Lifeboats #4 and Collapsible D


Arun Vajpey

Member
It is curious to note something:

Senator PERKINS.
Who gave you orders to take to her, Mr. Murdoch?

Mr. PERKIS.
No, sir; there was nobody. The boat was lowered.

It's not like they would lower the boat without being directed, so that's strange I think.


The way the crew and other people present at A-deck at that moment would go up to the boat deck would be that forward gangway ladder you mentioned. It's a rather short way up, and you get straight to the collapsible boat.


There are a couple curious things as well regarding No.2, and it's from Johnstone's testimony:

3463. Did anybody get in at A deck?
- No, there was nobody to get in.

3464. Then what happened?
- We got lowered, and then we cut her adrift. The razor came in handy.

It calls my attention the mention of no one being at A-deck, when Boxhall stated No.4 was being loaded at that moment. The possible answer to that is that the people were strictly confined to the vicinity of No.4 and not allowed further, or Johnstone simply didn't want to take any blame for not having filled the boat with more people.

Thanks for the helpful post.

Can it be that QM Perkis misunderstood the question and the Senator simply decided not to pursue it further?

With regard to no one trying to get on board Lifeboat #2 as it was lowered past the A-deck, I assume that it was out of reach. The Promenade Deck extension of the A-deck was enclosed on the Titanic and women and children were being loaded into Lifeboat #4 through the windows. Therefore, those who were waiting to get into #4 would have been behind those windows, with the men being forced back by the crew to allow women through. With that scenario, anyone wanting to reach Lifeboat #2 as it was lowered past the A-deck might have found it impossible.

With regard to that forward gangway ladder, I presume that Lightoller and Wilde, along with a few crew present after #4 was lowered, went to the ladder and up it to the boat deck where Collapsible D was being fitted into the now empty davits of #2. But would the crowd pf passengers still behind the windows of the promenade deck found it easy to follow the crew? Those in the front might have done but I understand that there was a sizable crowd there and those hemmed in at the back might have used another route to get to the boat deck.

The tragedy of that is that someone timid, frightened and unable to speak English like Martta Hiltunen would almost certainly be left behind in the rush to get to the vicinity of bat deck and Collapsible D. She did not have someone like Gracie to escort her through and got left behind a second time in 15 minutes.
 
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Kas01

Member
Thanks for the helpful post.

Can it be that QM Perkis misunderstood the question and the Senator simply decided not to pursue it further?

With regard to no one trying to get on board Lifeboat #2 as it was lowered past the A-deck, I assume that it was out of reach. The Promenade Deck extension of the A-deck was enclosed on the Titanic and women and children were being loaded into Lifeboat #4 through the windows. Therefore, those who were waiting to get into #4 would have been behind those windows, with the men being forced back by the crew to allow women through. With that scenario, anyone wanting to reach Lifeboat #2 as it was lowered past the A-deck might have found it impossible.

With regard to that forward gangway ladder, I presume that Lightoller and Wilde, along with a few crew present after #4 was lowered, went to the ladder and up it to the boat deck where Collapsible D was being fitted into the now empty davits of #2. But would the crowd pf passengers still behind the windows of the promenade deck found it easy to follow the crew? Those in the front might have done but I understand that there was a sizable crowd there and those hemmed in at the back might have used another route to get to the boat deck.

The tragedy of that is that someone timid, frightened and unable to speak English like Martta Hiltunen would almost certainly be left behind in the rush to get to the vicinity of bat deck and Collapsible D. She did not have someone like Gracie to escort her through and got left behind a second time in 15 minutes.

The gap in between the boat gunwales and the deck enclosure would also have made it difficult for people to get in. If I'm remembering correctly, when filming No. 4 Boat's loading during Ghosts of the Abyss they had to nail deckchairs to the boat so that there was enough stability while replicating that scenario.

What was the width and height of those windows, anyway?
 
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Bob_Read

Guest
The gap in between the boat gunwales and the deck enclosure would also have made it difficult for people to get in. If I'm remembering correctly, when filming No. 4 Boat's loading during Ghosts of the Abyss they had to nail deckchairs to the boat so that there was enough stability while replicating that scenario.

What was the width and height of those windows, anyway?
They were 37 inches high by 31 inches wide.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Member
That means while they were large enough for an average person to go through, loading would have been a slow process since most of the passengers who eventually got on board #4 were Edwardian women. I can imagine a crowd gathering in the area and after #4 was finally lowered, those in the front might have followed Lightoller and Wilde up the forward gangway ladder towards davits of #2 where they were now attaching Collapsible D. The rest, particularly those at the back, might have found it quicker to get to the boat deck the longer way around.
 
