Final Hours in the Engine Rooms/Boiler Rooms


Sduguay

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Apr 17, 2012
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Quebec, Canada
Hi all!

First post, so bear with me.

I'm doing a research project (one of many) and I am aware that there really isn't much that is known for a fact about the final moments of the Engineering crew, on the basis that not a single engineer survived. I want to know if anyone had speculations or other ideas that could fit into the "what if?" category. There really are no right or wrong answers.


So far, I'm guessing that Chief Engineer Bell would have ordered the pumps started pretty early, and after seeing "Saving the Titanic" (or something along those lines) I assume they would have been fighting a constantly losing battle. In the final moments, would they have been holed up in the final compartment? or was the water still half way through the ship? (it would help if i could get an indication of where the water level was at the time of the Split.

Thanks in advance, and I hope i'll get the chance to meet you all in the coming months!

Cheers from Quebec
Simon
 

Dan Johnson

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Jan 9, 2012
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I think immediately after the collision that it was rather "quiet" in the engine room. With the engines stopped and before they realized they were sinking there would be just a lot of confusion. Shortly after, once they realized they were sinking, I think things changed rapidly. Suddenly men were opening the watertight doors, rigging suction hoses, drawing fires in the boiler rooms, just a lot of activity to try to keep the ship afloat as long as possible.

As the night progressed I think it would tend to get very eery. The sounds of the ship groaning as it strained to stay afloat. The obvious bow down condition as they walked around. Seeing water slowing working it's way into each compartment, sometimes coming down from above.

The end I think would have been horrific. The sounds of the hull failing would quickly be met with cold water and the bursting of steam lines. Conditions in the boiler room must have changed in a matter of a few seconds from one of relative peace to utter chaos.

I don't think they were "holed up." There were compartments further after that they could access. I think they just did what was expected of them until the end and then got caught as the ship broke apart. They were true heroes.
 

Sduguay

Member
Apr 17, 2012
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0
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Quebec, Canada
Thanks!

And the end would have come pretty fast I take it? I've read that most would have been either : Crushed, burnt (Boiled) or other things caused by their immediate environment, not by drowning.
 

Scott Mills

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Jul 10, 2008
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Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
I have often wondered this myself. I think that things would have gotten very difficult near the end trying to work with the forward list.

And the end would have been terrifying. Particularly when the lights flickered then failed just before the hull itself failed.

Those men would have had just enough time in the dark to think about what surely this meant.

And finally I wonder if they were ever given the order to abandon their cabin. Smith makes it clear the time has come to Phillips and Bride. Did he call down to the engineers? Was it even possible at that point?

And if they were told they could abandon there post, did Bell release those under his command? How many tried to make it out? Or was it quickly decided by all that they would not leave their posts?
 

Thomas Ozel

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May 17, 2012
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Hello

I thought maybe I could assist this discussion by providing the weblink for an article which was posted on ET back in 2004. The author analyses the testimonies of survivors from the engine room: Frederick Scott and Thomas Dillon, and concludes that all (if not most) of Titanic's engineers actually made it out of the engine room before the ship sank. He also points out that the ship's lights could more or less power themselves, so there would have been little point in staying below decks once the pumping had failed. However getting out on deck didn't do the engineers much good, as none of them were able to get in lifeboat, though a couple of engine room workers (such as Scott) did manage to save themselves by swimming to boats. Have a read of the article and see what you think.

I hope this helps the discussion.

Thomas.

A Last Bright Shining Lie by Senan Molony :: Titanic Research
 

Scott Mills

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Jul 10, 2008
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Thomas,

Very interesting! And I believe every word of it. It is amazing what gets handed down and assumed as fact starting in 1912. It reminds me of a conversation we had early about Thomas Andrews--where the time he was seen in the smoking room was much earlier than 2:10, but given that time in a single book where it was repeated for nearly a hundred years.
 

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