Question BR5 Breached stokehold plate


James Murdoch

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Feb 1, 2021
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Hi folks,

I recently watched the doc. narrated by Bill Paxton, in which Smith or Ismay ask Andrews at which point does this become a mathematical certainty to which TA replies"When BR5 is lost". It seemed like heresay to me as I cant see any record in the enquiry testimony. Although my main question revolves around the fact essentially that Andrews assesses the damage as the forepeak, all three holds and BR6.

Had BR5 not been touched by the berg at all, could you offer me an insight into how much longer the ship would survive? Would she have stayed afloat until Carpathia arrived at the correct position? I always thought with 5 compartments breached, she was doomed from impact.

Thanks again, great community on here.
 

James Murdoch

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Feb 1, 2021
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Also, as I may well ask it as it pertains to the same subject, what effect on the sinking did the slow ahead order given by Smith at around 11.46 have on the sinking. From my intermediate physics knowledge, I know that the ingress of water would be substantially increased by the forward momentum,how much so, I am not to sure. Why would he give this order without sounding the ship first? Thanks once again for this great resource!
 

Thomas Krom

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Nov 22, 2017
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Good day to you Mr. Murdoch,



The documentary is not very accurate with that statement since the Titanic was already lost when boiler room number 6 was damaged and flooded (there even is an fan made “Everything Wrong With” of this documentary).
Although my main question revolves around the fact essentially that Andrews assesses the damage as the forepeak, all three holds and BR6.
During the collision, as you most likely already know, 6 of the 16 watertight compartments were damaged. In the first hour of the sinking only four of them attributed to the flooding of the ship. The water in the forepeak tank (190 tons of water) only contributed to the weight that pulled the bow of the ship down since the storerooms above the forepeak tank remained dry (these would later flood after the water reached C-deck under the forecastle), damaged the coal bunker of boiler room number 5 had 180 tons of water in it in the first 40 minutes of the sinking and didn’t attributed to the flooding until a rush of water flooded boiler room number 5 (this almost certainly came from the coal bunker, most likely the non-watertight door of this coal bunker broke open due the pressure).

Had BR5 not been touched by the berg at all, could you offer me an insight into how much longer the ship would survive? Would she have stayed afloat until Carpathia arrived at the correct position? I always thought with 5 compartments breached, she was doomed from impact.
I cannot say it with certainty how much longer the ship would have had survived if it the coal bunker wasn’t damaged but I believe that the Carpathia wouldn’t be able to reach the Titanic in time if it wasn’t damaged.

Also, as I may well ask it as it pertains to the same subject, what effect on the sinking did the slow ahead order given by Smith at around 11.46 have on the sinking. From my intermediate physics knowledge, I know that the ingress of water would be substantially increased by the forward momentum,how much so, I am not to sure. Why would he give this order without sounding the ship first? Thanks once again for this great resource!
This is partly false. At 11:42/23:42 captain Smith ordered “slow ahead”. At an estimated 11:45 he requested the order: “Stop”, which stopped the engines for the last time after noting a list of 5 degrees to her starboard side on the inclinometer. It recently has been heavily exaggerated that captain Smith had the engines running for another ten to 20 minutes after the collision, which is false.


I hope this might be of any assistance.


Yours sincerely,


Thomas.
 

James Murdoch

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Feb 1, 2021
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Again, a wonderful contribution Thomas and I thank you for it. Even I was noticed serious discrepancies with the B.P doc.

Yes the Captain Smith order of slow ahead at 11.42, to 11.45...and I believe it would then take the ship around 90 seconds or so to coast to a stop. My question around this is that in those say 4 minutes, the ingress of water into the hull would spead up the flow of water. Is it possible that in that type, the force of the seawater on the damanged superstructure could have caused any further damage to where she was initially impacted. As in caused allready stressed rivots to pop and thus widen the impact area.
Pure speculation but could that in any way have damaged the stokehold on BR5 furtger (ie critically), as if you look at where BR6 was damaged there is around about 25-30(guess) foot of a gap until the BR5 damage. Although Im more inclined to believe this is the damage caused by the asymmetrical and jagged nature of the berg under water.

