In time for the 104th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the team behind the "Honor and Glory" computer game released a 2 hour 41 minute long video showing their reconstruction of the foundering of the great White Star Liner. The plaudits were immediate and immense, with only the few voices of those very familiar with the disaster pointing out several significant errors in the movie. Viewing the movie as a commendable first effort (which was done in a week apparently), I decided to perform an analysis of the movie in the hope that these comments can be incorporated into future iterations of the movie to make it more accurate. In the case of timings (for instance, radio transmissions) that are only a few minutes out I have not made comment. Unfortunately I am told by one of the team members behind the movie that because I do not get on with one of their advisors it is unlikely that these suggestions will be taken up; a heated discussion on a Facebook page also shows that the founders are intolerant of criticism (the head of the project, Tom Lynesky, launched a personal attack on me and he, or his acolytes succeeded in having me banned from a group to which I had provided valuable input for nearly three years) and are unresponsive to emailed comments. Still, I hope they do a bit more research and don't propagate myths like "Rigel" which a little research would have shown is a fiction; some Titanic enthusiasts would probably support the project if it wasn't replete with errors - and then maybe the next crowdfunding session would raise the anticipated $250,000 rather than the $30,000 it did gather (you could always ask your friends to click on the YouTube adverts to generate revenue, which is against that site's t&c's).
I am grateful to Ioannis Georgiou for his enlightening comments; these are presented in red.
Please click on the thumbnails for larger versions of the images.
|0.00.18||This is decidely odd. The order for "Hard a starboard" comes 15 seconds before the ice warning is given by the lookout. This contradicts what the sole surviving witness said. The brief transfer of information between (presumably) Moody and Murdoch is odd too. When Moody, who was in the enclosed wheelhouse with QM Hichens, got off the phone, he relayed the warning to his superior. Murdoch would have no reason to issue orders to anyone else. He was on his own and would attend to the engine room telegraphs himself. Fleet did say that, "After I rang them up on the 'phone and looked over the nest she was going to port" and also, "Well, she started to go to port while I was at the telephone ... My mate saw it and told me. He told me he could see the bow coming around" and Hichens reported, "the helm was barely over when she struck. The ship had swung about two points." We simply don't need to invoke the theory that the iceberg was seen before the lookouts did as there is no evidence whatsoever for it especially when we consider that Fleet was hardly the best witness, being paranoid and quarrelsome and unable to provide answers to simple questions. Furthermore, Fleet said that he was at the phone for about 30 seconds and that the ship started to turn to port as he looked up.
If Olliver's timing is right for his walk from the compass platform to the bridge is correct, then the iceberg could have been about 1700 feet from the bows when first sighted, or about 44 seconds from impact. If the helm turned over very promptly, then Fleet could have seen the bows starting to turn to port within the 30 second timeframe during which he was on the phone, and when the ship had reached the iceberg, the 2 point turn had been completed, or near completed. Of course, the Honor and Glory video works on the presumption that Fleet was correct and Hichens was wrong; coming up with "new evidence" is seductive and provides great publicity but I don't feel it is justified in this case.
There also seems to be the faint sound effects of the wheel being spun; in actuality between of the gearing mechanism it would have to be turned hand over hand.
|0.01.10||I assume that its just the effect of perspective but the iceberg looks too high here. QM Olliver was just entering the bridge as the iceberg passed by the other side. It was slightly higher than the boat deck, possibly just a little bigger than lifeboat boat 1 or the bridge wing windows to allow to him see it. Still, its gratifying to see the iceberg looking more like the Scarrott sketch than the bogus Prinz Adalbert photograph.|
|0.01.25||I assume that the use of voices was for dramatic purposes; since Murdoch activated the watertight controls himself there would be need for him to tell his underlings what he was doing. This "order" is given as the iceberg is amidships. We know from the operating instructions of the watertight doors that the warning bell was to be rung first, and then after waiting for ten seconds, the control to close the doors would be activated; the doors would seal after 25-30 seconds. QM saw Murdoch at the control for the doors as the berg passed the bridge. QM Olliver's testimony is confusing about whether he actually saw the door control activated but he never saw the warning bell rung. If the bell was rung at least 10 seconds prior to this, then the iceberg would be somewhere off the bow of the Titanic and not amidships. At the US Inquiry, leading fireman Fred Barrett told Senator Smith that the bell rang in boiler room 6, and just as the order came to close the ash doors, there was a crash. This proves that the iceberg was definitely not amidships when the bell rang out.|
|0.02.08||It could be just my monitor, but the green side light suddenly becomes visible; it should be visible from straight ahead to two points abaft the beam (the morse lamps on the top of the bridge wings also seem to be "on" most of the time too). The ship is also showing too many lights. Remember that its close to midnight, with people (including crew) in their beds, and the ship was 1/3 empty. Also, would the lights be on the public rooms? The "IMM Ship's Rules and Uniform Regulations," all lights in the forecastle and Third Class accommodation (except those necessary for night service) were extinguished at 10 pm; lights in the Saloon, Library and companionways (as well as lights out on the open deck -- A deck etc.) were extinguished at 11 pm; lights in the Smoking room were extinguished at midnight. The corridors would not have been completely blacked out. In addition, the regulations stipulates that red oil lamps were hung in key locations in passageways and at the foot of each staircase and were kept burning until sunrise.|
|0.16.53||The actual engine orders after the collision were a confusing and contradictory mesh of forward and reverse instructions given by the survivors. Although some claim to have reconciled these into coherency, I am sceptical. I'd personally putting the ship coming to a halt sooner than depicted in the video as QM Olliver was sent to deliver a message to the engine room and he noticed the engines weren't running. He said, "As soon as I delivered [the engineer's reply to] the chief officer [on the bridge, he] sent me to the boatswain of the ship and told me to tell the boatswain to get the oar lines and to uncover the boats and get them ready for lowering, and I done so, and came back on the bridge. No sooner did I get on the bridge than the sixth officer told me to go and get the boat's list, so that he could muster the men at the boats. I went and got the sailors' boat list and took it to him. Then somebody told me to muster the boats." And we know that the crew was on the way up to boats at midnight as the bell was heard ringing time. Given that it would have taken a few minutes for Olliver to get from the engine room to the bridge, I'd put the engines being stopped at about 11.50pm approximately.|
|0.20.19||This is a controversial statement and is best left for others to comment on. The boilers were still hot in boiler room 6 and they didn't explode when water came crashing in. I find the best explanation for this came from Lawrence Beesley: "But after all it was the kind of phenomenon we ought to expect: engines blow off steam when standing in a station, and why should not a ship's boilers do the same when the ship is not moving?" Unfortunately there is no data to tell us exactly when the venting of steam started: Martha Stone, Ida Hippach and others seemed to intimate that it was very soon after the collision as she went out soon afterwards to enquire of an officer why the had stopped. 4th Officer Boxhall was asked about whether the steam was blowing off when he went below for his first inspection but could not say: he did know that the steam was issuing when he returned somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes later.|
|0.21.29||The orders were given just before midnight to muster the crew to prepare the boats. Many curious passengers had been awakened beforehand anyway and crew tried to placate them, a lot being told to go back to bed and they'd be underway soon enough. It wasn't until later that the order for boats and lifebelts was issued.
Generally speaking, the sea should be calmer, practically flat calm. Incidentally, the Titanic was registering a 5 degree list to starboard within minutes of the collision; this gradually diminished as the forward starboard boats were being lowered but we see nothing of it here.
|0.27.10||The comment about "assembly point" is a very dubious statement. In actuality, people tended to congregate in the stairway landings and wherever to compare notes. According to Helen Candee in "Sealed Orders", John B.Thayer's 1940 recollection and Edith Russell's essay in 1958, some people did congregate in the lounge (Russell puts this at some little time after 12.25am). But for the most part, people were told to put on lifebelts and go up on deck. There was no rendezvous point at all.|
|0.37.22||The main source for this is Thayer's 1940 accounts, but there is every indication he was mistaken and he meant the grand staircase landing on the boat deck. This, and other mysteries of the Titanic's band will be explored in a book that will hopefully be printed soon.|
|0.38.12||As noted above, the Titanic started taking on a list to starboard soon after the collision.|
|0.43.08||We do not know when this comment was made. Boxhall heard it from Captain Smith, but could not recall exactly where or when he was told. The 4th Officer said, "The Captain did remark something to me in the earlier part of the evening after the order had been given to clear the boats. I encountered him when reporting something to him, or something, and he was inquiring about the men going on with the work, and I said, "Yes, they are carrying on all right." I said, "Is it really serious?" He said, "Mr. Andrews tells me he gives her from an hour to an hour and a half.""
However, bear in mind that in the first 20 minutes, Andrews had told crewmen that the ship had only thirty minutes to live.
|0.55.04||Boat 9 is shown being swung out very soon after boat 7, but this not what happened. Steward Fred Ray told the US Inquiry that he went up to the boat deck to his allocated boat (9) and saw that it was just being swung out. A little while after he noticed that "I went to the rail and looked over and saw the first boat leaving the ship on the starboard side." So boat 9 was being readied when boat 7 was leaving. Boatswain's mate Albert Haines also said, "we were turning out the after boats while they were filling the forward one." Lawrence Beesley indicated that the aft starboard boats seemed to have been swung out at the same time: "the time about 12.20. We watched the crew at work on the lifeboats, numbers 9, 11, 13, 15, some inside arranging the oars, some coiling ropes on the deck, - the ropes which ran through the pulleys to lower to the sea, - others with cranks fitted to the rocking arms of the davits. As we watched, the cranks were turned, the davits swung outwards until the boats hung clear of the edge of the deck." Admittedly, his mention of the time as being 12.20am is problematic in this discussion but it has been noted elsewhere that his estimate of time is awry - perhaps by as much as 45 minutes. One reason for the aft boats being readied after the forward one is provided by the testimony of a seaman who said he was diverted from starboard to help with the aft port boats by Chief Officer Wilde.
There is also something to be said about the time that the boats were being swung out: in the movie, they are shown being swung out in order - 3,5,7,9,11,13,15. But this is not what happened. For instance, bedroom Steward Henry Etches went on deck to see boat 7 being loaded - and then he went next door to boat 5, which was being uncovered. Also, Trimmer Cavell got to the boat deck and found only boats 13 and 15 left, which were soon lowered. So, boat 11 had already gone, leaving the last two behind. And steward Walter Nichols says that crews were working on boats 11 and 13, with attention shifting to boat 15 only after these had gone. He does not mention seeing boat 9, which had likely gone. He also says that it took 20 minutes to load boat 15 from "A" deck, a figure which is corroborated by others.
So, the movie should show - boat 9 leaving, and then about 20 minutes later, boats 11, 13 and 15 leaving in quick succession.
