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Initial Discussions begin concerning the construction of two enormous liners (with a third to be added later) for the White Star Line.

1908-July 31st

July 31st: The construction contract is signed for three sister ships, Olympic, Titanic, and Gigantic (later named Britannic). All will be built by the Belfast shipbuilding firm of Harland & Wolff in Ireland. The cost for each vessel will eventually reach $7.5 million.

1909-March 31st

Titanic’s keel is laid and construction commences.

1911-May 31st

Titanic is successfully launched and becomes the largest moving object ever constructed.


A tentative date is set for Titanic’s maiden voyage, March 20, 1912.

September 20th

Olympic collides with The Royal Navy cruiser Hawke. Titanic’s maiden voyage is delayed while workers and supplies at the Harland & Wolff shipyard are diverted to repair Olympic.

October 11th

White Star announces new date for Titanic’s maiden voyage, April 10 1912.

1912 January

Titanic’s lifeboats are installed, twenty in all. This is far short of what would be needed to save all her passengers, but four boats more than required by the outdated Board of Trade regulations.

March 25

Titanic’s lifeboats are tested, swung out, lowered, and hoisted back into position.

March 31st

Aside from a few small details, the fitting out of Titanic is complete, and she is ready for her sea trials.

April 2nd

6.00 am: Sea trials begin. All equipment is tested, including the wireless. Speed and handling trials are conducted.

2.00. pm: Titanic sails for about two hours into the open sea and then returns to Belfast.

8.00.pm: Titanic leaves Belfast for Southampton.

April 3rd

Titanic arrives at Southampton just after midnight. For the next week, the crew is recruited, cargo is loaded, and food is taken aboard.


April 10th

7.30.am: Crew Boards Titanic.

9.30. to 11.00.am Second and third class passengers embark.

11.30.am: First-class boat train arrives from London. First –class passenger’s board and are escorted to their cabins.

Noon: Titanic casts off and turns downstream into the River Test. Suction Caused by Titanic’s passing snaps the ropes of the liner SS New York, which is moored at the pier she is pulled toward Titanic. Quick action narrowly averts a collision by only four feet.

6.30.pm: After a quick cross-channel passage, Titanic arrives in Cherbourg, France. By 8.00 pm all Cherbourg passengers have embarked and Titanic sails for Queenstown, Ireland.

April 11

11.30.am: Titanic arrives in Queenstown, where 120 additional passengers embark, mostly Irish emigrants bound for a new life in America. The Titanic now has over 2,200 passengers and crew on board.

1.30.pm: The anchor is raised-Titanic begins her first crossing to New York.

April 12-13th

Numerous ice warnings received from other ships.

April 14th

Several additional warnings received about “large quantities of….ice,” approximately 250 miles directly ahead of Titanic.

5.5.0.pm: Captain Smith orders ship’s course altered slightly south, perhaps in an attempt to avoid ice.

10.00.pm: The watch changes, and the bridge is left in charge of First Officer William Murdoch.

11.40.pm: Lookouts see an iceberg directly in Titanic’s path about five hundred yards away. Three sharp clangs are immediately rung on the crow’s nest bell, and the bridge is informed by telephone, “Iceberg right ahead”. Murdoch immediately calls “hard-a-starboard” to the helmsman and orders the engine full astern. Titanic begins to drift to port, but the iceberg strikes the starboard bow and brushes along the side of the ship. The impact seems to many people as simply a slight shudder.

11.50.pm: Within ten minutes after impact with the iceberg, water rises to fourteen feet above the keel in the forward compartments.

Midnight: The mail room, twenty-four feet above the keel, begins to flood. After his own quick inspection, Captain Smith asks Thomas Andrews, the ship’s designer, for his opinion. Andrews estimates that the ship can only stay afloat for one to one and a half hours. Captain Smith orders the wireless operators to send the distress call for assistance.

April 15th

12.05.am: Seawater has now reached the squash court, thirty-two feet above the keel. The order is given to uncover the lifeboats and prepare them for launching.

