RMS Titanic Sinks after Striking an Iceberg

Walter Belford was Titanic's night chief baker.

"We were working on the fifth deck amidships baking for the next day. There was a shudder all through the ship about 11:40 PM The provisions came tumbling down and the oven doors came open.

Captain Smith rushed onto the bridge; "What have we struck?" he asked. "An iceberg, sir’" replied Murdoch. Then the First Officer explained what he had done.

After receiving an initial report that no damage was found, Smith ordered the carpenter to go down and "sound" the ship. When he returned he had bad news that Titanic was taking on water. Soon passengers began noticing the lack of vibration from the engines and worried about the impact from the collision.

J. Bruce Ismay, in his suite on B-deck, was awakened by scraping noises. He quickly put on an coat over his pajamas, made his way to the bridge and asked Smith "Do you think the ship is seriously damaged?" Smith replied, "I am afraid she is."

The sinking of the RMS Titanic occurred on the night of 14 April through to the morning of 15 April 1912 in the north Atlantic Ocean, four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. The largest passenger liner in service at the time, Titanic had an estimated 2,224 people on board when she struck an iceberg at 23:40 (ship's time[a]) on Sunday, 14 April 1912. Her sinking two hours and forty minutes later at 02:20 (05:18 GMT) on Monday, 15 April resulted in the deaths of more than 1,500 people, which made it one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

Titanic received six warnings of sea ice on 14 April but was travelling near her maximum speed when her crew sighted the iceberg. Unable to turn quickly enough, the ship suffered a glancing blow that buckled her starboard (right) side and opened five of her sixteen compartments to the sea. Titanic had been designed to stay afloat with four of her forward compartments flooded but not more, and the crew soon realised that the ship would sink. They used rocket flares and radio (wireless) messages to attract help as the passengers were put into lifeboats. However, in accordance with existing maritime practice, the ship was carrying far too few lifeboats for everyone (though slightly more than the law required), and many boats were not filled to their capacity due to a poorly managed evacuation.

The ship sank with over a thousand passengers and crew members still on board. Almost all those who jumped or fell into the water died from hypothermia within minutes. RMS Carpathia arrived on the scene about an hour and a half after the sinking and had rescued the last of the survivors in the lifeboats by 09:15 on 15 April, little more than 24 hours after Titanic's crew had received their first warnings of drifting ice. The disaster caused widespread public outrage over the lack of lifeboats, lax shipping regulations, and the unequal treatment of the different passenger classes aboard the ship. Inquiries set up in the wake of the disaster recommended sweeping changes to maritime regulations. This led to the establishment in 1914 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which still governs maritime safety today.