Launched at Belfast, Ireland, on May 31, 1911, by the shipbuilder Harland and Wolff, Titanic was the second of three-ships intended to provide the White Star Line’s Southampton-New York service. At 46,328 tons, 882 feet long, and with a 92-foot beam, Titanic was the largest in the world when completed ten months later.
On April 10, 1912, she sailed from Southampton for New York, calling at Cherbourg, France, that evening and Queenstown, Ireland, early the following afternoon. Three and a half days after leaving Queenstown, Titanic struck an iceberg about 350 nautical miles southeast of Newfoundland, at 11:40 pm, Sunday, April 14. She sank two hours and forty minutes later with the loss of more than fifteen hundred of her passengers and crew. The Cunard liner Carpathia arrived on the scene at dawn and recovered all seven hundred survivors of what would become history’s most famous shipwreck.
This newsreel coverage of the Titanic disaster by Pathé uses footage of her sister ship Olympic, and shows Captain E. J. Smith dressed in his summer whites while commanding that ship the previous year. The images of Carpathia are stock footage as well. Rostron appears for eight seconds at the midpoint of the film wearing civilian clothing. The newsreel also accurately depicts some of Titanic’s surviving crew and the rush on White Star’s New York offices. Cunard’s 14th Street piers, wireless inventor Guglielmo Marconi, and MacKay Bennett, the cable ship sent to recover bodies from the disaster site, also make brief appearances.