Titanic 100

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

HALIFAX - The Royal Canadian Mint has unveiled a commemorative silver coin to mark the centennial of the Titanic sinking.

The collector coin features a design by artist Yves Berube of the ship under full steam as it nears an iceberg. It also shows the longitude and latitude of where the ship sank in the North Atlantic.

The mint says it contains 99.99 per cent pure silver, has a $10 face value and will sell for $64.95. It is making 20,000 of the coins.

It is also producing a silver-plated 50-cent coin and 25-cent copper-nickel coin to mark the tragedy. They will sell for $34.95 and $25.95, respectively.

"The tragic fate of the Titanic has long captivated the world's imagination," Sen. Stephen Greene said in a statement. "These beautifully crafted coins pay tribute to the many sacrifices that were made and hard lessons that were gained by humanity during the RMS Titanic's voyage 100 years ago."

Britain's Royal Mint has also produced two coins to remember the disaster.

The Titanic sank April 15, 1912, killing 1,500 people. Seven-hundred survived.

Sponsored advertisement

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

When RMS Titanic sailed on her maiden voyage in April of 1912, anyone who was anyone wanted a ticket. A trip on the huge luxury ship was to die for, especially when you could tell everyone you were on the first one. Some celebrities were even offered free passage for the publicity, but not Milton Snavely Hershey, who lost his deposit -but saved his life.

The man behind the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar, Hershey’s Kisses, Hershey’s Syrup, and the Pennsylvania city that bears his name had spent the winter in France and planned to sail home on the Titanic. The Hershey Community Archives has in its collection a $300 check Hershey wrote to the White Star Line in December 1911, believed to be a 10 percent deposit toward his stateroom, according to archivist Tammy L. Hamilton. Fortunately for Hershey, business back home apparently intervened, and he and his wife instead caught a ship that was sailing earlier, the German liner Amerika. The Amerika would earn its own footnote in the disaster, as one of several ships to send the Titanic warnings of ice in its path.

Read about other celebrities who were supposed to sail on the Titanic, but didn’t for a variety of reasons, at Smithsonain.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

In the movie Titanic it seems almost comical to watch a giant iceberg come out of nowhere and smash into the side of the doomed cruise ship but a new theory suggests that the hit may have been caused because of an optical illusion.

Reported in Smithsonian Magazine the theory points to a phenomenon called “super refraction.” That process occurs when the bending of lights cause mirages.

The theory states that during that tragic night in 1912 super refraction prevented the Titanic’s crew from seeing the iceberg in time while also preventing the nearby crewmen on the ship Californian from quickly realizing that the cruise ship was in danger.

The theory would mesh with reports from the Californian’s crew that they were “unsure of what they saw” when the Titanic fired distress rockets into the nighttime sky.

This isn’t the first time the super refraction theory has been proposed, researchers in 1992 floated the idea however it wasn’t until British historian Tim Maltin recently analyzed weather records, survivor accounts and ship logs that the theory gained any steam.

If you would like more information regarding the full process in graphical form Smithsonian Mag’s visual demonstration can be found HERE.

Mirages at sea would definitely add a new layer of mystery to Titanic’s sinking. Does the process of super refraction sound like a real possibility to you?

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking, the National Geographic Museum in Washington is preparing a new exhibit on the history and study of the famous ship.

"Titanic: 100 Year Obsession" will highlight the work of Robert Ballard, who co-led a team that discovered the shipwreck site in 1985, and James Cameron, who made the film "Titanic." Cameron has organized 33 dives to the Titanic site.


The exhibit will examine the ship's development and engineering, as well as its beautiful features. It will include a detailed scale model of the ship, as well as a working model of the engine room and a recreated radio room. Replicas and props from the film will be on display.

The exhibit announced Monday opens March 29 through July 8.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
LOS ANGELES, March 5 (TheWrap.com) - "National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence" -- and "Titanic" movie Oscar winner -- James Cameron will lead a new two-hour special called "Titanic: The Final Word With James Cameron" on April 8 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking.

Described as the "ultimate cold-case investigation into the tragedy," Cameron's NatGeo special will unfold on a sound stage with a 42-foot replica of the ship in the background, as Cameron gathers the world's foremost Titanic experts -- engineers, naval architects, artists and historians -- to try to come up with the ultimate explanation of why the unsinkable ship sank in April 1912.

"An investigation of this magnitude has never been attempted before, and some of the revelations may alter the fundamental interpretation of what exactly happened to the Titanic," according to a NatGeo release.

On April 9, National Geographic Channel will air "Save the Titanic With Bob Ballard," in which Ballard, the man who discovered the Titanic's final resting place in 1985, travels to Ireland to meet some of the men who helped build the ship and discusses how the ship's remains are in danger from looters, among other threats.

"If the Titanic is not protected and there's no guard on duty, it will get stripped," Ballard said in a statement. "It'll get stripped until all the jewels have been taken off the old lady's body."

National Geographic magazine will devote a cover story to the Titanic anniversary; Cameron's 1997 "Titanic" film, which won 11 Oscars, will be re-released on April 4, including IMAX 3D showings.
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The Houston Museum of Natural Science will host Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition during the 100th anniversary of the Ship’s sinking, featuring 250 artifacts recovered from the wreck site of Titanic that have never been seen in Houston. The blockbuster Exhibition will open March 16 and be on view for six months. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition allows guests to experience the legend of the grand Ship like never before.

“This Exhibition will feature all new artifacts than the show that was previously at HMNS in 2002,” said Amanda Norris, Director of Youth Education Sales. “This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic and we are thrilled that the over two million visitors who visit the museum each year will have the opportunity to experience this compelling human story as best told through authentic artifacts. These are real objects and real stories that resonate and touch everyone.”

On April 15, 1912, Titanic, the world’s largest ship, sank after colliding with an iceberg claiming more than 1,500 lives and subsequently alerting the world’s confidence in modern technology. 100 years later, the story of Titanic still resonates and Houstonians will have the opportunity to pay tribute to the tragedy through Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, where more than 250 authentic artifacts conserved from the Ship’s debris field are showcased, offering visitors a poignant look at this iconic Ship and its passengers.

Visitors are quickly drawn back in time to 1912 upon entrance, as each receives a replica boarding pass of an actual passenger aboard Titanic. They then begin their chronological journey through the life of the Titanic, moving through the Ship’s construction, to life on board, to the ill-fated sinking and amazing artifact rescue efforts. They will marvel at the re-created First Class stateroom and Third Class cabin, and press their palms against an iceberg while learning of countless stories of heroism and humanity.

“The incredible story of Titanic is timeless and knows no generational boundaries. Young and old alike are always enthralled with both the beauty and tragedy of the ill fated ocean liner that is the story of Titanic. We are delighted to collaborate once again with HMNS and bring Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition to Houston, one of the select cities to host this Exhibition during the Centennial Commemoration,” said Katherine Seymour, vice president of communications for RMS Titanic, Inc.

Over the past 15 years, more than 25 million people have seen this powerful exhibition in major museums worldwide, but never has there been a more important time in the story and history of Titanic than now – the Centennial commemoration of this great Ship and all who sailed with her. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is presented by RMS Titanic, Inc. which is the only company permitted by law to recover objects from the wreck of the Titanic. The Company was granted Salvor-in-Possession rights to the wreck site of Titanic by a United States federal court in 1994 and has conducted eight research and recovery expeditions to the Titanic rescuing more than 5,500 artifacts.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition runs from March 16 through Sept. 3, 2012. Tickets for the special exhibition are now on sale and may be purchased online, which is recommended due to the popularity of this exhibit. For more information, visit the museum’s web site at http://www.hmns.org or call (713) 639-4629.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science—one of the nation’s most-heavily attended museums—is a centerpiece of the Houston Museum District. With four floors of permanent exhibit halls, including the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Burke Baker Planetarium and George Observatory and as host to world-class and ever-changing touring exhibitions, the Houston Museum has something to delight every age group. With such diverse and extraordinary offerings, a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, located at 5555 Hermann Park Drive in the heart of the Museum District, is always an adventure.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine -- Researchers have pieced together what's believed to be the first comprehensive map of the entire 3-mile-by-5-mile Titanic debris field and hope it will provide new clues about what exactly happened the night 100 years ago when the superliner hit an iceberg, plunged to the bottom of the North Atlantic and became a legend.

Marks on the muddy ocean bottom suggest, for instance, that the stern rotated like a helicopter blade as the ship sank, rather than plunging straight down, researchers told The Associated Press this week.

An expedition team used sonar imaging and more than 100,000 photos taken from underwater robots to create the map, which shows where hundreds of objects and pieces of the presumed-unsinkable vessel landed after striking an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people.

Explorers of the Titanic -- which sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City -- have known for more than 25 years where the bow and stern landed after the vessel struck an iceberg. But previous maps of the floor around the wreckage were incomplete, said Parks Stephenson, a Titanic historian who consulted on the 2010 expedition. Studying the site with old maps was like trying to navigate a dark room with a weak flashlight.

"With the sonar map, it's like suddenly the entire room lit up and you can go from room to room with a magnifying glass and document it," he said. "Nothing like this has ever been done for the Titanic site."

The mapping took place in the summer of 2010 during an expedition to the Titanic led by RMS Titanic Inc., the legal custodian of the wreck, along with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, Massachusetts and the Waitt Institute of La Jolla, California.

They were joined by the cable History channel and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Park Service is involved in the mapping. Details on the new findings at the bottom of the ocean are not being revealed yet, but the network will air them in a two-hour documentary on April 15, exactly 100 years after the Titanic sank.