The aft boats had been partly pushed out over the edge to give 2nd class passengers more deck space. This is visible on photos taken on her deck in Queenstown. Yet we see the boats still in place and the davit arms in the 90o position.
|0.56.15||Boxhall recalculated the ship's position not by using the stars but by extrapolating the ship's course and speed by Dead Reckoning. As we now know he was in error, and the simplest explanation is the one proposed by David Gittins; that Boxhall misread a mathematical table putting the ship nearly 14 miles too far west. As for when the revised position was sent out, this is a complicated matter! The Mount Temple's proces verbal notes that 12.27am (Titanic time) a revised co-ordinate, but Captain Moore said it was the old set. If we neglect an erroneously rounded time given by La Provence, the new position seems to have been sent to the Carpathia (and heard by Cape Race) at 12.37am on the Titanic, close to the Honor and Glory figure.|
|0.59.26||Boat 10 is left on the chocks while its comrades are lowered level with the boat deck. This is apparently from a reading of seaman Frank Evans testimony, "After we got [the people into boat 12], I sung out to the seaman: "How many have you got in that boat?" I said: "Ginger, how many have you got?" He said: "There is only me here." I lowered that boat, sir, and she went away from the ship. I then went next to No. 10, sir, to that boat, and the chief officer, Mr. Murdoch, was standing there, and I lowered the boat with the assistance of a steward. The chief officer said, "What are you, Evans?" I said "A seaman, sir." He said "All right; get into that boat with the other seamen." He said, "Get into that boat," and I got into the bows of this boat, and a young ship's baker was getting the children and chucking them into the boat, and the women were jumping. Mr. Murdoch made them jump across into the boat."
While this testimony talks of boat 10 being lowered, it is not mentioned whether she was already swung out or not. I personally can't think of any reason why this boat shouldn't have been swung at the same time as boats 12, 14 and 16 (Board of Trade tests show that the actual act of cranking the boats out would take less than two minutes.)
[Boat 10] was not on the chocks. The only one stating the boat was still visible was Beesley but he did mention that when the starboard ones were ready and also talks about boats Nos. 10, 12, 14 and 16 visible on deck.
Beesley wrote that after the starboard aft boats had been swung to A deck, reports came through that men were to be taken off on the other side of the ship and they rushed to port where he noted that "numbers 10 to 16, were not lowered from the top deck quite so soon as the starboard boats (they could still be seen on deck)."
Talking of boat 10, the troublesome Imanita Shelley said in a highly fictionalised newspaper interview, "When we reached the davits, where the boat swung, it was found that they were stuck fast, and could not swing in. This meant there was a gap of from four to five feet between the edge of the deck and the boat ... [The seaman] tried once again to get the davits to work, so as to swing the boat inward, but it absolutely refused to budge." However, it would seem that Shelley was actually in boat 12; the account of the injuries sustained by her mother when a person jumped into the boat matches other occupant's accounts precisely.
|1.01.15||This is at approximately 12.40am. Approximately 20 minutes before this time, seaman John Poingdestre went down to his quarters on E deck to fetch his rubber boots. While he was there, the wooden bulkhead roughly amidships collapsed and water flooded into his room. The location of the bulkhead is the second row of lights below the forecastle and exactly in line with its rear wall. But here we see E deck at this location well above the waterline. As we swing around the tip of the bow, we see that E deck on the starboard is also above water.|
|1.05.27||I assume the use of the plural "doors" is a mistake as there is no evidence of any others being opened, dubious comments in Boxhall's 1962 BBC interview excepted. It is said that this door was opened because it would swing open freely due to the forward trim and port list. But! At this point in the sinking the Titanic had a list to starboard which would have hindered the door being opened (and also, by the same argument), the much easier to open doors on the starboard side were left untouched.|
|1.06.07||Based on the surviving Proces Verbaux, the SOS was first sent out at 12.57am, heard by the Mount Temple and the Olympic.|
|1.06.43||In actual fact, the watertight doors leading up to, but not including the stricken compartments, were opened well within the first twenty minutes. As stated above, QM Olliver was asked to deliver a message to Chief Engineer Bell and while there he noticed that the door to boiler room 1 was open and it looked dark inside. Dillon was one of the men who opened the doors and it is clear from his testimony and newspaper interview that he didn't dawdle in his task. Scott gave the time of quarter to one when he saw the suction pipe being taken from the engine room to the stokehold. But Cavell was in boiler room 4 till late and he makes no mention of seeing a pipe in his testimony or newspaper interviews. So where did the pipe go?|
|1.08.36||Again, I wish I knew the source of this. The only source I can think of is May Futrelle, who recalled, "The first rush of men with the fear of death in their faces came when a group of stokers climbed up from the hold and burst through the saloon, their grimy faces appearing wild and distracted in the brilliant light. The appearance of these stokers was the signal that the great heart of the ship had stopped beating - that the water had reached the engines...The black-faced group of men who poured from the vitals of the ship clustered together for a moment in one corner of the cabin...The stokers, for the most part, were fear-stricken. They looked across to the men of the first cabin and took courage from the example set them, however." However, there is much in Futrelle's accounts that are extremely dubious - and she doesn't mention the men going further up the staircase (although a group of stokers ended up on deck when the forward port side boats were being prepared, it is assumed that they came up via the easiest route for them - from the forecastle and across the well deck).|
|1.09.19||Only one QM (Rowe) phoned the bridge asking them about *A* boat in the water, not rockets. His relief, Bright (whom Rowe never mentioned at the inquiries) said, " We stood there for some moments and did not know exactly what to do, and rang the telephone up to the bridge and asked them what we should do." Although Boxhall said that he received the phone call after he had sent up a rocket, the bulk of Rowe's testimony and later letters seem to indicate that no rockets were fired when he saw the boat in the water.|
|1.10.25||The Mount Temple's PV reports this at 12.37am, "Carpathia answers M.G.Y. M.G.Y. says: "Struck iceberg; come to our assistance at once." Sends position."|
|1.11.08||It is hard to know when steam stopped venting; Rowe said that the steam had stopped when the first rocket went up, and Beesley gives a vivid description of the sound of the rockets exploding that it could be inferred that the steam had ceased. Furthermore, Rowe said in later letters that he could hear the band playing as he walked from the bridge carrying rockets and he couldn't have heard them with the cacophany taking place. Eleanor Cassebeer also says that she could heard nothing when Thomas Andrews ushered her into boat 5, which was then being swung out - and the rockets were fired between the launch of boats 5 and 3.
Talking of sounds, the simulation has the Titanic making groaning noises as she sinks. But the only time anyone reported any sounds is within minutes of the ship foundering.
|1.11.40||This is a prime example of the confusion surrounding the lowering of the boats. For the sake of simplicity we will consider what the crew said at the two US inquiries:
|1.13.21||12:52 "Starboard list is eliminated as Boiler Room No. 5 floods".
Where did that time came from? There was still a list to starboard when boats Nos. 3, 1 and 6 were lowered.
The issue of the list here is complicated; although quite a few talk of the starboard list at the forward starboard boats at this time, Pitman (No.5) said that he did not notice a list at all at any time. Hichens (boat 6) said that several times those in his boat had to push themselves away from the side of the Titanic's hull due to the list. Although Barrett said that firemen did wear watches, he estimated the time that he left boiler room 5 as being 1.10am (the room having experienced a rush of water moments before). In newspaper interviews shortly after arriving back in England, he put the time at 1.20am or 1.30am. After leaving the boiler room, he went up to A deck just in time to boat boat 13, which seems to have left sometime about 1.20am, give or take. It is therefore logical that boiler room 5 flooded a little time before this.
Boats 7 and 5 seem to have corralled themselves together here; but they only tied up together once some distance from the ship.
|1.16.22||Here we see boat 3 making its perilous descent to the water. D deck is well above the water line but when boat 5 reached it, Anna Warren noted later, "When we reached the water the ship had settled so that my impression was that I was looking through the portholes into staterooms on deck D, which we had formerly occupied, and as we pulled away we could see that the Titanic was settling by the head with a heavy list to starboard." She also makes comment about No.5's descent; "The boat in which I rode was commanded by Officer Pitman and manned by four of the Titanic's men. The lowering of the craft was accomplished with great difficulty. First one end and then the other was dropped at apparently dangerous angles, and we feared that we would swamp as soon as we struck the water."
Water was proceeding along the 1st class corridor on E deck as reported by Laura Francatelli approximately half an hour before boat 5 left; in those 30 minutes it is highly likely that the water had indeed reached D deck.
|1.16.53||Note the Californian in the distance. When it was first seen, Boxhall's opinion is that it was "probably about half a point on the port bow" - that it, almost directly ahead. The Californian is way off to the port side here.|
|1.18.28||The sidelights had screens to prevent light spilling aft like this.|
|1.21.48||The order in which boats 6 and 8 left the Titanic is still debated.
In addition to the lists (which would put boat 6 before boat 8), there is the following confusing data:
|1.23.55||Soon after boat 8 leaves, the landing of E deck is awash. But just before boat 9 was being filled (that is, after boat 8 made its descent), Fred Ray had walked up these very stairs and said, "the forward part of E deck was under water. I could just manage to get through the doorway into the main stairway." In this version, the whole floor of the 1st class landing is awash!|
|1.24.38||I assume this is Scotland Road. When Trimmer George Cavell left boiler room 4 he left via the alleyway and noticed there was no water in it. He got to the boat deck in time to see boat 13 being lowered. Similarly, when Fred Barrett left room 5, he said there was a little water coming from forward; he estimated his time of departure at the inquiry as being approximately 1.10am. When he got to A deck, boat 13 was already there and was already filled up. So it is clear that Scotland Road was not full of water. Besides, if at this time, the water had got as far as the doorway from the alleyway to 1st class as Ray said (see above), Barrett would have had to wade through it and he makes no mention of this.|
|A few things should be pointed out regarding the rate of inflow into the doomed hulk. The speed of the water is related to something called "the head"; this is related to the difference in water levels inside and outside the ship. At first, the water was pouring in many feet below the outside waterline and consequently, the head was high and the rate higher. But as the water levels approached equilisation, the head and consequently the rate would be less. It is clear that the rate of sinking was very slow until the last few minutes. Therefore the water levels inside and outside were very close, meaning a slow inflow. But with the hull sagging into the water, the internal water line would drop relative to the outside; basically, the inside water was playing "catch up" with the outside and it was a futile race. All this means is that for the most part, the water seen inside would be very sedate and slow, not a raging torrent. And the level inside the ship would always be less (even if it is only slightly) than at the corresponding point outside.|
|1.26.52||No mention that [boat 1 got] hung up. Also the morse lamps were being used at this time.
