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5 Mind-Blowing Titanic Facts People Still Ignore

‘’It’s a mathematical certainty, sir. In two hours, Titanic will founder…’’

Those were some of the final words spoken by heroic Titanic engineer Thomas Andrews as his master creation lay mortally wounded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Now, over one hundred years since the doomed liner’s demise, the tragic tale of its first and only voyage continues to be the stuff of legend. 

Despite the ship’s immense fame and constant thematic use in cinema, art, books, and music, there are several aspects of the case that have slipped beneath the waves during the last century.

From missing keys to misleading passenger manifests, there are subtle nuances to the disaster that have gone virtually unnoticed over the last century.

1. The Iceberg Should've Been Seen

David Blair was a merchant seaman working for White Star Line in 1912. His experience on-board the RMS Olympic made him the perfect candidate to work on the Titanic for its maiden voyage. 

However, Blair was pulled from the journey at the last minute. An upset Blair expressed disappointment at not playing a part in the ‘’magnificent ship’s’’ maiden voyage. His hasty departure from Titanic led to him accidentally leaving the keys to the crow’s nest’s storage locker behind.

This minor oversight resulted in the lookouts being unable to access the binoculars that were in the storage locker. Had they been equipped with them, the iceberg may have been seen sooner and the disaster may not have happened.

The key itself has survived and was sold to a private collector at an auction.

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2. One Of The Musicians Wasn’t Declared Dead Until 2000

The musicians on-board the Titanic have achieved Saint-like status for their calmness and heroics in the face of certain death. 

Roger Bricoux was a 20-year-old violin player who, like all of his bandmates, perished in the sinking. His body was never found and the French army slandered him as a ‘’deserter’’ during the First World War due to his absence. 

Despite the fact that Bricoux clearly went down the ship, he was considered legally alive until 2000 after French activists lobbied to finally put him to rest.

3. One Passenger Predicted The Disaster

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Charles Melville Hayes was the president of the Grand Trunk Railway and a passenger on the RMS Titanic.

On the night of April 14, he was having dinner in the first-class dining area and was commenting on the business practices of modern-day cruise companies. Cunard and the White Star Line were in a battle to produce the fastest Transatlantic liners, and Hayes stated that:

"The time will come soon when this trend will be checked by some appalling disaster.’’

How right he was. Shortly after making his proclamation, Hayes died in the sinking.

4. A Fire May Have Contributed To The Sinking

Although the iceberg blow provided the fatal wound that sank the Titanic, there are theories that the hulking frozen block had some help in downing the ship.

According to a 2017 documentary called Titanic: The New Evidence, photos of RMS Titanic taken in Belfast show a distinct black stain on the ship’s hull. According to several people who worked on the ship, a raging fire in the bowels of the ship was covered up by the White Star Line. 

At the official inquest in 1912, the inferno was listed as a contributing factor to the sinking. The fire allegedly weakened the watertight bulkheads and made them brittle, hastening their failure. 

You’d think that this element of the Titanic disaster would have been more widely reported. However, most historians have rejected the idea that a coal fire helped down the ship saying that the iceberg collision was so devastating, a fire on board wouldn’t have made any difference. 

They also point to the numerous errors during the original inquest. Despite more than two dozen eyewitnesses testifying that they saw the Titanic split in two before its final plunge, this was ignored completely at the time and the dominant consensus regarding the liner’s condition was that it sank in one piece. When the wreck was found in 1985, its break-up was finally confirmed.

5. Captain Smith Was No Coward

In the 109-year period between the Titanic’s sinking and today, numerous myths have sprung to life. The disaster’s lasting infamy and prominence in pop culture have rendered a lot of aspects about it to be lost in translation.

One of these myths is about the conduct of the ship’s captain, Edward J. Smith. One of the dominant narratives about the experienced captain was his shock and paralysis in the face of the catastrophe. Rumors have abounded over the years about him standing motionless on the bridge of the ship whilst pandemonium unraveled underneath him. As the ice-water began to enclose on him, he meekly submitted to its force, never to be seen again.

It is, like many Titanic stories, complete nonsense. Captain Smith acted with the utmost urgency and courage during the crisis and rescued as many people as possible before he lost his life. The idea that Captain Smith was the embodiment of hubris seems to stem from a quote he gave in 1907 where he stated:

‘’I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a modern vessel to founder.’’

In hindsight, this statement may come across as being indicative of someone with an extreme level of hubris, but let’s remember the chain of events that caused the Titanic to sink was unprecedented to even Captain Smith.

Numerous eyewitnesses place the captain on the lower decks placing passengers into lifeboats and darting around the ship in reckless abandon with little regard to his own safety. A group of passengers on an upturned lifeboat recall hearing ‘’Good lads! Good boys!’’ as its occupants drifted away from the catastrophe. The encouragement came from a man who remains a mystery, but whose voice sounded like Smith’s.

As the RMS Titanic continues to lay in perpetual darkness on the seafloor, new discoveries about its doomed voyage will continue to surface. 

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