Implications of flooding of BR4

Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
A gradually increasing breach through a double bottom requires a much more complex explanation.
I believe Sam Halpern has done just that with his article. He presents a credible view that there was a small breach just above the tank top of the double bottom through which gradual flooding was taking place beneath the stokehold plates.
 
Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

Member
the question is would Chief Engineer Bell have foreseen the need to run a flexible pipe from the Engine room to Boiler room 4 based on his own initiative or via advice from Andrews?
It is most likely he would have done so on his own initiative. Prior to his assignment to the RMS Olympic the year previously he had been chief engineer on-board the SS Laurentic, the first Harland and Wolff and White Star Liner vessel had a triple screw layout with a turbine engine. Due to his expertise with the Laurentic he was selected to be the Olympic her chief engineer and he made a detailed report on all equipment on-board, from the windlass gear to the steering gear. This includes the pumps and their valves, he noted down:

“Auxiliary machinery. has worked very well but I have recommended some slight alterations, including: air vessels on their feed pump suction pipes from contact heater, and the lift of valves of these pumps to be reduced from 1/4in as at present 1/8in; the suction pipes and several auxiliary steam pipes, also electric pipes to be more efficiently stayed; the valve seats of the sanitary pumps have too large apertures causing the rubber valves (which are here used to prevent the noise of working from traveling along the discharge pipes to the accommodation) to break, the pressure of discharge to tank on boat deck is 48 lbs per sq in (seats to have smaller apertures and fitted with five small valves instead of one large one as present). Circulating discharge from main bearing caps and thrust block water service to be led to sanitary pump suction (this work is all to be attended to here).”

Shortly after the fitting out chief engineer Bell returned to Belfast to oversee the improvements he suggested being implemented, his son Frank at the time was a draughtsman apprentice at the drawing offices of the engine works of Harland and Wolff. Shortly before the sea-trails chief engineer Bell was supplied with sets of plans. This includes:
  • The pipe plan arrangement
  • The Bilge and Tank suction plans
Due to his experience on the Olympic, as well as overseeing the construction of the Titanic and having all the necessary plans and information on her pumping arrangement he knew what orders had to be carried out, however the orders in question are easier given then done and require a lot of manpower and force.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
However the orders in question are easier given then done and require a lot of manpower and force.
I agree. I know it is only a movie, but in the 1958 film A Night to Remember, the crew were shown lugging a large flexible pipe between boiler rooms. If I recall correctly, they were knee deep in water in that scene and so it could not have been from the still dry engine room to BR4. But I would have thought that the physical effort and manpower required for that task would have been considerable.
 
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Seumas

Seumas

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In this case, I am afraid the theory goes against you. You are the one trying to shoehorn a more implausible theory whereas Sam Halpern's opinion is simpler and far more likely. Think about it.
Sadly, some people just believe what they want to believe and not what the evidence tells us.

Hence, why we fight an uphill battle against the majority who still believe there were locked gates in third class and the orchestra played until the very end - despite the evidence being to the contrary !
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
Sadly, some people just believe what they want to believe and not what the evidence tells us.
Absolutely right. I was discussing flooding of BR4 with Sam Halpern and he pointed out that he did address the premise that water came in after overtopping bulkhead F. He kindly gave me leave to quote this excerpt from his article.
As far as water overtopping watertight bulkhead F (between BR 4 and BR 5), this too does not seem to be likely because water was first seen to have reached the first-class staircase on E deck about 12:45 a.m. by first-class saloon steward Frederick Ray (AI p. 803-804), and about the same time water was first seen running down those stairs from E deck onto F deck by steward Joseph Wheat after checking the rooms by the Turkish baths located just aft of that watertight bulkhead (BI 10957-10972). It was about the same time, 12:45, that Scott was ordered to open all the watertight doors aft of the engine room so they could get to that portable suction pipe suggesting that water was coming in from below some time prior as discussed above. So it appears that there simply would not have been enough time for enough water to have made it into the forward bunker space below if it were about an hour after the collision that it first started to come down from E deck onto F deck.
 
