Lifeboats


Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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I'm wondering whether they were held pending the civil claims. With the fares and freight money, their value was claimable by the plaintiffs. Actual money was not deposited with the US court until October 1912. That would tie in with the story of them being stored in a loft. That would normally be a dumb thing to do with clinker built boats, as they dry out and leak if left out of water for any time. I'll have a dig around.

If they were put onto a ship, it would hardly have been Olympic. She was in England at the time and had to be fitted with extra boats before returning to the US.
 

Lee Gilliland

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Feb 14, 2003
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I have been doing some research into what happened to the passengers when they were rescued, and noticed that a majority of the lifeboats were taken aboard Carpathia and brought to New York.The only subsequent reference I can find about them is Seaman Jones taking the '8' off his boat, framing it, and giving it to the Countess of Rothes. What happened to them? Were they (God help us) reused to pump up the number of lifeboats on other White Star liners?
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Lee, that's a mystery discussed on another thread. The answer is that nobody knows for sure.

It's said by Eaton and Haas that they were stowed away in a boat shed, but they quote no source. However, it would fit with my idea that they were held by an American court as assets available to meet claims for damages. Late in 1912, White Star posted a cash bond with the court. (That's a matter of record). The boats would then have been released to White Star. Being clinker built, they may by then have leaked like sieves and been scrapped.

Most of that is my speculation. Anybody with documentation is welcome to do better.

The number 8 business is quite true. I've seen the item myself. The number is actually inlaid neatly into a piece of timber, probably by Jones himself.
 

Wade Sisson

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Jan 10, 2008
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There is some documentary evidence (a photo of Olympic taken in Ocean Dock, Southampton) that the boats might have been returned to England for use aboard other IMM ships in the weeks following the disaster. I imagine the reason we don't know what happened to the boats is quite simple -- the White Star Line sought to erase the memory of Titanic after she sank. And how would the traveling public feel if they knew there were Titanic lifeboats on a ship they were sailing? It's not the sort of thing you advertise.
 
B

Brian R Peterson

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Hi Wade!

White Star didn't really have to try that hard to erase the memory of the Titanic lifeboats - thieves picked them clean within days of the sinking, everything that could go did - all IMM had to do was paint out "S.S. Titanic" off the gunwales.

Best Regards,

Brian
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Brian,

The name of the ship, port of registry, lifeboat number, White Star burgee emblem, and lifeboat capacity rating all took the form of painted metal plaques. Many of these were taken off the boats aboard Carpathia; for example, the Countess of Rothes was presented with her lifeboat number, which she later had framed for safekeeping. I would wager that most, if not all, of these plaques were removed as souvenirs before the lifeboats were dropped off by Carpathia at the White Star Line pier.

Cunard did things differently from what I understand...I once saw a photo that showed the ship's name "Lusitania" painted directly onto the lifeboat's planking.

Parks
 

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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Parks, if that's the photo I'm thinking of, then the boat probably wasn't from the Lusitania at all (and the corpses inside weren't really dead)--I believe it was actually a propaganda picture taken and distributed as part of the Allied war effort.

Jim
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Jim,

Yes, I believe that you're right...it probably was a staged photograph that I am thinking of. However, it is Eric Sauder's opinion -- and I defer to him on all matters Lusitania -- that Cunard painted identifying marks on Lusi's boats.

Parks
 

Eric Sauder

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Nov 12, 2000
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The names on Lusitania's lifeboats were painted on and were not brass plaques like those found on Olympic's boats. Here is a close-up of the name.

Eric Sauder

73662.jpg
 

Eric Sauder

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Nov 12, 2000
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One other item of interest that confirms my belief that the names were painted on. I've seen the complete inventory of what was in the lifeboats when they arrived at Queenstown, and although it is extremely detailed (almost down to how many screws were used in the boats), there is no mention of any lifeboat name plates. This list was compiled by Cunard and was annotated later with notes about who purchased each boat and the fittings as well as the prices paid.

Eric Sauder
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Eric,

Thanks for posting those pictures. Now that I see them, I believe it was one of these that you showed me earlier and that I remembered. I think that I have also seen the propaganda photo that Jim mentioned above, but now I'm not so sure...maybe it was in one of the Lusitania books?

Parks
 

Eric Sauder

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Nov 12, 2000
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Hi, Parks:

Yes, these are two of the lifeboat photos I brought when I visited a while ago and we did our photo analysis; so it must be these you're remembering.

The propaganda photo mentioned above is on 140-141 of Exploring the Lusitania.

Eric
 
Nov 9, 2002
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Hello All,
I don't know if this was discussed before but is there any chance that he extra lifeboats on olympic were actually some of Titanic lifeboats with switched name plates? I've always wondered this because it seems to be of how they disappeared. Any Thoughts?

Sahand
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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Hello, Sahand---

Yes, this has been discussed before, in at least the following threads:

The bottom line, I think, is that they certainly were NOT on Olympic when she resumed service in May 1912, and there's no hard evidence to support or refute the proposition that they wound up on Olympic at any later time. Their fate is simply unknown.
 
Aug 15, 2005
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Darwen, United Kingdom
There is a clinker-built craft hanging on a pair of davits in Fleetwood, Lancashire, England.
Allegedly, it belonged to the Titanic, though there is no proof of this.
If it is, it is not one of the larger ones that seated 65 persons; it's about the right size to be one of the two emergency clippers, though.
Regards, Ryan.
 
Aug 13, 2011
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I'm interested in makers of the Titanic's clinker lifeboats, one source has them made in house by Harland and Woolf in Belfast the other by a firm in Glasgow.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
It was Harland and Wolff that built the boats in their own shops. While H&W did sub-contract some of the componants and equipment for their ships, at this point in time, they still made most of the componants, sub-assemblies, equipment and fittings right there in the yard.
 

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