The story of the Titanic engineers’ heroism has often been overlooked in many of the Titanic stories that have hit both the small and big screen over the years. Yet that does not mean we should not learn more about their heroism on the fateful night.
The brave men chose to stay at their post when RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg at 11.40pm on 14th April, 1912, with the aim of keeping the ship afloat for as long as possible.
Captains Smith quickly became aware that the ship would sink within a matter of hours, and so instructed the wireless operators to contact nearby ships to rescue both his passengers and crew. The engineers continued to power the ship as she began to descend into the water, giving the crew enough time to evacuate women and children into lifeboats. The ship would therefore have sank at a more rapid rate if it was not for the heroic acts of the ship’s engineers.
RMS Titanic’s engineers were responsible for keeping the pumps and electricity running for as long as possible, and even ensured the lights and radio system could work until the ship’s final moments. It is therefore widely believed that the engineer’s courageous acts resulted in RMS Titanic remaining afloat for an extra hour, enabling the crew to deploy nearly all of the lifeboats aboard.
Every single engineer aboard the ship chose to remain at their post and, as a result, lost their lives on 15th April, 1912. Tragically, over 1,500 people did not survive the maritime disaster, but the engineers’ bravery resulted in 705 people surviving the event, as RMS Carpathia later arrived at the scene to rescue people from the lifeboats and the water.
244 engineers, fireman, trimmers and greasers lost their lives, and a memorial to their heroism is based in the ship’s port of registry, Liverpool. It’s called the Memorial to the Engine Room Heroes of the Titanic. You can also visit the Memorial to the Titanic Engineers in Southampton, which was the hometown to many of the engineering crew aboard the ship.