Damage to the ship's engines?

A. Gabriel

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As the ship has past the iceberg why are they in a hurry to turn NORTH? Have they seen the icefield ahead or a ship lights in hope for rescue assistant?
That reminds me of a question I've asked myself for a while since viewing a map of the wrecksite -- why is the bow pointing north? Assuming this was the final attitude/heading the ship took when it stopped for the last time, how did it get from heading in a mostly-western direction to a mostly-northern direction? Did Quartermaster Hitchens keep the helm hard to port (tiller orders) until Titanic came to a complete stop, forcing a quarter-turn of a full circle?
 
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Aaron_2016

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That reminds me of a question I've asked myself for a while since viewing a map of the wrecksite -- why is the bow pointing north? Assuming this was the final attitude/heading the ship took when it stopped for the last time, how did it get from heading in a mostly-western direction to a mostly-northern direction? Did Quartermaster Hitchens keep the helm hard to port (tiller orders) until Titanic came to a complete stop, forcing a quarter-turn of a full circle?

When the helm was put 'hard a-port' the survivors felt the ship heeling over as she swung her stern away from the iceberg and moved further away from her side. Scarrott said it looked like the ship was trying to "make a circle round it."

When the ship had stopped and Captain Smith looked over the side he would have seen the iceberg just aft of amidships near the engine room. This is why I believe he told Harold Bride the ship had been struck "just aft of amidships". He possibly heard a vibration caused by the grounding, cavitation, or lost blade, and assumed their engine room had bumped against or grounded over the ice.


Hendrickson

"I was asleep when it occurred, and got pulled out."
Q - Were you awakened by the shock?
A - No.
Q - Who woke you?
A - One of my mates in the room pulled me out. I was dead to the wide, dead asleep.
Q - When he woke you up, did you go on deck?
A - Yes.
Q - Did you see the iceberg?
A - Yes.
Q - Where was it?
A - Just abaft the engine room when I got on deck. When I got on deck first I saw a lot of ice on the deck, and I looked out and saw an iceberg astern just abaft the engine room.
Q - You came up very quick?
A - No, I walked up behind the others who were walking up.
Q - Had the ship nearly stopped then?
A - She was stopped.


Joseph Scarrott saw the iceberg up to 8 minutes after he heard the lookouts ring the bell. He said it was off the stern "Not a ship’s length" away from the side. But when Alfred Shiers went on deck to see the iceberg he said it was now "About two ships' length from where I stood" as the stern swung further away.

It appears the Titanic was circling around the iceberg as she swung her stern clear away and the iceberg was still within view some time after the engines had stopped.


.
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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It sounds like you might have some further information here that perhaps you would be willing to share to add to the discussion so we may have a more enlightened debate.
See Brad's post above, #80. Tests done on American battleships equipped with 4-cylinder, triple-expansion engines, showed similar results, 50 to 60 seconds before the vessel was backing hard. And that is with engineers on standby stations waiting for orders to come down. On Olympic it would take about 15 seconds to close the stop valve, then they would reverse the reversing level and disconnect the turbine by throwing another lever, and then about another 15 seconds or so to reopen the stop valve again for the engines to first begin going astern. Then add the time for engines to accelerate in reverse toward their full astern rpms, and you are pushing about 1 minute of time.
 
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1) As Sam pointed out, steam engines don't cough.
2)There is absolutely ZERO evidence anywhere that the iceberg damage went back that far.
3) There was no issue at all with too little steam being raised. if there was, there would have been no need to pop the safeties to bleed off the excess which did in fact exist
4) The main engines were cranked by steam...directly....no need to involve donkey engines since there was no such thing as a donkey engine.

Donkey boilers....yes....and those existed to provide steam to run auxiliary functions....but no donkey engines.
(1) I think maybe some us might dismiss some of those reports from survivors because they don't fit with our own technical ideas of how things sound.
They were just what one person heard and in their own words.
One person could say that the engines "coughed" , while another might say they "hicupped", "backfired" , or any other description of the sound they heard.
I don't think we should dismiss them as not being factual because they don't match our own ideas of technical things ?
 

coal eater

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when you watch james cameron movie you can see the reversing gear usage scene then engines give single horrible noise before going reverse.

if full astern was maintenained would titanic go 21 knots backwards?
 
