National Geographic Channel 5 Britannic programme


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Mar 3, 1998
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I was literally knocked out of my chair by tonight's showing of National Geographic's "Mysteries of the Deep: Titanic's Doomed Sister," which showed footage from the 2003 Britannic expedition.

An intact multiple tuner in the Marconi Room and a swim down the Fireman's Passage to the open watertight doors leading to BR#6...my eyes boggled.

This is the most exciting documentary that I've seen since "Ghosts of the Abyss." I have some work to do now. I don't expect that I'll sleep much tonight.

Parks
 
N

Nicolas Roughol

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Parks,

As National Geographic doesn't air where I live (France), do you have any idea how I could get my hands on this documentary? I guess most National Geographic documentaries get released on DVD, any idea about this one?

Thanks
Nicolas
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Awwwwwwww Hell!!! I missed it!!!!
sad.gif


Oh well, the nice thing about National Geographic is that sooner or later, they release just about everything on vidio or DVD. (Hopefully, I can catch a rebroadcast.)
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Nicolas,

I cannot answer your question. National Geographic used to offer copies of individual documentaries in VHS format, but it appears that they no longer do that. Instead, they offer boxed DVD sets, of three episodes each. Years ago, I bought a VHS copy of "Secrets of the Titanic;" nowadays, you have to buy "Secrets" as part of a 3-DVD pack (along with their Lusitania programme). You can buy it at:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078952J6X/?tag=encyclopediatita

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01BMGETGQ/?tag=encyclopediat-21

I don't know if they will ever offer the Britannic show separately, or if we will have to wait for another collection to be put together.

Is there a different National Geographic site for those in the UK? If so, maybe it has different information. From what I read here on E-T, the show aired in the UK last month, well before the US.

Michael,

According to the online TV schedule for the National Geographic channel, the Britannic programme airs again next Thursday.


Be careful of the times, though...the online schedule indicated that the programme would air at 9p, but it actually aired an hour later. I found out later that there is a radio box at the top of the page to click for Pacific time, and for some reason, Eastern and Pacific showtimes are different.

Parks
 
Mar 20, 2000
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I missed this show (I was watching Survivor!) but got a call from my sister to say that she was really engrossed in it. It must have been something, as she normally has no interest in this. She actually wants to read about Violet Jessop now!
 
Mar 3, 1998
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The show hammered home a couple of specific points to a forensic analyst like myself.

First, the Britannic wreck is in much better condition than Titanic's. The difference being that the living creatures that inhabit the Britannic wreck are interested in building on a surface, unlike Titanic's rusticles, which leech elements out of the steel. The interior spaces were so much cleaner than Titanic's, some almost pristine.

Second, the Britannic wreck can teach us a great deal about Titanic. The programme that aired last night was, to me, a teaser...a brief glimpse of the opportunity that the Britannic wreck affords. After last night's viewing, I know that my course of study will not be the same as it was before.

Parks
 

Jeremy Lee

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Sometimes Nat. Geo will publish VHS on these programmes, I have one on the Titanic, hope that they will do this one too.....
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Great! You found something that I couldn't...that's the beauty of the Internet. Sam, please let us know if you find the Britannic programme offered as a single.

Parks
 
Jan 7, 2002
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Hi Parks!
I recall during the Cousteau dive back in the 70s, Cousteau swam down the grand staircase shaft, and some of the metal supports remained. What interested me was that according to sketches of the wreck, the skylights above both grand staircases still exist. Any idea if they were photographed on this recent expedition?
It would also be nice if areas on Britannic that were detroyed on Titnaic- like the smoking room and aft grand staircase, could be explored in greater depth.
Also, was there much remaining woodwork on the Britannic?

regards


tarn Stephanos
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Tarn,

It appears that there was some footage edited out of the programme, at least the version shown here in the US. This is not unusual...what is of interest to the forensic analyst is not always of interest to the audience at large.

From what I've heard, the frame of the main dome electrolier is still there, at least partially. Even a section of GSC tile was photographed. That's all I know at this point...I hope to find out more as time goes on.

