* An 1898 Novel Draws Eerie Parallels With The Titanic Disaster
14 years before the Titanic set sail on her doomed maiden voyage, author Morgan Robertson released a novel named Futility that bares a lot of similarities to the events of the Titanic’s sinking. The book tells the fictional story of an ‘unsinkable’ passenger liner that sinks after hitting an iceberg in the north atlantic and the similarities to Titanic don’t stop there. Both the ship in the book and the Titanic hit the iceberg on their starboard side and both were traveling at between 22 and 25 knots.
Both the Titanic and the fictional ship sank on a night in April and both sank roughly 400 miles from America. Neither ship had enough lifeboats on board and both sinking resulted in the deaths of over half of the people on board. The story is made all the spookier by the name of the ship in Robertson’s novel, the ship was called the Titan.
* There Was A Ship Stationed Within Sight Of The Titanic That Did Not Respond To Her Distress Calls
At the enquiry into the sinking of the Titanic, surviving crew members testified that they had sighted the lights of another ship about six miles from where Titanic was in distress. The ship would later be identified as the SS Californian, who had stopped for the night due to the dangers of icebergs in the vicinity. Fatally, the Californian had also turned off its wireless radio and its captain had gone to bed.
The crew of the Californian admitted to seeing the lights of a ship in the distance but stated that they did not realise that she was in distress until they turned their radio back on the following morning and learned of Titanic’s sinking.
During the sinking, the Titanic fired rockets in a desperate bid to attract the other ship’s attention. The standard distress signal of 1912 was to fire rockets at one minute intervals, however, in the panic of the moment Titanic was firing its rockets erratically and at irregular intervals which led the Californian to conclude the ship they could see in the distance had just stopped for the night to have a party.
By 2.30 the Californian’s crew noted that the lights of the other ship had disappeared and assumed that it had continued on its way. Had the Californian responded to the Titanic’s distress signals, it could have reached the Titanic in time to have saved a considerable amount more, if not all of the lives lost that night.
* Titanic’s Second Officer Would Go On To Aid With The Dunkirk Evacuation
Charles Herbert Lightoller was the Titanic’s second officer and remained on the ship helping passengers to escape until the final moments of the sinking. Lightoller survived by swimming to an overturned lifeboat that had floated off the ship as it sank. Lightoller took charge of the upside down boat and helped survivors to climb aboard and distribute their weight evenly to keep the boat from sinking. Lightoller helped to keep the boat, and the moral of the thirty people who clung to it, afloat for four hours until rescue finally came.
Lightoller remained loyal to the White Star Line and defended them at the enquiry into the ship’s sinking. Unfortunately, his association with the Titanic killed his career and he was forced to retire from working aboard ships. He took up a number of other jobs which included inn keeper and chicken farmer but did not give up on the sea and continued to sail on his own yacht, the Sundowner. In 1940, Lightoller would become involved in another major historical event when he used his yacht to join the flotilla that sailed to rescue soldiers during the evacuation of Dunkirk.