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Frank Prentice Sinking Testimony

Discussion in 'Collision / Sinking Theories' started by Kyle Naber, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    Frank Prentice was one of the only survivors to experience the final moments on the stern of the ship. He is one of the best people to reference, in my opinion, because he was able to feel the movements instead of attempting to make out the activities of a dark mass.

    In this 1966 radio interview, he describes what sounds like the settling of the stern due to the break (1:04:45). "I felt her go down, then she came up again." At that time, he said he decided to leave the stern (which would have been at the propeller blade notice).

    However, in this interview, he mentions nothing of the righting motion, but says that he dropped off the stern when it was "almost vertical."

    We know that the Titanic was not in a vertical position at the time of the breakup, as the stern would naturally settle backward. However, Frank says that he nearly missed the blades when he jumped, meaning that the stern was lifted out of the water to some degree when he jumped. This leads me to believe that Frank jumped from the stern when the ship was "nearly vertical": the same point in time in which he felt the stern lift up and go back down. This could possibly mean that he was not referring to the break in the first quote, rather an action of the stern which occurred after the break.

    Is it plausible that the movements of the aft section were more violent or noticeable following the fracture than during the fracture? Prentice paints a scenario in my mind in which the stern settles back without much commotion, but when it reaches an almost vertical configuration, it bobbed up again due to the sufficient number of air pockets left before finally sliding straight down.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    Unless Frank jumped before the breakup. If he’s talking about how the ship “settled,” or plunged down, and then the stern rose up, he jumped before the break. He wouldn’t know about the break because he surfaced again after jumping right as the aft section slipped under. Just a thought.
  3. Titanic Animations talks about this but he's pretty confident the stern followed more closely to what happened in the 97 film with the stern going vertical, we even see this in the 2017 test
  4. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    I think a lot of what determines the movements of the stern after the break is the list of the ship at the time the bridge was put under. If there was a 10 port list when the first funnel fell, the list would cary on through until the end. However, if it evened out when the first plunge began, there would be no reason for the stern to tip over during the break.
  5. One could make the argument that the bow caused the stern to keel over, but we know that the bow would have just righted itself. I think also its highly unlikely the Double bottom connected the the bow and stern as shown. Roy Mengot brings out that the double bottom would have been able to make the 10+ degree bend before breaking as it was meant to never flex. Not to mention no one outside of Charles J mention the ship healing over
  6. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member


    Is there an actual quote from the Abelseth’s about the port list and loud noises?

    Also, I thought Eva Hart had always described the stern as keeling over towards the end.
  7. From Paul Lee's website, I don't know the articles he quote in regards to Eva:

    "Esther Hart, Boat 14: "...the ship was breaking in halves. Then with a mighty and tearing sob, as of some gigantic thing instinct with life, the front portion of her dived...into the sea, and the after part, with a heavy list, also disappeared...for a few moments we could see everything that was happening, for, as the vessel sank, millions and millions of sparks flew up and lit everything around us.""

    "Esther's daughter, Eva, stories changed over the years. For a long time she said that she didn't see the ship sink; then at the Titanic Historical Society convention in 1982, she said it sank intact; a year later, for the BBC, she said, "There was a tremendous explosion, bang, bang, bang. And the fore part of the ship went down and her stern was stuck up in the air at a terrible angle for a while and then just settled, leaned over and went down. So I am convinced the ship is not whole. i'm sure its in two halves." This is not the only occasion when her story mutated, sometimes to keep abreast of current events. Why her story changed between 1982 and 1983 is not known."

    So it seems she didn't always describe it keeling over, only later in life did she start recalling that it did.
  8. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    Strange how her mother describes in great detail of the breakup, but Eva seemed skeptical and then refused and then suddenly sure of it the next year...
  9. Ryan Burns

    Ryan Burns Member

    This was always my understanding of about when Frank jumped. I find it highly unlikely that he jumped before the break. His testimony very clearly seems to indicate that he actually felt the break.

