Keep Away from the Starboard Rail


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Aaron_2016

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Does anyone know why the passengers kept away from the starboard side railing as the ship sank? Here are accounts that I believe relate to the matter.


Mr. Collins
"There were hundreds on the starboard side."

Mr. Thayer
We then went up a sheltered stairway onto the starboard side of the boat deck. There were crowds of people up there. They all seemed to keep as far as possible from the ship’s rail. We stood there talking from about 2am on.....As the water gained headway along the deck, the crowd gradually moved with it, always pushing toward the floating stern and keeping in from the rail of the ship as far as they could......Long and I had been standing by the starboard rail, about abreast of the second funnel. Our main thought was to keep away from the crowd and the suction. At the rail we were entirely free of the crowd.......Occasionally there had been a muffled thud or deadened explosion within the ship. Now, without warning, she seemed to start forward, moving forward and into the water......"



When he says they kept away from the starboard rail, was he referring to the side (red) and all of the passengers were possibly ordered to stay in the middle on the upper structure of the ship?


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Areas were the crowds possibly had gathered as they waited and "gradually moved" aft as the water spilt onto the boat deck around them.


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Mr. Barkworth
"When the ship gave the first dip we all went aft. I remember somebody shouted: 'Go gently!' as if a sudden shift of weight would have disturbed the ship's position......I saw nearby Howard Case, the manager of the Vacuum Oil Company in London. I said something to him. ''My dear fellow," he replied, "I wouldn't think of quitting the ship. Why, she'll swim (float) for a week," and calmly lit a cigarette."


Is it possible that all of this was related to the 'balancing' of the ship? e.g.


Lightoller

"She was taking a list over to port, the order was called, I think, by the chief officer. "Everyone on the starboard side to straighten her up," which I repeated......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....."

Q - You mean to say the shifting of the passengers on the deck would affect the list?
A - Yes, my Lord. At that height, and with that number of passengers, I think it would.....


Colonel Gracie

"There was a very palpable list to port as if the ship was about to topple over......2nd officer Lightoller ordered all passengers to the starboard side because of the very palpable list to port, when the great ship suddenly appeared to be about to topple over."


Mr. Hemming

"The Captain was there, and he sung out: "Everyone over to the starboard side, to keep the ship up as long as possible."


Mr. Thayer

"She gradually came out of her list to port, and if anything, had a slight list to starboard....."


Mr. White was reported to have said that 'he saw a crowd of people running over the top of a huge skylight between two smokestacks' just as the Titanic was breaking in two. Does this mean the people were still trying to balance the ship and "the crowd gradually moved" aft when the ship broke in two, and then there was no use trying to safe the ship any more?


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it was dark, very dark. With the lifeboats gone, there were no rails preventing someone from accidentally stepping off the edge of the deck and plunging into the abyss. Ever notice how most people (young males excluded) stay back from the un-fenced edge of a cliff?

-- David G. Brown
 
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Aaron_2016

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I think they were referring to the rail / barrier that ran between the lifeboats (red line). According to Mr. Thayer the crowd were standing around the base of the 2nd funnel and were doing their best to keep as far away from the starboard side rail / wall and Mr. Thayer and his friend were the only two men out of the crowd who stood against the rail and prepared to jump.

"Long and I had been standing by the starboard rail, about abreast of the second funnel. Our main thought was to keep away from the crowd.......At the rail we were entirely free of the crowd."



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Mr. Barkworth said the ship gave a sudden dip and everyone started to gently go aft. "When the ship gave the first dip we all went aft. I remember somebody shouted: 'Go gently!' as if a sudden shift of weight would have disturbed the ship's position." They still had confidence the ship would not sink. He also noticed two people he knew - "Jones and Gee were standing by, with arms on the rail, looking down (at the water below). I imagine they were preparing for death."

I think it was bright enough to see the rail / wall. After the Titanic sank they could see the upturned collapsible boat and some of the survivors thought it was a small iceberg. Jack Thayer looked over the boat deck and saw the lifeboats rowing far away and said "They were plainly visible and looked very safe on that calm sea.......The stars were brilliant and the water oily. Occasionally there had been a muffled thud or deadened explosion within the ship." He also described the ship's lights towards the end. "The lights were still strong."......"As I recall it, the lights were still on, even then. There seemed to be quite a ruddy glare, but it was a murky light, with distant people and objects vaguely outlined.".....(and after he entered the water).."The ship seemed to be surrounded with a glare and stood out of the night as though she were on fire."

I think the starboard rail he was referring to was the long rail / barrier on the starboard edge that ran between the forward and aft lifeboats and for some unknown reason the passengers were told to keep away from it. I wonder if they were still trying to balance the ship and prevent her from rolling over, as Mr. Hemming said - "The Captain was there, and he sung out: "Everyone over to the starboard side, to keep the ship up as long as possible." Perhaps another order was given to keep her balanced, as Mr. Lightoller said "The ship got a righting movement and maintained it."


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Kyle Naber

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I think if water suddenly crashed onto the boat deck and the bow swung quickly down, “not disturbing the ship’s position” would be the least of the 1,500 people’s worries.
 
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Kyle Naber

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The order was definitely given, but not as late into the sinking as hypothesized above.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Lightoller said everyone went to the starboard side and the ship got a righting movement and maintained it. Jack Thayer said the ship listed to port and then back over to starboard and the men kept away from the rail of the starboard side (presumably because she was in danger of rolling over that way as well). Mr. Hemming was getting the collapsible boats ready when he heard the captain order the passengers to the starboard side. This was very close to the plunge.


"The last time I saw the captain, sir, was just as I was coming down off the house."
Q - Just as you came down from the house? You mean by that the top of the officers' quarters?
A - Yes, sir.
Q - Where this collapsible boat was?
A - Yes, sir.
Q - You saw what?
A - The captain was there, and he sung out: "Everyone over to the starboard side, to keep the ship up as long as possible."
Q - He meant by that to have the people all move to the starboard side?
A - Yes, sir.

Mr. Woolner was on the promenade deck and saw nobody on the port side. It was completely deserted. Everyone had obeyed the orders and gone to the starboard side.

Colonel Gracie
"When we were loading the last boat, just a short time before it was fully loaded, a palpable list toward the port side began, and the officer called out, "All passengers to the starboard side," and Smith and myself went to the starboard side."


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