Titanic Pages
Titanic History Website

Titanic's delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton

Titanic's maiden voyage officially began from Southampton on 10th April 1912, but first, of course, Titanic, had to sail from Belfast, where she had been built at Harland and Wolff shipyard, to get there.

For, as it turned out, the very last time Titanic departed and began sailing away from Belfast at approximately 8 or 9pm on 2nd April 1912, beginning her voyage to Southampton, often referred to as her delivery trip.

Although only the minimum required, with the rest joining when in Southampton, Titanic's crew started to join the ship in Belfast in the later part of March 1912, many of them, including the more senior members of the crew were transported from Southampton and would remain aboard for the maiden voyage from Southampton, but many, mostly firemen and able seamen were local to Belfast and sailed only to Southampton before then returning home to Belfast. Titanic's captain, Captain Edward Smith had not joined until 1st April, and so from late March until 1st April Titanic had been temporarily under the command of Captain Herbert Haddock who was about to take command of Titanic's sister ship Olympic, which previously had been commanded by Captain Smith.

Unlike when she sailed away from Southampton, Titanic's Chief Officer was William Murdoch, her first officer was Charles Lightoller and her second officer was David Bliair. This changed when in Southampton, when, for the maiden voyage, Henry Wilde, Olympic's Chief Officer was made Chief Officer of Titanic and David Blair disembarked the ship, with William Murdoch and Charles Lightoller going down a rank.

As she sailed away from Belfast, she had her first passengers aboard - officially the, at this time, ten people guarantee group Harland and Wolff had sent with the ship to monitor the ship, deal with any problems and finish off any last jobs, headed by Thomas Andrews, a senior designer of Titanic - were listed as passengers, some first class, some second class; all but one went on to remain with the ship past Southampton. Having been aboard for Titanic’s successful sea trials earlier in the day, remaining aboard as first class passengers as far as Southampton were Harold Saunderson, a senior manager of the White Star Line; Edward Wilding, a naval architect employed by Harland and Wolff, and Francis Carruthers, the British Board of Trade surveyor who had been onboard to observe the sea trials and issue Titanic's passenger certificate, allowing her to begin her career.

Intrestringly also aboard, traveling as a first class passenger, was Titanic's first paying customer, Wyckoff Van Derhoef, an American on a visit to the other side of the Atlantic; heading for home, he continued onwards towards New York on Titanic's maiden voyage.

Leaving Harland and Wolff, Belfast behind, she proceeded into Belfast Lough and onwards into the Irish Sea and sailed south in between the west coast of the island of Great Britain and the east coast of the island of Ireland. When later asked by Senator William Alden Smith at the American Titanic Inquiry about the weather conditions encountered on the voyage from Belfast, Titanic's fourth officer Joseph Boxhall testified that the weather was fine apart from about 2am until about 6am on 3rd April when it was foggy.

Not very long after entering the Celtic Sea, Titanic is noted to have passed the Smalls Lighthouse, located on a rock off the southwest coast of Wales at around 7.20am, and at around 12.30pm she passed Land's End, the most westerly point south of Scotland on the island of Great Britain. She then continued onwards along the southwest then south coast, through the English Channel.

In the evening, albeit at a vast distance, and probably unaware, Titanic passed her sister ship Olympic going in the opposite direction in the English Channel. Whether or not they got close enough to possibly be at all seen by each other is the unanswered question.

Late at night, as Titanic was approaching Southampton a harbour pilot was picked up to safely guide her into port. By around 1am on 4th April 1912, Titanic had arrived for the first time at Southampton, her new effective homeport. She was guided into her berth, berth 44 within the White Star Dock, by tugboats, safely completing her first crossing.

In total there were 415 people aboard Titanic for her delivery trip, around half of these disembarked Titanic in Southampton, and went on their way, having completed a successful trip on Titanic; the reminder did continue with her and sail aboard Titanic as she began her voyage from Southampton, called at Cherbourg, France, and sailed to Queenstown - for one last visit to Ireland, the island of her birth, before heading out to sea towards New York.

Related pages - Titanic's Launch, Titanic's Sea Trials | All Titanic Pages

Titanic Pages (home) | Site Map | White Star History