Southampton Remembers the night the Titanic sank.

Southampton has lived with the great tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic for more than 100 years with some families in the City still mourning the loss of fondly remembered family members.

Whether or not directly affected by the sinking, people across the city, country and globe, come together to remember the events and characters involved.

The Titanic's captain, Edward Smith, lived in Westwood Road and was an experienced seafarer who had been with the White Star line since 1880. This was to be his last sailing before retirement.

It was initially planned that William Murdoch would be his Chief Officer. Murdoch had been First Officer on the Olympic, but the White Star line decided that the Olympic's Chief Officer Henry Wilde would provide greater experience for the maiden crossing.

Murdoch, who lived in Belmont Road, Portswood therefore stepped down to First Officer with First Officer Charles Lightoller, who lived at Netley Abbey becoming Second Officer.

Lightoller was the only senior officer to survive the sinking and his eye witness account makes fascinating reading.

He had sailed to Belfast to take part in the Titanic's sea trials and to get to know his way around the ship which took him two weeks.

The Titanic sailed from Southampton at noon on April 10, 1912, with 1317 passengers. The crew numbered about 885 including 23 women. Out of those, 699, came from Southampton addresses and about 40 per cent were native to the city.

On the night of April 14, Lightoller went on watch at 6pm noticing how unusually calm the sea was and how the temperature had dropped once the sun had set.

At 10 pm he was relieved by Murdoch with whom he exchanged pleasantries and necessary information.

Lightoller left the bridge and, before retiring to his cabin, did his rounds of the ship.

At about 11.40 pm he was awoken by a jarring sound.

Murdoch had been alerted to an iceberg and in taking evasive action had succeeded in colliding along the length of the iceberg, the force of which had badly holed the ship.

The call went out for "all hands on deck". By this time the bow of the ship was well down and the lifeboats were swung out ready.

After discussion with Captain Smith, Lightoller proceeded to get the women and children into the life boats.

As he moved along the lifeboats he noticed the ship was still sinking and, surprisingly, the ship’s musicians were playing cheery music he referred to as jazz.

As the water continued to rise Lightoller realised the ship was doomed and began to fill the lifeboats to maximum capacity.

It was then that he was asked to get the firearms for the Chief Officer who thrust a pistol into Lightoller's pocket saying "you might need this". It was useful later when Lightoller had to evict men from a lifeboat to make way for women.

Having ensured the last lifeboats, including the collapsible ones, had been launched he noted that there were still crowds of people on deck.

In the absence of lifeboats people still on the Titanic were making their way to the stern which was rising out of the water.

Lightoller, deciding this was postponing the inevitable dived over the side.

A sudden blast of hot air blew him clear of the ship and he found himself alongside the last inflatable lifeboat he had launched.

He hung on to the side eventually pulling himself on board and stood on the upturned vessel with the other survivors. They watched silently as the Titanic sank at 2.20 am on 15th April.

They were rescued later that morning by the Carpathia with Lightoller the last survivor to go aboard.

Once on board the Carpathia, it was clear that 711 lives had been saved but 1500 people had been lost, with more than one third having come from Southampton.

A terrible grief spread throughout the city once the full impact of the disaster became known.

By Godfrey Collyer - tour guide with