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Photo of dog in a Titanic lifeboat

Discussion in 'Real Dogs' started by Senan Molony, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Senan Molony

    Senan Molony Member

    I can't believe what I appear to be seeing...

    Once again, in the same week as the wreck of a German U-boat being found at Titanic's last anchorage, I have to stress that I am not joking about this...

    I have a first generation picture of a Titanic lifeboat arriving at Carpathia, from an original negative - the resultant tiff that I have is nearly 53 Megabytes. Colossal.

    Anyway, I have found what looks to me like a dog awaiting rescue inside the lifeboat !


    Tell me I am dreaming...

    This is a late-launched lifeboat, which makes it all the more jaw-dropping to see this.

    It looks like a scruffy type of dog, not the pomeranians, pekingese or chows we're told about.

    If this is a live animal, I am absolutely staggered.
  2. Senan Molony

    Senan Molony Member

    Zooming back out from the face of the "dog" -


    Titanic crewman in lifejacket to left.
  3. Senan Molony

    Senan Molony Member

    Zooming back out further...


    Can anybody guess the boat yet? The picture is actually quite well known, although nobody will have it in this level of granular resolution.
  4. Senan Molony

    Senan Molony Member

    The dog appears to be sitting on a thwart.

    There are lots of other hidden and amazing things to be seen in this photo in high resolution and clean-up, brightening, etc...

    But this one takes the dog biscuit.
  5. Senan Molony

    Senan Molony Member

    Okay - this is Collapsible D.

    Here is another detail.



    If you go onto the Michel Navratil biography on this site, towards the end, you will see this quote -

    I am astounded...

    Next stop, to find the American banker's daughter...

    By the way, I can also see the curly head of the older Titanic waif in my super-huge version of this photograph.

    A dog is seen in a Titanic lifeboat for the first time... over 1,500 humans died...

    No wonder that canine looks quite pleased.

    But my main feeling is of being completely gobsmacked.
  6. Senan Molony

    Senan Molony Member

    Seems the banker's daughter could be Sara Compton, who was actually transferred to D from lifeboat 14... in which case the dog was in 14 while they were beating back would-be male boarders, with Lowe later firing from 14, on its being lowered, in order to deter and discourage 'wild-eyed beasts' (of the steerage human variety) who were "ready to spring"...


    Here is a caption associated with this large Collapsible D picture. There are about twelve names, one or two indecipherable.

    The above is an extract. It says that the occupants of D included -

    "Navratil children
    Miss Compton in stern - transferred from No. 14."

    Any other candidates?
  7. Dieter Klimow

    Dieter Klimow Member

    It was quite obviously and without doubt a grizzly bear.

  8. Dogs don't tend to glow.
  9. Senan Molony

    Senan Molony Member


    Does the above dog "glow" ?

    The remark is no doubt meant to be cynical, but it doesn't have any meaning.

    The above is a detail from a photograph of August 1911, showing Astor's dog in the lower right corner. We're not talking about digital detail. It's the Titanic era, but the photo I have has amazing depth nonetheless.


    (The stuff we can see, if we look closely...)

    This snout in Collapsible D [you do accept it's Collapsible D and not a cloud?] is not a blemish... it just hasn't been picked up on before.

    If Michel Navratil is right, that a dog was in his boat, then it is perfectly natural that a photograph of the lifeboat should show the dog.

    I have to stress that I saw the dog first before I was aware of a claim that there was a dog in the boat. Not the other way around.

    By the way, I can also see Titanic waif Michel Navratil with his mop of curly hair in the other section of the boat. He's the one who remembers the dog - the type of thing that would particularly make an impression on a child.

    You won't have noticed him from previous printed versions of this image, because they are used too small - because of not enough resolution.

    One mustn't be too sensitive, so I must bear with the imposition of the grizzly... having grizzled myself many times.

    But perhaps you are conditioned to reject this solely because "it's been 99 years and I've never heard any suggestion of this." I do apologise for the intervening, soporific years.

