Parents said goodbye to their children. Husbands kissed their wives for the last time. One woman's husband told her, "You go. I will stay." The lifeboat left, and she never saw him again.
There were many examples of bravery on the Titanic on the night of April 14, 1912. Some of the crew and passengers worked all night to save other people. They chose to stay on the ship until the end. Other passengers thought only about saving themselves. They fought to get into the lifeboats.
Some people think that the Titanic showed people at their best and at their worst. Maybe this is why the disaster is still famous. The ship sank in the North Atlantic over seventy-five years ago. But almost everybody in the world today knows the name of the Titanic.
So what really happened that night? Why did the ship hit an iceberg? Why didn't another ship save the passengers? How many people survived, and how many died?
You will find the answers in this book. But remember that the disaster is more than just a story in a history book. It happened a long time ago, but some old people today can still remember it. There were many kinds of people on the ship—rich and poor, young and old. Each person had hopes and dreams. When the ship sank, hundreds died. Their hopes and dreams died with them.
Paul Shipton lives and works in the United States and writes mostly for younger people. Ghost in the Guitar is another of his Penguin Readers.
The Ship of Dreams
How much do you already know?
Try to answer these questions about the Titanic. You can find all of the answers in this book.
1 In 1912, the Titanic was the biggest ship that was ever built. How long was it?
5 There were over 2,200 people on the ship. How many people could the lifeboats carry?
6 How many third-class passengers died?
7 Which ship picked up the survivors?
8 After the accident, when was the Titanic seen again?
9 James Cameron made the 1997 movie Titanic. Which of these movies did he also make?
a Saving Private Ryan
b The Terminator с Gladiator
10 How many Oscars did the movie Titanic win?
The king of the world!
James Cameron was the big winner at Oscar night in Los Angeles in March 1998. His 1997 movie was named Best Picture, winning ten other Oscars, too. As Cameron held up the Oscar, he repeated a famous line from the movie: "I'm the king of the world!" He later joked that "size does matter."
It was a dream that Cameron had for a long time. He loved history and he was always interested in the story of the Titanic. Cameron's early movies—for example, The Terminator and Aliens—were full of action. Titanic had plenty of action, too, but the heart of the movie was a love story. Cameron chose two young actors for this.
Leonardo DiCaprio played Jack Dawson. Born in 1974, DiCaprio was first seen on TV at the age of five. He became famous in the 1990s with movies like What's Eating Gilbert Grope? and This Boy's Life. Work on Cameron's Titanic was long and difficult for DiCaprio.
Kate Winslet played Jack's lover, Rose. The British actress was also born in 1974. Winslet was not interested in small parts in Hollywood movies. She wanted to act in the theater. But soon Kate was in the biggest movie that was ever made.
While Cameron was making the movie, not everybody was so sure about its success. It took a long time to make the movie. As it continued, the cost went up and up. It finally cost between $185,000,000 and $200,000,000. The movie's opening was changed from summer of 1997 to December. Many newspapers and magazines wrote stories about the movie like "Titanic Sinks."
Titanic was more expensive than any other movie:
* For the first part, Cameron filmed the real Titanic at the bottom of the ocean. He had to go down to the ship in a submarine twelve times.
* Cameron filmed most of the movie on a model that was almost as big as the Titanic. He wanted everything on the ship to be like the real Titanic. Clothes, furniture, machines—everything had to be exactly right.
Not all newspapers and magazines liked the movie. One called it "dead in the water." But people around the world loved it. The world's most expensive movie became the biggest success. It earned over $1,600,000,000!
The Biggest Ship in the World
The biggest and the best!
1л the 1900s, more and more people wanted to travel across the Atlantic Ocean. The ships became bigger and better, as ship companies fought hard for customers. In 1907, the White Star Line decided to build the biggest and the best of all. The company planned to make three ships. Their names said a lot about them—Olympic, Titanic, and Gigantic.
Next to the Titanic, most other ships seemed small. It was 269 meters (882 feet) long. At the time, the tallest building in the world was only 229 meters (750 feet).
Everyone thought that the ship was also very safe. There were sixteen compartments. In an accident, big metal doors could close and then no water could get from one compartment to another. The ship was even able to float with the first 4 compartments full of water!
The Titanic became the famous "unsinkable ship." Nobody seemed to worry about another important fact. The ship could carry more than 3,000 passengers, but it only had lifeboats for 1,178 people.
"That ship is going to sink!'
Can some people see the future? Can dreams ever show what is going to happen? A few strange things happened before the Titanic sailed for the first time in 1912.
* In 1898, Morgan Robertson wrote a book called Futility, or The Wreck on the Titan. The book told the story of a ship crossing the Atlantic. It hit an iceberg and sank. Almost all of the passengers died because there weren't enough lifeboats.
* Six years earlier, in 1892, William T. Stead wrote From the Old World to the New. In that story, too, a ship hit an iceberg and sank. Another ship picked up the survivors. The captain's name was E. J. Smith—the name of the Titanic's captain. Twenty years later, Stead traveled on the real Titanic. He didn't survive.
Dreams and Bad Feelings
* The Adelmans were planning to return to America on the Titanic. Suddenly, Mrs. Adelman had a terrible feeling of danger. She and her husband didn't travel on the Titanic.
* Mrs. Blanche Marshall watched the Titanic from an island near Southampton. "That ship is going to sink before it reaches America," she said. "1 can see hundreds of people in the icy water."
The Titanic left Southampton, on the south coast of England, at noon on April 10, 1912. Even at the start of the trip, the Titanic had bad luck. There was almost an accident in the first minutes of the trip.
The danger passed, but for some people this was a bad start to the famous ship's first trip across the Atlantic. Some people said, "It's bad luck!"
A The Titanic sailed past two other ships, the Oceanic and the New York.
