How the break-up occurred

Rob Lawes

Member
Jun 13, 2012
1,056
583
143
England
When lifeboat 13 was lowered down, the port side had settled down as far as C-deck along her broadside, while the starboard side was only down as far as E-deck.
Really??

Would you care to explain then how boat 13 was pushed aft, and under the falls of boat 15, by a stream of water from a discharge in the immediate vicinity of the main condenser outlet which was on G deck ??
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ioannis Georgiou
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
When he said the bow lifted up, it’s likely it was either the staircase, or it was possibly the broken end of the stern bobbing back up as it’s ripped itself out of the keel.
I thought there was evidence that showed the staircase was destroyed as it as it was jettisoned backwards through the corridors and aft when she made her way down to the seabed and pressures inside blew everything back and out of her broken decks e.g.


stair12.png


stair1.png



Then again, I recall a member who mentioned there was possibly debris from the dome casing which had fallen inwards and was found at the bottom of the landing on E-deck.


.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Really??

Would you care to explain then how boat 13 was pushed aft, and under the falls of boat 15, by a stream of water from a discharge in the immediate vicinity of the main condenser outlet which was on G deck ??
The ship was listing to port. This would make her starboard side rise out of the water, including the condenser outlet. The more she rolled over to port, the more her starboard side would rise up.


A rough idea. The port side is going down which raises the starboard condenser above the water.


lifeboat13.png



lifeboat13a.png



When the water reaches her open portholes along C-deck and D-deck on her port side she will settle down much more heavily along her entire broadside - as witnessed and described by a number of survivors on the port side. Then came a terrific explosion and her middle buckled open and she broke. The list of survivors who saw the middle sink down and the bow rise up keeps rising. Just found three more.

Nellie Becker
"She seemed to break right in the middle, and the middle fell in."

Ellen Walcroft
"We got about two miles from the Titanic and watched her sink. She just broke in two and the ends were sticking up only for about five minutes."

Susie Webber
"When the water got into the engine-room there was an explosion, and then I saw the leviathan part in the middle. The stern rose high in the air, the bow less high. Then she went down slowly."

Bertha Lehmann described the ship breaking into possible 4 sections.
"All at once there were three loud reports, they sounded like a very loud crash of thunder when it strikes very close to you. We all looked at the Titanic. It had broken apart! The front part of the boat went under first. The helm of the front half sank and then the middle. The last part of the boat was still above the water. The broken part of the last half of the boat sank slowly into the water and then the stern."



.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Mar 18, 2008
2,228
530
183
Germany
Really??

Would you care to explain then how boat 13 was pushed aft, and under the falls of boat 15, by a stream of water from a discharge in the immediate vicinity of the main condenser outlet which was on G deck ??
Right.
Especially when there was no list to port when boats Nos. 9, 11 & 13 were loaded and lowered. The list to port started around the lowering of boat No. 15.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rob Lawes
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
The ship was still listing to starboard when the aft port side lifeboats were being lowered, but there were no reports on the port side regarding the condenser soaking lifeboats 14 and 16. This means the condenser above the water was limited to just the starboard side as the ship rolled over to port. This means the stern was not rising out of the water on both sides, not even when the ship continued to list to starboard in the latter stages of the sinking were there any reports of the condenser on the port side soaking anyone. Frank Dymond was in lifeboat 15 on the starboard side and he said "something happened" as their boat was being lowered and it banged hard against the ship's side as the ship now rolled over to port, which raised her starboard side condenser above the water and soaked the occupants of lifeboat 13 which was underneath lifeboat 15 and being pushed by the outbust of water coming out. I recall a survivor from lifeboat 13 who said the water rushing out of the condenser had stopped and he wondered how this was achieved. According to Frank Prentice the ship "righted" herself when lifeboats 13 and 15 were lowered. The righting movement would settle the starboard condenser back down into the water. This would create the illusion that the outburst of water had stopped. I believe this is when Lightoller and a number of the crew said that orders were given for everyone to make their way to the starboard side and "the ship got a righting movement".


.
 
Mar 18, 2008
2,228
530
183
Germany
When boat No. 14 was loaded and lowered there was a list to port.
When boats No. 9, 11 & 13 were loaded and lowered there was no list (some mentioned there was a list to starboard before they went into these boats).
No. 11 was also hit by the water from the condenser.
 