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PeterChappell

Member
Arun, yes, I've read that passage time and time again before posting on this thread, and it still makes no sense to me. If the water was flowing down those stairs above BR4 at 12:45 and it was first seen in BR4 at at 13:10 (an hour and a half after collision) that leaves 25 minutes for the water to accumulate after reaching that point, or 35 minutes before BR4s evacuation. I can't see all of Samuel's article due to formatting issues, so there may be some information behind a diagram blocking some text explaining this.

I recall on another thread everyone was claiming how difficult it is to block water. Moving the goalposts come to mind.

Even if water was getting in from below, it wouldn't be able to flood a significant proportion of BR4 at the rate seen up to 13:10; the same with BR5. Most was obviously coming from an source of increasing pressure, the head of water accumulating above these rooms and in particular their forward coal bunkers.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
I can't see all of Samuel's article due to formatting issues, so there may be some information behind a diagram blocking some text explaining this.
I have saved the article as a Word document and have attached it to this post. Please see if it can be accessed better.

Most was obviously coming from an source of increasing pressure, the head of water accumulating above these rooms and in particular their forward coal bunkers.
Following is how I have understood the flooding of BR4 and why it became visible when it did.

The impact with the iceberg occurred at 11:40 pm, and at that time the bow was swinging to port in response to the first helm order. Since the Titanic was also moving forward at the same time, the resultant glancing blow meant that not only different parts of the ship came into contact with the iceberg, but also different parts of the berg. Sam postulates that a small spar on the berg upto then uninvolved in the impact caused a small seam to open up in the hull alongside BR4 at a level just above the tank top of the double bottom but below the stokehold plates. Through that breach a small but significant amount of water started seeping into the BR4 but as it was accumulating below the stokehold plates, the crew did not see it at the time. But gien the enormous pressure of the ocean outside, the influx water through the tiny breach was still significant.

Over the next hour and a half or so, the weight of the water in the bow section further forward caused the Titanic's bow to trim down, perhaps by 4 degrees or so. The water below the stokehold plates of BR4 was therefore accumulating in the forward part of that space in accordance with gravity. But the bulkhead between BR4 and BR5 extended right down to the tank top and since the water was collecting above that level, it could not be displaced further forward. So, it started to 'pile up' against the bulkhead and by about 01:10 am showed up above the stokehold plates in the forward part of BR4.
 

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PeterChappell

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Yes, that's how I've interpreted what Sam was saying. However, the hypothesis needs to exclude the possibility of water coming in from above, the most likely route. Just saying there isn't enough time doesn't make it so; it had been flooding above BR4 for 20-25 minutes. That's a long time, and we only need to account for a small amount of water. All I can think of is that Sam thinks that part of the deck above BR4 was less permeable than the others? Was this the area of the Turkish baths which may have been sealed?

All I'm stating is the standard method of sinking. The critical damage was to the first 5 sections. This resulted in water breaking over the bulkheads and flowing up E deck, and finally pouring into BR5 and BR4 and possibly in the latter stages BR3, once these very large spaces were filled the ship sank. That's it, the standard explanation. The hull leak in BR5 is a minor detail, and I don't see why any leak in BR4 is necessary to explain what happened. If it did occur it didn't play a major part in the sinking.

This is important, because a certain 'expert' (I don't think he's on this forum) has recently claimed that even if Titanic had been equipped with bulkheads up the B deck, like Britannic and the re-fitted Olympic, it still would have sunk! This is a misinterpretation of Wilding's evidence. BR5 and BR4 were not critically damaged from below. In fact, in conjunction with the pumps they should be treated as effectively dry for calculation purposes. They only flooded once the water made it over the bulkheads.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
This is important, because a certain 'expert' (I don't think he's on this forum) has recently claimed that even if Titanic had been equipped with bulkheads up the B deck, like Britannic and the re-fitted Olympic, it still would have sunk!
I saw who that "expert" was. I believe he was once a member of these forums; there still is one with the same surname but I am not sure if they are one and the same. In any case, I do not believe that many senior members in these forums think much of that 'expert'.