Boatswain Nichols was assisting with this boat but he was supposedly sent below to open the doors close to the water line. This video shows the port D deck door opening some 20 minutes before Nichols was assisting at boat 1. In fact, the boatswain had been seen a little while before No.7 boat was lowered as he sent lookout George Hogg to fetch a Jacob's Ladder while he was uncovering those boats. Nichols also helped to lower boat 3.
|1.28.10||The movie shows the rockets being fired from both port and starboard side; in actual fired they were fired near boat 1 on the starboard side. Researcher Bob Read suggests that the location of socket seems to be between bridge wing and forwardmost davit on the bulwark. The colour of the rockets is still a controversial subject.|
|1.37.02||Just for information, Symons testified that "After we got away [in boat 1] the forecastle head, the first lot of ports [the first row under the well deck] was just [coming] awash under her name."|
|1.39.42||The first confirmed mention of a list to port was by Alfred Crawford, a steward in boat 8. He does not indicate how strong it was however. Quartermaster Rowe also said there was a list to port when he left the aft bridge and headed forward. May Futrelle (admittedly unreliable) said that, "I had no sooner reached the deck than she began to list to port." Unofrtunately, although we know she left in boat 9, we cannot place her appearance on deck in a chronology. Gracie's and Thayer Jr's mention of a list to port in the early stages of the sinking is probably a mistake.
Mrs White, also in 8, said the boat did not hang far out.
|1.41.09||It would appear that most of the stokers and other boiler room staff had already gone topside well within the first hour; indeed, they caused a ruckus on the port boat deck, and some got into starboard boats (one survivor even said Smith had already ordered the black gang to be seconded to the forward well deck). It would be about this time that some of the remaining boiler room and engine room staff were ordered topside.|
|1.43.12||I would dispute that boiler room 4 was forced to be abandoned by this point. Cavell said, "We stopped as long as we could...And then I thought to myself it was time I went for the escape ladder." The water got to about a foot in depth and he went alone up to the alleyway on E deck. He saw no one up there and descended partially but could not see anyone down there so he climbed back up again and went to the boat deck. The boilers had already been scraped empty of coals so there was no further need for anyone to be there.|
|1.44.10||The Titanic's list is, we are told, increasing, and boat 16 has just been launched. Let us take a look at what survivors said in the order in which their boat left (after No.16);
We see the aft port boats lowered before the starboard ones. The starboard ones especially Nos. 9, 11 and 13 we see lowered with a port list which no one mentioned (leaving Mrs. Futrelle aside). Instead we have mention of a non list or a previous list to starboard (Dr. Dodge, Miss Slayter (?) for example, possibly also Barrett as he was asked at the BOT).
Just to add more data here:
Scarrott has possibly mistaken, but if this is the case, it is worrying for a seaman to make such an error! Lowe said he was three feet from the ship's side, but below the A deck overhang, the gap would be 2 feet normally. From the center line of the boat would give another 2 feet or so. That would be 5 feet, as Lowe said in testimony.
|Although Engineer's Mess Steward Cecil Fitzpatrick's newspaper statements are used to prove that Thomas Andrews was on the bridge and not the 1st class smoking room at the end, I feel we should be wary of his statements. He said that a man was shot dead at the boat [presumably 14] and his description matches Lowe firing his gun as his boat was lowered. He says "Similar instances of firing occurred on the port side" - implying what he originally saw was on the starboard side! He also has the Captain and Andrews rush past him on the starboard side as the forward boat deck dipped under - but this doesn't jibe with Harold Bride's comments that he saw Smith dive into the sea from the port side of the bridge. This is a good example where the entirety of a witness's statements should be analysed to see if the bulk seem plausible rather than picking and choosing selected portions to prove a point.|
|The main reason why the aft port boats are depicted as leaving before their counterparts on the starboard is because of a comment made by seaman Scarrott who looked up as boat 14 was hung up and noted a colleague, Patrick McGough at the falls. McGough left in boat 9. Therefore boat 9 left after boat 14. But Ioannis asks, what if Scarrott was wrong in his identification? If he was right, then this means the Titanic's list was alternating between port and starboard when these boats went. If Scarrott was wrong, it also means Beesley and Scott's observations that the starboard boats had gone before the port ones might be correct after all. Unfortunately, I know of no newspaper interviews (or anything else) from McGough that details his time before he left the ailing ship.|
|1.49.23||Remember that Ray walked up these stairs from E deck to A deck before reaching boat 9 and he noticed no water on D deck. (Personally, I don't like the frothy water or the fact that it is flowing in very fast; for the most part the water was slowly flooding the ship. The water was seen "rushing" in in the first few minutes, when the coal bunker door in boiler room 4 failed, and when the wooden bulkhead collapsed on seaman Poingdestre at about 12.20am)|
|1.51.14||The port forecastle is going under. However, QM Bright noted that, as boat D was lowered, the forecastle head was just going under water. This is about 35 minutes later than shown in the video.|
|1.52.14||While it is true that several men (16 or 18 "stokers" according to Elizabeth Allen) got into the boat and were ordered out, it is unlikely that it was Lightoller who ordered them out as he claimed in his autobiography (the witnesses to the incident do not corroborate the use of a weapon either, merely that a barked order was enough to get them out and the 2nd Officer testified that he had nothing to do with this boat). Lightoller was busy on the next deck down, filling boat 4 at the time while Wilde and Smith were at No.2. The stokers probably stayed in the area as some of the firemen (about 8 or 10) were noticed in the area by Steward James Johnson when he arrived there 10 or 15 minutes before boat 2 was launched (approximately 1.30am). Seaman William Lucas remarked that there were about 40 firemen in the vicinity when he was working at boat "D", the next to be launched from the station.
According to Mrs. Douglas the Captain called the stokers out of the boat. Wilde was possibly the officer with the revolver.
|1.54.05||Is this boat 1? If so, it hasn't got very far in half an hour...|
|1.55.21||The aft starboard boats could not have been lowered without rubbing down the hull with such a huge list to port (and as seen above, the list was very slight at this point and was probably a starboard list up until boat 13 departed).|
|1.55.36||I am not aware of sailors linking arms at boat 2. They did at collapsibles "C" and "D" though, allowing only women and children through.|
|1.56.26||There is no evidence that the discharge started at this time. We only know it was there was because it was mentioned from boat 11 first, and that was launched soon after this.|
|1.58.32||In actual fact, Cape Race records this at 11.55pm New York Time: "Virginian says he is now going to assistance Titanic. Titanic meanwhile continues circulating position calling for help. He says weather is calm and clear." 11.55 is 1.57am on the Titanic.
[Personally I don't like the ideas dimming temporarily - much better to show them gradually getting redder ... but then you wouldn't see much!]
|2.02.45||I don't doubt that there was some altercation with the condenser discharge but it is odd that it wasn't noted more prominently by the people in boat 11. We have comments like "We had a bit of difficulty in keeping the boat clear of an outlet, a big body of water coming from the ship's side ... We managed to keep the boat clear from this body of water coming from the ship's side" and "The after fall would not run clear in the first place - it took three men to get the stern of her away from the flush of the water running from the ship's side." Only a few mentioned it - perhaps the drama was exaggerated (it wouldn't be the first time in the Titanic story.)
Incidentally, we are told twice that lifeboat 13 has been launched with 55 people, once at 1.40 and the other at 1.42
Also, we at told at 1.35am that "Water begins discharging through the condensers." I wonder how this time was fixed so accurately?
|2.04.27||Actually, a newspaper interview recently discovered by this author has revealed that the lifebelts were brought to the band. They were so engrossed in their duty that they did not stop to put the belts on. This snippet comes from stewardess who left in boat 11 - so therefore happened before 1.37am (1.58 in the video's timeframe). More data comes from an unnamed stewardess who also said, "[The band] were ordered to put [the belts] on, but they found them could not play in them, so they took them off again, and played without them until the ship went down" (although the recovered bodies showed that some of the band did put belts on at some point later on."|
|2.05.22||It is likely that the release mechanism on the falls did not jam (they worked during a lifeboat test on April 10th). More likely is fireman Beauchamp's observation that the boat was so full they could not get to the lever. This is confirmed by an interview given by Fred Barrett (albeit he is unnamed) in the press soon afterwards.|
|2.06.18||This is not the last legible message, as the Olympic discusses the weather a few minutes later and a few minutes later the Titanic acknowledges the Olympic's calls. The last message heard was at 11.55pm New York Time (1.57am), when the Carpathia hears "engine room full up to boilers." And at the same time, the Caronia heard the Frankfurt working with the Titanic.|
|2.07.03||The basic details of the boat 13/15 incident are well known; 15 started to be lowered 30 seconds after 13 and this latter boat soon found itself heading for the condenser discharge - "A solid mass of water" several feet thick as one occupant put it. The boat got clear and drifted aft underneath the rapidly descending boat 15. Boat 13's falls were cut just in time. It would seem that oars were cut loose and used at the bow to push 13 away from the discharge but the aft end of 13 found itself under boat 15 - that it, is had drifted parallel to the side of the Titanic. Barrett and Beesley at the aft end of No.13 could even reach up and touch the bottom of No.15. After the falls were cut, boat 15 dropped into the space previously occupied by 13; their gunwales nearly touched according to one person (in the simulation however, 13 is at an angle, so not parallel to the hull). But everything else is open to debate; some say that those in No.13 called up to stop lowering when they were heading for the discharge, some don't mention it, and a similar claim is made to stop No.15 when it was threatening to crush No.13; we are not even sure if, in this latter case, the pleas were heard or even acted upon as there is so much conflicting information. Most perplexing is Dr.Washington Dodge in No.13. He mentions the water discharge but fails to mention No.15 on top of his boat!
Also it should be noted that 3rd class survivor Marshall Drew noted that the steerage area at the stern was all blacked out when he left. It is unclear which boat he left in, with 13 or 15 being mooted.
The ship is to high up of the water. [Steward Walter] Nichols [in boat 15] did mention that the propeller was half out of the water but this was after they had rowed some little distance!