    There is also the matter that Collapsible D was the very last lifeboat launched from davits - and there aren't anywhere near enough humans in it. And they took passengers from No. 14!

    "...who managed to save her dog - no-one objected..."

    The 54 steerage children who died were not asked if they objected.
  10. Dieter Klimow

    Dieter Klimow Member

    I know that you are serious about this and I appreciate this kind of research. But I would like to caution against the quick conclusion that just because a part of the photograph looks like one thing it must be that thing.
    What makes me doubt that this photo shows a dog is that the edge contrast at the 'muzzle' seems to be higher than at every other location, even the transitions between the dark clothing and the life preservers. This lack of edge contrast appearing as fuzziness is caused by grain and focusing imperfections during the initial exposure of the negative and again later during exposure of the positives and should affect everything we see in the lifeboat equally. The edge contrast is invariably reduced with every exposure or reproduction step. I do not know what it is or what it is not, but if it had been introduced after the exposure of the negative, this could explain the higher edge contrast in this image area.

  11. Senan Molony

    Senan Molony Member

    Hi Dieter,

    I'm glad you're prepared to be serious about this, but on the other hand, I really don't mind if you want to mock.

    You're just brightening a terribly low res image I have already posted and previously "flattened" ridiculously in terms of depth in order to get its size down to 30 kilobytes. So you are not comparing like with like.

    Even so, look directly across to the left at the oarsman's shoulder. That's much the same as you would think to detect, but it appears under magnificatiion to be the badge of the National Seamen & Firemen's Union.

    That's interesting, and nobody's going to object to that - nobody is going to say that it is a London Bus on his shoulder, or an apparition of the virgin, not a badge - because it is absolutely mundane... the type of thing one would expect to see on a seaman or fireman's shoulder.

    Now, having said that, a dog is a pretty mundane thing too. It's absolutely so-whattish.

    Nobody goes: "That is not a dog in the Astor and Madeleine going-down-the-steps photo. It must be a picture of Elvis, ha ha."

    The brain revolts against seeing a dog in a Titanic lifeboat however, because we absolutely do not want to see it... the very implications deny it.

    And yet, if a photograph appears to show a dog, then it appears to show a dog, whether the location is Fifth Avenue or the broad North Atlantic.

    I could show you the Michel Navratil picture in the same photo, which nobody is capable to showing or discerning from the existing printed versions of this photo.

    You would not be surprised. You'd say "Oh yeah, that's the kid," as it is, absolutely. You wouldn't tell me that his curly-haired head is something that has been introduced in the development process - any more than you'd claim the oar is not an oar, the waves not waves, a man's moustache (Steffanson) not his moustache...

    In a way, I would need to show you, on my home screen at various sizes and brightnesses.

    Interestingly, the reason I started looking at this picture again was that my wife had asked for my best lifeboat picture because she is doing a H. Dip in teaching drama (she already has a couple of degrees), and wanted to max it up to display on a whiteboard to a bunch of seven year olds.
    She printed out the Navratil page from ET, told the class all about the abduction, quoted Michel about the dog, and then the kids see and accept that there's a dog pictured in the boat.
    Kids are suggestible, yes. Gullible, too. But on the other hand, open-minded.
    If you told them, incidentally, that 54 steerage children died on the Titanic, they would accept it - thankfully without having to see photographs of victims their own age.
  12. Senan Molony

    Senan Molony Member


    This is what happens when the image is rotated to full-front, slightly brightened and sharpened once.

    In reticulation and bas relief, the central part jumps forward and even more resembles the head and muzzle of a canine.

    It must be remembered that one is zooming in massively and brightening the bejaysus out of a tiny area (much less than the red spot shown below) in a fine picture, but one taken from a considerable distance with 1912 equipment.

  13. Not sure if my eyes are still playing a game with me or not.
    However, let us say Senan is right and it is a dog;

    We know that dogs were saved from the sinking ship and others left behind.
    Possibly it is one of those saved dogs. Now which one?

