What did the Titanic look like?
With destination New York the leaked in Southampton Titanic on the night of April 14th to 15th, 1912 across the North Atlantic. Several radio messages with iceberg warnings have reached the ship, but on the selected southern route you feel safe on the bridge of the luxury liner. More than 1,500 people will pay with their lives for this fatal error. Those who survived described their experiences in books, radio and newspaper interviews.
April 14, 1912, 11:40 p.m .: The Titanic located approximately 300 miles southeast of Newfoundland. The sea is calm, the night clear and moonless. 20 minutes before midnight, many passengers have retired to their cabins. The fateful collision on the forward starboard side was hardly noticed by most. "It didn't feel threatening," recalls first-class passenger Edith Russell decades later in a radio interview, "more like a little nudge." Still curious, the fashion journalist wants to find out the reason for the recoil.
"I put on a coat and stepped from my cabin onto the promenade deck. In front of me I saw a gray wall looming. For a moment I thought of a building. We scraped along it and pieces of ice jumped off the gray wall and landed on the deck . I and other passengers picked up the pieces of ice and we started throwing them at each other. We had a kind of snowball fight. We had fun. "
11:50 pm: Below the waterline, several of the forward compartments of the ship were damaged over a length of 30 meters. The Titanic already lists slightly to starboard. The second officer Charles H. Lightoller is actually off duty and lies in his cabin on the port side. "I immediately walked the entire length of the deck, but couldn't find anything that would indicate a collision," he said on a radio broadcast 24 years after the accident. A little later he is informed of the clash by fourth officer Joseph Boxhall. "At first I wasn't particularly worried. But when he said: 'The water is up to F-Deck', he didn't have to go on."
April 15, 1912, 12:10 a.m .: The crew begins to prepare for the evacuation. The passengers are woken up, the covers are removed from the lifeboats and the davits (crane arms) on which they are to be lowered into the water are swung out. The excess steam escapes from the boilers through the steam outlet pipes of the chimneys. This is supposed to lower the pressure and reduce the risk of explosions. But the noise on board is deafening and makes communication difficult. Officer Lightoller, who organized the evacuation on the port side, remembers: "With a show of hands I indicated to a member of the crew that he should remove the tarpaulin of the lifeboats (...) Just before the boats were clear, to swing out I met the captain and shouted into his ear through my cupped palms: 'Should I evacuate women and children?' He just nodded. "
On the starboard side, the first officer William Murdoch, who at the time of the collision was on duty on the bridge and was attempting an evasive maneuver, is preparing boats for loading together with the third officer Herbert Pitman. You ask about the first women, but none come forward. Edwina MacKenzie also said it in a radio interview: "You just couldn't get people into the boats. Many felt safer on the Titanic than in the lifeboats. "Finally two women dare each other. To fill the boat at least halfway, Murdoch sends crew members to it. Boat No. 7 was lowered with 32 people. The capacity was 65 people.
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