The tragic sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic on her maiden voyage in 1912 is still a topic of great interest over 100 years later. Rather than diminishing, the curiosity seems only to have grown in the time since the Titanic sank, taking 1,517 lives along with it to the dark depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
According to Titanic Universe, there were only 2,223 passengers on board the Titanic at the time it sank. The number of casualties more than doubled that of the survivors. Women and children from first and second class were herded onto the lifeboats first. Men were only allowed on these boats to serve as rowers. The third class saw very few people escape the violent wrenching of the Titanic.
Sadly, the Titanic crew knew there was no way they would make it off the ill-fated ship alive. Carrying only 20 lifeboats, the legal minimum required, the rescue vehicles only had a combined capacity of 1,178 people. In the frantic mayhem that ensued following the Titanic’s crashing into a huge glacier, even the boats available were not filled to capacity. Only 706 people survived the sinking of the Titanic.
Titanic Maiden departure from Southampton April10th 1912 pic.twitter.com/4QbXOekQOP
— Oliver Coco (@oliverandcoco) May 11, 2016
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One such Titanic survivor has recently been honored for his heroic deed during the infamous accident. Titanic seaman Robert John Hopkins was sleeping when the impact with the iceberg jarred the Titanic, reports the New York Post. Rushing to aid his fellow Titanic seamen and passengers, Hopkins was ultimately assigned by First Mate William Murdoch to board lifeboat number 13.
Robert John Hopkins saved the lives of all those on lifeboat 13, and very likely those of lifeboat 15 as well. As panic ensued, the latter boat was lowered almost directly on top of the one which Hopkins was aboard. Charles Haas, Titanic International Society president, described the scene and the seaman’s heroic actions.
“Hopkins, from what we’ve seen, called up and told them to stop lowering. He and another crew member went to work with a pen knife to cut the ropes. If Hopkins had not done what he did, 13 and potentially 15, would have been lost.”
The 1997 movie, entitled simply Titanic, recreated the scene. Watch the video clip below from the making of the Titanic movie. It reveals the terror and chaos the passengers must have felt, being potentially trapped between the ocean and another lifeboat.
After the Titanic tragedy, Robert John Hopkins, now deemed a hero, returned to Hoboken, New Jersey, to resume his life, CBS New York reports. He remained in the area until his death in 1943. Hopkins was buried in Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City, but never received a marker for his grave site.
Catholic Cemeteries paid for a remarkable black granite headstone after the Titanic International Society brought the absence of a marker to their attention.
News Titanic hero finally gets fitting tribute on headstone https://t.co/zu9kFy2GgW
— news4trends.com (@news4trends) May 15, 2016
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) May 14, 2016
Brian Hopkins, grandson of the recently honored Titanic hero, spoke a bit about the family’s sense of pride in his grandfather.
“We’re just wondering how many more descendants there are that got saved that may not be alive today if he hadn’t done that, we’re very honored by that.”
Robert John Hopkins’ quick thinking and willingness to jump into action saved the lives of over 100 people that fateful day. His actions were those of a true hero. It’s high time he was recognized for his heroic actions on the day the Titanic sank.
[Image via Flickr]