On The Eve Of Departure
On The Eve Of Departure
Tuesday evening, April 9th, 1912. R.M.S. Titanic sits majestically at berth 46 of the White Star Dock at Southampton, England. The frantic activity to complete the new ship is almost over. Carpets have been laid down, paneling and brass work freshly polished. The white paneling in the Third Class dining room is finished. The magnificent First Class deluxe suites are finished and fresh flowers are in place. The stewards have set the dining room tables in all three classes for the first meals that passengers will enjoy upon embarkation early the next day. The vast holds have been loaded with tons of food stuffs for the seven day maiden voyage to New York.
Captain Smith has left the ship to spend this last night before departure with his wife and young daughter at his nearby residence in Southampton. The other officers have reported on board and have begun their various watches as set down by the Captain and White Star Line. The vast majority of the deck and engine room crew will arrive early the following morning and sign the ship's articles as required. It will be a wonderful chance to regain employment after such a long coal strike that has taken so many of the International Mercantile Marine and White Star Line vessels out of service. To be crewed on board the newest, largest and finest passenger ship in the world is an opportunity not to be missed!
As TITANIC rests at the dock last minute stores and baggage has been taken on board. Many passengers have sent their trunks and other personal articles ahead of time. A gentleman from Philadelphia is shipping his new red Renault touring car. The car was created and loaded on board the ship the day before and would be off loaded upon arrival in New York on April 17th when he would drive it and his family back to their home.
Because of the crippling coal strike that lasted several weeks many ships were in lay up awaiting the end of the strike. The IMM and White Star ships were idle and their coal supplies were scavenged and sent to the Titanic so that she may sail on time for her maiden voyage. During this coal transfer a fire was started in the bunker of Boiler Room number six. This coal was very dry and it spontaneously combusted. Several crew members were assigned to continually hose down this coal fire, but it was proving to be a stubborn task. The fire raged on, confined only to this one bunker. Captain Smith was concerned that he would have to take his new ship out to sea with a fire in her hold. Luckily, Chief Engineer Bell felt that his crew could keep the fire contained and finally extinguished before arrival in New York. It would be an embarrassment to have to summon the New York fire department to put out this fire on her maiden arrival in America!
In the same dock behind Titanic are three vessels that were laid up. The St.Louis, Philadelphia and the older White Star liner Majestic. All sit idle awaiting the arrival of fresh coal. The strike has finally been settled and these ships will soon begin their various voyages again.
In Titanic's engine room, steam is slowly being built up. The boilers are being fed the recently arrived coal. Enough steam pressure is available to power Titanic's lights and galleys. But a full crew in the boiler rooms will be needed to bring her to full power for her departure at noon the next day. For the present Titanic serenely awaits her future, a future of many years service to coincide with her older sister ship, Olympic and the new third vessel that was now being built at Harland & Wolff. The newest entry will be called GIGANTIC and will be ready to join her two sisters in the spring of 1915.
The future of the White Star Line is assured with this trio of giants and giving the Cunard Line and any other steamship companies a real challenge; competing for the elite Traveler and more importantly, the vast hoards of emigrants' who actually were the bread and butter of any transatlantic steamship company.
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