Collision with SS Nomadic at Cherbourg?


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Aaron_2016

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Survivor Edith Rosenbaum wrote about the incident in 1934. Do you think Edith was describing a common occurrence that takes place when transfers take place and was exaggerating the event, or was there a mishap and the two ships collided?


Extract from her 1934 letter.

'We waited aboard the tender for about 3 hours. I sat next to Colonel Astor with whom I had crossed in the spring of the year. Finally, a murmur went over the tender, 'Titanic sighted' and then from the huge tender (that had been constructed especially for the Titanic and the Olympic as the draught of these boats was so strong that a special tender had to be constructed.) I sighted what appeared to me a six-story house! I have a very strong recollection of a very unusual occurrence ' as we approached the ship, although the sea was perfectly calm, the tender began rocking in the most violent and inconceivable manner, throwing the passengers completely off their feet. I remember remarking, 'Well a boat that will produce this uncanny upheaval, in this kind of a calm sea, is dangerous. I wish I were not going.'......We drew alongside the Titanic, the tender pounding against her sides with such a force that I feared she would break in half.'

'The gangplank was held down by ten men on either side, as it shook and swayed in every direction. I was the last one to leave the tender, hating the idea of crossing that gang plank, and no sooner had I boarded the ship, than I went below to find out if there was not a possibility of locating my luggage, as I wished to turn back.'


I went aboard the Nomadic last week and read out her letter to the staff who were greatly appreciative as they were not aware of it. I also took a few photos (see below). It really felt like going back in time to 1912.




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A

Aaron_2016

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Thanks. The staff I spoke to had not seen the letter before. Not sure if the regular staff were on duty that day as it was so close to Christmas (December 23rd).


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Harland Duzen

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Ohhhhh! That probably explains it. It just seemed a bit odd since given the notable passengers onboard Nomadic and the amount written on Titanic that this would have been known / found prior to her opening as a museum exhibit.

Back to Topic!

On Nomadic possibly hitting Titanic, it does sound slimiar to the Shallow Canal Effect that occurred just hours earlier in Southampton. Maybe when they first sighted Titanic, they set off while she was just entering Cherbourg and just before she shut off her engines, Nomadic was dragged into the hull.
 
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Aaron_2016

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One of the staff members mentioned that very thing, but she believed the Titanic's propellers would have had no effect on sucking the Nomadic into her side. As I recall she believed the Nomadic may have been caught by the wake or ripple effect when the Titanic approached and stopped and the Nomadic steamed into her wake which rippled towards them and caused her to rock and bounce about as they approached the Titanic. She also said that the letter was wrong about the sea conditions as the letter states the sea was calm but the member of staff told me the sea was not calm when the transfer was taking place. This could also explain the apparent bumping against the Titanic's side. Perhaps the Nomadic scraped off some of the Titanic's black hull paint as they briefly made contact? I recall she also said the captain of the Nomadic may have been temporarily in command and was taking over from someone else. Perhaps if he was inexperienced with handling the Nomadic and keeping her steady against the side of the Titanic then this may have resulted in a minor collision as they tried to keep her steady beside the Titanic.


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Harland Duzen

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Since Nomadic is reported to have docked on Titanic's Port side (according to the ''report'' seen on this thread: Calling at Cherbourg check post #54)
It most likely was the Nomadic rocking due to passing though the ship's bow - stern wave and if her Captain was temporary then chaos seems guaranteed.

As for the state of the sea, It was mentioned in the same letter, that ''The gangplank was held down by ten men on either side, as it shook and swayed in every direction'' so it was choppy (a bit ironic since the entire harbour was built to deflect large waves!).
 
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Aaron_2016

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When I leaned against the port side railing the woman I spoke to said that the Titanic was on that side (port side of the Nomadic). I understand it may have looked similar to the 1997 film. Perhaps it was a case of trial and error owing to the currents and shipping traffic and they later decided it was better to transfer the passengers on the other side? Perhaps the eastbound vs westbound voyages had different embarkation and departure points? The footage from 1920 shows no difficulties with the transfer. Whatever Edith Rosenbaum had experienced it looked quite different from this:


Skip to 2.00



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Harland Duzen

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But the 1997 film and Marschall painting is inaccurate since when Titanic stopped in Cherbourg, Land should have actually have been on her Starboard Side. As this picture shows below:
Titanic-en-rade-de-Cherbourg-©-Collection-Claude-Molteni-de-Villermont1.jpg

Maybe the tour guide meant that the Nomadic pulled up on her Port Side to Titanic's Port side.
 
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Nomadic made fast on the port side, Traffic on the starboard side. There is mention that the sea rose up when Nomadic came alongside by a reported aboard her.
Didn't we already had that same discussion here somewhere on ET?
 

Harland Duzen

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We did and I even mentioned it above but the more we know... ;)

I been just been mentioning what you told me on the other thread so you deserve the real credit here. Thank you.

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Stephen Carey

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Survivor Edith Rosenbaum wrote about the incident in 1934. Do you think Edith was describing a common occurrence that takes place when transfers take place and was exaggerating the event, or was there a mishap and the two ships collided?


Extract from her 1934 letter.