Rob Lawes

Member
Jun 13, 2012
1,056
583
143
England
There is also some doubt if the discharge was actually from the condenser exhausts. These may well have been shut down along with the main engines earlier. True, the condenser pumps could be configured to pump from the engine room bilges but there's nothing to suggest the engine room was flooding at this time. Apparently there were several other outlets in this vicinity.

Also, Aaron, the point you made and that I originally responded to above, was that the ship was almost parallel in the water at C deck level on the port side and E deck on the starboard. Clearly, even in your follow up explanation, that could never have been the case while boat 13 was launched.

Furthermore, AB Poingdestre found himself wading out of E deck, waist deep in water, before heading up and helping to load boat 14 and depart in 12. This shows that the water in the forward end of the ship had already risen above E deck. Water can't defy gravity and internally must have either been level with or slightly under the external water line.
 
Last edited:
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
It depends on who's timing was correct. e.g. Numerous sources state that lifeboat 13 was lowered at 1.40am and they saw her starboard head was down only to the point that it only covered the forward portholes on E-deck, while lifeboat 4 was lowered at 1.50am just ten minutes after them and their occupants witnessed the port side was down as far as C-deck. This would create a considerable list and raise her starboard condenser above the water. Ioannis stated earlier - "Boat No. 13 left about 1.10am to 1.20am". That would mean boat 13 left the ship over an hour before she sank. I personally find this hard to believe because lifeboat 15 was lowered almost on top of them and their occupants could see her keel and starboard propeller above the water as she rolled over to port which occurred in the latter stages of the sinking. You mentioned Poingdestre wading waist high in water on E-deck. I could not find that reference, but since E-deck was underneath the waterline when lifeboat 13 left the ship and 10 minutes later lifeboat 4 was lowered and they witnessed her port side was level with C-deck then the water would have rushed into the open portholes on the port side along most of her broadside and the water would significantly flood E-deck, until one or two walls had burst and the water travelled down to another area. Charles Joughin said the water had left the corridor. My guess is the collapse of a bulkhead wall or internal unsupported wall had allowed the water to divert into a different section further amidships e.g. the third class dining room or down into one of the boiler rooms and the water would no longer build up in the main corridor.


.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
A quick glance through the survivor accounts and I see it was Doctor Dodge who mentioned the water condenser ceasing.

"I was told to take a seat in boat number thirteen. When lowered we nearly came abreast of the three-foot stream that the condenser pumps were still sending out from the ship's side. We cried out and the flow halted. I cannot image how that was done."

Frank Prentice said the ship got a righting movement around that time and they were able to get the boats away. I believe the stern may have settled lower in the water which sank the condenser under the water again which made Doctor Dodge come to the conclusion that - "the flow halted. I cannot imagine how that was done". I believe this could have been the same moment when Lightoller called out for all passengers to make their way to the starboard side. e.g.

Lightoller
"I think the ship righted. When the order was given to the passengers to go to the starboard side. I am under the impression that a great many went over and the ship got a righting movement and maintained it."


.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Mar 18, 2008
2,228
530
183
Germany
Aside what the interview in the San Francisco Bulletin has, it was actually the lifeboat (No. 13) which was stopped.

This is from Dr. Dodge own report.

"The boat in which I embarked was rapidly lowered, and as I looked over the edge of the boat, that the bow, near which I was seated, was being lowered directly into an enormous stream of water, three or four feet in diameter, which was being thrown with great force from the side of the vessel. This was the water thrown out by the condenser pumps. Had our boat been lowered into the same it would have been swamped in an instant. The loud cries which were raised by the occupant of the boat, caused those who were sixty or seventy feet above us to cease lowering our boat. Securing an oar with considerable difficulty, as the oars had been firmly lashed together by means of heavy tarred twine, and as in addition they were on the seat running parallel with the side of the lifeboat, with no less than eight or ten occupants of the boat sitting on them, none of whom showed any tendency to disturb themselves - we pushed the bow of the lifeboat, by means of the oar, a sufficient distance away from the side of the Titanic to clear this great stream of water which was gushing forth. We were then safely lowered to the water."
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person

Rancor

Member
Jun 23, 2017
240
129
53
It is possible by this stage of the sinking that the main condensers were shut down, with the dynamos and pumps exhausting to the auxiliary condenser which only had a discharge on the starboard side.
 

