Albert Ervine's Last Letter

"Yours received in Cherbourg, France yesterday evening. We have had everything working nicely so far, except when leaving Southampton.

As soon as the Titanic began to move out of the dock, the suction caused the Oceanic, which was alongside her berth, to swing outwards, while another liner broke loose altogether and bumped into the Oceanic. The gangway of the Oceanic simply dissolved.

Middleton and myself were on top of the after funnel, so we saw everything quite distinctly. I thought there was going to be a proper smash up owing to the high wind; but I don't think anyone was hurt.

Well, we were at Cherbourg last night. It was just a mass of fortifications. We are on our way to County Cork. The next call then is New York...

I am on duty morning and evening from 8 to 12; that is four hours work and eight hours off... (Have just been away attending the alarm bell.)

This morning we had a full dress rehearsal of an emergency. The alarm bells all rang for ten seconds, then about 50 doors, all steel, gradually slid down into their places, so that water could not escape from any one section into the next.

So you see it would be impossible for the ship to be sunk in collision with another..."

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Albert George Ervine

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