By Tim Vicary



Chapter One:      Under the sea

Chapter Two:      The biggest ship in the world

Chapter Three:    A city on the sea

Chapter Four:     Iceberg!

Chapter Five:     CQD- emergency!

Chapter Six:       Nobody is listening

Chapter Seven:   Into the lifeboats

Chapter Eight:    In the cold, dark sea

Chapter Nine:    The Carpathia and the Californian

Chapter Ten:      Life after the Titanic

Chapter Eleven:  Finding the Titanic



In April 1912 the Titanic arrived in Southampton in the south of England. Everyone was excited about the new ship. It was the biggest ship in the world, the most beautiful, perhaps the fastest. And it was much safer than older ships, because it had sixteen compartments with emergency doors. The new ship had radio too. Passengers could send messages from the ship to their friends at home!

Captain Smith and his officers and sailors were ready. Then the passengers came — millionaires, young people, families of six, people from more than forty different countries. Many of them wanted to begin a new life in America. So the Titanic went to Cherbourg in France, then Queenstown in Ireland, and then left for New York. There were 2,224 people on the ship, but there were lifeboats for only half of them. But that did not matter. The Titanic was unsinkable . . .

Triple-Screw Steamer Titanic illustration from White Star Line for the article 'Titanic By Tim Vicary'. Short Stories with Pictures PDF.

Triple-Screw Steamer Titanic

Chapter One: Under the sea

It was 1 September 1985. Under a ship in the North Atlantic, a camera moved through the dark water. Slowly, the camera went down — 1,000 metres, 2,000 metres, 3,000 metres under the sea. On the ship, some sailors waited and watched. Nobody spoke. Then, suddenly, they saw something.

     ‘There it is!”


     ‘There — look, I can see it!”

     “Yes, you’re right! It’s the Titanic?

With the camera, the sailors could see a ship 3,810 metres under the water. It was a very big, old ship, and it was in two halves. They could see the front half of the ship with their camera, but the back half of the ship was 800 metres away.

Underwater view of the Titanic wreckage discovered in 1985, showcasing the bow of the historic ship covered in rust and marine life, related to the article 'Titanic By Tim Vicary' and the keyword 'Short Stories with Pictures PDF'.

The Titanic, 1985

The sailors were all very happy. They took lots of photographs. The next year they came back with more cameras. The cameras went down under the sea and looked at the ship more carefully. They went all round the ship, and took hundreds of photos. Some of the cameras went into the ship too, through the windows. Later there was a film about the ship. People all over the world watched the film, and saw the photographs in newspapers.

     But who built the Titanic? What happened to it? Why did it break in two halves, and sink to the bottom of the sea? And what about the people on this ship? What were they like, and what happened to them?

     This is the story of the Titanic.

Construction of the Titanic in Belfast, showcasing the shipbuilding process. Learn more in the article 'Titanic by Tim Vicary,' part of our short stories with pictures PDF collection.

Building the Titanic in Belfast

Chapter Two: The biggest ship in the world

More than 15,000 people built the Titanic in Belfast, Northern Ireland. They began building it in 1909, and finished it in 1912. The Titanic was the biggest ship in the world — 46,328 tons, 265 metres long, and 28 metres across. It had three big engines, and it could go at 23 knots (46 kilometres per hour) so it was one of the fastest ships in the world, too.

     The Titanic was very safe. It had sixteen compartments and fifteen emergency doors. When the captain closed the emergency doors, water could not move from one compartment to the next one. ‘The new Titanic is much safer than older ships,’ a newspaper said.

First-class lounge on the Titanic, illustrating the luxurious interior design. Learn more about the ship's grandeur in 'Titanic by Tim Vicary,' featured in our collection of short stories with pictures PDF.

A first- class lounge

     The Titanic was a very beautiful ship. The rooms for the first- class passengers, like Mr and Mrs John Jacob Astor IV, were expensive hotel. John Jacob Astor was one of the richest men in the world. He was forty-seven years old, but his second wife, Madeleine, was only eighteen. On the ship, Mr and Mrs Astor had two big bedrooms, a sitting room, and three more rooms.

     Mr Astor and his young wife could eat in the beautiful restaurant, and talk to rich, famous people, like Benjamin Guggenheim, an American businessman, Colonel Archibald Gracie, a soldier and writer, and Mr Isidor Straus, a businessman from New York, with his wife Ida. The captain of the Titanic, Edward Smith, came to eat with them too. There were many more rooms for the first- class passengers; there they could walk, read, smoke, and listen to music.

Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Astor, prominent passengers on the Titanic. Featured in 'Titanic by Tim Vicary,' part of our short stories with pictures PDF collection.

Mr and Mrs Astor

Historical photo of the first-class gymnasium on the Titanic with passengers using exercise equipment

The first-class gymnasium

Historical photo of third-class passengers waiting to board the Titanic at the White Star Line dock

Third-class passengers waiting for the Titanic

     The rooms for the second-class passengers were beautiful too. They were better than the first-class rooms on most ships.

     But most of the passengers had third-class tickets. These people were not rich; they were working people from England, Ireland, and many more countries. Carla Jensen was a nineteen-year-old girl from Denmark, and Anna Turja was eighteen and from Finland. These two young women wanted to begin a new life in America.

Third-class passengers had small. rooms called cabins on E deck, a long way under the first-class and second- class passengers. There were four beds in every cabin. Sometimes the first-class passengers walked their dogs on E deck, because it had the longest corridors on the ship. But they did not talk to the third-class passengers. They had nothing to say to them.

Chapter Three: A city on the sea

On 10 April 1912, the Titanic left Southampton in the south of England. The ship went to Cherbourg in France, and then to Queenstown, near the city of Cork in Ireland. A lot of third-class passengers got on here. Then the Titanic went west towards New York.

     On Sunday 14 April Colonel Gracie got up early. He had breakfast, finished reading a book, and talked to his friends Mr and Mrs Straus.

     On the boat deck, Mrs Astor talked to Thomas Andrews, the designer of the Titanic. ‘I know all about this ship,’ he said. ‘Do you have any questions, Mrs Astor?’

     ‘Yes,’ she said. ‘How many people are there on this ship?’

Historical photo of passengers walking on the boat deck of the Titanic with lifeboats and deck chairs in view

The boat deck

Thomas Andrews, chief designer of the Titanic, in a formal portrait from the early 20th century.

Thomas Andrews

     Thomas Andrews took a book out of his pocket. ‘Let me see…there are 325 first-class passengers, like us; 277 second-class passengers; 706 third class passengers; 908 officers and sailors — and 8 musicians.’

     ‘My goodness! We’re like a small city, aren’t we?’ Mrs Astor put her hand on a small boat on the side of the ship.

     ‘How many of these lifeboats are there?’


     ‘Twenty?’ Mrs Astor said. ‘But . . . can all those people get into twenty lifeboats?’

     ‘No, of course not,’ Thomas Andrews said quietly. ‘But don’t be afraid, Mrs Astor. We don’t really need the lifeboats, because the Titanic can never sink. It is the safest ship in the world.’

     The President of the White Star Line, J. Bruce Ismay, was excited about his new ship. He talked to Captain Smith. ‘How fast can the Titanic go?’ Bruce Ismay asked.

     ‘About 23 knots,’ Captain Smith answered. ‘But we’re going about 18 knots now. We don’t want to arrive in New York a day early, do we?’

     ‘Why not?’ Bruce Ismay laughed. ‘Come on, Captain, let’s get there early. The Titanic is going to be famous!’

     Down on E deck, the third-class passengers talked about America, in many languages. Carla Jensen was Danish, but there were two English girls and a Swedish girl in her cabin. Carla’s brother Svend and her father’s brother Niels were on the Titanic too. In Anna Turja’s cabin there were two young Finnish women and some children.

     Millvina Dean was the youngest passenger on the Titanic. She was a baby, only nine weeks old. Sidney Goodwin was two years old. He had a big family mother and father, two sisters and three brothers were all in the same cabin.

J. Bruce Ismay, key figure in Titanic history, for article 'Titanic (for Beginner Levels A1) by Tim Vicary' - short stories with pictures pdf

J. Bruce Ismay

    Many passengers sent radio messages. In 1912, radio was very new. The two radio operators, Jack Phillips and Harold Bride, had a lot of work. In three days they sent 250 messages, and more messages from New York, came in from Southampton, and from ships.

     A lot of the radio messages from ships talked about ice. ‘Be careful, there are a lot of icebergs in the North Atlantic,’ the messages Jack Phillips said. But Captain Smith was not very worried. He only showed one of these messages to his officers.

