanic and Britannic

All three ships, were to be equipped with the ultimate in-turn of the century design and technology.

Including sixteen watertighted compartments in their lower sections.

That could easily be sealed off in the event of a punctured hole.

First of the superliners to be launched is Olympic.

And she officially becomes the world's largest man-made moving object.

However, this title was short lived when on May the 31st, 1911.

Titanic is launched in Belfast.

In front of a crowd of over 100,000 people.

After the launch, Titanic's interior was fitted out.

And she turned into a floating palace.

Her lavish rooms were expertly created by highly skilled craftsman.

To produce cabins fit for some of the richest people in the world.

She was also equipped with 20 lifeboats

And surprisingly, this was more than the number required by the Broad of Trade Regulations at the time.

Meaning that were well within the law.

However, this law did not take in consideration the fact

That Titanic was 46,000 tons.

And 20 lifeboats, packed to capacity, would only be enough for 52% of the passengers.

But lifeboats, were considered as ferries

That would take multiple trips to and from a sinking ship to a rescue vessel.

And not as a sole means of escaping.

So as long as a ship is in close proximity of a sinking vessel

The number of lifeboats would have been sufficient.

A date for her maiden voyage to New York is announced as the 20th of March, 1912.

However, after Olympic is damaged during her maiden trip

Titanic is given a revised sale date of the 10th of April, 1912.

One must wonder if the Olympic had not had a collision

altering Titanic's sale date

what would the fate of the Titanic had been?

On April the 3rd, 1912

Titanic arrives in Southampton from Belfast

in preparation for her much anticipated maiden voyage.

The ship has her signal flags and pennants, and the final crew members are recruited.

She is loaded up with cargo and coal,

and on the 8th of April, all the fresh food is stored in preparation for the many mouths

she is to feed during the 7 day trip.

Finally, the day arrives to set sail

the Captain, Edward John Smith, is a much respected and well-liked employee of the White Star Line.

And at 62, was coming to the end of his career at sea

It was reported in fact, although disputed that Titanic was to be his last voyage before retirement.

But, despite his experience, he has encountered many mishaps while in command.

Especially with the introduction of much larger vessels than he was used to.

White Star, however, considered him competent enough to be at the helm of the world's greatest ship.

And he was given a handsome salary

around 6,250 dollars per year

plus a yearly bonus of a 1000 dollars if he returned his ships undamaged.

Smith would be accompanied by Chief Officer, Henry Wilde and First Officer William Murdoch.

Along with a total of 885 crew members.

With the crew now in place, the Titanic passengers begin the pleasure of boarding.

These included, 325 first class passengers

Where no expense was spared in their cabins

Two of which were called "The Millionaire Suites"

and were considered to be the most luxurious accommodations of the day.

One of these suites was booked by J.P Morgan

but since he did not travel, it was taken up by Joseph Bruce Ismay.

As a first class guest, he and the others could also enjoy Jacobean style dining room

a sumptuous reception room which could be entered using one of Titanic's most priced features.

The Magnificent Grand Staircase.

Gentlemen had the options to retiring to the smoking room for port and cigars

and in the day, they could relax in Verandah Café or Café Parisien.

Or make use of the fully-equipped state-of-the-art gymnasium.

As for the 285 second class passengers,

they too enjoyed a luxury that rivalled first class on any other liner of the day

and they were first to enjoy electric elevators.

In comparison, the 706 third class or steerage passengers did not enjoy such luxuries.

Although they did have more comfort than you may think.

Most of them had a one-way ticket in search for a better life in America

and would have all of their worldly belongings in just a few bags.

These passengers, were mainly immigrants and consisted of a diverse group of nationalities.

Ranging from Finland to Hong Kong.

Although the bulk of them were British, Irish or Scandinavian.

Some were travelling alone while others with their families.

Meals were basic but regular,

although nothing in comparison to that enjoyed by first and second class.

But it wasn't all bad, they did have a smoking and general room

where they would meet and make their own entertainment with the children playing

and dancing on the deck.

A little fact about third class

they enjoyed automatically flushing toilets

although rather for necessity than luxury.

As it was thought, third class passengers would not be familiar with indoor plumbing

and would not understand the need to flush the toilets themselves.

Before boarding, third class passengers were checked for lice and other infectious diseases.

Just before noon, on the 10th of April, 1912

Titanic's triple valve whistle could be heard across Southampton.

The ropes were cast and the five tugs started to slowing nudge the massive liner out into deeper water.

When she was out in the River Test, the tugs dropped their lines and Titanic's

triple expansion 30,000 horsepower engines started to turn the propellers.

Titanic's maiden voyage had begun and she had already made history.

As she powered down the river, the turbulence she created was causing some alarm.