The expedition team ran two independently self-controlled robots known as autonomous underwater vehicles along the ocean bottom day and night. The torpedo-shaped AUVs surveyed the site with side-scan sonar, moving at a little more than 3 miles per hour as they traversed back and forth in a grid along the bottom, said Paul-Henry Nargeolet, the expedition's co-leader with RMS Titanic Inc. Dave Gallo from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was the other co-leader.

The AUVs also took high-resolution photos -- 130,000 of them in all -- of a smaller 2 mile (3.2 kilometer)-by-3-mile area where most of the debris was concentrated. The photos were stitched together on a computer to provide a detailed photo mosaic of the debris.

The result is a map that looks something like the moon's surface showing debris scattered across the ocean floor well beyond the large bow and stern sections that rest about half a mile apart.

The map provides a forensic tool with which scientists can examine the wreck site much the way an airplane wreck would be investigated on land, Nargeolet said.

For instance, the evidence that the stern rotated is based on the marks on the ocean floor to its west and the fact that virtually all the debris is found to the east.

"When you look at the sonar map, you can see exactly what happened," said Nargeolet, who has been on six Titanic expeditions, the first in 1987.

The first mapping of the Titanic wreck site began after it was discovered in 1985, using photos taken with cameras aboard a remotely controlled vehicle that didn't venture far from the bow and stern.

The mapping over the years has improved as explorers have built upon previous efforts in piecemeal fashion, said Charlie Pellegrino, a Titanic explorer who was not involved in the 2010 expedition. But this is the first time a map of the entire debris field has looked at every square inch in an orderly approach, he said.

"This is quite a significant map," he said. "It's quite a significant advance in the technology and the way it's done."

At Lone Wolf Documentary Group in South Portland, producers are putting the final touches on the History documentary. Rushmore DeNooyer, the co-producer and writer of the show, points out the different items on the map, displayed on a screen.

They include a huge tangle of the remains of a deckhouse; a large chunk of the side of the ship measuring more than 60 feet long and weighing more than 40 tons; pieces of the ship's bottom; and a hatch cover that blew off of the bow section as it crashed to the bottom. Other items include five of the ship's huge boilers, a revolving door and even a lightning rod from a mast.

By examining the debris, investigators can now answer questions like how the ship broke apart, how it went down and whether there was a fatal flaw in the design, he said.

The layout of the wreck site and where the pieces landed provide new clues on exactly what happened. Computer simulations will re-enact the sinking in reverse, bringing the wreckage debris back to the surface and reassembled.

Some of those questions will be answered on the show, said Dirk Hoogstra, a senior vice president at History. He declined to say ahead of the show what new theories are being put forth on the sinking.  

"We've got this vision of the entire wreck that no one has ever seen before," he said. "Because we have, we're going to be able to reconstruct exactly how the wreck happened. It's groundbreaking, jaw-dropping stuff."

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The reference is to the US ABC-
The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is April 15, 2012 and ABC will air the first three parts of the mini-series on Saturday night April 14 with the finale set for Sunday the 15th.

Mr. Fellowes explained that his television project will be larger in scope than previous cinematic efforts. Using the framework of "Downton Abbey",Fellowes promises that the series will cover the experience of passengers in all classes of the ocean linerrather than merely the officers who were the subject of the 1958 movie "A Night to Remember" or the love story at the heart of the 1997 James Cameron movie "Titanic."

Cameron's "Titanic" won the Academy Award for best motion picture and while Fellowes has won the U.S. television equivalent for Downton, he hopes that the mini-series will pass the strict scrutiny of what the UK Telegraph calls "Titanoraks" -- those obsessed with the downing of the ship.

The characters of "Titanic" are based on composites of people but a few are drawn from actual passengers on the ship.The four episodes take place from the first day the ship sets sail until its sinking, with each one focusing on particular families but featuring all the characters.There will be post-crash scenes in each episode.

We never see the middle class; and England is a middle-class nation. It’s what most of us are. It’s what most of our greatness depends on. So in our Titanic, we have a very strong middle-class story.We quite deliberately set out to create a portrait of the ship.”

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
Can't even spell Lightoller properly

Wildest Alternate Timeline Yet: The Titanic Never Sank, so the Japanese Won World War II

This is apparently the year of bizarre novels about time travel and people creating alternate timelines. And the wildest example yet of this subgenre may well be David Kowalski's The Company of the Dead — in which a time traveler goes back and saves the Titanic from sinking, with unpredictable results.

Yes, saving the Titanic from that iceberg results in more changes than just the fact that James Cameron never makes that interminable, Celine Dion-soaked movie. It also changes everything about World War II. Here's the blurb:

The magnificent alternate history The Company of the Dead is set against the backdrop of the greatest maritime disaster the world has ever known – the sinking of the Titanic.

In his debut novel, David Kowalski delivers a thrilling combination of action, adventure, and high-concept conspiracies linking events as disparate as the sinking of the Titanic and the assassination of J.F.K that play themselves out in dark and unforeseen ways.

The journey begins with a mysterious man aboard the Titanic on its doomed voyage. His mission? To save the ship. The result of his efforts is a world where the United States never entered World War I, thus launching the secret history of the 20th Century. Fast-forward to April 2012 and Joseph Kennedy, relation of John F. Kennedy, lives in an America occupied on the East Coast by Greater Germany and on the West Coast by Imperial Japan. He is one of six people who can restore history to its rightful order – even though it may mean his own death.

Check out an excerpt of the book right here:

April 14, 1912
North Atlantic

Jonathan Wells stood by the starboard railing, a gaunt figure in a dinner jacket. His coat billowed gently, borne by the ocean liner's rapid passage. His hair, thick and black, lay damp against his brow. His eyes blinked and watered in the frigid air. The strains of a Strauss waltz rose from somewhere behind him, a low soft melody that was swiftly surrendered to the night.

I've entered uncharted waters, he thought. Hic sunt dracones. Here there be dragons.

The enormity of his undertaking began to dawn upon him. Tentatively he placed both hands on the ship's rail. It was one final test of reality, one final test of faith. Cold steel retaliated with teeth of ice. He held his grip till the burn of it receded to numbness.

Two hours earlier he'd found one of the lookouts, alone on the forecastle deck.

"A cold night, isn't it, Mr. Fleet."

"Aye, sir." the man had responded with steady deference. "And it's going to get colder."

"I believe it's your watch."

Fleet nursed a steaming mug of coffee. He nodded between mouthfuls.

Wells withdrew a package from under his coat. "I've been asked by Mr. Andrews to supply you with these."
Fleet's eyes widened at the ship builder's name. Since leaving Southampton four days ago, Thomas Andrews had busied himself about the vessel, attending to minor design flaws and overseeing last-minute repairs. Wells hoped that the delivery of these binoculars would be seen as merely another example of Andrews' attention to detail.

The crewman turned them over in his hands, studying them in admiration. The binoculars were remarkably compact and extremely light by comparison to the standard issue.

Drop them, Wells thought, and it simply wasn't meant to be. His pulse was racing now. He realised he was holding his breath. He exhaled slowly. "They're German," he said. "The latest design."

"Bugger me if I can't see all the way to Dover," Fleet marvelled. He reddened at the sudden outburst and doffed his cap, apologising.

Wells, concerned with other white cliffs, offered a polite smile. He'd seen this night play itself out a thousand times in his dreams. He fought the urge to tell the lookout everything he knew. "Just keep a sharp watch, Mr Fleet," he murmured, "Good night."

He walked away briskly, mute fears clawing at his resolve. He had two hours to kill.

Seeking distraction he toured the Cafe Parisian and the first-class lounge. He tried to appear relaxed. In the mahogany-panelled smoking room he bought a round of drinks and spoke with a number of its regulars. Even to the last he maintained his one strict, if morbid rule. His one pessimistic precaution. Captain Smith, Thomas Andrews, Harry Widener, Isidore Straus, Benjamin Guggenheim, John Jacob Astor. He only kept company with the dead. There'd be time enough to forge new acquaintances when the deed was done.
He returned to the boat deck, his agitation mounting. He could feel the bourbon's warmth slowly leaking from his bones. He glanced toward the ship's stern and watched as a young couple emerged from the aft stairwell, their burst of laughter cut short by the sudden cold. They huddled together and after a brief exchange returned to the warmth within.

Wells allowed himself a moment's pride. They'd never know how cold this night could get.
Resuming his vigil he was startled by the brittle clang of the ship's bell. Three sharp reports issued from the darkness above. The final peal still rang over the waters as he reached for his watch.

Half eleven. Nodding slowly to himself, he replaced the timepiece. His hands shook violently.
"Steady," he murmured.

He was almost certain that he could feel the ship altering course beneath his feet. Somewhere, orders were being given and received, calloused hands were straining against levers. Fleet must have accomplished his task, for slowly but inexorably, their course was shifting.


He could feel it. The flutter of butterfly wings that would herald a brighter, better world. He looked out to the flat, calm ocean, the moonless night. Beyond the ship's illumination the dark waters rose up so that he felt as if he and the ship lay at the centre of a vast opaque bowl. Then at a distance, under the starlight's dim flicker, he saw it. First, a jagged edge, then two irregular peaks, riding black against the black night sky.

Long minutes passed as the iceberg faded from view. A new melody coursed up from behind him; ragtime. He found himself tapping his foot to the muted rhythm. He turned so that his back now rested against the railing and his face basked in the reflected light of a multitude of windows.

