First Rocket

First Rocket

First Rocket 

The boats are now all uncovered and have been swung out level with either the boat deck or the promenade, deck A directly below. All of the passengers in all three classes have been awakened. In the First Class, discrete knocks by the stewards upon cabin doors were met with “what is it?”

Each passenger was told “We’ve hit a bit of ice and as a precaution, the Captain has requested that you put on warm clothing and bring your lifebelts and go up to the boat deck. We should be underway again shortly” Many were very reluctant to follow these orders. It was the middle of the night and the weather was frigid. It was better to stay inside the ship than stand on a cold deck. Many dressed and took their lifebelts and gathered in the grand foyer in the forward First Class staircase on A and B decks where they talked with other passengers and tried to learn more information. At this time the ship’s small orchestra also gathered here and began playing music to sooth the passengers nerves. Ragtime and other lively tunes including the new hit song from Irving Berlin, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” echoed up and down the grand staircase. The passengers tapped their feet to the lively melodies.

In Second Class, the stewards were a bit more direct. “Put on warm clothes and bring your lifebelts and report to the boat deck”. Many had felt the collision and a few had actually seen the iceberg glide by their open portholes. One man had a piece of the berg plop right onto his bunk! In the Third Class there was no finesse whatsoever. The stewards pounded and banged on the cabin doors and yelled “Get up, get dressed report to your mustering station and await further orders”. No further explanation was offered. These passengers, many not understanding a word of English were, at best, totally confused.

For those single men in Third Class whose quarters were located far forward on Titanic’s lower decks. There was no need to wake them. The collision with the ice was no faint grinding jar. It was a tremendous loud noise of screeching metal. Those who lay awake after the collision once they finally got out of bed they stepped into ice cold water! Their cabins were slowly flooding! They quickly dressed and gathered up their merger belongings and headed aft along the wide corridor on E-deck called “Scotland Road”. They would join the ladies far aft. Surely this would be only a brief disruption until everything would be fixed and they could return to bed. But that water was very troubling....

On the bridge, Captain Smith asked for Fifth Officer Lowe to bring the ship’s signal flares to the bridge. A ship had been sighted off the Titanic’s port bow. It appeared to be no more than five or six miles away. Perhaps they didn’t have wireless on board. They would certainly see these rockets and come to their aid. It was now near 12:45 am and several of the lifeboats were being loaded with the women and children. It was proving to be more than an easy task. Titanic seemed quite solid and why go away in these tiny little wooden boats to sit on a frigid sea only to re recalled when everything was set right? On the starboard side, in the charge of First Officer Murdock, the boats (all with odd numbers) were slowly filling. Lifeboat number seven was half loaded with women and children. Murdock then let in several male passengers, married couples and members of the crew.

Finally, he could wait no longer and number seven slowly dropped down the side of the ship to the sea below. A distance of sixty feet or so. The boat jerked about as the crew were unfamiliar with the handling of the falls and tackle of these boats. Everything was so new. Lifeboat number seven, the first lifeboat lowered slowly pulls away from Titanic’s side just as the ski is suddenly split with an brilliant explosion and a great shower of white stars lights the entire scene in surreal brightness. To many of the crew in the lifeboat and on board the ship the meaning was clear. Titanic was calling upon anyone close enough to see. They needed help. They needed it quickly.

As boat seven pulled away those on board could clearly see that the great Titanic was now tilted down by the bow. The forward row of portholes were now under the sea. The lights still burned bright and cast a murky glow under the water. Clearly, this was not a good sign. The ship was clearly sinking. As they rowed away one porthole after another slid below the calm sea.

On board Titanic. more boats were being loaded and lowered to the sea. On the Port side, under the direction of Second Officer Lightoller, the boats were being only half or partially filled at best. He would not allow any men other than crew to enter these boats. He followed Captain Smith’s strict orders of “women and children only” The sad fact in this way of thinking was many more people could have been saved if all the seats in the lifeboats were filled before launching. The lame excuse later given by Lightoller was that the boats were unproven and untested and he was fearful that they would have buckled if fully loaded. He obviously didn’t recall that Titanic had to pass a stringent Board of Trade inspection and that two lifeboats were tested, fully loaded with weights approximating the weight of 65 people. They were lowered to the sea then recovered and pulled back aboard. He was letting these early lifeboats on the port side go away with many empty seats.

Another rocket soars into the ski and showers light upon this surreal scene. The rockets were being fired off by Officer Lowe every in eight to ten minute intervals. Between firings, he manned the signal lamp atop the starboard bridge wing and tried to get a response, using Morse code, from the ship that they could clearly see. Her masthead and sidelights were clearly visible to those on Titanic’s bridge. Why does she just sit there and not respond?

 


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Morning - April 10, 1912

11:45 A.M.: The Titanic blows horns and signals imminent departure.
12:05 P.M.: Lines are cast off and Titanic began her maiden voyage and sails for Cherbourg, France

April 10 - 5:30 pm

Arrives Cherbourg, picks up more passengers

April 10 - 8:30 pm

Picks up anchor and sails for Queenstown

April 11 - 11:30 pm

Arrives Queenstown, picks up more passengers

April 12 & 13

Travels though calm waters

April 14

Warnings of Icebergs Ahead

April 14 - 11:40 pm

Hits Iceberg

April 14 - 11:50 pm

Water had poured in and risen 14 feet in the front part of the ship

April 15, 1912 - 02:20 am.

Titanic fully submerged and sinking down to eternity

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