First Funnel Collapse


Paul Lee

Member
Aug 11, 2003
2,239
2
108
I've gone through 85% of the US and BoT enquiries testimonies (again) and one thing struck me, which hopefully someone might be able to clarify or confirm.

Did anyone other than Lightoller report the 1st funnel as falling?

Thanks

Paul
--
http://www.paullee.com
 

Paul Lee

Member
Aug 11, 2003
2,239
2
108
Thanks for that...funnily enough, he didn't mention this to Walter Lord in 1962:

http://www.charlespellegrino.com/R. N. Williams II.htm

I just had a theory that perhaps Lightoller saw the whole front of the ship break away, rather than the foreward funnel alone. I thought that anyone or anything (such as Gracie, only a few feet behind the 1st funnel) would be sucked down the funnel uptake to their doom.

I am not aware (please correct me here if I am wrong) of anyone in the lifeboats - sme of which were very close! - seeing the first funnel topple.

Paul
--
http://www.paullee.com
 
Mar 22, 2003
5,552
835
273
Chicago, IL, USA
www.titanicology.com
Jack Thayer spoke of the 2nd funnel:
quote:

Suddenly the whole superstructure of the ship appeared to split, well forward to midship, and bow or buckle upwards. The second funnel, large enough for two automobiles to pass through abreast, seemed to be lifted off, emitting a cloud of sparks. It looked as if it would fall on top of me. It missed me by twenty or thirty feet. The suction of it drew me down and down, struggling and swimming, practically spent.
 
Jun 12, 2004
2,131
0
106
Just a theory: but one reason for R. Norris Williams not having mentioned the falling funnel to Walter Lord may have been because he may have not want to relive the memory of his father getting killed by the falling funnel. I read parts of his story, and he claims to have actually seen the funnel fall on his father, Dwayne Williams, about two feet away. That is far to close for anyone's comfort. Please keep in mind that I am not asserting this as fact; I am merely suggesting a possibility.

Take care
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
383
283
Easley South Carolina
>>I wonder what caused the sparks to shoot from the 2nd funnel... <<

Depends on whether or not any fires were still burning in boiler rooms four and three. That's a possible source. Since the funnel is said to have come off, you could get something like that from all that metal tearing itself apart and crashing into other parts of the structure.
 
J

Janicole

Guest
since it's a known facts and I think we all can agree the funnels came off at one point or another is it possible that both the 1st and 2nd funnel came off above water and that people depending on where they were only saw that one? I mean it was so dark that night it would've been hard to tell
 

Kyle Naber

Member
Oct 5, 2016
956
423
73
19
Since the Cameron movie in 1997, it has been discovered (or at least acknowedged) that the funnels were not actually floodlit, meaning that the funnels were simply black silhouettes against the stars during the night. It would appear like this:

titanic_cherbourg.jpg

(Titanic at Cherbourg, France)


In this video, when the second funnel ignites, the only clear indication of the collapse is the flash of bright light associated with an explosive noise. Without it, it would be difficult, in my opinion, to actually witness such a thing. I can understand the testimony of Second Officer Lightoller and Jack Thayer, because they were close to the first and second funnels as their bases failed.

Is there any testimony from a survivor in a lifeboat who recalled the first funnel fall? Here's one from Hugh Woolner: "There were two explosions before the Titanic sank. It was this second explosion that did the most damage. It blew away the funnels and tore a big hole in the steamer's side and caused the ship to rock as if she were an eggshell. The Titanic careened to one side and passengers making for the boats were spilled into the water."

This describes the way in which the third and fourth fell at pratically at the same time during the breakup of the ship, but there's no mention of the first funnel. However, because of the heavy port list, I think the foremost funnel would have dissapeared instantly (no more than one or two seconds) like what is presented in this Britannic documentary:

(55:41)

It's been estimated that the bases of the funnels were submerged by about 20 feet before the difference in pressure buckled the thin steel. If this estimation is somewhat accurate, then the lights that lit up the bottoms of the funnels (still not floodlit) would be extinguished as they dissapeared underneath the surface. The first funnel would almost be invisible at the time of the collapse.

With all of this information, I really wonder how noticable the collapse of the first funnel was. Especially if it was not lit up, wallowed over instantly, and made no loud "BANG," I don't think many would have actually witnessed it and just assumed that it sank intact with the ship as seen in "A Night To Remember."

What are your thoughts/opinions?

-Kyle
 
Last edited:
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
I believe it was the first funnel. Didn't they find damage on the starboard bridge wing and concluded that it was likely caused by the falling funnel which crushed the starboard bridge wing?



bridgewing1a.PNG




Colonel Gracie:
"The forward funnel broke from the ship, falling on the starboard side into the sea."

Harry Senior:
"Before I dived off the ship one of the forward boilers burst and blew up the forward funnel."

Charles Lightoller
"The terrific strain of bringing the after end of that huge hull clear out of the water caused the expansion joint abaft number 1 funnel to open up. The fact that the two wire stays to this funnel on the after part led over and abaft the expansion joint, threw on them an extraordinary strain, eventually carrying away the port wire guy, to be followed almost immediately by the starboard one. Instantly the port one parted, the funnel started to fall, but the fact that the starboard one held a moment or two longer, gave this huge structure a pull over to that side of the ship."

John Poingdestre
Q - Now will you describe to us what you saw happen when she sank?
A - Well, I thought when I looked that the ship broke at the foremost funnel.
Q - What led you to that conclusion?
A - Because I had seen that part disappear.
Q - If she sank by the head you would see that part disappear, would you not?
A - Yes.
Q - What was there about the disappearance that led you to think she broke?
A - Because she was short; the afterpart righted itself after the foremost part had disappeared.

