Here's a one-of-a-kind Titanic picture you've not seen before.

Mark D

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Nov 16, 2013
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Hello!

I'm a longtime lurker, but haven't actually created an account until today. I did so because the other day I finally got a few items from my old scrapbook scanned into digital format, and I thought I'd share one of my prized possessions with you all in gratitude for all the extremely interesting information I've read here over the years.

FSfntKF.jpg


The dedication to me is indeed from Mr. Walter Lord. Back in the 1980s when I was in grade school, my class was given an assignment to write a letter to an author of a book we had read. I had just read A Night to Remember the previous summer, so I decided to write Mr. Lord. I received a very nice letter in response, as he was delighted to hear from a young person regarding his book. He included in his reply the above picture, which he stated he believed had never been published in a book or newspaper anywhere. So as far as I'm aware, it's one-of-a-kind.

And for some bonus WSL-related items from my scrapbook:

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I was in Greenich, UK on my senior class trip and my group stopped in a quaint little antique shop. I was rifling through some photo albums, and the above photograph dropped out. I immediately took it to the clerk and asked how much for just the picture, as I didn't want the whole album. He looked surprised and said something to the effect that it was the Titanic and probably a rare picture, so he wasn't sure if he should part with it. I told him it wasn't the Titanic, it was definitely the Olympic. I explained the difference in the promenade deck windows on the ships, as well as pointed out that it appeared to be either the Mauretania or Lusitania in the background, and they Titanic was not (to my knowledge) ever docked in Southampton with either of those vessels. In hindsight I could have been wrong about that (anyone know?), but I'm positive this is the Olympic. He let me have it for 50p.

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My dad is a stamp collector, and I believe I picked up the above postcard at one of the shows to which he dragged my brother and I. I know the painting of the Arabic is common, but I thought it was neat because the message on the back shows it is from 1909, predating the Titanic disaster. Nothing remarkable, but a little bit of White Star history nonetheless.

Thanks for allowing me to share these!

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Nov 13, 2014
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I have seen this picture before, in a book by Edward P. De Groot called "75 Jaar Titanic".
Titanic solent.png

The image description says: "The Titanic at Cowes. The image is taken from a point just out of the river Solent."
 
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Rusty_S

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Considering the forward rake at the water line of the bow and the four stacks situated ahead of amidship these are the only ships below that could possibly be.

First off would be a US Cruiser the Chester class. Possible but highly unlikely in English waters. Not to mention there's no forward turret fore of the bridge tower.
USSChesterCL1.jpg

Chester-class cruiser - Wikipedia

Next ship it could be would be a UK Cressy class cruiser in service 1901-20.

HMS_Euryalus_SLV_AllanGreen-c.jpg

Cressy-class cruiser - Wikipedia

Next ship it could be would be a UK Warrior class cruiser in service 1907-19

HMS_Warrior_%281905%29.jpg

Warrior-class cruiser - Wikipedia

Final ship it could be would be a UK Drake class cruiser in service 1902-20

1280px-HMS_Drake_1909_LOC_det_4a19535_%28uncropped%2C_full_size%29.jpg

Drake-class cruiser - Wikipedia
 

Harland Duzen

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Here's some enhanced versions from the Paul Lee photo above that might help us further.

TitanicSolent 3.jpg


TitanicSolent 2.jpg


Note that the ''Beken of Cowes'' photographer boat can be seen right of the 2-funneled Battleship.
 

Rusty_S

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Mar 28, 2012
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Thing that keeps throwing me off on the cruiser is look how tall the vent tubes are. They are quite nearly half the height of the stacks. The only English cruiser built like that with vent tubes visible on deck were short vents that had hardly any neck to them. I know its not a US cruiser cause ours didn't have a turret forward of the bridge assembly let alone the bird bath style mast platforms either.

The Drake class had the proper bird bath style platforms but has no visible vents amidship from the few photos I have found. For vents the Cressy is the closest class to match but lacks the birdbath style platforms.

On the two stack ship let me get my warship guide out and see if I can match something up.

~Update~

Ok on the two stack ship its hard to tell if there really is two stacks or if its one stack with a sheen giving the illusion of two stacks. But I found a battleship how ever that looks very similar to this ship and it has two stacks

The Royal Sovereign class battleship is what I would pin her as. These ships were built 1892 to 1894 and saw service with the Mediterranean fleet until 1902 then after 1902 these ships served in the English home waters. By 1914 only one ship was still in service and that was HMS Revenge.

