The 15th of April is known as Titanic Remembrance Day to commemorate the day that H.M.S. Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg in 1912 killing more than 1,500 passengers. The 15th of April is also the last day of the New Year’s celebration of Songkran or Pii Mai (13th to 15th of April) in the countries of Laos and Thailand. The 15th of April is the 105th day of the year (Gregorian calendar) or 106th in a leap year.
The worlds largest, fastest and most luxurious cruise ship, the Titanic, sank on its maiden voyage. On the 10th of April 1912 the Titanic left the port of Southampton, England on its maiden voyage to New York, United States (via Cherbourg in France and Queenstown (now Cobh) in Ireland). Carrying 2,224 passengers, including some of the richest people in the world, the new cruise ship was thought to be the safest cruise ship ever built. White Star Liners commissioned it’s building by Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast and the Titanic was built with 16 separate airtight compartments. This design meant that even if the hull was penetrated the rest of the airtight compartments would keep her afloat. In fact the Titanic was designed to withstand four of these compartments being breached and this led to many claiming that she was virtually unsinkable. As she crossed the North Atlantic after leaving Queenstown, Ireland on the night of the 14th of April 1912 a large ice-burg was spotted in the water, but it was too late to manoeuvre the ship enough to avoid the ice-burg. At 11:40 pm ‘ships time’ the ship collided with the ice-burg and it starboard side, slicing through six of the airtight compartments. Ships time was calculated from when the sun would be at the highest point on that day and making that mid-day. It has been calculated that this would have been 4 hours and 27 minutes less than British Sumer Time (BST) so the titanic would have hit the ice-burg at about 4:20am (BST) on the 15th of April 1912. Just after midnight the SOS signal was sent out and passengers were ordered to board the life boats. The Titanic had only enough life boats for about half the passengers and so the order was given for women and children first. With the panic most of the lifeboats were launched at less than full capacity. As one side of the ship began to sink the weight of the other half caused the Titanic to split in two about 2 hours and 20 minutes after the initial collision. More than 1,000 people were still aboard the Titanic when she split and those lives were lost at sea. About 2 hours later RMS Carpathia arrived and brought aboard the 705 survivors, of the 2,224 passengers.
On the 15th of April 1775
Samuel Johnson’s epic work ‘A Dictionary of the English Language’ was first published on this day in 1775. The quality of English dictionaries prior to Johnson’s , were very weak and in 1746 a group of London booksellers commissioned Johnson to produce a much improved dictionary for 1,500 guineas (the equivalent of £210,000 today). Johnson set to work and in a little over eight years the ‘Dictionary of the English Language’ was complete. Johnson hired just six helpers to complete the works containing 42,773 entries defined in detail. His was the first dictionary to also contain quotes (some 114,000) as an example of the words use and this influenced most of the dictionaries that have followed. In contrast the French Academy took 55 years and 40 scholars to produce the ‘Dictionnarre’. Johnson’s dictionary famously contains many quotes with what has been described as ‘a personal touch’ and some of these include. Lexicographer: A writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words. Oats: A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland appears to support the people. Patron: One who countenances, supports or protects. Commonly a wretch who supports with insolence, and is paid with flattery. To worm: To deprive a dog of something, nobody knows what, under his tongue, which is said to prevent him, nobody knows why, from running mad.
The infamous Guy Fawkes was born in York, England. Guy Fawkes was one of the main conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot. The plot was to blow up the House of Lords on the 5th of November 1605 and to kill King James I of England (King James VI of Scotland) in the process. Every 5th of November “Fire Works Night” is celebrated in England. Effigies of Guy Fawkes are put on bonfires and fireworks are set off in celebration that the plot was discovered and the King was saved.