Fireman's Passageway WTD's and other miscellany...

Robby House

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Jun 9, 2016
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Okay, I want make sure I'm picturing this correctly. So WTB B makes up the forward most wall of the Fireman's Tunnel/Staircase...(at least from the Tanktop level to G-Deck before the bulkhead's aft jogging job). When Titanic impacts the ice, the force of impact exerted against WTB B cause it thrust "inboard" in the opposite direction towards the port side. The rivets that connected the tunnel/stairs to this bulkhead where compromised enough to allow ingress once flooding in Hold 2 reached the level of damage on the opposite side of the wall. I've included a crude hand doodle to describe my interpretation of architect William Garzke's theory. Just making sure I follow correctly.

Robby

PS- Exactly what and where is the access trunk? I'm not sure I follow this description. Are the talking about the spiral staircase leading down to the TankTop level?

FIREMANS PASSAGE.PNG


The above from naval architect William Garzke, posted earlier by Ioannis, to me appears to be the only rational explanation for what Henderickson saw at the bottom of the staircase. You can see the starboard side of this access trunk in the diagram I posted above next to the starboard side spiral staircase. (The view is looking aft so the starboard side is on the left.) This point was immediately behind WTD B in Hold 2. The only double-bottom protection in that space is the tanks shown.
formed the forward-most wall of the Fireman's passageway (at least for the first few decks before jogging aft) or more specifically the spiral staircase leading to the Fireman's passageway. When Titanic makes contact with the iceberg, the impact against WTB B sort of jars or juts it in the direction of the portside (kind of at a 90 degree angle juxtapostion to the fireman's passageway. Along the steam of where the Tunnel is physically attached to WTB B the force of the impact is sufficient enough to The impact is sufficient enough to have effected a seam opening somewhere along where the fireman's tunnel is physically attached against WTB B.

The above from naval architect William Garzke, posted earlier by Ioannis, to me appears to be the only rational explanation for what Henderickson saw at the bottom of the staircase. You can see the starboard side of this access trunk in the diagram I posted above next to the starboard side spiral staircase. (The view is looking aft so the starboard side is on the left.) This point was immediately behind WTD B in Hold 2. The only double-bottom protection in that space is the tanks shown.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Robby -- check Sam's cross section drawing above. Note that the outboard margin plates of the tanks are almost normal to the hull, but angle sharply inboard toward as the go upward to meet the tank top which supports the firemen's tunnel. Any thrust diagonally upward -- such as from a grounding -- would be transferred along these margin plates to the structure above. Lots of things could result. The structure could have been strong enough to resist any loss of integrity from the iceberg. Or, at the opposite end of the scale the tunnel could have been ruptured right along toward bulkhead D. And, there are as many possibilities in between to account for just about any theory of how water got into the tunnel.

The place of maximum vulnerability is the stair tower encasing the two spiral ladders. These ladders were set about halfway outboard P&S of the tunnel walls, probably to give maximum room for men entering and exiting the ladders during change of watch. It is the outermost area of the stair toward which is most likely to have failed in Garzke's scenario.

One "fooler" in Sam's drawing is the shape of the iceberg. I'm not saying that Sam was incorrect about that, just we don't know anything about the face presented to Titanic.. For Garzke's idea to work best it the thrust from the iceberg has to be virtually in line with the margin plates. The conventional sideswipe would prevent the sort of damage he envisions. A true grounding on the bottom would lessen the force transmitted to the stair tower and make Garzke's idea less plausible. But, we don't know the shape of the berg at the area of the hull in way of that tower. So, all we can do is add Garzke's concept to the pile of plausible possibilities.

My view is that the description of the flooding is of relatively new ingress. The tunnel is not filled and it is possible to see water running under force. Neither of these would be visible nearly 20 minutes after impact on the iceberg simply because the area should have been flooded to deeply. There would have been some swirls on the surface, but otherwise the situation would have been a lot less exciting than what Hendrickson described. This is one case where less obvious ingress indicates greater damage done earlier than spurting water done close to the time of its discovery.

Something else. While Hendrickson gives an exciting account of that water, it does not seem to be comin in under 30-odd feet of head pressure. I've not fought a leak that deep in a hull. My experience with a fitting one-third that deep tells me that a 1.5-inch opening will teach the hardest bitten seaman how to pray faster than a convent full of nuns. Gob smacked is the only term you can use in public.

I'm also intrigued by Hendrickson meeting engineer Hesketh not in the boiler room, but somewhere near the head of Scotland Road on E Deck. Given that boilers needed to be made safe and fires to be raked, it seems odd that an engineer would be so far from the critical action. And, when Hesketh made his report it was as if the engineer already knew about the flooding. Instead of asking to be guided to the flooding, instead the engineer told Hendrickson to go get lamps for the boiler rooms which were dark because of a power failure.

To understand the Hesketh/Hendrickson interaction, we have to delve into possible motives for the engineer's lack of interest in the flooding of the tunnel and his overriding need for oil lamps.

Darkened boiler rooms are difficult to dangerous places to work. So, lamps would be a necessity. But, why would an engineer have gone to E deck to find men to fetch them? He could -- and probably should -- have delegated a leading stoker to do that job. However, of far more importance would have been operation of the valves controlling the bilge pump intakes. Duplicates of valves down on the tank top level were placed on E deck. This allowed them to be opened or closed even if the compartmant were flooded. Adjusting these valves would normally be done under the direct supervision of an officer.

There were two 3 1/2 inch suctions in the tunnel.

My addition to the pile of plausible possibilities is that somehow a wrong valve was opened and water gravitated into the tunnel through the bilge piping system. Hesketh wasn't worried because he had either taken care of the problem or know about it was was about to have his working party close that valve.

-- David G. Brown


PS -- At this point in the discussion somebody always asks about a rupture of the FW tank whichstradled the tunnel in way of bulkhead C. As far as I know, nobody tasted the floodwater to find out if it was sweet or salt.
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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Has anyone ever thought that the water possibly poured down the spiral staircase on the starboard side then across to the port side? If you read Hendickson's evidence carefully, you will find that it was probably quite a time before he saw that water at the bottom of the tunnel. He described it as seeming to pour out of the tunnel and flow across from starboard to port. However he also said, and I quote:

"894. Was it coming hard? A: - Yes, it was more than rushing in; it was falling in.

If it was falling in then it was coming from a point above the forward entrance to the tunnel The only place that could have been was through a door on G deck just aft of the No. 1 hatch cover. In the intact condition, G Deck was a mere 5 feet above the waterline.
We know for sure when it was at the level of the top of No.1 hatch coaming on G deck before midnight because when Lookout Lee came down out of the Crow's Nest. the water was pouring out of No.1 hatchway and across the deck of the firemen's accommodation.
 
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