As I'm sure a lot of you know yesterday was a very special anniversary of the Titanic. I'm not talking about when the oh so delicious Leo DiCaprio and the delectable Kate Winslet were having the feeling of 'flying' on the boat. I'm talking about the tragic story that a lot of people have seem to have forgotten, due to it being overshadowed by the movie.
On the 15th of April 1912 1,517 disastrously lost their lives. That horrific number included 103 women and 53 children, which was half of the amount of children that were on board. 1,347 men were killed and out of 899 crew members, 685 of them died during the tragedy, that's over 75% of them.
You may wonder why compared to men there weren't many women who died. Well in 1912 people religiously went by the saying 'women before children'. This was due to strength and you were classed not a gentlemen if you didn't abide by it. At the Titanic enquiry men were asked how come they survived when some women hadn't. Hundreds of men chose to die and let women and children live. They had to go into extensive detail about how they managed to survive.
Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon was on the boat in one of the most expensive 1st class cabins, for which him and his wife paid thousands of pounds for. They were regarded as a celebrity couple, due to him being a former Olympic athlete. There were no Kim Kardashian's in those days. After the iceberg struck many of the first passengers who got into lifeboats were from 1st class. Most of the men held back, but Sir Cosmo took a place next to his wife, which was thought of as a notorious and selfish act and the story made the front page of the newspapers.
The lifeboat he was in left the boat half full and Sir Cosmo was accused of ordering the crew that they mustn't go back and pick up the people who were drowning. His account was that the crew said if they went back, they would have all drowned. He was seen to have rewarded the crew a cheque for £5, this is around £500 in today's money. He was accused of giving the men a cheque not to go back and was scrutinised at the enquiry. The press gave any man that survived a hard time and reflected them as a coward. Some men resorted to desperate attempts to save their lives, such as covering their heads with shawls to pretend to be women.
I find this a slight hypocrisy when in 1912 women were still seen as 2nd class citizens. They did not have the vote and men thought that they 'owned' their women, their opinion did not matter nor did their feelings. So then when their is a crisis, suddenly women become 1st class citizens and their lives matter more then the men's. Either way it is a good example of gentlemanlyness that you can tell your man when he doesn't open the door for you. Some men, especially upper class men who survived were torn apart. At the time newspapers filled their pages about bravery and escapes, but they were looking for cowards and villains.
There have been many controversies about the Titanic. The boat could have held 64 lifeboats, but it only held 20. Therefore the lifeboats could only accommodate 33% of the passengers.
Another controversy was that 60% of 1st Class passengers survived, but only 25 % of 3rd class passengers did. Titanic was an immigrant ship as well as a luxury cruise liner. People in 3rd class paid around £7 (£600 today) to board the ship to go to New York, where they hoped to start a new life. Even though it was 3rd class they still had great accommodation, which was equal to 2nd class on other ships, with en-suite bathrooms and 3 square meals a day. 700 steerage passengers were on board the Titanic and were placed below the main deck of the sailing ship. Where the steerage passengers were held was a long way from the lifeboats and it is reported that it is where the crew tried to keep them closed in, which caused a huge chaos. The sailors then fastened down the hatchways, which meant all hope was lost for the steerage passengers. Some managed to escape by going through the maze of passageways up to the top of the boat. With a 3rd class ticket odds were stacked against them, especially the men. Some people think that the 3rd class passengers were deliberately trapped to prevent them entering the lifeboats and were discriminated against.
Titanic was full of amazing luxuries from a gym to a kennel for 1st class dogs. It had a modern hospital and it was the first ocean liner to have a swimming pool and squash court. The price of your ticket really affected the value of your life. The wreck was found 70 years later and items are still being found including shoes and clothes. Yesterday in the North Atlantic there was a 100th Anniversary Voyage on the Balmoral, which has been retracing the root on a 12 night cruise.
This is one of the great tragedies in history and I only hope that in another 100 years when people are whizzing around in flying cars and I'm up in Louboutin heaven, the world will still honour everyone that lost their lives. I'm sure everyone will still be swooning over Leo too.
Second Hand Rose