Toward the ship's bow two crewmen shared a cigarette. They stamped their feet while talking, the cigarette smoke mingling with their fogged exhalations. He approached the entrance to the grand staircase, a smile slowly forming on his lips. By the time he reached the crewmen he was laughing openly. They glanced in his direction, nodded respectfully, and returned to their conversation, hushed and conspiratorial in the cathedral night.

Entering the grand staircase he peered upwards. The glass dome filtered out the night sky. A chandelier illuminated the room, its own constellation. One of the stewards silently appeared at his side. "Up late, Mr. Wells?" he said.

"Just taking a turn on the deck. It's a beautiful night. Almost perfect."

The steward nodded doubtfully, and vanished into the first-class lounge.

Wells descended the stairwell two steps at a time. Down three flights and he was on C deck. The door to the purser's office was ajar, the elevator unattended. Here, apart from the soft footfall of other passengers and crewmen down other corridors, and the low steady thrum of the engines, all was silent. He walked down the hallway, withdrew a key from his coat pocket and entered his cabin.

The room was cool and dark. He lit the lamp. Crossing to the porthole he placed an outstretched palm against the wall and opened it, taking in a lungful of cold crisp air before closing the window. Removing his scarf and coat, he drew an ornate chair up to a table that was bare, apart from a dog-eared journal. He took a pen from his breast pocket, inspected its nib, and turning to a blank page, began to write.


April 14, 2012
North Atlantic

The night had passed without incident.

Lightholler decided to take advantage of the forenoon watch's arrival to spend a few moments on deck. His mug of coffee sat on a window ledge near the ship's wheel, a film of condensation blooming on the thick pane above it. Picking up the mug he ran a fingernail in lazy swirls on the misted glass. He gazed seaward and spied the bridge's reflection: his spectral crew superimposed over the Atlantic dawn. He focused on the image. Men stood gesturing animatedly against a tableau of gauges and switches. Johnson was handing the ship's wheel over to the First Officer. He caught a glimpse of himself and examined the square jawed, sloe-eyed face that belonged more to a prize-fighter than a Ship's Officer.

He moved away from the window and stepped out onto the deck. He walked over to the first of the lifeboat davits and glanced back over his shoulder at the squat tower of the bridge. The sun crept weakly across the officer's promenade. Lightholler let its warmth seep into his bones and looked out to sea. The tapered ribbon of land that had drawn his eyes at first light was now a thickened crust on the horizon. Above it the threat of thin dark cloud mirrored the image below.

He stood for a while, taking occasional sips from his coffee. He didn't hear the approach of footsteps behind him until he saw a taller shadow engulf his own.

"Almost there, sir," came a familiar voice. Lightholler turned and had to raise an arm to shield his eyes against the morning sun.

"Not long at all now, Mister Johnson," he replied to his Second Officer. "We should make harbour by noon."

"We're still riding low in the water, sir."

"I know." Lightholler replied carefully.

The two stood in silence for a few moments.

"Aren't you even curious, sir?" Johnson ventured finally.

"We're ferrying eight of the world's most important political figures across the Atlantic, Mr. Johnson. Curiosity is a luxury we can hardly afford."

"Sir, We're riding low in the water, and I can't account for it in our cargo manifest. We're carrying something we don't know about."

Lightholler remained silent.

"I'm talking about E Deck, sir," Johnson pressed, his voice low.

"E Deck has been sealed off for repairs, Mister Johnson, and we have our orders."

"I'm an officer of the White Star Line, sir, so why do I feel like a smuggler?"

Lightholler turned again to survey the darkening shore and frowned. "Smugglers usually know what they're carrying."

Johnson turned to leave. Lightholler listened as the footsteps faded away behind him and took another mouthful of coffee. It was cold.

Seabirds could be seen wheeling and hovering over the ship's prow. As she drew nearer to shore, their numbers swelled, driven by the oncoming storm. The morning's breeze rose to a brisk wind that raced along the decks and howled through the maze of her superstructure.

The sun was lost within a fold of heavy cloud, turning the ocean blue-black. Waves beat and broke against the ship's hull in sprays of white froth, the water parting unwillingly before her steady advance. Along the fore deck, men scurried back and forth between the wireless room and the bridge, heads down, scraps of paper clutched to chests or beneath jacket folds, bearing a stream of radio traffic.

Lightholler returned to the darkened wheel-house and turned his attention to the amassed correspondence that awaited him there; confirmations of arrival times, changes in docking procedures and offers of congratulations that seemed premature in the face of the approaching squall.

He examined the close-circuit screens, the only anachronism permitted aboard his floating memorial. A light rain from the west drizzled against freshly scrubbed decks driving most of the passengers indoors. On the poop deck some people stubbornly remained standing by the ship's rail or seated on benches out of the wind's path. He cued the audio. The occasional shouts of children merged with the squawks and cries of circling gulls. At the ship's stern a flag-white star on red-slapped against its pole with every sudden gust.

Passengers sat in the Palm Court drinking tea and coffee, listening to a string quartet play Mozart. In the smoking room they stood in small clusters discussing the recent events in Europe and Asia; the talk mostly of war. The majority, though, would be in their cabins and staterooms, packing away the last of their belongings. The ship sailed on, buffeted by rough wind and water, but in the lounges and dining rooms the only reflection of the turbulence was the gentle swish of liquid in crystal decanters. In fully laden cargo holds naked light bulbs swung pendulously, marking the ship's passage in wide arcs.

By the time lunch was announced the rain had passed and the wind had dropped to a caress. A wall of grey fog greeted passengers who had been summoned on deck by the knock of a steward at the door or the trumpet call of young boys in brass-buttoned jackets. The ship lay swathed in a blanket of cloud, occasional beams of sunlight shining through gaps in the haze like the face of God.

Lightholler sent word to the wireless room, giving instructions to alert the harbour-master. They would be arriving at dock shortly. He requested that a pilot be standing by to guide the ship up the Hudson to the newly constructed pier on Manhattan's lower west side. Then, for the first time in days, he allowed himself to relax. The politics and the ice floes lay well behind them. Staring out of the bridge window into the swirling haze he allowed a smile to form on his face and contemplated his evening ashore.


Manhattan lay crouched in the fog.

The ferries to Liberty Island had ceased running at eleven o'clock due to overcrowding. Later estimates suggested that there were twelve thousand people in Battery Park that day, but no one could say how many people swarmed around the terminal and streets surrounding piers nineteen and twenty. From the pebble-strewn beaches of Brooklyn, on past Governor's and Ellis Island to the Jersey shore, a flotilla of small boats and yachts rose and fell among the waves. Every now and then a shout would rise from somewhere in the multitude, swell to a roar and fade away in false alarm.

Finally, wreathed in the last of the fog, she appeared on the horizon. At first, in the distance, it appeared as though a small part of the city, its prodigal, was returning home. The great ship grew from the armada's midst, billows of smoke rising from her funnels and swirling into the clouds above. The small fleet scampered and parted before her prow. The liner's promenades brimmed with passengers, shouting and waving. All along the boat deck the ship's officers stood at rigid attention as she steamed past Liberty Island.

A small group of tugboats detached themselves from the piers off Battery Park and slalomed a path through the wall of pleasure craft to the approaching leviathan.

Lightholler, standing at the ship's wheel, turned to the First Officer and gave the order. Blast after blast emerged from the ship's foghorn. Johnson, at his station on the forecastle deck, signalled the release of the rockets and one by one they screamed, piercing the dense veil above to explode in flares of blue and white.
New York replied with a series of fireworks that erupted into the grey skies from countless barges. Fire ships in the bay shot jets of steaming water hundreds of feet into the air, turning the heavens into a deluge of rainbows where the sun caught the spray. A cacophony of horns and trumpets bellowed from red-faced men lining the shores and crowding the bobbing boats. Lightholler and the First Officer stood in the wheelhouse watching the spectacle that played out before them.

"Well, sir, we did it," the First Officer said.

"Better late than never, Mr. Fordham." Lightholler smiled.

Giant airships slowly descended from the heavens. German Zeppelins competed with Chinese Skyjunks and Confederate dirigibles, bearing messages of greetings in a host of languages. A century overdue, but heartily welcome, the Titanic nudged her way into New York Harbour.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

AKRON — The Akron Symphony presents its first staged Broadway musical with the Tony Award-winning “TITANIC.”

The show will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday April 14, in time for the 100th Anniversary of the ship’s deadly collision with an iceberg.

The show is based on a book by Peter Stone with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston.

“Titanic” opened on Broadway in 1997 and won five Tony Awards, including the award for Best Musical.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

A century ago, ocean liners traditionally held church services on board, and on Sunday, April 14, Capt. Edward John Smith presided over an Anglican service in the Titanic’s first-class dining saloon.

It would be a sunny day, and many passengers later went on deck to watch a brilliant sunset, among them Maj. Arthur Godfrey Peuchen, on his way home to Toronto from a business trip in Europe.

As he’d later testify at congressional hearings in Washington, it was then that Peuchen first realized another Sunday tradition on transatlantic trips had been observed only in the breach. There’d been no massing of the crew for a lifeboat drill.

This was doubly odd.

By 9 a.m., the Titanic had already received its first report of ice on the seas from another vessel, the Caronia. As the day wore on, the ship would receive similar warnings from a host of others in the area — the Baltic, Amerika, Californian and Mesaba.

Yet Titanic steamed full-speed ahead, apparently under the orders of J. Bruce Ismay, the White Star Line’s managing director.