The Titanic's radio room, historical image for article 'Titanic (for Beginner Levels A1) by Tim Vicary' - short stories with pictures pdf

The Titanic’s radio room

      The Titanic did not go slower because of the ice. It went on across the Atlantic, at more than 20 knots. The passengers walked round the ship; they laughed and talked and ate in the restaurants. Everyone was happy and excited. The lights were on, and the music played. Mrs Astor was right. The Titanic was like a small city, far away on a big, cold sea.

Jack Phillips, Titanic's chief wireless operator, for article 'Titanic (for Beginner Levels A1) by Tim Vicary' - short stories with pictures pdf

Jack Phillips

Chapter Four: Iceberg!

On the night of 14 April, the weather was good and there were lots of stars in the night sky. The sea was quiet, but it was very cold.

     High up in the ship, two sailors – Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee – looked out at the black sea and sky. The two men were very cold. At 11.40 p.m. Fleet saw something in front of the ship. It was very big and white, and it was not far away.

‘Iceberg! Iceberg!’ he said on the telephone. ‘There’s an iceberg in front of the ship!’

An iceberg, significant in Titanic's history, for article 'Titanic (for Beginner Levels A1) by Tim Vicary' - short stories with pictures pdf

An Iceberg

     ‘Thank you,’ First Officer Murdoch answered. ‘Turn left, quickly,’ he told Robert Hitchens, the sailor next to him. But big ships turn much more slowly than smaller ones. And the Titanic was the biggest ship in the world.

Drawing of the Titanic hitting the iceberg by a passenger, for article 'Titanic (for Beginner Levels A1) by Tim Vicary' - short stories with pictures pdf

The Titanic hits the iceberg: a passenger’s drawing

     For 37 long seconds, nothing happened. The Titanic went towards the iceberg – a million tons of ice – at 40 kilometres per hour. Then, very slowly, the ship began to turn left. Fleet and Lee watched, their mouths open. The iceberg came nearer and nearer. They heard the noise when it hit the right side of the ship. They could see ice down on the deck. Then the iceberg went behind the ship, away into the black night.

     First Officer Murdoch’s face was white. ‘Stop the engines, quickly,’ he said. The engines stopped, and the Titanic moved slower and slower. Then it stopped.

     Many passengers were asleep, and did not hear anything. But Colonel Gracie did. He looked at his watch; it was 11.45 p.m. He opened his cabin door and looked out. It was very quiet. ‘Why can’t I hear the engines?’ he thought. He put on a warm coat and went out onto the deck.     

     Some passengers saw the ice on the deck and laughed. ‘Let’s put it in our drinks!’ they said. They played with the ice for a few minutes and then went in, out of the cold.

     But down in the third-class cabins at the front of the ship, the iceberg made much more noise when it hit the ship. Water came into Daniel Buckley’s   cabin. He got up and opened his door. There were a lot of people in the corridor. ‘What’s happening?’ they asked. ‘What’s wrong?’

     The four girls in Carla Jensen’s cabin woke up, but then they went back to sleep. Carla was in bed in her nightdress when Niels Jensen opened the door at 12.30 a.m. ‘Come on, Carla, get up,’ he said. ‘Something’s happening. We must go up on deck.’ So Carla put a coat over her nightdress, and went upstairs with Niels. She never saw the girls in her cabin again.

     A man opened Anna Turja’s cabin door too. ‘Put on your life jackets, girls, quickly!’ he said. ‘We’re all going into the sea!’

Chapter Five: CQD- emergency!

Captain Smith heard the noise too. He got out of bed quickly. ‘What’s wrong?’ he asked First Officer Murdoch. ‘What was that noise?’

     ‘An iceberg, sir,’ Murdoch answered. ‘I’m very sorry, but we hit an iceberg. I’m stopping the engines.’

     Slowly, the Titanic stopped. The big, beautiful ship waited on the quiet black sea, under a thousand stars.

     ‘Close the emergency doors, quickly!’ said Captain Smith.

     ‘They are closed, sir.’

     ‘That’s good. Well done.’

White Star Line officers with Captain Smith and First Officer Murdoch, for article 'Titanic (for Beginner Levels A1) by Tim Vicary' - short stories with pictures pdf

White Star Line officers, with Captain Smith (front centre right) and First Officer Murdoch (front right)

     When the fifteen emergency doors were closed, water could not move along the ship, from one compartment into the next one. But how many holes were there in the ship? Was there just one hole in one compartments? Captain Smith wanted to know the answer – quickly.

