Inside the Britannic


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Jason D. Tiller

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Did anyone watch this last night on the History Channel? It centred around a recent expedition to the site and a team of divers went down to explore the ship to see if they could find what really sank her.

They got into the ship and explored the Grand Staircase, and a forward part of the ship where they found quite a bit of coal. While they were in the Grand Staircase, they discovered that the glass dome was totally gone since they thought it might still be there.

It also talked about the history of the ship and Simon Mills was interviewed. It showed some incredible images of the Britannic steaming along in daylight and at night. It also showed images of the sinking. The images truly took my breath away and they were so wonderful to see!

A couple of new theories were discussed as to why she sank. One was possibly neither a mine or a torpedo sank her, but instead an internal explosion from inside since it was rumoured she was carrying munitions. However this theory was quickly downplayed, as they could not find any munitions where they would have been stored. The second theory was that there was a secondary explosion at the forward end due to possible coal dust, but that was also quickly thrown out. The consensus at the end was that she was sunk by a mine.

I quite enjoyed this program and found it to be very interesting. Just thought I would share it here!

Best regards,

Jason
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Remco Hillen

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Hello Jason,

I wasn't able to see it, as I don't have the History Channel...
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Anyway, the program sounds very interesting. Are you sure it wasn't the Ballard expedition or, unlikely, the Cousteau one?
I ask because I don't know of much expeditions apart from those 2 who explore the story Britannic.
Most diving expeditions to Britannic mean more unclear shots of the promenade decks.
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It also talked about the history of the ship and Simon Mills was interviewed. It showed some incredible images of the Britannic steaming along in daylight and at night. It also showed images of the sinking. The images truly took my breath away and they were so wonderful to see!

That sounds good! Were those real pictures? That would be even better!
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Thanks for sharing this!

Regards,
Remco
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Remco,

Good to hear from you! Too bad you don't have the History Channel over there, you would have enjoyed it. This expedition was not the Ballard or the Cousteau one, but a more recent one. Though I'm not sure how recent.

The pictures were computer images, but they were still very realistic.

You're welcome, it was my pleasure!

Best regards,

Jason
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Remco Hillen

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Hello Jason,

I have the Discovery Channel, and since some weeks the National Geographic Channel back on.
Ironically the NGC came back on(after it was removed for some reason for a year)1 day after they had aired a show about the Carpathia...
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Hmm, so finally an interesting expedition to Britannic after the Ballard one, and they keep it quiet. Brilliant.
Man, I'd really like to give an expedition a 'wish-list' with all the places I'd like to have a closer look at..that instead of new shots from some capstan on a mislabeled place.
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Although I have the idea that this expedition might be covered in Mills' new book, it wouldn't surprise me. But that's just a guess.

Regards,
Remco
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Remco,

Good to hear you have the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel. That would be great if you were able to give an expedition a wish list of places to visit.

It would be interesting to see if it is talked about in Simon Mills' new book. I'll have to keep a lookout for it. Do you know what the title is?

Best regards,

Jason
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Remco Hillen

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That would indeed be very nice. For instance, for some weeks now, I'm trying to figure out what box-like objects are visible on the Tankroom. There is somethere there which wasn't on the sisters, but it can only be seen in images from far away and so I can't really make anything of it.
I haven't seen any wreck photograph of it, but that's almost logical for Britannic.
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Anyway, here are the details for Mill's book:

Title: Hostage to Fortune
Author: Simon Mills
ISBN:1-899493-03-4
Price (UK): £28.50
Details: Hardback, 224 pages
Illustrations: 134 B&W (Including end papers and fold out section) and 27 colour plates.


The 224 pages sound interesting, comparing that to 'Last Titan'; which has 64.
I haven't been able to find it in online bookshops yet.

Regards,
Remco
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Remco,

That's interesting about the Tankroom. It would be good to find out what it is.

Thank you for the information about the book! You're right, it does sound worthwhile and I'll definitely keep my eyes peeled for it.

Best regards,

Jason
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Jan 5, 2001
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Hi!

Another poor bloke who's missed the recent Britannic documentary. My hunch is that is was either the 1998 or 1999 expedition but I don't know of course. One of the divers wrote that Simon Mills had given the team a 'checklist' on Britannic and that was how they found the tiled wheelhouse. Unfortunately the other checks or objects found do not seem to be known, or certainly not publicised yet, so we can only hope that they are published in the new book.

Regarding the book's timing, it will definately be out by mid-October, so it should appear soon; I did some amateur sleuthing. (I am sure I've spelt that wrong.)

BTW Remco, did you get my e-mail about the Britannic third class article? I've finished another article as well for Michail's site when it is relaunched soon.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Jan 14, 2001
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Hi!

I also think that the undewater footage was probably taken from a past expedition,but I can say it for sure since I haven't seen the documentary.The digital images should be from the recent film.The existence of the tiles in the wheelhouse was known from the Cousteau expedition in 1976.There is some great footage in his TV-documentary,with many remains of the wooden walls clearly visible too.Perhaps Mr.Mills used this "checklist" in order to check if certain areas were still well-preserved.


Th website will be ready sometime next week.The structure of many pages has changed in order to facilitate navigation.Colours and graphics are new and there is a password-protected area containing material which can't be displayed in public (due to copyright restrictions).Access to this area will be granted only to five persons.

Mark,the article looks very good,as usual.I'll send you an a-mail about it.

Best regards,
Michail
 

Remco Hillen

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Hello,

Mark, yes, but I haven't replied yet. I will do so in a moment.

If I find the Mills' book online, I'll post a link here. Hope it'll be available soon, it should contain some interesting things. I've heard that it contains the rigging plans as fold-out section; which would be great. Those plans are very nice and informative

Regards,
Remco
 

Jason D. Tiller

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I was informed earlier today by e-mail, that the Britannic expedition was done by GUE (Global Underwater Explorers) in 1999.

Here are a couple of sites that were included that may be of interest:

www.gue.com Just click on "Research" when you get onto the site and a ton of stuff will pop up on the expedition, including dive logs and a gallery of photos.

www.ocean-discovery.org This site also has some good information on the ship.

Best regards,

Jason
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L

Luke Weiser

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The expedition was done by Global Underwater Explorers (GUE). These guys are very serious about their diving. They are primarily cave divers who spend a long time in a cave at depths very few would even consider in open water. The footage was all done by GUE divers. They wanted to put any guessing as to the reason of demise to rest. They looked for signs of a secondary explosion and found none. They also looked for munitions and again found none after searching all of the cargo holds and coal bunkers. The main conclusion they came to was that she hit a mine and went down. When the bow hit the bottom there was about 400' of ship out of water above. The bow could not hold the weight and snapped adding to the speed of the sinking.

Luke
 
May 3, 2002
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In my most recent saturn guide I have noted a Doco about HMHS Britannic on History channel for Australia/New Zealand. Has anyone here seen "Inside Britannic"? Any thoughts and previews would be welcome.

thanks
Martin
 
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Hi,

Just received an e-mail for Simon Mills about the subject. The NEW Britannic documentary (from the 2003 expedition) is titled "Inside the Britannic" and will air on National Geographic Channel on Feb.15 (no times published yet). Take notice that there is also another documentary with the same title that was aired in 2002.It's not the same one.

Hopefully I will be able to post more details in the Britannic website soon.

Best regards,
Michail
 
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