HMS Royal Sovereign
Royal Sovereign-class battleship - Wikipedia

1280px-HMS_Royal_Sovereign_%281891_ship%29.jpg


HMS Hood

1920px-HMS_Hood_%281891%29_LOC_16922u.jpg


HMS Empress of India
1920px-HMS_Empress_of_India_LOC_ggbain_16824.jpg
 
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Harland Duzen

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Thing that keeps throwing me off on the cruiser is look how tall the vent tubes are. They are quite nearly half the height of the stacks. The only English cruiser built like that with vent tubes visible on deck were short vents that had hardly any neck to them. I know its not a US cruiser cause ours didn't have a turret forward of the bridge assembly let alone the bird bath style mast platforms either.

The Drake class had the proper bird bath style platforms but has no visible vents amidship from the few photos I have found. For vents the Cressy is the closest class to match but lacks the birdbath style platforms.

On the two stack ship let me get my warship guide out and see if I can match something up.
The other problem with this photo is that the Battleship's masts (The 4 funnelled one) has what appears to be 2 crow's nests (I don't know what they are) and are '' I '' while the rest above have '' t '' shaped masts.
 

Rusty_S

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Mar 28, 2012
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I cant edit my previous post anymore but heres some more information I came across.

HMS Royal Soverign : taken out of service 1909, so this ship is not in the photo above.

HMS Hood : Hood served most of her active career in the Mediterranean Sea, where her low freeboard was less of a disadvantage. The ship was placed in reserve in 1907 and later became the receiving ship at Queenstown, Ireland. Hood was used in the development of anti-torpedo bulges in 1911–13 and was scuttled in late 1914 to act as a blockship across the southern entrance of Portland Harbour.

HMS Empress of India : Empress of India was commissioned in 1893 and served as the flagship of the second-in-command of the Channel Fleet for two years. She was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet in 1897. She returned home in 1901 and was briefly assigned as a coast guard ship in Ireland before she became the second flagship of the Home Fleet. The ship was reduced to reserve in 1905 and accidentally collided with the submarine HMS A10 the following year. Empress of India was taken out of service in early 1912 and accidentally struck a German sailing ship while under tow. She was sunk as a target ship in 1913.

HMS Ramilles : Ramilles served in the Mediterranean Fleet (1893–1903), Reserve Fleet (1903–1907), and Home Fleet (1907–1911), and was scrapped in 1913. This ship is also not shown in picture above.

HMS Repulse : Repulse Assigned to the Channel Fleet, where she often served as a flagship, after commissioning in 1894, the ship participated in a series of annual manoeuvres, and the Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Fleet Review during the rest of the decade. Repulse was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet in 1902 and remained there until December 1903, when she returned home for an extensive refit. After its completion in 1905, Repulse was assigned to the Reserve Fleet until she was sold for scrap in 1911. Not this ship either.

HMS Resolution : Resolution served in the Channel Fleet (1893–1901), then in various subsidiary and commissioned reserve duties until decommissioned in 1911 and scrapped in 1914. Not this ship either.

HMS Revenge : Revenge was placed in reserve upon her return home in 1900 and was then briefly assigned as a coast guard ship before she joined the Home Fleet in 1902. The ship became a gunnery training ship in 1906 until she was paid off in 1913. The ship was recommissioned the following year, after the start of World War I, to bombard the coast of Flanders as part of the Dover Patrol, during which she was hit four times, but was not seriously damaged. She had anti-torpedo bulges fitted in early 1915, the first ship to be fitted with them operationally.[23] The ship was renamed Redoubtable later that year and was refitted as an accommodation ship at the end of the year. The last surviving member of her class, the ship was sold for scrap in November 1919.

HMS Royal Oak : Royal Oak served in the Mediterranean Fleet (1897–1902), Home Fleet (1903–05), Reserve Fleet (1905–07), and the new Home Fleet (1907–11), before decommissioning in 1912 and being scrapped in 1914. Not this ship either.

