Boiler Room 6 - "It was coming through the floor?"


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Aaron_2016

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George Beauchamp said he was in "No. 6 boiler". He shut the dampers and drew the fires after the collision. He said: "Water was coming in on the plates when we were drawing the fires.....The water was just coming above the plates then."

Q - You mean it was coming through the floor?
A - Yes, coming through the bunker door and over the plates.

Q - Can you say how long it took to draw the fires?
A - I could not say how long it took, just the usual time; I could not say for certain.

Q - Can you say whether it took a few minutes or half an hour?
A - It took about a quarter of an hour, I suppose.

There seems to have been no great sense of urgency to get out and no rush of water. He continued and said he "waited till everything was shut down and an order was given. Someone shouted “that will do,” when everything was safe, when everything was shut down.....and so I went to the escape ladder."

Q - But I asked you did you notice any more water coming through as time went on; did it come through in greater quantities?
A - I was going up the ladder.

Q - Your answer is you do not know, is that what you mean?
A - I do not know.


Does his evidence suggest Boiler room 6 was not rapidly flooding because up to 15 minutes after the collision he was still there drawing the fires and apparently did not notice the water rising higher above the plates.




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Aaron_2016

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According to what Beauchamp told Walter Lord, the water was up to his waste when he went for the ladder as someone called out "That will do."
Wonder where Walter Lord got his evidence from?

According to Paul Lee's website - 'Walter Lord's initial letters to survivors were always charming - and loaded with questions. Many were delighted to respond, but Beauchamp was an exception. He replied on a small piece of flimsy card, little bigger than a postcard with the following helpful information: "In stokhold [sic] when ship was struck."'


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B-rad

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As I've stated elsewhere, I believe that the young (a mere 28) Barrett had a flare for the dramatic. He escaped into boiler room 5, making it sound that the flooding in 6 was dramatic enough to call for immediate escape, while Beauchamp stayed behind and drew fires. Barrett also makes it sound like it was only him and the engineers that were left in 5 when Shepard broke his leg, however in a account by Kemish, he too states that he saw this, & I don't see a reason as to why he would embellish such a trvial fact. Then there is other evidence by Threlfell saying that Shepard and Harvey made it into boiler room 4, which would suggest that boiler room 5 did not flood as dramatically as he makes it sound. ("I saw a wave of green foam come tearing through between the boilers..." [US] " A rush of water came through the pass..." [BI2038] though yes Harvey told him to go up, He never looked back.] Of course there are always contradictions and various interpretation of all the evidence presented to support my theory.
 
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The testimony of leading stoker Hendrickson confirms Barrett version of No. 6. When he returned from the main engine room (he was send aft by Heseth to bring some lamps after the lights in all boiler rooms went out) Hendrickson then first wanted to go to BR 6 but find too much water in it.
Beauchamp is mistaken, not only about the time he spend in No. 6 BR but possibly that he was then also in BR 5 later to help draw the fires.

Kemish told a lot of made up stuff years later, I do not believe he was in BR 5 with Barrett.

The collapse of the coal bunker door would lead all the water which was kept back spread into the BR.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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I agree with Ioannis, but not just from evidence provided by others such as Hendrickson. If the only significant flooding happened in the first 4 compartment only, the ship would have settled at a trim angle of about 1.5° down by the head and taken in about 6600 tons of sea water. It would not sink. However, Stewardess Annie Robinson reported seeing water within 6 steps of E deck by the stairs to the mailroom about 30 minutes after collision, and AB Poingdestre reported 3 ft of water on E deck in crew's quarters when a wooden bulkhead collapsed about 45 minutes after collision. From this we can show that the ship had settled to 1.8° trim in 30 minutes and 2.7° trim by 45 minutes. The only way that could happen is significant flooding in BR6. In fact, the quantity of water in BR6 would have to have reached close to 4700 tons in 45 minutes, or up to about 90% of the outside waterline at that time. The average rise of water in BR6 by analysis comes out to 9.6 ft above the tank top, or 7 ft above the stokehold plates, in the first 10 minutes. On the starboard side, with a 5° list, the water would have reached halfway up the height of the double-ended boiler there. By the way, the hull damage in BR6 calculates to about 1.5 sq. ft. of opening.
 
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Rob Lawes

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If I was Barrett and I'd gone from looking forward to going off watch, chatting to an engineering officer to a completely unexpected stop order, what must have then sounded like thunder followed by the unwelcome sight of the Atlantic ocean where it shouldn't be, warning bells and watertight doors closing, I think I may have had the urge to step outside for a few moments to'assess the situation'.

While we have no idea where anyone was standing, I'd guess that Beauchamp didn't have as quite a good view of the damage.
 
