The sinking of the Titanic was a tragedy and only 700 people out of 2200 could survive. There have been a number of films about this tragedy. However, the most memorable one is James Cameron’s Titanic released in 1997. The movie has really stunning visual effects, a great romantic story, and of course, complex and interesting characters.
Today we at Anomalous Club decided to find out what the passengers and crew members of Titanic really looked like in real life.
Margeret Brown is the one who lents Jack buy a suit from her son for a dinner with aristocrats. She was a real passenger on the Titanic. She was a philanthropist, a public figure, an activist and she always thought about others. Margaret helped passengers to get onto the lifeboats and she refused to get on a boat herself. And later she was arguing with the commander of the boat,asking him to return to the location of the wreck and help the survivors.
When the survivors were saved by the Capathia, Margaret was making a list of survivors and looking for food and blankets for people. She even organised a committee to collect funds and psychological help for the survivors. Margaret Brown was awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour for her work and she was named “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”
Captain Edward Smith
The Titanic was commanded by the 62 year old Edward Smith who grew up in an ordinary family and dropped out of school at the age of 12 to start his service in the Royal Naval Reserve. He was the most experienced captain of the White Star Line company with 40 years of experience. The cruise of the Titanic was supposed to be the last for him before retirement.
At the time there was a popular opinion among people that icebergs were not dangerous. In 1902, the future Titanic captain declared in an interview that he could not “Imagina condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.” There are controversial opinions about the last minutes of the captain’s life. But some witnesses claim that he died like a hero.”
Joseph Bruce Ismay
Joseph Burce was the chairman and the head of the White Star Line company. Joseph wanted to beat his competitors, so he built a ship that was really luxurious which is why he ordered a reduction in the number of lifeboats on the ship from 48 to 16.
After he survived the wreck, he was savaged by both the American and the British press for deserting the ship while women and children were still on board. Even the official investigation proved that Ismay helped a lot of passengers and took a free seat on the last lifeboat, he had to live his life being known as a coward.
The negative image of Isamy was carried into the cinema. James Cameron’s film wasn’t an exception. Even though the history consultant asked the director to reconsider the character, it was said that the script wouldn’t be changed under any circumstances and the viewers would like to see this character in this light.
Thomas Andrews was the architect of the Titanic. He went on the first cruise to see how it functioned. After the crash, Andrews was one of the few people that knew the ship would definitely sink.
Andrews convinced the passengers to get into the lifeboats, he searched through the rooms to make people wear life vests and go out on the deck. However Andrews didn’t survive. He was last seen throwing chairs from the deck into the water hoping that people would be able to use them as rafts.
William Murdoch ahd 16 years of experience in cruises and he was the first assistant to the captain on the Titanic. William was the first officer on duty on the day of the crash. However the iceberg was spotted too late and 37 seconds later, the crash happened.
The complicated and controversial character in Cameron’s film made his nephew really angry. The creators of the film even went to the motherland of the seaman and apologised to his relative and also donated money to a charity fund in his name.
Frederick Fleet and his colleague were on the lookout on the night of the tragedy. Frederick was the first to spot the iceberg. Later, when he was interrogated by the American and British commissions Fleet told them that the lookout officers didn’t have binoculars, but if they had, “we could have seen it (the icenberg) a bit sooner”.
However some experts believe that even with binoculars, they still wouldn’t have seen the iceberg in time. Fleet ended up on the same boat with “The Unsinkable Molly Brown ” and he survived the tragedy.
Charles Lightoller was the second assistant to the captain on the Titanic. When the ship started to sink, the officer jumped off the ship, climbed into a lifeboat with 29 other men and taught them to keep the boat balanced and to not let it sink. Not everyone could wait long enough for the rescue ship: some just fell into the water because of exhaustion.
Lightoller was the senior officer of all the survivors. After the tragedy, he made a lot of recommendations for cruise safety. Lightollerr insisted on increasing the number of lifeboats, making booklets for training on how to use them, maintaining contact raio connection with every ship, and broadcasting signals about dangerous weather conditions.
Archibald Gracie IV
Archibald Gracie IV was a writer, an amateur historian and he was a first class passenger on the Titanic. When the collision took place, Archibald helped Charles Lightoller put women and children into the lifeboats. After the ship sank, he was able to rescue himself on an overturned boat.
Once he arrived in New York after the tragedy, he started writing a book about his experience on the Titanic which became a valuable source of information for historians and researchers.
The colonel’s health was impacted by hypothermia dn 8 months later, he died of complications from diabetes. Gracie was so preoccupied with the Titanic’s sinking that his last words were, “We must get them into the boats. We must get them all into the boats”
John “Jack” Phillips
Jack Phillips was the wireless officer on the day of the tragedy. He had a lot of telegrams from the passengers because the radio was broken the day before. Phiilips was so tired that he didn’t even give the captain several warnings about the icebergs from other ships. Phillips didn’t even listen to the full message that could have helped to avoid the collision because it wasn’t marked as “important”.
When the collision took place, the captain ordered all the officers to send SOS-signals, and Jack Phillips didn’t stoppo the broadcast until the room was filled with water and the radio wasn’t functioning anymore. Phillips didn’t survive the tragedy. Harold Bride, who worked with him, remembered that he was amazed by looking at Phillips doing his job when everyone around was in a panic. He said that he would never forget his work in his last minutes.
Ida and Isidor Straus
The scene of the film where an elderly couple is hugging during the sinking of the Titanic is unforgettable. These characters have prototypes – Ida and Isidor Straus. The spouses really loved each other. And when the businessman and politician Isidor had to be away because of work, they sent each other letters every day.
The officer of the Titanic, considering the age of the couples, was ready to let them both sit in the lifeboat. However Isidor refused because he decided to do what other men on the ship did. He tried to put his wife into the boat, but Ida didn’t want to abandon her husband on the sinking ship. Ida said “We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go.” The elderly couple was last seen standing arm in arm on the deck.”
The scene in the film where, despite all the panic on the sinking ship, the orchestra kept on playing music moved everyone. The episode is based on true events. Wallace Hartley was the head of the orchestra on the ship and after the crash with the iceberg, Hartely and other musicians wanted to keep the passengers calm, so they started playing music.
Many witnesses claimed that the orchestra continued to play until the ship sank. None of these musicians were able to survive. Hatley’s body was found with his violin attached to it, and there was a note on the back that said, “For Wallance on the occasion of our engagement, from Maria”.
Which of these stories seemed the most moving to you? Share your opinions in the comment section below.