12.15.am: Several ships have heard Titanic’s distress calls and signal that they are on their way to assist. These included Titanic’s sister ship Olympic and the Cunard liner Carpathia. The ship’s orchestra gathers in the first-class lounge and begins to play lively ragtime tunes to help keep the passengers calm.

12.20.am: Water floods the seamen’s quarters on E-Deck forward, forty-eight feet above the keel.

12.25.am: The order is given to begin loading the lifeboats with women and children. However, many boats launched in the early stages of the sinking are lowered less than half full because passengers do not believe that Titanic is in serious trouble.

12.45.am: Boat No.7, the first to leave the doomed liner, is safely lowered. Although it has a capacity of sixty-five people, it departs with only twenty-eight aboard. The first distress rocket is fired. Eight will be fired altogether.

12.55.am: The first port side boat No.6, is loaded and lowered by Second Officer Charles Lightoller. It has only twenty-eight people aboard, including Margaret Brown, the colourful wife of a Denver mining magnate, who will soon become known as “the unsinkable Molly Brown”.

Boat No.5. on the starboard side is lowered with forty-one aboard.

1.00.am: Starboard boat No.3. is launched with only thirty-two aboard, including eleven members of the crew.

1.10.am: Starboard No.1 leaves Titanic with only twelve aboard, including Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon and seven crew, although it has a capacity of forty. Portside No.8 is loaded and lowered away, carrying only thirty-nine people.

1.15.am: The water now reached Titanic’s name on her bow, and she takes on a distinct list to port. People begin to realize the danger, and the boats begin to leave more fully loaded.

1.20. – 1.30.am: Boats 10, 12,14 and 16 are lowered in quick succession. Panic begins to spread among some passengers. During the launching of Boat 14, Fifth Officer Lowe fires his gun into the air several times to keep people from jumping into the boat. Boat 16 leaves the ship with over fifty occupants.

1.30.am: Boat No.9 departs with fifty-six passengers and crew, nearly its full capacity of sixty-five. Titanic has now developed a noticeable list to starboard.

Titanic’s distress calls become more desperate: “We are sinking fast” and “Women and children in boats cannot last much longer”.

1.35.am: Boat No 11 is loaded and sent away.

1.40 am: Boat No 13 is launched with Sixty-four occupants, mostly second and third class women and children.

Just moments after Boat 13 departs, Boat 15 begins its descent to the water. After reaching the water, Boat 13 begins to drift aft, and Boat 15 nearly crushes it. Only at the last moment are the ropes to Boat 13 released so it can be rowed away. Since most of the forward boats have been launched, passengers congregate near the stern. The forward well deck is now awash with the freezing water.

1.45.am: Boat No.2 is lowered and rows away with only twenty-five people aboard.

1.50.am: Millionaire John Jacob Astor places his wife in Boat No.4 and then asks Second Officer Charles Lightoller if he can accompany her because she is pregnant. He is refused permission to enter the lifeboat. Mr Astor steps back onto the deck of Titanic.

2.00.am: Collapsible C (an emergency lifeboat with canvas sides) is lowered with J. Bruce Ismay, president of the White Star Line, aboard.

2.05.am: Collapsible D, the last boat to be successfully launched, reaches the ocean after a descent of only a few feet. The water is now nearly up to the Promenade Deck. After Titanic sinks, Collapsible D is tied together with Boats 4, 10,12 and 14. Survivors are then distributed from Boat 14 to other boats so Fifth Officer Lowe can return to wreck site and attempt to rescue anyone in the water. Boat 12 is subsequently overloaded with seventy people, many rescued from Collapsible D. Titanic’s upper deck forward of the foremast totally disappears under water, and the speed of the sinking increases.

2.10.am: Captain Smith releases wireless operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride from their duties.

2.17.am: Jack Phillips sends his last SOS. Titanic’s bridge plunges under, allowing Collapsibles A and B to float free. Titanic’s forward funnel falls to starboard, washing Collapsible B, turned upside down, clear of the ship.

2.18.am: Everything moveable in the ship crashes towards the bow as Titanic reaches and angle of 45 to 50 degrees. Her lights flicker once then go out forever as she breaks in two. The bow section sinks, and the stern begins to right itself.

