Conflicting information the wateright door on E deck

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Paul Lee

In his testimony at the BoT, Boxhall notes that when he went down to see the flooding mail room, he was prevented from going down wards by a closed watertight door in the starboard passenger alleyway on E deck, and had to make his way through Scotland Road.

However, Miss Francatelli, who had accomodation in this 1st class corridor said she saw water coming along it (obviously after Boxhall had passed down to the mail room and headed back up). Steward Wheat, when he encountered water going into the Turkish bath area, said that the working alleyway (Scotland Road) was dry, implying that the water was coming through the 1st class accomodation.

Mr.Chambers could see down the stairs that led down to the mail room etc. He could only do this if the watertight door at the foreward end of the compartment was open.

Was the watertight door opened at some point to allow ease of access for crew members and passengers?


Well, this seems likely, since I've read that the Chambers were looking into the mail room at around the same time that Captain Smith and Carpenter Hutchenson appeared. If I remember correctly, Boxhall came down first and found the door closed. Isn't it possible that someone had opened it before the Chambers, Smith, and Hutchenson came along? Either that or there's more than one door in question. I've wondered if any of those in the mail room made it out alive (not survived the tragedy, but escaped the flooding mail room). It seems possible, and if anyone there had escaped the room, he could have left the door open for others behind him. Furthermore, it would seem probable (although not confirmed) that he would have escaped between Boxhall and the Chambers/Smith/Hutchenson. This is where the rate of sinking/water rising in the mail room would be of utmost importance in order to determine whether or not anyone in the mail room had or would have had time to escape through the E-Deck bulkhead hatch. I'd have to look into that. Don't have time now. Sorry.

Just my thoughts...
Tracing Boxhall's early route: He seems to have used the stairs near the Crew Galley to get to D-deck and the 3rd Class Open Space. From there to E-deck near the Gangways doors. He then says he crossed to stairs on the starboard-side on E-deck. Those stairs were forward of the No 2 Hatch and could have taken him as low as G-deck. - On F-deck on the port-side he seems to have found the WTDs open at bulkheads D and C.

Later on the starboard-side he encountered a locked door at the forward end of E-deck. He thought it was a WTD but it was not. He says he crossed over to the port side to descend from the Working Alley-way to the Mail Room. The question is how?
As far as I can see there was no way down to the Mail or Baggage rooms on the port-side. - This is an aspect that arose under a discussion on the Mail Clerks. - Any thoughts??

When he descended to the Mail Room I think Boxhall was on the starboard-side, and descended via the 1st Class stairs that led to the Squash Court and then used the stairs that led from the passageway from the Mail Clerks rooms to the Post Office lobby. - Most plans show a solid wall between those two stairs, but it seems there was a doorway. That is supported by passenger and crew testimonies.

Paul for more detail see your E&H deck plans.
Hello Paul,

I need to correct part of what I previously posted. My attention has been drawn to the fact that I had overlooked a vital section of Boxhall's testimony:

"I went down the same way as I did when I visited the third class accommodation previously.
I went down as far as E deck and went to the starboard alleyway on E deck and the watertight door stopped me getting through."

Contrary to what I had initially believed Boxhall was trying to, but was not able to enter the starboard alleyway. At this point he will have been in the athwartship passageway at the forward end of the starboard and working alleyways. He then crossed over to the working alleyway.

Although Boxhall does not detail his route from there, he must have returned to the starboard-side via one of the several entry points into 1st Class, which will have placed him where he had initially tried to go. - In the main fore-aft 1st Class passageway. - From there using the Squash Court stairs he will have been able to descend to the Mail Room.

I hope that helps.
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