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Bob_Read

Guest
That means while they were large enough for an average person to go through, loading would have been a slow process since most of the passengers who eventually got on board #4 were Edwardian women. I can imagine a crowd gathering in the area and after #4 was finally lowered, those in the front might have followed Lightoller and Wilde up the forward gangway ladder towards davits of #2 where they were now attaching Collapsible D. The rest, particularly those at the back, might have found it quicker to get to the boat deck the longer way around.
At this late stage, is the crew stairway from A deck to the boat deck still accessible on A deck or would it be flooded? The next aft access would have been the first class entrance on A deck up the grand staircase to the boat deck. I just don’t know the flooding timeline.
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
At this late stage, is the crew stairway from A deck to the boat deck still accessible on A deck or would it be flooded? The next aft access would have been the first class entrance on A deck up the grand staircase to the boat deck. I just don’t know the flooding timeline.
I believe that the gangway 'ladder' (was it a runged ladder or a proper staircase?) would have been still dry and clear at 01:50 am, the time at which Lifeboat #4 was lowered and the people involved hurried to the boat deck. The position of the ladder/stairs is just aft of the bridge according to BB's deckplans. QM Bright noted that at 02:02 am, a couple of minutes before Collapsible D was lowered, the forecastle (I presume he meant starting on the port side due to the list) was going under. The forecastle was submerged by the time 'D' was lowered at 02:05 am but even with the port list, I don't think the gangway ladder would have been flooded yet (I am open to correction on this point).

One point about that gangway ladder/stairs access from the Promenade Deck to the boat deck that I want to clarify - how wide was it? I mean, if people were rushing up those steps to get to the boat deck after Lifeboat #4 was lowered and it could only one person abreast to climb, then people at the back of the crowd might have found it quicker and easier to take the longer route you described.
 
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Bob_Read

Guest
I believe that the gangway 'ladder' (was it a runged ladder or a proper staircase?) would have been still dry and clear at 01:50 am, the time at which Lifeboat #4 was lowered and the people involved hurried to the boat deck. The position of the ladder/stairs is just aft of the bridge according to BB's deckplans. QM Bright noted that at 02:02 am, a couple of minutes before Collapsible D was lowered, the forecastle (I presume he meant starting on the port side due to the list) was going under. The forecastle was submerged by the time 'D' was lowered at 02:05 am but even with the port list, I don't think the gangway ladder would have been flooded yet (I am open to correction on this point).

One point about that gangway ladder/stairs access from the Promenade Deck to the boat deck that I want to clarify - how wide was it? I mean, if people were rushing up those steps to get to the boat deck after Lifeboat #4 was lowered and it could only one person abreast to climb, then people at the back of the crowd might have found it quicker and easier to take the longer route you described.
Arun: The crew stairway could not accommodate more than one person at a time as it was approximately the same width as the ladders in the well decks. In the photo below you can see the entrance on the boat deck.
670.jpg
 
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Bob_Read

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I believe that the gangway 'ladder' (was it a runged ladder or a proper staircase?) would have been still dry and clear at 01:50 am, the time at which Lifeboat #4 was lowered and the people involved hurried to the boat deck. The position of the ladder/stairs is just aft of the bridge according to BB's deckplans. QM Bright noted that at 02:02 am, a couple of minutes before Collapsible D was lowered, the forecastle (I presume he meant starting on the port side due to the list) was going under. The forecastle was submerged by the time 'D' was lowered at 02:05 am but even with the port list, I don't think the gangway ladder would have been flooded yet (I am open to correction on this point).

One point about that gangway ladder/stairs access from the Promenade Deck to the boat deck that I want to clarify - how wide was it? I mean, if people were rushing up those steps to get to the boat deck after Lifeboat #4 was lowered and it could only one person abreast to climb, then people at the back of the crowd might have found it quicker and easier to take the longer route you described.
Arun: This photo will give you some idea of the width of the crew stairway between B deck and the boat deck. This photo is one of the ladders in the forward well deck which would have been of similar width.
well deck stairway.jpg
 
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Bob_Read

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I believe that the gangway 'ladder' (was it a runged ladder or a proper staircase?) would have been still dry and clear at 01:50 am, the time at which Lifeboat #4 was lowered and the people involved hurried to the boat deck. The position of the ladder/stairs is just aft of the bridge according to BB's deckplans. QM Bright noted that at 02:02 am, a couple of minutes before Collapsible D was lowered, the forecastle (I presume he meant starting on the port side due to the list) was going under. The forecastle was submerged by the time 'D' was lowered at 02:05 am but even with the port list, I don't think the gangway ladder would have been flooded yet (I am open to correction on this point).

One point about that gangway ladder/stairs access from the Promenade Deck to the boat deck that I want to clarify - how wide was it? I mean, if people were rushing up those steps to get to the boat deck after Lifeboat #4 was lowered and it could only one person abreast to climb, then people at the back of the crowd might have found it quicker and easier to take the longer route you described.
Arun: Here are a couple of drawings to give some scale perspective.
I believe that the gangway 'ladder' (was it a runged ladder or a proper staircase?) would have been still dry and clear at 01:50 am, the time at which Lifeboat #4 was lowered and the people involved hurried to the boat deck. The position of the ladder/stairs is just aft of the bridge according to BB's deckplans. QM Bright noted that at 02:02 am, a couple of minutes before Collapsible D was lowered, the forecastle (I presume he meant starting on the port side due to the list) was going under. The forecastle was submerged by the time 'D' was lowered at 02:05 am but even with the port list, I don't think the gangway ladder would have been flooded yet (I am open to correction on this point).