Finally, can anyone recommend a really good recent Titanic type docudrama. Ive probably seen all of them at least twice, I especially enjoyed the one where Fred Barrett is portrayed by an actor, the focus of the doc. being on the "black gang" and Joseph Bell. It likely had inaccuracies too but I did find it enjoyable.

Thank you, and have a fine day Sir.
 
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Jim Currie

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Also, as I may well ask it as it pertains to the same subject, what effect on the sinking did the slow ahead order given by Smith at around 11.46 have on the sinking. From my intermediate physics knowledge, I know that the ingress of water would be substantially increased by the forward momentum,how much so, I am not to sure. Why would he give this order without sounding the ship first? Thanks once again for this great resource!
Hello, James. Is Murdoch your real name and if so, are you part of pistol-making Clan that comes from Doune in Perthshire? I ask because that is a part of my own Maternal Clan. However, back to your question about the Slow Ahead movement, given so long after the impact with the iceberg.

I have seen a great deal of nonsense written about this, and you are correct. No master of Smith's experience would set his engines ahead for any length of time before he had "sounded round". However, the evidence tells us that the engines did go ahead, albeit for more than a couple of minutes. So for what reason? There are 2 main ones:

A; To stop the ship going astern. and or
B: To use the rudder

We know that the engines were stopped then set astern, then stopped then put ahead then stopped. The following is an interpretation of the evidence of Trimmer Dillon who actually witnessed the engine movements as they took place.

11-39-55. pm- STOP.
11-40-00 -pm Impact with the iceberg.
11-41-30 -pm Engines stop turning,
11-42-00 -pm Engines start turning astern.
11-44-00 -pm Engines stop turning astern,
11-44-30 -pm Engines start turning a head.
11-46-30 -pm Engines stop for all time.

As for the helm?
We also know that during these engine movements the ship was under emergency hard-over -left helm. This alone would have slowed her down rapidly combined with STOP followed by an ASTERN she would have been dead in the water very quickly indeed. Unless the bridge had been careless, and allowed the ship to make stern way then there seems no reason for an ahead engine movement - certainly one of two minutes.

However, we know a second helm order was given but it was not given before close to 11-40- 30 pm when the berg was astern and would not have been effective for another 30 seconds after that so it was not given to avoid the ice or even stop the stern swinging toward the ice, Not only that, because by the time it did any good, the engines would have been nearly stopped, and the ice would have been well past the stern, This leaves one other reason for a kick ahead.
 
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James Murdoch

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Hi Jim, yes my real name is Murdoch, however I hail from Glasgow (about 55 miles from Perth) Id love to do an ancestry/genelogy search to see if I have any relation to the William McMaster Murdoch. Probably an exceptionally low chance. But I love to research the genelogy.

Also if you dont mind could the furthern run through water after Berg have increased the area of damage? We know now it wasnt a 300m long gash,rather a series of punctures like bullet holes streching along under the waterline from forepeak to br6 (and br5 stokehold plate)

I put it like this earlier


Is it possible that in those conditions, the force of the seawater on the damanged starboard side could have caused any further damage to where she was initially impacted. As in caused allready stressed rivots to pop and thus widen the impact area.
Pure speculation but could that in any way have damaged the stokehold on BR5 further (ie critically), as if you look at where BR6 was damaged there is around about 25-30(guess) foot of a gap until the BR5 damage. Although Im more inclined to believe this is the damage caused by the asymmetrical and jagged nature of the berg under water.

Thanks again, and really is a small world to meet a member of my ancestral clan on my 3rd post here :)
 
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Thomas Krom

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Hi Jim, yes my real name is Murdoch, however I hail from Glasgow (about 55 miles from Perth) Id love to do an ancestry/genelogy search to see if I have any relation to the William McMaster Murdoch. Probably an exceptionally low chance. But I love to research the genelogy.
This link might can help you with that. Murdoch Family Tree | William Murdoch

It is from Dan Parkes his website, a talented historian who is on this forum as well.
 

Jim Currie

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Hi Jim, yes my real name is Murdoch, however I hail from Glasgow (about 55 miles from Perth) Id love to do an ancestry/genelogy search to see if I have any relation to the William McMaster Murdoch. Probably an exceptionally low chance. But I love to research the genelogy.