'We waited aboard the tender for about 3 hours. I sat next to Colonel Astor with whom I had crossed in the spring of the year. Finally, a murmur went over the tender, 'Titanic sighted' and then from the huge tender (that had been constructed especially for the Titanic and the Olympic as the draught of these boats was so strong that a special tender had to be constructed.) I sighted what appeared to me a six-story house! I have a very strong recollection of a very unusual occurrence ' as we approached the ship, although the sea was perfectly calm, the tender began rocking in the most violent and inconceivable manner, throwing the passengers completely off their feet. I remember remarking, 'Well a boat that will produce this uncanny upheaval, in this kind of a calm sea, is dangerous. I wish I were not going.'......We drew alongside the Titanic, the tender pounding against her sides with such a force that I feared she would break in half.'

'The gangplank was held down by ten men on either side, as it shook and swayed in every direction. I was the last one to leave the tender, hating the idea of crossing that gang plank, and no sooner had I boarded the ship, than I went below to find out if there was not a possibility of locating my luggage, as I wished to turn back.'


I went aboard the Nomadic last week and read out her letter to the staff who were greatly appreciative as they were not aware of it. I also took a few photos (see below). It really felt like going back in time to 1912.




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Lots of rivets to count there... What a lovely wee ship!
 
A

Aaron_2016

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Agreed, and her rivets were just as good as the Titanic's rivets as they were built at the same time. Wonder why no effort was made to test the strength of the Nomadic's rivets. Never understood the purpose of testing the Titanic's rivets as they are water damaged century old rivets which had already suffered the stresses of the collision, break up, and striking the seabed, and were bound to react poorly to any modern tests owing to their condition, yet they were tested with modern day fresh rivets and unfairly compared. Glad to say the poor rivets theory was dismissed.


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Monmou19

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It was the number of compartments the iceberg compromised . The rivets were fine even the ones from the wreck. Everyone always loves to dream up more things but they often aren’t true. For instance that photo they claim shows a black mark from the coal bunker fire on the outside the ship. I honestly think it’s a cloud of Black smoke in the photo or coal dust from when they loaded it on the ship . That’s why they Painted most ships black until they were converted the oil.
 

Harland Duzen

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...Everyone always loves to dream up more things but they often aren’t true...

Going off topic, but if's there's one thing I learnt last year from The Coal Fire and James Cameron shows, is that things can only remain a mystery if we choose to leave them shrouded in mystery.

The Mary Celeste have theorys of rotten fungus, Mutiny, Aliens, exploding barrels etc, when in reality the simple truth was a malfunctioning pump and a faulty compass which led to the crew leaving in a lifeboat that sadly capsized.

The Bermuda Triangle likewise had gas-bubbles, rogue waves, currents, more Aliens etc when most of it is man-made myths and legends (I would recommend this mini documentary:
)

Overall for Titanic's case, it's likely that due to publicity and the immense interest in her, that we see more shows proclaiming myths as facts in the future.

Back to Topic (and some good photos of Nomadic)!
 
A

Aaron_2016

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When the Nomadic approached the Titanic at Cherbourg, survivor Edith Rosenbaum said they pounded against the Titanic's side with terrific force. Would this scrape off some of her fresh paintwork, or leave a noticeable scarring against the side of both ships? Would the damage need to be inspected, and would the captain of the Nomadic need to be called in by White Star to be reprimanded for endangering the safety of the passengers (assuming he had recently been assigned to command the Nomadic which was quite new herself).


Letter from survivor Edith Rosenbaum (1934)

"We waited aboard the tender for about 3 hours. I sat next to Colonel Astor with whom I had crossed in the spring of the year. Finally, a murmur went over the tender, 'Titanic sighted' and then from the huge tender I sighted what appeared to me a six-story house! I have a very strong recollection of a very unusual occurrence as we approached the ship, although the sea was perfectly calm, the tender began rocking in the most violent and inconceivable manner, throwing the passengers completely off their feet. I remember remarking, 'Well a boat that will produce this uncanny upheaval, in this kind of a calm sea, is dangerous. I wish I were not going......We drew alongside the Titanic, the tender pounding against her sides with such a force that I feared she would break in half. The gangplank was held down by ten men on either side, as it shook and swayed in every direction. I was the last one to leave the tender, hating the idea of crossing that gang plank, and no sooner had I boarded the ship, than I went below to find out if there was not a possibility of locating my luggage, as I wished to turn back. I was told that I could leave, if I so desired, but my luggage would have to go on to New York."

I have been to the Nomadic several times. Like to imagine the Titanic is right against her portholes. Wonder if it is good or bad luck to rub paint off a new liner?


Imagining the hull of the Titanic is right outside the windows, blocking out the sunlight, and then slamming against her side.


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Dave Gittins

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I would believe Edith Rosenbaum if she said the sun is shining. She's the one who saw somebody walking on the deck of Californian during the night.
 
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Aaron_2016

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I would believe Edith Rosenbaum if she said the sun is shining. She's the one who saw somebody walking on the deck of Californian during the night.


Lightoller claimed that he could see "all her lights". Eva Hart said she saw a "string of lights" and Boxhall claimed that the mystery ship was so close that he could see her lights with the naked eye, and "the lights in her portholes". I believe that if they were close enough to see her portholes then they might have been able to see somebody walking on her deck, or passing her portholes with a twinkle of light as they passed each one. Edith said she had "defective eyesight" which enabled her to see a greater distance than most people. It could simply have been however the strong refraction which elevated and magnified the ship's appearance. I recall a passenger on another ship who saw the same thing occur to another ship and he said the magnification caused by the refraction enabled him to see people on the ship's deck (despite it being miles away) and how she appeared so close due to the magnification that he could almost 'wittingly' read the label from a man's cigar. I believe the survivors could have been able to see a man walking on her deck if the conditions were right.


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