A Conversation for The RMS Titanic

Severe Errors in the write-up

Post 1


I've noticed quite a few errors in the write-up of the RMS Titanic.
Here are the obvious ones:

>The ship was divided into 16 watertight compartments from bow to >stern, and no penetration, for ventilation, cabling, machinery, or >anything else was permitted to allow water to pass from one of those >compartments into the next.

Not true. There were, as the article states, doors in the lowest areas
of the ship to allow the stokers, trimmers etc. access to the boiler rooms from the spiral access staircases forward. There were watertight doors that were in passenger and crew areas, and these had to be closed by hand. Passengers noticed the closing of the doors of F deck, via manhole covers on E deck; indeed, Steward Wheat had his quarters near the Turkish baths on F deck and helped close the doors. Chief Baker Joughin noticed some crewmembers trying to close the door near his room
aft of E deck at a late stage in the sinking.

>11.40pm: Crow's nest lookout Frederick Fleet spots an iceberg dead >ahead. He telephones the bridge immediately. First Officer Murdoch >orders all engines full astern, and helm hard to port. The idea is to >avoid the berg by reversing the engines and turning to the left. >Several seconds later, a grating sound is heard along the starboard bow.

Although the "full speed astern" action is quoted repeatedly by researchers, we have only one person on the bridge who remembers this. Going from full ahead to full speed astern ("a crash stop") was tried on the sea trials on April 2nd. The whole ship shook violently as the action was performed - imagine trying to do this in a car! No one on board the ship remembers such violent shaking and shuddering as the engines struggled to change direction. Have a read of David Brown's excellent "Last Log of the Titanic" for a discussion of this matter from a mariner's point of view.

>Closest ship to respond is the Carpathia, approximately four hours >away at best speed.

Not true. The Mount Temple was closer (49 miles compared to 58). However, Mount Temple was slower and was hindered by a massive ice barrier in its path. And, according to company instructions, the captains of the shipping line were forbidden to enter field ice "under any condition".

>12.55am: As Boat 5 is being lowered with room for 24 more, J Bruce >Ismay points out that the boat isn't full to the officer in charge of >lowering that boat, Fifth Officer Lowe. Lowe verbally chastises Ismay >for interfering with his command.

Ismay said nothing of the kind. He seemed to go into a state of frenzy, yelling "lower away! lower away" and waving his arm in a circle to hurry up the proceedings. Lowe turned him away saying "do you want me to drown the lot of them?!"

>Realizing that there is very little hope of getting the men off, >Benjamin Guggenheim and his manservant emerge from his cabins dressed >in their finest suits, lifebelts discarded. When questioned, he >responds, 'We've dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down >like gentlemen'. His last thoughts are of his wife in New York, and he >composes a letter to her and gives it to another man, who survives to >see the letter delivered.

I believe the letter was written by another passenger.

>Captain Smith orders Boat 10 to row toward the ship quite clearly >visible off the port bow, drop off its passengers, and return for more.

Boat 8, as I recall, was also instructed to do the same.

>2.05am: J Bruce Ismay steps aboard Collapsible D, the next to last >boat to be lowered. In an effort to fend off the panicked passengers, >Lightoller waves his pistol in the air. The crew locks arms around the >boat in a circle, allowing only women and children to pass through.

Ismay actually got in boat C, at about 2.00am (and it was the second to last to be lowered). Lightoller's actions, mentioned above, did occur at boat D.

>The forward smokestack breaks loose and falls, crushing several >people, including, it is suspected, John Astor.

Have a read of George Behe's website. He was the former vice president of the Titanic Historical Society and is a goldmine of information. His research proves that Astor's body was not crushed or mangled.

>As the bridge is submerging, Collapsible A, which is still being >boarded, is washed off the deck and capsizes. Collapsible B, in the >frenzy to get it into the water, is pushed off the roof of the >officers' quarters and falls overturned onto the boat deck, then >washes away empty.

Collapsible A was swamped, and its "collapsible" canvas sides were not deployed. It was not capsized. Passengers and crew later manage to clamber onto both.

>Boat 4 returns to the site where Titanic went down, and manages to >recover only five living passengers, of whom only two survive.

After the sinking, 5th Officer Lowe herded together his boat (14), 12, 10, a collapsible and another boat (he couldn't remember the number). He picked up 4 survivors, one of whom died due to exposure.
Boat 4 also picked up survivors, but this wasn't under the command of Lowe. I recall one survivor (Frank Prentice) picked up by boat 4.

>4 -5am: Carpathia arrives to pick up survivors just as the New York >Times hits the news-stands. The headline reads: New Liner 'Titanic' >Hits An Iceberg; Sinking By The Bow At Midnight; Women Put Off In >Lifeboats; Last Wireless At 12.27am Blurred.

The Carpathia arrived at about 4.20am and stayed at the scene until about 8.30, when the Californian arrived.

>Quartermaster Robert Hinchens tells the survivors in Boat 6 to ignore >Carpathia, as 'she is to pick up bodies'. Molly Brown insists they >cast off from Boat 16 and row towards the steamer. When Hinchens >protests, Molly threatens to cast him overboard.

Robert Hichens (sometimes spelt Hitchens).

>The watertight bulkhead design wasn't exactly watertight. The >boundaries extended vertically from the keel of the ship to D Deck, >four decks below the main deck.

The watertight comparments didn't all go up to D deck. It might have been a different story if they had. For instance, the amidships compartments only went up to E deck.

