33 Rare Titanic Sinking Photos Taken Just Before And After It Happened

Published October 25, 2021
Updated June 21, 2023

These poignant Titanic sinking photos capture the disaster that took 1,500 lives one April night in 1912.

Photo Taken Before Titanic Sinking
Lifeboats On Titanic
Where The Titanic Sank
Titanic Sea Trials
33 Rare Titanic Sinking Photos Taken Just Before And After It Happened
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The winter of 1911-1912 had been a mild one. Higher-than-usual temperatures in the North Atlantic had caused more icebergs to drift off the west coast of Greenland than at any point in the previous 50 years.

And if not for that one anomalously warm winter, perhaps the Titanic might never have had any iceberg to hit.

In fact, there may be no tragedy in history more suited to the "what if?" parlor game than the sinking of the Titanic.

What if one nearby ship's radio warning of icebergs in the area had actually reached the Titanic instead of failing to transmit for reasons that still remain unclear?

What if the radio aboard the Titanic hadn't temporarily broken down the day before the disaster, causing radio operators to work through such a backlog of outgoing messages that they had no time to listen to yet another nearby ship's warning of ice in the area on the night of the wreck?

What if there'd been no mix-up back at port in England and the ship's lookouts had actually been given the binoculars that they should have received?

What if First Officer William Murdoch had tried simply turning away from the iceberg instead of attempting the more complex port around maneuver in which he tried to turn sharply to one side to clear the bow from danger and then immediately turn back the other way to clear the stern?

What if the Titanic had carried its full capacity of 64 lifeboats instead of the mere 20 that it was carrying?

Just days before the sinking of the Titanic, passengers were photographed on deck strolling by these very lifeboats, completely unaware that they'd soon have to be put to use.

And beyond this one haunting photo, there exist dozens of poignant Titanic sinking photos that capture the tragic ignorance of the crew and passengers who had no idea that the "unsinkable" ship was about to go down.

See some of these photos — and photos of what came immediately after — in the gallery above.

Listen above to the History Uncovered podcast, episode 64: The Titanic, part 1: Building The 'Unsinkable Ship', also available on iTunes and Spotify.

After viewing this collection of photos from the RMS Titanic's sinking, see 28 other Titanic photos that we promise you've never seen before. Then, discover Titanic facts that are sure to surprise you. Finally, learn more about the story of when the Titanic sank.

John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.