Did Boxhall indeed row under the Propellers?


Cam Houseman

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Hi y'all
So did Mr. Fourth Officer Boxhall indeed pass under the Propellers?
Lifeboat No. 2 left the Portside around 1:45am, with 18 people aboard. which is near the time that the forecastle and Forward Well Deck went under (1:55-2:05am)

Day 3 (American Inquiry)

Senator SMITH.
Did you ever return to the Titanic after leaving its side?
Mr. BOXHALL.
I pulled around the ship's stern and was intending to go alongside, and tried to see if I could get alongside of the ship again.

By 2am, Boxhall has pulled around from Titanic's Port side to the Starboard side, looking for the Starboard gangway door. He then saw her Propellers rising:

"When I passed ‘round the boat to try and get to this gangway door on the Starboard side her propellers were out of water. I'm not certain if I didn't pass underneath them." (From his BBC 1962 Interview)

So does this mean he passed underneath the Starboard propellers? He must've! Either he passed very close, like, under one of the blades, or passed directly under them. Did Titanic have the Port list, or had she corrected it? According to the 2010 GHS study (AKA the physics simulation done in "Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron" and Titanic: Honor and Glory, the Props didn't rise out of the water until the Compass Tower was under, then began to rise fast out of the water. But this was very close to 2:18, the time Titanic broke in two. I definitely think he did, before/during the bridge went under.

Thoughts?
 
Yes, he did but it depends on how you interpret "under".

All four of his accounts (US Inquiry, British Inquiry, 1959 article and 1962 broadcast) are consistent regarding him departing in lifeboat no.2 on the port side and rowing around to Titanic's starboard side based on an order (possibly from Captain Smith) to "go round to the Starboard side to the gangway doors." In 1962 he admitted why he didn't completely follow through on this order: "I found that there was such a mob standing in the gangway doors, really, I daren't go alongside because if they'd jumped they'd swamp the boat."

As for seeing the propellers.... it was around 1.45am when they departed and he then "stayed round on the starboard side, probably about 200 feet away from the ship" however later he was "about a half a mile away... resting on the oars" when the Titanic sank (although he claims he did not see her sink). So when he rowed around the stern I think he kept his distance, although it may have appeared as if he went "under" them due to the angle of the ship. He was also worried about suction ("I did find there was a little suction just as I was pulling around the ship.") so would have likely kept that "200ft" he mentioned away.

You can read my compilation of his accounts: Titanic's Officers - RMS Titanic - Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall
 
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Cam Houseman

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As for seeing the propellers.... it was around 1.45am when they departed and he then "stayed round on the starboard side, probably about 200 feet away from the ship" however later he was "about a half a mile away... resting on the oars" when the Titanic sank (although he claims he did not see her sink). So when he rowed around the stern I think he kept his distance, although it may have appeared as if he went "under" them due to the angle of the ship.
You mean with the List to Port, the Starboard propeller might've seemed higher out of the air?
I mean, a higher angle seems more realistic
Also, I grabbed the 1962 interview from your website, I love it
 

Cam Houseman

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There were a number of inconsistencies if you try and compare the details. Split engine orders, where he was when the berg was sighted, are just a few. I'll leave it others to point all of them out.
Did Boxhall mention the height of the propellers above the water, or anyone in Lifeboat 2?
I'm wondering about those inconsistencies
 

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