A New Theory in Topeka


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Cal Haines

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I'll try to dash off a quick response before I have to run...

Re my fireman friend, he said there was just no way for one man to draw the fires from three furnaces in fifteen minutes. That's what Beauchamp says happened. BTW, Beauchamp thinks it took the watertight doors 5 minutes to close--so much for his time estimates.

Beauchamp also says that the water was just on the stokehold plates by the time he finished, yet Barrett and Hendrickson have the boiler room completely flooded soon after the collision. Barrett describes a huge rush of water, so great the he and Hesketh literally ran for their lives. Did this rush of water somehow stop long enough for Beauchamp and his brave mates to pull the fires, the resume in time to flood the boiler room prior to Barrett's and Hendrickson's arrival? I don't think so.

People usually lie for a reason. I can think of no reason for Barrett to tell a lie that puts him in a bad light, specifically, that he abandoned his post if he had not. He could have easily bent the truth about why he fled, he could have said the he went aft with the engineer to help check the damage, etc., but he did not. At least three places he admits to things that could have been seen as cowardly: abandoning BR#6 when it floods, abandoning BR#5 when the water rushes in, going to the boats because he is tired and cold. He just strikes me as very, very honest.

Now, Barrett testified that he AND ONE OF THE SAINTED ENGINEERS (you know, the ones that died at their posts to try and buy the ship a few more minutes of life) had fled from danger. This had to be very embarrassing to White Star in particular and the British shipping industry in general. Enter Beauchamp. I think he is one of the men who helped draw the fires in BR#5. Bend his testimony a bit so it sounds as if he did it in BR#6 and White Star can save some face: see, even though the Chiefs took off, the Indians stayed around and took care of business... Beauchamp has a motive to lie, Barrett does not.

re Yuri's concerns about Barrett:

Barrett stopped in BR#5 because, a) he had escaped the immediate danger, b) the watertight doors were closed by then, the only way out is up. I don't think he ran because he was scared silly. I think he did what any of us would do under the circumstances. The question is, why didn't Beauchamp see the water rushing in and run as well. My bet is that he was the first one up the ladder.

Barrett does not see the stokers on E deck because: a) they had a head start (they didn't stop to look in bunkers or talk to engineers), and b) they kept on going. I know if I thought the ship was sinking, I wouldn't stop until I was on deck. By the way, the ladder didn't stop on E-deck, it continued on up a couple of decks. Oh, there were stokers milling about in E-deck. That's where Barrett goes to get the men to fetch lanterns and later to draw the fires in BR#5.

Barrett stayed in BR#5 after the other stokers were sent up because he was asked (or ordered) to do so by the engineers. This tells me he was a reliable hand: the engineers wouldn't keep a coward or a fool to help out. And don't confuse the orderly evacuation of the stokers from BR#5 with what happened in BR#6. In #5, extra hands were brought down and the fires were drawn. When they were done, they were sent up and Barrett was kept behind to help.

Over the years I've read through lots of court transcripts in auto accident cases. I've been through Barrett's testimony a number of time and has a ring of truth to it; Beauchamp's does not. (Note that the BOT went with Barrett's version of events in BR#6; perhaps Beauchamp was not a very credible witness in person either.) Barrett has no reason to lie and say he ran when he didn't or that BR#6 was flooded when it wasn't, quite the opposite, he could have put himself in a better light by a fib here or there. But there is NO WAY Barrett and Beauchamp are describing the same boiler room #6, one of the is either badly mistaken or lying. Beauchamp has a reason to lie: to protect White Star's butt. Therefore, Beauchamp is the liar.

Cal
 

Erik Wood

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Liar liar pants on fire hang your fanny from a telephone wire. Now that I am done singing. I think I am going to digest what Cal has written. To be honest I like my romantic view of nobody lying and a few people confused. However, I am open to new ideas.
 
Jul 14, 2000
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Cal,

I have to disagree. I just don't see the strings on Beauchamp leading to the White Star Line puppet-masters, like I do for some other witnesses. I'm not saying Beauchamp is a saint with a halo, but I doubt seriously he was coerced in his testimony. I hate to say it but Beauchamp was a nobody as far as the WSL was concerned. My opinion is that running from the water in BR6, or staying and drawing fires with the men, either way Beauchamp's testimony does little if anything to help or hurt the image, or affect the liability of the WSL.

And where is his motive to lie? Beauchamp has no interest in protecting the WSL. His only interest is himself and whatever money he can earn or hustle up. He would probably work for Cunard, or Leyland, or White Star or any other paying company that had an opening for a stoker. So I don't see him lying to the British Wreck Commission to protect the company out of loyalty. And I haven't seen any suggestion that he was paid off by anyone. So in my mind there goes any motive for him to lie.