|2.08.07||This quote regarding Guggenheim is probably a myth. It originated from a newspaper interview with steward Henry Etches - who left in boat 5 or an hour earlier. This heroic quote is mentioned in the papers but he didn't mention it in his Senate Inquiry testimony. Furthermore, when Etches left, very few people including those who saw water inside the ship, felt that she Titanic was in serious trouble.|
|2.08.36||There was never any real doubt that the Frankfurt was coming. The only confusion arose when she sent a message asking what the matter was, which angered Phillips at the telegraph key.|
|2.09.34||The lights of the other ship were there all night, and were seen by many boats from the water. Incidentally, boat 2 rowed down the length of the hull rather than loitering in the vicinity of the Titanic. This was an order issued by megaphone from the bridge. Saloon Steward James Johnson claimed, under orders from the Captain, the boat pulled for the lights on the horizon for an unbelievable mile and a half. They lost the lights and headed back. BUT ... just to confound matters, AB Frank Osman, also in boat 2 said, "When we were in the boat we shoved off from the ship, and I said to the officer, "See if you can get alongside to see if you can get any more hands, to see if you can squeeze any more hands in." So the women then started to getting nervous after I said that, and the officer said "All right." The women disagreed to that. We pulled around to the starboard side of the ship and found we could not get to the starboard side because it was listing too far." Who knows quite what to believe?|
|2.10.23||I think its implicit that the Olympic would have told the Titanic she was coming within minutes of hearing the distress call, at 11.10pm New York Time/1.12 am which the Virginian hears about this time. (The Olympic had first contacted the Titanic ten minutes earlier).|
|2.11.36||The Olympic was still in contact with the Titanic at 11.50 NYT/1.52am and 5 minutes later notes in his log, "Sable Island calling me with traffic. Told him to stand by for a while, as having urgent communication with Titanic." The Mount Temple hears the earlier communication and puts it in his log; this is the last the Mount Temple hears.|
|2.11.52||Emily Ryerson provided an affidavit to the US Inquiry in which she states that the distance between boat 4 and the water was 20 feet - that is, the waterline was a C deck, not B deck. Martha Stephenson says, "When we reached the sea we found the ship badly listed, her nose well in so that there was water to the D deck, which we could plainly see as the boat was lighted and the ports on D deck were square instead of round." Grace Scott Bowen gave evidence at the Limitation of Liability hearings when she said she saw two rows of portholes when she got to the waterline - "because one of the rows of portholes was quite close to the water, and there was one row lighted above it." From her statements it is clear that B and C decks were not underwater, although C was very close.|
|2.16.12||Martha Stephenson, in boat 4, said that the order was to row for the stern hatch.|
|2.20.16||While it is true that orders were hailed down from the bridge for boats 2 and 4, I am only aware of Smith being named as the one issuing the orders - for boat 2 (see above); he was seen by a few people at this time holding a megaphone. Earlier in the evening, boat 6 had been signalled to return but QM Hichens in charge declined and the boat rowed off (it is odd that Smith, in the vicinity gave both this boat and no.8 orders to row to the lights on the horizon and should have been aware of how empty they were at the time). Incidentally, we have Peter Daly's story which appeared in the press: "[he] relates that he saw the veteran skipper rush to the railing after the boats had put out from the sinking ship, and call: 'Bring those boats back, they are only half filled!'" Unfortunately it is not clear when Daly heard this exclamation. When it came to boat "D", Smith does not seem to have issued any orders about filling boats - he instead retired briefly for a quick drink with passenger Fred Hoyt whose wife was in that boat. QM Bright who was in charge of "D" claimed, "We were told to pull clear and get out of the suction." Lightoller himself testified that "more than once" he heard the Captain issue orders through the megaphone for boats to come back alongside but he could not be specific when this happened.|
|2.20.49||Ismay always publicly stated that he entered the boat of his own accord. Others said that he was bundled in by an officer; and it said that in later life Ismay told his sister-in-law that Wilde bundled him into the boat. The only other 1st class male in the boat (William Carter) has stories in the press that contradict each other regarding their entry. What can be said is that there was certainly a commotion at the boat during the loading of boat "C" and gunfire to quell the scrum. This is not mentioned in the video.|
|2.21.22||In the video, the well deck is flooded and the forecastle is under water except for a tiny portion of the aft corner. QM Rowe in boat "C" said that when they left, the well deck awash but forecastle head was not submerged. Incidentally this is what Mauritz Håkan Björnström-Steffansson says of the situation on "A" deck: "It was impossible to break the thick glass windows, so we made our way forward toward the bow. The ship was now sinking rapidly by the head. The flow of water was above our knees as we waded toward the gangway just aft of the bridge. Then came a mighty rush of water that threatened to engulf us between decks. We climbed upon the rail...Only a few feet away was that collapsible boat."|
|2.23.19||It would be more accurate to say that attempts to free "A" were made after "C" had left, while on the port side, the crew turned their attention to "B" once "D" had vacated the falls.
This is what seemed to have happened: At boat "D", Lucas and eight other seaman readied boat "D". He got in Lightoller ordered him out of the boat, whereupon he went to the starboard side, but saw no boats there and went back. He then get into the port collapsible. When it was ready to lower, the boat ran into problems: QM Bright said, "when the boat was lowered the foremost fall was lowered down and the other one seemed to hang and I called out to hang on to the foremost fall and to see what was the matter and let go the after one." Chief 2nd Class Steward Hardy noted something similar, "...we could not get our collapsible boat lowered from one end of it. The forward part of the collapsible boat was lowered, but there was nobody there to lower the afterend ... Mr. Lightoller stepped from the collapsible boat aboard the ship again and did it himself." Passenger Jane Hoyt told more in a newspaper interview, where she said that there was a "sudden list" during the descent and the crew left them hanging in mid-air and ran to the other side of the deck "to save themselves." Perhaps she was wrong and the crew went to help on the starboard side? It was there that Gracie was helping with the davits. Someone on the roof called for a knife and he tossed his up. 4 or 5 oars were placed up against the wall of the officer's quarters and the boat fell. With boat "D" gone and the davits vacated, Lightoller said, "I called for men to go up on the deck of the quarters for the collapsible boat up there. The afterend of the boat was underneath the funnel guy. I told them to swing the afterend up. There was no time to open her up and cut the lashings adrift. [Lamp Trimmer] Hemming was the man with me there, and they then swung her round over the edge of the coamings to the upper deck, and then let her down on to the boat deck." The boat landed upside on the deck, which was awash. Hemming corroborated this story and testified that he helped to clear away "B" but did not wait to see if fall; he also said that work to free "B" did not start until "D" had gone and Lightoller was free to start work on the roof. Hemming then left and went down to help with the forward starboard falls. However, seemingly between boat "A" falling to the deck and boat "B" being attended to, Gracie remarked that an officer on the roof called for seamen and "quite a number left the boat deck" and there was an inquiry for another knife. He thought the voice was Lightoller's. Therefore it seems logical to assume that efforts to free the boats on the roofs started as soon as the last corresponding collapsible on that side went, with "A" being attended to first.
|2.26.57||The water already on A deck seems a little dubious at this point. Passengers Hugh Woolner and Maritz Björnström-Steffansson had crossed over from starboard to port under the bridge. Woolner looked down the deserted A deck promenade noting that, "the electric lights along the ceiling of A deck were beginning to turn red, just a glow, a red sort of glow" [so, the video is incorrect in this regard]. As they went out again through the door at the forward end, water came in onto the the deck at their feet. They hopped up onto the gunwale preparing to jump out into the sea, and as they looked out we saw collapsible "D" being lowered right in front of them. The boat was about 9 feet out. Steffanson jumped into the bows but Woolner bounced off the gunwale and slipped off holding on to the gunwale (having jumped chiefly out and slightly down), his legs partially ending up in the sea. In a letter, Woolner says that after this, "The water was pouring in through the door [on A deck] we had just walked through. It rose so rapidly that if we had waited another minute we should have been pinned between the deck and its roof." Interestingly, this shows that there was still a fair amount of freeboard between the A deck windows and the waterline. And the bows of D" must have been close to the large window (not the one with the semi-circular cut-out) for the two men to jump out and reach it.
We have also discussed QM Bright's comments about the forecastle head previously.
Looking at previous footage, water is in on A deck when "C" is launched, at 2.00pm, much earlier than Woolner and Björnström-Steffansson encountered.
|2.28.17||As stated above, the only boat that indisputably heard orders to come back was boat 4. Boat 2's orders are very contradictory.|
|2.29.40||At 11.57pm New York Time (1.59pm Titanic Time), "Caronia" hears M.G.Y. ("Titanic") though signals unreadable still. Two minutes before, the Caronia had heard the Frankfurt working with the Titanic. Although the Virginian claims to have heard signals from the Titanic later, they seem doubtful.|
|2.30.50||Some survivors (such as steward Edward Brown) claim that the boat was possibly lowered on planks of wood.
Oars and planks were used to get boat A down to the boat deck.
|2.31.25||It is clear from the few people who survived (such as Edward Brown and Colonel Gracie) that, while there were many people, including some passengers in the vicinity, the boat wasn't loaded while on the boat deck.|
|2.31.44||Is this a reference to the supposed suicide, or the shots that were fired by Murdoch just before boat "C" was lowered? If the latter, the shots in the video are too late. If the former, not only is it controversial but the evidence is contradictory. Eugene Daly saw two people shot and then the officer wielding the gun lying on the deck (he was told he had shot himself but didn't actually see this) - but he says he then ran across the deck where he assisted with boat "A". If he is right, the shots occurred on the port side. George Rheims also witnessed a shooting and suicide, but he says this happened as the last boat was leaving - which can't apply to "A" or "B" at all. He also admitted that he had memory problems regarding his time on the Titanic. There are also other problems with his story and the timings associated with it.|
|2.32.30||There are a few issues with the water here. Woolner talked of the rapidly rising water on A deck when he jumped into boat "D" and this is corroborated by Lightoller: "Almost immediately [after "D"] the water came from the stairway. There is a little stairway goes down here just abaft the bridge, which goes right down here and comes out on this deck for the use of the crew only and it was almost immediately after that the water came up that stairway on to the boat deck." He doesn't mention water coming over the forward bulwark at any point. What can be said of the water on the deck when "B" was pushed down? I have been unable to find anyone who said that the boat landed in the water. We have Lightoller: "... the water was then on the boat deck" and agreed when questioned that the deck was awash. Bride was also present and helped to push the collapsible off the roof. In a report to the Marconi company, he wrote, "[There] then followed a general scramble down on the boat deck [after "B" was hoisted down], but no sooner had we got there than the sea washed over. I managed to catch hold of the boat we had previously fixed up and was swept overboard with her." When questioned he said the water was flush with the boat deck (which he mistakenly called A deck). He confirmed that water was rising all the time and that he was washed off by a wave.
Lamp Trimmer Hemming provides some interesting insight into how far the ship had flooded. Like Lightoller, after "D" had departed he clambered on to the roof to help with the collapsible up there. He helped to clear it away and push it to the edge of the roof, but intriguingly, he did not help to hoist it over. Instead, he climbs off the roof and passes over to the starboard side. Via the bridge. And he doesn't mention that it was flooded in his testimony; it would have been impassable. There are disputes about what Lightoller did next. He wrote to 1st Officer Murdoch's widow: "I left it ["B" on the boat deck below me] and ran across to the starboard side, still on top of the quarters. I was then practically looking down on your husband and his men. He was working hard, personally assisting, overhauling the forward boat‘s fall. At this moment the ship dived, and we were all in the water." If we take his comments as truthful, there was a very short space of time between boat "B" going over and water swirling onto the starboard boat deck. Given Hemming's activities there and other locations, it may not have been such a short space of time that Lightoller intimates, but it was certainly only a matter of minutes before the deck dipped into the water. Bride would seem to correlate with Lightoller: by the time he had climbed down from the roof and walked to "B", a wave had washed him and the boat off. This is almost certainly when the forward boat deck unexpectedly plunged.