As the large volume of water, displaced by Titanic caused two moored liners to cut adrift

and they collision were narrowly avoided when Captain Smith ordered full astern

and a tug intervened to prevent an early disaster.

Titanic arrived at her first port of call in Cherbourg, France at around 6 p.m.

Where a further 274 passengers boarded.

However, she was far too big to fit into the tiny port.

So passengers and luggage had be frayed by specially tended boats provided by the White Star Line.

This included the Titanic's richest passenger,

John Jacob Aster IV

with an equivalent 2017 net worth of 2.1 billion dollars.

As the Titanic turned out, final port of call was Queenstown, Ireland.

She here early on the 11th of April

and it was here that one lucky crew member decided to disembark by hiding in the mail bags.

He was later named as John Coffey, one of Titanic's fireman.

He had only signed up to the crew to get a lift to Queenstown.

Leaving Ireland, Titanic heads out into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

The next stop is New York City.

The crew settled into their routines and the passengers began to explore

and familiarize themselves with the maze of corridors and rooms on the beautiful ship.

In particular, the first class passengers enjoy meeting up with their wealthy and famous friends.

And attending the lavish parties organized for them in the splendour of their extravagant surroundings.

All while, Titanic moves steadily westward towards New York.

Throughout this part of the journey, the crew continuously receive warning from other vessels

that there is a serious threats of icebergs.

Despite, Titanic being the most sophisticated liner of it's era

it's radio room, by comparison, was tiny.

No bigger than a broom cupboard and it relied on Morse Code for communication.

It's operators, John George Phillips and his junior Harold Sydney Bride

worked a shift system to ensure the radio was covered at all times.

From the time, Titanic left Queenstown the majority of these messages were from and for passengers.

In total, between the 11th and 14th of April,

the pair received 21 ice warnings, that would have been passed on to officers and ultimately Captain Smith.

They were fully aware of the dangers that lay ahead

and steered 20 miles off course to try and avoid the ice fields but ultimately this wasn't enough.

On Sunday the 14th,

another iceberg warning comes in early at 9 a.m. from the RMS Caronia.

Meanwhile, passengers were attending divine services in the first-class dining room.

The morning service was also attended by Captain Smith.

At 13:42 p.m., Smith was handed an ice warning message from follower White Star Liner, the Baltic.

He handed it to Joseph Ismay, who placed the message in his pocket.

Ismay, allegedly shows the warning to several passengers

before Captain Smith asked for it back at around 19:15 p.m.

and posts it in the chart room before dining in the ala carte restaurant.

After dining, Captain Smith returns to the bridge

and chats briefly with the Second Officer Charles Lightoller.

Smith then retired to his cabin, giving instructions to wake him if anything becomes at all doubtful.

Officer Lightoller, advised his lookouts in the Crow's nest for icebergs.

Then at 21:40 p.m., a message comes through from the Mesaba, once again warning of heavy ice pack,

large icebergs, and field ice.

At 22:00 p.m., second officer Lightoller is replaced by first officer William Murdoch.

At around the same time, just 15 miles north of the Titanic

the British Leyland Line steamship, SS Californian

had stopped for the night after spotting three icebergs and thick ice-beds.

As her captain, Stanley Lord made his way back to his cabin, he spotted a light on the horizon.

He asked his third officer, if they were any ships in vicinity, to which he replied "Only Titanic."

Captain Lord replied "That's not the Titanic, she's closer in size to us."

Despite this, Lord asked for the Titanic to be contacted to let her know that they were stuck in ice.

Third officer Evans, duly dispatched a message

and reportedly received a curt reply from Titanic's operator, Jack Phillips

"Shut up! I'm busy. I'm working Cape Race."

Evans listened for a while longer, and at 35 minutes past 23:00 p.m., turned off the wireless system.

At the same time, after various reports of unusually calm ocean.

Now known to be a sign of ice pack, which was causing a mirage and making lookout duties almost impossible.

Just 10 minutes later, they realized they are on a collision coarse with a giant iceberg.

Immediately, they sound the warning bell and telephone the bridge with the message: "Iceberg, right ahead!"

Officer Murdoch, orders hard-a-starboard to the helmsman

and calls for the engine room to stop engines.

He also activates the water-tight doors below that were essentially subdivisions in the hull

in order to seal off any given 16 compartments.

It had been calculated that the Titanic could stay afloat with four of these compartments fully flooded.

Titanic slowly veers to port and for a few tantalizing seconds, it looks like she's averted a disaster.

But it's too little too late, and it's starboard side makes contact with the iceberg.

Damaging nearly 300 foot of the right side of the hull, both below and above the water.

A grinding sound could be heard throughout the ship, mainly on the lower levels closer to the impact zone.