Getting back to flooding of BR4, I'll leave it to Sam to address the technicalities, but there is one thing I'd like to add in my wn layman's terms. The impression one got by witness accounts about the flooding of BR4 was that the rate and volume were significantly less than that observed in BR6 and BR5. Also, it started at the very forward part of the room, at the bulkhead separating it from BR5, all of which suggest that the water was coming though the "floor". Even though the influx was small, it was still steady enugh to keep above the capacity of the (small?) pump in BR4, if I recall reading somewhere.

If the water was an overflow from BR5, would it not have been more rapid, voluminous and widespread?
 
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PeterChappell

Member
Thankfully the British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry report summarises the situation perfectly (with my highlighting). My view conforms 100% with this, so there's nothing controversial about what I said above, it is a box standard explanation which conforms with the evidence.

The damage done in the boiler rooms Nos. 5 and 4 was too slight to have hastened appreciably the sinking of the ship, for it was given in evidence that no considerable amount of water was in either of these compartments for an hour after the collision. The rate at which water came into No. 6 boiler room makes it highly probable that the compartment was filled in not more than an hour, after which the flow over the top of the bulkhead between 5 and 6 began and continued till No. 5 was filled.

It was shown that the leak in No. 5 boiler room was only about equal to the flow of a deck hose pipe about 3 inches in diameter. (Barrett, 2255)

The leak in No. 4, supposing that there was one, was only enough to admit about 3 feet of water in that compartment in 1 hour 40 minutes. (Cavell, 4265) (Dillon, 3811)

Hence the leaks in Nos. 4 and 5 boiler rooms did not appreciably hasten the sinking of the vessel.

The evidence is very doubtful as to No. 4 being damaged
. The pumps were being worked in No. 5 soon after the collision. (Barrett, 1961) The 10 inch leather special suction pipe which was carried from aft is more likely to have been carried for use in No. 5 than No. 4 because the doors were ordered to be opened probably soon after the collision when water was known to be coming into No. 5. There is no evidence that the pumps were being worked in No. 4.

The only evidence possibly favourable to the view that the pipe was required for No. 4, and not for No. 5, is that Scott, a greaser, says that he saw engineers dragging the suction pipe along 1 hour after the collision. But even as late as this it may have been wanted for No. 5 only. (Scott, 5602)
 
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PeterChappell

Member
Also, it started at the very forward part of the room, at the bulkhead separating it from BR5, all of which suggest that the water was coming though the "floor".

I suspect some confusion of eyewitnesses regarding their perception of flooding from below, stems from the fact that little water was observed 'raining in' from above, and was first seen 'rising up' from the stokehold plates (floor). However, consider what happens when the ship trims down at the front as Titanic was. First the water on the deck immediately above BR4 tends to pile up against the forward bulkhead directly above the forward coal bunker of BR4, so this is where it's deepest, the pressure is greatest and most water would push though unseen into the bunker, eventually finding its way down to below the stokehold plates. The remaining water all across the roof of BR4 might still get pushed through to a lesser extent, but still not 'rain in'. It would tend to stick to the roof and trickle to the front, and end up dribbling down the wall of the forward coal bunker. To illustrate this get a metal tray from the oven, soak the underside with water, and tilt it by about 5 degrees. It doesn't drip equally across its area, but trickles down to the front and dribbles off there.

If the water was an overflow from BR5, would it not have been more rapid, voluminous and widespread?
This is the ice tray myth again. It wasn't overflowing from BR5, until perhaps the very end. It originated from E deck above and sank into the deck below, then into the forward bunker of BR4. This would be slow process until the water gained a certain depth to push through. Exactly the same would have happened to BR5, but it also had an internal breech in it's forward coal bunker to add to the water from above. This combination, eventually increased the depth in that forward bunker until the doors collapsed.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
It originated from E deck above and sank into the deck below, then into the forward bunker of BR4.
You are entitled to your opinion of course, but will have to excuse me when I say that I do not accept your theory. We will have to agree to disagree on this. As things stand, I accept Sam Halpern's paper and explanation about flooding of BR4.
 
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