The sinking of the RMS Titanic remains the deadliest maritime incident in history with over 1,500 casualties on the night of April 15, 1912, as the vessel embarked on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. Today, more than 100 years after the disaster, many questions about that night continue to linger with the answers to those questions lost to time and the remaining survivors of the wreck are now deceased. The never ending questions that remain are how and why did the tragedy occur? Researchers and investigative panels have attempted to answer this question and while we know a great deal of critical information regarding the tragedy, there are still many beliefs held as to how the tragedy unfolded. Some of the theories go as far to suggest that is was actually the Titanic’s sister ship The Olympic which actually sank at the bottom on the sea. Conspiracy theories, misinformation and unfounded claims have caused confusion and masked the truth regarding the events of the night of April 15, 1912.
Walter Lord revisits that cold April night in the middle of the Atlantic to relive the events as they unfolded in an attempt to form a complete picture of what transpired and how. Drawing on the testimony taken of the remaining crew members following the tragedy, passenger accounts and documents, the image we see from Lord’s research is one in which many individuals were complicit and that the sinking was a disaster in the making even before the ship left Southampton for its maiden voyage. He also puts to rest several ridiculous stories that were told after the sinking without any factual basis, persisting for several decades and serving only to add more confusion to an already horrific account. Stories such as a passenger dressing in woman’s clothing and shootings aboard the ship became staples of tales told of the ship’s last moments.
J. Bruce Ismay, chairman and managing director of the White Star Line, the company that owned both the Olympic and Titanic, never recovered following the disaster and was savaged by the media for having left the ship and the company’s failure to protect the lives of its passengers. But as we see as we make our way through this exceptional account of the night, a series of events outside of Ismay’s control, unfolded and in the process doomed the ship almost from the start. Staffed with a well-trained crew and in close proximity to other ships that night, mainly the The RMS Carpathia and the SS Californian, the Titanic’s voyage should have been a relatively smooth and safe passage. But as we now know, fate took over that night resulting in unspeakable horror that continues to stir discussion and spark controversy to this day.
The sinking of the Titanic, for all of its tragic aspects, did serve as a lesson for vessel safety for future generations. White Star Line merged with Cunard in 1934 and is now owned by the Carnival corporation. The Titanic remains on the floor of the ocean, its final resting place from which it will never be lifted. On May 31, 2009, Millvina Dean, the last survivor of the disaster, died at her home in Southampton, England. And in 2014, The Indegraph Times uploaded a documentary to YouTube narrated by Peter Willis that presents the event in a completely different light suggesting that the tragedy was a carefully staged deception by the vessel’s owners that went horribly wrong. Everyone that was on the vessel is now deceased and are unable to give any further testimony about the events of that night. Many questions will probably remain unanswered for an eternity. But from the investigations that took place, the documentation that has survived and books such as this excellent investigative report by Lord, we do have an almost complete picture of what really happened that night separating fact from fiction in the story of the great and tragic RMS Titanic.