How and when they got away


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Trent Pheifer

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Hello,
I don't know if this has been discused before or not....but I heard someone say that more Life boats were of no use because there was just not enough time. But I tend to disagree, A and B float off and saved many so if there was enough life boats even if they floated off they would save many more people....and there wouldnt be as much fighting to get on the life boats...does anyone agree?

-Trent
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hello Trent. This matter has been discussed on some earlier threads, but I beleive it was all befor you joined our little band. I think it would have helped had they had more boats but the problems we're looking at here are the time it took the ship to sink (About 2 hours, 40 minutes), and the delay in which the evacuation of the ship was started (They didn't start to prepare until 12:25 and boat 7 wasn't launched until 12:45). With effectively less then 2 hours left to play with, it was all they could do to get the ones away that they did.

The unwillingness of a lot of passangers to get in boats when places were offered didn't help, and those collapsibles caused a lot of trouble. Collapsible A was actually hooked up to the davits, but by then, the ship was sinking so rapidly, that the falls had to be cut away and the boat floated off. Collapsible B never got even that far and floated off upside down. After that, a number of men climbed aboard and they ended up using it as a raft.

It would have been more useful had the officers known the boats could be loaded to full capacity and used it. it would have been even more useful had the passangers been willing to get in the boats, but the urgency of the situation wasn't understood until far too late to do a lot of good.

There are a lot of "ifs" here. IF they had enough boats, IF they had started to evacuate the ship in a timely manner, IF the crew and passangers had been properly drilled on loading and assignments...unfortunately, all the things that needed to happen befor the disaster...didn't.

For more information, check out the lifeboat section here on this site.

Cordially
Michael H. Standart
 

Pat Cook

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Just to add to the confusion, then you had the order for the boats to be lowered and then row around to the gangway doors to pick up more passengers, plus the idea of rowing to that other 'mystery' ship and then come back for more, ala the Republic catastrophe some 3 years before. Stir into all this the 'unsinkability factor', which had been cemented the year before when the Olympic was broadsided by the Hawke and remained afloat.
Personally, and this is just my opinion, given all the 'givens', I'm surprised they saved as many as they actually did!

Best regards,
Cook
 

Dan Cherry

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Dec 14, 1999
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Michael,
It is my understanding that Boat 7 was launched at or about 12:25 a.m. The reason being Quartermaster Rowe saw Boat 7 in the water and rang the bridge, reporting a lifeboat in the water. The officer on the bridge was amazed that Rowe was not aware of the situation. However, Rowe was essentially cut off from everything being station on the after bridge, and originally interpreted the iceberg for a windjammer. Rowe was told to bring rockets to the bridge, the first of which was fired at 12:45 a.m. It would have taken Rowe 5-10 minutes to gain access to the rockets and bring them forward to the bridge, prepare and fire the first one off.

Dan
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hello Dan, I did some double checking in the lifeboats section in ET. Lifeboat 7 was launched at 12;45 under the command of lookout George Hogg and contained only 28 people. My other source for this was Eaton & Hass, Titanic, Triumph and Tragedy, page 147.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Martin Pirrie

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Dan, you write that the first rocket was fired at 12:45H. I believe that you have read this somewhere. Can you tell me where? I am not refuting what you have written, I am trying to sort out a timetable of events.

Thanks!

Martin Pirrie.
 

Dan Cherry

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Martin and Michael,
I'll have to go and dig into my books this weekend to find where I read that. Off the top of my head, I think it was in Titanic- An Illustrated History. I'll check for sure.
I think it is/was traditionally believed that boat 7 was launched and the first rocket was fired at 12:45 a.m. (the last rocket was fired around 1:40 a.m., if memory serves). But wherever I read it, Rowe, who helped fire the rockets, saw boat 7 in the water and, etc. Unless boat 7 was launched at 12:45 a.m. (which most sources concur) then the first rocket may/may not have been fired until more toward 12:50-12:55 or even 1 a.m. According to the portrayal of Capt. Smith in ANTR, the instruction for firing the rockets was 'one every 5 minutes from the port side'. Eight rockets every five minutes would put the last one in the air at or about 1:40 a.m. Looking at it that way, then it is plausible for boat 7 to be launched at 12:45.
Whether the scripted line in the movie is based on any credible historical evidence would require a further perusal of the testimony and Titanic books out there. I will have access to my books this weekend and will refer to them to see what it was I remember reading several years back.
Michael, I may be competing with you with keeping those bookstores, online or not, profits high - the old bookcase's shelf is startin' to buckle! :)

Kind regards,
Dan
 

Erik Wood

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Good Morning all

I am the source of saying that IF Titanic had enough life boats there wouldn't have been enough time. I am not sure how many of you have actually used the double swing davit that would have been used for Titanic but I have. Just uncovering and getting one boat to the hip (rail) could take up to 15 minutes if you had to do this twice you would have had to load the first boats from the promenade deck and Lightoller tried that but the windows were locked. The second set could be loaded from the boat deck but as pointed out in this board alread A and B floated off. If they didn't have the time then those other boats would most likely still be griped or fixed to the ship and would have gone down either with her or taken a beating as they were torn loose. I do believe that extra lives would have been saved but the two that floated saved less then 70 between the two of them. As Michael said there are a lot of IFs we will never know but we can guess I am just guessing. But as Captain with some 25 years of experience it is an educatetd guess. My disclaimer is that the number above in reference to the number of saved between the two is a half remebrance of something I read and my be wrong.

