In 1912 the RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic, killing more than 1,500 people, and becoming the most famous maritime accident in the 20th century. But unknown to many, Titanic’s sister ship met a similar fate as well. The HMHS Britannic was a hospital ship owned by the White Star Line and was active from the years 1914-1916. On November 21, 1916, she was carrying 1,065 people on board when the hull struck an underwater mine. Britannic leaned drastically to the starboard (right) side, and within 55 minutes was completely underwater. Unlike her famous sister Titanic, the Britannic did not break in half. In total 30 people were killed during the sinking. The wreck was discovered off the coast of Greece in 1975 and remains in wonderful diving condition.
Sunday April 15th 1912, dawn breaks and the water begins to get choppy in the distance the survivors can see a ship, the Carpathia has finally arrived near the site of the sinking only to find 20 small life boats. When the Carpathia’s Captain Arthur Rostron learned of the distress signals he immediately set a course at maximum speed (17 kn(20 mph) to Titanic’s last known position, approximately 58 mi away. Rostron ordered the ship’s heating and hot water cut off in order to make as much steam as possible available for the engines. At full speed it took the Carpathia four hours to reach Titanic, Carpathia arrived At 4:00 am, after working her way through dangerous ice fields, and took on the 705 survivors all that was left from a ship that carried around 2,200 people.
At 1:30 am Sunday April 15th the first rockets are launched and the S.O.S distress signal is being typed out. The first lifeboats are being lowered. About 400 tones of water is pouring in every minute by this time. there are 20 lifeboats with a capacity of 30 men which is roughly 1,178 people, even though there were about 2,223 on board. Titanic had a maximum capacity of 3,327 passengers and crew.
April 15, 1912: The British passenger liner RMS Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic at 2:20 a.m., two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg. Only 710 of 2,227 passengers and crew on board survive.
Photo: Titanic leaving Belfast for her sea trials on April 2 1912