Personnel decisions impelling collision


Nov 14, 2005
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Yes. As both Mike and Arun stated..no chance. They weren't even trying to run her at her top speed. I don't know what the procedure was in those days for breaking in a new ship but maybe someone here knows. As in how many hours on a new engine before you went all out? Mauretania kept the record until 1929.
 

Seumas

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I can't see any squint in the extant photographs of Murdoch. His Royal Navy Reserve file has no mention of such a physical feature either.
Is having a "squint" even a thing? I mean is it something the R.N. would log? If so just about everybody I know who has lived in the Arizona sun after awhile would be guilty of having a squint. Myself included.
The OP is under some strange impression that Murdoch is squinting in photographs and must have been short sighted.

I've looked at numerous photo's of Murdoch on Dan Parkes authoritative site and can't see any such squint.

The results of Murdoch's eyesight tests for the Merchant Navy and the RNR are still extant and show he had excellent eyesight.

He was also the only one of the Titanic's deck officers (including Smith) to have passed all his BoT exams on the first attempt. Murdoch was a really smart bloke.
 

Mike Spooner

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IF and a big IF Titanic was going for Tuesday and not Wednesday as schedule for. That is very much a decision for the chief engineer to consider and no doubt would of been discussed with Smith beforehand. After all the ship is still a brand new with a very short sea trials and not properly run in where great precaution is required to prevent over heated bearings.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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IF and a big IF Titanic was going for Tuesday and not Wednesday as schedule for. That is very much a decision for the chief engineer to consider and no doubt would of been discussed with Smith beforehand. After all the ship is still a brand new with a very short sea trials and not properly run in where great precaution is required to prevent over heated bearings.
That's why I feel that a Tuesday night arrival was just a question mark and not anything major on the agenda. Even if the 'full speed run' planned for Monday was a fact, it would have been just a short trial run IMO to see how the boilers and engines would hold-up for their own future information.
 
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but he bears as large a measure as any other culpable parties.

Do not concur. I've been researching a studying Titanic for a long time as well, and I'm just as data oriented as you imply that you are. Maybe even more so.

Did Ismay take an interest in how the ship was operated and performing?

Well duh! Of course he did! As the managing director of the White Star Line, it would be a massively incredible if he did not.

The problem is that there is no good evidence outside of insinuation and popular legend that he interfered with the navigation of the ship in any way. He was not dictating terms to anybody and gave no orders to anybody on the watch. Captain Smith did that.
 
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Jim Currie

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That the Captain should have had such a long discussion with Bruce is telling. Indeed, navigation decisions, and other factors, make it clear that Bruce would have thought it amusing to have the ship arrive early. It was in his nature. I believe I mentioned that Boxhall had plotted to stretch the southerly Great Circle leg of their course, to take advantage of the better speed to run south of the ice field but, because of Smith's acquiescence to Ismay, some officer had reset the westward leg to northwesterly, to shave time and make Titanic early, rather than on time.
Bruce Ismay was the spoiled son of a man who had been a shipmaster and a businessman, who had struggled to build his company. Bruce knew privilege, and was stubborn about his whims, but ultimately was ignorant of seamanship and shiphandling. He knew only prestige and profit. He owned the ship, but not even that, directly.
Too many of Bruce's descendents have tried to minimize his responsibility leading up to the wreck or during the evacuation, or even during the investigations that followed. But most assuredly, taken in the aggregate, all factors point to this rush being the result of an impish whim of Ismay, who was never hesitant to tell people who he was and what he owned. He wanted to impress and upstage reporters by showing up before they expected, just to be superior.
Had I not seen such behavior from a recent wealthy heir, I might not have believed it as strongly even as I had. But it is what it is. Ismay was more vain than wise, more insistent than intelligent. And his belief that speed was acceptable until an accident, expressed at the 1914 liability hearings, bears this out.

A few pointers for you (and others).
Boxhall had nothing to do with the planned navigation of the
Titanic. Only one person had that power and that was Smith.
Anyone who "ran past The Corner without his permission would have to have a very good reason for doing so otherwise they might have found themselves on the quayside back in tr UK looking for another berth.
Running past The Corner would have been counter to your argument - an act that ensured late arrival at New York. Do you know why?
 

Mike Spooner

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Yes. As both Mike and Arun stated..no chance. They weren't even trying to run her at her top speed. I don't know what the procedure was in those days for breaking in a new ship but maybe someone here knows. As in how many hours on a new engine before you went all out? Mauretania kept the record until 1929.
What I can make out Lusitania & Mauretania had long sea trials before maiden crossing which all gone helping to run the engines in. The huge amount of horse power the two ships could of well better the Blue Ripon record many times over the years. But there is a price pay for it. Stress on the ship hull and heavy coal consumption. As both ships belong to the same shipping company there is no point pushing it any further.
 
