OLYMPIC officer on maiden voyage

Jan 29, 2001
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Hello:

I was hoping that one of you *keen eye* modelers, or perhaps those folks who were instrumental in correcting the identifications of the White Star Officers, could aid me with this one...

...a photo, one that speaks a thousand words, of OLYMPIC at dockside in New York, upon completion of her first westbound crossing, and featured in Paul Quinn's "Titanic at Two", shows an Officer just aft of the portside breakwater on the forecastle. He looks rather familiar, but I can not put a name with that Officer.

Also, to think for a moment...if the minds of the two-crewmen, looking down into the #1 hold (Of the same photograph) were cognizant of the going ons in 1996 and 1998, at the TITANIC wreck, I am talking of the "Robin", IFREMER's R.O.V. deployment into the bunker hatch & hold...what would they think?

...what indeed?

Michael Cundiff
Carson City, NV
USA
 
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I. M. McVey

Guest
Dear Michael,

Whilst I cannot tell you exactly who that Officer is on the bow in the book 'Titanic at Two' (page 34), I can rule out First Officer William Murdoch, who was rather trim, actually!

I have found a number of errors in the ID of photographs in this book, however, and perhaps you may wish to make a note of these.

Page 11 claims a pic of Captain Smith and First Officer Murdoch. Whilst William Murdoch was in the original of this photograph, he is not the man shown. The original pic had four Officers in it, and Murdoch is the one to the far left. The man shown in 'Titanic at Two' is actually 6th Officer Harold Holehouse. This mistake should not have got through, as most books get the ID of Smith and Murdoch right, at least. (The two in the middle are usually misidentified, though).

Page 47 shows two pics, supposedly of Charles H Lightoller, and Henry Wilde. The 'Wilde' is actually Chief Officer Joseph Evans of 'Olympic', and the 'Lightoller' is actually Third Officer Henry Cater, from the same 'Olympic' photograph. The picture from which these two were cropped often shows up labelled as being 'the Officers of Titanic', but it is,actually the Officers of 'Olympic', taken in 1911.

I know this isn't a full answer to your enquiry, but hope you find it helpful, nonetheless.

Kind regards, Ilya M
 
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I. M. McVey

Guest
A correction, please! :) The above post should read '6th Officer Harold Holehouse of Olympic'. This 4-Officer photograph was also taken on board RMS 'Olympic', though many authors claim it as 'Titanic'.

Kind regards, Ilya M
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Ilya, thanks for this bit of info as I have Titanic At Two on order. I'll have to be sure to annotate this to the book...ah...whenever Amazon.com coughs the bloody thing up.

If I have to wait on these guys any longer, they'll be sending the book to me only to find my skeletal remains propped up by the mailbox.

Things like this make Barnes & Noble look better every day.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Pat Cook

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Apr 27, 2000
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While I can't help in any identification here, I got a charge out of this photo as you can see several people (crewmen?) using the ships railing as a makeshift clothes line to dry their shirts! At least, that's what it looks like to me.

Best regards,
Cook
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Going back to Michael's profound speculation about two crewmen looking down their hatch and contemplating 85 years into the future...why should they be thinking about Titanic, which at that time wasn't even finished? It's more fitting that they should have been thinking only 26 years ahead, as the sea closed over the shattered remains of the first ship of the class, the true realisation of Ismay's dream. The dream was over, demolished by man, a victim of cruel BUSINESS.

Parks
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Parks:

Perhaps you missed my point...no doubt these two crewmen are impressed, and none-the-less proud of the technological wonder(s) they are taking part in...the Olympic class liners!

As did Mr. Werner Von Braun *look to the future* of an invention, of which he helped progress, ultimately realized its beneficial aspects to mankind as well...that a V-2 rocket (Weapon of destruction) would be predessor for the Saturn V (Moonshot) rocket.

Back to the crewmen peering into the hold...**if their minds were cognizant** of IFREMER's "Robin" (No less a technological wonder of our-time),
was doing a forensic study (to benefit mankind) into the loss of *their*, practically unsinkable/safest ship afloat...what would they think?

BTW, "Robin" was also deployed into the bunker hatch, in hopes of discerning supporting evidence of the fatal blow that did this "Greatest Work of Man" in. I believe the dive of which Nautiles' crew's efforts to 'have a look see', carried an observer named Charles...Mr. Haas.

Michael Cundiff
Carson City, NV
Western U.S.A.
 
Jan 29, 2001
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And thanks to llya and Mr. Beesley (...:) as well.

The Officer figure looks so ghoustly to me. Among all the cremen doing laundry (sure looks that way huh Cook :) and others nonchalantly oblivious to the moment, the Officer appears to be out of place, perhaps he is overseeing the 'work to be done'. As a scholar and modeler I am overwhelmed with this photograph...her full-dress, her fore-mast cranes at work, the *barrier* signs posted on the breakwater, the bollards (Of which a 2.5 bollard was recovered from her Sisters' wreck) and so on, and so forth...

...like I said...the photograph speaks a thousand words.