Also if you dont mind could the furthern run through water after Berg have increased the area of damage? We know now it wasnt a 300m long gash,rather a series of punctures like bullet holes streching along under the waterline from forepeak to br6 (and br5 stokehold plate)

I put it like this earlier


Is it possible that in those conditions, the force of the seawater on the damanged starboard side could have caused any further damage to where she was initially impacted. As in caused allready stressed rivots to pop and thus widen the impact area.
Pure speculation but could that in any way have damaged the stokehold on BR5 further (ie critically), as if you look at where BR6 was damaged there is around about 25-30(guess) foot of a gap until the BR5 damage. Although Im more inclined to believe this is the damage caused by the asymmetrical and jagged nature of the berg under water.

Thanks again, and really is a small world to meet a member of my ancestral clan on my 3rd post here :)
It sure is a small world. I too live on the south side of Glasgow.

As to your question re moving ahead - no I do not think more damage would have been caused by doing so.
As far as is known, most ofthe damage was along a narrow area just above what was known as the "round of bilges".
Rather than plate fractures, it was probably sprung plate seam joints and butt joints due to rivets failing a a result of the distortion of side framing as the berg battered it's way along the side. The water was flowing past the damaged part and entering the hull due to a pressure commensurate with the depth of the damage area below the surface.

Hope this helps.

PS Your ancestor helped to build the SS McKay Bennett... the ship that recovered most of the bodies. and another one made the pistol that fired "The shot that was heard around the world" ;)
 
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Keith H

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With boiler room six filling up and a list to port sooner or later as the ship went down by the head the bulkhead between boiler room five may well have dipped below the water level especially on the port side allowing water to flood boiler room five unopposed even if the bunker had not been breached I wonder if it made any difference to the outcome .
 

James Murdoch

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Hi Keith, good morning to you.

Indeed as Andrews explained the water was 14ft above the keel in 10 minutes. With 5 compartments flooded (bar compartment 1,the forepeak until the water overlapped on C deck). As the bow sank lower and lower with the rush of incoming water naturally the head list would become more severe, until the rush slowed as it equalised with the pressure outside. Many survivers testify (im paraphrasing) that the sinking seemed to slow dramatically from about 12.20 until about 1.30, at which point they felt a sudden drop- which I believe was that stokehold plate popping open and BR5 flooding. For a long time I only ever presumed that 5, not 6 compartments were breached hence these being my first questions.

Ultimately water would pour in through portholes and the open D Deck gangway door and pretty much anywhere with as much as a slit of an opening. However I believe the ship would have survived for longer had BR5 not flooded catastrophically. As Barrett and another seaman had managed to get the room completely dry.

Could someone with a detailed knowledge of fluid dynamics, the ship, and the sinking offer a time as to when roughly BR5 would succomb from above, and how much longer the ship would have had it not been flooding from 11.40.

Once again, thank you ever so much.
 

James Murdoch

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I shall rephrase, as I was simply putting it there as more or less a footnote as it was not my main point

Within ten minutes, water had risen 8 feet in Boiler Room 6, and as much as 14 feet above the keel in the forward compatments. (Rogers, Notes on the sinking of RMS Titanic)

Yes a secondary source I cannot be bothered looking at this time at the enquiry transcripts. I was actually quoting from ANTR, yet your point stands. I had always attributed that specific quote to Andrews. First it makes its way into ANTR book, then film, then Camerons epic. Historians, I absolutely understand the importance of seperating fact from quasi fiction, by which I mean although TA didnt say it, the water was indeed 14 feet above the keel in the forward compartments by 11.50, give or take 1 to 2 minutes either way.

Thank you for making this known to me.
 

Jim Currie

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I shall rephrase, as I was simply putting it there as more or less a footnote as it was not my main point

Within ten minutes, water had risen 8 feet in Boiler Room 6, and as much as 14 feet above the keel in the forward compatments. (Rogers, Notes on the sinking of RMS Titanic)

Yes a secondary source I cannot be bothered looking at this time at the enquiry transcripts. I was actually quoting from ANTR, yet your point stands. I had always attributed that specific quote to Andrews. First it makes its way into ANTR book, then film, then Camerons epic. Historians, I absolutely understand the importance of seperating fact from quasi fiction, by which I mean although TA didnt say it, the water was indeed 14 feet above the keel in the forward compartments by 11.50, give or take 1 to 2 minutes either way.