And no, boat "B" did not end up on top of Bride until they were both washed off the ship! As we have heard, the wave washed the boat overboard. It might be worthwhile quoting Sunderland's story here: "A lifeboat, bottomside up and evidently one of those which had overturned under its load, floated up to the rail and we grabbed for it. We climbed upon it and it drifted over the submerged part of the Titanic. We passed under the forward funnel and just as we were clear it fell." It is difficult to know what "railing" is being referred to; the one between the 1st class and officer's promenades, or the solid railing (bulwark) where boats 2 and "D" were lowered from. Given that the bulwark was closer, it could probably refer to this one; the boat was washed overboard but drifted back slightly to the bulwark.
|2.33.40||It looks like an effort was made to push boat "A" forward to the vacant falls of boat station 1. The people ran into problems caused by the taut falls and list (Brown), the falls (Hemming) or that the boat got wedged between the davit and the spar (steward Cecil Fitzpatrick). It looks like they made it most of the way and even had the falls attached but even Gracie noticed how slowly progress was being made. But where the water on the deck came from is not so clear. Most of the people involved in the boat were so immersed (no pun) in their task they didn't notice until the deck became awash. 3rd class steward Sidney Daniels said in later years that as he walked along the starboard side to the bridge (having helped with "B" on the roof) he saw water coming up the companionway "pretty quickly." Gracie was within yards of the boat and his description (before he headed aft seconds later) was as follows: "It was about this time, fifteen minutes after the launching of the last lifeboat on the port side, that I heard a noise that spread consternation among us all. This was no less than the water striking the bridge and gurgling up the hatchway forward. It seemed momentarily as if it would reach the Boat Deck." By this time, and with such a huge list, water would have been easily observable emerging from the bridge area and flooding the forward deck. Gracie would have to be blind not to have seen this. An interesting observation is made by Brown, who mentioned later that Captain Smith walked by issuing a few words before going onto the bridge; the ship took its plunge a few seconds soon afterwards. It would be very hard for Smith to walk onto the bridge if it was full almost to the ceiling.
Hemming remarked, upon being told that the boat would be left on the deck and not lowered, "I went to the bridge and looked over and saw the water climbing upon the bridge," which implies that it was coming up over the bulwark and not coming from the port side. Hemming himself stated that, "I went and looked over the starboard side, and everything was black. I went over to the port side and saw a boat off the port quarter, and I went along the port side and got up the after boat davits and slid down the fall and swam to the boat and got it." Which route did he take to get to the portside? Via the bridge or walking aft for a distance on the starboard side and then cutting across? He does not say. Lightoller might offer a clue; "[Hemming] went from the port side to the starboard side of the deck, as I did, and after that, when she went under water forward, instead of taking to the water he walked aft the whole length of the boat deck previous to sliding down the aft fall on the port side, and in the whole length of the deck and in crossing the bridge he saw two women. They were standing amidships on the-bridge perfectly still. They did not seem to he endeavoring to get to one side or the other to see if there were any boats or not. The whole length of the boat deck, so far as he went, he did not see any women." Hemming does not mention the two women. Did Lightoller mean that Hemming passed through the bridge as he went to port? It is a matter for debate.
Soon after, the ship took a sudden dip and a lot of those at boat "A" jumped in and some cut the falls. At least three people reported the boat deck rising but it soon lurched downwards again and everyone in "A" ended up in the water. The video shows water sedately flowing along the boat deck but survivors describe it as more like a wave that enveloped people as it surged aft.
Assistant 1st class cook John Collins also noted that as he was on the starboard deck just before the end, he saw a green light about 3 or 4 miles off the stern. He saw it for 20 or 30 minutes before it disappeared and thought it was a ship. It was probably Boxhall's boat No.2, which was in that position when the ship sank.
A few comments should be made about the ship's list towards the end, where it is depicted as static. While some did indeed remark on a heavy list at the time the boat deck went under, other evidence suggest that the ship's equilibrium was unstable.
Jack Thayer Jr. wrote that the ship went back on an even keel at some point, but the list seems to have returned to some extent soon enough as he was able to slide down the ship's hull. When Gracie asked him about an "interval" while loading boat "D", Lightoller said "No" as the colonel thought this was the reason why Miss Evans did not escape [to be fair, Lightoller did not seem to notice any list at boat 4 and logically, there should have been one]. However, when "D" reached A deck, Woolner described the boat dangling some distance away from the hull. And at boat "A", steward Brown says that one of the reasons the struggle to get the boat up to the davits was because of the list. He testified that they got it half way and then the ship got (or took) a considerable list to port and they had great difficulty. Why say the ship "took" a list to port if it already existed? During the sinking, three people heard orders for people to move from the port side to the starboard side to straighten the ship up, and Cook John Collins (on the port side) heard from the starboard side there was a collapsible boat getting launched on that side and that all women and children were to make for it. He rushed over in time to see boat A being flung down. Although he only talked about himself, another steward and two children rushing over, he said there were hundreds near him on the starboard side and they were all washed off. When boat 9 was being filled, Wheat said that the stewards were passing women and children over from the port side, and Bertha Watt heard wrote, "we went around to the starboard side, and there we heard a call, 'All women and children this way.' We went and got into boat No. 9, which was the tenth to leave."
Did all this movement of personnel have any effect on the possibly tender balance of the ship?
At the British Inquiry, Edward Wilding, the Naval Architect at Harland and Wolff said that he had calculated that moving 800 people through 50 feet would result in the list changing by 2 degrees. But did he perform this calculation for a ship that was partially flooded or a perfectly trimmed vessel? It has been suggested that a flooding vessel would be more "tender" and more succeptible to the movement of people. When they wrote their paper on the flooding of the Titanic, Harland and Wolff employees Bedford and Hackett used Edward Wilding's notebooks. The shipyard informed me that they did not have the book anymore and said that one of their employees might have taken them home. H&W were no more help so I wrote to everyone in the Belfast area with those surnames (one of the authors of the paper had since died so I was especially tactful in my letters) asking if they knew of the Wilding book(s) but I never got a reply.
|2.34.00||The number of "explosions" (probably wholesale breakage of steel as the ship disintegrated) is still debated and some historians say at least some occurred before the break-up and some say during and afterwards. One of the explosions launched barber August Weikman and 2nd class passenger Charles Mellors off the boat deck into the water (the latter also described that there seemed to be a tremble run through the whole of the ship and the next thing we heard were loud reports inside and water gushing up through doors in the vicinity of boat "A"; interestingly, Edward Brown said that when he felt the first explosion, he noticed the afterpart tremble.) Incidentally, Rhoda Abbott said that a boiler explosion blew her out of the water which burned her thighs. Richard Norris Williams told a paper, "After we hit the water the Titanic rebounded [the boat deck resurfaced?] and I was hurled through the air, and clear away from the boat, beyond the suction zone." (However, his other accounts are slightly different in this respect.]
According to Wennerström the boat [A] must have drifted back as it hit one of the funnels.
August Wennerström also said, "When the third explosion came we were right above one of the funnels and the explosion ripped the bottom out of our boat and threw us clear around the Titanic to the other side. here we stayed and laid, holding fast to our bottomless canvas-boat, which was filled with water, but could not sink [on] account the cork-railing around her sides." There are a few elements in this account that are doubtful. Boat "A" eventually ended up near the stern of the ship.
|2.35.15||There is almost universal agreement amongst Titanic scholars that the first funnel fell to starboard near boat "B" which had drifted in that location. Lightoller claimed that the base of this funnel was practically on a level with the crows nest, which he tried to swim towards and then back to the ship where he was nearly sucked down by the blowers at the base of the funnel (in one version he said that the crow's nest was "just about" level with the water when the bridge went under). However, 3rd class passenger Victor Sunderland disputes Lightoller's dramatic claims!|
|2.37.35||We are told that the "explosion" seen on the collapse of the second funnel was an unavoidable artefact of the modelling. But if so, why don't the other funnels display the same phenomena? I am not aware of any witnesses to such an event, just recollections like a rush of sparks when the ship broke up.|
|2.39.28||Given the fact that thousands of tons of steel had come crashing down, a huge splash of water seems logical. Except...those in boats "A" and "B" which had drifted towards the stern do not mention it.|
|2.40.02||...and the stern fails to go vertical unless viewed from directly behind or ahead. This is due to perspective we are told, but nearly all the people in the said it went vertical. Darkness, emotions or phantasmagoria can't be used to dismiss all those eyewitneses. They viewed the spectacle from a variety of distances and vantage points. This sinking scenario is based on the testimony of Charles Joughin who said the ship had such a list to port in the last few seconds that he ended up walking along the side of the hull while everyone else wound up in a heap on the other side. This would include Dillon and Prentice. They were on the ship till the last ... but they never spoke of such a huge list. And don't forget Joughin changed his story from a mundane "jumped into the sea when the explosions started" to an exciting walk along the side of the ship...and then said he was in freezing cold water for hours without ill effect. It is a shame his fantasy has coloured recent reconstructions of the disaster.
There are also mentions on the stern twisting around in the water before it submerged, swinging above nearby survivor's heads. If Richard Norris Williams's memoirs are to be believed, the stern may have spun 180 degrees around. This isn't presented in the video.
|2.40.51||The sounds of the people crying and screaming would drown out any noise from beneath the water. I don't know who heard the implosion sounds. In America, Pitman said he heard explosions once the ship had disappeared from view, but in the UK Inquiry, he was asked, "Did you hear anything in the nature of explosions before she went down?" and replied, "Yes, I heard four reports." Edith Rosenbaum also heard three heavy underwater explosions, too. Dorothy Gibson also recalled, "The lights flickered out, deck by deck, until the bow was quite submerged. Then with a lurch, the Titanic slid forward under the waves. Instantly there sounded a rumble like Niagara, with two dull explosions." Lookout Reginald Lee talked of hearing explosions after the ship had gone down, "like a gun-cotton explosion under water at a distance off." however, these accounts should not be taken at face value but should be fully analysed. For instance, can anyone else in their boats corroborate these statements? And why not go for the majority's recollections rather than the minority? Any good historian would do this.|
On the whole, an impressive first attempt. Hopefully future iterations of the sinking will focus on some of the minor details; some of the boats (for example, 1, 5, 11, 14 and "D") getting caught up or left lopsided before or during lowering, sparks shooting up from the hull as it broke up, lumps of coal (?) being shot up through the funnels, Philipp Mock's "huge column of black smoke slightly lighter than the sky [that rose] high into the sky and then flattening out at the top like a mushroom", and the miasma mentioned by Gracie that lay very close to the surface. Several of those close to the wreck describe bizarre sounds - a rattling of chains," "she went down with an awful grating, like a small boat running off a shingley beach," "a rumbling...more like distant thunder" and "like an immense heap of gravel being tipped from a height" - interesting diversions from the usual talk of "explosions" [sic]. One observation I find intriguing is by steward Leo Hyland, "Whilst in the lifeboat I noticed rows of lights from the port holes going out as the water reached the fuse boxes." There is a possibility that some of those in boat 4 saw some of the "towers" wreckage detaching.
With regard to the immediate vicinity, there are also reports of aurora on the horizon, shooting stars and a Facebook discussion talked of phosphorescence on the water. And of course a perfectly flat sea would reflect the ship's lights and the thousands of stars, and you'd be able to watch them setting on the horizon.
