Titanic: 40 Untold Stories of Tragedy

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1Titanic's Binoculars

Titanic's Binoculars

The Titanic crew had no binoculars, which may have helped them see the iceberg. They were inside a locker, and its key was lost.

2. The Titanic's coal stores had been burning for weeks before she set sail, damaging the ship's starboard side where the iceberg hit. They attempted to shovel the burning coal into the ovens, but one of the bulkheads overheated and spread the fire to the other side, where there was more coal. There was not only a cover-up but evidence that the fire damaged the hull enough to be a large contributing factor to why the iceberg caused such damage.

3. The Titanic's engines burned 600 tons of coal per day. 176 men worked around the clock to shovel it in by hand. 100 tons of ash was also ejected into the sea each day.

4. All 700 third-class passengers on the Titanic only had two bathtubs between them, one for men and one for women.

5. It's thought that the Titanic could have missed the iceberg by just a few feet if the ship's engines had not been reversed, as the lack of a reverse turbine for the central propeller caused the rudder to work ineffectively when compared to forward speed.

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6Charles Joughin

Charles Joughin

During the sinking of the Titanic, a drunken baker helped load women and children into the lifeboats, refused a seat for himself, threw deck chairs overboard for passengers to use as flotation devices, and somehow survived hours swimming in the freezing water until he was rescued at dawn.

7. American tennis player Richard Norris Williams survived the Titanic's sinking but spent too much time in freezing water. The rescue doctor recommended amputation of both his legs. He refused and proceeded to win his first tennis tournament a few months later, becoming Wimbledon doubles champion in 1920.

8. Frank Prentice, a survivor of the Titanic, stated that the scent of the iceberg was detectable before the collision occurred.

9. During the sinking of the Titanic, an order to evacuate women and children first by Captain Smith was misinterpreted to mean women and children only. As a result, men were prevented from entering lifeboats even when they had empty seats. Only 20% of the men survived.

10. During the Titanic's sinking, Lucile Carter and her children were separated from her husband, William. When she met him again on the rescue ship Carpathia, "All he said was that he had had a jolly good breakfast and that he never thought I would make it." They divorced less than two years later.

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11Lifeboats on Titanic

Lifeboats on Titanic

While the Titanic only had enough lifeboats to hold 1/3 of the passengers, she was actually carrying more lifeboats than were legally required. That's because lifeboats were intended to ferry survivors from a sinking ship to a rescuing ship-not keep all the passengers afloat.

12. The Titanic carried over 3000 mail sacks on its maiden voyage. When it began to flood, the five postal clerks on board tried to save as much mail as they could by hauling the sacks on deck. All five of the postal clerks died in the sinking.

13. Some of the first lifeboats to leave the Titanic were only half full because many people chose to stay on the warm ship, thinking that other ships would come and save them.

14. As the Titanic sank, "someone decided to free the dogs from their kennels, leading to the surreal sight of a pack of excited dogs racing up and down the slanting deck."

15. There were 12 dogs on the Titanic; 3 survived, mostly because they were tiny. There was also supposed to be one cat with young kittens on board the ship to control the rat population, but she was seen disembarking in Southampton, retrieving one kitten at a time.

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16Father Byles

Father Byles

Father Byles, a priest on the Titanic, refused to board a lifeboat twice and instead stayed behind to hear confessions and give absolution to the people left on the ship.

17. A woman refused to board a lifeboat when the Titanic was sinking because she refused to be parted from her dog. Several days later, passengers on the SS Bremen passing by the wreckage in the water saw the body of a woman tightly holding a large, shaggy dog in her arms.

18. Jeremiah Burke was an Irish Titanic passenger who sent a good-bye message in a bottle during the sinking. It subsequently washed up a year later near his home, where his handwriting was recognized by his mother.

19. Benjamin Guggenheim, heir to mining magnate Meyer Guggenheim, dressed in his finest suit, had a glass of brandy and smoked a cigar as the Titanic sank. "Tell [my wife] I played the game out straight to the end." "No woman shall be left aboard this ship because Ben Guggenheim was a coward."

20. Thomas Andrews, the designer of the Titanic, was on board when it sank. His original design included features such as a double hull, more water-tight compartments, and twice as many lifeboats, but these ideas were overruled. He spent his last moments trying to evacuate passengers, and his body was never recovered.

21William Murdoch

William Murdoch

William Murdoch was a crew member on the Titanic. In the movie, he shot a passenger and then killed himself, but in real life, he was last seen trying to fill as many lifeboats as possible and bravely went down with the ship.

22. Titanic crewman Herbert Pitman made an attempt to row his lifeboat over to rescue people in the water but was overruled by the other occupants of the boat, who were worried about people swarming them and duly complied. Pitman said that this haunted him throughout his life.

23. Ships sent to retrieve the dead bodies of the victims of the Titanic disaster found so many bodies that they ran out of embalming supplies. They decided to only bring back the bodies of first-class passengers because "wealthy men needed to be identified visually to settle disputes over large estates."

24. A rescue ship at the Titanic's sinking retrieved a dead infant from the sea who could not be identified. The ship's sailors paid for a graveside monument dedicated to the Unknown Child. In 2007, DNA testing showed the child to be from an English family of six, the Goodwins, who all drowned.

25. When the Titanic went down, its shipping company stopped paying the crew but charged families the freight costs of shipping the bodies back. Most couldn't afford it, which is why there are so many memorials rather than graves for the more than 500 crewmen from Southampton who died aboard the ship.

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