Those guys on the TRMA site must have drooled over it...:)

Michael Cundiff
 
Mar 3, 1998
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No, Michael, I didn't really miss your point. I was building on your speculation by pointing out the fact that this marvel of man was literally falling apart 26 (actually more like 18/19) years later. Marvels only last as long as they are considered useful. The only reason why Titanic and Britannic are around for us to view today is because they sank. Olympic was the true marvel, the first-born sister who introduced many innovations and served gloriously in both peace- and war-time. Outside of our comparatively small group, who remembers Olympic? Titanic was for all intents and purposes an also-ran, Britannic never really had a chance to realise the purpose for which she was made. So why don't more people extol the virtues of Olympic? Why is it that Olympic is mostly known by way of comparison to Titanic? In your original post, you speculated on Olympic crewmen reflecting on the image of an ROV examining Titanic's wreck. Why not speculate on the image in 1937, when Olympic's dismantled hull was blasted and sunk? The technological marvel was not properly maintained because the parent Line could not muster the funds needed to stay ahead of the ship's decay. I wonder what would those crewmen have thought of that.

The point I'm making in addition, but not contrary, to yours is that accidents happen. Ships sink, planes crash, automobiles wreck (I'm keeping this simple in order to lead into the next sentence...I'm not saying that some accidents aren't, or shouldn't be, preventable). Purposeful neglect, for whatever reason, seems to me to be the saddest aspect to a marvel's end. I'm reminded of this every time I step aboard Queen Mary or restore yet another Studebaker (9 at last count).

With the proper care, Olympic could still be with us today. However, the act of saving her from Thomas Ward & Sons would have only been the beginning of a lifetime of expensive and time-consuming maintenance. How important is it to keep a marvel alive? If Charlie Haas could look forward to the day when Nautile is scrapped, what would he think?

...what indeed?

Parks
 

Steven Hall

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Dec 17, 2008
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<Why not speculate on the image in 1937, when Olympic's dismantled hull was blasted and sunk?

Did they really do that Parks?
 
Jan 5, 2001
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I've not seen any sources as to the lower body of the hull being sunk either -- but, it was not until late 1937 that this section went up north for demolition.

I'd opine that the metal was needed far more by 1938 for Britain's re-armament program, rather than just sink it. I mean, the hull still weighed nearly as much as at launch in 1910 by October 1937 and had plenty of good solid metal to use for guns and bombs -- it's sad to think that much of Olympic's metal may have ended up being dropped on the Nazis.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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If we're talking about the phrase, "and sunk," then I'll have to defer to the subject matter experts. Like I said, I wasn't there.

It's difficult for me to remember exactly why I used those words back in February 2001, but I think I got the idea in my head that the keel was sunk from a conversation I had with Simon Mills. If the issue were important enough, I would ask him again. As it stands right now, though, I would just feel foolish asking him such a question. If either Steve or Mark want to follow up on this detail, they could try asking Simon themselves. It's more their area of expertise than mine, anyway.

It looks like the real question I asked some 17 months ago has been shunted aside by this more urgent matter. If you guys determine that the keel wasn't sunk, then well done. You can dance on my grave and I won't complain. But my question will still go unanswered. Not that it makes any difference, though. The fact is that the owners of Olympic decided to scrap her and as a result, we'll never know how her maintenance and upkeep would have been handled. "What if?" scenarios are fun to play, but I lost interest in this particular one when this thread seemingly died over a year ago. I have since moved on to what I consider to be more interesting work, so you'll forgive me if I leave you to your detective work.

Parks
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi Parks!

I'm just opining here, just saying I am unaware of Ward's doing that to Olympic's hull and reasoning why they may not have done so. I haven't done extensive research on this bit because I am interested in Olympic through all 1909 - 1937, but for example Stuart Kelly has concentrated his research on 1935-7.

I am not quite sure what the question is, looking above. I didn't read the whole old thread at my last post. If you are asking for a 'what if' senario -- that is, 'what would have happened had Olympic not been scrapped in 1935?' Then I think this is how she would have gone: serving out the remainder of the thirties, then undergoing war service. Had she survived this without being torpedoed or bombed, she would have likely continued until the late 1940s, as with Aquitania. By then, although it was possible to repair Aquitania, it was not *economically* possible. At least, that's what I interpret from Aquitania's 1919-1949 surveys. Since Olympic's maintainence record mirrors Aquitania's in many, if not most, respects, then I see no reason for this scenario to change.

Olympic could still be here today, but it would not be Olympic -- she would have so many new parts that she would not be recognisable. Some even say this of Aquitania in the 1940s, though I think that's stretching it a bit.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
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Brent Holt

Guest
I expect Olympic would have made it to 1948 or 1949 if Cunard had retained her instead of Berengaria. She might have even been used on runs to Austraila post-war, since Aquitania was once considered for this. (Of course she might have been destroyed in the war, in which case I would rather she have been scrapped just as she was pre-war)
Unfortunately, I can't see a realistic scenario where Olympic would still be around today. Scrapping is just the normal end to a ship. Olympic preserved as a floating museum is a wonderful, though, but probably an expensive proposition unlikely to have panned out in the 1950s. (Perhaps the growing interest in Titanic would have led to Olympic being saved?)
Brent