Lisa Harrod was Ahoy All

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lisagay harrod

Hello Everyone,

My name is Lisa Harrod, and I've been lurking around ET since last November. This is my first post, however.

When I say "lurking", I mean learning.

There is so much detailed information on this site, and many of you are more than well-versed on ALL aspects of the great ship. I'm definetly awed, and somewhat intimidated, but I feel I must at least attempt to explain why I am so captivated by the Titanic.

When I was twelve I had an incredibly vivid dream about the Titanic. I know what you are thinking...but please hear me out. I'll be as concise as I can be.

I am standing on the deck of a huge liner. It is pristine, and the day is so clear and bright that it is almost blinding. I lean over the railing and the name Titanic is glaring up at me...upsidedown and running from my left to right so as to be easily read. I know, I know, but bear with me!

Suffice it to say I was afraid, very afraid.

Please keep in mind that at the age of twelve I had only a vague notion of the Titanic, no real knowledge.

I then proceeded to try and persuade my fellow passengers (who are dressed, by the way, in meticulously detailed period clothing...again a subject I had no real knowledge of) that we are in great peril.

I beg, I plead, I implore them to listen to me. I ask them to note the difference in my clothing, my speech, my looks, etc., but to no avail. They call me "dear girl", and ask me to join them in the lounge for "toddies", and a spirited game of Canasta?!

It is at this point in my dream that I realize there is not a lifeboat in sight!

I woke up in a cold sweat, and the next day I headed for the library. If for no other reason to find out just what the heck Canasta was!!

I've been hooked ever since.

I realize that many of you on this board are technically-minded folks with backgrounds in engineering, metalurgy, biology, etc. Some of you have spent time at sea. Some of you are avid reasearchers. I have the utmost respect for all of you, and thank you for sharing your expertise and knowledge.

It's been a great voyage so far!

My dream (nightmare actually) must seem silly, and a far cry from anything credible...and you would be right. It is. I only ask that I be allowed to share in the quest for knowledge that we all share for the "Ship of Dreams" (no pun intended).

There are some experiences that leave an indelible mark on our lives. For me that dream is as real now as it was when I was twelve.

Be that as it may, I'll state my opinion on just a few points (since this is an intro) and sign off.

Please feel free to agree/disagree on any and all points. I'd be interested in what you all think!

Here goes:

1. Smith was Master of the Titanic and ultimately the responsibility for the sinking was his, ie., heading, speed, communications, crews' response, passengers, lifeboat drills...all of it! He should not have been cruising that fast with that many ice warnings coming in, period!

2. Ismay was pushing for speed, no doubt. He was a businessman, and a competitive one at that. As for saving himself, he was just a man who liked breathing, the same as rest of us. The press vilified him because he made a large target.

3. I think it's highly probable that Murdoch shot himself, and/or someone else. Lights was comforting a grieving widow we he stated Murdoch died a hero. No one was going to tell that women that her husband blew his brains out!

4. I prefer the theory that the ship "grounded" on an ice shelf and "racked", causing rivets to pop, plates to shift, watertight door malfunctions ...just makes sense to me. Of course 12 square feet of perforations helped...

5. I also prefer the theory that she broke apart from the bottom, like a hollow tube, splaying at the sides...the stern rose, but not that high, she did a 180 going down imploding on the descent...again, just makes sense.

6. Gates WERE locked...on purpose. I don't care if it was standard practice/maritime law...whatever. The crew knew people were locked below decks. Panic be d**ned, it was a reprehensible act in my book.

7. The Titanic is indeed a graveyard, hallowed ground if you will, but I'll never be able to afford the $36 grand for the trip in a submersible, so the salvage & subsequent exhibition were wonderful in my estimation. I toured the exhibition with reverence & awe, and I thank Titanic, Inc. for giving me the opportunity to do so. Sorry Dr. Ballard, but your concept of an underwater museum is for the birds, or fish as the case may be.

8. As Master of the Californian, Lord made a grave mistake in not investigating the rockets further, or getting Evans back in the Marconi shack. There was no excuse for his complacency.

9. The Edwardian era attitude "colored" the disaster completely, ie., survivors accounts, newspaper reporting, the inquiries, public opinion. It was a different age and people spoke, thought, reacted, and responded according to the norms and mores of the period. It's impossible to get a clear picture of events in modern terms. Frustrating indeed, but part of the enduring mystery.

10. My favorite crew member is Pittman. His account is the most forthright and compelling to me. The fact that he refused to talk about the cries of the drowning to me shows exceptional depth and strength of character.

Well, that's it...many thanks for allowing me to speak my mind and introduce myself. I'm looking forward to many more hours of discussion, debate and exploration.

Take Care All,
Lisa Harrod

Joshua Gulch

Mar 31, 2001
Welcome aboard, Lisa! Did you ever figure out what a canesta was?

