SOS Help Needed!
To those on board the Titanic it was becoming evident that this situation had become quite serious. Rockets were being fired off every five minutes or so. This indicated to those savvy with nautical matters that Titanic need help, needed it quickly, and was calling anyone near enough to see these rockets to come to their aid.
The time is nearing 1:40 am and the forward tilt of the decks is more severe and difficult to maintain ones balance. The water was already up to the ship’s name at the bow. and row after row of portholes were submerging as Titanic’s forward compartments were flooding. Many of the lifeboats have already been launched. Each boat could, when fully loaded, carry comfortably 65 persons.
These early launched lifeboats had woefully few on board. Less than half of the intended capacity. Some officers were reluctant to fully load these boats as they thought they were not thoroughly tested. Also, being a new ship with a new deck crew, the officers did not want to risk a boat being upset or falling due to the inexperienced crews handling.
One tragic mistake in judgment after another followed the loading and launching of Titanic’s pitifully few lifeboats. And yet, there were many still on board that refused to face the obvious fact that the Titanic was, indeed, sinking. Many of the First Class passengers went back inside the ship to the warmer public rooms on A-deck much preferring the warmth and luxury surroundings there to the frigid 30 degree temperatures on the boat deck. No amount of coaxing by the stewards would bring many back out on deck.
As the slant of the deck grew steeper and after looking down the elegant forward staircase to the beautiful reception room adjacent to the dining room what did they see? Water flowing across the colorful tiles just three decks below them!
Now it was urgent that the women and children of First Class be loaded into the too few remaining lifeboats. The passengers in Second Class were now also focused upon leaving the ship. It was no longer just a case of waiting around. It was a case for survival. Those in the Third or Steerage Class were woefully uninformed. Many couldn’t understand the English crews instructions to put on their lifebelts and muster in the public rooms at the stern of the ship.
Many didn’t want to leave all their belongings behind and carried and dragged their trunks and cases along with them. The metal gates that separated them from the Second and First Class sections of the ship were manned by stewards that demanded they abandon their baggage and only women and children would be allowed to pass through to the boats. It was a tedious process as these passengers had no idea of how to reach the boat deck high above their quarters in the bow and stern of the ship.
Stewards took small groups of women and children and escorted them topside to the boats. Several of the more ambitious Third Class passengers took matters into their own hands. They struck out and found their own way topside after trial and error. They had to climb ladders from the after decks to the Second Class promenade and then going inside made their way forward and up one deck to the Second Class open promenade at the after end on the boat deck.
There, the men escorted the ladies and children into the few remaining boats. The men stood back and stayed together saying “we’ll be o.k. if we stick together. mates” Sadly very few of them were in the survivors roll call that next morning... Titanic’s fate was sealed. She would sink to the bottom of the Atlantic.
The end was fast approaching. The jovial talk was now more urgent. Many women were forcibly taken from their husbands and pushed in the lifeboats. It was not strictly “women and children first”. On the Starboard side of the boat deck,many men were allowed to enter the boats especially those first launched.
One glaring example of this was boat number one located forward on the starboard boat beck. This smaller vessel, actually a cutter that could be launched in an emergency could carry 40 people including a crew of four. When it left the ship at 1 am it had on board just eight First Class passengers and a crew of six! There were just three women and no children.
It was to become a disgrace to those few First Class passengers that road this boat to safety while 1,500 fellow souls perished in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic...
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
Warnings of Icebergs Ahead
April 14 - 11:40 pm
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