It was if he had taken to heart what Capt. Smith had claimed six years earlier about a smaller ship, Adriatic, on its maiden voyage. “I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel,” said Smith. “Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.”

The weather was certainly otherwise agreeable. “Sunday was a perfect day and the night quiet and starlit,” Peuchen later told The Toronto World newspaper.

He dined as usual that night with Harry Molson and Hudson (Hud) Allison and his wife, Bessie. At another table Capt. Smith and Ismay sat, in Peuchen’s caustic words, with “a number of millionaires for more than three hours.”

Everyone was in evening dress, and after an elaborate dinner, Peuchen went off to the smoking room to meet up with two other friends, the realtor Thomson Beattie and Thomas McCaffry, head of the Union Bank.

“Talk was unusually bright,” recalled Peuchen, so he lingered, chatting and smoking until sometime after 11 p.m., when he finally decided to turn in for the night.

Once in his room, Peuchen had only begun to undress when he “heard a dull thud,” but it was “not like a collision,” he said. “I didn’t think it serious.”

Still, the ship had “quivered under it somewhat” as if struck by a giant wave, which would have been impossible on such a calm night. So Peuchen threw on his overcoat and headed upstairs to investigate.

On his way up, Peuchen ran into another friend “who laughingly said that we had struck an iceberg.” By then it was likely close to midnight, Titanic having struck the iceberg at 11:40 p.m.

He was soon rounding up his friend Molson, as well as Charles Melville Hays, president of the Grand Trunk Railway (forerunner of Canadian National) and Hays’s son-in-law to go up top for a closer look.

Crewman Frederick Fleet, one of six lookouts on deck, had been the first to notice the approaching iceberg.

Titanic had been steaming along at nearly 23 knots, the equivalent of more than 40 kilometres an hour, and the great mass of ice had quickly come into full view.

Fleet phoned the bridge, and then stood there for nearly a minute before the Titanic’s bow finally swung to port. At first the ship seemed to have made a narrow escape, with an iceberg as tall as Titanic itself passing by on the ship’s starboard.

But it wasn’t to be. The great berg had scraped the ocean liner’s hull on the starboard side near the bow, and several tons of ice had toppled onto the outside deck that third-class passengers used for their recreation area.

By the time Peuchen and his friends got up top to look at the ice, third-class passengers were already having snowball fights and playing soccer with chunks of ice, as if it were all a great lark. A man in second-class reputedly asked a waiter to fetch some of the ice for his highball.

Even as news of damage spread, concern was slight among most passengers. “This ship is good for eight hours,” Hays told Peuchen. “I have just been getting this from one of the best old seamen, Mr. Crosby of Milwaukee.”

Peuchen’s good friend, John Hugo Ross, the Winnipeg real estate mogul then ill in bed, was completely unmoved when told what had happened. “It will take more than an iceberg to get me out of bed,” said Ross.

But by midnight strange things were already starting to happen in the first six of Titanic’s watertight compartments.

Within minutes, the postal clerks in the fourth compartment had water sloshing around their knees, and as they retreated to the level about them, the water quickly followed.

On the bridge, Capt. Smith soon faced panting subordinates who’d raced up to give him more bad news about the flooding below.

It wasn’t long before the White Star Line’s Ismay was there, too, standing in his slippers to ask whether the ship had been seriously damaged. The captain paused, then slowly replied, “I’m afraid she is.”

Titanic’s wireless operators were already sending out distress signals.

The first reply, at 12:18 a.m., came from a German steamer, Frankfort, followed by the Canadian Pacific ship Mt. Temple. But none of them was as close as Titanic now needed them to be. The Frankfort was still 150 miles away, and when its wireless crew contacted Titanic again at 12:34, it was clear they hadn’t really understood that Titanic was in dire need of assistance.

That’s when one of Titanic’s wireless operators had a brilliant idea. The letters CQD constituted the traditional distress call, but a recent international convention had agreed to change that to SOS, since the latter message was much easier for rank amateurs to pick up.

They switched the call, and at 12:45 a.m., Titanic sent out the first SOS signal in history, just as the first rockets were being shot into the air, hoping to attract the attention of any nearby vessel.

On his way back from looking at the fallen ice on the third-class deck, Peuchen ran into Beattie on the grand staircase leading to the first-class dining saloon.

Beattie had news: An order had gone out for lifebelts to be donned, and the lifeboats made ready. Peuchen was stunned at the speed at which it had come to this.

He went back to his room on C deck and started changing out of his evening dress. Formal attire was soon replaced by long underwear, two pairs of socks, plain brown trousers and a sweater, over which Peuchen then put his greatcoat and a life preserver.

Peuchen had roughly $300,000 in stocks and bonds with him, which he kept in a tin box. But he abandoned them, retrieving only a cherished pearl tiepin for good luck.

He stuffed three oranges in his pockets and headed back up the grand staircase to face his fate.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW


The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., features an exact replica of the sunken ocean liner's handcrafted Grand Staircase. It's part of a $25 million, 30,000-square-foot replica of the ship itself.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. -- In a year's time, more than 11 million people will visit this city of about 5,800 permanent residents, where, at times, the daily population might top 50,000 as visitors travel along U.S. 441/321 on their way to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Many come to spend time in some of the 10,000 lodging units inside the city limits. Attractions are everywhere along what locals call "The Parkway."


John Joslyn, founder of the Titanic Museum, led an expedition to the shipwreck in 1987, the first expedition to recover and restore artifacts from the ocean floor.

One of those attractions beckons tourists to come inside what's billed as the world's largest, most expensive and elaborate landlocked, nonseafaring vessel.

The Titanic Museum is what its creator, John Joslyn, calls a celebration of the historic ship, passengers and crew.

The $25 million, 30,000-square-foot ship replica is massive. Its creator's office is tiny.

That's the way Joslyn felt -- tiny -- on the day he came up with the idea of building not one Titanic Museum (first in Branson, Mo.), but two (now in Pigeon Forge). He had what you might call a "religious experience" while standing on deck 12,500 feet above the site where the Titanic sank.

In 1987, Joslyn co-led a $6 million expedition to that site. This expedition was the first to recover and restore artifacts from the ocean floor. Joslyn and his team of scientific and salvage experts successfully completed 33 dives to the Titanic's final resting place in the North Atlantic aboard the Nautile, a French institute's $23 million deep-diving submersible.

The resulting TV documentary, "Return to the Titanic...LIVE," shown in 27 countries worldwide in 1987, remains one of the highest-rated syndicated specials of all time (seen by 22 million households in the U.S. alone).

Joslyn dreamed of creating a permanent Titanic museum attraction, and 20 years later, he built the first permanent exhibit dedicated to the ship in Branson, and after that, another located on 5.6 acres in Pigeon Forge.

In 2012, the Titanic Museum figures to have a banner year. That's because the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic will be observed on April 12.

No one has a deeper respect for the Titanic than Joslyn and his wife, Mary Kellogg-Joslyn.

"We believe the most meaningful way of honoring the souls aboard her tragic maiden voyage is to simply tell their stories," said Mary Kellogg-Joslyn. "Our crews help us do this every day, by respectfully breathing life into the dreams and memories of Titanic, her builders, passengers and crew."

Said John Joslyn: "We become very attached to the boat and its passengers."

And its artifacts, too.

That's where Memphis is involved in the story.

In 1997, Joslyn got in touch with Jon Thompson, who had served for five years as the director of the Wonders International Cultural Series in Memphis, asking him to "come onboard" with the project. Titanic artifacts had attracted thousands of people each month during their stint in Memphis. The $8 million exhibit posted $4.7 million in city and county tax revenue and had 635,000 visitors. Thompson promised Joslyn 50 artifacts.

Joslyn's company "started moving dirt" on the Titanic Museum in Branson in September 2004. The 20,000-square-foot Titanic Museum there opened in 2006.

These giant museum attractions exhibit one of the largest permanent collections of Titanic artifacts and memorabilia (valued at $4.5 million). Inside, guests enter a world where they can climb an exact replica of the most famous staircase -- Titanic's hand-crafted Grand Staircase. Visitors can touch finely carved wooden inlays, grasp the wheel on the captain's bridge, tap out messages on the ship's wireless, feel an iceberg's chill, stroll decks and galleries and listen to stories told by survivors.

The Titanic Museum opened in Pigeon Forge in April 2010.

"Being in the tourism business, you are aware of all the markets," Joslyn said. "We had come up and looked at the market. Before we started building in Branson, we thought, 'Should we build in Pigeon Forge or Branson?' We knew Branson better than Pigeon Forge, so we built in Branson first. It worked well."

The Joslyns wanted the Titanic experience to be personal for museum visitors. They came up with the idea of giving each visitor a boarding pass.

"When we started, there was just a name (of a passenger) on the ticket," Joslyn said. "When we got to Branson, we added a little more to it. Now, we give people even more information. One of the things we learned along the way, we do a lot of exit surveys, and we talk to people. For a while, I thought it was all about the artifacts. Of course, there's the ship and the experience, but when you take an exit survey to find out what the people really liked and it is the passengers' story. The best we can do to remember the people is to tell their stories ... and that's what we do."

Joslyn is amazed at each and every Titanic story.

"The building of the ship is a story within itself," he says. "It took 14,000 people to build the ship, and it was riveted. It was hard labor. You think of a rivet team. There were three people. They'd deliver a hot rivet to them. One guy had to hold it, and the other guy had to hammer it. How they got paid was how many rivets they put in per day."