That's my take on the integrity of Beauchamp. Though I don't think he was trying to be deceptive,he may have likely been confused about the when and where of events that night. He wouldn't be the only person who had that problem.
(But then again, he could be spot on. Which is why I find his testimony about staying so long in BR 6 after the impact so interesting.)

I think this is a 6-beer topic and I'm only on my first. So I'm sort of at a disadvantage here.

;-)

Yuri
 

Erik Wood

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Yuri said:"I think this is a 6-beer topic and I'm only on my first. So I'm sort of at a disadvantage here."

Well Yuri, I am on my......well I lost count and I am still baffled. I would tend to agree with what you wrote above. But Cal does make some valid points.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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I also agree. I've learned a lot just reading this one thread.

Best regards,

Jason
happy.gif
 

Cal Haines

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Yuri,

I agree that Beauchamp would not have lied out of loyalty, but WSL may have provided other incentives. George Behe, in his book "Speed, Safety & Sacrifice", argues that WSL bribed Hichens. I certainly see plenty of motive for WSL (and to a certain extend the BOT) for wanting to touch up what could have been seen as an act of cowardice. As I've said, I don't think Barrett and Hesketh
were cowards, but there were some very exaggerated expectations about duty and all that back then. That WSL would have had a motive to convince Beauchamp to lie is just my opinion and certainly not one that I can prove. But for the record, WSL was not all that interested in fully cooperating with the US investigation: witness Ismay's attempt to have the crew shipped back as soon as they arrived in New York.

Beauchamp aside, I can't think of a single reason for Barrett to lie about the key issues here, for reasons I have already listed. But no matter how you slice it, one of them is wrong! And since Hendrickson backs up Barrett, I'll go with Barrett being correct.

As you say, and as I have previously said, Beauchamp MAY have been mistaken. I think he probably did help draw fires in BR#5 (but NOT in BR#6). However, his testimony sure makes it sound like he drew fires in #6. It's interesting that they never get around to asking him specifically if he was in BR#6 when he drew fires; there seems to be a fair amount of wiggle room built into his testimony. Assuming that it could have been proved that he did not draw fires in #6, I doubt he could have been successfully prosecuted for perjury since he could always just claim he was mistaken and actually referring to what he did in BR#5. (The plot thickens.)

Would anyone care to take me up on a 6-beer wager as to what they will find if and when they get a submersible into BR#6? I bet they find coal in all the furnaces!

Cal
 
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>>But for the record, WSL was not all that interested in fully cooperating with the US investigation: witness Ismay's attempt to have the crew shipped back as soon as they arrived in New York. <<

Cal, I wouldn't read too much into that one. For one thing, there was no precedent for the Senate conducting such an investigation, and for another Ismay was trying to arrange transportation home for the crew while still aboard the Carpathia, which is to say befor he had any way of knowing such an investigation was even on. (Senator Smith wasn't exactly sending daily personal despatches to Ismay advising him of what he had in mind!)

He did know, or could reasonably count on the Board of Trade conducting an investigtion, so what would sneaking the crew away accomplish beyond trading one group of inquisitors for another?

>>Would anyone care to take me up on a 6-beer wager as to what they will find if and when they get a submersible into BR#6? I bet they find coal in all the furnaces! <<

I'll take that bet...provided you can find somebody willing to bet the coal isn't there. As fast as things happened, I don't think they had a chance to even think of drawing the fires there. Hell, if I saw a wall of water coming up from the deckplates and crashing in from the side, I would be outta there!

Which lable do you prefer? Guinness, Harp, Newcastle Brown Ale?
 
Jul 14, 2000
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I'm having trouble discounting Beauchamp's story that he and others stayed and drew the fires in BR 6. Because I really think that BR 6 didn't flood to 8 feet within 10 minutes after impact.

I know the sound and movement of the collision would have been thunderous, and that the sight of water suddenly spraying in through the hull would have been alarming, but ... neither Barrett nor Beauchamp said anything about a rush of people trying to escape from the compartment. Barrett only mentions himself and one engineer, not everyone. And Barrett never says he fled the compartment out of fear. He only says he that he and the engineer jumped back into the next section.
________________________________________________
US Inquiry:

Q. Where? - A. In 6 section.

Q. Were you there when the accident occurred? - A. Yes. I was standing talking to the second engineer. The bell rang, the red light showed. We sang out shut the doors [indicating the ash doors to the furnaces] and there was a crash just as we sung out. The water came through the ship's side. The engineer and I jumped to the next section. The next section to the forward section is No. 5.