On October 27th, 2016, I received the following message from Honor and Glory Prime Mover, Tom Lynesky. My comments are in red
It is a pleasure to finally speak with you. I've read through your critiques on our work a few months ago and have taken it into consideration. Some of it is indeed correct; especially when working with such a tight schedule, we had to make due with the very few animations we could incorporate into the video. Now that we are speaking one on one, allow me to elaborate on the schedule behind the production. The conception of the video happened only 7 days prior to its release. Because it took 3 full days to transfer the footage between team members, format it into an acceptable file, and upload the 64 gigabytes video to YouTube, this left us with only 4 days to research from near scratch, animate flooding of both the exterior and select interiors, program the lifeboats and camera angles, and then process the animation in real time. Sufficient to say, the barriers of human sleep deprivation were tested that week. Our original thought was "release this rough video now for the anniversary, and later we'll do a better version". However, during our podcast, there were many reporters who tuned it, and overnight we had gotten nearly a million views. We didn't anticipate this much popularity from something we imagined would only be temporary.
So as I said, some of your notes are correct. We wish we could have incorporated more sounds, or the haze, or other details like that. On the other hand, some of your details are wrong. I wish to remind you that we are working with evidence that is either incredibly rare, or even thought to be lost to history. We have first hand accounts that were never made public and are working with historians who have been to the wreck and analyzed every foot of the debris field with forensic techniques.
I would like to say that my notes were taken from the 1912 inquiries, plus later testimony at the Limitation of Liability, London court hearings, letters, TV and radio interviews etc. "some" implies that there are many mistakes, which I dispute. I am surprised at the mention above of the haze (assuming this means pre-collision) as this is largely dismissed as an excuse to explain why the iceberg wasn't seen till too late. I too have rare accounts that I have gleaned from nearly 2 years of consulting old newspapers etc, with many more on the way. I also spent more than a week verifying the comments on this page, which is considerably more than the time taken during the video's production; however, I spotted a good 75% of the errors immediately on the first showing, so why didn't H&G? I could have done a much better job "from scratch" in four days; also "research from near scratch" implies a lack of knowledge of the disaster itself. Everyone I know who is familiar with the aspects of the disaster could have made a "to do" list of important historical points within a few hours. Talking of production time, I am surprised that Mr.Lynesky was surprised at the success of the video considering how it was promoted on Facebook, YouTube etc. But this is what happens when something is done as an afterthought. I pride myself on the quality and accuracy of my research, and not the slapdash Honor and Glory approach. I must also mention that when I research my own Titanic anniversary events, I spend at least 5 months preparing, compared to the "last minute" approach of the two Titanic tykes here.
I appreciate your enthusiasm for wanting to correct us, but I also ask that you not be as misleading as you are. You've mentioned publicly several times that you've 'reached out to us' about your information.
Your updates to your critique page refer to us as being "unresponsive to emailed comments". We've searched all of our email accounts thoroughly, our facebook and youtube contact pages, and all other means of communication that we have, and we have never found a message from you to any extent.
I never contacted H&G about their video or wanting to help and I never said that I; the comments come from others who have tired to contact the team without response.
Please do not mislead the public with these false pretenses. I also wish to address your public statement regarding our crowdfunding. It's an unfortunately perfect example of your prioritization of random statements of attack over facts and research. I do not know where you got the $30,000 statement. We ran two fundraisers; the first received approximately $21,000, and the second received approximately $61,000, in addition to contributions we receive on the side through our website.
I was watching the crowdfunding session a year ago and it only received about $30,000. I am positive on this.
A little bit of research would show you that your statement is fiction. You attempt to convey our work as 'failed' by not having reached our goal, but instead we've been able to release two free demos and several videos of our work. We don't resort to hosting a website listing how angry we are at the rest of the world for not paying us enough attention.
I have also seen that you claimed that I personally attacked you and succeeded in getting you banned from a facebook page. Again, please do not mislead people. I did not get you banned; your actions got you banned. You have also made several public posts about us 'not being able to to take criticism' or 'personally attacking you'. Please bear in mind that this is also false. Any altercations that have come between us have been because of us defending against your false claims. The thread that got you banned from the facebook group was started with you attacking Nicolas' work in our project. The thread on our facebook page was started when one of our fans became angry with us over your misleading comments. When we defend ourselves by stating that your false accusations are indeed false, you act as a victim. This is a poor, pathetic tactic.
Robert Read, who was following the Facebook thread agreed that it was an attack on me and even described it as "ad hominem"; he is also tired that the forum is little more than an advert for Honor and Glory. Indeed, the H&G team are normally very quiet on Facebook except to show off the latest mesmerising graphic - usually heralded by the manic rattling of collection tins.
I consider that, having shared many rare
items of research on Facebook, I would have been treated better than be banned over a simple discussion. Nicolas Murgia, on another group, said that the H&G team used my research on the video - and his comments were akin to saying "you provided the data (via your website), therefore YOU are the source of fallacious data!" I also never said definitely that Tom had had me banned, and I mention it as just a possibility - although it does help when one of the Honor and Glory's chief computer graphics designers is also a moderator of the group that banned me. If I attempted to convey the project as "failed", I apologise, but one only has to look at the number of respected Titanic enthusiasts who have contributed financially to the project - which numbers in single digits. But then, when one looks at Facebook discussions, the threads showing pretty graphics generate more interest and likes than debate on matters of history. On the other hand, the Titanic Teens (Lynesky and Dewinkleer) have run away from Facebook groups that have genuine experts - probably afraid of more criticism? - and then they run off to vasty inferior groups where they can be sure of platitudes, dewey eyes, trembling bottom lips and hands clasped together in appreciation of their "work".
I consider that, having shared many rare items of research on Facebook, I would have been treated better than be banned over a simple discussion. Nicolas Murgia, on another group, said that the H&G team used my research on the video - and his comments were akin to saying "you provided the data (via your website), therefore YOU are the source of fallacious data!" I also never said definitely that Tom had had me banned, and I mention it as just a possibility - although it does help when one of the Honor and Glory's chief computer graphics designers is also a moderator of the group that banned me. If I attempted to convey the project as "failed", I apologise, but one only has to look at the number of respected Titanic enthusiasts who have contributed financially to the project - which numbers in single digits. But then, when one looks at Facebook discussions, the threads showing pretty graphics generate more interest and likes than debate on matters of history. On the other hand, the Titanic Teens (Lynesky and Dewinkleer) have run away from Facebook groups that have genuine experts - probably afraid of more criticism? - and then they run off to vasty inferior groups where they can be sure of platitudes, dewey eyes, trembling bottom lips and hands clasped together in appreciation of their "work".
I am not trying to get involved in your personal affairs. I appreciate your enthusiasm to correct others, but I am not requesting it. We have our own resources and historians who have better credentials in our opinion, and we turn to them. They handle their work with professionalism and tact, instead of victimizing themselves and resorting to personal slander. Your misrepresentations, as well as your misleading statements on your page, have been documented and archived by third party individuals should this escalate further.
A somewhat disturbing threat. I find it hard to believe that these "better" experts would make such elementary mistakes in the production of the video, many of which were obvious on first viewing to a number of people. But amongst the H&G experts is Dan Butler, a known plagiarist and liar and who is a close friend of Tom's. Butler was ejected from five Facebook groups over the course of one weekend for his vile, rude behaviour and his lies (and one consultant on H&G hates him too). As for other resources, I remember a discussion on Facebook where a member of the Honor and Glory team was embroiled in a discussion about the intricate patternwork on the Titanic's windows. At first we were told that they had many sources helping them in their research, but then had to admit that their data came from a Google image search. And who are these other experts who have better credentials? The first is a young man whose knowledge is primitive and seems to just repeat data accumulated from other people's postings - and without any hint of modesty he says that the consultants are "the best of the best" and still insists the sinking simulation is accurate. The second is a man who is prodigious in turning out Titanic photo books but hasn't demonstrated any appreciable knowledge in the forums. I should also point out that these two men are friends of Lynesky, so it seems to be a case of cronyism.
I do wish to also mention the fact that it is indeed slander. Criticism is always welcome, even if we choose not to address individual cases, but this goes beyond criticism, as you've pushed it on people, you've made false claims, and you are making public statements of condescension and insult. This seems to be your intention, however, as you treat yourself as the ultimate Titanic historian, yet refuse to open yourself up for public discussion. One of our advisers- Parks Stephenson, has reached out to you in the past to discuss your research in a civilized manner, but you refused a response yet publicly acknowledged its receipt.
Publicly? I aknowleged it via my Facebook page, which is private and this was then passed on to Parks by a spy; now I don't use Facebook because of I am sick of being unable to trust people, who go running off to others at the first hint to trouble.. The reason why I and many others don't interact with Parks because he is sloppy in his research, jumps to conclusion and continually name drops "Ken" and "Jim" just to remind people that he is in the loop with regard to exclusive information and how great he is, while broiling in a cloud of his own self importance. Incidentally, Parks left Facebook (and Titanic research, he told me) in a storm when he was corrected by "experts" and then scurried back sometime later. Parks also has the infurtiating habit of dangling tidbits of information to the masses but then refuses to discuss matters further, citing his NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) with TV producers etc. As one friend says, its like a king sitting on a throne tossing scraps of food to baying, hungry peasants. He has been teasing and tantalising us with his superior, unshareable knowledge since at least 2006.
And incidentally, I do open myself up for public discussion - thats what Facebook was for. But I only did this with respected historians and researchers and not ego-led opportunists. And I do respond to cordial emails; in fact I recently revised my "James Cameron Goofs" page after I was provided with new data.
And frankly, without people such as myself, H&G and other projects would do a great disservice to enthusiasts and historians by propagating falsehoods, poor research and lies. Not to mention spurious conjectures by experts who want to rewrite history according to their own viewpoint, unchallenged. And we simply can't have that, eh Tom? (And by this I also include the 2017 'Clearing the names' broadcast in which these historical detectives say that the Titanic wasn't out to break the Olympic's arrival time, which is demonstrable false).
And frankly, without people such as myself, H&G and other projects would do a great disservice to enthusiasts and historians by propagating falsehoods, poor research and lies. Not to mention spurious conjectures by experts who want to rewrite history according to their own viewpoint, unchallenged. And we simply can't have that, eh Tom? (And by this I also include the 2017 'Clearing the names' broadcast in which these historical detectives say that the Titanic wasn't out to break the Olympic's arrival time, which is demonstrable false).
If you wanted an explanation as to why projects like mine, or other Titanic related works don't reach out to you, I hope you have a better understanding now. If you are going to share this email with anyone, I ask that you share it in full and not to "cherry-pick", as you might call it.