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Aaron_2016

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The other ships in the area reversed their engines full speed astern, yet there are no reports from the crew or passengers that they felt the engines suddenly reverse. Is it possible that it was not as noticeable as we think?


" I went full speed astern." - Captain Rostron - Carpathia

"I ordered full speed astern." - Captain Moore - Mount Temple

"We had to reverse the engine and put her full speed astern." - Captain Lord - Californian


The newspapers are filled with reports from passenger liners that threw their engines full speed astern to avoid collisions. They must have felt there was time on those ships to accomplish the action and prevent a collision. I believe Boxhall may have invented the 'full astern' indicator on the telegraphs in order to create the illusion that they had attempted to save the ship before the collision in order to justify their speed to the inquiry for the same reasons that the order hard a-starboard was I believe allegedly given which created the impression they did everything humanly possible to avoid the iceberg so that no act of negligence could be made against them.

It would not look good if they answered the most important questions with these possible hypothetical answers:

Q - Did you slacken speed?
A - No.
Q - Did you immediately answer the lookout's telephone?
A - No. I saw the iceberg, so there was no reason to answer the phone.
Q - Did you turn the ship away?
A - No. We had no time. It just appeared off our starboard bow. I immediately stopped the engines and closed the watertight doors.
Q - Did you reverse the engines?
A - No. I told you, sir; we had no time.


Boxhall claimed that he heard Murdoch inform the captain that he reversed the engines full astern. There is no proof that his claim was true. He also claimed that he heard Murdoch inform the captain that they had struck an iceberg, but the odd thing is, Boxhall said he did not know it was an iceberg until some time afterwards when he over heard Moody say what it was. This puts great doubt in the alleged 'full astern order'.

Boxhall - US Inquiry

"I put her hard astarboard and run the engines full astern, but it was too close; she hit it. I intended to port around it, but she hit before I could do any more."

Boxhall - UK Inquiry

"I hard-a-starboarded and reversed the engines, and I was going to hard-a-port round it but she was too close. I could not do any more."

Boxhall - 1962 Interview

"We've struck an iceberg, sir. I'm going full speed astern, sir; on the port engine."


.
 
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Mike Spooner

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It seems to me that Boxhall is not to be trusted in what he has to say. Wasn't he the officer who reported the wrong ship position!
 
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Aaron_2016

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He later claimed he was in his cabin drinking tea when the lookouts rang the bell. It is quite possible that he was not a well man and Murdoch may have told him to go inside and see the doctor in the morning. We assume they were all in a picture of health, but for all we know there may have been a virus spreading all over the ship, especially as Boxhall had just completed his rounds. I wonder how many passengers on average failed the medical inspections in New York and were deported back? Titanic was a large immigrant ship. Were these ships known to be rampant with rats and disease? Wonder how busy the ship's doctors were, especially as the temperature dropped and pre-existing illnesses got worse?

Boxhall was the only surviving officer on duty during the collision. Perhaps the most valuable key witness to the disaster and yet he was the only one to be taken ill and rest at the Continental hotel during the official Inquiry. Reports say he became ill because he spent the night keeping warm by rowing, which doesn't make sense. Perhaps his illness was present during the collision which could explain his absense from the bridge as he was possibly ordered to return to his cabin and regain his strength with a nice hot cup of tea.



Boxhall1a.png



From what I understand, everybody else was in good health. Is it possible that Boxhall already had a pre-existing illness (the fever that the Doctor spoke of) and the cold had aggrivated it into pleurisy?


.
 
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Harland Duzen

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He later claimed he was in his cabin drinking tea when the lookouts rang the bell. It is quite possible that he was not a well man and Murdoch may have told him to go inside and see the doctor in the morning. We assume they were all in a picture of health, but for all we know there may have been a virus spreading all over the ship, especially as Boxhall had just completed his rounds. I wonder how many passengers on average failed the medical inspections in New York and were deported back? Titanic was a large immigrant ship. Were these ships known to be rampant with rats and disease? Wonder how busy the ship's doctors were, especially as the temperature dropped and pre-existing illnesses got worse?
I read online (not the best source) that on average 2% of a ship's 3rd Class or Steerage would be refused entry to New York and America.