Inside the Titanic, cross-section illustration showing interior compartments, for article 'Titanic (for Beginner Levels A1) by Tim Vicary' - short stories with pictures pdf

Inside the Titanic

      Captain Smith, First Officer Murdoch, and Thomas Andrews, the designer of the Titanic, went down into the ship. They found a lot of holes. There was water in compartments 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. ‘How bad is this?’ Captain Smith asked.

     Thomas Andrews’ face was white; he looked very unhappy. ‘Very bad, I’m afraid,’ he answered. ‘This ship is going to sink.’

     ‘What do you mean?’ Captain Smith said. ‘The Titanic can’t sink. You said that to Mrs Astor yesterday! I heard you!’

     ‘Yes, I know,’ Andrews said. ‘The Titanic is safe with water in three compartments. In fact, it is nearly safe with water in four compartments. But this – this is different. The water is coming into five compartments. Five. The front of the ship is going to get heavier and heavier – I’m sorry, but we can’t stop it. The Titanic is going to sink.’

     ‘How long have we got?’ Captain Smith asked.

     ‘I don’t know. Two hours, perhaps. That’s all.’

     ‘Right. Give the passengers their life jackets, and get the lifeboats ready,’ Smith said to Murdoch. Then he walked into the radio room to speak to the Titanic’s radio operator, Jack Phillips.

     ‘This is an emergency,’ Captain Smith said. “The ship is sinking. Ask for help.’

     ‘Yes, sir,’ Jack Phillips answered. He sent the emergency message. ‘CQD-MGY. (Help – Titanic). We are sinking. Please come to help us.’ It was 12.15 a.m.


Chapter Six: Nobody is listening

The nearest ship to the Titanic was the Californian. It was about 16 kilometres away. The Californian knew about the ice, so it stopped at 10.30 that night. At 11.10 the third officer, Charles Groves, saw the lights of a big ship on the right. The Californian tried to send a message with a light to the ship, but there was no answer. At 11.40, the big ship stopped, but Charles Groves did not know why. He did not know that it was the Titanic.

     In 1912, radio was very new. Most ships had radio, but they didn’t listen to it all the time. Cyril Evans, the radio operator on the Californian, went to bed at 11.30. So nobody on the Californian heard the emergency message from Jack Phillips at 12.15 a.m.

Rockets fired from the Titanic during distress, for article 'Titanic (for Beginner Levels A1) by Tim Vicary' - short stories with pictures pdf

Rockets from the Titanic

    People at Cape Race in America heard it, and one man heard it in New York. But for nearly ten minutes, no ships answered the message.

     Then, at 12.25, the radio operator on a ship called Carpathia wanted to talk to the Titanic. ‘Titanic, I have a message for one of your passengers,’ he said. ‘Are you listening?’

     ‘Come at once,’ Jack Phillips answered. ‘This is an emergency. We need help. We are sinking.’

     ‘Shall I tell the captain?’ the Carpathia’s radio operator asked.

     ‘Yes please, quickly!’ Phillips answered. So at 12.35 the Carpathia began to go towards the Titanic. But the Carpathia was 92 kilometres away.

     From the Titanic, Captain Smith could see the Californian, but he did not know its name, and he could not talk to it on the radio. Jack Phillips tried to call it with the letters CQD and SOS, but nothing happened. Captain Smith tried to send a message with a light, but it did not answer. ‘It’s no good,’ he said. ‘Send up the rockets.’

     At 12.45 the first rocket went up into the night sky. It made white lights high over the Titanic. Every ten minutes after that, a new rocket went up. On the Californian, Second Officer Stone saw the rockets. ‘That’s interesting,’ he said. He told his captain, Captain Lord. But Captain Lord was tired, so he went to bed. Stone watched the rockets for over an hour. But he did not understand them, so he did nothing.

The radio room of the Carpathia, key in the Titanic rescue operation, for article 'Titanic (for Beginner Levels A1) by Tim Vicary' - short stories with pictures pdf

The radio room of the Carpathia

Chapter Seven: Into the lifeboats

The Titanic had twenty lifeboats. These boats could carry 1,178 people, but there were 2,224 people on the ship. So for nearly half of the people on the ship, there was no lifeboat.

     The first boat, Lifeboat 7, went into the sea at 12.55 a.m. with twenty-six people. Lifeboat 1 could take sixty people, but there were only twelve people in it. Lifeboat 6 had only twenty-five women and one sailor.

     The ship’s officers helped the passengers with their life jackets. ‘Women and children must go in the lifeboats,’ the officers said. ‘Men must stay on the ship.’ But some of the women did not want to go. It was warm on the ship, and cold in the dark sea.

