Recently I was watching a special on the History Channel dispelling some of the myths surrounding the tragedy. They had both historians and direct descendants of the passagers and crew supplying interviews. Much of this is hearsay, but these are the statements they made of the myths, and I personally found them fascinating!
~ There was initially no panic, nor fear. This was because everyone felt the ship was “Unsinkable,” the tern first coined in Belfast, Ireland. The headlines that stated the Astors, Guggenheims and Roths stood back in complete heroism were made up to create interesting stories.
~ Most of the world knew of the damaged ship before the passengers themselves knew that they were in danger.
~ These are the percentages of people killed:
38% first class
57% second class
78% third class
More fist class men survived than third class children.
~ 140 Warnings were sent out to 20 ships in the general area.
~ Captain Edward John Smith had the Titanic going 20.5 knots; almost full speed.
~ Mr. Bruce Esmay, merely a passenger at the time, was villianized for surviving on a life boat. Herstle, a man in charge of a newspaper, had a falling out with Esmay. It is assumed that he found this a perfect opportunity to pass blame. Esmay did not coerce Smith to go faster, did not disguise himself as a woman, nor threaten people for a position on a life boat.
~ Lightoller was thought a hero. Yet he sent life boats away only 1/2 or 1/4 full. He strictly held to the woman and children only policy, even if there were no women or children to be had. It was 5 times more likely for a man to survive if he were on the Starboard side, not on Lightoller’s.
~ For some unknown reason, third class was kept below decks under the Captain’s orders.
~ Denver Society was not completely set against Molly Brown. While they didn’t welcome her with open arms, they did not completely ignore her. Brown did not reunite with her husband after the sinking.
~ The band did go down with the ship, playing music.
~ Captain Lord, captain of the Californian, stopped just short of the iceberg patch and sent out many warnings to all of the neighboring ships – including the Titanic. They stayed in stasis for 9 hours, so they couldn’t have been traveling nearby to save the passengers of the Titanic. Also, it was merely a medium sized freighter. Many other ships were in the vicinity, but none of them were investigated afterward. Captain Lord was put on trial by the same people who allowed the Titanic to sail with less than half the needed lifeboats.
~ Jack Phillips, the telegraph operator, became a hero in the eyes of the public. What wasn’t mentioned, was that he told the Californian to stop sending the warnings, because he was too busy sending the private messages of the first class patrons.
~ the heroics and villainy was immortalized further through the many songs and souvenirs celebrating/commemorating the sinking just days after it happened.