Right into the Iceberg
Thus it is that we find the Titanic a few days out from Cobh, steaming through a relatively calm Atlantic Ocean at her designed speed of 21 knots. This enabled the 1st and 2nd class passengers time to relax or play deck games during the day; nighttime saw them dressed in all their finery for dinner and then dancing well into the small hours. The 3rd class made their own entertainment, with the Irish and Scots leading the way with their Celtic music and dancing below deck.
So the passengers and crew were falling into the ship's routine when the morning of Saturday April 13th found them steaming into fog as the temperatures plummeted. Only the hardy were taking their morning constitutional stroll around the deck before breakfast.
On the bridge Captain Smith was reviewing messages from other ships warning of low temperatures and thick fog ahead, accompanied by quantities of field ice. These messages were followed later by more reports of fog and the sighting of three large icebergs.
The captain chose to ignore these reports and kept the engines at full revs. He was determined to set a new record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic. That night entertainment went on as usual, with no one aware of what the next 24 hours would bring.
As Sunday April 14th dawned, the Titanic was still shrouded in heavy fog, her foc’sle barely visible, but she maintained her speed and heading.
The lookouts were posted on the fo’c’sle head and high above the deck in the crow’s nest, and it was from here that at 11:40 PM the shout went out, “Iceberg ahead." The wheel was put hard a'port and for a few seconds it seemed that the ship had missed the iceberg, but she had been dealt a fatal glancing blow on her starboard accompanied by a ripping sound that vibrated through the ship and was heard by many of the passengers and crew.
Thomas Andrews, the Titanic's designer was on board, and accompanied by the several deck officers, among them the Bosun and Chief Officer, carried out a thorough inspection below.
He returned to the bridge to inform Captain Smith that the Titanic had sustained severe damage to the starboard for'd hull. This was mainly under the waterline, and was sinking as he spoke, having only a few short hours to live.
The captain ordered “Abandon Ship" and the officers started to uncover the lifeboats as the passengers, women and children first, made their way to the lifeboats in their lifejackets carrying only their valued possessions.
Down below, the 3rd class passenger’s exits were still locked and there was a state of alarm as water started to ingress into their living areas. They were eventually freed and made their way topsides. Here they were greeted by the sight of emergency flares lighting up the sky and the ship's horn blasting out the forlorn abandon ship signal. On the boat deck women and children were saying a tearful and reluctant farewell to their menfolk as they embarked the in lifeboats, and rightly so as many of them would never see their loved ones again.
“Oh help us when we cry to thee; for those in peril on the sea."