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What I can make out Lusitania & Mauretania had long sea trials before maiden crossing which all gone helping to run the engines in. The huge amount of horse power the two ships could of well better the Blue Ripon record many times over the years. But there is a price pay for it. Stress on the ship hull and heavy coal consumption. As both ships belong to the same shipping company there is no point pushing it any further.

The trials revealed some unpleasant surprises as well, such as the ferocious cavitation from the screws which was bad enough to cause structural damage. But finding out things like that is what you have sea trials for, especially when you're running a greyhound out to sea on the very cutting edge of technology. Better to find out about them when it doesn't matter and remedy the problem than to get blindsided by it with passengers aboard.
 
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What I can make out Lusitania & Mauretania had long sea trials before maiden crossing which all gone helping to run the engines in. The huge amount of horse power the two ships could of well better the Blue Ripon record many times over the years. But there is a price pay for it. Stress on the ship hull and heavy coal consumption. As both ships belong to the same shipping company there is no point pushing it any further.
I looked for what I could find on the net about it. The answer is there is no answer. By that I mean there's too many variables for a one procedure fits all. And a lot depended on the engineers. The closest I could find was some went by don't exceed 75% for the first 10-30 hours. Today it has changed a lot with better materials and such. When I was in high school we were taught for a gas engine it took about 1000 miles to consider an engine broke in. That would be about 30 hours of city driving. Today the standard is around 5 to 10 hours. Motorcycle engines pretty much use thermal cycles now. When I bought my last dirt bike they told me 15 -20 thermal cycles before you hammered it. But steam engines are a different animal so I guess during Titanic's time it was probably when ever the engineer said it was good to go. If I find different I will post it as I said I couldn't find a general standard they went by.
 
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Do not concur. I've been researching a studying Titanic for a long time as well, and I'm just as data oriented as you imply that you are. Maybe even more so.

Did Ismay take an interest in how the ship was operated and performing?

Well duh! Of course he did! As the managing director of the White Star Line, it would be a massively incredible if he did not.

The problem is that there is no good evidence outside of insinuation and popular legend that he interfered with the navigation of the ship in any way. He was not dictating terms to anybody and gave no orders to anybody on the watch. Captain Smith did that.
I agree with that. From what I know he was considered a good director of the WSL up until the iceberg. Then overnight he became the villian of the world. He would have been checking on pretty much everything. From the engine room to how the passengers liked their pillows. That's why he was on board. And for some PR. That was his job.
 
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>>Then overnight he became the villian of the world. <<

Having William Randolph Hearst for an enemy didn't help.
Yes true. Hearst was/is considered by many to be the king of yellow journalism. Although I would say many today would give him a run for his money in that regard. But as for Ismay I have stated in other threads that my opinion of him over the years has changed. Yes the optics looked bad that night. An easy target for the press but not the villain they made him out to be.
 

Arun Vajpey

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>>Then overnight he became the villian of the world. <<

Having William Randolph Hearst for an enemy didn't help.
I did not know that Ismay had issues with the real-life "Citizen Kane" but if he did like you say, then it more than explains the vilification of the Chairman by the press. Thanks for that information.
 
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I did not know that Ismay had issues with the real-life "Citizen Kane" but if he did like you say, then it more than explains the vilification of the Chairman by the press. Thanks for that information.
I'm taking Mr. Standards word on it as he knows more about it in regards to Titanic than I ever will. But I have read about Hearst before. He did a lot of low life stuff in my opinion and not just his press activities.
 

Mike Spooner

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The trials revealed some unpleasant surprises as well, such as the ferocious cavitation from the screws which was bad enough to cause structural damage. But finding out things like that is what you have sea trials for, especially when you're running a greyhound out to sea on the very cutting edge of technology. Better to find out about them when it doesn't matter and remedy the problem than to get blindsided by it with passengers aboard.
I agree with you it certainty better to sort out the problems before maiden voyage. As I see the Lusitania was delay by three months until the hull vibration via the new technology of using four propellers was sort out. Cunard did the right thing by rejecting ship until the vibration was sort out first. O though the vibration at speed was never quite smooth out, but considered acceptable. Yet in that delay time scale is helping toward running in the engines and prop shaft bearings. That more than White Star did with Titanic. She may of been a working ship at Belfast for her very sort sea trails. but still required outstanding work for the passenger comfy fittings which was never completed. Then leave Belfast with a coal bunker fire in progress. That decision can only come from the Directors of the company who had the prefect excuse to reject the ship. Due to the national coal strike. Then land up using inferior quality coal. Robb 4,400 tons coal from five other ships in Southampton. Last minute changers of senior officers. I have to question was captain Smith the right choice to. As I see Titanic first captain Haddock who was in Belfast from the 25th March gaining more experience of the new ship that Smith can do, and would of done the maiden crossing just as well if not better by avoiding the berg! All this last minute changers can only come from the Director's of the company. Who is the most senior Director who always has that casting vote? I'm afraid see some pretty poor decisions made at the top level of the company! I wander who was that person?
 

