Alfred Nichols

Which my above post leads us back to the witness accounts of Nichols being seen after the trip down below with his 'gang' and then not a lot else. Inexperienced fireman being told to man and row lifeboats, when arguably there was this AB gang with Nichols back from their task...
 
Which my above post leads us back to the witness accounts of Nichols being seen after the trip down below with his 'gang' and then not a lot else. Inexperienced fireman being told to man and row lifeboats, when arguably there was this AB gang with Nichols back from their task...
From what several of the officers testified, the boat crews were supposed to be able seamen. Not just any crew, but crew who were familiar with manning a boat, navigating, and other skills. A lot of the crew were not qualified.
 
From what several of the officers testified, the boat crews were supposed to be able seamen. Not just any crew, but crew who were familiar with manning a boat, navigating, and other skills. A lot of the crew were not qualified.

Exactly, and perhaps you could just have said "I agree with you on that part of your post I quoted".
 
That D deck door would start letting in water about the time the forecastle went under. I don't see any increase in the sinking rate at that time. It would be about 1:45. The only change to the sinking seems to happen after 2:10. Has anyone run any simulation on what would happen if that door were left open? There were also quite a number of ports left open. it is possible that there wasn't a noticeable increase because of the number of ports left open.
 
The problem with the hypothesis of gangway doors opening upon the final plunge or hitting the ocean floor is that (and I have not studied this at all) it would appear from what Thomas has told us that the only door that was found open on the wreck was this D deck gangway door.
Thomas explained his hypothesis and while it is just that, IMO his reasoning is sound. He says that of all the gangway doors in the bow section of the Titanic's wreck, only this D-deck door on the port side was found open; I took that to mean that even the other gangway door there, around just 10 feet aft of this one, remained closed.

Thomas also said that the inner grill gate of the open port-side D-deck door was unlocked and in the 'stowed' position, something that would be necessary to gain access to the mechanism to operate the gangway door itself. I agree with Thomas' impression that this finding is strong evidence that there was human interference with the mechanism, which in turn could only have been actions of Nichols and his men in response to Lightoller's order.

I think myself it inconceivable that Nichols would have opened any gangway door, and might explain why Nichols didn't or avoided reporting back to Lightoller
As above. The order itself seems inconceivable with hindsight, but Lightoller did testify that he gave it and that Nichols left to carry it out. But as the said door was directly under the descent path of Lifeboat #6 but no one in that boat - people like Hichens, Molly Brown, Major Peuchen, Helen Candee, Fleet etc - reported seeing an open gangway door, one has to assume that it was (still) closed when they were lowered past. But since the door was found to be open when the wreck was discovered, Thomas' conjecture that Nichols and his men tried opening it, then decided against it, reclosed it but did not secure it properly is worth consideration.

I don't believe Nichols deliberately refrained from reporting back to Lightoller; IMO, the boatswain just could not locate the Second Officer (who was aft loading Lifeboat #12 at the time) when he returned from below and so reported to Captain Smith instead. Smith must have been around when Lightoller gave that gangway door order earlier and so it implied the Captain's consent to it. By the time Nichols returned, it was getting on 01:25am and very likely that he was ordered to take care of more urgent matters.

I am not aware of Titanic taking a 'dive down' at around the time that Thomas says he expected this particular D deck door to get to sea level if unlocked.
Neither Thomas nor anyone else said anything about the Titanic taking a 'dive down' at the time. What he implied was that with the continued sinking of the bow, the sea level would have reached the outer threshold of the gangway door in question around 01:20am. If the door was still closed at the time - as we believe that it was - the water level outside would soon have risen over and above it while the interior was still dry. Later of course, the interior in that sector also flooded, thereby equalizing the pressure on either side of the door and making it mechanically easier for it to open when the bow struck the ocean floor.

Which my above post leads us back to the witness accounts of Nichols being seen after the trip down below with his 'gang' and then not a lot else. Inexperienced fireman being told to man and row lifeboats, when arguably there was this AB gang with Nichols back from their task...
Nichols was seen by Leading Fireman Barrett just as the latter arrived on A-deck at around 01:40am; according to Barrett, the boatswain ordered him in and help with the rowing. Barrett was certainly rescued on Lifeboat #13 and seems to have done a good job; when Lifeboat #13 was inadvertently pushed under the descending Lifeboat #15 some minutes later, it was Barrett who climbed over passengers and used his pocket knife to cut away the falls.
 