You've formed some good opinions, and as you suggested, I'll offer my takes on them:
1. Neutral. While ultimately Smith was at fault for going so fast through a known icefield, only the aftermath would say he did wrong. Hindsight, being 20/20, would allow us today to criticize Smith's decisions, but back then Smith was only doing what he'd done so many times before. He had a schedule to keep and a managing director nibbling on his socks.
2. Agree. In fact, I probably would have done the same under those circumstances. Ismay didn't grope and claw his way in, but stepped in calmly after no women or children were around. I can't fault the man except where his co-captaining was concerned.
3. Disagree. I don't believe that it would be in Murdoch's character to shoot himself. Everything I've read of the man contradicts that sort of behavior.
4. Agree. You've been reading Dave Brown's works haven't you?

5. Neutral. To be honest, I've never really thought about a whole lot about it. I know there was a Discovery Channel show that postulated that, but top-to-keel seems to make more sense. But I'm not a marine engineer, so...
6. Neutral. The gates would probably be locked anyway due to the strict immigration rules at the time, keeping classes separate. It also had to do with trying to keep order amongst the lifeboats. The boat deck of a sinking ship at night is the last place you'd want 2220 people freaking out. Not even first class were told the ship was sinking. It was whoever happened to get in the boats first.
7. Disagree. While indeed Titanic is a graveyard and hallowed ground, I do not, have never, and will not ever support RMS Titanic, Inc. Their "preservation of artifacts" is a disgrace. I refuse to go to their exhibits for that reason. Those grave-robbers won't get a cent of my money. I wish the ship were left exactly as Ballard found it.
8. Neutral. Relatively speaking, there was little Lord could do to help. True, he should at least have gotten Evans up, but his ship wasn't in a position to rush to the rescue. I agree though that he should have done something, little as it may be.
9. Agree. Although I wouldn't say "completely." They exagerated details more and didn't always double-check their sources. You can still see our newspeople doing it today, though certainly not to the degree as their 1912 counterparts. Even ask Rigel the Wonder Pooch.
10. Neutral. I don't know much about Pitman, and can't claim to having a favorite crewman or passenger. I tend to be more of a rivetcounter.

Again, welcome aboard. I look foreward to your posts!

Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
>>When I say "lurking", I mean learning.<<

Ah, the first step to wisdom Grasshopper!Learning always is. I have a prodigious number of posts, but for all that, I think some people would be stunned if they knew how much time I spent just listening and learning from those whose expertise exceeds my own.

On the points you raised

1)Agree. Win, lose, or draw, Captain Smith was the master and the ultimate responsibility has to lie with him. As Joshua pointed out though, hindsight is 20/20. Some of the things that seem obvious to us may not have been so clear cut back then.

2)Nuetral on the first part. We simply have no way of knowing what transpired between the two men and the testimony cannot always be trusted. Agree on the second.

3)Nuetral. The witnesses are very contradictory and far from reliable on this point.

4)Agree. The more I cover this subject with David Brown. Parks Stephenson, and Erik Wood, the more sense it makes. I suspect that there was considerable bottom damage as well, but how it effected the way the ship sank is open to considerable debate.

5)The actual condition of the wreck points to the stern doing the 180

6)Nuetral, and for much the reasons Joshua pointed out. That still didn't stop some of third class from making it topside though. The problem was that in the labyrinth of passageways, a lot of people would have easily gotten lost. On the gates themelves, I suspect it was less malice as it was simple miscommunication. It happens...especially in a crisis.


8)The more I study this thorny issue, the more I move to the middle ground on this. No matter my personal sentiments though, there is no question that a)The Titanic fired those distress signals, b)The Titanic observed no other ship firing signals of any kind and c)The Californain saw at least a few of them. I'm not convinced that bringing up the Titanic on the wireless would have been helpful as they would have the evidence of their eyes telling them of something going on to the southeast that they apparently didn't grasp on the one hand, and Boxhall's position report on the other. Which to choose? 50-50, the guess they make sends them to a place which is 14 miles off in the wrong direction! Still, it's a confused situation and the controversy will never go away.

9)Agree. Just as much as our own attitudes colour the events of September 11, 2001, Edwardian attitudes would have done the same with the Titanic

10) I'm kind of fond of Lightoller myself. he was quite a scamp at times, but also a very couragous individual. Anybody who takes an unarmed yacht to Dunkirk to evacuate trapped soldiers where the only air cover is hostile has my vote as top bloke!

Michael H. Standart

lisagay harrod

Josh & Michael,

Thanks for the warm welcome!

I really appeciate you taking the time to consider my point of view. It's great to be able to bounce my thoughts and opinions off you guys! It gives me the opportunity to re-evaluate some of my own reasoning and observations.

I lean to the emotional side of things in some instances, and a good researcher should remain more clinical. I guess it's a women thing...sorry boys!

By the by, Canasta is an old Victorian card game that's not played much today (that bit of information came from my Grandmother, who loved playing cards). It was one of the things that haunted me most about the dream. There were things in that dream that I had absolutely no prior knowledge of.

Thanks again to the both of you...see you on the message board!

Lisa Harrod
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