British Inquiry:

1904. Did it come in fast enough to begin to flood the place? - Yes.

1905. Then what was it that you did? - Me and Mr. Hesketh jumped into this section, and the watertight compartment closed up.

1906. You and Mr. Hesketh both jumped into the next section? - Yes.

1907. There were stokers working there still; firemen in No. 6? - Yes.

1908. What happened to them? - There was one of them saved.

1909. One of them was saved? - Yes.

1910. Did he get through the watertight compartment with you? - I could not tell you where he got to.

1911. What was his name? - Beauchamp, I think it was.

*Later*

1940. Now just think. Was there much length of time after you got into No. 5 and before Mr. Hesketh gave that order? - I should say about ten minutes.

_________________________________________________

Per Barrett:
-still firemen in BR6 including Beauchamp.(Beauchamp is not in BR 5)
-doesn't know what happened to them.
-10 minutes from jumping to BR5 until trying to get back into BR6.
-10 minutes to climb out of 5 and down into 6.

That's about 20 minutes. So around 12:00am is when Barrett finally sees the water in BR 6 is about 8 feet above the plates and he sees no one in the compartment.

20 minutes? That is a lot closer to jiving with what Beauchamp said about staying and drawing fires for a few minutes before leaving.

Yuri
 

Erik Wood

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Mike said:
quote:

Cal, I wouldn't read too much into that one. For one thing, there was no precedent for the Senate conducting such an investigation, and for another Ismay was trying to arrange transportation home for the crew while still aboard the Carpathia, which is to say befor he had any way of knowing such an investigation was even on.

I would have to agree with what you said there Mike. Initially I don't think Ismay had any idea of what was to happen in the U.S. but I think he had a good suspicion that something was around the corner. I think he was partially trying to get his crew back to the UK before they had a chance to say anything. For his, and their sake.

I would further that most of the things that Yuri says are pretty accurate to my line of thinking. Which has been known to be flawed sometimes. This is one of things I want to hash out in Topeka. Rob Ottmers who is a transcript genius will be there to help out.​
 
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My take on the U.S. Senate inquiry is that it was laid on pretty quickly. I think it came as a surprise to Ismay to be hit with a summons as soon as the Carpathia docked. As to getting the crew back to England, I think Occam's Razor applies here. Ismay knew that official questions were inevitable, but not from the United States. That the Board of Trade would take an interest was a given.

The idea was to get them back mostly so the surviving crew could sign on to other ships and thus continue to make a living. A not insignifigent factor when one realizes that their pay stopped as soon as the Titanic's stern disappeared beneath the surface of the ocean.
 

Cal Haines

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I see some difficulties with Yuri's interpretation, but I don't have time to respond at length. I'll have to defer it until this weekend.

Cap'n Erik, any chance you could arrange to have me on the speaker phone for your panel discussion of the boiler room stuff?

Cal
 

Erik Wood

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Hmm,

Conference call, I will have to look into it. Sounds like a good idea. Let me do some digging and see what I can come up with. I will post here when I get some info.
 

Erik Wood

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It has been far to long since I have written in this thread so I am going to start now.

The reason I am posting in this thread is because of the talk of boiler room 6. I want, if I can to concentrate on the exact location of the damage in that space ONLY and really I am wondering how high from the deck plates it was and where.

I ask because Dave Brown and I's theory of allision just bit the dust in some of my research and because I don't believe (sometimes) in my own research I would like a second opinion before I go into more detail.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Well, time to hit the transcripts again. As an offhand thought, I wonder if it's even possible to know exactly where the damage was. That space flooded pretty quickly which did a thorough job of covering the evidence.
 

Erik Wood

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My goal is to get a general concenus of how fast it flooded and where the water came from in, I am more interested in direction. Was it more aft then forward?? Things like that.

My research this morning in the transcripts yielded nothing but more questions (imagine that in a Titanic debate). Boiler Room 6 has always been a matter of debate. Looks like it will continue to be that way.
 

Erik Wood

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In earlier debates on the subject Cal Haines through a interesting tid bit out there. He said that although Beachamp says he drew the fires in BR 6 the time frame he allotted isn't nearly enough time to accomplish the job. This could mean one of two things, he was in there longer and didn't realize it, or did it half way until he was told to get out.

I can't help but ponder the thought that boiler room 6 flooded as fast as Barrett says it did.
 

Erik Wood

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When reading the testimony and reviewing it last night Mike and I have figured (to the best we can) that Barrett is talking about water ingress about 2 feet above the plates towards the after end of the compartment. I would interested to see what anyone else has to say.
 
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