Edward Brown also witnessed the ship break. When asked where he was at the time, he said he was, "In the water, right before the forward funnel."


The above accounts are similar to Thomas Dillon's account in this British newspaper when he possibly had witnessed the forward expansion joint opening up.


Dillon1a.PNG




.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Kyle Naber

Member
Oct 5, 2016
956
423
73
19
A couple of threads have already been created in reguards to the funnels in general, but I thought I’d create this specific one. Nearly all available survivor accounts state that the first funnel buckled and collapsed over to the starboard side. However, nearly all simulations, including movies, go against this and portray this event as the opposite: The funnel falls to port. In my opinion, the latter makes sense. It seems logical that an immense mass of steel would fall in the direction that the ship is listing towards. How could this inconsistency exist? Is it simply an error in remembering the exact funnel that fell to starboard, easily mixing up left and right, did the boat deck level itself out, or is something else happening? For a while, the second funnel was a bit of a mystery. Now, there’s a consensus starting to form that the second funnel fell to starboard and the first fell to port. Could it be that Lightoller missed the collapse of the first funnel, witnessed the second funnel fail, and then testify it to be the first? In the book A Night to Remember, (I know it’s outdated) it stated something along the lines of ‘the first funnel fell to starboard emmiting sparks and soot.’ But it was noted by several, like Jack Thayer, that it was the second funnel that sparks shot out of, followed by the breakup.
There are so many conflicting accounts about this. What are your thoughts?

-Kyle
 
Mar 18, 2008
2,284
594
183
Germany
How do you know the ship had a list to port when the first funnel collapsed? Thayer was clear that the ship "straightened up to an even keel".
Lightoller was next to the first funnel when under water. Very unlikely he missed that.
Back to Thayer, the part with the 2nd funnel is from his 1940 report. In 1912 he did not mention which funnel it was. (According to Gracie he was told by Lightoller and Thayer that the first funnel fall to starboard and missed his head for a few feet.)
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Have always wondered why the film 'Raise the Titanic' showed the second funnel missing instead of the first?

.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
383
283
Easley South Carolina
>>Have always wondered why the film 'Raise the Titanic' showed the second funnel missing instead of the first?<<

Because the producers simply got it wrong. People who do cinema for entertainment manage to do that.

>>What about ''A Night To Remember''? They only showed the 3rd / 4th funnel falling over on their model.<<

See the above. ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Currently reading Lightoller's letter from 1912. He held onto a piece of wood that was attached to the top of the funnel by a wire. Does he mean part of the wooden decking had broken off and the funnel wires were still holding onto the wood?

"In a couple of seconds I realized that the crow's-nest and all other material help was of the same value, and almost immediately I found myself drawn with great force against the grating covering the mouth of the forward blower, a huge ventilator leading down to the forward stoke-hold. In this position I went below the surface with the ship.....Immediately, I think, I was thrown away from the blower, and came up to find a piece of wood in my hand which seemed to be attached to the top of the funnel by a wire. I remained still, while the water rushed past me carrying the people with it away from me. A second time I went down, still holding fast to the truth, and again came to the surface. My piece of wood was gone, but alongside me was the flat-bottomed collapsible boat which I had thrown down on the other side of the ship. This I laid hold of, but made no attempt to board it........Now, with the sinking of a great ship like the Titanic, there was also the fear of suction to overcome, and at this time the forward funnel fell, throwing the boat, myself, and other survivors about twenty feet clear of the ship, so that of suction we felt nothing."


Is it possible that the ship broke in two and the funnel wires had ripped out the wood from the deck (from funnel 2, 3, or 4) and that is what Lightoller was holding onto? He saw the forward funnel fall afterwards. This corresponds with Mr. Brown's testimony because he was on the boat deck and witnessed the ship break in two before the forward funnel fell. Lightoller would then grab the piece of floating wood with the wire still attached to the funnel and when he reached the collapsible boat he saw the forward funnel fall afterwards.


.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Lars Lunden

Member
May 21, 2016
31
16
18
Norway
In 1962, Albert moss, gave an interview in the radio. I have heard this interview and I wrote it down in Norwegian. About 5 pages. I have tried to translate the part with what he thinks may have been the funnel falling. (Sorry I'm not a good translater)

Then I walked into the bridge and there I saw the first officer and I passed him and I saw Captain Smith, a little thick one, grey beard, coming out with a lifebuoy. And he went out with the lifebuoy to a civil gentleman who stood on the bridge with his back. And delivered that lifebuoy and he took it indifferent and held it in his hand. After pictures I've seen of Astor, I think it was he who stood there. He was in a dark suit, plain dress. Then I went round and out on the port side to look and there I saw two-three men working on a similar boat like the one who was lowered on the other side. It was only 1,5" high, pointy forward and aft, but a heavy boat. Heavy as lead.
We got the boat down, but realized that the hoists and everything on the boat deck was so infiltrated that it was impossible to get it done. So I tell those who were there that we got to get up in the boat. There were swells, so from time to time the water was on the boat deck here and it went down here. So we'll have to wait until she floats for herself and get us out between the davits. What happened or not. I've read that there was a funnel that fell down. But there was such a great sea that I found myself in the water. How it happened, I can not say.

 
Last edited:

Kyle Naber

Member
Oct 5, 2016
956
423
73
19
I think it makes sense. He doesn’t really recall the funnel collapsing because the heavy list made the event quick. In Cameron’s movie, the funnel sort of pauses for a moment once the guy wires snap, as there is no list. But in reality, the port list had been making the funnel want to fall over in that direction for a while.
 

Similar threads