The Titanic Timeline (1907-1912)

Titanic Timeline

Titanic Timeline of the main events in the history of the ill-fated ship


1907 (30th April)
J Bruce Ismay and William James Pirrie of the White Star Line decided to build a class of three liners, Titanic, Olympic and Britannic, that would compete in both speed and luxury with the Cunard Line for transatlantic passengers.
1908 (29th July)
The plans for the new ships were approved.
1909 (31st March)
The keel of Titanic was laid down at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.
1911 (12 noon, 31st May)
The hull of Titanic was launched. Around 100,000 people came to see the event.
1911 (20th September)
Titanic’s sister ship Olympic, which was the first of the three ships to be completed, suffered structural damage after colliding with a Royal Navy cruiser. Work on Titanic was delayed while Olympic was repaired.
1911 (11th October)
It was announced that Titanic’s maiden voyage would be 10th April 1912.
1912 (2nd April)
Titanic sailed from Belfast to Southampton.
1912 (10th April, 7.30 am)
Captain Edward J Smith arrived in Southampton docks and boarded the ship.
1912 (10th April, 9.30 am)
The first of 922 passengers arrived and began boarding the ship.
1912 (10th April, 12 noon)
The Titanic left Southampton on her maiden voyage. She was bound for New York via Cherbourg in France and Queenstown in Ireland.
1912 (10th April, 6.30 pm)
The ship reached Cherbourg, France. 274 passengers boarded the ship and 24 disembarked.
1912 (10th April, 8 pm)
Titanic left Cherbourg, France.
1912 (11th April, 11.30 am)
Titanic reached Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland. 120 passengers boarded the ship and 7 disembarked.
1912 (11th April, 1.30 pm)
The ship left Queenstown bound for New York.
1912 (11th April)
After leaving Queenstown Titanic covered 386 miles (621 km).
1912 (12th – 13th April)
The Titanic steamed through 520 miles (837 km) of sea.
1912 (13th April, 10.30 pm)
A warning of heavy pack ice was received from the ship Rappahannock.
1912 (14th April, 9 am)
An iceberg and field ice warning from the ship Carona was received.
1912 (14th April, 10.30 am)
A lifeboat drill was cancelled to enable passengers to attend the church service held in the first class dining room.
1912 (14th April, 11.40 am)
An ice warning was received from the ship Noordam.
1912 (14th April, 1.40 pm)
Titanic received a report of large quantities of ice in an area 250 miles (402 km) ahead from the ship Baltic. The message was given to Captain Smith who passed it to Bruce Ismay.
1912 (14th April, 1.45 pm)
A report of a large iceberg from the ship Amerika was received.
1912 (14th April, 5.30 pm)
The temperature dropped by 10 degrees to 33 F (0 C).
1912 (14th April, 5.50 pm)
Titanic’s course was altered to a path south of the original route.
1912 (14th April, 7.30 pm)
Three iceberg warnings were received from the ship Californian that had decided to stop for the night rather than risk travelling through the ice in the dark.
1912 (14th April, 9.20 pm)
Captain Smith retired for the night leaving Second Officer Charles Lightoller in charge with the instruction to wake him ‘if it becomes at all dubious’.
1912 (14th April, 9.30 pm)
Lookouts Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee were advised to look carefully for ice.
1912 (14th April, 9.40 pm)
A warning of icebergs and heavy pack ice was received from the ship Mesaba. The message never reached the bridge as the radio operators were too busy sending passengers’ messages.
1912 (14th April, 10 pm)
First Officer William Murdoch took over from Second Officer Lightoller.
1912 (14th April, 10.55 pm)
The ship Californian, which was about 12 miles north of Titanic, sent a message warning of pack ice and icebergs. The Californian’s radio operator was told by Titanic’s radio operators ‘shut up, I’m working Cape Race’ meaning they were busy sending out passenger messages.
1912 (14th April, 11.30 pm)
The radio operator on the Californian turned off his radio and went to bed.
1912 (14th April, 11.40 pm)
Titanic’s lookouts spotted an iceberg directly ahead and called the bridge. First Officer Murdoch ordered ‘hard-a-starboard’ but it was too late. Titanic hit the iceberg on the starboard side and ripped a gash in the keel.
1912 (14th April, 11.50 pm)
Water poured into the ship’s keel and rose 14 feet (4.25 metres) in 10 minutes.
1912 (15th April, 12.05 am)
The order was given to uncover the lifeboats. Titanic’s lifeboats were able to hold a total of 1,178 people if they were all filled to capacity – not enough for the 2,227 people on board.
1912 (15th April, 12.10 am)