This is a pernicious, spiteful comment. The lack of people contacting me goes well beyond this. In 2011, when books such as "On A Sea of Glass", "Titanic in Photographs" and "The Reappraisal" were in preparation, not one of the authors got in touch to see if I could contribute anything (some of these authors are working on Honor and Glory by the way). I would have loved to have been involved, but as far as the authors were concerned, I was not worthy of contact and they just took the transcripts of Walter Lord's material on my website. The authors involved took it upon themselves to publicise themselves far and wide - the best example is the Titanic Modelling group. At no time did the authors purport to be interest in modelling but all of a suddent they were - and of course there was an opportunity to publicise their books. It made me sick. During the period from 2011 to 2013 when I took an extended break from Facebook (which admittedly I did not warn anyone about) only four or five people bothered to get in touch with me to see if I was alright; this was even after spurious claims that I had passed away were being made; from mid 2012 till late 2013 I was in no fit state to contact anyone anyway. A friend said on a Facebook forum that he didn't have my wife's email address anymore - and that was the sum total of his concern. He didn't bother to contact me directly. And these were supposed to be fellow Titanic researchers. And friends (one of whom ignored me for years and then only got in touch to inform me, on two separate occasions, of minor errors on my website). My research is often overlooked in favour of others (Lowe's affidavit after the disaster is sometimes mentioned from another website - even though I had published it some four years previously) and an interesting newspaper nugget that I found was mentioned in a recent research article - and while others who helped to provide data were acknowledged, my own name was, once again, forgotten. And on one occasion I was contacted by people who asked if I could help provide them with information for an article - without asking whether I'd like to help. The inference is "We want to write something - but we don't want YOU to be involved." In short, I had become a friend of convenience. Eventually, I asked friends to pass interesting graphics, passenger and crew biographies and news items on to the various Facebook forums, usually asking that my name not be mentioned. Sometimes my friends posted the items, often they didn't, and usually didn't even acknowledge my emails. So, I thought, why do I bother? And without people like me, who is going to sift through tens of thousands of shipping magazines looking for photos of the Olympic class vessels, or compile ice and debris reports or - my piece de resistance - analysing the movements of thousands of steamers in 1912? But I said none of this when I came back to Facebook in 2013 because I didn't want to cause a scene. Now, I don't really care. Lynesky's comment above is vile and just plain nasty. Returning to H&G, you only need to look at how Steve Hall left the team as he felt he was being sidelined in favour of the glitterati after the overhyped discovery of the larger windows between the Dining Saloon and the Reception Room; he had suggested including Belfast to maximise sales; he is not the only one to tell me that, with the number of potential market for enthusiasts and the money raised so far, there is no way the game would recoup its costs. So what do I do now? I do my own research and don't share it on Facebook. In the past, I have gone out of my way to gather information for people from my many library and museum visits. People who can't attend these locations due to convenience or costs therefore have the next best thing, and many people are grateful for my selfless attitude, often at cost to myself. I spent hours on my PC looking for interesting pieces from the British Newspaper Archive, so you don't have to pay for a subscription. And I have just placed my bank details with Google so that my Titanic Map will remain operational. For Lynesky to paint me in such a vile light shows what kind of person he is. Now, I'll only help trusted friends. And I don't give sources for my research so no-one can by-pass me for their books etc. So, as from 2017, I am no longer sharing anything new except with a few friends. A facebook ignoramus on the Titanic Historical Society group called me "resentful". Reading the above, do you blame me, when my offers of help are scorned? And now there is more reason for me to angry, namely "Time and Again - Titanic's Final Hours" consisting of research conducted by a team of Titanic researchers. And guess who was omitted? Another project I would have loved to have been involved with. Bastards; and utterly incredible when an author of this paper said I was a 'great researcher.' And there's more - an essay on George Rowe's confusing stories includes a photocopy of a letter that I got from the Merseyside Maritime Museum and a darkened screengrab of Rowe from a 1956 BBC programme that I made - and I was omitted from the credits in the latest paper...
Take care and I hope you are well,
October 27, 2016
The indignant first paragraph was mostly written after I was banned when I was understandably furious. And it is a shame that Tom has ignored my complimentary comments about the "good first effort" and the hope that it would help rather than the negativity. Maybe in future, he should give himself more than a week to engage in such an endeavour? The graphical element of Honor and Glory is admittedly very impressive, but the historical side less so - I have mentioned Rigel (something only neophytes would mention), and on the H&G Facebook page, there was even a "Did you know?" type entry talking about Morgan Robertson's Titanic, highlighting the similarities between it and the real Titanic. Any Titanic researcher worth his or her salt would easily know that the similarities have been hyped up and there are far more differences between the two ships than is commonly accepted. Looking back, after a few days break, I can say that the project looks glorious, but mesmerizing graphics are nothing. Another friend said, "its a shame they spent more time concentrating on the number of glass beads in the light fixtures and not enough on the people on board." Tom seems to be the kind of person who likes to bask in the mellow light of sycophancy but can't take criticism. In short, his email above shows him to be a whining, sniveling little shit. His email is like someone saying, "I don't want to be offensive but..." and then going on to say something incredibly offensive. It's a great pity, as the graphic artists et al comprise a world class orchestra, but the conductor is someone who has experience in only playing a swanee whistle. My only sin is reaching out to offer suggestions and improvements to a team led by a man who simply won't listen - and then he makes thinly veiled threats.
Since the Honor and Glory team have no respect for me or my work, and do not appreciate my attempt to help them create a better product, I feel I must issue the follow statement:
None of the research on this website, or suggested corrections on this page are to be used in the Honor and Glory computer game as I feel that do otherwise would by a gross act of hypocrisy.
In November another attempt has been made with the Britannic's sinking to mark the 100 anniversary. It looks like they had a whole host of advisors - and not research done by just repeated viewing of James Cameron's 1997 movie or his 2012 televisual diktat. And then in July, another long awaiting game demo was released. Those "in the know" lambasted the attempt as being too dark - indeed you would need Night Vision goggles to navigate the dark grotto. The Titanic ignorant kiddiewinkies in the charge of the game said that it was accurate - but were then told that data from a specialist journal reproduced on the Titanic Modelling page (TRMA) showed that the Olympic classes were nowhere near this dark. But, when at least one of your advisers is scornful of the TRMA, you don't fully expect this invaluable information to be passed along do you?
Updated: April 16th, 2019:
In April 2019, an 'updated' version of the animation, along with commentary was released for the 107th anniversary of the disaster. Some elements have been improved - the lighting of the ship is now a lot dimmer, in line with lighting details gleaned from a specialist publication describing the Olympic. The night is now darker, although ideally I would have liked it to be pitch black apart from the stars, but then again, some compromise has to be reached in order to see any details of the ship at a distance.
But other than this, and some changes to the panoramic sweeps of the Titanic and the removal of interior shots, nothing much, if anything seems to have changed. This leaves me with mixed feelings: the first simulation was done in a week and they have had three years to rectify any errors (in the meantime, I have been developing more evidence, including the unstable equilibrium towards the end, with the port list 'fading' in and out). But on the other hand, the fact that they have not made any changes means that they have listened to my edict above, for them not to use any of the research material on this website. If this is the case, it shows that they do have some Honor.
The commentary is interesting in a few places. We do not know exactly when Captain Smith told Boxhall of Andrew's longevity estimate. All we can say with respect to the timing is that, within the first 20 minutes, Andrews had already told some crew that the ship had 30 minutes to live.
There is also some discussion about the ship's diminishing power affecting commucations, but this is often half the story. There is mention in the PVs that night of 'atmospherics' interfering with the wireless. The Baltic, for instance, could hear the Olympic, much further away, but not the Titanic. Indeed, the Baltic had to get information, in part, from the Caronia, which was much, much further away and in the other direction. The Virginian reported having difficulty hearing Cape Cod, and heard hardly anything from the Titanic - indeed, she told Cape Race that 'MKC [Olympic] is the only one we have heard says is going to his assistance. The others must be a long way from MGY,' which is hardly the case. One pertinent point to make is that there were mentions of the aurora as seen from the area of the Titanic. I supsect that this was strongly influencing the propagation of radio signals. As the sun started to rise, and the aurora's dancing glow faded, the Baltic could contact the Frankfurt (which was much further than the Titanic had ever been), and could later on establish communications with ships already at the wrecksite - including chastising Evans of the Californian for jambing the airwaves with incessant chatter! Another salient point: the Carpathia was probably the closest useful vessel to the Titanic, and her wireless operator testified in London, 'The [Titanic's] signals were good right away to the end.'
There is some mention of the gangway doors being opened by order of Lightoller. But I now believe that this order was issued by Murdoch and Lightoller appropriated this command to make it seem that he didn't really intend for the boats to leave half filled. After all, there is next to no word of open doors on the port side of the ship until very near the end. The starboard side, under the auspices of Murdoch is very different. He was telling boats to stand by and/or remain near or go to the hatches. We know that the boatswain, who was tasked with opening the doors, was seen on deck near boat 13 - and very close to where Murdoch was. Was the boatswain reporting to Murdoch his progress? To my mind, it seems very likely. It is soon after this, that word filtered through to the port side about hatches etc. Of course, Murdoch didn't survive so he couldn't tell us whether Lightoller was claiming credit for his order. I personally think that, on the afternoon of April 15th, having seen how many survived, and having spoken to his fellow officers, Lightoller realised that he could have helped fill 200-300 of the spaces in the boats that had been left unoccupied due to his 'women and children only' rule. Realizing that this could lead to him getting in serious trouble, he claimed Murdoch's instructions as his own to make it sound like it wasn't his intention to have the boats ultimately leave half full.
There is also some discussion about the last location of Thomas Andrews; rather than being in the smoking room, he has been placed on the bridge. This now seems to be common knowledge amongst Titanic enthusiasts. The source for this is crewman Cecil Fitzpatrick, from an interview with the Western Daily Mercury, published on April 29th, 1912. But it is not as clear as it sounds.
This is what Fitzpatrick said: 'I then went for'a'd on the port side, and I was passing through the bridge when I saw Capt.Smith speaking to Mr. Andrews, the designer of the Titanic. I stopped to listen. I was still confident that the ship was unsinkable, but when I heard Capt. Smith say, "We cannot stay any longer: she is going!" I fainted against the starboard side of the bridge entrance. After some minutes I recovered sufficiently to realise that unless I got into a boat or swam for it, there would be no chance of being saved. I then went to launch one of the collapsible boats which had been eased down off the top decks on the starboard side. We found, when we tried to swing her in the davits that she was wedged between the winch of the davits and the spar-which helped to ease her down from the lower deck, which is the deck below the boat deck. The next thing I remember was the ship suddenly dipping, and the wave rushing up and engulfing me. After ten seconds the Titanic again righted herself, but then I saw that everyone who a minute before had been attempting to lower away, except myself, had been swept into the fo'castle head. I saved myself by clinging on to the davit winch. I looked down the fo'castle, and saw the most horrible, heart-rending scenes I have ever witnessed. There were women and children and firemen and stewards all fighting, praying, shrieking for help in their death struggles. I got on the other side of the winch which was towards the after-part of the vessel and levered myself up on to the deck. Then I went to the edge of the ship and jumped into the icy water. In order to escape the suction which I surmised would be caused by the sinking of the gigantic liner, I struck out for very life. I swam from the ship as the for'a'd was sinking. I did not feel any suction ... Just before I went overboard I saw the captain and Mr.Andrews rush past me. When I looked again they were gone, and I did not see them again. I suppose they went overboard.'
