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The Royal Mailing Ship Titanic was built under the patronage of J. Bruce Ismay, the managing director of White Star Line. The ship, which was of Olympic class, was supposed to have set sail in 1911, but because the builders Harland and Wolff were repairing another ship, its delay became inevitable. Instead, it was launched to be fitted out in this year. Soon, what had been the bare bones of a ship had been transformed into a floating five star hotel; money was no object, and the boat was the most splendid in the history of sailing.

After successfully negotiating sea trials, designed to test all safety aspects of the ship, the Titanic was sent to Southampton to await her maiden voyage. Once more the date of setting sail was nearly put back caused by the shortage of coal due to a coal strike. To remedy this problem, coal was transferred to the Titanic from other ships, along with many first class passengers. These passengers had to drop down to second class on the Titanic, but didn’t complain, as it was better than first class on their original ships.

RMS Titanic set sail on Wednesday April 10th under Captain E.J. Smith. Her first port of call was Cherbourg, where more passengers got on. From there she sailed to Queenstown in Ireland, and more passengers were collected. This was to be the Titanic’s last port of call, and it is those people who were lucky enough to get off here that hold the last photos of the ship.

The ship left Queenstown, and set sail for New York. On Sunday April 14th at 2340 hrs the lookout spotted icebergs. A few hours later, on Monday morning, the Titanic had begun to sink, off Grand Banks, after hitting one of the icebergs.

The sinking of this great ship has kept the public interested for several reasons. The number of deaths, over 1500, was phenomenally large, and included celebrities and important people, such as the richest man in the world at that time. There were reports of a mystery vessel close by, which, if it had chosen to, could have saved all the people, and rewritten the history books. It did not. Captain Rostron’s heroic race to the scene of disaster aboard Carpathian is also legendary. The rediscovery of the wreck of the Titanic in 1985 by Dr. Robert Ballard’s team, and the subsequent making of a feature film in the late twentieth century, have helped to keep the tragedy in the forefront of many people’s minds.