The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge closed for several days earlier this year to build a new "Behind the Scene Titanic Movie Exhibit" in honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking.

A whole new generation will be introduced to James Cameron's epic drama "Titanic" when the 3D version of the movie is released in April. In anticipation of the excitement the film is expected to create, Titanic Pigeon Forge launched an exhibit that follows the movie's Jack-and-Rose story -- on the set, from the director's chair. The exhibit features props, costumes, scripts and other valuable collectibles from the film.

"After 25 years, Titanic remains my magnificent obsession," Joslyn said.

"I am continually amazed how many children want to learn more about the Titanic story," Mary Kellogg-Joslyn said. "On the other hand, some come to honor a family descendant who was on board and to learn more about their story. Others (come) to see why a 100-year-old story still haunts people to this day."

More information:

Titanic Museum Pigeon Forge is at 2134 Parkway. Contact: (800) 381-7670, e-mailinfo@titanicattraction.com, or visit titanicpigeonforge.com

More information about Pigeon Forge: MyPigeonForge.com.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The "Titanic" liner, seen leaving Queenstown harbor before making her maiden voyage en route for the USA. The ship struck an iceberg and sank near Newfoundland, killing 1550 people.

If the 3D re-release of James Cameron’s Hollywood blockbuster was not enough Titanic hysteria for you, a UK-based history publisher is bringing the fabled disaster to Twitter.

To kick off the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, The History Press is recounting the voyage through Twitter, using tweets to chart the events in the month leading up to the famed accident. The social-media account has already gained 12,000 followers and is meant to give “real-time” accounts of the journey through the eyes of those aboard.

Since the ship did not set sail until April 10, 1912, most of the current tweets are simple facts about the “unsinkable” ship. @TitanicRealTime has been hashtagging tweets to sort them by #officer, #crew, #engineering and #captain.

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/03/12/the-titanics-doomed-voyage-tweeted-as-it-happened/#ixzz1ovcdiJhu

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Trouble on Titanic's first course

Titanic In this April 10, 1912 file photo, the liner Titanic leaves Southampton, England on her maiden voyage to New York City. Five days into her journey, the ship struck an iceberg and sank, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,500 people.
The Associated Press


R.M.S. Titanic left Southampton, England, at noon on April 10, 1912, and it wasn’t long before the fears of Toronto’s Maj. Arthur Godfrey Peuchen started to seem like prophecy.

An experienced yachtsman himself, Peuchen thought Capt. Edward John Smith was, at 62, too old, and his career too star-crossed, to be guiding such a mammoth vessel on her maiden voyage.

Sure enough, Titanic was barely underway when disaster loomed.

As she churned out a narrow channel past two ships moored together at the dock, Titanic’s movement caused the mooring ropes to snap on one of those ships, New York.

With passengers watching in horror, New York started to swing out towards Titanic, a collision seeming all but inevitable.

“Full astern” came the order, and the sudden burst of water from Titanic’s portside propeller helped push New York away with only a metre separating the two vessels.

Tugboats eventually towed New York to safety, but the mishap had already put Titanic an hour behind schedule en route to her first stop, Cherbourg, France, where she was due to take on nearly 300 additional passengers, almost half of them in first-class.

That, and another stop in Queenstown, Ireland, would bring Titanic’s passenger list to nearly 1,400. The vast majority were emigrants, with the poor souls in third class, or steerage, “cooped up like chickens,” in the words of one, 25-year-old Neshan Krekorian.

A Christian Armenian, Krekorian and five others from the same village in Turkish-occupied Armenia were all fleeing the strife that had already taken the life of Krekorian’s first wife. They hoped for a better life in Brantford, Ont.

Steerage on board Titanic wasn’t completely grim - there was an outdoor recreation deck - but it was far removed from the glamour and romance so often associated with ocean liners.

Most of the men slept in dormitories or in cabins that housed up to 10 people. There were just two bathtubs for the roughly 700 passengers in third class, and to get to them, those housed in the bow would have to travel to the stern along a corridor, dubbed Scotland Road, that ran virtually the entire length of the ship.

The food was equally basic, and heavy on starch.

As the Titanic steamed toward France, the first meal served in third class - a traditional midday dinner - started with rice soup, then moved on through corned beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes, biscuits and bread, followed by peaches and more rice.

A working-class English tea would be served in late afternoon as the last meal of the day, typically along the lines of bread, currant buns, apricots and a ragout of beef with potatoes and pickles.

In stratified Edwardian society, it was inevitable that one snooty writer would look down on such fare from a great height: “This incongruous kind of food may, no doubt, be quite nice and tasty for this class of people, but it must shock anyone endowed with refined epicurean instinct.”

For epicurean delights, you’d need to join Maj. Peuchen in first-class, where almost nothing seemed too opulent.

If those in steerage arrived with not much more than the clothes on their backs, first-class passengers with names like Astor and Guggenheim came aboard with a mountain of luggage, most of it very much “wanted on the voyage.”

As Lady Cynthia Asquith later remarked, “It must be admitted that a very large fraction of our time was spent in dressing and undressing. We were forever changing our clothes.”

Dinners in the first-class dining room could run to 11 courses, and even those in the elegant restaurant everyone called the “Ritz” might still go to nine. These were formal occasions as much as meals, with everyone expected to be suitably attired.

“It was the last word in luxury,” wrote first-class passenger Mrs. Walter Douglas after one evening in the Ritz. “The tables were gay with pink roses and white daisies, the women in beautiful shimmering gowns of satin and silk, the men immaculate and well-groomed, the stringed orchestra playing music from Puccini and Tchaikovsky.

“The food was superb: caviar, lobster, quail from Egypt, plovers’ eggs, and hothouse grapes and fresh peaches.”

Putting on such feasts required a vast kitchen operation, with 60 chefs preparing a total of roughly 6,000 meals a day for the entire ship, including a total crew approaching 900 people.

While John Jacob Astor normally took his dinners at the captain’s table in the main dining saloon, Toronto’s Peuchen mostly shared a table with his friend Harry Markland Molson, of brewery fame, as well as stock promoter Hudson “Hud” Allison and his wife, Bessie.

That’s partly because Peuchen’s yachting chum, John Hugo Ross, was ill and all but confined to quarters.

Since leaving Toronto to take over his father’s real estate fortune in Winnipeg, Ross usually escaped prairie winters to spend three months in Europe with his prosperous pal Thomas McCaffry, president of the Union Bank. On this latest trip, they were joined by another Winnipeg bachelor, realtor Thomson Beattie.

Not long after Ross took ill in Paris, Beattie wrote to his mother in Fergus, Ont.: “We are changing ships and coming home in a new, unsinkable boat.”

A three-month sojourn in Europe was scarcely a novelty for the wealthiest on board, but there were also commercial travellers in first class.

George Graham, for instance, was a buyer with the T. Eaton Co. who’d been transferred from Toronto to the Winnipeg store. He was returning from an annual buying trip in Europe.

While Graham was away, his wife Edith returned to Ontario to stay with her parents in Harriston. She was supposed to meet Graham in Toronto when he got back from Europe, so after a couple of days on board Titanic, Graham duly stopped in at the purser’s office to send her word of his imminent arrival: “New York Wednesday Morning.”

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

 The descendants of a doctor who died on the Titanic said Tuesday they are delighted that a letter he penned days before the ship sank will return to his hometown, Belfast.

John Edward Simpson's family had appealed for a benefactor to buy the note, which was put up for auction earlier this month in Long Island, New York.

It did not meet the reserve price of $34,000, Philip Weiss Auctions said, but a buyer who did not want to be named then bought it for an undisclosed sum after hearing about the family's campaign to bring the letter to the Northern Irish city for public display.

Simpson's great-nephew John Martin said the note will soon return to Belfast, where the Titanic was built.

"For it to be on its way back is just amazing and so appropriate now just ahead of the 100th anniversary of his death. We are so thankful to the benefactor," he said.

The surgeon wrote the note to his mother on April 11, 1912, days before the ship sank. In the letter, written on notepaper headed RMS Titanic, the 37-year-old said he was settling in well. He also noted that his cabin was larger than the accommodation onboard the Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic, where he had previously worked.

The letter was brought ashore at Cobh (now called Queenstown), Ireland, the Titanic's last port of call before the ship set sail for America. It was dispatched to Simpson's mother, Elizabeth, who lived in Belfast.

Three days after he wrote the letter, Simpson died along with 1,500 others after the ship struck an iceberg.

Martin said his family had held the letter for generations but Simpson's 81-year-old daughter-in-law gave it to a Titanic enthusiast in Holland 15 years ago. The family lost track of the letter until learning it is to be auctioned by Philip Weiss Auctions. The auction house said it could not disclose the identity of the seller.

Simpson's story will form part of a new Titanic exhibition opening in Belfast next month ahead of the 100th anniversary of the sinking.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
Like a formidable ocean liner riding a tidal wave of nostalgia and overworked prose, Chicago-based daily deals company Groupon is offering a $12,500 vacation package that includes a tour of the Titanic's shipwreck site in a deep-ocean vessel.

Groupon is offering the deal, valued at $59,680, through its Getaways partnership with Expedia. The offer went live Tuesday, and just one unit is available. The package features a 13-day excursion that includes round-trip airfare from anywhere in the lower 48 states to St. John's Island, transport via "a professional ship" from St. John's to the Titanic site, one day of exploration on a deep-ocean vessel and admission to events relating to the 100-year anniversary of the ill-fated ship's voyage.