A vey detailed statement and taken as gospel. But is it true? No one has questioned its veracity.
But just before the above statement, Fitzpatrick is quoted as saying, 'When I was on deck the ship was listing to port and I went to help lower away one of the lifeboats. Women and children were put in, and as she was being lowered a Dago (Italian) tried to jump from the tafrail to the edge of the boat. The officer in charge pointed a revolver at him, and told him to get back on deck. The Dago refused, the officer fired, and I saw the man fall back dead on the deck. There were crowds of foreigners hanging around the lifeboat ready to leap, but they cowered when they saw one of their number shot dead...Similar instances of firing occurred on the port side. A man whom I took to be a saloon passenger tried to claim a seat in one of the boats. The officer told him to leave, and as the man hesitated, the revolver rang out and his body fell into the sea.'
Again, very detailed but also very confusing as it contradicts what we know about Titanic lore, namely that no one was shot dead, the officer's suicide enigma perhaps excepted. So, either Fitzpatrick was wrong or our knowledge, a hundred years on, is wrong. And we must ask ourselves a very pertient question; if Fitzpatrick was wrong about the shooting, then why should we believe his comments about Smith and Andrews? The easiest recourse is to dismiss the parts we don't like and blame it on the invention of yellow journalism, but this is not good enough as it allows an opportunity to pick-and-choose data. I have always advocated that stories and testimonies should be examined in totality and not just the bits we like, conveniently forgetting the troubling evidence. Sadly, this is not a practise that has been taken up by anyone else. So, to say Fitzpatrick definitely saw Smith and Andrews on the bridge is simply wrong and to say otherwise without discussion is a little dishonest.
There is one more very important point here. The newspapers were full of speculation about the fate of Captain Smith and pounced on anything relating to his final moments. You would therefore have thought that the comments about Smith would be found sprinkled in the papers of the period. But a lengthy trawl through the UK press revealed that only one - 'The Western Daily Mercury' - quoted Fitzpatrick on this point. Every other paper that refers to Fitzpatrick only mentions the shootings, which as we have seen, are treated with disdain by Titanic researchers. Why would newspapers omit something that they knew would sell papers?
The wrong CQD/SOS location is mentioned, but it was actually Lowe's estimate, placed in the log that was used to create the first, erroneous location. This comes from Boxhall's 1962 BBC interview and to be fair, there are some elements in there that do raise the eyebrows. I'm not dissing the commentary and those taking part (it was actually very informative)- having taken part in live broadcasts, I know that nerves can sometimes present the correct facts from being easily recalled.
Regarding 'new' material in the simulation, two points stand out:
|After the ship has gone, we pan across the empty sea to view the lifeboats, but the bunching together does not resemble anything as given in evidence. It is true that boats D, 4, 10, 12 and 14 were corralled together, and that boat 5 and 7 tied together at some point, but nothing resembling this screengrab ever happened. Some boats (eg 6 and 16) did meet up during the night, or were within hailing distance, but this image is a fallacy.|
|We pan across the ocean to show the Californian. A crude representation, but adequate, except for two things. The first is that the ship should have two mast lights, both on the forward masts. The Californian seems to be pointing in a south-easterly direction, but Second Officer Stone noted in his report to Captain Lord that at 1.50am, his ship was heading about WSW. Other evidence shows that the Californian was still swinging clockwise - that is more to the west, so the simulation shows the ship heading in the wrong direction (it seems that during the live broadcast, the Californian's attitude didn't change, whereas she was showing differing side lights at varying points during the evening). Regarding the environment, I assume it is too dark to see the ice field - the Californian was in loose ice, about half a mile away from a huge field.|
Sincerely, I get no pleasure from noting that of the two new additions that were revealed, both were wrong. I do register surprise when it is mentioned on a Facebook group that 'this [recreation] is as accurate as it's going to get.' But then, this person is a member of the research team, and he's hardly going to criticise his chums, is he?
Updated: March 29th, 2021
For 2020, we were treated to a movie showing just the last fifteen minutes of the Titanic's life. It is difficult to know how much of this was simply a truncated retelling of the previous video how much was new. It includes at least one very important deviation from the previous movie - and yes, it is inaccurate that I would have thought would have been picked up by the consultants. However, no consultants were credited at the end, so I can only assume that the makers had decided to go it alone...
Several aspects of the simulation make it reminiscent of the previous 2016 video. But then we have the token inclusion of waxwork figures - or at the least, characters who do nothing except mount hidden skateboards to rush off deck in a very unconvincing manner. Perhaps time was limited, as in previous anniversary releases, to prevent realistic movement? Or perhaps it was just too technically difficult to achieve. If so, this is a little worrying given that such a work would necessarily involve the coordination and movement of over a thousand characters?
I have already written an essay that discusses the majority of the activity on the upper decks (the confusion over boats 9, 11, 13 and 15 warranting a separate analysis). I would direct interested readers to these pieces of work.
As usual, clicking on the thumbnail will display a larger version of the image.
|There are a number of issues with this. Firstly, the red navigation light is missing. Talking of lighting in general, they should be glowing red as the power had diminished. I understand that the resultant murk would make it very difficult to determine what is going on. Perhaps when the game is finished, a sliding bar will be provided which would allow users the realistic, darkened view or to select successive stages of illumination?
There is a lifeboat off the port side, roughly amidships. I have no idea what boat this is supposed to be, as boat 10 would be further aft and had left quite a while ago in this timescale and hence some distance away. Boats 2 and 4 had just departed fairly recently, but they both rowed aft; 4 hugged the side of the ship while 2 ended up rowing around the stern of the Titanic before heading further south.
The biggest gripe I have is the frothing, foamy water at some distance from the hull, prior to it being sucked into the decks, port etc. Water simply doesn't act this way unless you have a massive sink-hole. It remains calm and laminar until you get close to the hull (I even tested this with an experiment in the sink!) and then you get a small amount of turbulence. We only hear of such behaviour when the boat deck dips under, and this is because the Titanic was plunging forward and downwards, forcing water aft at a high speed, swallowing people up.
|I am slightly perturbed that the green colour on the starboard side light isn't more pronounced.
As a matter of interest, the ship was also in a state of precarious equilibrium towards the end. When Lightoller was loading boat "D", he said there was "no interval" (ie a gap between the Titanic and the boat) but there was quite a distance when the boat was lowered. Other data, especially that provided by John Thayer jr, says that the port list vanished at least once, and we also have the starboard boat deck rising temporarily soon after the sea washed over it, but we see none of that in this re-enactment.
|In the most calamitous cock-up of this movie, boat "B" lands right-side up! (In the 2016 original it had been depicted, correctly, as upside down). Incidentally it seems odd that while rudimentary people have been inserted into the reconstruction, the oars/planks of wood used to ease the collapsible boats down to the boat deck have again been omitted.
Probably because of the character's lack of mobility, we don't see people rushing across to the starboard side; the order was issued by Captain Smith to keep the ship upright and was heard by at least two people (a third had heard a similar order a little time before, when boat "D" was lowered). Also, again probably due to mobility issues, the crewmen who had hoisted boat "B" down remain in situ, whereas I suspect they'd descend to see if they could be of any help. Junior Wireless Operator Harold Bride was one of these, as was Lamp Trimmer Sam Hemming (though it is not clear if he left the roof before the boat was hurled down below).
|It is not clear which boat this is, but the only boat it could possibly be is boat "A" - the location is about right. The only problem here is that it is shown with the occupants manning the oars, something which can't be said of the real boat which was swamped. I can't tell if the canvas sides had been erected or not.|
|...a long-standing problem. The first funnel falls to port rather than starboard.|
|I'd have to check this, but I am sure that there were not so many people on the boat so soon after it drifted from the decks. I think also recall reading that the wash of the falling funnel ejected anyone who had been seeking refuge on the keel (this seems logical based on Lightoller's British Inquiry testimony - if true that is)|
|Some early analysis indicated that the 2nd funnel fell to starboard judging by damage to the gymnasium roof. However, this analysis may have been superceded by later studies of the wreck.|
|I am at a loss to identify this boat. Nearly all the boats were several hundred yards away (at least), and the proximity of this craft to the sinking Titanic makes me think that it is boat "A". If so, not only are there are too many people on it, but it is in the wrong place as the real boat seems to have stayed quite close to the ailing liner and may have been somewhere in the vicinity of the stern at the end. Also, the proportions of the boat just look wrong. Could it be two boats? Numbers 5 and 7 did tie up together but it isn't 100% sure if they did this before or after the foundering. A study I performed puts the distance of these boats as being at least 100 yards away (that is, too far away to be the boat(s) in this image), but their vantage point is wrong. They would have a broadside view if 3rd Officer Pitman's later testimony is correct.|
|It is customary to place hundreds of people seeking refuge on the poop, but two survivors who were there actually put the number at much less.|
|In a case of having your cake and eating it, we still see some faint lights still on when the majority have been extinguished. Although a very few people said that the lights remained on, surely it would be better to go with the majority who said that the ship was plunged into darkness?|
|Naturally, as per the previous versions of the movie, the Titanic sinks with a huge list to port, even though only one person out of three described this as happening. What of the witnesses who were safely installed in the boats? Can they corroborate this? At least one researcher casually waves their recollections away. In my view it is unacceptable to dismiss the word of those who were in the lifeboats because "it was dark." Using such logic, anything could be dismissed to fit a predetermined conclusion - and I am not aware of anyone in the boats who described such a huge list. The most cogent witness who spoke against the list was storekeeper Frank Prentice. He was at the port sign that warned nearby ships of the Titanic's propellers. He dropped into the sea, a distance of between 70 and 100 feet according to his various estimates - indeed, he once said that the distance was so great he thought that he would never reach the water; in the Honor and Glory movie, the distance is a considerably less than this. Prentice says that he saw two propellers on the way down, which is impossible as depicted in the H&G movie. Of course, there are problems with his story. Newspapers said that he spent up to four hours in the water, but we know from boat 4 (which rescued him) that it was a lot less than this. Was "four hours" a journalistic invention? Survival time in the water could be measured in minutes - oddly, Chief Baker Charles Joughin (the only one who talked of the huge list to port) said that he was in water until daybreak, or about two hours, without ill effect, and yet this facet of his story is rarely questioned. An interesting aspect of some of Prentice's recollections is that he sometimes said that he was lying on the port board, which would tie in with the huge list but what did he mean by "lying" on it? Horizontal, or just reclining on it? If he was horizontal, passing the propeller on the way down would be impossible. Because of this, I propose a port list that would allow him to recline on the board, and yet still drop from an altitude - but I am doubtful that there was such a list that would cause the ship to practically tip onto its side. The other witness on the stern, Trimmer Paddy Dillon never described a huge list either but like Prentice, he did describe the stern's motions that are consistent with the observations off those in the lifeboats, namely that at a certain point, the ship broke apart, the stern falling back temporarily before rising up again and then gliding into the sea to its ultimate fate.|
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