April 14 1912: Iceberg Ahead! Good Bye all!

As RMS Titanic steamed towards New York, several iceberg warnings had been issued during the day of April 14 ,1912.

At 11.40 pm, with many passengers already in bed for the night, the lookout shouted ‘Iceberg Ahead’! Despite frantic attempts to manoeuvre the huge vessel, she hit the iceberg, ripping plates from her hull and leaving a huge gash in her side. Within minutes there were 14 feet of water in parts of the ship and the flooding continued relentlessly into each ‘watertight’ compartment.

25 minutes later, on April 15 1912 at 5 minutes past midnight an order is given to prepare the lifeboats. If all are filled to capacity over 1,000 people would have to stay on board as there are not enough of them.

At 00.45 am the first lifeboat is lowered, with only 28 people on board – it had space for  65.

At 2. 05 am there are 1,500 still on board the liner but there is only one lifeboat  left to be launched. The water is now just below the promenade deck.

The huge ship is now listing and people on board rush about in panic, trying to escape the freezing waters. At 2.17  Titanic’s bow plunges underwater and as all the heavy machinery slips forward, the lights flicker and go out.  The ship breaks in two and the bow disappears into the icy water. Three minutes later, at 2.20 am the stern section which had risen up into the air, plunges  into the icy depths.


Jeremiah Burke from Cork, Ireland scribbled a message and put it in a bottle as the Titanic went down. He was lost. The bottle washed up some years later and the note was given to his family. His family has donated it to Cobh Heritage Centre. Image thejournal.ie

At 2.20 am in the village of Lahardane in County Mayo in the west of Ireland a bell will peal 11 mournful peals, followed by 3 joyful peals in memory of the 14 people from this small community who were passengers on the Titanic. 11 of them were lost and 3 survived. It is probably the only location in the world where the last moment of the great Titanic is remembered ever year at the exact time of the sinking.  Of the approximate 2,227 on board, about 713 survived. Lahardane’s commemorative bells peal across the land to remember all of those lost and saved.


History on the Net

BBC History



Filed under Emigration from Ireland, Irish Diaspora, Irish History, Irish_American, Mayo Emigrants, Titanic

11 responses to “April 14 1912: Iceberg Ahead! Good Bye all!

  1. The note from one person says it all for so many. How tragic to have been in that frame of mind and to write those words. Surely one of the saddest days in history. Thanks for posting so much about it. Canada has a big connection too and a cemetary on the east coast for those who perished.

    • Kerry – Jeremiah was 19 – he scribbled the message – you can see that the date is wrong, but understandably so, given the fact that he was facing an icy watery grave – he apparently put it into a holy water bottle that his mother had given him when he left home to emigrate to USA. It was miraculously washed up on an Irish beach about a year later. I must read more about the Canadian cemetery where so many of the victims lie.Thank you for visiting. Angela

  2. This is so sad. I don’t think I would have the wits to put a message in a bottle as I went down. It must have been both heart breaking and heartening for the family to receive it.

    • Kristin It was very thoughtful of him to put the message in a bottle – given that he was a young teenager, he showed amazing love, consideration and forethought for his family, even though the chances of them every seeing it were very remote.What a bitter-sweet joy for them indeed to have received a last note from him a year later. It’s an amazing story. Thanks for dropping in – Angela

  3. I agree with Kristin, I doubt if I would have thought of the bottle, especially if I had been with others. I like the way you have written this over 3 posts, makes it even more poignant.

  4. The bell pealing at 2.20 am in the village of Lahardane must be utterly heartbreaking but is a beautiful tribute to those both lost and saved from that area.

    • I had hoped to be there to see it and hear it at 2.20 am this morning, but stayed home because of the severe weather warning -that does not seem to have materialized as it was beautiful day here! Hopefully next year …thanks for dropping by!

  5. J. G. Burdette

    A tragic story that I never tire of.

  6. Pingback: Postcards from Cobh Co. Cork | A SILVER VOICE FROM IRELAND

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