     Young Mrs Astor was cold. She wore a life jacket over her beautiful blue dress, but she did not have a warm coat. She wanted to stay on the ship with her husband. ‘I don’t need to go in a lifeboat,’ she said. ‘The Titanic can’t sink. Thomas Andrews told me that.’ Mr Astor sat on a chair next to his wife. ‘Let’s stay on the ship,’ he said. ‘We’re safer here than in that little boat.’

     For half an hour Mrs Astor sat with her husband. They watched women and children get into the lifeboats. They saw the sea come nearer and nearer. ‘It’s no good,’ she said at last. ‘Mr Andrews was wrong. This ship is sinking.’ Second Officer Charles Lightoller helped Mrs Astor into 4. Mr Astor wanted to go with her. ‘Can’t I go with my wife?’ he said, ‘She needs me- she’s going to have a baby.?

Lifeboats being lowered from the Titanic during the evacuation - Short stories with pictures PDF

     ‘I’m sorry, sir,’ Charles Lightoller said. ‘These boats are for women and children. Men must stay here.’

     Mr Astor watched his wife go down into the sea in the lifeboat. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘I’m going to be OK. We can meet in New York.’

     ‘Goodbye, my love,’ she said. She never saw him again.

     Isidor Straus was sixty-seven years old, and his wife was sixty-three. ‘I’m not going without my husband,’ Mrs Straus said. ‘Where he goes, I go.’

     ‘That’s OK,’ said Charles Lightoller. ‘He’s an old man, so he can go with the women.’

     ‘No,’ said Mr Straus. ‘I’m a man. I’m staying here, with the men.’ So Mrs Straus stayed with her husband on the Titanic.

     The lifeboats were on the boat deck, near the first-class and second-class passengers. Anna Turja ran upstairs from E deck towards the boat deck.

     ‘Stop!’ a sailor said. ‘You can’t go up there!’ Anna did not stop, but the sailor closed the door behind her. There were hundreds of angry passengers on E deck, behind the closed doors. ‘Let us out!’ they said. ‘We’re all going to die!’ Then Daniel Buckley and some more men broke the door, and ran up the stairs.

     A lot of men were afraid, and angry. ‘We must get on a boat!’ they said. But the officers on the boat deck had guns. ‘Stand back!’ they said. ‘Women and children only!’

Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Straus - Titanic By Tim Vicary - Short Stories with Pictures PDF

Mr and Mrs Straus in Titanic

     But Daniel Buckley got into a boat and put on a woman’s hat. When the officers looked into that boat, they saw only women there. Some third-class women passengers, like Anna Turja and Carla Jensen, got into the boats too. Carla was cold. She had no shoes – just a nightdress, a life jacket, and a coat.

     Eighteen of the Titanic’s twenty lifeboats went into the sea. Some had only ten or twenty people in them, but Lifeboat 14 had Fifth Officer Lowe with fifty-eight women and children. After that there were only two lifeboats, Lifeboats A and B, on the ship.

Evacuation scene on the RMS Titanic with 'Women and children only!' rule being enforced - Titanic By Tim Vicary - Short stories with pictures PDF

‘Women and children only!’

Chapter Eight: In the cold, dark sea

Chapter Eleven:  Finding the Titanic The eight musicians did not get into the lifeboats. They stayed on the Titanic and played music – happy music, for worried people.

     Benjamin Guggenheim, the rich businessman, and his friend watched the women get into the lifeboats. They stood quietly and listened to the music. Then they took off their life jackets and put on their best coats. ‘Now we are ready to die,’ they said.

     ‘Help the passengers,’ Captain Smith said to the sailors. “The ship is going down. You can do no more.’ Thomas Andrews, the designer of the Titanic, said nothing. What could he say?

     Second Officer Lightoller and Colonel Gracie wanted to move Lifeboats A and B, but it was not easy. Water came back along the ship, faster and faster. Lifeboat A went into the sea. There was nobody in it at first, but then some men got in. Lifeboat B went into the sea the wrong way up.

      Suddenly the ship moved, and Colonel Gracie and Charles Lightoller fell into the ice cold sea. They went a long way under the water. ‘I’m going to die,’ Colonel Gracie thought.

     Then at last they came up, and swam to Lifeboat B. But Lifeboat B was the wrong way up. They could not get into it, so they got onto it. Radio Operator Jack Phillips was on top Lifeboat B, with Colonel Gracie, Charles Lightoller, and twenty-six more men. Radio Operator Harold Bride was under Lifeboat B at first. Then he swam out and got on top.