The buyer of the deal will also receive a DVD of the movie "Titanic" signed by a Missouri-basedLeonardo DiCaprio impersonator with the improbable name of Frank Lloyd Roberts. 

The 1997 film is returning to theaters in 3D format next month, ensuring that media coverage of the anniversary, backlash against the movie and anti-backlash backlash against the haters of the movie will, like Celine Dion's heart, go on and on.

In the meantime, "Titanic" director James Cameronremains much cooler than the rest of us mere mortals. He dove five miles into the ocean off Papua New Guinea last week, exploring the deep ocean by himself in a 43-inch-wide submersible craft. He plans to go almost seven miles to the Challenger Deep in the western Pacific, considered the planet's most inaccessible spot, according to the New York Times

Groupon offers deals in 48 countries worldwide. It has not yet expanded to the Challenger Deep market.
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Tennant locals pay Titanic tribute

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Two women from an outback Territory town will lay a wreath at the Titanic wreck site on behalf of the Australian people next month.

Member for Barkly Gerry McCarthy said when Tennant Creek locals, Lynda Clark and Ngaire Donald, approached him with the wreath laying idea he was happy to help.

“The sinking of the Titanic was a tragic and momentous event in history as 1517 people lost their lives including five Australians,” he said.

“So when Lynda and Ngaire said they were going on the centenary cruise and wanted to lay the wreath I thought it was a great opportunity for Tennant Creek and the rest of Australia to pay their respects.”

Mr McCarthy approached federal members Warren Snowdon MP and Territory Senator Trish Crossin, who secured a welcome confirmation from Canberra.  

On April 10, 1912, the Titanic embarked on her journey from England before it tragically hit an iceberg four days later and sank.

The centenary cruise, on Norwegian vessel the Balmoral, will retrace the Titanic’s original route from Southampton, across the Northern Atlantic to New York.

Specialist lecturers will address cruise travellers; the food onboard will be similar to that served on the Titanic; passengers will have clothes made similar to those of the top designers of that era and entertainment will reflect that of 1910s.

And 1309 paying passengers will travel on the Balmoral, the same number that sailed on the Titanic.

A memorial ceremony will be held at the Titanic wreck site on 14 April at 11.40pm, when the iceberg was struck, and again at 2.20am on the 15 April when the ship finally disappeared below the surface.

The Territory Government is supporting this initiative in line with its Territory 2030 objective to encourage participation in arts and cultural activities.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

80,000 Titanic Belfast tickets sold
(UKPA) – 7 hours ago  

Almost 80,000 tickets have been snapped up to tour the world's largest Titanic attraction when it opens in two weeks.

Operators of the £90 million Titanic Belfast, which has been built in the derelict shipyard where the ill-fated liner was constructed a century earlier, say they are delighted with the interest the centre has generated.

They have also revealed that their banqueting suite, which is themed on the White Star Line's first class dining facilities, has already had almost 200 bookings, representing £1 million of business.

After three years in construction - the same time it took to complete the Titanic - the eye-catching building, already an icon on the Belfast skyline, is on course to open on schedule, ahead of April's centenary of the sinking.

As workers add the finishing touches to the six-storey venue, which at 90 feet is the same height as the Titanic's bow, the owners have given a sneak preview of what waits in store for visitors on opening day on March 31.

The centre, which hopes to attract 425,000 visitors in its first year, tells the story of the Titanic through nine separate galleries, each devoted to a different aspect of the tragedy.

Boomtown Belfast, the first, brings people back to the turn of the 20th century and explains why the thriving industrial port city was chosen to build what was to be the world's largest moving object. From there visitors will be invited to board a skyrail pod to go on a journey through a recreation of the Harland and Wolff shipyard where the vessel was fashioned.

The story then moves to the ship's triumphant launch in 1911 and focus then shifts to the fit-out of the vessel, with three cabins recreated on one floor, from the most opulent to the basic steerage accommodation.

The maiden voyage is then retold, complete and the temperature drops and lights darken as visitors enter the gallery dedicated to the night of the sinking on April 14/15, 1912. As haunting survivor accounts are played overhead, tales of the 1,522 victims are retold on the walls.

The final gallery recounts the discovery of the ship's final resting place 70 years later, with footage of the wreck on a massive video screen below the glass floor of the 88-seat auditorium. The Titanic Below gallery also hosts a marine exploration educational centre, where live feeds will be streamed from ongoing dive missions down to the ship, which lies two-and-a-half miles below the Atlantic surface.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Titanic line-up for centenary commemoration show

Bryan Ferry is among those singing at the event

The Titanic

  • The legendary Bryan Ferry and Grammy award-winning soul singer Joss Stone are among the line-up for a special programme to mark the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic.

Titanic: A Commemoration in Music and Film will be broadcast live on BBC Two on 14 April, 100 years after the ill-fated liner hit an iceberg.

The 90-minute event is being staged at Belfast's Waterfront Hall, just across the river from the Harland & Wolff ship yard, where the liner was built.

Archive and specially commissioned documentary material, accompanied by stunning visual effects, will re-tell the story of the ship, those who built her and those who perished or survived.

Others confirmed for the event include Charlie Siem, one of the UK's brightest new classical stars and acclaimed English tenor Alfie Boe.

Armagh-born actor Colin Morgan, who stars in the BBC One series, Merlin, and Belfast actor Ian McElhinney will also take part.

Janice Hadlow, Controller BBC Two, said: "The concert will be a dignified commemoration of those who died and a celebration of the craftsmanship and endeavour it took to build this iconic ship.

"The talent line-up includes local, national and international stars who will bring the story of Titanic to life in a fitting tribute 100 years after the ship's sinking in the North Atlantic."

The public may register for complimentary tickets to the event from noon on Wednesday, 14 March, until 17:00 GMT on Wednesday, 28 March from http://www.bbc.co.uk/tickets

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Titanic the Ship, 100 Years Later, Becomes a Bandwagon


Published: March 14, 2012

MAYBE, if you are a Titanic-themed museum steaming along toward the outsize centennial of the ship’s sinking, size does matter.

Consider the behemoth exhibitions from Titanic Museum Attractions, both in Branson, Mo., and in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. — sister museums built to resemble, in half-scale, the ill-fated liner, complete with a 30-foot-tall “iceberg” to simulate the one hit by the real ship around midnight of April 14, 1912. What else would you plan but a Titanic-scale event on April 14 with choirs and orchestras and a Broadway cast on hand, as well as some descendants of passengers flown in at the museum’s expense?

“This is a major historical event that will never happen in our lifetime again,” said Mary Kellogg, who with her husband, John Joslyn, owns Titanic Museum Attractions, which for the memorial events is expecting 3,000 visitors at each venue, at $35 a head for adults.

Then there is RMS Titanic, the company with exclusive rights to the roughly 5,500 artifacts salvaged by eight expeditions to the wreck of the Titanic. The collection has been divided into temporary mini-museums set up across the country; eight will be in place by April, including one in Orlando, Fla., where on Saturday nights, one can, for $65, partake in a luxurious dinner party that recreates the one that George Widener, a wealthy Titanic passenger, gave for the Titanic’s captain just before the tragedy.

Then there is Sunnyside, Wash., (population 15,858) which is planning its own centennial evening at the Sunnyside Museum, a small, part-time outpost. On display as a centerpiece will be four-foot-long replica of the Titanic, borrowed from a local resident, as well as some replica dinnerware and a piece of coal from the ship, also on loan.

And while the Branson museum has been running centennial-related programs for months, people in Sunnyside are still pulling together their modest April 15 open house, gathering Titanic-related items.

“We’re putting an ad in the local paper to find other people with memorabilia they might lend us,” said John Saras, 86, a retired schoolteacher and president of the museum’s board.

New Titanic-themed museums have cropped up, spurred by the looming centennial. Scheduled to open March 31 is the Titanic Belfast, a new museum in Northern Ireland where the ship was built. It is a 185-acre redevelopment of the shipyard that museum officials there claim will be the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction. In Cobh, Ireland, there is the recently opened Titanic Experience Cobh, as well as the new Sea City Museumopening in Southampton, England, the ship’s port of departure and home to many of its crew members.

The centennial has also energized existing museums and become a cause for elaborate weekend events, from extravagant galas to solemn memorials. It does not hurt that the centennial happens to fall neatly on a weekend, with the sinking anniversary lining up with the early morning hours of Sunday, April 15.

At longstanding attractions like the Titanic Museum, in Indian Orchard, Mass., a Titanic Centennial Memorial Weekend will include a three-day convention and a formal gala dinner in the spirit of the cuisine served by the Titanic’s first-class dining room. There will be a dedication of a new memorial in Springfield’s Oak Grove Cemetery, said Edward S. Kamuda, founder of the museum, which is run by the Titanic Historical Society. Established in 1963, the society bills itself as the world’s largest Titanic organization. Its artifacts, many donated by survivors, include the life jacket worn by John Jacob Astor’s wife, Madeleine, who survived (he did not), and the actual message from a crew member who sighted the iceberg. The message never reached the ship’s bridge.

In New York City, the Greater Astoria Historical Society, in Queens, will display a quirky trove of memorabilia contributed in 2010 by a Queens man, Joseph Colletti, collected as part of the quaint memorial he used to keep at his town house nearby in Long Island City.