Kyle Naber

Member
Oct 5, 2016
910
373
73
18
I thought there was evidence that showed the staircase was destroyed as it as it was jettisoned backwards through the corridors and aft when she made her way down to the seabed and pressures inside blew everything back and out of her broken decks e.g.


View attachment 42913

View attachment 42914


Then again, I recall a member who mentioned there was possibly debris from the dome casing which had fallen inwards and was found at the bottom of the landing on E-deck.


.
Probably a large section, yes. The top couple flights probably would have disjointed from the rest and was ejected upwards. This would have created a dark shape rising out of the water for a short time before the break.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Are there any reports of the Britannic's staircase? I wonder if it had collapsed inside the wreck or if it was similarly ejected out of the top by the rapid amount of water rushing in and lifting it up.

.
 
Mar 18, 2008
2,228
530
183
Germany
Going with the wreckage from the grant staircase around the bow wreck at the debris field it is very unlikely that any of the staircase shot out of the dome.
(In none of his written reports Thayer ever mentioned the staircase or a black object shooting out of the water.)

As for Britannic, the weather cover over the dome is intact, the dome itself mainly destroyed but inside the "staircase" the wooden staircase mainly gone.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person

Kyle Naber

Member
Oct 5, 2016
910
373
73
18
Going back to Thayer's account, his "buckling upwards" (or breaking upwards) probably meant this phenomenon:

(40:42)

You have to image him being where the second funnel was, looking up at the broken end of the ship lifting up out of the water as the stern settled back.
 
Mar 18, 2008
2,228
530
183
Germany
Nothing about "buckling upwards" in his 1912 accounts. Not sure why people always use his version from 1940.

This is what Thayer stated in 1912:
"I came up facing the ship, and one of her funnels seemed to be lifted off and fell towards me about 15 yards away, with a mass of sparks and steam coming out of it. I saw the ship in a sort of red glare, and it seemed to me that she broke in two just in front of the third funnel.
This time I was sucked down, and as I came up I was pushed out again and twisted around by a large wave, coming up in the midst of great deal of small wreckage."
 
  • Like
Reactions: Samuel Halpern

Kyle Naber

Member
Oct 5, 2016
910
373
73
18
Frederick Barrett

"We saw her head sink until her stern was right out of the water with the propellers in the air. Then she broke in half, the weight of the half out of the water being too great a strain, I suppose. The after end sank down, down level with the water for a few moments, and then as the water rushed in it went down at an angle again and slid down gently beneath the waves."

I think this is one of the only accounts that doesn't blame boilers exploding for the break.
 
Dec 23, 2017
1,114
617
123
Are there any reports of the Britannic's staircase? I wonder if it had collapsed inside the wreck or if it was similarly ejected out of the top by the rapid amount of water rushing in and lifting it up.

.
From a book i read most of the wood on Britannics staircase was never installed, and just severed as a simple staircase during war time. Multiple people have gone into the grandstaircase but frustratingly none have brought back images outside of the dome, which is surprisingly intact. Even if it was 100% installed i think the two ships sank different enough that it most likely would not be a fair comparison, we can see that in the fact that even Britannics dome was not completely destroyed unlike Titanic's


4:09
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Frederick Barrett

"We saw her head sink until her stern was right out of the water with the propellers in the air. Then she broke in half, the weight of the half out of the water being too great a strain, I suppose. The after end sank down, down level with the water for a few moments, and then as the water rushed in it went down at an angle again and slid down gently beneath the waves."

I think this is one of the only accounts that doesn't blame boilers exploding for the break.
The problem with that account is that it comes from a newspaper report from the 'The Manchester Guardian', and it has been pointed out to me several times on this forum that newspaper reports don't count.

Fred Barrett was in lifeboat 13. Here are other survivor accounts from lifeboat 13 that were also mentioned in the newspapers.



Doctor Dodge
"A series of loud explosions, three or four in number."

Mr. Littlejohn
"There were two or three explosions"

Mr. Tenglin
"Shortly afterward came two explosions"

Miss Dowdell
"Then there was one great explosion. I guessed it was the boilers."

Mr. Burgess
"Explosions of the boilers"

Ruth Becker
"There was an awful explosion of the boilers bursting and then the ship seemed to break right down the middle."

Mary Glynn
"There was a terrific explosion, which threw the water in a turmoil, and fragments of the ship were hurled high into the air. I supposed the boilers had exploded."



.