Photographs of the musicians who played on the RMS Titanic - Titanic By Tim Vicary - Short stories with pictures PDF

Musicians of the Titanic

     ‘That’s good, boys,’ said an old man in the water near Lifeboat B. ‘You’re going to be OK.’ But he did not get onto the boat, and after some time, he died. ‘Who was that?’ the men asked. ‘Captain Smith, perhaps?’

     The front of the ship went down, and at the same time the back of the ship went up. For two minutes the back of the ship went slowly up, higher and higher. Some people ran to the back of the ship; a lot of people fell from the ship into the sea.

     Carla Jensen watched from Lifeboat 16. “The sea was very quiet and dark,’ she said later. ‘The lights were still on in the ship. Then, suddenly, there was a terrible noise. A thousand people cried from the ship – we heard them. Then the Titanic broke into two halves.’

Illustration of the RMS Titanic sinking with lifeboats and passengers in the water - Titanic By Tim Vicary - Short stories with pictures PDF

     Slowly at first, then faster and faster, the Titanic went under the water. First the front of the ship went under, then the back. At 2.20 a.m. the Titanic was not there. The people in the boats could see the stars in the night sky, and the black sea, but no Titanic. The biggest ship in the world was under the sea.

    There were more than a thousand people in the water. Most of them had life jackets, so their heads stayed out of the water. But the sea water was very cold, and nobody could live in it for long. ‘Please, come back and help us!’ the people in the water cried to the people in the lifeboats.

     In Lifeboat 6 there was one sailor and twenty-five women. ‘We must go back to help the people in the water,’ some of the women said. ‘Our husbands are there – they need help!’ ‘No,’ said the sailor, Robert Hitchens. ‘There are too many people in the water. They can’t all get in this boat – it isn’t safe!’

     So they did nothing. Lifeboat 1 had only twelve people in it, but they did not take one man or woman out of the sea.

Illustration showing the sequence of how the Titanic sank, from the initial impact with the iceberg to the ship breaking apart and submerging into the ocean. This image is used in the article titled 'Titanic By Tim Vicary' with the keyword 'short stories with pictures pdf'.

How the Titanic sank

     But in Lifeboat 14, Fifth Officer Lowe did want to help. ‘Get into Lifeboats 10 and 12,’ he told his fifty-eight passengers. Quickly, now. This boat is going back.’ But it was not easy to move the passengers. Then, at 3.00 a.m. Fifth Officer Lowe went back with Lifeboat 14 to help the people in the water. But it was too late. Nearly everyone was dead. Harold Lowe took only four people alive out of the sea.

     They saw one man on a door in the water. He looked cold and white and dead. But after a few minutes he opened his eyes, and began to talk in Japanese! Later, he helped to row the boat, like a sailor. ‘What a good man!’ Harold Lowe said.

A historical photograph of Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, who served on the Titanic. This image is part of the article titled 'Titanic By Tim Vicary' and is used to provide context and visual interest. Discover more about Titanic's story and other short stories with pictures in PDF format.

Fifth Officer Harold Lowe

     All night, people sat in the lifeboats, and waited for morning. When the sun came up, they looked at the cold, quiet sea. They could see icebergs everywhere. And in the water, near the icebergs, they saw hundreds of cold, white bodies – the bodies of dead passengers and sailors.

Chapter Nine: The Carpathia and the Californian

The Carpathia heard the message from the Titanic at 12.25 a.m. It came very quickly – at 15 knots (31 kilometres per hour) – towards the Titanic. At 2.35 Captain Rostron, the captain of the Carpathia, saw a green light over the sea. At 2.45 his sailors saw an iceberg. Then more icebergs. ‘We’re going very fast, sir, it isn’t safe,’ a sailor said. ‘Don’t stop,’ said Captain Rostron. ‘We must get there quickly. The Titanic is sinking.’

     There were no more radio messages from the Titanic. At 4.00 a.m. the Carpathia stopped, and sent some rockets into the air. ‘Here we are,’ the captain said. ‘But where is the Titanic?’

     The sun came up. There was no Titanic. They saw more than twenty icebergs, some big, some small. And one small lifeboat, 400 metres away. There was a sailor in it, some women, and a baby.

     ‘Where is the Titanic?’ Captain Rostron asked.

     ‘It went down, sir,’ answered the sailor. ‘An hour and a half ago.”

