Oh, they built the ship Titanic …


RMS Titanic

RMS Titanic

Today is the 102nd Anniversary of the sinking of the great British ocean liner RMS Titanic … an event regarding which I have been fascinated since childhood.

That fascination actually began during cub scout, boy scout and state conservation summer camps that I attended as a child … during which it was common at evening meals to sing a then popular song about the tragedy:

Oh, they built the ship Titanic, to sail the ocean blue.
And they thought they had a ship that the water would never get through.
But the Lord’s almighty hand knew the ship would never land,
It was sad when the great ship went down.

Chorus:
Oh, it was sad,
It was sad,
It was sad when the great ship went down to the bottom of the….
Husbands and wives, little children lost their lives,
It was sad when the great ship went down.

They sailed on through the night and were almost to the shore,
When the rich refused to associate with the poor.
So they threw the poor below, where they were the first to go,
It was sad when the great ship went down.

Repeat chorus

Then they swung the lifeboats o’er the deep and raging sea,
And the band struck up with “Nearer My God to Thee”.
Little children wept and cried as the waves swept o’er the side,
It was sad when the great ship went down.

Repeat chorus

There are any number of additional verses … and/or variations on those I remember (each verse of the current “official” Boy Scout version is somewhat different than the ones I recall singing).

RMS Titanic at sea.

RMS Titanic at sea.

My fascination with the Titanic continued throughout the years … and I avidly followed the efforts of oceanographer Robert Ballard to find the wreck.

Robert Ballard

Robert Ballard

No one was more excited than I when he finally succeeded … I have since watched his documentaries about the search many times, have his beautiful book about the Titanic and other “Lost Liners” …

"Lost Liners" by Robert Ballard

“Lost Liners” by Robert Ballard and Rick Archbold with Paintings by Ken Marschall

… and love the gorgeous paintings that Ken Marschall did for that book and “Titanic — An Illustrated History” by Don Lynch …

"Titanic - An Illustrated History" by Don Lynch with Illustrations by Ken Marschall

“Titanic – An Illustrated History” by Don Lynch with Illustrations by Ken Marschall

Titanic Sailing Toward the Iceberg

Titanic Sailing Toward the Iceberg

Titanic Sinking

Titanic Sinking

And of course there are the documentaries by Ballard and others showing Titanic today … lying in two major pieces on the floor of the Atlantic …

Titanic Bow Section on Ocean Floor

Titanic Bow Section on Ocean Floor

Titanic Aft Section on the Ocean Floor

Titanic Aft Section on the Ocean Floor

… and this poignant view of the human cost …

Titanic Shoes on the Ocean Floor

Titanic Shoes on the Ocean Floor

___________________________________________________________

For alternative verses of the Titanic song, see:

http://www.scoutsongs.com/lyrics/titanic.html

and

http://www.scoutorama.com/song/song_display.cfm?song_id=173

And for a YouTube performance of one version of the Titanic song, see:

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=oh+they+built+the+ship+titanic+lyrics&qpvt=oh+they+built+the+ship+titanic+lyrics&FORM=VDRE#view=detail&mid=3FD9136A9A97A0CC96833FD9136A9A97A0CC9683

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2 thoughts on “Oh, they built the ship Titanic …

    • How exciting that must have been for him! One of my potential college choices was to go to the University of Missouri to study archeology … and in another life I could see myself becoming an oceanographer. Exploration of any kind (ancient ruins, the ocean, space!!) would be, I think, an exciting and rewarding profession. I was sorry to see that your uncle died last year — his Woods Hole memorial page is here:

      http://www.whoi.edu/main/obituaries?tid=3622&cid=164529

      I think the Marge Rohner mentioned there must be your mom and you must be among the “many dearly loved nieces and nephews”. 😉

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