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If anyone was confused, it was leading stoker Barrett and not ordinary stoker Beauchamp. Both men testified they started out in the same place, the after stokehold of boiler room #6. Stokeholds were counted forward from boiler room #1 which contained only stokhold #1. Boiler room #6 had two, stokehold #10 at the after end, and #11 at the forward end of the compartment. During his British testimony Beauchamp explained the numbering system

Q 656: Were you down below in the stokehold?
BEAUCHAMP: Yes.

Q 657: Which stokehold was it?
BEAUCHAMP: Number 10.

Q 658: Can you see the plan from where you were?
BEAUCHAMP: The second one from the forward end.

Q 659: The second one from the bow?
BEAUCHAMP: yes.


Both Beauchamp and Barret said they were in virtually the same location during the moments before impact. We’ve seen Beauchamp’s testimony about being in Number 10 stokehold, the second one from the bow. Barrett described his whereabouts in the same way:

BARRETT: I was in Number 10 stokehold. The starboard side.

Both men described events around the accident. Beauchamp described a shock and then a sound, “like thunder, the roar of thunder,” as Titanic rolled over the iceberg. Not too much can be made of his use of the word “thunder.” He also said the ship made a similar sound when it foundered. . Stoker Beauchamp worked under the leading stoker, Barrett, of his section. Just before impact they were within earshot of each other. The level of sound in a boiler room serves to confirm they must have been relatively close to one another.

BEAUCHAMP: The telegraph went "stop." The engineer and the leading stoker shouted together -- they said, "Shut the dampers."

BARRETT: There is a clock rigged up in the stokehold and a red light goes up when the ship is supposed to stop... . The red light came up, I am the man in charge of the watch, and I called out, "Shut the dampers."

Until this point the accounts of the two men are in lock step. Both claimed to be in stokehold #10 at the after end of boiler room #6. And, Barrett’s claim that he shouted to “close the dampers” was heard and confirmed in sworn testimony by Beauchamp. Even so, for some reason the stories told by these men differ greatly after that. One man said he had to escape for his life by ducking under a closing watertight door. The other said he stayed put and kept working. One man said the side of the boiler room opened up, the other saw only gradual flooding that seemed more of a nuisance than a catastrophe.

At his U.S. appearance, Barrett famously said he escaped rapid flooding of that compartment, "I was standing talking to the second engineer. The bell rang, the red light showed. We sang out shut the doors 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 Number 5.” Barrett went on to say, “A large volume of water came through about two feet above the floor plates, starboard side.”

According to Beauchamp boiler room #6 did flood, though not with the Hollywood drama described by Barrett. “Water was coming in on the (stoker) plates when we were drawing the fires. ...coming through the bunker door and over the plates. I was going up the ladder,” he said. The amount of water he saw is somewhat nebulous, but it was definitely not a catastrophic flooding of the compartment.

Two men standing in the same place yet they have such different stories to tell. The only obvious explanation is that they were not in the same compartment when Titanic struck the iceberg. One had to be confused, but which one?

-- David G. Brown
 

Rob Lawes

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David, saying they were standing in the same place is a bit like saying two football fans were standing in the same stadium.

For all we know Beauchamp could have been in front of the port most boiler while Barrett could have been next to the Starboard most. They could have been 30 feet apart or more.

They were both in Stokehold 10 but there is no way we could know if they were standing 'in the same place'

Regards

Rob
 

Rob Lawes

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On further reading, Barrett states he was standing on the starboard side. We have no idea where Beauchamp was standing.

Also, Beauchamp states he heard Barrett and the Second Engineer call out 'shut the dampers' but does not state who gave the order to draw fires or evacuate the boiler room.

He goes as far as saying 'someone said that will do'. I would imagine if that someone had been Barrett or Shepherd then Beauchamp would have said so.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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If the flooding in BR6 was as slow as David believes Beauchamp's account makes it out to be, then the pumps could have kept the vessel afloat for quite a number of hours, and what was seen by Robinson and Poingdestre just 30 and 45 minutes after impact would never have taken place. Nor would Andrews be able to say that ship had from 1 to 1.5 hours left.

I'd put my money on the observed water level seen within the ship. The independent analysis seems to agree with what Barrett saw in the time frame that he saw it in.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Perhaps Beauchamp and Barrett were both right.

Hichens said the Captain looked at the commutator "about 5 to 10 minutes" after the collision and found "the ship had a list of 5 degrees to the starboard." Maybe Barrett was on the starboard side (water waist high) and Beauchamp was on the port side (water up to his feet).


5 degree list to starboard - 11:50pm.

Titanicboilerroom.PNG
 

Rob Lawes

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And Barrett wasn't standing in Boiler Room 6 between 5 and 10 minutes after impact. He got out of the boiler room and into BR5 with Shepard. Word then came down for all crew to standby their stations. He made to return to BR6 via the escape ladders. On going down into 6 he determined there was already too much water in there and went back to boiler room 5.
 