I'm seeing a time of 1:10 am for launching lifeboat 6. If he returned by 1:25 it means the door could have been opened after lifeboat 6 was in the water. That also makes sense of Capt Smith ordering the lifeboats back to take on more passengers. With the door open it would make that easy... if there was anyone at the door to get.
 
I'm seeing a time of 1:10 am for launching lifeboat 6.
That's the current belief based on research by Bill Wormstedt et al; as things stand, I accept it. But there are others who question that timeline and so the jury is still out on it.

If he returned by 1:25 it means the door could have been opened after lifeboat 6 was in the water.
Assuming that Lifeboat #6 reached the water at 01:10am, it would not have disappeared like a speedboat; they could not have got very far in the next 8 or 10 minutes. Although Hichens ordered the boat to be rowed away for some distance, they would have been able to see the still brightly lit portside of the sinking Titanic and the large rectangular patch of light cast by any open gangway door (in contrast with smaller, rounded portholes) would have been noticed by several occupants. No one reported it.

That also makes sense of Capt Smith ordering the lifeboats back to take on more passengers. With the door open it would make that easy.
Makes sense? There wasn't a single other order or decision that made less sense that night. By the time Captain Smith ordered Lifeboat #6 to row for the light in the distance, he already knew from Andrews how much time the Titanic had left. That apart, the time and effort required to row to another ship over 12 miles away, drop off the passengers and row back would have made any such attempt completely unrealistic. And to attempt to use the gangway door of a ship steadily sinking by the head to shove passengers into a lifeboat alongside would have been anything but "easy".
 
That's the current belief based on research by Bill Wormstedt et al; as things stand, I accept it. But there are others who question that timeline and so the jury is still out on it.
That is how I see every time associated with the Titanic.
Assuming that Lifeboat #6 reached the water at 01:10am, it would not have disappeared like a speedboat; they could not have got very far in the next 8 or 10 minutes. Although Hichens ordered the boat to be rowed away for some distance, they would have been able to see the still brightly lit portside of the sinking Titanic and the large rectangular patch of light cast by any open gangway door (in contrast with smaller, rounded portholes) would have been noticed by several occupants. No one reported it.
My reading of he survivor accounts indicates that omissions are the rule rather than the exception. So many things happened that only a few people saw that we know from the wreck at the bottom DID happen.
Makes sense? There wasn't a single other order or decision that made less sense that night. By the time Captain Smith ordered Lifeboat #6 to row for the light in the distance, he already knew from Andrews how much time the Titanic had left. That apart, the time and effort required to row to another ship over 12 miles away, drop off the passengers and row back would have made any such attempt completely unrealistic. And to attempt to use the gangway door of a ship steadily sinking by the head to shove passengers into a lifeboat alongside would have been anything but "easy".
The day started off bad for them when Smith cancelled the lifeboat drill. Doing a drill in the morning would have ended up making the night less confusing. So there were many questionable decisions. I think the chain of events and the fact that the door was found open on the wreck with the inner gate stowed indicates that they did go down and open the door and it was just after Lifeboat 6 had reached the water. Smith's quoted statement about not imagining how a ship could founder really shows how unprepared he was, and probably everyone on the crew, for such a major incident. There are so many questions about what they did because they didn't have a frame of reference to go by and once they needed to abandon ship, those in the know knew that there were not enough boats. Smith was experienced at everything but the disaster that befell them that night. He was presented with the worry that it was unsafe to load the boats to full capacity so he was looking for a way to finish filling them up. So yeah, those odd things do make sense given the conditions. Necessity breeds invention and that is what they were doing, trying to invent a procedure for something they never thought they would have to do.
 
It is not my area of interest at all (The Californian is my interest), but I do have an interest in why people might give certain testimony that may or may not be accurate or truthful. I also have an interest in Thomas's D deck gangway door pics, and examining them.

Why are the locks on one side of this door missing? When and how were they removed? How was this door raised from the wreck and when?
 
I think the chain of events and the fact that the door was found open on the wreck with the inner gate stowed indicates that they did go down and open the door and it was just after Lifeboat 6 had reached the water.
IMO, I would agree that by the time Nichols and his men reached the port side D-deck gangway door, unlocked the protective grill gate, stowed it and started to operate the mechanism that opened the door itself, Lifeboat #6 had descended past and reached the water. That said, I find it very hard to accept that an experienced and responsible sailor like Boatswain Nichols would have got his men to open the gangway door and left, without considering the implications. They would have been aware of the fact that the ship was sinking by the bow, which by then had trimmed down to between 5 and 6 degrees; IMO, Nichols would also have noticed that the initial starboard list had corrected itself and knowing the Titanic's anatomy, would have worked out the the ship could well soon start listing to port.

