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Sinking of the Titanic

Newsboy Ned Parfett with news of the disasterNewsboy Ned Parfett with news of the disasterOn the 10th April 1912, RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton bound for New York across the Atlantic Ocean. It was the maiden (first) voyage of the largest and most luxurious passenger ship ever built. Weighing around 46,000 tonnes, Titanic had more than 1300 passengers and 900 crew on board. But disaster struck one night on that voyage. The lookout spotted an iceberg ahead just before midnight. Despite desperate attempts to swerve away, Titanic collided with it. A hole was punched in her side and the ship began to fill with water. The captain gave the order to ready the lifeboats, but there were only 20 boats—far too few to save everyone. Within two hours Titanic sunk with more than 1500 people still on board. Nearly all perished in the icy waters. Following the disaster, new safety regulations for ships were introduced.

"Practically unsinkable"

RMS TitanicRMS TitanicTitanic under construction in Belfast HarbourTitanic under construction in Belfast Harbour
Titanic was one of three "Olympic Class" ocean liners commissioned by the White Star Line, a British shipping company. She would be built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. The other two were Olympic and Britannic. Construction began on Titanic on 31st March 1909. She was to be the biggest and most luxurious liner ever built. She measured 269.1 metres (882 feet 9 inches) long and 28.2 metres (92 feet 6 inches) across.

Titanic could reach a maximum speed of 24 knots—not quite as fast as Lusitania and Mauretanialiners belonging to White Star's rival, Cunard, which had a top speed of 26 knots.

In April 1912, there were estimated 300 icebergs drifting in the North Atlantic shipping lanes—the most seen in 50 years. This was probably due to the relatively mild winter of 1911–12, resulting in more icebergs breaking off the Greenland ice cap than usual.

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