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There’s a lot of rewriting of history going on here in the defense of conventional wisdom. Let’s start out from the beginning. Beauchamp and Barrett had to be in the passage between the after furnaces of the boilers and bunkers lining bulkhead E. Given the narrowing beam caused by the warp of the bow, they would have been at most 45 feet apart. If that’s not close enough to “the same place” on a ship the size of Titanic, what does qualify. In each others boots? Not hardly. The two men were close enough to have had virtually identical experiences.

The above drawing of the boiler room listing is misleading because it is for later in the evening after the compartment contained significant water. At the moment of impact, however, the ship was not listing, or perhaps had a bit of list to port. Water coming into the ship would have sought its own level, meaning at first it would have spread rather evenly across the space except where impeded by percolation around the boilers. It is illogical to think that two men standing in stokehold #10 would not have experienced the flooding described by Barrett. There is no doubt from his testimony, however, that Beauchamp did not see the side of the boiler room open up nor did he feel the need to flee for his life.

Beauchamp recognized the engineer and his leading stoker’s voices. In ships like Titanic it was not the custom to have the same crew members in the same jobs trip after trip. Beauchamp did not have to know by name who spoke, only that they did speak. What he heard was exactly what Barrett said under oath that he shouted about closing the doors. What’s so hard to understand that we have two men giving both sides of the same story – one as the speaker and the other as the listener. Beauchamp heard Barrett, proving that at that point they were still in the same compartment – which both agreed was boiler room #6.

Beauchamp was clear in his testimony that he remained at his post in stokehold #10 of boiler room #6 until being sent on deck. He never spoke of climbing into boiler room #5 or anywhere else. Barrett, on the other hand, testified that he did go into boiler room #5 from #6 on at least two separate occasions that night. The first time was when he made his famous slide to safety beneath the closing watertight door. And, the second when he re-entered the compartment with engineer Shepherd on an unspecified errand. Trying to place Beauchamp in boiler room #5 is nothing less than rewriting history to fit a preconceived opinion. On the other hand, saying that Barrett did leave boiler room #6 is supported by the man’s own testimony. So, if we are going to believe either man about the flooding of #6 during the first 20 minutes after impact Beauchamp is more likely to have known and thus testified the complete story.

In BOT questions #675 through 681 Beauchamp described his actions starting with drawing the fires out of the fireboxes beneath the boilers. “I’ve done it a good many times. It took about a quarter of an hour, I suppose. When the order was given and everything was shut up, someone shouted “That will do,” and I went to the ladder then, the escape ladder,” Beauchamp testified. Nowhere did he mention wading through waist-deep freezing water before he climbed out of the compartment. That’s not the sort of detail to go unnoticed even during an emergency.

Sam’s computations (above) give us the average size of the flooding over the first 45 minutes. There is no reason whatsoever to doubt his work. That said, his computations may not give an accurate picture of the minute-by-minute flooding during that 45 minute time span. Beauchamp’s eyewitness account of half that time – the first 20 minutes – indicate the initial flooding was much smaller than Sam’s numbers suggest.

Then, boiler room #6 was evacuated. It was empty of eyewitnesses for up to ten minutes. There was nobody in the compartment to notice any change in the speed of flooding. We have some circumstantial evidence that the flooding did increase in the story of engineer Shepherd and Barrett being surprised to find so much water in the compartment when they went back that they had to abandon their mission.

“It was not a quarter of an hour, just on ten minutes,” Barrett said, referring to the time between when boiler room #6 was abandoned and when he and Shepherd went back. They probably expected more water than before, but Barrett’s words seem to imply they did no expect what they found. “Mr. Shepherd and I went up an escape and down into the boiler room. We could not get in. There were eight feet of water in it,” the stoker said.

A century on, Sam’s numbers confirm what the two men found. His only mistake was to assume that water ingress was a straight line value that did not fluctuate over time. (I am certain he has taken into account the natural slowing of flow as the level inside the compartment rises to match the level of the ocean outside.) Yet, Beauchamp’s testimony which indicates slow flooding is historical fact. And, so is the amount of water found by Barrett and Shepherd. Something isn’t right unless the rate of ingress into boiler room #6 dramatically increased just after the compartment was abandoned.

I can hear someone e-shouting, “Brown’s re-writing history. He has no proof the flooding increased.”

Agreed. No eyewitness described such an event, or at least not directly. What exists is just circumstantial evidence that the flow did increase after Beauchamp left boiler room #6. For one thing, I think we can all agree that a damaged metal structure has less strength than it did when it was undamaged. We also know that Titanic was not impregnable. It not only succumbed to the iceberg, but also eventually broke apart as it sank. No, Titanic was not poorly designed. Nor was it built of inferior materials. But, even the best work of Harland & Wolff had a breaking point.

