The Titanic 1907 – 1912

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This timeline details the main events in the life of the ill fated liner Titanic




1907 (30th April)
J Bruce Ismay and William James Pirrie decide to build a class of three liners, Titanic, Olympic and Britannic, that would compete in both speed and luxury with the Cunard Line for transatlantic passengers.
1908 (29th July)
The plans for the new ships were approved
1909 (31st March)
The keel of Titanic was laid down at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast
1911 (12 noon 31st May)
The hull of Titanic was launched. Around 100,000 people came to see the event
1911 (20th September)
Titanic’s sister ship Olympic, which was the first of the three ships to be completed, suffered structural damage after colliding with a Royal Navy cruiser. Work on Titanic was delayed while Olympic was repaired.
1911 (11th October)
It was announced that Titanic’s maiden voyage would be 10th April 1912
1912 (2nd April)
Titanic sailed from Belfast to Southampton
1912 (10th April, 7.30am)
Captain Edward J Smith arrived in Southampton docks and boarded the ship
1912 (10th April, 9.30am)
The first of 922 passengers arrived and began boarding the ship
1912 (10th April, 12 noon)
Titanic left Southampton on her maiden voyage. She was bound for New York via Cherbourg and Queenstown
1912 (10th April, 6.30pm)
Titanic reached Cherbourg, France. 274 passengers boarded the ship and 24 disembarked
1912 (10th April, 8pm)
Titanic left Cherbourg, France
1912 (11th April, 11.30am)
Titanic reached Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland. 120 passengers boarded the ship and 7 disembarked
1912 (11th April, 1.30pm)
Titanic left Queenstown bound for New York
1912 (11th April)
After leaving Queenstown Titanic covered 386 miles (621 km)
1912 (12th – 13th April)
Titanic steamed through 520 miles (837 km) of sea.
1912 (13th April, 10.30pm)
Titanic received a warning of heavy pack ice from the ship Rappahannock
1912 (14th April, 9am)
Titanic received an iceberg and field ice warning from the ship Carona
1912 (14th April, 10.30am)
A lifeboat drill was cancelled to enable passengers to attend church services held in the first class dining room.
1912 (14th April, 11.40am)
Titanic received an ice warning from the ship Noordam
1912 (14th April, 1.40pm)
Titanic received a report of large quantities of ice in an area 250 miles (402 km) ahead from the ship Baltic. The message was given to Captain Smith who passed it to Bruce Ismay.
1912 (14th April, 1.45pm)
Titanic received a report of a large iceberg from the ship Amerika
1912 (14th April, 5.30pm)
The temperature dropped by 10 degrees to 33 F (0 C)
1912 (14th April, 5.50pm)
Titanic’s course was altered to a path south of the original route.
1912 (14th April, 7.30pm)
Three iceberg warnings were received from the ship Californian that had decided to stop for the night rather than risk travelling through the ice in the dark
1912 (14th April, 9.20pm)
Captain Smith retired for the night leaving Second Officer Charles Lightoller the instruction to wake him ‘if it becomes at all dubious’.
1912 (14th April, 9.30pm)
Lookouts Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee were advised to look carefully for ice
1912 (14th April, 9.40pm)
Warning of iceberg and heavy pack ice received from the ship Mesaba. The message never reached the bridge as the radio operators were too busy sending passenger’s messages.
1912 (14th April, 10pm)
First Officer William Murdoch took over from Second Officer Lightoller
1912 (14th April, 10.55pm)
The ship Californian, which was about 12 miles north of Titanic, sent a message to Titanic warning of pack ice and icebergs. The Californian’s radio operator was told by Titanic’s radio operators ‘shut up, I’m working Cape Race’ meaning they were busy sending out passenger messages.
1912 (14th April, 11.30pm)
The radio operator on the Californian turned off his radio and went to bed
1912 (14th April, 11.40pm)
Titanic’s lookouts spot an iceberg directly ahead and call the bridge. First Officer Murdoch orders ‘hard-a-starboard’ but it is too late and Titanic hits the iceberg on the starboard side.
1912 (14th April, 11.50pm)
Water poured into the ship’s keel and rose 14 feet (4.25 metres) in 10 minutes.
1912 (15th April, 12.05am)
The order was given to uncover the lifeboats. Titanic’s lifeboats were able to hold a total of 1,178 people if they were all filled to capacity – not enough for the 2,227 people on board
1912 (15th April, 12.10am)