  10. Im glad you included JT in that. Even though his testimony said he jumped from the starboard side more than one documentary shows Jack Thayer jumping from the port side. Good job on the graphic.
  11. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    I believe Mr. Thayer was on the starboard side and would have slid down the side when she listed heavily to port. He wrote in his journal the following:

    "Long and I had been standing by the starboard rail, about abreast of the second funnel. Our main thought was to keep away from the crowd and the suction.....We had no time to think now, only to act. We shook hands, wished each other luck. I said, “Go ahead, I’ll be right with you.” I threw my overcoat off as he climbed over the rail, sliding down facing the ship. Ten seconds later I sat on the rail. I faced out, and with a push of my arms and hands, jumped into the water as far out from the ship as I could. When we jumped we were only 12 or 15 feet above the water.......My watch stopped at 2:22 am."


    ".....The water was over the base of the first funnel. The mass of people on board were surging back, always back toward the floating stern. The rumble and roar continued, with even louder distinct wrenchings and tearings of boilers and engines from their beds. Suddenly the whole superstructure of the ship appeared to split, well forward to midship, and blow 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 only 20 or 30 feet."



    What is interesting is that Charles Joughin was asked how far the bow had gone down. He replied: " I did not notice anything. I did not notice her being much down by the head."
    Q - Do you mean that the list to port was more serious than being down by the head?
    A - "I thought so, yes."
    Q - Did she come back? Did she right herself at all?
    A - No, sir.

    Q - It has been stated that she turned practically perpendicular. I want to ask your opinion about that, because I think it is very important. Did you see the propellers come out of the water at all?
    A - She was not far out of the water at any stage that I saw.
    Q - So that to say that she stood up like that (showing) would be wrong?
    A - It would be absolutely wrong.

    Q - The starboard was going up and she took a lurch to port?
    A - It was not going up, but the other side was going down.

    I believe he would have experienced something like this after she broke, as he felt the port list much more noticeably than the downward tilt and when Joughin climbed onto her starboard side he would not know how far her stern was rising as it keeled over.


  12. I think you have to keep in mind that Eva Hart was rather young at the time.

    I have noticed that a lot of those things of your childhood of which you thought you had a good memory get embellished a bit in your later years.

    I have noticed that, especially even in myself, and certainly in my daughter and my nieces.....Even my brother !

    He called them "Family myths and legends." LOL

    One of the things I remember from my brief (4 years) Naval Service were the "sea stories".......
    I think some of them might have been a bit "embellished". ???
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  13. Again, a reference to a scene in ANTR (Based on fact or fictiion ?)
    One person is shown jumping off the stern, striking a propeller, being spun around , and then falling into the sea as he is twirling.
  14. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    I think it was inspired from testimony of the sinking of the Lusitania. It was reported that someone struck the blade and their leg was chopped off!
  15. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    If the bow were to detach from the stern when the stern was in a horizontal configuration, would the weight of the engines be sufficient enough to lift the propellors out of the water, or would it sink bow end first, the propellors staying at a consistent height? (Like in this simulation: (2:02))
  16. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Yes, I believe the weight of the engines would cause the stern to rise into the air without any tugging from the bow required.


    Frank Prentice estimated that he fell about 100 feet from the poop deck into the water. The poop deck was normally about 55 feet above the water. That could mean the stern raised up about 50 feet after she broke, so it was noticeably high, but not extremely high. There is the possibility that the strong list to port and the bodily sinking of the ship made Frank's position very close to the water, and if he rose up 100 feet then there would be a greater rise as the port side of the stern would be settling about 20 feet above the water when it rose upwards to 100 feet.

    Mr. Dillon was on the stern and was asked:
    Q - Well, what did you do?
    A - I went on to the poop.
    Q - Was she getting low in the water then?
    A - Yes.

    4th officer Boxhall also noticed her stern was getting low in the water and realized she was going down. Frank Prentice was on the poop deck and saw hundreds of bodies "dead and alive" and wreckage floating around the stern. This would indicate how low the port side had settled before her stern rose into the air.


    Kyle Naber likes this.
  17. coal eater

    coal eater Member

    also someone described that rudder was moved during break up. could this cause stern to sink with spiral movement?