So out of the ships of the Royal Soverign class the only ships that one in the picture could possibly be is the HMS Hood which I do not believe this ship is as the Hood was a low freeboard ship. The Empress of India it could be but doubtful as she was taken out of service in early 1912. The only other ship that this could be is the HMS Revenge which I want to say is the ship in the photo as she was a training ship in 1906 through 1913.
 

Rusty_S

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Mar 28, 2012
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The other problem with this photo is that the Battleship's masts (The 4 funnelled one) has what appears to be 2 crow's nests (I don't know what they are) and are '' I '' while the rest above have '' t '' shaped masts.
That's the thing, without doing extensive research I cant say if these ships had plain vertical masts at one time in their life or not. That's the thing with military ships most military ships evolve over their life time and have changes made. The photos I found on Wikipedia as well as in my Warship directory they both show these ships as having a T mast. Thing is though I highly doubt foreign nation cruisers and battleships would be operating in English waters at this time. I also highly doubt its a battleship as well but I will check my battleship section out for four stack versions but the way how the bow has a reverse rake that is a look ive seen more on cruisers when it comes to four stacks

I looked at my cruiser section again, all cruisers up to 1914 completion has a T mast, I wonder if the photo just did not catch the cross mast due to distance. I also looked at battleships all the way back to 1880 completion date and not one has four stacks. I also looked at battle cruisers and UK did not build any battle cruisers till considerably after 1912.

The ships I posted above are the only ones it could possibly be unless its not a UK ship but then the only ship that is not a UK ship that comes to mind it could be is a Chester class cruiser but it doesn't have a forward turret like shown in the image above.
 

Harland Duzen

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According to Wikipedia, HMS Revenge was moored near Portsmouth in Early 1912 and crashed into another ship called Orion on the 7th January 1912. She could have been moored there.
 

Harland Duzen

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That's the thing, without doing extensive research I cant say if these ships had plain vertical masts at one time in their life or not. That's the thing with military ships most military ships evolve over their life time and have changes made. The photos I found on Wikipedia as well as in my Warship directory they both show these ships as having a T mast. Thing is though I highly doubt foreign nation cruisers and battleships would be operating in English waters at this time. I also highly doubt its a battleship as well but I will check my battleship section out for four stack versions but the way how the bow has a reverse rake that is a look ive seen more on cruisers when it comes to four stacks

I looked at my cruiser section again, all cruisers up to 1914 completion has a T mast, I wonder if the photo just did not catch the cross mast due to distance. I also looked at battleships all the way back to 1880 completion date and not one has four stacks. I also looked at battle cruisers and UK did not build any battle cruisers till considerably after 1912.

The ships I posted above are the only ones it could possibly be unless its not a UK ship but then the only ship that is not a UK ship that comes to mind it could be is a Chester class cruiser but it doesn't have a forward turret like shown in the image above.
That was fast!

Your research does show HMS Revenge as the most likely ship in the photo above and congratulations on the detail.
 

Rusty_S

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Mar 28, 2012
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lol Yep that's the beauty of having a hard copy book of all warships of the world from 1860 to present day. Present day for this book how ever is 2002 but it works great in identifying ships in a photo to a class of ships to further the research to pin point down possible hits for specific ships like above.

In reality it could be the HMS Royal Oak as well but I don't think so because she was decommissioned in 1912 and if the UK like the US decommission ships in a similar fashion then that ship would have been moored for at least 6 months to a year before decommissioning. She wouldn't be seen out in open waters which has me thinking HMS Revenge mainly because she was a training ship between 1906 and 1913, a training ship would always have new crew on board for training and will be operating in open waters.

Yep sure wasn't the HMS Royal Oak, did some reading on her she was towed to a mooring in Motherbank in November 1911 and stayed there till she was sold January 14, 1914.
 
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Harland Duzen

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Out of interest is the HMS Black Prince an option? Also can I use this some of this info for a book I writing? I thank you in the ''acknowledgement'' section.
 

Rusty_S

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Out of interest is the HMS Black Prince an option? Also can I use this some of this info for a book I writing? I thank you in the ''acknowledgement'' section.
Of course I don't mind, this is all free information anyways taken from multiple sources.

As far as HMS Black Prince, oddly enough I cant find her in my warship directory. Not even a listing for the Duke of Edinburgh class.

