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RMS Titanic

The RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Titanic was 882 feet long and when launched in 1911, she was the largest ship afloat.

You can compare her size to 2015’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Allure of The Seas in the chart and illustrations below.

Profile View

RMS Titanic

Allure of the Sea


882 feet

1,187 feet



92 feet

198 feet


(above water)

140 feet

236 feet



52,310 tons

225,282 tons



Plus 892 crew


plus 2,384 crew

Head on view

We were fortunate to be able to see some of the artifacts brought up from the wreck of the Titanic in 2005 while in Atlantic Canada.

If you are interested in learning more about the Titanic, Encyclopedia Titanica and Wikipedia are excellent resources.

Norman Harrison (below) was my second cousin. He was born in Liverpool, England on 15 September 1873. When he was 16, Norman began his apprenticeship in the turning, fitting and drawing office of Messrs Higginson & Co., of Hurst Street, Liverpool.

He completed his apprenticeship in 1894 at the age of 21 and went to work as a 4th engineer on ships owned by Messrs Elder Dempster & Co. Norman was quickly promoted to 3rd engineer, then to 2nd engineer.

Junior Second Engineer

Norman Harrison

1873 - 1912

An interesting note - I do have a branch of Dempsters in my tree but so far this company looks unrelated to my Harrison branch.

In 1896 at age 23 he received his Chief Engineer’s Certificate of Competency and left the Elder Dempster Line and joined the White Star Line. With the change of employer, Norman would not immediately work as a Chief Engineer for his new employer and he signed on to the Delphic (below) as 3rd engineer. The Delphic was eventually sunk by a German U-boat in August, 1917.

RMS Delphic

Norman’s next assignment was on the larger, 500 foot long Athenic (below); again as 3rd engineer. The Athenic was eventually torpedoed and sunk in World War II. She was raised after the war and remained in service until 1962.

RMS Athenic

Norman’s next ship with the White Star line was the Adriatic (below) where he served as 2nd engineer. She was the first ship to have a swimming pool for her passengers and she could cross the Atlantic Ocean in only nine days.

On August 11, 1922 there was an explosion in one of her coal bunkers that may well have killed Norman had he still been posted to her. The Adriatic was scrapped in 1935.

RMS Adriatic

On 17 November 1911 Norman was elected an Associate Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

His wife was named Mary and they lived at 27 Baden Road, Knotty Ash, Liverpool, they had no children.

Norman initially joined the Titanic in Belfast, signing-on on 2 April 1912 for the trip to Southampton. When he signed-on again in Southampton on 6 April 1912, he gave his local address as 30 Coventry Rd., (Southampton). As Junior Second Engineer he received monthly wages of £18.

There was another Harrison listed as a crew member. Aragon D Harrison was a saloon steward but I have not found any family link to him. There was a William Henry Harrison listed as a first class passenger but again, I know of no family connection.

Norman Harrison died in the sinking, 100 years ago today as I type this. His body, if recovered, was never identified. This is his gravestone (below).