5 Myths About Titanic

Few thought it was 'unsinkable' before the tragedy

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 8, 2012 7:03 AM CDT | Updated Apr 8, 2012 7:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – With the anniversary of the Titanic's sinking in the news, the BBC busts what it says are five myths that have emerged over the years, including:

  • 'Unsinkable': The idea that people viewed the ship as unsinkable before the tragedy might be the biggest urban legend of all, says one Kings College London professor. The White Star Line didn't try to push that view, and it wasn't much talked about by the public beforehand, but movies can't resist pushing the tale.

  • Last song: As the story goes, band members on deck played "Nearer My God to Thee" as the ship went down. Eyewitnesses say the seven musicians, all of whom died, were playing on the deck as people evacuated, but the notion that they were playing that particular hymn in the final moments is probably poetic license.
  • Heroic captain: Capt. Edward John Smith is generally depicted in glowing terms in pop culture, but by the BBC's take he ignored ice warnings that could have prevented the sinking, then managed the evacuation so ineptly that lifeboats left only partially filled.
Click for the full list.

In this April 10, 1912, file photo, the Titanic departs Southampton, England.   (AP Photo, File)
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