Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors

Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors

Jacob Miller - October 4, 2017

The RMS Titanic was a British passenger cruise liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of April 15, 1912. It collided with an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. It is remembered as one of the deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history with over 1,500 casualties out of about 2,224 passengers and crew aboard the ship. At the time of its accident, the Titanic was the largest ship afloat.

The Titanic carried some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as hundreds of European emigrants seeking better lives in the United States.

The first-class accommodations included a gymnasium, squash court, a Turkish bath, steam room, massage room, swimming pool, libraries, high-class restaurants, a men’s Smoking Room, and lavish cabins. The Titanic, despite having advanced safety features such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, there were not enough lifeboats to accommodate all those on board. There were lifeboats for only 1,178 people: a little more than half of the number of passengers on board, and one-third of the total capacity.

On April 14, around 11:40 ship’s time about 375 miles south of Newfoundland, the Titanic collided with an iceberg and caused the ship’s hull to buckle inwards along the starboard side. The collision opened five of the sixteen watertight compartments to the sea. She was only capable of surviving four compartments flooding.

At 2:20 in the morning, the Titanic broke apart and sank. In less than two hours after the Titanic sank, the RMS Carpathia arrived at the scene and was able to rescue about 700 survivors.

Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Pictured c. 1910, the Titanic was built at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland. At the time of its completion, many claimed that it was indestructible.
“You weren’t there at my first meeting with Ismay. To see the little red marks all over the blueprints. First thing I thought was: ‘Now here’s a man who wants me to build him a ship that’s gonna be sunk.’ We’re sending gilded egg shells out to sea.”
-Thomas Andrews, Managing Director of Harland and Wolff Shipyards
History
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Shipbuilders gather underneath one of the Titanic’s propellers,1912.
“I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.”
-Captain Smith, Commander of Titanic
History
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
A photograph taken of the Titanic during the boarding process.
“I’ll not have so many little boats, as you call them, cluttering up my decks and putting fear into my passengers.”
-J. Bruce Ismay, Director of the White Star Line
Kottke
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Deck chairs with a view of the Southampton harbor.
“There was peace and the world had an even tenor to its way. Nothing was revealed in the morning the trend of which was not known the night before. It seems to me that the disaster about to occur was the event that not only made the world rub its eyes and awake but woke it with a start keeping it moving at a rapidly accelerating pace ever since with less and less peace, satisfaction and happiness. To my mind, the world of today awoke April 15th, 1912.”
-Jack B. Thayer, Titanic Survivor
Kottke
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
A photograph of some passengers on the second class promenade.
“I was thoroughly familiar with pretty well every type of ship afloat but it took me 14 days before I could, with confidence, find my way from one part of that ship to another.”
– Charles Lightoller, Titanic Second Officer
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Passengers stroll passed chairs on the deck of the Titanic, 1912.
“There were women in the crowd as well as men and these seemed to be steerage passengers who had just come up from the decks below. Even among these people, there was no hysterical cry, no evidence of panic. Oh, the agony of it.”
-Colonel Archibald Gracie, Titanic Survivor
History
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
A photograph taken shortly after the Titanic left the docks.
“If you look in your dictionary you will find: Titans – A race of people vainly striving to overcome the forces of nature. Could anything be more unfortunate than such a name, anything more significant?”
– Arthur Rostron, Captain of the rescue ship Carpathia
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
One of the last photos taken of Titanic before Bob Ballard and his team found the wreckage in the mid-80s.
“Although you cross the Atlantic for years and have ice reported and never see it, at other times it’s not reported and you do see it.”
Charles Lightoller, Titanic Second Officer
Kottke
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
As high as an eleven-story building and nearly four city blocks long, the Titanic was one of the largest and most magnificent ships in the world, photographed April 10, 1912.
“From the very day that she was designed she was almost doomed…this [the use of iron rivets] was almost the Achilles heel of the Titanic.”
– Paul Louden-Brown, White Star Line Archivist
History
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
The iceberg that sank the Titanic.
“When anyone asks how I can best describe my experience in nearly 40 years at sea, I merely say, uneventful. Of course, there have been winter gales, and storms and fog the like, but in all my experience, I have never been in any accident of any sort worth speaking about. …… I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked, nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort. You see, I am not very good material for a story”
-Captain Smith, Commander of Titanic
Getty Images
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
The Titanic’s lifeboats are returned to the berth of the White Star Line in New York.
“The oarsman laid on their oars and all in the lifeboat were motionless as we watch Her in absolute silence. Save some who would not look and buried their heads on each other’s shoulders.”
-Lawrence Beesley, Titanic Survivor
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Survivors aboard the Carpathia.
“There is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable and nothing but inconvenience will be suffered by the passengers.”
-Phillip Franklin, White Star Line Vice-President
Library of Congress
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Survivors huddle for warmth on the deck of the Carpathia.
“I thought her unsinkable and I based my opinion on the best expert advice.”
-Phillip Franklin, White Star Line Vice President
Library of Congress

Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
People wait for news outside the offices of the White Star Line in New York.
“Deeply regret advise you TITANIC sank this morning after collision with iceberg, resulting in serious loss of life. Full particulars later.”
-J. Bruce Ismay, Director of the White Star Line
Library of Congress
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Crowds stand in the rain awaiting the arrival of the Carpathia in New York.
“Many brave things were done that night but none more brave than by those few men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea…the music they played serving alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recorded on the rulls of undying fame.”
-Lawrence Beesley, Titanic Survivor
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Relatives wait for surviving crew to come ashore at Southampton.
“The partly filled lifeboat standing by about 100 yards away never came back. Why on Earth they never came back is a mystery. How could any human being fail to heed those cries.”
-Jack B. Thayer, Titanic Survivor
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Relatives wait for survivors at Southampton.
“The sounds of people drowning are something that I can not describe to you, and neither can anyone else. It’s the most dreadful sound and there is a terrible silence that follows it.”
-Eva Hart, Titanic Survivor
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Survivors are greeted by relatives upon their return to Southampton.
“I was only seven but I remember thinking that everything in the world was standing still.”
-Eva Hart, Titanic Survivor
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Relatives wait on a railway platform as survivors of the Titanic arrive at Southampton.
“Striking the water was like a thousand knives being driven into one’s body. The temperature was 28 degrees, four degrees below freezing.”
-Charles Lightoller, Second Officer aboard Titanic
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
A surviving crew member kisses his wife upon arriving at Plymouth.
“Then creeping over the edge of the sea we saw a single light and presently a second below it. It seemed
almost too good to be true and I think everyone’s eyes were filled with tears, men’s as well as women’s. All around us we heard shouts and cheers.”
-Lawrence Beesley, Titanic Survivor
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Frederick Fleet, 24, the lookout who first spotted the iceberg.
“To my poor fellow-sufferers: My heart overflows with grief for you all and is laden with sorrow that you are weighed down with this terrible burden that has been thrust upon us. May God be with us and comfort us all.”
-Eleanor Smith, wife of the late Captain Smith
Library of Congress
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Surviving crew.
“Icebergs loomed up and fell astern and we never slackened. It was an anxious time with the Titanic’s fateful experience very close in our minds. There were 700 souls on Carpathia and those lives, as well as the survivors of the Titanic herself, depended on the sudden turn of the wheel.”
-Captain Arthur H. Rostron, Commander of Carpathia
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Surviving stewards line up outside a first class waiting room before being called in for questioning by a board of inquiry.
“When day broke, I saw the ice I had steamed through during the night. I shuddered, and could only think that some other hand than mine was on that helm during the night.”
-Captain Arthur H. Rostron, Commander of Carpathia
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
The four Pascoe brothers, crew who survived the sinking, return to Southampton.
“About this time people began jumping from the stern, my friend Milton Long and myself stood beside each other and jumped on the rail. We did not give each other any messages for back home cause neither thought we would ever get back.”
-Jack B. Thayer, Titanic Survivor
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
A crowd in Devonport gathers to hear a survivor tell his story.
“At 8:30 all the people were on board. I wanted to hold a service, a short prayer of thankfulness for those rescued and a short burial service for those who were lost. While they were holding the service I maneuvered around the scene of the wreckage. We saw nothing but one body.”
-Captain Arthur H. Rostron, Commander of Carpathia
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
A survivor gives a woman an autograph.
“When arranging a tour around the United States I had decided to cross on the Titanic. It was rather a novelty to be on the largest ship yet launched. It was no exaggeration to say that it was quite easy to lose one’s way on such a ship.”
-Lawrence Beesley, Titanic Survivor
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Unidentified survivors, later identified as Michel, 4 and Edmond Navratil, 2.
“I enjoyed myself as if I were on a summer palace by the seashore surrounded by every comfort. I was up early before breakfast and met the professional racquet player in a half hour’s warming up preparing for a swim in the six-foot-deep tank of saltwater heated to a refreshing temperature.”
-Colonel Archibald Gracie, Titanic Survivor
Library of Congress
Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
A nurse holds newborn Lucien P. Smith, Jr. His mother Eloise was pregnant with him while returning from honeymoon aboard the Titanic.
“Each night the sun sank right in our eyes along the sea, making an undulating glittering pathway, a golden track charted on the surface of the ocean which our ship followed unswervingly until the sun dipped below the edge of the horizon, and the pathway ran ahead of us faster than we could steam and slipped over the edge of the skyline – as if the sun had been a golden ball and had wound up its thread of gold too quickly for us to follow.”
-Lawrence Beesley, Titanic Survivor
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
J. Hanson, seated right, district secretary of the National Sailors and Firemen’s Union, awards shipwreck pay to survivors.
“I still think about the ‘might have beens’ about the Titanic, that’s what stirs me more than anything
else. Things that happened that wouldn’t have happened if only one thing had gone better for her. If only, so many if only’s. If only she had enough lifeboats. If only the watertight compartments had been higher. If only she had paid attention to the ice that night. If only the Californian did come. The ‘if only’ kept coming up again and again and that makes the ship more than the experience of studying a disaster. It becomes a haunting experience to me, it’s the haunting experience of ‘if only’.”
-Walter Lord, Titanic historian, and author
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Haunting Photographs and Quotes from Titanic Survivors
Wireless operator Harold Thomas Coffin is questioned by a Senate committee at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
“My mother had a premonition from the very word ‘GO.’ She knew there was something to be afraid of and the only thing that she felt strongly about was that to say a ship was unsinkable was flying in the face of God. Those were her words.”
-Eva Hart, Titanic Survivor
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Sources For Further Reading:

History Collection – 40 Facts about the Titanic They Definitely Didn’t Teach Us in the Movie

BBC Channel – What Was Life Like On Board Titanic?

Dummies – Suites and Cabins for Passengers on the Titanic

Ultimate Titanic – Inside the Titanic

Charles Lightoller, Second Officer of RMS Titanic was Also a Hero on the Beaches of Dunkirk

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