    On the Californian, Chief Officer Stewart saw the Carpathia. ‘There’s that ship,’ he said to Captain Lord. ‘It’s firing rockets again.’

     ‘It doesn’t matter,’ said Captain Lord. ‘It’s not important.’

Historical photograph of Titanic survivors being taken onto the Carpathia lifeboat. This image is part of the article titled 'Titanic By Tim Vicary' and provides a visual representation of the rescue efforts. Explore more short stories with pictures in PDF format for detailed historical accounts and narratives.

Taking a lifeboat onto the Carpathia

     But at 5.40 a.m. Evans, the radio operator on the Californian, got out of bed. ‘Speak to that ship, Evans, please,’ Stewart said. ‘Why are they firing rockets?’

     Two minutes later, Evans answered, ‘That ship is the Carpathia, sir. There are lifeboats in the sea and the Carpathia is helping them. The Titanic hit an iceberg last night.’

     ‘We must help, too,’ said Captain Lord. ‘Quickly!’ So the Californian went towards the Carpathia. But it was nearly 6.00 a.m. – more than five long hours after the Titanic needed their help.

     Slowly, more lifeboats came to the Carpathia. Lifeboat B began to sink, and the people on the boat climbed onto Lifeboat 12. At 8.30 a.m. Lifeboat 12 arrived at the Carpathia with seventy-five people in it. There was a lot of water in the boat, and all the passengers were tired and cold. It was the last of the lifeboats from the Titanic. Second Officer Lightoller helped people onto the ship, and then he got out of the lifeboat and onto the ship too. He was the last person from the Titanic to come onto the Carpathia.

     The sailors from the Carpathia helped the passengers onto their ship. They had warm coats and hot drinks for them. But the passengers wanted to know about their families and friends. ‘Is my husband here?’ they asked. ‘Is my wife here? Where are my children?’

     Four days later the Carpathia arrived in New York with 711 people from the Titanic. But back in the cold North Atlantic, 1,513 people were dead. An important man, Senator Smith, began to ask questions. ‘What went wrong?’ he wanted to know. ‘Why did the Titanic sink? Why did all these people die?’

     Captain Smith and First Officer Murdoch were dead, and the designer Thomas Andrews was dead too. But the President of the White Star Line, Bruce Ismay, was on the Carpathia, so Senator Smith talked to him.

Photograph of Titanic passengers on the Carpathia, the ship that rescued survivors after the Titanic disaster. This image is featured in the article titled 'Titanic By Tim Vicary' and provides a visual representation of the aftermath and rescue efforts. Explore more short stories with pictures in PDF format for detailed historical narratives.

Titanic passengers on the Carpathia

     ‘Did you know about the icebergs?’ Senator Smith asked.

     ‘Well, Captain Smith knew about them, yes,’ Bruce Ismay answered.

     ‘Then why didn’t the Titanic go slower?’ Senator Smith asked. ‘Did you talk to Captain Smith about that?’

     ‘Me? No, of course not,’ Bruce Ismay answered. ‘He was the captain, I was only a passenger.’

     ‘A passenger, yes – but you were the President of the White Star Line too,’ Senator Smith said angrily. ‘The Titanic was your ship, and 1,500 people died because the Titanic hit an iceberg. Can you answer this question, then? Why did you only have twenty lifeboats?’

     Bruce Ismay looked unhappy. ‘Because the Titanic could not sink! Thomas Andrews told me that. He was the designer – he knew about ships. And remember, it had sixteen compartments and fifteen emergency doors. “We don’t need a lot of lifeboats – it’s the safest ship in the world,” Andrews said. And I listened to him.’

     ‘I see,’ Senator Smith said angrily. ‘So you did nothing wrong. Captain Smith was wrong about the icebergs, and Thomas Andrews was wrong about the lifeboats. But you, the President of the White Star Line…”

     ‘I was only a passenger,’ Bruce Ismay said.

The news arrives in London

Chapter Ten: Life after the Titanic

     The American ship Mackay-Bennett found hundreds of dead bodies in the sea. One of the bodies was John Jacob Astor. He was buried in New York in May 1912. In August 1912, Mrs Astor had a baby son. She called him John Jacob Astor, the same name as his father. Mrs Astor died in 1953.

     The Mackay-Bennett also found Mr Straus, and he was buried in New York, too. But they did not find his wife.

