Titanic (XII), The (You Landsmen All, on You I Call) (Titanic #12)
DESCRIPTION: "The Titanic called at Queenstown ... And eight hundred emigrants From Ireland sailed away." After four days "our ship struck an iceberg." The crew tries to save the women and children. Millionaires died but we mourn for our Irish lads that drowned.
EARLIEST DATE: 1976 (IRClare01)
KEYWORDS: drowning sea ship wreck
April 14/15, 1912 - Shortly before midnight, ship's time, the Titanic strikes an iceberg and begins to sink. Only 711 survivors are found of 2224 people believed to have been aboard.
FOUND IN: Ireland
Jamesie McCarthy, "The Titanic" (on IRClare01)
NOTES: The Irish grief over the passengers on the Titanic is easily understood. As with most liners of the time, the Titanic carried three classes of passengers: First class, second class, and steerage. And steerage was mostly emigrants, and many of the emigrants Irish.
Steerage passengers, of course, were stuck far down in the ship. Ballard has a side view of the ship's plans on page 168, showing that many of the steerage passengers were four floors below the main deck, near the waterline, whereas the first class passengers were mostly above the main deck, with easy access to the lifeboats.
The steerage passengers, by contrast, were actually barricaded into their below-decks area -- a quarantine measure to prevent the spread of disease (Wade, p. 22). But it meant that the third class passengers had to break down, or at least have the knowledge and nerve to talk their way past, the barriers to get off the ship!
It showed in the casualties. According to Paine, 60% of the first class passengers survived (Ballard, p. 149, reports that every child in first class, save one, survived, and she died only because she wouldn't leave her mother, who wouldn't leave her husband). 42% of second class passengers survived, but only 25% of steerage (comparable to the 24% of the crew who survived).
Lord's famous A Night to Remember gives a passenger list. Pages 207-209 catalogs the third class passengers who embarked at Queenstown (Cobh). There were 114 of them, mostly with typical Irish names. Only 40 (35%) survived.
Other sources differ slightly, Barczewski, p. 9, says that 123 passengers boared at Queenstown, of whom 113 paid the six pound ten shilling third class fare. Obviously the presence or absence of one passenger doesn't change the casualty rate much.
For an extensive history of the Titanic, with detailed examination of the truth (or lack thereof) of quotes in the Titanic songs, see the notes to "The Titanic (XV)" ("On the tenth day of April 1912") (Titanic #15) - RBW
Last updated in version 2.5
- Ballard: Dr. Robert D. Ballard, The Discovery of the Titanic, Warner, 1987
- Barczewski: Stephanie Barczewski, Titanic: A Night Remembered, Hambledon Continuum, 2004
- Lord: Walter Lord, A Night to Remember (1955; I use the 1997 Bantam edition)
- Paine: Lincoln P. Paine, Ships of the World: An Historical Encylopedia, Houghton Mifflin, 1997
- Wade: Wyn Craig Wade, The Titanic: End of a Dream,revised edition, Penguin, 1986
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