When your vessel is sinking, your thoughts immediately turn to the bilge pumps. I can’t imagine that somebody did not start using the ash ejector pump in its secondary role as a dewatering pump for boiler room #6. But, that pump was steam driven. Likely, it drew power from the boilers in #6. If so, its efforts would have slowed and stopped when steam was vented out of the pipe on funnel #1.

Also, over the years I’ve pointed out that the burned-out bunker could only have been bunker “b” at the head of boiler room #6. If so, Barrett saw an open seam there before closing that bunker door. Beauchamp noticed an odd delay between Barrett’s shout to close the dampers and orders being passed to clear burning coal out of the furnaces. “I could not say when,” he told the BOT hearing, “It was a few minutes afterward. The order was given to draw the fires. I could not say how many minutes, but the order was given to draw the fires.”

Perhaps the delay was caused by Barrett’s bunker discovery. He would have undoubtedly reported it to an engineer who would have checked the situation for himself. Realizing the compartment was flooding, the engineer’s next response would have been to make the steam plant safe from explosion. Cold water may not have caused a boiler failure, but flooding might have cracked a steam pipe or joint. Prudence demanded raking out the furnaces and dumping the steam from boiler room #6.

The amount of water Barrett saw gushing into the buker cannot be quantified. Still, his description seems to tally with the flooding Beauchamp described as he raked his fires before leaving the compartment. “The water was just coming above the bunker plates then,” he said. “Coming through the bunker door and over the plates.”

The implication of an open seam is often overlooked. It represented a weakness in the hull. Not a designed-in weakness, but rather one created by the iceberg. As the bow flooded it would have become dead weight supported by the buoyancy of the compartments farther aft. This would have “bent” the hull with the focus of the bend in way of the still-buoyant boiler room #6. At some point the bending force might well have exceed the remaining strength of the already-opened seam. Zip! A small gush of water would have become major flooding. Taken overall, however, the average flooding rate during the first 45 minutes was obviously very close to Sam’s computations.

-- David G. Brown
 
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Your timing does not fit with other testimony. Again Mr. Browne ignores what Hendrickson stated about the flooded BR 6. It is well known fact that the lights in all BRs went out but only Beachaump does not mentioned it!

Barrett was clear which bunker it was where the fire was (it is also confirmed by others) and also (maybe Sam Halpern can show the calculations) was responsible for the ship listing to port during the voyage as the coal was taken out of the bunkers. The flaws in Mr. Browns theory has been show several times also here on ET.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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The following was drawn to scale from H&W bulkhead plans. The first shows what the flooding may have looked like in BR6 from an open seam about 2 ft above the stokehold plates. as described by Barrett. The view is looking aft and only shows the starboard side of the vessel from the centerline to starboard. The image of a stoker was placed in the drawing so you can get an idea of the scale of things. The height of the tanks in the double bottom was 5 ft.

The second shows what the flooding of BR6 would have looked like about 10 minutes after impact where a 5° list was included. Barrett's estimate of 8 ft over the plates would have come about by noticing the water up to about half the height of the boiler over on the starboard side.

By the way, the reason why 2nd engineers Hesketh and Shepherd were in BR6 at that time the ship struck happens to come from the IMM requirement that those in charge of the watch were to inspect all bunkers before turning over the watch, and enter the results along with other required data into engine room log before the next watch came on. The bunker inspection would begin at the forward most boiler section and then work their way back to the engine room.
flooding in stockhold 10.gif

Fig 06-19  (mono) BR6 at 10 min.gif
 
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Rob Lawes

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45 feet is a fair distance apart if one stoker is close to the point of impact and can see water coming in rapidly. Barrett and Shepard saw enough to make them leave the compartment. The Leading Stoker and the Second Engineer would have been expected to remain at their posts and surely would have done had the flooding not been that serious.

Further, Barrett returned to Boiler room 6 10 to 15 minutes after HE evacuated it not 10 to 15 minutes after it was evacuated. That would be (if you believe Beauchamp) between 25 to 30 minutes after impact. That would be roughly the time that Hendrickson tried to take lamps down into BR6.

Also, if the remaining stokers remained in BR6 to draw fires, they'd be pulling hot coals out onto a wet floor. Between that and the obvious fact their feet were getting wet, I'd suggest it would take far less time than the normal, under no pressure, time given by Beauchamp.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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According to Beauchamp, the watertight door closed in somewhat close to 5 minutes after impact. And it was a "few minutes" later that the order was given to draw the fires.

668a. (The Commissioner.) How soon do you suppose after the order to "Stop" came from the bridge did the watertight doors close? - In less than five minutes.

It takes about 30 seconds from the time the switch is thrown for the WTDs to drop shut. We were told that Murdoch was closing the doors as the ship struck. The warning bell would have been rung about 10 seconds (if he did it according to what was written on the sign) and then he would throw the switch to close position and the all the doors would start to drop and be shut within 30 seconds.
 

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