Erik
 
Mar 20, 2000
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All,

I believe there are some accounts that question the accepted view that Boat 7 was launched at 12:45. I believe some think - & I myself think it's possible - that 7 was sent off closer to 12:30. In looking through the evidence of Boat 1's crew - & Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon's - the first rockets started as Boat 3 was being prepared for lowering. Now we have it in most versions that Boat 3 went off at round about 1:00. So the 12:50 time seems more likely for the first rocket's being let off.

By the way another crimp in the accepted timetable of events insofar as boat launchings go that night is Boat 1's launching, traditionally set at 1:10. However I think C.E. Henry Stengel testified (and later Lady Duff Gordon in her book also claimed this)that he heard gun shots before the boat was launched. Might this have been Fifth Officer Lowe's shots being fired over on port at Boat 14? And if so wouldn't that put the time of Boat 1's lowering closer to 1:30 or so? We know for instance that Boat 1 got hung up on a guy wire on the way down & it took some minutes (how many?) to free it. Feedback is welcome from those of you who are much more familiar with this than I.

Another thought: though most evidence suggests there was a slight list to starboard at the time Boat 1 was put off, might not the guy wire mishap indicate a list to port? We know there was a perceptible list to port later in the night. Could this be another indication that boat 1 went off later than we have always thought?

Randy
 
Mar 18, 2000
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The exact quote re: Stengel and the shots:

Senator SMITH. Did you see any man attempt to enter these lifeboats who was forbidden to do so?
Mr. STENGEL. I saw two, a certain physician in New York and his brother, jump into the same boat my wife was in. Then the officer or the man that was loading the boat, said "I will stop that. I will go down and get my gun." He left the deck momentarily and came right back again. Afterwards I heard about five shots; that is while we were afloat. Four of them I can account for in this
way, that when the green lights were lit on the boat they were lashed to - my wife's boat - the man shot off a revolver four times, thinking it was a vessel. The man in charge said, "You had better save all your revolver shots, you had
better save all your matches, and save everything. It may be the means of saving your life." After that I heard another shot that seemed to be aboard the Titanic. It was explained to me afterwards that that was the time that one of the men shot off his revolver - that is, the mate or whoever had charge of the boat shot off his revolver - to show the men that his revolver was loaded and
he would do what he said; that any man who would step into the lifeboat he would shoot.


Obviously, these shots took place AFTER Stengel had left the Titanic.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Thank you Bill,

It was a long time ago that I read Stengel's account & it got blurred in my own mind. Perhaps that is what happened to Lady Duff Gordon when writing about hearing shots fired BEFORE leaving the ship. She must have heard them after.

Still I'm curious if the boat was hung up on the wire for more than a few minutes. LDG wrote:

"...Just beside us was a man sending off rockets and the ear-splitting noise added to the horror of being suspended in mid-air while one of the lowering ropes got caught and was only released after what seemed an interminable time..."

She may have just felt it was a long time when it really was only a few minutes.

Even so, would a list to port have caused the boat to get hung up or was this just a mishap that would have occured anyway?

Randy
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Dan; I've got books on my shelves, on the table, on the floor, and even under my bed...and I have more on the way. I hope. I oredered one of George Behe's books from Amazon.com, but they seem to be dragging their feet. I may have to go streight to his publisher. I've also got the copies of The Shipbuilder which were written on the Olympic and Titanic on order from the THS.(They have on-line shopping available now.) Hopefully some of the authors here will have some new stuff hitting the bookstores soon as really useful stuff isn't as easy to get as I would like.

Erik, what ship still had the double swing davits? I thought they went out of use decades ago. As to the problems hooking up additional boats, they certainly had enough trouble with the collapsibles that night.(Storing A and B on the roof over the officers quarters was a bad move!) I noticed on the Olympic and Britannic that they had boats stacked on top of each other in later years. Would this have cut down on the time needed to hook up another boat?