But I did look up the Duke of Edinburgh class just now and found a profile view. I don't think she fits as you can see in the profile photo below her bow does not have a pronounced reversed rake as seen in the original photo. Like wise both birdbath platforms are at the same elevation foremast and main mast where as in the photo above they are at different elevations. Finally amidship you can see in the original photo above there are visible vents where as the Duke of Edinburgh class does not have these visible vents.

Duke of Edinburgh-class cruiser - Wikipedia

1280px-HMS_Duke_of_Edinburgh_1909.jpg


Looking at the original photo above it appears the deck is all level from bow to stern. This rules out the US Chester Class of ship as she had her aft deck lower at amidships than her bow. The Duke of Edinburgh class cruiser also has this same build. Have to find a cruiser with a reverse rake bow with a main deck all level.

I think Cressy class still. Looking at the photo above I can make out hull bulges fore and aft for the side mounted artillery which is what Cressy class cruisers sport. Only down side is Cressy class cruisers have the aft end of her deck lower and lower the further aft you go which does not match the ship above.
 
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Rusty_S

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I just cant find a ship that matches that cruiser though.

Cressy is the one I like to say she is but her aft deck being lower is really bugging me cause in the photo above her main deck is all level.

I went from the Cressy class to the Drake class which cant be her as the Drake class still has the uneven main deck. I then went to the Monmouth class which came after Drake class she has three stacks not four so it cant be her. I went back to Diadem class which preceded the Cressy class. This looks like a good candidate but she still has the very aft end of her main deck lower than the rest. Not to mention History says that they served mostly in the home waters and after 1906 they were occasionally in commission and by 1914 they were used as training ships.

Now go back one more class to the Powerful class which preceeds the Diadem class and the Cressy class. This class was built 1894 - 1898 and was in service 1897 to 1932 and what would you know she has a level main deck from bow to stern she has four stacks and she has four birdbath platforms as shown in the photo above. I now believe those platforms were like the US ones which had a canvas cover that could be raised and were not of a solid metal tub like the US started to use post WWI.

Powerful_class_cruiser_diagram_Brasseys_1897.jpg


HMS_Terrible_QE2_73.jpg


HMSPowerfulCirca1905.jpg


As can be seen in this 1905 photo above the upper birdbath platform on the fore mast has the canvas cover raised while the lower platform on the main mast is raised just like in the photo above. There were two powerful class ships which will make it easy to figure which one it could be.

HMS Powerful was in New Zealand in 1911.
HMS Terrible was in Hong Kong in the spring of 1902 and then was ordered back to England July 1902 and she made her way via the Suez canal and returned to Portsmouth in September 1902. After 1904 she was laid up as an economy measure.

So it appears the two ships we have in the photo above is the HMS Revenge battleship and the HMS Powerful protected cruiser.
 
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Harland Duzen

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Not to be rude, but is it possible the British Government would leave a functioning warship in the Solent for 8-10 years?
 

Rusty_S

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Lost a bunch of text I had typed out but in a nut shell I can see that. Most nations have a reserve fleet that they keep sitting in mothballs till the time is needed in case of war. Most of the time these ships sit till they are out dated to a point that they are just simply sold for scrap.

Thing is there is not much information on the Powerful class of cruisers on Wikipedia which you also have to take with a grain of salt in some cases. But I am confident that the Powerful class of ship is what we see in the photo above with Titanic. Not only does she have the same birdbath platform layout but she also sports a level main deck bow to stern as well as the amidship vents. I am happy with saying that the ship is a Powerful class. Now the question is which one is it. We have a 50/50 shot of being right. I want to say its the HMS Powerful but if its true that both ships were laid up after 1904 then now who knows which one it could be.

I would have to do some more digging but I think I want to lean towards it being the HMS Powerful.

~Update~
Well just did a little search on Ask.com for the HMS Powerful 1912 history and came across this page.

It states the HMS Powerful was used for Harbor duty in 1912 while the HMS Terrible wasn't used for Harbor duty till January 1918.

Powerful Class

So it looks like my initial gut feeling was right. I just couldn't see a nation letting the name sake of a ship class sit and be mothballed while keeping the sistership still going. From reading the HMS Terrible was placed in reserves after her 1902-04 refit and the HMS Powerful was refitted in 1902-04 and put in the reserves till she was reactivated for Harbor duty in 1912.
 
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