One point about that gangway ladder/stairs access from the Promenade Deck to the boat deck that I want to clarify - how wide was it? I mean, if people were rushing up those steps to get to the boat deck after Lifeboat #4 was lowered and it could only one person abreast to climb, then people at the back of the crowd might have found it quicker and easier to take the longer route you described.
Arun: Here are a couple of drawings to give some scale perspective. The second drawing is the inboard side of the A deck windows.
Boat Deck.jpg


A deck.jpg
 
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Arun Vajpey

Member
Arun: The crew stairway could not accommodate more than one person at a time as it was approximately the same width as the ladders in the well decks. In the photo below you can see the entrance on the boat deck.View attachment 48655

Thanks Bob. It is interesting to try and imagine how the people around Lifeboat #4 who did NOT get on it reacted after they started to lower it. The crew stairway was probably the most straightforward route to the boat deck but if it allowed only one average person in its width, some might have taken the longer but quicker route up the grand staircase.
 

Gaston Sam

Member
At this late stage, is the crew stairway from A deck to the boat deck still accessible on A deck or would it be flooded? The next aft access would have been the first class entrance on A deck up the grand staircase to the boat deck. I just don’t know the flooding timeline.
That gangway ladder wouldn't be flooded up to the time Collapsible D reached the water, that is some 15-20 minutes after No.4 was launched.

With regard to no one trying to get on board Lifeboat #2 as it was lowered past the A-deck, I assume that it was out of reach.
I think it wasn't in Wilde's plan to stop No.2 at A-deck to take more people in, unless of course Boxhall halted. Anyway, Johnstone not seeing anyone might be on account of his position in the boat, whereas Boxhall was at the stern, just next to No.4.

Can it be that QM Perkis misunderstood the question and the Senator simply decided not to pursue it further?
Quite likely. Still, whatever the case, I think it was Wilde who asked from the boat deck how many people did No.4 have, and consequently ordered the boat to be lowered and very likely directed the lowering as well. After that, there was another call to No.4 asking how many hands did it have, to which Foley replied only one, and then Wilde ordered Perkis and McCarthy down the falls into the boat.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Member
I think it wasn't in Wilde's plan to stop No.2 at A-deck to take more people in, unless of course Boxhall halted. Anyway, Johnstone not seeing anyone might be on account of his position in the boat, whereas Boxhall was at the stern, just next to No.4.

But even if Boxhall had halted #2 on A-deck, was it possible to load passengers into it safely? The forward part of promenade deck was enclosed and they were loading #4 through the windows. If Boxhall had stopped #2 on A-deck, it would have been just in front of #4 and they would have had to open more windows to load #2. Would that not be unsafe, especially with the port list?
 

Gaston Sam

Member
But even if Boxhall had halted #2 on A-deck, was it possible to load passengers into it safely? The forward part of promenade deck was enclosed and they were loading #4 through the windows. If Boxhall had stopped #2 on A-deck, it would have been just in front of #4 and they would have had to open more windows to load #2. Would that not be unsafe, especially with the port list?
I don't remember where it was that I read the mechanism for opening those windows would lower them all at once, or something like that. Then it would have taken a couple minutes placing some deck chairs to serve as steps, and hook the boat to the coaling wire to fix the gap between the boat and the ship's side. But I think they were eager to have that boat lowered so they could start up the collapsible.
 
But even if Boxhall had halted #2 on A-deck, was it possible to load passengers into it safely? The forward part of promenade deck was enclosed and they were loading #4 through the windows. If Boxhall had stopped #2 on A-deck, it would have been just in front of #4 and they would have had to open more windows to load #2. Would that not be unsafe, especially with the port list?

The forward part of boat No. 2 was at the open part of A Deck. It would have been like the situation at Collapsible D as Woolner and Björnström-Stephanson jumped into boat D from A Deck.
No. 2 could not have been loaded thought the windows, especially with the port list the ship had.
No. 4 was made fast to the hawser running along the side of the ship so that it did not hung away.
 
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Gaston Sam

Member
The forward part of boat No. 2 was at the open part of A Deck. It would have been like the situation at Collapsible D as Woolner and Björnström-Stephanson jumped into boat D from A Deck.
No. 2 could not have been loaded thought the windows, especially with the port list the ship had.
No. 4 was made fast to the hawser running along the side of the ship so that it did not hung away.
I think just the forward part of No.2 would be at the open part of A-deck

7B1373FB6ED24691BFFDCC5642D88404.jpg
 
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