Bill, Randy, if memory serves...and it might not...5th officer Lowe wasn't the only one to fire shots. Perhaps this would have added to the confusion of the witnesses.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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William H Draeger

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Hi Michael. I, too, have many books. The one you ordered from Amazon by George Behe is "Titanic: Safety, Speed and Sacrifice" published by Transportation Trails. I ordered it straight from the publisher last year and it is well worth reading. George writes about a White Star Line cover-up of the fact that the iceberg Titanic ran into wasn't the first one seen by the look-outs. The Shipbuilder Olympic twins Special Issue reprint is well worth the price.
Concerning the stacked boats. You load and launch the top one pull up the falls hook up the next one load and launch it and so forth. Stacking them saved space.
Concerning the shots fired. No, Lowe is not the only Officer who fired his pistol. But we'll never know for sure who else did.
Regards,
Bill
 
Jul 9, 2000
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G'Day Will, we had a discussion on an earlier strand about the alleged earlier icebergs. From personal experience, I know how difficult it is to see much of anything at night at sea, so I'll have to check out the accounts and the witnesses who made the claims then keep my own counsel on their credibility. The reason I want the book is so I know what the assertions are and who made them. George is a pretty thorough researcher, so I'm confident I'll know who all the players are.

As to The Shipbuilder Olympic twins Special Issue, I'm looking forward to that. Presentations of technical data on the ships that are both reliable and in-depth don't seem to get a lot of attention from meny writers. Rather a strange oversight.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Pat Cook

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First, glad to have you with us, William. Nice to have another over 50 citizen amongst us.

Regarding the shots fired, there is Woolner's U S testimony, in which he stated he heard shots and then ran over to assist the officers pulling men out of collapsible C, I believe. In this case, the shots were probably fired by either Wilde or Murdoch. Also, in Lowe's testimony, he stated that he 'fired shots and heard shots'

Personally, I have always been curious as to whether any were fired by some of the passengers. There were quite a few who were carrying pistols.

Hope this is of some help,
Cook
 
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William H Draeger

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Hey Michael, I think the reason technical data is over-looked is because it only appeals to a very small group. I've been trying to get technical info on the triple-expansion engines. I know steam fed into the high-pressure cylinder at 215psi and exhausted from the low-pressure cylinders into the turbine at 9psi. What I want to know is the psi of the high-pressure exhaust into the intermediate cylinder and the psi exhaust into the low-pressure cylinders.

Hey, Pat! There was quite a commotion in and around collapsible C. Several shots fired due to the mounting panic. A female passenger stated that several chinese refused to be ousted from the boat and hid under the seats. The officer didn't dare fire for fear of hitting the women and children already aboard. Time was running out so they launched the boat with the covert stow-aways and the overt stow-away, namely Ismay. I know several passengers carried pistols and I've wondered myself if they used their shootin' irons.
Ya'll take care now, ya hear!
Bill
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hi Bill, I suspect you're right about the technical data and the lack of demand for same. I'm hoping when my copies of the Shipbuilder arrive from the THS, that they'll have the information. In the meantime, I'll have to try some serious websearching and hope for the best. Hopefully, some author will publish something about the technical data for guys like us.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Erik Wood

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Aug 24, 2000
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Hello Michael,

Well I hate to tell you that some of the ships on the Great Lakes still have them and up till about 10 years ago there were several older passenger and tankers that had them. Plus at Kings Point that is what we trained on back in the day. I just bought a book on the Titanic online from Disocovery Channel. A friend has it and is very good. I can't come up with the name but it has a pitcure othe wreck on the front with a white paper cover(over the hard cover) that says Titanic. As to your other question, when you load those kind you would have had to load the first two or one depending on how many at the promenade level but the windows wouldn't open. However the olympic it might have worked. The obivious problem is how to control 2000 people trying to get into lifeboats on the crowded promenade deck. The boat deck had more room. But like I said it might have worked on Olympic but with all of the things that went wrong that night I don't think it would have worked. If they are stacked ontop of each other it would have added time and not taken it away.

Others,
Lightoller fired a couple of shots while loading the last collapisable (not the one that he pushed from the officers quarters). Didn't he? Or did he just fish them out by waving his gun. Are the Chinese the ones that jumped into the boat and Lightoller had to shoo out. I don't think that any boats got hung up I would say it was lack of seamen ship. That boat davit system is very old just line and pully's for the most part.

Erik
 

Dan Cherry

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Martin and Michael,
here is one of the sources I read on the adjustment time of boat 7's launch - Titanic - An Illustrated History, page 101, bottom. Accord to Don Lynch's research, he put the launch of boat 7 at "12:25 a.m., only three-quarters of an hour since the collision."
The main point was that boat 7 and the first rocket launch could not have both been at 12:45 a.m., see previous post above. Either boat 7 had have been launched before 12:45 a.m., or the first rocket wasn't fired until closer to 1 a.m., whichever scenario comes into play.
Lynch mentions in Illustrated History on page 110, top that the first rocket was fired at 12:45 a.m.
Further thoughts?
 

Erik Wood

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Aug 24, 2000
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Dan, Martin, Michael

I would think that rockets did not fire until closer to 1 am. There many other things going on at the time. I have no doubt that boat 7 went off as Lynch says and that is a wonderful book I might add. There is a lot of confusion. I think I read in the Haas book that the rockets were going off before boats where in the water. I am not sure I will have to ransack stuff again. But I think that the boat was in the drink before the rocket was in the air. Just an opinion but I will do some searching too!!

Erik
 
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