Each year my family and I go on holiday and this year we decided to go to New York on the luxury cruise liner Titanic. My name is Rob Smith and I am a twenty five-year-old working class male with a wife and two children. My wife’s name is Jill who is two years younger than I am and my children’s names are Jack who is thirteen and Joan who is sixteen. We are a typical family from Manchester; we live in a fairly small house in the middle of a fairly large housing estate, which is a bit of a squeeze.
Having the four of us in a small house often caused arguments, as there wasn’t much space. This is one of the reasons why I bought the tickets for the journey on the Titanic; it would be a break from the arguing and also a time to relax. To afford the tickets I had to work all the hours I could which put a huge strain on my social life. A trip on the unsinkable ship Titanic wasn’t cheap and I had to work overtime and save for months to be able to afford the 1st class tickets. I had a typical job working in a factory for a large firm and the pay wasn’t very good, but it was a job.
I decided to get first class tickets, as we had never before travelled 1st class before and all my work colleagues had told me how fantastic it was and how you had every luxury possible. To get the tickets I queued up for hours in the freezing weather on the night of the 29th February. There were loads of us queuing from 10pm the previous night. The tickets were like gold dust, everyone wanted them but there was only a limited amount. I paid for the tickets and was overcome with joy at the thought of travelling on the finest cruise liner in the world.
I was told that it had every luxury available and as a bonus we were going to be one of the first to use the facilities on board. I was told that the 1st class passengers got the best treatment and were able to dine in the finest hall on board the incredible ship. I had only one fear about travelling on the Titanic; I hated ships, every time I got on one I thought it was going to sink, but after reading all the leaflets about the Titanic my fear disappeared as I read that the Titanic was ‘the unsinkable ship’.
We began to pack days in advance for our trip on the Titanic to America. Jack and Joan were excited at the thought of travelling on the Titanic, as they had never stayed on a ship overnight before. This was going to be an experience to me as well. As the day of sailing came closer I got more and more excited. The day before the sailing none of us could sleep as we were all thoroughly looking forward to the trip ahead. We all rose at around sunrise and got prepared for the trip to Southampton. I double-checked a list of everything we were going to take.
The list consisted of Clothes, food for journey, money, passport etc. The Titanic was in ever newspaper in the whole of England; the front page on the front of the papers was “Unsinkable ship to sail in two days”. In one of the papers in compared the advantages and disadvantages of the ship the one I remembered most was the ships capacity over 3000-Life boat capacity 1178 this made me feel uneasy about travelling. But in the next days paper I forgot all about the lifeboat problem as the papers reassured the passengers by again publishing the title ‘Unsinkable Ship’.
The train journey down to Southampton from our house in Manchester was long and tiring, by the time we reached Southampton we were exhausted and it had gone dark so we stayed in a hotel next to the harbour. The room we got was small and damp but it would do for the night, and it was all we could afford. We could make out a faint outline of the Titanic from our window; the size was indescribable. The four funnels took up all the whole ship; we could see some of the light from the docks reflecting off the side of the ship.
We could hear some White Star Line crew members doing final checks on the ship to make sure it was ready for sailing in just a couple of hours time. We were woken early next morning by the sound of thousands of voices shouting down on the harbour next to the Titanic. We got dressed and then walked down to the port and took a look at the amazing vessel. There wasn’t a spec of dirt on it and the deck was already full of passengers waving to their friends and families who they wouldn’t see for a couple of weeks.
We felt like royalty as we were all dressed in our finest clothes and were walking around the docks next to the third class passengers whose clothes were old and tatty. The ship was enormous and sparkling bright in the sun. It definitely was the ship of dreams. The four funnels were by now smoking away as people of all classes were boarding the ship. The different classes boarded the ship through different doors. Friends and relatives of all the passengers were shouting their goodbyes to their loved ones. The noise from this was deafening.
We walked up the walkway onto the Titanic at around 11:00 on the morning of April 10th; as we walked through the door we were not expecting the sight we saw. The corridors were spotless and the smell of the freshly painted walls hit us in the face as we walked down the corridors nothing was out of place. We walked to our first class cabin and opened the door and the room was exactly as we had expected it. Everything was in its correct place. There was a king size double bed and two single beds, none of which had ever been slept in.