     Many of the bodies on the Mackay-Bennett had no names. One of the bodies was a baby, two years old. Nobody knew his name then, so they called him ‘the unknown child’. Today, we know that he was Sidney Goodwin. His mother and father, three brothers and two sisters all died in the sea too. Little Sidney, like many of the Titanic passengers, was buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada.

     But Millvina Dean, the youngest passenger on the Titanic, did not die. She left the Titanic in Lifeboat 10 with her mother and brother. Later they returned to England on another White Star ship, the Adriatic. All the women passengers on the Adriatic wanted to hold her in their arms. In the end, one of the officers said, ‘No passenger can hold Millvina for more than ten minutes.’

Millvina Dean a few years later, with her mother and brother

     Colonel Archibald Gracie wrote a book about the Titanic, but he never really got well after his time in the sea. He died in December 1912, and his last words were, ‘We must get them all in the boats.’

     It was not easy for Anna Turja in America. She did not know any people there, and she could not speak English. A hospital doctor in New York wrote her name on her arm, and put her on a train to her brother in Ohio.

      But Anna was a beautiful, friendly young woman. She met her husband in Ohio, and they had seven children. She died in 1982, aged eighty-nine.

Carla Jensen went back to Denmark. She met her husband, and they had three children. She died on 14 March 1980, and she was buried in her old nightdress from the Titanic.

Second Officer Charles Lightoller

     Daniel Buckley went to France in 1914 to be a soldier. He died in 1918. Jack Phillips died from cold in the lifeboat. His friend Harold Bride, the second radio operator, went home to Scotland. He met his wife there, and they had three children. He died in 1956, aged sixty-six. Fifth Officer Harold Lowe died in May 1944, in Wales.

     Second Officer Charles Lightoller had an exciting life. After the Titanic, he worked on a White Star ship called the Oceanic; but in 1914, the Oceanic sank too. Then he worked on a ship called the Falcon, but the Falcon also sank. In 1940, at the age of sixty-six, he went with his son Roger in his small boat called Sundowner to Dunkirk in France. Sundowner was not much bigger than one of the Titanic’s lifeboats, but it carried 130 soldiers home across the sea to England. Charles Lightoller died in 1952, in London, aged seventy-eight.

     Bruce Ismay went home to England, and the White Star Line finished their new ship the Britannic. But Ismay’s later life was not happy. He could never forget the Titanic.

Chapter Eleven:  Finding the Titanic

There are many stories about the Titanic. A man called Walter Lord talked to hundreds of passengers and sailors and in 1956 he wrote about them in his book, A Night to Remember. In 1957 there was a film of the book called A Night to Remember. Anna Turja went to see the film, but she could not speak English. So her son watched the film with her and told her about it.

     But Anna did not really understand about films. “Those people with the film cameras,’ she said to her son when they came out of the cinema. ‘They made this film when the Titanic went down. So why didn’t they help all the people in the water?’

     In 1985 Robert Ballard went to look for the Titanic, first on a French ship, and then on an American ship. He found the Titanic 3,810 metres under the sea, 531 kilometres south-east of Newfoundland. In 1986 and 1987 he went back with more cameras and made a film about the ship under the sea.

     In 1987 James Cameron saw this film and said: ‘I must make a Hollywood film about this.’ In 1995 he went to see the Titanic under the sea, and he got money to make his film. Cameron’s film, Titanic, was very expensive; he needed 200 million dollars for it. That is 1 million dollars for every minute of the film. In the film, Kate Winslet, a rich girl, meets Leonardo DiCaprio, a poor boy. When the ship goes down the boy dies but the girl lives. Many years later, the girl is an old lady. She goes back to look at the ship under the sea, and tells her story.

The route of the Titanic in 1912

    Not everything in the film is true, but most of it is. By 1997 most of the passengers from the Titanic were dead. But one woman, Millvina Dean, was still alive. In 1912, she was the youngest passenger on the Titanic, but in 1997 she was an old lady. She went across the Atlantic again, on a big fast ship, the QE2. Millvina Dean looked out at the sea and the icebergs, and thought about the Titanic.

‘I was here, eighty-five years ago,’ she said. ‘We were on the biggest, most beautiful ship in the world. But I was a little baby then, in my mother’s arms. So I can’t really remember anything of that night, on 14 April 1912.’

      In 2008 Millvina Dean was the only passenger alive from the Titanic. But people still talk and think and write about the Titanic. They remember it because it was big, and fast, and beautiful, of course. But they also remember the cold night in 1912 when the ‘safest ship in the world’ went to the bottom of the sea.

-The End-

Short stories with pictures PDF

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