Meanwhile White Star and other Lines would often try to keep their steerage accommodation as clean as possible to prevent passengers from being refused entry as they then have to return them at their own cost.

This is often why 3rd Class areas on ships like the Dinning or Smoking Room had wooden chairs or benches with no fabrics or table cloths. It was keep the rooms sterile.

Back To Topic!
 
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if full astern was maintenained would titanic go 21 knots backwards?
Simple answer is NO for three reasons:
1. The reciprocating engines produced about 2/3 of the full ahead power. The turbine produced about 1/3. The turbine is taken off line when one or both engines are put into reverse.
2. The propellers were designed for greatest efficiency when going ahead.. In reverse they were much less efficient.
3. The ship's hull was designed for going forward in the hydrodynamic sense. There would be far greater resistance when going backwards.
 
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Julian Atkins

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The other ships in the area reversed their engines full speed astern, yet there are no reports from the crew or passengers that they felt the engines suddenly reverse. Is it possible that it was not as noticeable as we think?


" I went full speed astern." - Captain Rostron - Carpathia

"I ordered full speed astern." - Captain Moore - Mount Temple

"We had to reverse the engine and put her full speed astern." - Captain Lord - Californian


The newspapers are filled with reports from passenger liners that threw their engines full speed astern to avoid collisions. They must have felt there was time on those ships to accomplish the action and prevent a collision. I believe Boxhall may have invented the 'full astern' indicator on the telegraphs in order to create the illusion that they had attempted to save the ship before the collision in order to justify their speed to the inquiry for the same reasons that the order hard a-starboard was I believe allegedly given which created the impression they did everything humanly possible to avoid the iceberg so that no act of negligence could be made against them.

It would not look good if they answered the most important questions with these possible hypothetical answers:

Q - Did you slacken speed?
A - No.
Q - Did you immediately answer the lookout's telephone?
A - No. I saw the iceberg, so there was no reason to answer the phone.
Q - Did you turn the ship away?
A - No. We had no time. It just appeared off our starboard bow. I immediately stopped the engines and closed the watertight doors.
Q - Did you reverse the engines?
A - No. I told you, sir; we had no time.


Boxhall claimed that he heard Murdoch inform the captain that he reversed the engines full astern. There is no proof that his claim was true. He also claimed that he heard Murdoch inform the captain that they had struck an iceberg, but the odd thing is, Boxhall said he did not know it was an iceberg until some time afterwards when he over heard Moody say what it was. This puts great doubt in the alleged 'full astern order'.

Boxhall - US Inquiry

"I put her hard astarboard and run the engines full astern, but it was too close; she hit it. I intended to port around it, but she hit before I could do any more."

Boxhall - UK Inquiry

"I hard-a-starboarded and reversed the engines, and I was going to hard-a-port round it but she was too close. I could not do any more."

Boxhall - 1962 Interview

"We've struck an iceberg, sir. I'm going full speed astern, sir; on the port engine."


.
Hi Aaron,

I think you have hit the proverbial 'nail on the head' here in respect of Boxhall's evidence, and which others have commented upon here subsequently, and which I have commented upon on another thread that we were both engaged upon earlier this year.

Many people on this forum have taken what Boxhall stated in evidence at both Inquiries as 'fact' ie the truth of what happened.

My personal view has always been that Boxhall was lying in respect of certain parts of his testimonies, and he knew it. His 1962 BBC Radio interview was perhaps far closer to the truth, and some form of 'confessional' in his old age.

I think Boxhall was a very complex personality, and some of his later statements in old age require close scrutiny, such as his published account in the Nautical Magazine, May 1959.

In later years in his old age he appears to have let the guard go somewhat in respect of what he maintained at the 1912 Inquiries and the Ryan case, yet strengthened his adverse opinion against Captain Lord; his pliable personality and ego having been affected by his involvement in ANTR? And like Lightoller in 1936, freed of his employment with the White Star Line, and his pension now secured.

Perhaps in 1959 he was rather shocked to get a missive from Leslie Harrison and to learn that Captain Lord was still alive.