The view out of our cabin window was the best as it was on the side of the boat facing out towards the crowd and the ocean. The ocean was glistening in the sun and it was very relaxing watching the waves crashing into the side of the harbour. The children ran off onto the deck of the ship, we followed and as we got there the Titanic was just pulling out of the harbour. The ship glided smoothly out of the harbour and the waves made a quiet crashing sound on the side of the ship.
The four funnels were now thick with smoke and there were mixed emotions in the crowd, some were smiling and some were crying all the little children had wide smiles across their faces. The Titanic was now at sea, the water was calm, the weather was fine and most of all, all the family was together laughing and joking and there wasn’t any tension in the air. Jack and Joan went off to explore the ship and arranged to meet us at a later time. We had arranged to meet in the main dining hall for tea at 7:30pm.
Jill and myself went into the dining room and were amazed at what we saw, the tables were neatly set out, there were candles on every table with napkins neatly set out for four on the small tables and several on the longer tables. The cutlery had never been used and the waiters were all dressed in white shirts covered over by black tailcoats. It was like a picture out of a movie. We sat down and waited for our children to arrive and one of the waiters brought us a bottle of wine over.
The wine was sweet and was laid in a bucket of ice to cool it down There was a large number of people in the dining room already and they were all talking quietly to their families. In one corner of the room was a roaring fire and the room was lit by large chandeliers shaped like candles hanging from the ceiling. After the children had arrived a tall waiter walked over and asked for our order. We ordered and ate the most delicious food we had ever tasted.
We sat on a bench at the side of the ship and talked about what we had done during the day. We talked for around an hour and a half, then headed back to our cabin. That night we all slept like babies as we were all tired from the sea air and not having much sleep the night prior to the sailing. The next morning we were awoke by the maids who came in to clean up the room, make and clean the beds and do anything we required. I had not exercised in a few days and decided to go down to the gym while the children and Jill went off onto deck to play games.
In the gym there was several exercise machines and I only spent a couple of hours working out then met back up with the family. The weather today was not as bright as the day before, but was still quite warm. We went back to the hall for lunch and again the food was exquisite everything was laid out just like the day before. The sea air had started to make Jack feel sick and so he went up on deck and stayed there for the most of the day. The rest of us followed him onto the deck of the ship and relaxed, we were brought the occasional drink.
There was a faint cry of surrounding birds, which was drowned out by the noise of children happily playing. Eventually the clear blue sky went black as the night set in, as there wasn’t much happening on deck it slowly emptied into one of the entertainment rooms, and we decided to follow and go to watch one of the performances. After the performance finished we decided to get some fresh air before we went back to the cabin. As we walked around the deck we noticed that there wasn’t as many stars in the sky as there were clouds blocking them out.
On the morning of April 14th the temperature had dramatically decreased since the first day on board on the Titanic. The sky was still light blue but a cold wind whistled around the deck of the ship. We went about our lives as normal doing everything we had done on the previous days such as working out in the gym, going in the large swimming pool and just relaxing on the sun lounger. I saw some of the White Star Line crew with worrying looks on their faces, on the first day they were all laughing and constantly smiling, but by the third day they were trying to cover up by smiling but not very convincingly.
We ate lunch and tea as normal and then Jill and the children went back to the cabin as it was getting late, but I went to the smoking room with some friends that I had made on board the Titanic. We had a few drinks and a smoke or two, we stayed in their until about 11:30pm and them disbanded and made our own way back to our cabins. I decided to take a walk around the ship to clear my head of the drink that I had just had. The next thing I remember was a shudder on the ship, we were told that it had something to do with the engines and there was nothing to worry about.
I went back to my cabin to talk to the rest of the family about what had happened. Within minutes there was a knock on the cabin door and a shout of “put your lifejackets on and go onto deck”. My wife asked what was going on and the reply she got was “I’m sure its nothing to worry about love just a precaution”. We did as we were told and headed onto the deck. Not many people on deck knew what was going on, but there was a rumour going around about a large iceberg hitting the side of the ship. The temperature was so cold that we decided to head into the hall with the rest of the passengers to try and keep warm in front of the fire.
