The Titanic: A look back at the tragedy 109 years later

The Titanic: A look back at the tragedy 109 years later

Left, Hugh McElroy the Chief Purser of the Titanic pictured with Captain Edward Smith.

This week marked the 109th anniversary of one of the world's most famous catastrophes - the sinking of the RMS Titanic. 

The ill-fated liner famously sank off the coast of Newfoundland in the early hours of April 15, 1912, after hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage.

Bound for New York, the Titanic was touted as unsinkable when Captain Edward Smith set sail a few days prior on April 10.

Picture shows the doomed liner off Roche's Point.
Picture shows the doomed liner off Roche's Point.

"The White Star liner Titanic, the largest ship in the world, left Southampton this morning on her maiden trip to New York," The Echo noted in the paper that evening. 

The Belfast built ship moored off Roches Point a day later - its last port of call before its tragic end.

When she left Cobh for New York, there were approximately 2,200 passengers and crew on board.

Some 113 of these were Irish, many seeking a new life in America. 

Late at night on April 14, Titanic hit an iceberg. 

Picture shows passangers strolling along the deck of the doomed liner off Roches Point.
Picture shows passangers strolling along the deck of the doomed liner off Roches Point.

Ice warnings from other ships earlier in the day were ignored and Titanic didn’t reduce her speed.

When lookout Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg dead ahead the crew was able to slow down and avoid a head-on collision but ultimately sideswiped the iceberg, causing the fatal tear to the hull.

The ship, which sank bow first, took two hours to descend fully to the depths of the freezing Atlantic. 

On Wednesday, April 17 details of a cablegram in The Echo headlined 'How The Titanic Sank. Appalling Details. Darkness Adds Horror to the Scene' gave a chilling account of what happened that night. 

The cablegram, from St John's, Newfoundland, first published in The New York Herald, gave details on how the ship sank.

Loading cargo on board the Titanic at Cobh before its maiden voyage to America in 1912.
Loading cargo on board the Titanic at Cobh before its maiden voyage to America in 1912.

It was stated to have been received from the steamship Bruce, which reported picking up the details by wireless.

"The Titanic was steaming at eighteen knots at the time of the collision, the shock of which almost completely demolished the bow of the vessel and tore open the port bottom plates from amidships forward.

"The various compartments were speedily flooded and the ship took a heavy list to port.

"In spite of the terrible situation, the British seamanship and discipline seem to have prevailed, and the best means were immediately taken to ensure the safety of the passengers.

"Sufficient order was maintained to launch the boats.

While on its maiden voyage the RMS Titanic arrived at Roches Point to pick up passangers and supplies from Queenstown (Cobh). Picture shows supplies being brought aboard the tender PS America.
While on its maiden voyage the RMS Titanic arrived at Roches Point to pick up passangers and supplies from Queenstown (Cobh). Picture shows supplies being brought aboard the tender PS America.

"The women and children were given preference and painful scenes were witnessed at the partings between those in the boats and their relatives and friends left behind on the sinking vessel.

"Darkness added horror to the scene."

Some 1,500 people perished that night owing to a woeful shortage of lifeboats. 

A special episode of RTÉ One's Nationwide earlier this week shared the stories of some of the Irish people on board the Titanic.

Picture shows the tender PS America alongside the doomed liner at Roches Point.
Picture shows the tender PS America alongside the doomed liner at Roches Point.

One of the fortunate people who survived was Daniel Buckley from Ballydesomond.

His story was shared by editor of the Sliabh Luachra Journal, Donal Hickey.

“Danny’s version of the story was that when he got back up on deck on the second attempt, the lifeboats were being launched and he saw men and male crew members getting onto a lifeboat and he said ‘why not I?’ and so he took his chance and got on a lifeboat – there were women on the lifeboats as well of course," he said.

“Another order was given then for men to leave the lifeboat but there was a woman sitting near Danny who was wearing a shawl. His story was that she wrapped the shawl around him and said 'stay put, you’re someone’s child'".

Mr Buckley went on to work at a hotel in New York before enlisting in the US Army in the First World War. 

He was shot and died in the last month of the war.

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