There is evidence of wood in the wreck, but I don't know how solid it is. The multiple tuner that was shown so well in the programme has a casing that is made from both mahogany and ebonite. The top and front sides of the tuner are made from dark ebonite and that survived well, giving the tuner case the appearance of being entirely intact. However, the mahoghany sides of the tuner look to be in a little worse shape...I need to study the video closer to determine just how much. I have heard that as the divers moved farther aft in the Officers' Quarters deckhouse, they encountered more intact walls that hindered their movements. In Titanic, all those same walls are completely gone.

Another point of interest that wasn't brought out in the US version of the programme...the boilers are still on their foundations in BR#6! Edward Wilding talked about Titanic's boilers being expected to fall off their foundations at a downward trim angle in excess of 35 degrees. How does this relate to Britannic, which is lying on her side? I need to think about this some more.

The open watertight doors in the Fireman's vestibule allowed access into BR #6 and they were well shown in the NG programme. However, I don't know if the divers were able to examine the watertight door tracks, in order to help determine if the doors were jammed open by the mine explosion, or if the crew didn't otherwise close them. Examination of these tracks might teach us some lessons that might be applied to Titanic. I personally believe that the same doors in Titanic were jammed open during her collision (reference the White Paper on my site) and a study of Britannic's door apparatus might help explain why.

Britannic is a cleaner, more intact wreck than Titanic. Even more importantly, she is much more accessible. I believe that Britannic can be used as a "trial run" of sorts for deeper exploration of Titanic, or at the very least, a stand-in for those areas currently inaccessible in Titanic. The Fireman's Passage is a good example of this. Cameron tried to access the Passage by going down the spiral staircase, so too did the divers on Britannic. Both were frustrated by the hazards presented by the shape of the spiral. However, one of Britannic's divers kept knocking about and found another way into the Passage. Granted, Britannic's bow is ruptured, and the diver may have taken advantage of this (the programme didn't say). Regardless, that information might help us find another way into Titanic's Fireman's Passage.

At any rate, I go back to my initial statement...the programme absolutely blew me away and has inspired me with all the opportunities this new information presents, whether it be about Britannic herself or Titanic (or both). If you missed it last week, you really should try to catch it again this coming Thursday.

Parks
 
Jan 7, 2002
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Hi Parks!
Did Britannic have roughtly the same configuration as Titanic's Marconi and Silent rooms, are were they totally different?

One of several modeifications on Britannic seemed to possess was a tube connection from the Marconi room to the bridge, so as to assure the instant delivery of navigation messages..
I wonder if that tube is still in place?


I can't think of any shipwreck from WW1 in as good shape as Britannic. Other than the damage in her bow, her wreck is the most articulated wreck of her age that I have ever seen...

The fact she is on her side ,yet her deck houses remain attached to the hull is remarkable and incredibly rare...
(in contrast to the Empress of Ireland and Andrea Doria, where everything above the main superstructure has broken away and fallen into the sediment)
...
And the fact she is on her side, but interior walls are still in place is equally a surprise...

I dont think we'll ever know how much opulant paneling was installed on Britannic-I picture her interior as having been in an unfinished state- exposed pipes and rivetheads everywhere, but some accounts suggested B deck cabins were completed...

A pre sinking photo of her Grand Staircase reveal a blank white wall, but the elegant bannisters were present.......

I have a hunch her D deck 1st class Reception Room and Dining Room were bare, and had never been fitted with leaded glass windows...I seem to recall a photo of men in thier bunks in one of those rooms, and behind them were the double rowed portholes, suggesting the windows were not in place....

Areas on Britannic I hope could be (or hopefully have been) explored are-

*The swimming bath- this is one area we know was completed..

*The Reading and Writing Room

*The 1st class Lounge

*The first class Smoking Room..
(I wonder if these three rooms were fitted with thier respective fireplaces?

*The gymnasium

*The Turkish Baths (*was this area completed?)