There is the Molly Brown House Museum in Denver, home of the renowned Titanic survivor who used the tragedy as a platform for social causes. This museum has planned a year of special tours, exhibits and events, including one in which staff members dress as Brown and other female Titanic passengers and discuss the fateful journey. There will also be a two-tiered fund-raising dinner: a first-class, six-course meal served by costumed stewards, and a lower-brow “Steerage Class Shindig.”

For more celebratory events, there is the H. Lee White Marine Museum in Oswego, N.Y., whose “A Titanic Affair” evening will re-create an eight-course Titanic dinner — “The day your ship comes!” its Web site says.

Other museums are opting to keep the events more staid. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is the center of dozens of memorial events in the city that was the closest major port to the sinking Titanic; it also played a major role in the rescue and recovery effort. From April 12 through Nov. 4, there will be an exhibit on the history of wireless trans-Atlantic communications, the era’s advanced technology used during the doomed voyage and in the recovery. The museum also has a collection of wooden artifacts from Titanic, including a deck chair and some finely carved woodwork.

Marcel McKeough, with Nova Scotia’s Culture Division, noted the challenge to produce events that were respectful of the human calamity of the Titanic and especially to the more than 120 Titanic victims buried in Halifax.

“We want to let the world know they are not forgotten,” he said, adding that the goal was to avoid organizing events that could be perceived as “commercial and crass.”

“We don’t want to be seen as trying to capitalize” on the tragedy, he said.

For their sheer size, the museums in Branson and Pigeon Forge stand out. Owners call them the largest permanent Titanic monuments in the country. Inside the scaled buildings replicating the Titanic are sloping decks, recreated cabins and 20 galleries featuring artifacts that include items from James Cameron’s blockbuster 1997 movie.

Museum workers, dressed as crew members, have been trained in 1912 etiquette at an initial weeklong academy. Visitors get a boarding pass in the name of an actual passenger, whose fate they learn at the end of the visit, in a memorial room where they can plunge their hands into 28-degree water.

Since opening in 2006, the Branson museum has had more than five million visitors, while the Pigeon Forge museum has had roughly two million since opening two years ago, museum officials said.

Since August, both museums have been handing out a single rose petal to each visitor. The petals are tossed into a memorial bowl and by April, an estimated one million of them will be taken some 450 miles southeast of Halifax (where Titanic sank) and scattered in the North Atlantic in a tribute by the Coast Guard.

The April 14 memorial events at the two museums are to end with a re-enactment of the shooting of the Titanic’s distress flares; an eternal flame will be lighted at the bow of the museum ship.

“This is our time to share the stories with the people,” Ms. Kellogg said.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW


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Everything about the Titanic and its place in our consciousness is outsized: its name, the grandeur of its experiment, the hubris of its mere existence, and the moral outrage attached to the circumstances of its demise. Next month will mark the centennial of the Titanic’s disastrous end—and, yes, that’s likely to be big as well. Among countless remembrances and marketing gambits, ABC is airing a miniseries created by Julian Fellowes, of “Downtown Abbey” fame, who appears to have found another perfect venue for his style of upstairs/downstairs period-costume melodrama. Plus, James Cameron’s unsinkable “Titanic” is coming back to theatres, sporting a new coat of 3-D paint. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself, at some point soon, murmuring the first few bars of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”

The Titanic story naturally lends itself to sentimental screen treatments. That’s the mode, after all, that best obfuscates any qualms we might have about being entertained by real-life death and destruction. If you are looking for an antidote to such fluff, next month also marks the reissue, with considerably less fanfare, of the late Beryl Bainbridge’s masterful vision of the Titanic’s voyage, “Every Man for Himself,” which won the Whitbread and was a finalist for the Booker Prize in 1996.

The novel shows us the Titanic’s now familiar features—the Grand Staircase, the glittering dinner gatherings, the comparative gloom of the lower decks—through the eyes of a fictional character named Morgan, an adopted nephew of John Pierpont Morgan, who had financed the parent company of the White Star Line, and therefore was the indirect owner of the doomed ship itself. Morgan the nephew, an orphan in the great literary tradition, knows a bit about the ship even before he boards; he apprenticed at Harland and Wolff, the firm that designed the boat, concerned, as he explains, in a typically sardonic manner, “mostly with the specifications of bathtubs.” Bainbridge lays out a subtle, oblique plot involving a mysterious older man named Scurra, who is at once a father figure and a rival to Morgan, and an unattainable young society girl, of whom Morgan observes, “Dancing with her was like holding cut glass.”

The Titanic, being a cruise ship, was garish and slightly absurd even in its own time. Bainbridge brings a refreshing irony to the story, freeing the boat and its passengers from their museum-diorama arrangements and filling their veins with blood and their heads with foolishness. When the ship first leaves the dock, a woman complains, “I expected more of a show.” Markers of snobbery are casual and precise. One character says to another: “Promise to shoot me … if you ever catch me sporting a bowler at sea.” Morgan notes Benjamin Guggenheim’s mistress: “She had pouting blue eyes, a small mouth and a mother, so it was said, who had hoed corn.”

Such humor and nuance about the Titanic, over the past hundred years, have been overwhelmed by storytellers who have turned a series a technical errors and bad luck into a floating morality play, an examination of the demise of the Edwardian ruling class, and an expression of modern man’s folly in the face of the natural world. Bainbridge dispenses with these notions quickly, or, rather, she captures them all in a single flourish. Morgan, upon inspecting the Titanic’s massive engine system, muses,

Dazzled, I was thinking that if the fate of man was connected to the order of the universe, and if one could equate the scientific workings of the engines with just such a reciprocal universe, why then, nothing could go wrong with my world.

Bainbridge’s ability to distill, and almost disguise, major ideas in brisk and seamless prose allows her to tell the story of the Titanic in fewer than two hundred pages. Later in her career, Bainbridge wrote several similarly short historical novels. “Young Adolf” followed a twenty-three-year-old Hitler on a visit to Liverpool. “The Birthday Boys” was an account of Robert Scott’s fatal—and, as it turned out, second-place—arrival at the South Pole. Her last novel, “The Girl in the Polka-Dot Dress,” left incomplete and published after her death from cancer, in 2010, was a seedy road-trip farce that ends with the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. These novels offer peculiar versions of history, concerned mainly with marginal people who end up, despite their natures, in the middle of big doings. A reader getting all his history from Bainbridge would certainly have an odd yet absorbing conception of the twentieth century.

These novels are invariably described as “slim”—which is something of a coded word among book reviewers. It refers, of course, to a book’s physical properties, but also hints at another kind of novel: big, rangy doorstops containing narrative and intellectual multitudes. In length, and in what is traditionally considered literary ambition, these novels are indeed slim—though I prefer the word sleek. They are condensed as if placed under extreme pressure. Or, like microscopes set to an extreme magnification setting, they zoom in on a spot that may or may not be representative of the larger whole.The central story in “Every Man for Himself” could have taken place anywhere—and, indeed, is not “historical” at all, but rather comes from the author’s deeply personal and idiosyncratic understanding of human relations. In 2009, Bainbridge explained how, after doing some research on the Titanic, she created the novel’s narrative architecture: “In the rest of the book, involving the characters, I just remembered things that had happened in my own life. There’s really no need to make anything up.”

Bainbridge is too sophisticated to fill her story with heroes or villains. Shortly before the ship strikes the iceberg, Scurra tells Morgan, “My dear boy … have you not yet learned that it’s every man for himself.” He is warning him against naiveté in his romantic engagements, but the line reminds us of the chaos to come, and challenges our comfortable moral sense that we would surely have behaved better in the same circumstances. Earlier, Morgan states firmly that “it’s bunkum to suppose we can be touched by tragedies other than our own.” Perhaps that’s what became most clear when the ship began taking on water.

By the end of the novel, our sense of the cosmic importance of the Titanic has suitably been diminished, and yet, in the book’s final pages, the essential terror of a giant ship sinking in the dark returns with startling force. The images are undeniably captivating: the glassy, starlit sea, the looming, jagged black-blue icebergs, and, most of all, that vertical mass, already half gone and with the power cut and sparks twisting down, bobbing there for a few moments before plummeting into the North Atlantic.

Yet worse than that, and worse than all the floundering on deck, the mishandled lifeboats, and tearful farewells—worse even, somehow, then the massive ship cracking in two—is the moment just after the last lengths of the stern slipped beneath the ocean, signalling some dark place in the brain that imagines death as a downward-pulling gravity on the body. That moment will be appropriately terrifying on the big screen next month in 3-D, but holds even more power in prose: “Then silence fell, and that was the worst sound of all. There was no trace of the Titanic. All that remained was a grey veil of vapour drifting above the water.”

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Titanic - The Definitive Story - Special 100th Anniversary Edition 2 Disc Box Set [DVD]

Product details

  • Format: PAL

  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. )

  • Number of discs: 2

  • Classification: Exempt

  • Studio: IMC Vision

  • DVD Release Date: 12 Mar 2012

  • Run Time: 240 minutes

Product Description

At the time RMS Titanic was the largest passenger steamship in the world, constructed in Belfast, Ireland and owned by the White Star Line. Sailing on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City on April 10, 1912 she carried 2,223 passengers and crew members on board. On the 15th April 1912 Titanic struck an iceberg and sank resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. This four hour long fascinating series takes the viewer deeper into the Legend of the Titanic. There are undiscovered interviews with survivors, artefacts and memorabilia from the ship and footage that has never been available before. The sinking of Titanic represented the end of an era in sea travel yet the controversy of why so many lives were lost is still being scrutinised and argued to this day. This captivating series looks into some of the issues still being kept alive by experts and enthusiasts. The sinking of Titanic on her maiden voyage, the high loss of life, the legends about the sinking, the resulting changes in maritime law and the discovery of the wreck have all contributed to the enduring interest in Titanic. Episodes Included: TITANIC REMEMBERED THE STORY OF CAPTAIN SMITH AND THE TITANIC ECHOES OF THE TITANIC END OF AN ERA

Found on Amazon UK 

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Several places are hosting special events to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic ocean liner off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland on the night of April 14 to 15, 1912. Of the reported 2,228 people on board, 1,518 perished.

