Titanic: Mistakes and Miscalculations (National Geog. April, 2022) 

    Two apparent communication glitches, brought out in this historical retrospective,   center around Titanic's 2nd Officer Charles Lightoller who was in charge of loading and launching lifeboats from the ship's port (left) side: Firstly, that lifeboats were not filled to capacity, was in part due to (not solidly founded) doubts that the lowering mechansms "could bear the weight of 70 passengers per full boat." Secondly, that Lightoller interpreted the injunction to load "women and children, first" rather strictly, as something closer to "women and children, only." These observations are consistent with extensive Wikipedia coverage of Titanic and its lifeboats, and are supported to some extent by testimony given at the British Board of Trade inquiry following the sinking. (Lightoller's impressive and colorful career pre- and post- Titanic is also recounted in dramatic detail). There are a few grounds for skepticism regarding causality, however.

     Available statistics corroborate that, although the two ship sides were each symmetrically equipped with seven lifeboats, two smaller part-canvas life rafts, and one wooden "cutter (intended for ferrying passengers to a rescue ship, not for swiftly evacuating all on board) they diverged in other respects. More passengers departed from the starboard side, as did most of the male passengers and most crew members (97% male), despite more passengers congregating on the port side. The logistics were more challenging on that side, however, and the lifeboats were slower to load and more difficult to load.

     The passengers and crew on Titanic had to make fast emergency decisions in order to try to save lives and maintain order. During the most critical middle hour of the calamity, one side of the vessel kept calm and loaded boats to circa 80% of capacity while the other side also kept the situation under control but launched boats filled only about halfway, and this suggests possibly lost opportunities to have rescued more lives. However, even filling 100% of lifeboats to 100% of capacity, would have amounted to having space for only about 1/3 of the normal maximum capacity of Titanic, and this shows the limitations of over-reliance on calm crisis management in preparing and planning for an improbable yet deadly unexpected disaster. (Filled to the maximum, Titanic's lifeboats could have accommodated about 80% of the number actually on board; taking into account that the ship cracked and tilted upright before the last two lifeboats boats could be launched, about 75%).


Sources: Lord, The Night Lives On, Gleicher, Rescue of the Third Class on the Titanic,

Bonsor, North Atlantic Seaway, Keeling, Business of Migration, Eaton and Haas, Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy.


National Geographic's 100th anniversary of Titanic

remains pertinent as well.


"Titanic sinks in real time"


Realistically looking and timed video from Titanic Honor and Glory vintage game and demo site. Further information.


Titanic objects part of 2018 Victoria & Albert museum exhibit


"10 Mistakes That Sank The Titanic"

from Channel 5 (UK), May, 2020

Potentially significant errors or mishaps infrequently highlighted elsewhere:

a) Sister ship Olympic surviving being rammed (due to its watertight bulkheads) may have led its captain to be less cautious (than otherwise) seven months later when he captained Titanic.

b) A fire in one of the coal storage bins, may have weakened the nearby bulkhead

c) Some iceberg warnings were not delivered to Titanic's captain

d) Titanic's lookouts lacked binoculars with which they might have spotted the iceberg sooner.


Titanic Band Memorial Concert

Royal Albert Hall, May 24, 1912

Edward Elgar, Thomas Beecham, et. al. conducting 473 musicians ("the greatest professional orchestra ever assembled") including members of the London Symphony Orchestra which "had been booked on the Titanic to take them for a three week tour of the US and Canada, but due to rescheduling of concerts, they had to leave a week earlier than planned."

The audience of 7750 heard works of Mendelsohn, Chopin, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Elgar and Sullivan. At the conclusion of the program, when

"the whole auditorium rose like a congregation to sing Nearer My God to Thee...nearly everyone present was in tears."


Titanic: Music as heard on the fateful voyage

(Wait for the music, which starts at about 0:28 in this video.)

"Merry Widow Waltz" and other popular melodies of a century ago. The entire Rhino Records CD, featuring Ian Whitcomb and five other musicians playing in reasonably contemporary arrangements and style, and the accompanying booklet, can also be recommended.


Songs about Titanic from Smithsonian 'On the Water' exhibit

(scroll down to "A Disaster in Song, 1912)


Titanic Historical Society


A short list of Titanic books and a text excerpt are here