*The compass tower on the raised roof of the lounge


*The Childrens playroom

*The dome casings above the grand starcases, and heavy emphasis on the aft grand staircase


Plus Id be interested to know if the 2 support beams in Titanic's Reception Room (that were not on Olympic), were duplicated on Britannic.

Exploration of Britannic could indeed further aid in exploring the Titanic....

Im curious if the route Jake and Elwood took on thier aborted trek to the Turkish Baths (on Titanic) was the exact path one would take on Britannic?

I look forward to seeing this Britannic special!


reagards


Tarn Stephanos
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Tarn,

As usual, you ask more questions than I can provide answers for. That's OK, though.

I don't know how different Britannic's Marconi or Silent Room is from her elder sisters'. There is no firm photographic record of Britannic's Marconi or Silent Rooms. There is one picture that has often been touted as Britannic's Marconi Room, but the Marconi archive original identifies it as being from Olympic (post-1913 configuration). Does the photo represent Britannic's Marconi Room configuration? If so, then Britannic's Marconi and Silent Rooms will both be different from Titanic's. Was Britannic's configuration the same as was used in Titanic? I won't know that until a closer look is given to both rooms in the Britannic wreck. All that was seen in the NatGeo programme was the multiple tuner, sitting all by itself. It also appeared to be sitting straight up, which is unusual in a ship laying on her side. Point is, there was nothing else to be seen but the tuner.

I watched the programme again this morning and it appears that the entire side of the tuner closest to the camera is pretty much destroyed. The sides of the tuner, as you will recall from my post above, were made of wood, whereas the other sides of the case were made from ebonite. The intensifier knob (or, handle) on the side of the case is hanging on by a sliver (and probably also by the knob's shaft). Interestingly, though, the wood doesn't look so much eaten away as it does fractured. But that's just an impression based off a quick glance at the object. I would need to examine it more to be sure.

By the way, the changeover switch was found in the STD BI (standby) position...more confirmation that wireless operators preferred to operate the tuner in a standby (vice TUNE) position.

It's not clear from the programme whether or not the Silent Room walls have survived. Even if the interior of the Silent Room is inaccessible to divers, I would still like to have a look at the Silent Room door. It's one area of my CG model that is lacking in enough information for me to build in sufficient detail. Titanic's, of course, is completely gone.

Parks
 
Mar 3, 1998
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By the way, I just would like to point out that it was a diver by the name of Stevenson who found his way into the Fireman's Passage. No direct relation, but Stevensons and Stephensons were once one family. I've always felt that a Stephenson would make his way into the Passage one of these days...but I'll settle for a Stevenson.

Just kidding. :)

Parks
 
Jan 7, 2002
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Hi Parks!
Its destiny!
Plus I have a hunch you will one day dive Titanic, as will I, so either a Stephenson or a Stephanos will make it down there, either way we both win....

Up until the "h", you and I are practically related! (just kidding)
One thing you mentioned earlier..The fact Britannic's boilers still sit on thier beds...
I find that astounding, giving the fact time, gravity and decay still have not disloged the boilers..
So much for the thory of boilers tearing loose from thier beds....

ps- Thanks a million for adressing my questions in depth..(no pun intended...)

regards


Tarn Stephanos
 
May 8, 2001
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RE: Stevenson! COOL! I've gotten Roberts family traced back to "Robert Lewis Stevenson". I will have to watch this closer, and make note of this Stevenson's accomplishments. >>>> Stevensons and Stephensons were once one family.<<< Time to re-post the picture of you and Robert at the book signing for a comparison.
wink.gif

FWIW. I have a "Mitchell" line firmly traced to the 1700's, and nurse Sheila Mitchell was the woman that went back to see Britannic with Cousteau. Not my direct family line, but would be great fun (and an honor)to cross reference her and see where her family places on my Mitchell family tree.
I have not seen this National Geographic video, and I am now quite excited to see the interest turning towards her... It would be nice to see Jake and Elroy snooping in Britannic!!!!!
 
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