2.20.am: The stern slowly fills with water and sinks. Over 1,500 people are left on board to die in the freezing waters.

3.30.am.:Rockets are fired from the rescue ship Carpathia and sighted by lifeboats.

4.10.am: The first boat, No 2 is picked up by Carpathia.

8.30.am: Survivors from the last boat, No 12, are brought aboard Carpathia. Second Officer Charles Lightoller is the last survivor to come on board.

8.50.am: Carpathia begins her journey to New York carrying 705 survivors. Other ships are left behind to search for further survivors. Bruce Ismay wires news of disaster to White Star offices in New York.

April 17th

The cable ship MacKay-Bennett, hired by the White Star Line to search for bodies at the disaster site, leaves Halifax and eventually recovers 306 bodies.

April 18th

9.00.pm: Carpathia arrives in New York. Before docking at the Cunard pier, she steams upriver to White Star piers to unload Titanic’s lifeboats. She then returns to Cunard’s Pier 54 to disembark the survivors.

April 19th –May 25th

The United States Senate holds an inquiry into the disaster, headed by Senator William Alden Smith. Eighty-two witnesses are called, among them White Star president J. Bruce Ismay, who is criticized by the U.S. newspapers for having survived when so many others died.

April 22nd

Chartered by White Star, the Minia departs Halifax to assist the Mackay-Bennet in her search for victims. After a week-long search, only seventeen additional bodies are recovered.

April 24th

White Star is forced to cancel the sailing of Olympic from Southampton when 285 crew members desert. They refuse to work on a ship that does not carry enough lifeboats for all aboard.

May 2nd – July 3rd

The British Board of Trade Inquiry is held in London. Of the 25,622 questions asked and the Ninety-six witnesses who appear, only three witnesses are passengers, and Second Officer Charles Lightoller encounters 1,600 questions alone. The final judgment recommends “more watertight compartments in ocean-going ships, the provision of lifeboats for all on board, as well as a better lookout.”

May 6th

White Star sends out the Montmagny from Sorel, Quebec, to help search for bodies. She recovers four.

May 15th

In a last, desperate attempt to locate further victims, White Star hires the Algerina, which finds only one body. In total, only 328 out of over 1,500 victims are recovered by ships sent out by White Star.


The Astor, Guggenheim, and Widener families consult the Merritt and Chapman Wrecking Company with an idea of raising the Titanic. The plan is considered impossible and abandoned.

1913 – April

As a direct result of the Titanic disaster, the International Ice Patrol is formed, which to this day monitors ice conditions in the north Atlantic.

1914 - February

Titanic’s second sister ship, Britannic, is launched at Harland & Wolff.

1916 – November 21st

In service as a hospital ship during World War One, Britannic strikes a mine and sinks off the coast of Greece.


After twenty - four years of service, Olympic is retired and sold for scrap. She has crossed the Atlantic five hundred times and steamed half a million miles.

1955 – November

Walter Lord’s bestselling book, A Night to Remember, is published.

1985 – September 1st

The wreck of Titanic is located at a depth of 12,460 feet by a joint Franco American team headed by Robert D. Ballard.


Robert D. Ballard and his team explore the wreck by submarine.


Legislation is introduced in the U.S. Congress to make the wreck of Titanic an international memorial. A French expedition to the wreck side recovers the first artifacts. In four subsequent expeditions, over three thousand artifacts are removed from the site.


An attempt to raise a piece of Titanic’s hull ends in failure.


The eighty-fifth anniversary year is dubbed “ The Year of the Titanic” with the release of a Broadway musical, a blockbuster James Cameron movie, a touring exhibition of artifacts, and many books and magazine articles.

The remaining survivors from the disaster are turned into celebrities overnight with the thirst of further knowledge of the Titanic.

2006 May 6th : The last American survivor, Lillian Asplund, died .

2007 October 16: Barbara Joyce Dainton died leaving Milvina Dean as the last remaining survivor from Titanic.

2009 31st May: Milvina Dean the last known Titanic survivor dies.

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