Ever since the premiere of Titanic in 1997, the world has been obsessed with learning everything there is to know about the ship’s real story and what actually happened on that fateful day in 1912.
Even now, over a century later, new information is still being uncovered about what took place on April 15, 1912, that caused over 1,500 people to lose their lives and so many families to lose their loved ones. Though few Titanic survivors remain, artifacts from the ship still exist that allow historians to continue to uncover details from that day that help paint a clearer picture.
There’s so much to investigate about the sinking of the Titanic — like whether it could have been prevented — but I have always been most interested in learning about the victims of the Titanic.
The passengers aboard the ship ranged in everything from age to wealth, though everyone ended up suffering the same tragic fate, regardless.
How much do you know about the victims of the Titanic? Take a look at these nine facts about the people aboard the ship on April 15, and test your Titanic knowledge!
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Featured image via Wikimedia / Die Gartenlaube
1. The Founder Of Hershey's Was Supposed To Be On The Ship
Milton S. Hershey, the founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company, was supposed to be on board the Titanic, but fate had other plans.
According to his records, the chocolate mogul made a $300 deposit with White Star Lines for a spot on the Titanic, but he never made it on the ship. Due to a business emergency back in America, Hershey boarded a different ship, The America, three days early and returned home unharmed.
2. All Members Of The Titanic Orchestra Died
Aboard the Titanic was an eight-member orchestra, but none of the musicians survived. According to survivors, the band played even as the ship was sinking, their last melody being the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee.”
3. The Ship's Lookout Later Committed Suicide
Frederick Fleet, the man on the Titanic who was tasked with scouring the sea for any potential hazards, managed to survive the ship’s demise, but could never outrun his own depression and guilt.
After his wife passed away in 1964, Fleet succumbed to the guilt he felt over making it out of the Titanic alive when so many perished. He hung himself.
4. The Wealthiest Man Aboard The Ship Died To Save His Wife
John Jacob Astor, the wealthiest man aboard the Titanic, with investments in opium, fur, and real estate, never made it off the sinking ship. In the process of helping his pregnant wife, Madeleine, and her nurse and maid safely escape, Astor went down with the ship. Some seaman found his body on April 22, a week after the ship went down.
5. More Passengers Could Have Survived
Though only an estimated 31.6 percent of passengers survived the sinking of the Titanic, experts estimate that 53.4 percent of passengers could have survived the disaster, given the number of lifeboats on the Titanic and their capacity.
It likely didn’t help that on April 14, 1912 — the day the Titanic sank — lifeboat drills were canceled by Captain Edward John Smith for reasons unknown.
6. Some Of The Victims Were Never Identified
In the chaos that followed the sinking of the Titanic, authorities struggled to identify several of the bodies that were found in the boat’s wreckage.
In the notes for a young male, labeled as body No. 6, authorities wrote that the body had a tattoo and a copper wire ring on the right thumb, though they were “unable to identify [him] from [his] clothing.”
7. The Youngest Victim Was Just 13 Months Old
Of the estimated 1,500 passengers who perished on the Titanic, the youngest was Eino Panula, a 13-month-old baby who froze to death in the chilly waters.
Panula’s entire family perished on the Titanic, except for the father, who wasn’t aboard the ship.
Researchers initially thought that the famous “Unknown Child” buried in Nova Scotia might be the remains of Eino Panula, but DNA testing proved this to be false.
8. Several Of The Victims Are Buried In Canada
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Mackay-Bennet — a ship sent out to recover the remains of Titanic victims — found 306 bodies scattered at sea. Another three ships recovered an additional 22 bodies in the Canadian waters, but 119 of the 328 had to be buried at sea due to lack of embalming fluid.
Of the remaining bodies, only 59 were returned to their families; the rest of the victims are buried in three cemeteries in Halifax: the Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, the Baron de Hirsch Jewish Cemetery, and the Fairview Lawn Cemetery.
9. More Women Survived Than Men
In every class on the ship, the passengers made it a priority to get women and children off the boat before men. In fact, an estimated 72 percent of female passengers survived the voyage, compared to just 16 percent of male passengers.
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