В Because the Titanic was so big, the New York was pulled closer toward it. The ropes broke on the smaller ship. It began to float toward the Titanic.
С Luckily, a small boat was able to tie a rope onto the New York. It pulled the smaller ship out of the way.
At this time of year, there was also a danger of icebergs in the North Atlantic. But the Titanic's captain, Edward Smith, wasn't really worried about ice—this was the unsinkable Titanic!
The Queen of the Ocean
The Titanic was able to carry more than 3,000 people, but there were only 2,207 people on the ship for its first trip.
The different classes didn't mix on the ship. They slept, lived, and ate on different decks. Of course, the first-class passengers were on the higher decks. The second-class passengers were in the middle. Then came the third-class passengers, at the bottom.
The White Star Line called the Titanic "the Queen of the Ocean." For first-class passengers, life on the Titanic was as comfortable as life in the most expensive hotels in Europe and America. There were hundreds of servants to look after them. Their private rooms were large and comfortable. They could enjoy a swimming pool, a library, Turkish baths, and excellent restaurants and bars.
Some of the richest people in the world were on the ship. In fact, American John Jacob Astor TV was possibly the richest of all. In 1912 he had $87 million. (That is more than $1,500,000,000 today.)
Bruce Ismay, the president of the White Star Line and Thomas Andrews, the ship's builder, were also on the Titanic.
Life for the passengers in second class was comfortable, too. In fact, second class on the Titanic was as nice as first-class travel on many other ships. These passengers also had a library and a few bars. They, too, could walk around on an open deck and enjoy views of the ocean.
More than half of the passengers were in third class. Of course, life on these decks wasn't as comfortable. But the rooms were clean and bright.
More than 100 of the third-class passengers were from Ireland. The others came from many different countries in Europe. Most of them had the same dream. They were leaving their problems in their own countries. For them, the United States of America was the promise of a new life.
A Passenger’s Story
SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD JACK THAYER WAS ON THE TITANIC AFTER A VACATION IN EUROPE WITH HIS PARENTS.
I’ I don't think. I'll be bored on this ship!
HE USED THE SHIP'S SWIMMING POOL EVERY DAY.
A ship with a swimming pool !
ON SUNDAY EVENING, WHILE HIS PARENTS ATE DINNER WITH THE CAPTAIN, JACK ATE ALONE.
-Excuse me. Can have a light?
THE TWO YONG MEN TALKED FOR A LONG TIME.
-This ships wonderful, isn't it?
-I was on a ship that sank once. It was near Alaska.
THE MAN'S NAME WAS MILTON LONG. HE WAS TRAVELING HOME TO AMERICA, TOO.
-I must go to my room. My parents will be worried. Good night, Milton.
- See you tomorrow, Jack.
THAT NIGHT . . .
-That's strange. The ship has stopped.
- Something's happened I'm going out on deck to see the fun!
- I'II join you in minute, Jack.
-We hit an iceberg. I'm sure of it.
The "Unsinkable Ship" Sinks
On Sunday, April 14, while the passengers enjoyed life on the Titanic, radio operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride were busy. Many passengers wanted to send personal messages to friends and relatives on land. But Phillips and Bride were receiving messages from other ships also.
Early in the afternoon, Phillips received an ice warning from a ship called the Baltic. It was the third warning of the day. The message was taken to the bridge, but Captain Smith didn't show it to his officers until 7:15 P.M.
It was a cold, clear evening now. Seeing the message about ice, Second Officer Lightoller told the lookouts to watch carefully for icebergs.
In the radio room, Jack Phillips took another message about icebergs ahead. It never reached the bridge. Phillips put it down on his desk and continued with his work.
Phillips received another message. This one was from a ship called the Californian. The ship couldn't move through the ice. "Shut up, shut up," Philips said. "I'm busy."
Lookouts Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee were cold and tired. Suddenly, Fleet saw a large, black shape in the ocean. He rang the warning three times and telephoned the bridge. "Iceberg right ahead," he told Sixth Officer James Moody.
On the bridge, First Officer William Murdoch had to act fast. He turned the ship left, hoping to miss the iceberg. he also ordered the crew to stop the ship.
The iceberg was thirty meters higher than the top decks. Some ice fell onto the deck as the ship passed it. But nothing broke. It was a different story under the water. The iceberg hit the side of the ship, making a few long holes below the water. Many passengers heard the noise, but it wasn't very loud. Nobody knew it yet, but this was the beginning of the end for the Titanic.
Captain Smith hurried to the bridge.
"What have we hit?" he asked Murdoch.
"An iceberg, sir," replied the First Officer.
Soon Bruce Ismay of the White Star Line was on the bridge, too. Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall went to check the lower decks. Fifteen minutes later, he reported, "Water is coming in."
Captain Smith and the ship's builder, Thomas Andrews, went below to check. Andrews immediately understood the terrible danger. The ship could float with water in the four compartments at the front, but there was water in five of the compartments. There was no hope. The Titanic was sinking.
There was only one thing that Captain Smith could do now. Just after midnight, he ordered the crew to prepare the lifeboats.
"Women and children first!"
After Smith gave the order, the crew started to wake the passengers. They told them to put on their lifebelts and warm clothes. Passengers should go to the boat deck.
At first, many of them didn't believe the danger—of course, the Titanic couldn't sink! Some of the first lifeboats were almost empty. There were twelve people in one boat for seventy people.
As the front end of the Titanic sank lower and lower in the water, more passengers began to understand the danger. But they still didn't know the most terrible fact of all. There were more than 2,200 people on the Titanic, but the ship had lifeboats for only 1,178!
Parents said goodbye to their children. Husbands kissed their wives for the last time. One woman's husband told her, "You go. 1 will stay." The lifeboat left, and she never saw him again.