Did Thomas Andrews know the ship would split?


Daniel Cox

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Apr 5, 2004
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Im just curious , after Andrews predicted the ship would founder and working out how long she would last ect.Would of he have ever thought or known that the ship would break in half?.Maybe he knew and kept it to himself? or maybe he never thought that would happen.What do others think on here?.........Dan
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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My bet - he didn't know.

I don't think Andrews was the type of person to keep things to himself the way he acted on the night of the sinking.
 

Mike Bull

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Dec 23, 2000
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I should think that the poor chap had enough on his plate, without wondering about the precise mechanics of his great ship's death throes; interesting thought, though!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Daniel, I'll throw in with Jeremy and Mike on this. While Andrews could predict with some reasonable certainty that the ship would sink, I don't think the possibility of a break-up ever even occured to him. Unfortunately, what were doing here is guessing at what a man...one long dead and unable to speak for himself...was thinking rather then what he was saying.

That makes any opinion on this one...mine included BTW...pure speculation. There's just no way to know.
 

Dave Gittins

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I doubt if Tom gave it a thought. At the time, it was almost unknown for a ship to break in the way Titanic did. Two or three ships had done so but they were dismissed as being of unusual hull form. Ships were known to have broken while sitting on a reef but Titanic was floating freely in the open sea. During most of the sinking, Titanic was only a few degrees down by the bow and Tom very likely expected her to quietly simply sink as the compartments overflowed and the water spread aft.

It might be mentioned that Edward Wilding believed she could not break up and he had done the calculations. Andrews very possibly thought the same. There are modern examples of freighter hulls breaking but I've never heard of a big passenger liner repeating the feat. If Andrews survived long enough to witness the breakup it would have come as a horrible final shock.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Andrews was last seen in the Smoking room right? Before the breakup the ship was up ended at a pretty steep agle. I would think he had trouble standing at the fireplace for too long. I would speculate that even before the breakup, the wood paneling where he was had already started to compress and coming apart. He at that point surely would have known what that meant. If the ceiling was compressing, the ship was bending. One can imagine him looking up and around him running the thoughts and calculations in his head. I just doubt he stayed in that room as the furniture no doubt was sliding towards the bow. I would kind of like to think reality snapped in and he was making his way towards the aft deck thru the palm court. The fact his body was never recovered doesn't mean he went down with the ship, as he may have not had a life jacket on, thus his body was not found by the Mackay Bennett.
 
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Dec 4, 2000
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What Andrews knew, or even suspected cannot be known. However, on page 93 of ANTR Walter Lord recalled the story of Andrews standing transfixed in the first class smoking room just before the end. This story has been discredited from time to time, and may be apocryphal. It is an eerie verisimilitude to this story, however. The alleged location would have been an excellent place to watch the ship come apart. The smoking room was directly in way of the breakup.

To passengers on deck, the ship gave no signs of impending breakup. However, events below foreshadowed what happened in the end. There was a cascade of events that Andrews should have known about that indicated the hull was in trouble. They included the flooding of the tunnel, the loss of bulkhead D, and the flooding upward through the bottom of boiler room #4. All of these were caused by loss of watertight integrity resulting from flooding and loss of buoyancy at one end of the hull girder. And, although there is no testimony about noises the hull was making, there must have been a lot of ugly sound coming from the hull as the unfair strain increased. So, Andrews had plenty of evidence that his creation was slowly coming apart as it sank. Whether he "connected the dots" or not is unknown.

Wilding correctly calculated that the hull should not have broken apart at the bow-down angles encountered throughout most of the night. In an undamaged and unflooded condition Titanic's hull was built to withstand those angles. But, he was not paid by H&W to tell the whole story.

It was not the angle of the hull, but the loss of buoyancy (or gain of weight) at one end of the hull girder that created the destruction. In effect, the dry and undamaged stern section was trying to cantilever the weight of the bow.

-- David G. Brown
 
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Daniel Cox

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Dave wrote: "If Andrews survived long enough to witness the breakup it would have come as a horrible final shock".
Thanks for the feedback on this topic.In regards to the above quote , yes it would of been the worse thing he could of ever seen.If he had seen the ship break , either around him (in the room , but seems doubtful as he would of fell in regards to the slope) or in the distance if he was in the water ,none of us could ever know what pain the poor guy must of felt.
 

Lee Gilliland

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"The fact his body was never recovered doesn't mean he went down with the ship, as he may have not had a life jacket on, thus his body was not found by the Mackay Bennett."

Lord portrayed him as staring past the "Welcome to New York" painting, his life jacket on the table next to him.
 

Dave Gittins

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For the record, the last fifteen minutes of Thomas Andrews' life are very unreliably recorded in Thomas Andrews: Shipbuilder, the 1912 hagiography. See pages 73-74.

These accounts have him everywhere from the engine room to the boat deck. They are all from unidentified witnesses. The smoking room tale, for instance, is from an "assistant steward'. Problems arise when we look for an assistant steward who escaped at the last minute and lived to tell the story.

