Titanic - Return of a dream

On the 15th April 1912 the luxurious ocean liner Titanic sank on her maiden voyage to New York with the loss of 1,500 of the 2,200 souls on board. Many films have been made dramatising this tragic night but when Andrew Lount visited Enderby U3A in March his excellent film and his telling of aspects of the voyage hitherto unknown made for one of the best afternoons we had ever experienced.

With his strident voice and resplendent in naval uniform he strode back and forth telling of the rivalry between the Cunard and White Star shipping lines. If Cunard was building the fastest ships to cross the Atlantic, White Star was determined to create the most luxurious fleet and on 11th April 2012 the Titanic sailed via Cherbourg and Cork on her way to New York. The cost of travelling first class one way was £997 – a fortune in 1912 and a privilege only for the rich and famous, many of their entourage were housed in 2nd class while in 3rd class, at a cost of £7 9s, were many people going to new jobs in the USA.

On the night of April 14th with the evening in full swing the two naval officers on watch in the crows nest discovered that there were no binoculars available and did not at first see the dark shape looming above them and although the captain had been warned of possible icebergs and altered course a little, he had not requested a reduction in speed. As the ship tried to take evasive action it was holed below the water line. By the time it was realised that the bulkheads were not going to hold the damage and the ship was going to sink, valuable time had been lost before an SOS was sent. The sailors were inexperienced when it came to launching the lifeboats and many were under capacity when lowered and when the Carpathia arrived 3 hours later, answering the distress call some 2 hours after the huge floating palace had disappeared under the waves, just 705 survivors were transferred from the lifeboats.

Even after Andrew Lount had finished his talk and we were all warming up with a cup of tea his wonderful story telling was the main topic of conversation – truly an afternoon to remember!

If you would like to learn more about U3A  you can find us on our website www.u3asites.org.uk/enderby – but better still, why not come along to our open day on May 4th between 10am and 3pm and find out all we have to offer!