5 Things You [Probably] Didn’t Know about the RMS Titanic

On the 14th of April 1912 at 11:40pm, the RSM Titanic struck an iceberg on it’s maiden voyage across the transatlantic. Just two hours and forty minuets later, in the early hours of the 15th, it sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, taking with it the lives of 1,500 passengers and crew. Only 710 survived.

110 Unsinkable "Titanic" GIFs in 2020 | Titanic, Titanic movie ...

The sinking of the Titanic is a tragic story that has fascinated the world for more than one hundred years. Today, on the 108th anniversary of the sinking, I’m breaking routine because I wanted to share 5 things that you [probably] didn’t know about the RMS Titanic. [I consider myself an amateur Titanic historian].

1. The Olympic-class curse

The Titanic was actually one of three luxury ocean liners commissioned by the White Star Line at the turn of the 20th century. The Olympic-class liners, consisting of the RMS Olympic, the RMS Titanic and the HMHS Britannic, were almost identical, designed to rival that of their competitors as the largest, most luxurious liners in the world. However, the sister ships were plagued with bad luck, leading some to believe that they were cursed.

The RMS Olympic’s empty hull was launched in 1910 and she completed her transatlantic maiden voyage in June of 1911. During her service as both a commercial liner and wartime troopship, the Olympic collided with multiple vessels and even sank Nantucker lightvessel LV-117, killing seven of the vessel’s crew. Olympic was eventually scrapped in 1937 after 24 years of service.

and when the titanic sank | Tumblr

The littlest sister, the HMHS Britannic, was launched in 1914 but was requisitioned and converted into a hospital ship with the outbreak of the First World War. The Britannic served by evacuating wounded soldiers from the front but like Titanic, her career was short lived. On 21st of November 1916, an explosion rocked the ship as the Britannic ran into an underwater mine off the coast of Greece. During the panic, two life boats were launched prematurely and were sucked into the still churning, half exposed propellers. The passengers, unable to row away from the suction, were dragged into the propellers and minced. Witnesses recount the water bleeding red and the debris of severed limbs floating in the foam. Thirty were killed and within an hour, the Britannic was resting on the seafloor.

2. A near-miss at Southampton could have altered the course of history

Titanic’s Southampton departure was a little more dramatic than the film would have you believe. Did you know that the Titanic was actually involved in a very close near-miss that could have altered the course of history as we know it? As Titanic steamed away from the crowded dock, the wash from her gigantic propellers resulted in the strain of the SS City of New York and the Oceanic‘s mooring ropes. The ropes snapped and SS City of New York drifted towards the suction coming within just two feet of crashing into Titanic. Talk about an ill omen. Had a collision actually occurred, Titanic’s seemingly doomed maiden voyage might have been delayed, ultimately saving the lives of 1,500 passengers and crew.

GIF titanic - animated GIF on GIFER - by Cedora

3. A coal fire raged beneath the decks in Titanic’s bunker

At this stage, I think we can all agree that the RMS Titanic was doomed. If you need more evidence to support that fact then allow me to enlighten you to Titanic’s coal fire. Yes, that’s right – Titanic was on fire. Well sort of. Coal fires were not unheard of during the golden age of ocean liners what with relying on highly flammable coal and steam to power speed. During Titanic’s sea trials, one such fire broke out inside one of the coal bunkers. Despite the fire, which was still burning, Titanic set sail, sealing the fates of everyone on board.

While it’s never been proved, the coal fire may be a contributing factor to Titanic’s sinking. Not only did the position of the bunker in relation to the bulkheads weaken the structure, but the rate in which the stokers were shoveling and burning the coal could be a possible reason for Titanic’s speed. Another interesting fact? The damage of the coal fire to the hull was on Titanic’s starboard side. Close to where the iceberg struck. Let that one sink in. [pun intended].

Sinking titanic rms titanic GIF on GIFER - by Cordagelv

4. The wreck was actually discovered during a covert military mission during the Cold War

In the early morning hours of 1st September 1985, seventy-three years after the Titanic sank, oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard found one of Titanic’s boilers resting in the sediment of the seafloor. The discovery changed everything we knew about the wreck, proving that Titanic did in fact sink in two halves; the bow section and the stern, with nearly a mile of debris between them.

But, as it turns out, searching for the Titanic’s wreck was merely a cover story for a secret navel mission during the Cold War. The military was investigating the wreckage of the U.S.S.Thresher and U.S.S. Scorpion; two submarines lost in the heat of the Cold War under seemingly suspicious circumstances. The military wanted the wreckage documented; they were interested the in nuclear reactors that had sunk with the subs and, if there was any stock in the theory of Soviet involvement. It was the story Dr. Ballad could never tell, one that taught him about the physics of ocean currents and how they relate to wreck debris. A lesson that led him to finally uncover the Titanic‘s sprawling wreck.