Captain Smith ordered the radio operators to broadcast the emergency signals CQD and SOS. The nearest ship, the Californian, had unfortunately turned off her radio. The Carpathia was the nearest ship that heard the message but was around 4 hours away.
1912 (15th April, 12.45 am)
Lifeboat no 7 was lowered. It contained just 28 people even though it had capacity for 65.
1912 (15th April, 12.45 am)
The first distress rocket was fired.
1912 (15th April, 12.45 am)
The crew tried to attract the attention of a ship seen on the horizon with a Morse lamp.
1912 (15th April, 12.55 am)
Lifeboat no 5 was lowered. It contained 37 people.
1912 (15th April, 12.55 am)
Lifeboat no 6 was lowered. It contained 28 people.
1912 (15th April, 1 am)
Lifeboat no 3 was lowered. It contained 49 people.
1912 (15th April, 1 am)
Lifeboat no 1 was lowered. It contained 12 people.
1912 (15th April, 1.10 am)
Lifeboat no 8 was lowered. It contained 30 people.
1912 (15th April, 1.20 am)
Lifeboat no 10 was lowered. It contained 28 people.
1912 (15th April, 1.20 am)
Lifeboat no 9 was lowered. It contained 41 people.
1912 (15th April, 1.25 am)
Lifeboat no 12 was lowered. It contained 22 people.
1912 (15th April, 1.30 am)
Lifeboat no 14 was lowered. It contained 43 people.
1912 (15th April, 1.30 am)
Lifeboat no 13 was lowered. It contained 63 people.
1912 (15th April, 1.35 am)
Lifeboat no 16 was lowered. It contained 33 people.
1912 (15th April, 1.35 am)
Lifeboat no 15 was lowered. It contained 59 people.
1912 (15th April, 1.40 am)
Lifeboat Collapsible C was lowered. It contained 45 people.
1912 (15th April, 1.45 am)
Lifeboat no 2 was lowered. It contained 18 people.
1912 (15th April, 1.45 am)
Lifeboat no 11 was lowered. It contained 50 people.
1912 (15th April, 1.55 am)
Lifeboat no 4 was lowered. It contained 50 people.
1912 (15th April, 2.05 am)
Lifeboat Collapsible D was lowered. It contained 44 people.
1912 (15th April, 2.17 am)
The last radio message was sent. The radio operators were dismissed from their post by Captain Edwards.
1912 (15th April, 2.18 am)
The lights aboard the ship began to flicker and the ship appeared to break in two.
1912 (15th April, 2.20 am)
The broken stern of the Titanic slowly sank below the water.
1912 (15th April, 2.20 am)
Lifeboat Collapsible A was cut free but was full of water. 12 people managed to survive in this boat.
1912 (15th April, 2.20 am)
Lifeboat Collapsible B floated away from the ship upside down. Attempts to right it failed and 30 people survived by standing on the upturned boat.
1912 (15th April, 3.30 am)
The survivors saw rockets fired by the Carpathia.
1912 (15th April, 4.10 am)
The Carpathia reached lifeboat No 2 and took the survivors aboard.
1912 (15th April, 4.10 am – 8.30 am)
Survivors from the disaster were taken aboard Carpathia. Second Officer Charles Lightoller was the most senior crew man to have survived and was the last survivor to board the ship.
1912 (15th April, 8.50am)
Having rescued 705 survivors Carpathia steamed towards New York. Bruce Ismay sent a telegram to the White Star Line Office in New York “Deeply regret advise you Titanic sank this morning after collision with iceberg, resulting in serious loss of life. Full particulars later.”
1912 (17th April)
The ship Mackay-Bennett was hired by the White Star Line and sent to the disaster area to search for bodies.
1912 (18th April)
The Carpathia reached New York.
1912 (19th April)
An inquiry into the disaster was opened in New York
1912 (25th May)
After hearing evidence from more than 80 witnesses, the New York inquiry closed. Its main findings were:
The passengers and crew were not prepared to deal with a disaster
Safety equipment, including lifeboats, had not been properly tested and therefore was not trusted
Captain Smith had not shown due care given the circumstances
The British Board of Trade lifeboat regulations were questioned
The Captain of the Californian should have come to the rescue
1912 (2nd May)
An inquiry into the disaster was opened in London.
1912 (3rd July)
After hearing evidence from more than 100 witnesses the UK inquiry closed. Its main findings were:
That the ship had sank due to a collision with an iceberg
That the lookout procedure was insufficient for the circumstances
That there were insufficient lifeboats and that the crew were not trained in lifeboat drill
Captain Lord of the Californian was criticised for not going to the rescue


First published 2014, updated and re-published Apr 15 2021 @ 1:27 am – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for The Titanic Timeline:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2014 – 2022). The Titanic Timeline 1907 – 1912


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