Which caused alarm to the passengers on board.

Some began to ask questions and were told that everything was under control.

As it was, at least everywhere but down in fore-peak tank, the three forward holes and boiler room no.5 and 6.

All of which were taking in icy water and fast.

Despite the workers confused effects to prevent any further water breach

Boiler room no.5 was the only area they were able to keep somewhat under control.

Less then 10 minutes after impact, the water had risen 14 feet above the keel

and almost 4 million litres of sea water had entered the ship.

By midnight, the mail room was flooded and mail bags could be seen floating to the surface.

As water rushes into the starboard sides, the ship begins to tilt downwards listing sightly to the right

And water begins to spill over into the other watertight compartments.

Captain Smith is joined on the bridge by Titanic's architect, Thomas Andrews

And the pair go below the deck to assess the damage.

It's at this point, that Andrews reveals to Captain Smith that she would sink.

He estimated she would stay afloat for a maximum of one and a half hours.

Orders are given to uncover the lifeboats and most of the crew and passengers.

It's at this point, Captain Smith must have realized, that even full to capacity

The lifeboats would only hold 1,178 of the 2,227 passengers and crew on board.

Titanic's frantic distress calls are heard by several ships in the vicinity

But they are all too far away and the closest being SS Californian had their radios off.

But the Carpathia, 58 miles away, immediately changes coarse and started the journey towards Titanic.

At around 00:25 a.m., the first lifeboat is loaded with just 28 women and children

less than half its capacity of 65.

The lifeboats continue to be lowered with less capacity than they are capable.

This is due to many factors, but many the facts that the crew told passengers it was a precaution

and refused to let husbands join their wives in the boats.

During the lowering of these lifeboats, Joseph Ismay starts to interfere with the process.

Trying to get as many off the ship as he could

And has to be put in his place by fifth officer, Harold Godfrey Lowe.

It's said that Joseph was having a breakdown.

After all, this was technically his ship.

By 1:15 a.m., water had reached Titanic's name badge on the bow and she noticeable listing.

Confusion has now turned into panic with the passengers realizing the unsinkable ship is going down.

At 1:30 a.m., warning shots are fired by Officer Lowe as passengers try to search towards lifeboats.

Titanic's radio signals by now have become desperate.

"We are sinking fast and can't last much longer"

As the last of the lifeboats are lowered, Joseph Ismay jumps in

An action that he would be highly scrutinized for the remainder of his life.

At 2:05 a.m., there were still over 1600 people on board Titanic and there's one available lifeboats left.

Which was lowered with 44 women and children in.

Titanic's forecastle head sinks beneath the water and her remaining passengers are left completely stranded.

400 miles from shore.

At 2:10 a.m., Captain Smith goes to the radio room to relieve the operations of their duties.

Titanic's last message is sent by John Phillips, before Smith declares

"Well boys, you've done your duty and done one it well, I ask no more of you, I release you."

"You know the rule of the sea, it's every man for himself now and God bless us."

Although, there are conflicting reports, its said Captain Smith then returns to the bridge to await his fate.

A boyhood friend of his said, "Smith passed away just as he would have loved to."

"To stand on the bridge on his vessel, and go down with her,"

"Was characteristics of all his actions when we were boys together."

Thomas Andrews, the architect, who relentlessly helped alert people to go up the deck

and helped fill in the lifeboats.

Is apparently last seen in the first class smoking room staring at a painting.

"The Plymouth Harbour" by Norman Wilkinson.

It showed the entrance to Plymouth Sound, where Titanic was scheduled to stop at on her return journey.

This moment cannot be confirmed with certainty but if true, it's hard to imagine

what was running through his mind.

Along with every other passenger on board.

It's then reported, Andrews returns to the deck to further assist others.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Guggenheim, one of the Titanic's most affluent passengers

And his valet, Victor Giglio, who would both remembered as true gentlemen

Knew there were not enough lifeboats for them to survive.

Benjamin helped and comforted his female companions into lifeboat 9.

Before he and Victor returned to their rooms, to take off their life vests and change into evening wear.

Which included a rose buttonhole.

The two were then seen, closing the door behind them into the Foyer Grand Staircase.

Where they were last seen drinking Brandy and smoking cigars.

As the Titanic was by now at the point of no-return.

They had done all they could for those around them, had dressed in their best

and were prepared to go down like gentlemen.

As were, the paraphrased words last heard by Benjamin Guggenheim.

Father Thomas Roussel Davids Byles, listens to last confessions of over a 100

First and second class passengers

And comforts them with absolution of their sins.

Wallace Hardy and his band finally stop playing and by this time many the remaining passengers

Have no choice other then too jump in the freezing sea.