Under those circumstances, I don't think that they opened the gangway door all the way; probably just enough - maybe a foot or two - to see how close the sea already was, realized the impracticality and risks of Lightoller's order and closed it again. But I have a feeling that Thomas' conjecture that Nichols then inadvertently did not secure the door properly, is correct. With continued dipping if the bow the sea would have reached the lower threshold of the door within the next 10 minutes or so but with the interior (on the other side of the door) still dry, the water pressure from outside would have kept it closed for the time being. Later, when internal flooding equalized the pressure on either side of this unsecured door, it could have swung open - or it could have happened when the bow section struck the ocean floor.

He was presented with the worry that it was unsafe to load the boats to full capacity so he was looking for a way to finish filling them up.
That could well have been the case and was probably also Lightoller's flawed reasoning when he gave Nichols the order to open a gangway door to load more people.
 
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I would tentatively suggest that there is a lot of 'flawed reasoning' on this thread. And a lot of attention to minor details that result in 'not seeing the wood from the trees'.

We do not know what exactly happened to this D deck gangway door either on the night of the 14/15 April 1912, or how this door was raised from the wreck and the circumstances and date.

What we do know from Lightoller's testimony is that his order to Bosun Nichols and his gang wasn't to go to D deck, but to E deck.

Think about it...

Nichols possibly considered (if he ever did) that opening an E deck gangway door was stupid when he and his gang got down there.

He might not have known the stupidity of Lightoller's order without opening an E deck gangway door. He could have done so. Then firmly shut it again.

I find it very hard to believe that Nichols did not know how to properly shut a gangway door. A child could have described to him what was required. It is a simple job of turning lock levers either side. Any AB could also have done this simple task.
 
I fine it hard to understand why the gangway door was difficult to open or even close. The doors must of been the same type as used on the Olympic or other WSL ships to. I can't imagine any senior officer doing the job himself. Given out the order yes, and was at the time no position to see if the order was carried out. As poor old Lightoller was up to his neck in trying get people into lifeboats.
 
Hello everyone,


Now for my report on the forward, port side, D-deck gangway door:
When and how were they removed?
The door was still in it’s place when the wreck was discovered in 1985 and was photographed open in the same position until 1993. Between April 1993 and Summer 1994/September 1995 it has fallen off. No exact date of when it fell of can be estimated, and as far as I am aware there is no proof it was fell off due to human interference.
How was this door raised from the wreck and when?
It was recovered on the 28th of August 1998 by RMS Titanic INC, during the same expedition which recovered the “Big Piece”. It was raised by sets of diesel-filled flotation bags.
Why are the locks on one side of this door missing?
Possibly due to the fall, based on pictures from the Olympic, which only difference was that they had round bullseye portholes instead of two windows, I can assert that the bolts were on both sides of the door. The door was open (no pun intended :) ) to the elements for over 80 years when it fell off, and it is possible from falling down all the way could have damaged the door unfortunately. I can inspect wreck footage to see if there are remains of the bolts laying about.


I hope this explain it a bit Julian.


Kind regards,


Thomas
 
Excellent post Thomas, thank you.

The door was still in it’s place when the wreck was discovered in 1985 and was photographed open in the same position until 1993.
I believe that is a very important piece of evidence, especially since all other gangway doors in the vicinity, including the other one on port side D-deck about 10 to 12 feet aft of the open door, remained closed and their grill gates were also closed and locked. Thomas pointed those facts out several posts earlier and in at least one other thread.

This then goes back to consideration of why that particular door was open on the wreck with its grill gate in an unlocked and stowed position. No matter how one looks at it, the answer seems to be human action and since the only known group in the vicinity at the time was Nichols and his men, one has to assume that it was their action. I personally don't believe that Nichols would have left the door open given how close the sea must have been at the time and so one has to at least consider the possibility that he and his men reclosed the door but did not secure it properly.

No exact date of when it fell of can be estimated, and as far as I am aware there is no proof it was fell off due to human interference.
Agreed, but we have to consider the possibility. It seems unusual (to say the least) and certainly suggestive that a door that had remained intact for over 80 years despite being open and exposed to the elements should suddenly fall off within the next 2-year timeframe during which there were exploratory expeditions to the wreck.
 
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