Thank you for making this known to me.
As far as I can remember, there are only two bits of evidence from surving witnesses as to the rate of flooding during the firt 10 minutes and they are 2nd Oficer Boxhall's evidence regarding the sorting room. and the evidence of Leading Fireman Barratt when he returned to BR 5. Everything else has to be pure guess work. The Carpenter's sounding book would have been the source used by Andrews. Wilding and Smith.
 

Keith H

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As far as I can remember, there are only two bits of evidence from surving witnesses as to the rate of flooding during the firt 10 minutes and they are 2nd Oficer Boxhall's evidence regarding the sorting room. and the evidence of Leading Fireman Barratt when he returned to BR 5. Everything else has to be pure guess work. The Carpenter's sounding book would have been the source used by Andrews. Wilding and Smith.
From what I can make out is that the height of the bulkhead between boiler room 5 & 6 was twenty feet above the water line and it would only take the tip of the bow to dip by thirty feet to place it under the water line with boiler room six filling up and water flowing up "E" deck along Scotland road finding the doors along Scotland road that lead to the boiler rooms would accelerate the flooding even if the boiler room six had not completely filled with soon after finding the entry door down to boiler room five that may also account for a sudden rush of water into boiler room five apart from what would now be pouring over the top of the bulkhead this may be what caused the sinking of the ship to speed up.
Also the door opposite the boiler rooms giving access to stairs down to the linen rooms and eventually the swimming pool on "F" deck so there would be quite a lot of flooding of adjacent compartments in a short space of time
 
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James Murdoch

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Many thanks for your response Jim. I guess, with hindsight a passageway like Scotland Road was Titanics Achilles heel, although that being said when it flooded im sure it eliminated the list to Starboard.

I also read somewhere that when the mail room, squash courts amd linen rooms were flooding rather ironically the only room not to flood was the Swimming pool! I definitely recall reading/ or watching a documentary that stated this, as to its veracity to be honest im not 100% sure.

Finally, regarding "Within ten minutes, water had risen 8 feet in Boiler Room 6, and as much as 14 feet above the keel in the forward compatments" quote I retreived it is partially supported with the testimony of Fred Barrett.

"I went back to No. 6 fireroom and there was 8 feet of water in there..." ("Testimony of Frederick Barrett, Day 18")

However I always had attributed the quote to T.A or another officer and It demonstrates how you need to be on your guard when you retrieve information, even from a secondary source.

I often wonder truly how fast she flooded in the first thirty minutes of the sinking. However fast it certainly was fast enough that when Barret was ordered back into BR6 with a collegue (the second engineer?) going over the top of the bulkhead he essentially decleared it to be unsaveable. Thank god the stokers in there closed those dampers.

Once again, thank you for some great contributions. Have a nice weekend. JWM.
 
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Jim Currie

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Many thanks for your response Jim. I guess, with hindsight a passageway like Scotland Road was Titanics Achilles heel, although that being said when it flooded im sure it eliminated the list to Starboard.

I also read somewhere that when the mail room, squash courts amd linen rooms were flooding rather ironically the only room not to flood was the Swimming pool! I definitely recall reading/ or watching a documentary that stated this, as to its veracity to be honest im not 100% sure.

Finally, regarding "Within ten minutes, water had risen 8 feet in Boiler Room 6, and as much as 14 feet above the keel in the forward compatments" quote I retreived it is partially supported with the testimony of Fred Barrett.

"I went back to No. 6 fireroom and there was 8 feet of water in there..." ("Testimony of Frederick Barrett, Day 18")

However I always had attributed the quote to T.A or another officer and It demonstrates how you need to be on your guard when you retrieve information, even from a secondary source.

I often wonder truly how fast she flooded in the first thirty minutes of the sinking. However fast it certainly was fast enough that when Barret was ordered back into BR6 with a collegue (the second engineer?) going over the top of the bulkhead he essentially decleared it to be unsaveable. Thank god the stokers in there closed those dampers.

Once again, thank you for some great contributions. Have a nice weekend. JWM.
My Pleasure, James.