A handful of them are crushed when Titanic's four-funnel crashes down onto them.

At 2:18 a.m., a huge roar is heard as Titanic's mangled metal moves towards the bow.

The lights start to flicker before finally being extinguished.

Leaving the people in the water in almost complete darkness.

Titanic dramatically splits into two with her bow section being swiftly sucked into the sea.

Her stern continues to float but as it gets flooded with water, it rises higher and higher

before finally disappearing under the water

And taking a under five minute journey into the bottom of the ocean.

At 4:10 a.m., the first of Titanic's survivors are picked up by the Carpathia.

At 8:30 a.m., the last lifeboat is picked up and by now the California is also on the scene.

Searching in vain for survivors.

Carpathia leaves the area and heads for New York with 705 survivors on board

Leaving well over 1500 passengers and crew unaccounted for.

Joseph Ismay sends a message to the White Star Offices in New York, simply saying;

"Deeply regret to advise you, Titanic sank this morning, after collision with iceberg,"

"Resulting in serious lose of life further particulars later"

White Star sent out the cable ship CS Mackay-Bennett to try and recover bodies.

She was followed by three other Canadian ships.

Each carrying embalming supplies, undertakers and clergy

And they recovered 328 bodies.

In mid-May, 1912 RMS Oceanic recovered a further three bodies floating at a lifeboat

Over 200 miles from the site of the sinking

And all three were buried at sea.

These three bodies were in collapsible lifeboats A and reportedly had died from starvation.

After it was apparent, they had tried to eating the cork and material from their life jackets.

The last Titanic body recovered was Stewart James McGrady, found by sailing vessel on the 22nd of May.

Over 333 bodies of Titanic victims were recovered.

Some bodies sank with the ship while current quickly dispersed bodies and wreckage across 100 of miles.

Making them difficult to recover.

By June, one of the last search ships reported that life jackets, supporting passengers were coming apart

and releasing bodies to sink

The majority of the recovered bodies were buried in three Halifax cemeteries.

Fairview Lawn, Mount Olivet and Baron de Hirsch.

Those that were not claimed or identified, were buried with a number to mark their graves.

In the aftermath of the sinking and subsequent investigation.

It was agreed by two government investigations, that an iceberg caused the disaster

And not only weakness in the ship itself.

These two photographs would later come out.

One of which was taken by Chief Stewart of the liner Prinze Adelbert on the morning of April the 15th, 1912.

The Captain claimed that they were only one iceberg in the area and the red paint

Was a clear indication something had hit it.

It's hard to imagine, a piece of frozen water, that would have soon dissolved into the North Atlantic

Was responsible for taking down the biggest, most luxurious liner of the time.

It was initially believed the ship had gone down whole and was laying at the bottom of the sea in one piece.

It was also concluded that Captain Smith was to blame for the incident.

As the ship was travelling at excessive speed through a known ice field.

For many years, this remained the official explanation.

It wasn't until 1985, when oceanographer Robert Ballard and Jean-Louis Michel

Finally located Titanic's wreck, 2.5 miles down, resting on the ocean floor.

She was over 13 miles away from the inaccurate position transmitted by Titanic's crew

While the ship was sinking.

After searching the area using robotic technology

The pair were able to provide the first ever detailed photographic evidence of the wreck's condition.

And discovered that the ship had in fact broken into two before the sinking.

This led to speculation that the steel used to built her was inferior.

Although subsequent tests on parts of the wreck have proved this was not the case.

It was also suggested that the 3 million rivets that held Titanic together were not strong enough.

Again this has been dismissed.

In recent years, there have been suggestions that she sank due to out of control fire on board.

That weaken her hull.

As was the cause of the black mark, noticed by many on Titanic's right side before leaving for her maiden voyage.

Although this being blamed for speeding up her sinking is simply not true.

It's been said that the fire, in fact, was the reason that Titanic did not roll over after taking in water.

Due to the fire, before she set sail, coals were moved from the bunkers and moved to the port.

Which off-set Titanic's weight and caused her to have a three degree list.

This was on the right side and when Titanic struck the iceberg on the left and began taking in water

from this side. This three degree list was counter-balanced.

It's been proven without the removal of the coal, due to the fire on the right side

Titanic would have rolled left around an hour after striking the iceberg, which of course didn't happen.

The site the Titanic lays has become a world-heritage site

And is a 12,500 foot deep graveyard.

Down there, where there is no sound or light

And creatures we have yet to identify.

Is hundreds of thousands of valuables from personal items cherished by those on board

To 44,000 pieces of cutlery and the 1600 bottles of alcohol.

It all lays at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean

Alongside the grand and most luxurious ship to have ever sailed

The RMS Titanic.