>The Californian was close at hand at the time of the sinking, so close >that Fourth Officer Boxhall spotted its masthead lights, and Captain >Smith ordered a boat to row the distance between them. The wireless >operator had quit his post, and the captain and crew completely >ignored the distress flares, and never even thought to rouse their >radioman. Had the Californian responded to any of the distress calls >or signals, Titanic's passengers and crew could have been evacuated >before they froze to death in the nearly freezing water.

The officer of the watch on the Californian repeatedly told the Captain about the rockets he was watching: he certainly wasn't ignoring them. As for "evacuating the passengers and crew", lets look at the facts. If the two ships were about 8 miles away, how long would it have taken for the Californian to have reached the Titanic? Californian could manage 13 knots. But the Titanic had hit an iceberg travelling at full speed towards ice! The Californian was surrounded by field ice - in fact, thats why she stopped for the night. So, how fast would a "safe" mariner have risked? 5 or 6 knots? Also, the rockets weren't reported to Captain Lord until 1.15am. That gives just over an hour to reach the Titanic. At 5 or 6 knots, it would take well over an hour to reach the ship. Due to exposure and hypothermia, nearly everyone in the water would be dead inside 30 minutes. And lets not forget Captain Moore (of the Mount Temple) - "we are not to enter field ice under any circumstances". It would be a foolish captain indeed to rush full speed at night into an ice field. Titanic proved that.

>During the Senate hearings, Ismay testified that he had told Captain >Smith to travel at dangerously high speed.

He certainly did NOT!

>J Bruce Ismay: His survival has always been the most controversial, >having stepped aboard a collapsible at a time when the men were not >being boarded. Furthermore, his part in the excessive speed of the >ship has laid strong blame upon his shoulders for the entire accident. >He was employed by the same people who operated the Californian, and >so tried desperately to exonerate Captain Lord and his crew at the >British BOT hearings.

Ismay was the head of the White Star Line, owned by the International Mercantile Marine; a combine that owned the Leyland Line, which owned the Californian. ismay did not attempt to exonerate Captain Lord and the Californian. He simply thinks that the lights he saw in his lifeboat were not those of the Californian.

>The way the ship began sinking may have failed to alert the crew as to >the severity of the situation, since it slipped forward just a few >degrees in the beginning, then appeared to settle, then slipped >forward again by a few degrees many minutes later, and so on.

Titanic's sinking was gradual and continual, not in a stepwise fashion as above. Engineers at Harland and Wolff proved this a few years - and they should know; the shipyard built the Titanic!

>Notes were discovered at Andrews' home where he calculated lifeboat >additions that would have exceeded the maximum capacity of Titanic by >65 people, and would have fit with the davit system.

Plans showing more davits - and more lifeboats - were found many years later in the archives of Cunard, the line that merged with White Star and eventually absorbed it.

>Captain Stanley Lord: He contended during the BOT hearings that the >ship he and his crew saw firing flares could not have been the >Titanic, as it appeared to be too small. However, he could not explain >why another ship would have been firing distress rockets at the same >time Titanic had, according to testimony received from Second Officer >Lightoller. Furthermore, when word was finally received of the >Titanic's fate, the Californian pursued an odd, roundabout route to >arrive there. North and slightly west of Titanic's last position when >word was received, Californian proceeded west through the ice field, >then south, and then east through the debris field a second time. No >adequate explanation has ever been given for this odd behaviour.

In actual fact, the explanation is simple. When the wireless operator was awakened on the Californian, the Titanic's distress position was found. This has since been proved to be wrong - it is 13.5 miles too far west. So, the Californian pushed VERY slowly through the field ice (the ship was on the eastern fringes), and when cleared of ice, rushed at full speed to the distress location. This was found to be wrong, as there was no debris; in fact, the Mount Temple was in the area. The Carpathia was then seen on the far side (eastern) side of the icefield picking up lifeboats, and the Californian changed course to intercept her.

>The wreckage was found 13 miles south-by-southeast of Titanic's last >reported position.

East South-East.

>The controversy consisted in the fact that the French had had nothing >remotely to do with the discovery of the Titanic, and that the French >nation had had little to do with it before it sank. To further fuel >the controversy, their submersible Nautile collided with the Titanic's >crow's nest, which was still intact at that time. The impact caused it >to crumble to dust.

These statements are hardly correct. The French spent weeks searching the North Atlantic for the ship, and therefore narrowed down the search area considerably. In fact, a Frenchman was in charge in the control room when the wreck was found! As for the crews nest, this is a lie perpetuated by those who oppose salvage. Have a read of this:


>The sinking was attributed to a long, horrible gash along the >starboard side of the Titanic. Sonar readings from the buried >starboard bow have given the lie to this. The ship was evidently >afflicted with many small holes as the ship bounced off the iceberg. >The total area of the holes is only 12 square feet.

Not quite true. Sonar readings of the buried PORT side show more damage than the starboard side, a fact that has been hushed up. Its now suspected that the holes seen may have been caused by impact with the bottom and the ship's double bottom was damaged - again, see David Brown's book.

>The steel used to construct Titanic was unusually brittle. Ship steel >manufactured today would have bent more easily, thus resisting >complete failure better than Titanic's did. Even for its day, >Titanic's hull contained more sulphur than usual, which contributed to >its brittleness.

Not true. Some retrieved samples show brittleness, others do not.

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Severe Errors in the write-up

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