If you want to mark the occasion in person and make an educational trip out of it with your family, there are lots of options for lodging at affordable prices.


In Halifax, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has, according to the province’s tourism website, the “the largest and finest collection of wooden Titanic artifacts in the world.”

An exhibition opening April 12 will focus on the role Halifax cable ships and their crews played in the Titanic recovery effort. Admission to the museum is $4.75 for adults before May 1 and $8.75 for adults afterward. For children ages 6 to 17 tickets are $2.75 before May 1 and $4.75 after that. Kids 5 and under get in free.

Special events in Halifax on April 14 and 15 include a nighttime walking procession, an interfaith service and a wreath-laying ceremony at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where 121 of the victims are buried.

The Nova Scotia tourism website lists Halifax lodging options ranging from one starting at $70 per room, per night (for two people) at the Seasons Motor Inn to $135 per room, per night at the Lord Nelson Hotel and Suites.

For more information on these events and about lodging visitnovascotia.com/titanic.


In Branson, Mo., and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., about 670 kilometres east of Branson, the Titanic Museum Attractions will host special events April 14. The two ship-shaped museums, I’m told, “represent the largest permanent monuments in the world dedicated to the memory of Titanic.”

Guests can “experience what it was like to walk the hallways, parlours, cabins and grand staircase of the Titanic while surrounded by artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the ship’s history and fate.”

The Branson Tourism Centre lists a wide range of accommodations that are ranked as value lodging ($45 U.S. to $50 U.S. per room, per night), moderate lodging ($60 U.S. to $80 U.S. per room, per night) and premium lodging ($80 U.S. per room, per night and up).

You can call the centre at 1-800-961-5152 or visit its website atbransontourismcenter.com/lodging.

In Pigeon Forge, nestled in the Smoky Mountains (and not far from Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park), you can find a range of lodging options including hotels, motels and cabins. For lodging options visit mypigeonforge.com. Tickets for the Museum Attractions tributes can be ordered by calling 800-381-7670.

Tickets to both Titanic Museum Attractions are available for adults for $20.68 U.S. and for children ages 5 to 12 for $10.77 U.S. Kids 4 and under get in for free. To buy tickets, visit titanicattraction.com.


In Belfast, Northern Ireland, the city where the Titanic was built, the new six-storey Titanic Belfast Experience building opens on March 31 and it claims to be “the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction.” Admission is about $20 per adult, $10 per child ages 5 to 16 and free for children under 5. The Titanic Belfast Festival, from March 31 to April 22, will feature plays, tours, exhibitions and talks about the Titanic. For more information on the building and the festival, visit titanicbelfast.com.

For places to stay, the Discover Northern Ireland website lists some special offers. For example, you could stay for two nights at Walsh’s Hotel in Maghera, and get one evening meal, for $90 per person. The Stormont Hotel in Belfast has a Titanic special offer from March 31 to May 31 that includes two nights of accommodations and entrance to the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum’s Titanica exhibition from $124 per person based on double occupancy. For lodging ideas, visitdiscovernorthernireland.com

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The sinking of the Titanic was like "a fancy dress ball in Dante's Hell," said survivor Helen Candee. In the early hours of April 15, 1912, the world's most luxurious ocean liner struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank into frigid water. Of 2,223 passengers and crew onboard, only 706 survived.

Such cataclysm may seem an odd subject for children's books, but young readers are perhaps no more immune to fascination with the glamorous Titanic than anyone else. At any rate, the approaching centennial of the sinking has launched a fleet of narratives about the vessel that gripped the world's imagination even before it was launched.

For "Titanic: Voices From the Disaster" (Scholastic, 285 pages, $17.99), Deborah Hopkinson has drawn from the vast archives of the event—eyewitness accounts, survivors' memoirs, telegraph transmissions—to relate what happened chiefly from the point of view of the people on the ship. The result, aimed at readers ages 11-16, is an affecting portrait of human ambition, folly and almost unbearable nobility in the face of death.



Candlewick Press
Illustration from 'Titanic: Voices From the Disaster.'

Several of the voices from Ms. Hopkinson's nonfiction account reappear in fictionalized form in the moving pages of "The Watch That Ends the Night" (Candlewick, 466 pages, $21.99). Published last fall, Allan Wolf's novel for young-adult readers consists principally of free verse written from the perspectives of 26 characters. These include real people, such as millionaire John Jacob Astor, teenage refugee Jamila Nicola-Yarred and the ship's chief baker, Charles Joughin. From their embarkation on the "great floating city . . . with its cargo of human hearts," the characters take turns relating their stories even as disaster engulfs them. Like Edgar Lee Masters in "The Spoon River Anthology," to which this work bears comparison, Mr. Wolf gives voice to more than just the human participants. We hear from the ship's rats and from the very iceberg that tore through Titanic's hull.

For readers 10 and older, Barry Denenberg blends fact and fiction to create a feeling of urgency in "Titanic Sinks!" (Viking, 72 pages, $19.99). Designed to resemble a magazine's special edition, this oversize volume presents the catastrophe through photographs and faux news stories that begin with the ship's construction in a Belfast shipyard and end with the grisly aftermath of its loss. Mr. Denenberg condenses the sinking itself into a fictional passenger's typewritten account, which comes to a dramatic halt mid-sentence. The information is nicely presented, but the choice to set it on mottled, sepia-colored pages works oddly against the immediacy that the author is trying to generate. One hundred years is a long time ago, but surely what makes the Titanic disaster so hauntingly resonant is not its historical distance but its closeness to us.

Two novels for children, meanwhile, use the disaster as the pivotal event in their young characters' lives. For readers ages 7-11, the English writer Michael Morpurgo gives us"Kaspar the Titanic Cat" (Harper, 198 pages, $16.99), which follows an orphaned English boy and his feline companion across the Atlantic. Having befriended an American family at London's Savoy Hotel, bellboy Johnny Trott helps take their bags to the Titanic. He dawdles onboard, enraptured, and ends up an accidental stowaway. Appropriately, the disaster is handled lightly here; everyone the reader likes manages to survive.

The hero of Gregory Mone's historical escapade for 12- to 16-year-olds, "Dangerous Waters" (Roaring Brook, 240 pages, $15.99), also happens to be a young boy taking an unexpected voyage. Patrick Waters, age 12, tends to bookishness but yearns to be the kind of manual laborer that his Irish mother respects. So when a Titanic work pass falls into his hands, he embarks with the idea of joining his older brother in the ship's boiler room. Soon Patrick is caught up in a murderous scheme to steal a priceless first edition of Francis Bacon's "Essaies." Inspired by a real passenger on the Titanic, book collector Harry Elkins Widener (whose family built Harvard's main library), Mr. Mone has created an enjoyable and at times poignant literary drama. With an echo of survivor Helen Candee, he writes of the sinking's ghastly cacophony: "This was the music of hell."

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The rococo metal frame sits forlornly on the seabed, 13,000 feet below its former grandeur as a deck bench on-board R.M.S. Titanic.

Its wooden slats have long since disintegrated, yet it’s another absence that remains so haunting.

Roughly 1,500 people perished when the great ship sank beneath the waves in the early hours of April 15, 1912, many of them entombed within the vessel.

On a ship as vast as Titanic, a monument to the machine age, there’s something oddly fitting about the smallest items — the chairs and pots and bottles — being the most arresting links to human life, as if the micro were the only way we could ever come to terms with the sheer scale of the disaster.

When a joint expedition of the U.S.-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and France’s Insitut français de recherche pour l’exploitation de la mer captured these images in 1985, it was the first time human eyes had seen Titanic in 73 years.

The hull had been severed in two and the ship’s contents strewn over a wide swath around her. Debris from first class mingled with detritus from second class and steerage in a way that would have been unimaginable on board.

This is apt. Once it became widely known that most of the casualties were steerage passengers and crew, it dealt a heavy blow to stratified Edwardian society.

That was only compounded when the Mackay-Bennett, normally a cable-laying ship, arrived to start retrieving corpses from the water and take them back to Halifax.

With no one knowing how many bodies there might be, the ship set sail with only 103 coffins.

The Mackay-Bennett would end up plucking 306 bodies from the surface, far more than could be accommodated on board.

So a kind of funereal triage ensued, one that would later spark great howls of outrage.

Where there was no easy way to identify a person, his or her attire was examined for the presence of monograms, or superior-quality cloth and jewellery — anything that might identify a first-class passenger, and thus someone worthy of a precious coffin.

The corpse of John Jacob Astor, then one of the most famous people on the planet, was duly embalmed on-board and placed in a coffin, though 123 bodies had been lifted from the sea before him.

Second-class passengers and officers among the crew were also embalmed, but instead put into canvas bags.

The rest — 116 people, almost invariably from steerage — were buried at sea, each affixed with a 50-lb. weight to speed their journey to a final resting place not far from Titanic herself.

Perhaps it’s those people we sense in the photographs — human life both painfully absent and poignantly present.

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