I have never felt at ease about the port list. While I do not wish to tarnish the memory of the brave engineers who lost their lives that dreadful night, as i have pointed out before, I think one of them probably made a fatal mistake and here's why.
If a ship is holed on one side, she will sink bodily and list to that side. If the down-flooding is rapid enough, she will eventually turn over on that side.
We know that water does not flow uphill, and finds its own level. Therefore, unless the ship is brought upright by manipulation of the ballast or down-flooding on the opposite side, the water in the side that was holed, will not flow over to the side that was not. Think about it. What caused the ship to come upright and allowed the water toflow over from starboard to port?
 

James Murdoch

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Hi there Jim, could you elaborate on what you mean regarding "one engineer making a fatal mistake"? Regard the flooding, isnt the flooding of Scotland Road attributed to eliminating the list to Starboard? As more and more water flooded into the forward compartments and it topped over the bulkhead, wouldnt that seek out any area level to flood, and thus bring the ship to a more or less 0°-2° port list situation.

Im also sure for most of the voyage she carried a 2 to 3 degree list to port as tonnes of coal had been moved from starboard to port due to the fire in BR5?

I totally understand your rationale, one must look to Costa Concordia and other recent sinkings. They all capsized on the side on which they were breached. I await your response eagerly, to hear your theory.
 
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Keith H

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Oct 13, 2017
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If one looks at the plans there is also the other companion way parallel to Scotland road so that cancels out that line of thought , the other is how was the ship ballasted ? this may be why a list to port developed apart from as I mentioned in a post ages ago that most of the stairwells are on the port side as far as the forward section is concerned. though we still have the fireman's tunnel acting as a longitudinal bulkhead keeping water to the starboard side so then again this makes things puzzling
One more thing i am looking at is that the swimming pool occupies the starboard side of boiler room five , so as the boiler room filled up this gave buoyancy to that side of the ship ,even with water in the pool the whole compartment would still exert an upward pressure from water below it .
 

Jim Currie

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Hi there Jim, could you elaborate on what you mean regarding "one engineer making a fatal mistake"? Regard the flooding, isnt the flooding of Scotland Road attributed to eliminating the list to Starboard? As more and more water flooded into the forward compartments and it topped over the bulkhead, wouldnt that seek out any area level to flood, and thus bring the ship to a more or less 0°-2° port list situation.

Im also sure for most of the voyage she carried a 2 to 3 degree list to port as tonnes of coal had been moved from starboard to port due to the fire in BR5?

I totally understand your rationale, one must look to Costa Concordia and other recent sinkings. They all capsized on the side on which they were breached. I await your response eagerly, to hear your theory.
Hello James

Perhaps I did not make my self clear.

If a ship is listed to starboard and down by the bow -due to water entering the hull forward of midship, then as long as water keeps coming in at the same place or places and she continues to lose buoyancy, she will never come upright and allow the incoming water to flow over to the port side. For exactly the same reasons, she will never return to an even keel. However, if water in the form of ballast - not flood water - is taken from the low - starboard side or added to the port side, then the ship would come upright and the existing flood water would be able to level off. If that happened, then the water would level off side to side but it would not flow "uphill" along Scotland road very much, if at all, because no extra weight would have been added. However, in the case of a ship such as the Titanic, there would have been another danger at the moment of levelling off, and that was what is known as "free surface effect". This is cause by a large area of free surface water moving. The depth is irrelevant. It causes the ship's center of gravity to rise and there comes a moment when she is almost unstable.. the term is "tender". At that moment she will lurch to one side to reestablish stability. I suspect there was such a moment. There is evidence where Chief Officer Wilde had the people transfer their weight from one side of there boat deck to the other. This would only be of any use in a very, very tender ship.
I doubt very much the tale of the list due to coal taken from the starboard side bunker. I suspect the person who believed such a thing was seeing the camber of the deck from a seat on the port side of the dining room.
No competent Chief Officer would allow such a stress on a new untried ship. He would have ordered ballast to the starboard side double bottoms to compensate for the coal taken from there. Perhaps that was the source of the mistake I mentioned?
As a matter of interest, when bringing a listed ship upright in the old days, we would add ballast water to the low side first. This was for the reasons earlier outlined.
 

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