Seumas

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I agree with you it certainty better to sort out the problems before maiden voyage. As I see the Lusitania was delay by three months until the hull vibration via the new technology of using four propellers was sort out. Cunard did the right thing by rejecting ship until the vibration was sort out first. O though the vibration at speed was never quite smooth out, but considered acceptable. Yet in that delay time scale is helping toward running in the engines and prop shaft bearings. That more than White Star did with Titanic. She may of been a working ship at Belfast for her very sort sea trails. but still required outstanding work for the passenger comfy fittings which was never completed. Then leave Belfast with a coal bunker fire in progress. That decision can only come from the Directors of the company who had the prefect excuse to reject the ship. Due to the national coal strike. Then land up using inferior quality coal. Robb 4,400 tons coal from five other ships in Southampton. Last minute changers of senior officers. I have to question was captain Smith the right choice to. As I see Titanic first captain Haddock who was in Belfast from the 25th March gaining more experience of the new ship that Smith can do, and would of done the maiden crossing just as well if not better by avoiding the berg! All this last minute changers can only come from the Director's of the company. Who is the most senior Director who always has that casting vote? I'm afraid see some pretty poor decisions made at the top level of the company! I wander who was that person?
You've been told this is all not true a thousand times before by a dozen different posters but for some reason you keep ignoring it.

Anyway here we go again ....
  • Many passenger ships went into service still needing some light work done on their accommodation etc.
  • They did not leave Belfast with a coal bunker on fire. It was discovered after they left Southampton.
  • Coal bunker fires were common on ships of that era. The stokehold men were used to them and knew how to deal with them. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary.
  • You have not the slightest proof that Herbert Haddock would have done any better than Smith beyond your own opinion. Opinions are not facts.
  • Again you make a baseless accusation about corporate interference based purely upon "I think this happened - therefore it did". That isn't proof.
  • Name me one credible Titanic historian who believes there were meddling company directors who were tinkering with everything. You will be looking for quite a while.
These are not the amazing revelations you seem to think they are.
 
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I've read various reasons as to why Captain Smith took the helm of Titanic over the years. I pretty much believed it was because of his experience with the Olympic. Although that didn't turn out so good. But I've also read that many of the first class repeat customers would only sail with certain captains. Is there any info out there that that was a factor in their decision to make Smith the captain? Just curious.
 

Arun Vajpey

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I've also read that many of the first class repeat customers would only sail with certain captains. Is there any info out there that that was a factor in their decision to make Smith the captain?
I have also read reports to similar effect about Captain Smith, including that he was called the "Millionaire's Captain". I have no idea how much of that is true and how much press embellishment.

Honestly, if I was crossing the Atlantic in a liner in those days, I would have preferred a crusty, hardbitten, up-from-the-ranks type of Captain like William Turner (notwithstanding what happened to the Lusitania) than someone who was known more for his hobnobbing with the elite.
 
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I have also read reports to similar effect about Captain Smith, including that he was called the "Millionaire's Captain". I have no idea how much of that is true and how much press embellishment.

Honestly, if I was crossing the Atlantic in a liner in those days, I would have preferred a crusty, hardbitten, up-from-the-ranks type of Captain like
William Turner (notwithstanding what happened to the Lusitania) than someone who was known more for his hobnobbing with the elite.
I agree. But I'm pretty sure I would have been in steerage or maybe second class so I would have never got to carouse with them. Probably wouldn't even know who the captain was. But I get what your saying about up from the ranks. Even though the ring knockers didn't like them some of the best officers I knew while in the navy were mustangs.
 
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The managing director was J. Bruce Ismay and it would have been his call to make as to whether or not the ship sailed. He had no reason to call it off, nobody gave him any, and truth be told, I'm not certain he would have been informed of an annoyance as trivial as a smouldering coal bunker fire.

He might have been, but as Seumas noted, such fires were common enough on coal fired steamers that there wasn't a lot of fuss made about them. It was handled in the usual fashion: Cool down the bulkhead of the bunker as needed, shovel the coal AS needed into the furnaces and saturate the bed once it was reached. By Saturday, it was out.

>>As I see Titanic first captain Haddock who was in Belfast from the 25th March gaining more experience of the new ship that Smith can do, and would of done the maiden crossing just as well if not better by avoiding the berg! <<

Where did you get that idea from? Captain Smith had been in command of the Olympic for almost a year, He had more operational experience with the Olympic class that anybody. There's no reason to suppose Captain Haddock would have done anything massively different from Captain Smith. In point of fact, the Titanic was quite literally operated no differently from the way any of the crack mail boats on the North Atlantic run.

>>All this last minute changers can only come from the Director's of the company.<<

Says who? The directors were Ismay, Lord Pirrie, and Mr. H. A. Sanderson with Ismay seeing to the day to day. The others would not have taken a massive interest in how any of the assignments were made beyond saying something like "Make it happen, you tend to the details." to Ismay.
 
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