I saw several of the White Star Line with worrying looks on their faces so I asked one of the passing crew members what was going on, his response was “nothing to worry about”, I could tell that he was lying because of the expression on his faces. The atmosphere in the room was relaxed and everyone was talking loudly. The ship band was playing a slow gentle tune. Ten minutes or so later their was a call for the women and children to get to the nearest lifeboat. They began to be loaded into lifeboats and it was at that point that we were told that the ship was slowly sinking.
The atmosphere dramatically decreased and everyone’s expression on their faces changed extremely quickly. By now about eight of the lifeboats had been released with only about a dozen screaming women and terrified children in each. I told Jill to take the children and get into the nearest lifeboat. She begged to stay with me but eventually was pulled to a lifeboat by members of the crew, she frantically struggled to free herself from the grip of the crewmember but was eventually overpowered, and Jack and Joan followed her.
At this point I felt as though a part of me had disappeared and a worrying thought come into my head and I realised that I was alone, I thought what if I never see them again. I shook my head to get rid of the thought but it stayed deep in the back of my mind. I then remembered what it said in the newspaper, that there wasn’t enough space in the lifeboats for everyone so I struggled to the front of the crowd to try and secure myself a place on a lifeboat. I was about to be loaded into a lifeboat when a young woman behind me was told that there wasn’t enough space for her, she broke down in front of my eyes and burst into tears.
I slowly turned around and offered my place to her, she slowly lifted her head and thanked me, just before she managed to climb into the boat a middle aged man jumped in front of her to get the space. By now everyone was screaming and shouting, there was a lot of confusion on deck by the crew who were now being told to load the boats to full capacity, but were unwilling to do so as they had never been tested at full capacity. Everyone had started to push and shove to try and get into a lifeboat. The White star line crew was getting a lot of verbal and physical abuse from the males left on the ship.
Some of the second and third class passengers had managed to get onto the boat deck and were now causing chaos as the boat deck was getting crowded and there was no room to manoeuvre you just had to go the way the crowd was pushing. The water filling up the ship could now be seen over the front of the ship and a slight tilt could be felt. The ship band was still playing but no one was listening due to the catastrophe that was unfolding in front of them. I ran around to the other side of the ship to get into one of the remaining lifeboats and just as one was being lowered I jumped in and breathed a sigh of relief.
The White Star line crew was now getting tired and lost some of their concentration; this caused the lifeboat I was being lowered in to tilt. Several people fell out and were now living on borrowed time in the freezing icy water of the Atlantic Ocean. The crew managed to get the boat level again and over racket of the crowd a terrifying gunshot could be heard followed by a bloodcurdling scream. Everyone on board the lifeboat to turn their attention to where the noise had come from just in time to see one crewmember fall into the water with blood pouring from his head.
By this time the lifeboat was now in the water and sailing away from the disaster. I was not expecting the sight I saw when I looked back; the whole back end of the ship was now sticking up in the air and several people were jumping into the freezing water just to try and survive the disaster. At this point I had mixed feelings, on one hand I was relieved to be off the Titanic and safe but also I felt upset at seeing some of the passenger being washed overboard. Slowly the ship got more of a tilt and some of the unlucky passengers couldn’t hold onto the back of the ship and fell to their watery grave.
Several flares could be seen lighting up the dark sky. One of the funnels on the ship slowly tilted until the strain was to great and fell into the water causing large waves washing some of the passengers over board. The people directly under the funnel when it fell were crushed instantly. I put my hand into the water to see how cold it actually was, to my horror it was freezing, after just seconds my hand went slightly numb. The tilt on the Titanic had dramatically increased and now was almost vertical in the water.
By this time the Atlantic Ocean looked like a battlefield after a war, there was bodies covering a large surface of the water with blood from the wounds surrounding them. Some of them had now gone stiff due to the freezing conditions, slowly one by one they were beginning to sink to the depths of the ocean. The Titanic began to moan under the weight of the back end of the Titanic, as nothing was there to support the weight. The ship suddenly split in two, straight down the middle and fell back to the water with a horrendous thud.
This caused a series of large waves, which in turn tipped over several of the close lifeboats including ours. As my body hit the water it felt like a thousand knives stabbing me in the chest, I lost my breath and became very disorientated and seemed to be in the water for hours when in fact it was only a matter of minutes. Whilst I struggled against the arctic conditions to get my breath I was dragged with a jerk into the closest lifeboat. I sat back in the boat and got my breath back; after a minute or two I looked around and the person who was sat next to me in the lifeboat before we capsized was floating slowly face up pass the boat.
