10th April 1912

Alderney residents lined the coast to watch Titanic pass

The ill-fated, supposedly unsinkable Titanic passed Alderney on the evening of 10 April 1912. She was heading for the Atlantic a few hours after picking up passengers at Cherbourg.

Among those who had boarded at the French port was Margaret Tobin, better known as Molly Brown. She was immortalised in James Cameron’s 1997 film, Titanic, in which she was played by Kathy Bates.

RMS Titanic

Titanic makes a close pass

Rather than pass between the Channel Islands, the captain, Edward Smith, plotted a course north, by Braye Harbour. The sea that night was so calm that Alderney residents who had gathered on the harbour and coast to watch the ship pass could reportedly hear music coming from on-board. Titanic was illuminated along her full length. This gave the locals on Alderney for a very clear view, where the harbour master let off fireworks to celebrate the passing.

Fourteen Guernsey residents died in the RMS Titanic’s sinking, making up almost 1% of the 1503 total victims. Almost all of the dead were wearing life jackets when the ship went down. However, the lifeboats were, famously, under-occupied, and many of the deceased were killed by hypothermia.

Titanic commemoration

Guernsey Post released a series of six Alderney stamps in February 2012 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking. The 47p stamp, designed by Devon artist Nick Watton, showed it sailing past Braye Harbour. One firework is exploding above it as it heads for Queenstown, today called Cobh, in southern Ireland.

Other stamps in the collection show it leaving Southampton harbour (36p), its grand staircase (48p), the orchestra continuing to play as the ship began to sink (52p), Captain Edward Smith, who was commanding his last voyage before retirement (61p) and one of the lifeboats moving away from the sinking boat.

The Royal Mint issued a non-circulating £5 Alderney coin in 2012. 7500 of the silver pieces were minted in total. It showed Titanic leaving Southampton and a silhouette of the Thame memorial in Belfast on one side, and the queen’s head on the other.


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Other events that occured in April

Guernsey’s first female murderer goes on trial 1st
A French fisherman is arrested and escorted to St Peter Port 2nd
Guernsey’s new population law comes into force 3rd
Guernsey’s oldest resident dies, aged 110 4th
An occupation-era minefield is discovered at L’Ancresse 5th
Birth of Stone de Croze, the original Guernseyman 6th
The first ever Guernsey stamp is issued 7th
Antiquarian William Collings Lukis was born 8th
Guernsey hosts its first Parkrun at Pembroke 9th
Alderney residents lined the coast to watch Titanic pass 10th
Norfolk pupils spend a week in Guernsey 11th
A plane hit a car while landing at Guernsey Airport 12th
Battery Mirus was test fired for the first time 13th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry fights at Ypres 14th
Guernsey Mormon Sampson Avard dies in Illinois 15th
Lieutenant Governor, Lord Ruthven, died in Bath 16th
Death of the Vicar General of the Channel Islands 17th
TV’s Jeeves is rushed to hospital on Guernsey 18th
Guernsey Airport’s new terminal opened for business 19th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie film opened 20th
Death of Guernsey-born footballer Len Duquemin
Three Jewish women are deported from Guernsey 21st
Guernsey bigamist got married for the second time 22nd
Aurigny pilot Ray Bowyer spots a UFO near Alderney 23rd
The States of Guernsey registers the gov.gg domain 24th
Guernsey-set film The Sea Devils hits cinemas 25th
Hydrofoil Condor 1 completed its final sea trials 26th
The first Muratti football match takes place 27th
Guernsey passengers stage a ferry sit-in 28th
Guernsey abolishes the death penalty for murder 29th
Finishing touches put to new hospital 30th
Murder suspects steal visitor’s boat from St Peter Port