I have not the slightest doubt that he deliberately lied in 1912 about the orders Murdoch gave on the telegraph to the engine room. The question that is of interest to me is what else Boxhall deliberately lied about in his testimonies...

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!"

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Aaron_2016

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Joseph Groves Boxhall - Radio Interview

Here is the full transcript of Boxhall's 1962 BBC radio interview...

He was sitting in his cabin drinking a cup of tea.

Murdoch said "I'm going full speed astern, Sir, on the port engine".

The rest of the transcript deserves very close scrutiny and examination.

Cheers,

Julian
As the old saying goes, it is easier to recall the truth, than it is to recall a lie. I've heard people say that his 1962 interview should be taken with a pinch of salt because it was 50 years after the disaster, but the thing is, he recalled so much information in that interview. Even the smallest details such as the passage ways he walked and the title of the song which the band played at a specific time, and he repeated almost word for word what he told the Inquiry regarding some aspects of the evacuation. I think it tells us that his memory on the subject was pretty sharp, yet when it came to recalling the most important part (the orders that he heard Murdoch give) he gave us something entirely different. No mention of hearing the order 'hard a-starboard' before the collision and no mention of hearing Murdoch informing the Captain that he gave that order. The only thing that stuck in his mind appeared to be the reversing of one engine to swing the bow away, which seems odd because there wasn't time to achieve that command and the action of reversing the port engine would cause the stern to swing into the danger. Perhaps they reversed the starboard engine afterwards in order to swing the stern away from the danger and Boxhall mistakenly said port engine instead of starboard engine? Similar to how 9/11 witnesses kept mixing up which tower had collapsed first. When put on the spot during an interview sometimes the wrong thing is said by mistake. Either that, or Boxhall was completely unaware what happened on the bridge because he possibly was not present when Murdoch spoke to the captain?


.
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Aaron,

You have carefully analysed the route Boxhall would have taken from his cabin on other threads.

My personal view is that his 1962 account of drinking tea in his cabin is a tacit admission of the truth of what he was doing at the time, never admitted in the 1912 testimonies.

Ergo Boxhall was never on the bridge when Murdoch did whatever he did on the telegraphs to the engine room, and only arrived after the event.

He was probably 'nobbled' (slang) by White Star officials whilst in his hotel before giving testimony in the USA. There is ample evidence that Boxhall was very conscious of money and such matters throughout his life.

This thread shows quite clearly he lied about Murdoch's orders to the engine room. He deliberately lied about all this. He was just a pawn to be used by others in a much bigger game.

He didn't get command with the White Star Line as neither did Lightoller or Pitman, but all got their pensions. Lightoller seems to have been comfortably off in the late 1930s and then has the quite remarkable escapade at Dunkirk. Boxhall retired with his wife near Bournemouth/Christchurch in Hampshire, still obsessed with money (or lack of it) in the early 1960s same as in the aftermath of the British 1912 Inquiry. He must have received a generous fee from Rank for his involvement in ANTR in 1958?

Cheers,
Julian
 
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Guys, gals, and accepted variations on those themes: Be VERY careful about taking any sort of testimony as Holy Writ. That seems to be the mistake some of us are making here.

We know for a fact that some of these people got caught in a lie. Lightoller for example who got tripped up by Senator Smith about the knowledge the watch teams had about ice, Perkis claiming to go back in a lifeboat to fish people out if the water (He did nothing of the kind), and Boxhall giving the most vivid account of the collision of the iceberg even though...if you follow what he said closely....you realize that he couldn't possibly have seen what he described.

This is why verification and corroboration with other witnesses and forensic evidence matters. If it isn't corroborated or consistent with what we know is possible or is contradicted by what we know is NOT possible, than it needs to be treated with a skeptical eye.
 

VanessaMcHugh

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Oct 29, 2015
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Aaron, we need to stick to the facts rather than imaginative speculation.

Best wishes

Mark.
I would argue that a sizeable amount of this forum is "imaginative speculation", including witness testimony. I have always strongly believed that there will never be a 100% accurate version of events because every single survivor has (intentionally or not) given an account which isn't wholly accurate.

Vanessa