Walter Lord didn't mention the painting. That probably derives from later movies. The wrong painting is often mentioned because the writer has looked at photos of Olympic, such as the one on page 36-37 of the illustrated A Night to Remember.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dr Monica Simon did address the question and the stories that had gained popular currency re Andrews' last identified whereabouts in an article in the ADB some years ago (back in 1999).

Here is what Lord wrote in ANTR:
quote:

The smoking-room was not completely empty. When a steward looked in at 2.10, he was surprised to see Thomas Andrews standing all alone in the room. Andrews' lifebelt lay carelessly across teh green cloth top of a card table. His arms were folded over his chest; his look was stunned; all his drive and energy were gone. A moment of awed silence, and the steward timidly broke in: 'Aren't you going to have a try for it, Mr Andrews?'

There was not answer, not even a trace that he heard. The builder of the Titanic merely stared aft.
So, as Dave suggests, no mention of the painting. Didn't Lord later make some comments about the wrong one being used in the movie? He was amused that he'd missed his chance to have the right replica done.

Given the location, if Andrews was seen in or near the smoking room some time towards the end, might he not have been retrieving something from his cabin? But, as Dave points out, there are a few other accounts collated by Bullock that have not gained wide circulation in Titanic circles, although they do sometimes come up. I think Cameron mentioned one or two in Belfast's Own
 
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Melissa Ziehl

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I don't know if he would have known. He was probably just more concerned of how long she had and the passengers. As the ships builder, I bet he probably felt the worst of all. He had this beautiful wonder, and know it would be sucked away from the world forever. Also knowing that there wasn't enough boats for every one aboard must have killed him. He had tried to get enough boats aboard, but he was overruled. He genuinely cared about the safety of everyone who might board that ship.
 
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Brian R Peterson

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Hi All,

Thomas Andrews had a lot to deal with that night. First he knew the ship was going to sink, that had to weigh on him as it were.

Add to that his realization that there were not enough lifeboats for all passengers to be evacuated - he knew people were going to die as a result of the arrogance of J. Bruce Ismay and Lord Pirrie who insisted that the ship did not need the 64 boats Carlisle originally called for, as it would “clutter up the deck space.”

While Andrews may or may not have known that the ship would break apart during the sinking, I think he was more than overwhelmed with the situation at hand and watching the Titanic sink before his eyes would be as painful as a father losing his son to a war, this could explain his blank facial expression and disregard for the events unfolding around him at the end.

Best Regards,

Brian
 

John Knight

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I have to agree with those who think Mr Andrews had enough on his plate that night. I doubt if he even considered the prospect of the ship breaking in two. We will never know of course.
 

Steven Hall

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Dec 17, 2008
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"and watching the Titanic sink before his eyes would be as painful as a father losing his son to a war, this could explain his blank facial expression and disregard for the events unfolding around him at the end."
Brian, that sums up exactly what I believe also. You only have to look into his face and it’s clear to most that he was not a hard man. He looked intense, compassionate, understanding & a caring individual. (mind you, I’m no Dr. Phil)
Seeing T. Andrews name and lifeboats in one post always makes me think of why the lifeboats had been lowered in some cases without a full complement because of the belief that the boats structure could not take it.
Those officers responsible for loading the lifeboats could have easily dispatched a runner with a message to Andrews asking for his direction regarding the (numbers / capacity; i.e., is there a problem with them being full when) lowering of the boats.
If he had witnessed this (even the lowering of one lifeboat not full) — he would have said something. (?)
What you said above Brian is, in my opinion a rock-solid assessment.
 

Magnus Lundin

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Jul 6, 2004
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Hi, I'm new on the boards! I have to agree, I doubt that Andrews even contemplated the Titanic breaking up. It seems as if Andrews resigned completely.
 
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Rachel Walker

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Hi everyone. I don't think it is possible that Tom knew it would split. I heard that the hole in the ship wasn't able to deal with the pressure when she was sinking head first. Andrews never saw or studied or knew much about the hole so he coudn't have known.
Rachel
 
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Dec 2, 2000
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Rachel, it helps to know that there was no *single* hole in the ship's side but a number of small openings and splits spread out over five compartments. Andrews did know that the ship would sink. Being one of the designers, he could scarcely be unaware of what the ship could take and still survive. Beyond that, I don't think he would have given the details any further thought. Once the ship's death sentence was pronounced, there were more pressing matters to deal with.

If you want to know what the understanding of the nature and extant of the damage was in 1912, I can think of no better source then the testimony offered by Edward Wilding at the Mersey Wreck Commission. Check out the following links to his testimony.

Day 18 Questions 19789 to 20073
Day 19 Questions 20188 to 20748
Day 20 Questions 20749 to 21038
Day 27 Questions 25291 to 25352
 
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Rachel Walker

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haha. i knew they thing about the holes actually. i dont know where my brain went. thanks for the help though.
 
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