I grabbed the lifeless body; he was just stiff and wasn’t breathing so I had to let go. I began to cry at the thought of all the dead passengers who were now in the murky water. I saw several old people still holding onto each other with several children lifelessly floating not moving in the water with hundreds and hundreds of middle aged passengers surrounding them. The boat was now back level on top of the water but in two pieces, screams could be heard from the remains of the titanic.
The surviving passengers frantically swam away from the disaster aiming towards some of the lifeboats which remained in the area. From the ship lying on top of the water it quickly rose up out of the water and became perpendicular to the water. Most of the people left on board were now thrown into the water with horrendous force. Many of them hit parts of the ship as they fell instantly killing them. The Titanic bobbed up and down in the water for a few seconds and then sunk into the water at a tremendous speed, pulling towards it any of the passengers that was in the water and also any surrounding lifeboats.
The passengers that remained on board were pulled under the water by the force of the sinking and everything went silent for a number of seconds. Then as the passengers began to surface and the screaming began again. Everyone was screaming for help but as the lifeboats were to far away as to avoid the pull of the ship sinking it took a while for the boats to return to the scene. The boats waited a few minutes then started to return they had left it too long. All the men that were on the lifeboats were almost in tears at the sight that surrounded then.
Nobody was moving everything was still and silent I was horrified. I covered my ears and exploded into tears. From nowhere we heard a faint cry for help so we frantically scanned the area and saw a woman floating on a small piece of wood to keep herself afloat. Quickly we rowed towards her and pulled her into the boat, she was frozen and barely conscious. One of the White Star line crewmembers that was on the lifeboat pulled off his jacket and wrapped it around the young woman. Suddenly I remembered about Jill, Jack and Joan and where was they.
I quickly looked around the ocean and couldn’t see any lifeboats containing women and children. I then thought to myself what would I do without them, just thinking of this made my breathing become heavy and I broke into tears again. After several intense minutes I was startled by a hand floating past the side of the life boat, quickly I grabbed it and with the help of several survivors we managed to pull aboard what looked like a second class woman who was frozen from head to foot and wasn’t breathing. The next thing I remember is a seeing a ship coming over the horizon.
My heart skipped a beat at the thought that soon the ordeal would be past us and I would be able to look for my family. Within the next hour or so we were being pulled aboard the Carpathia. It was a large elegant ship but didn’t compare in any way to the Titanic. The crew and passengers of the Carpathia pulled us aboard. Frantically I search for Jill and the children, and then over the noise of the survivors I heard a shout of “Rob, Rob” I turned around looked around for a moment and their they were standing just behind me in perfect health apart from shock.
I ran over and just grabbed the lot of them as tight as I could and the first thing I said was “I never want to lose you again”. I spent a minute or two just standing there just hugging them. Their was a lot of shouting and a lot of the people looked happy to see their loved ones, but others just sat in a corner and cried at the thought of losing their loved ones. I remember seeing a little boy, who was looking around for his parents, I went over and asked him if he could see his parents he just stared at me blankly.
I asked him again if he could identify his parents but all he just stood there shivering and said nothing. I went off to get some help but when I returned the boy was walking off with a young couple, this brought a smile to my face as I was relieved that the boy still had his parents unlike the vast number of people who had lost someone they love. We were taken to dry land by the Carpathia and were all checked over for hypothermia. Luckily we were all fine.
The next day we were sent back to England, we had to endure the gruelling journey home to our small cramped home. I think that we were all lucky to escape the Titanic in good health but I will be writing a strong worded letter of my disapproval to the White Star line stressing our ordeal. I think the White Star line crew should have been prepared for the disaster by receiving formal training on how to load the lifeboats quickly and safely without them loosing control of the situation.
In my opinion I think the lifeboats should have been filled to the total capacity and the Titanic should have been equipped with enough lifeboats to hold the capacity of the ship. I have been told that the Titanic had received several iceberg warnings and should have taken precaution whilst crossing the Atlantic. In my opinion the captain should have slowed the ship down instead of speeding it up, as that was the vital mistake which cost the lives of hundreds of passengers.