A Human Barrier Where at


Ben Lemmon

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Oct 9, 2009
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I have recently been making some substitutions to characters in the story I have been working on. I was looking in Titanic: Women and Children First for information on Frank John William Goldsmith, who has relatives on this board. In the book, it says that Frankie and his mother escaped the sinking on Collapsible "C." However, there were certain possible factual discrepancies I found in the book. Was there a human barrier surrounding both Collapsible "C" and Collapsible "D"? Or was Collapsible "D" the only boat that a human barrier was formed around? If it was only "D", then it leads to the idea that the Goldsmith's indeed did leave on Collapsible "D". Any help on this subject would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Apr 21, 2009
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I don't think that there was any barrier at Collapsible C. It may be just fiction but I thought Ismay called more passengers and only entered the boat himself when no further people came on board?
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 31, 2005
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Ben,
Hello, how are you? I think that the reference to crewmembers linking arms does indeed come from Emily Goldsmith, but I would have to double-check. This is why there is some confusion as to whether this happened at Collapsible C or D.

However, there is no doubt at all that the Goldsmiths were in Collapsible C and not Collapsible D. There is good reason for the confusion over this though. Frank Goldsmith made statements that are documented earlier on that he was saved from the starboard side of the ship (including to Walter Lord), while he later insisted he was in Collapsible D.

Both Frank and his mother gave details that prove it actually was Collapsible C and not D. First, his mother gave a highly detailed interview in 1912 in which she mentions the collapsible that they were in catching on the rivets on the side of the ship as it lowered, and having to be pushed away from the side of the ship. Frank also reported this detail.

As you know, there was an approximate 10 degree list to port when those boats left, and many eyewitness accounts (see Rowe for one example) indicate that Collapsible C hung up against the ship's side as it lowered, and that they had to push it away to keep it from catching on the rivets. This led to it taking longer than usual to lower this boat. On the other hand, the port list caused Collapsible D to hang away from the ship's side by several feet, and this issue is mentioned in multiple accounts.

Another telling detail is that the 1912 interview with Emily Goldsmith and later oral statements from Frank indicate that there were four oriental stowaways in their collapsible. These four oriental stowaways are also mentioned as being in Collapsible C in the testimony of Rowe and Ismay.

There were 8 oriental passengers on the ship - two perished, one was rescued from the water by Lowe in # 14, and one escaped in boat # 13. The remaining four were in Collapsible C, therefore clinching the fact that the Goldsmiths were in that boat.

Arun, the launch of Collapsible C and the circumstances surrounding it are very controversial. Ismay, Rowe, Weikman, Pearcey and others mention no panic or gunfire, while Woolner, the Goldsmiths, Senior, and Thayer all mention warning shots in the air. Some of the crew said there were no passengers around, while others, including Carter, said that there were crew and men around, but no women and children. It is all hard to sort out, because a lot of the testimony is conflicting.

I hope that you guys have a nice week.

Kind regards,
Tad
 
T

Trevor Rommelley

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I recall reading that there was a barrier around boat C and this put off Rose Abbott from getting to the boat. I forget where I read this.
 

Ben Lemmon

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Tad,
Thanks for the quick, detailed reply. I'm doing fine, by the way. How are you?

The one thing I despise about eyewitness testimony is how fickle it is. That's where time travel, while far-fetched, would come in handy. The whole controversy between all the eyewitness testimony could be solved forevermore. Granted it would take a team of observers to solve the mystery, but that's besides the point. I digress, though.

Since it is most likely that the Goldsmiths got off of the Titanic on Collapsible "C", I have a question regarding how feasible it would have been to reach Collapsible "D" after "C" was lowered. From what I have read, it seems as though "C" was lowered around 2:00 AM and "D" was lowered about 5 minutes later. How practical would it have been to reach the port side from starboard, especially with the mass of people following the orders of the officers? If my memory serves me correctly, I think that Hugh Woolner and a fellow passenger made their way from Collapsible "C" to "D" and were only able to get on after a sizable jump from the port side.

Also, and this is purely objective, how hectic do you think it would have been by this time?
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Hi Ben,
According to the testimony and a private letter of Hugh Woolner, and multiple supporting accounts from Bjornstrom-Steffansson, the two men left the scene as Collapsible C was filled up and ready to lower, and had time enough to get to the port side of A Deck, as Collapsible D was being lowered past their location.

The jump that was required was due to the 10 degree port list that was mentioned in the previous posts. This caused Collapsible D to hang out several feet from the port side of the ship, and it was more of jump out than down that they had to take.

Woolner makes it sound in his testimony as if they just happened to be on A Deck and that Collapsible D just coincidentally lowered past where they were. However, Bjornstrom-Steffansson gave an account later which seems to hint that they went to that location on A Deck purposely, realizing that they would have an easier time boarding the collapsible as it lowered past. I think it was a way of avoiding any crowds, or a crewmember telling them they couldn't board.

Hope this helps.

Take care,
Tad
 
May 27, 2007
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This is fascinating! I tend to forget what a trial it was even to get into a boat! Knowing my luck I'd lose my footing and end up in the water!
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Haha, I know what you mean. I'm surprised more people didn't slip and fall once the ship started listing to port later in the sinking, particularly with the gap that had to be crossed to get into # 10 and Collapsible D. The only reason there wasn't the same issue at # 4 was because Lightoller had the foresight to tie it fast to the coaling wire earlier on, which prevented it from swinging away when the list became pronounced.

Kind regards,
Tad
 
May 27, 2007
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Probably knock myself out cold too. Go to jump and smack the boat and so long George!

The Lusitania also had a severe list to it but I tend to forget that Titanic did as well! Didn't Lightoller or one of the other officers have folks going back and forth to try and even it out?
 

Ben Lemmon

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Oct 9, 2009
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I just read something that I thought was interesting. In The Story of the Titanic, As Told By Its Survivors, I noted that the British Inquisition into the disaster recorded Collapsible "C" leaving the starboard side at 1:40 A.M.. However, on this website and in Titanic at Two, it says that the boat left around 2:00 A.M.. I am inclined to side with the website and book. I am wondering which is the general consensus on the the departure time.

One quick question about the list: unless I'm mistaken, the boat hit the iceberg on the starboard side. Why, then, did the Titanic develop a list to port? Sorry, but physics is not my forte.

When the list became more pronounced and the lifeboats were getting further and further away, I would have been more inclined to get into a boat on the starboard side. There is no way I would want to jump from the deck into the boat. I would end up like our friend George.

Hope to hear from you all soon.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 31, 2005
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Hi Ben,
Coincidentally, we were just talking about this subject on another thread. Look at the most recent postings, which discuss this topic:

Bill Wormstedt, George Behe, and myself also discuss the evidence relating to Collapsible C in our lifeboat article, as well as information relating to the list to port.

The information you are looking for is peppered throughout the article.

I hope that you're doing well.

All my best,
Tad
 

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