Captain Smith ordered the radio operators to broadcast the emergency signals CQD and SOS. The nearest ship, the Californian, had unfortunately turned off her radio. The Carpathia was the nearest ship that heard the message but was around 4 hours away.
1912 (15th April, 12.45am)
Lifeboat no 7 was lowered. It contained just 28 people even though it had capacity for 65.
1912 (15th April, 12.45am)
The first distress rocket was fired
1912 (15th April, 12.45am)
The crew tried to attract the attention of a ship seen on the horizon with a Morse lamp
1912 (15th April, 12.55am)
Lifeboat no 5 was lowered. It contained 37 people
1912 (15th April, 12.55am)
Lifeboat no 6 was lowered. It contained 28 people
1912 (15th April, 1am)
Lifeboat no 3 was lowered. It contained 49 people
1912 (15th April, 1am)
Lifeboat no 1 was lowered. It contained 12 people
1912 (15th April, 1.10am)
Lifeboat no 8 was lowered. It contained 30 people
1912 (15th April, 1.20am)
Lifeboat no 10 was lowered. It contained 28 people
1912 (15th April, 1.20am)
Lifeboat no 9 was lowered. It contained 41 people
1912 (15th April, 1.25am)
Lifeboat no 12 was lowered. It contained 22 people
1912 (15th April, 1.30am)
Lifeboat no 14 was lowered. It contained 43 people
1912 (15th April, 1.30am)
Lifeboat no 13 was lowered. It contained 63 people
1912 (15th April, 1.35am)
Lifeboat no 16 was lowered. It contained 33 people
1912 (15th April, 1.35am)
Lifeboat no 15 was lowered. It contained 59 people
1912 (15th April, 1.40am)
Lifeboat Collapsible C was lowered. It contained 45 people
1912 (15th April, 1.45am)
Lifeboat no 2 was lowered. It contained 18 people
1912 (15th April, 1.45am)
Lifeboat no 11 was lowered. It contained 50 people
1912 (15th April, 1.55am)
Lifeboat no 4 was lowered. It contained 50 people
1912 (15th April, 2.05am)
Lifeboat Collapsible D was lowered. It contained 44 people
1912 (15th April, 2.17am)
The last radio message was sent. The radio operators were dismissed from their post by Captain Edwards
1912 (15th April, 2.18am)
The lights aboard the ship began to flicker and the ship appears to break in two
1912 (15th April, 2.20am)
The broken stern of the Titanic slowly sinks below the water
1912 (15th April, 2.20am)
Lifeboat Collapsible A was cut free but was full of water. 12 people managed to survive in this boat
1912 (15th April, 2.20am)
Lifeboat Collapsible B floated away from the ship upside down. Attempts to right it failed and 30 people survived by standing on the upturned boat.
1912 (15th April, 3.30am)
The survivors saw rockets fired by the Carpathia
1912 (15th April, 4.10am)
The Carpathia reached lifeboat No 2 and took the survivors aboard
1912 (15th April, 4.10am – 8.30am)
Survivors from the disaster are taken aboard Carpathia. Second Officer Charles Lightoller is the most senior crew man to have survived and is the last survivor to board the ship.
1912 (15th April, 8.50am)
Having rescued 705 survivors Carpathia steams towards New York. Bruce Ismay sent a telegram to the White Star Line Office in New York “Deeply regret advise you Titanic sank this morning after collision with iceberg, resulting in serious loss of life. Full particulars later.”
1912 (17th April)
The ship Mackay-Bennett is hired by the White Star Line and sent to the disaster area to search for bodies.
1912 (18th April)
The Carpathia reached New York.
1912 (19th April)
An inquiry into the disaster was opened in New York
1912 (25th May)
After hearing evidence from more than 80 witnesses, the New York inquiry closed. Its main findings were:

The passengers and crew were not prepared to deal with a disaster
Safety equipment, including lifeboats, had not been properly tested and therfore was not trusted
Captain Smith had not shown due care given the circumstances
The British Board of Trade lifeboat regulations were questioned
The Captain of the Californian should have come to the rescue

1912 (2nd May)
An inquiry into the disaster was opened in London

1912 (3rd July)
After hearing evidence from more than 100 witnesses the UK inquiry closed. Its main findings were:

That the ship had sank due to a collision with an iceberg
That the lookout procedure was insufficient for the circumstances
That there were insufficient lifeboats and that the crew were not trained in lifeboat drill
Captain Lord of the Californian was criticised for not going to the rescue


Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2015). The Titanic 1907 – 1912 Available: Last accessed March 30th, 2019


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