Titanic GIF by National Geographic Channel - Find & Share on GIPHY

5. There are still human remains at the wreck

When Titanic sank, 1,500 people were plunged into the frigid temperatures of the North Atlantic. Only 340 bodies were recovered. So what happened to the other 1,160? Due to the depth [12,500 feet], physical human remains deteriorate very quickly. In fact, bone will actually dissolved into a solution at that depth. So while there aren’t any bones scattered amongst the debris and sediment, the wreck of the RMS Titanic is still a gravesite. What remains of the 1,160 passengers and crew lost to the sea are their shoes. Ghostly pairs of laced shoes and clothing laid in human form on the seafloor mark their final resting place, serving as the echo of the body once there. It’s a confronting, haunting sight that will forever remind us of the human cost to man’s hubris.

oc: rms titanic | Tumblr

There is still so much to be learned from Titanic and I’ve barely brushed the surface. Maybe this post will even inspire you to learn more? Considered to be one of modern history’s deadliest peace-time marine disasters, Titanic’s loss is still felt, even now. In fact, Titanic’s human cost stretched far beyond that night in April of 1912. It’s a tragic story that will never be forgotten, one that altered the laws of safety forever. And even as Titanic’s wreck is ultimately lost to the sea, what with the ocean currents, corrosion and iron-eating-bacteria, her legacy will live on.

Are you as interested in the RMS Titanic as I am? I’d love to hear from you! And be sure to let me know your favorite Jack and Rose scene in the comments below.

15 thoughts on “5 Things You [Probably] Didn’t Know about the RMS Titanic

  1. Loved this post! It’s so sad to think that one day there will be nothing more of the Titanic than a rust stain on the ocean floor. Thanks for sharing all these facts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Alana! It’s definitely very sad, especially because scientists believe that within just 10 years (by 2030) the upper decks will have collapsed, further deteriorating the wreck. It’s a controversial opinion, but I really hope they can salvaged as much of the wreck as they can and donate it to museums. I get the divided opinions – it’s a gravesite. But if the wreck with deteriorate anyway why not save and preserve what we can? That way, Titanic’s story will live on for future generations.

      Thank you so much for reading! ❤

      Like

  2. Um, why did I never know I needed this post until RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT?!?! I didn’t know ANY of this & it’s all so interesting! It’s like watching Air Crash Investigations but for the Titanic – idk if you’re interested in shipwrecks/aircraft disasters in general, but if you turned this into a regular series I would NOT complain 😍

    💛 Your saltmate

    Liked by 1 person

    • NAAAWWWWWW THANKS SO MUCH NGOC – THAT MEANS THE WORLD! *cries*

      I honestly didn’t expect anyone to read this post – I just wanted to flex my Titanic knowledge and have some fun because I am seriously obsessed. [Even more so than Greatest Showman]. I never really planed on a series but now I’m seriously considering it… I guess you’ll just have to watch this space! 😉

      Also, for the record, I to am a nerd who loves Air Crash Investigations. 😂

      ❤ Your saltmate x

      Liked by 1 person

      • Girl, this post was a STRONG flex & I’m all about it! LOVED reading it so much 😍 Also omg my family & I are so obsessed with Air Crash Investigations, we once even watched an episode the night before we were about to fly to Vietnam…10/10 would NOT recommend 😂

        💛 Your saltmate

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ohmygosh, Ngoc – AIR CRASH INVESTIGATIONS BEFORE AN INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT?!?! That’s some serious balls, girl!!! 😂😂😂 I would have been having a panic attack the entire freaking flight! Not trying that one at home, LOL!

          ❤ Your saltmate

          Liked by 1 person

          • I like to live life on the wild side, what can I say? 🤷🏻‍♀️😂 Yeah defs don’t try that one at home, kiddos – I have pretty fab ideas sometimes but that was not one of them 😂

            💛 Your saltmate

            Like

  3. This was fascinating to read!!! (And in the case of the lifeboats in the first fact very, very disturbing). Ive always found the Titanic fascinating but didn’t know these facts tbh. I knew that there were sisters ships but not really anything about them and I think I’d heard of the fire too but that’s it. I’d love to read some books – fictional and factual – about it eventually. I also think it would be fascinating if they could retrieve what’s left of the wreckage like they managed to with the Mary Rose. And I NEED to go to the Titanic Museum one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww, thank you so much! You might be able to tell, but I’m a little Titanic obsessed. And yes – how creepy is the lifeboats! I once watched a documentary about the Britannic where they re-enacted the sinking and it was HIGHLY disturbing. Safety has come a long way since the Golden Age of Ocean Liners!

      If you wanted a few recommendations, A Night to Remember by Walter Lord is one of the best sources you can find. Fun fact: James Cameron consulted A Night to Remember when making Titanic and even used a direct quote: “it’s a mathematical certainty”. The book recounts the events of that night, mostly from the perspective of 2nd Officer Lightoller. It’s a very well researched, minute-by-minute account of the sinking. It takes you right back to that night.

      As for the wreckage, it’s a seriously unpopular opinion but I couldn’t agree more with you. I know it’s a grave site, I understand why a lot of experts want to leave it, but if it’s going to corrode anyway, why not salvage it? I believe Titanic should be preserved in honor of the people who lost their lives and to continue their stories for future generations.

      💙 Alexandra

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes just a bit but being passionate and interested in something is good! Omg that must have been difficult to watch. I expect the documentary was fascinating as a whole though. Yes thankfully!!

        Ooh that name actually sounds vaguely familiar, I think they might have referenced it in a YA series I read. I’ll definitely have to check it out though as it sounds fascinating! Especially if it helped with the movie as that’s such an incredible film.

        Yes that’s true about it being a grave sight so I can kind of understand not wanting to people’s remains but I do think, like you, that it’s better for them to be remembered. They died horrific deaths out at sea so surely it’s nicer in a way to move what’s left and create some kind of memorial for them.

        Liked by 1 person

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