| 13.7°C Belfast

Close

Premium

'The Titanic Sinking’: The story behind the telegram with which the Belfast Telegraph landed one of history’s greatest scoops

Close

RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage in 1912, killing over 1,500

RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage in 1912, killing over 1,500

The telegram sent to the Belfast Telegraph newsroom alerting us of the disaster

The telegram sent to the Belfast Telegraph newsroom alerting us of the disaster

Titanic lost: Belfast Telegraph front page on 16/4/1912, one day after the disaster

Titanic lost: Belfast Telegraph front page on 16/4/1912, one day after the disaster

The Titanic leaving Belfast. 31/5/1911.

The Titanic leaving Belfast. 31/5/1911.

The Titanic nearing completion

The Titanic nearing completion

Harrison Photography

Royal Avenue, Belfast
© National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum

Royal Avenue, Belfast © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum

Reporting history: sub-editor Robert McComb

Reporting history: sub-editor Robert McComb

RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage in 1912, killing over 1,500

It’s one of the most famous ‘scoops’ but also perhaps the saddest in the 150-year history of the Belfast Telegraph... the story the newspaper would never have wanted to cover.

For the exclusive that broke the news of the Titanic disaster in April 1912 was too painfully close to home for a city that had proudly built the doomed ocean liner and where virtually everyone knew someone with a link to the construction of the luxury White Star heavyweight.

The cataclysmic scale of the mid-Atlantic tragedy however wasn’t initially clear in Belfast amid the confusion of garbled messages from thousands of miles away and the refusal to believe that the unsinkable Harland and Wolff ship could actually have sunk en route to New York.