    We can rule out
    Mr. Harper and dog, both saved in No. 3.
    Mrs. Rothschild and dog, both saved in No. 6. (I think Mrs. Rothschild is mentioned by others in No. 6).
    Miss Hays and dog, both saved in No. 7. (She is also mentioned by others.)

    Dogs which clearly not saved are from Mr. Astor, Mr. Carter, Mrs. Bishop and Mr. Daniel.

    What is now interesting what about Mr. Anderson and his dog? Was he really in No. 3 or does he somehow got on D with his dog?
    Or it is the dog from another passenger.

    Only a small note and though by me.
  14. As an additional note, as far as I can see from my image, of course not in that high quality, there are about 10 men (crew+passengers) in collapsible D!(But the quality I have were good enough to see other details like the Navratil children and others.)
  15. Senan Molony

    Senan Molony Member

    Hi Jojo,

    A very interesting area. Three dogs were certainly saved, and thus were in lifeboats, but of course nobody mentions them on Carpathia or on arrival because their survival is a SCANDAL.

    In that context, this is just one more dog in one more lifeboat.

    I would like to know how early, and how often, Michel Navratil made the claim about a dog in D that belonged to an "American banker's daughter" (probably not Sara Compton, on reflection).

    Here is a partial list of survivors in D, connected to the photo I have, which identifies some of the occupants.


    It says:

    --- Brown (Mrs John Murray Brown)
    -- H.B. Harris
    Geo. Thorne
    H.B. Steffanson
    H. Woolner

    I cannot make out the faint line in the middle (????), maybe you can?

    It appears to start with 'Mr & Mrs.'
  16. Wow, that's a tough one, Senan--it's VERY faint. How about Mr. and Mrs. F.M. Hoyt? They were in that boat and the "Mr. & Mrs, F, M, and H" seem to match, but the rest of the name doesnt! It looks like the list was written down quickly--it appears to be all one person's handwriting.
  17. Senan Molony

    Senan Molony Member

    Yeah, that's what I think.

    This couple had no children. If they boarded Collapsible D together, despite his claims of swimming and accidentally being picked up by his wife's boat, they might have also tucked up a canine.

    We really don't know an awful lot about very many passengers, unfortunately...
  18. Well, I'm sure saving a child, or any human, over saving a mere dog is far more worthwhile, though the dog might not agree. Except it can't think - it's just a dog. But the dogs had no choice, of course.

    But could it possibly have been a straight trade-off, given the circumstances of the sinking? A fairly aware dog versus a person? I don't think so. More likely a sentimental person and a dog who knew when death was looming.

    It was utter chaos. Nobody said that dogs should get into lifeboats ahead of humans. If any dog survived, it was just sheer luck and the problem of the insufficient lifeboats.

    I quite realise that it'd have been quite awful for anyone, in any class, to have favoured their dog over a human, when it came to survival. But I don't think that any evidence here suggests that. Some people might have chosen to die with their pets, however. Not very sensible, but it does happen. Some might have managed to save their pets, even though they never thought they'd be able to, but just because it happened.

    I don't think this adds much to our understanding.
  19. Senan Molony

    Senan Molony Member

    >>Nobody said that dogs should get into lifeboats ahead of humans.<<

    I can't count the amount of books that glibly claim that starboard boats followed "women and children first," yet port side boats were launched by Lightoller following a rule of "women and children ONLY."

    Collapsible D is a port side boat. It was launched very very late by Lightoller, the same man who said he didn't leave the ship, but the ship left him.

    Therefore it makes a mockery of this canon of "women and children ONLY" to have a dog saved in D to which, according to one of its occupants, "no one objected."

    If it was hidden, Lightoller would not have known to object. If it was not hidden, its presence (and the poor occupancy of D overall, even when passengers were added when afloat from No. 14) calls into serious question the efficiency of the port side evacuation.

    >>Some people might have chosen to die with their pets <<

    I think this statement utterly ridiculous. It speaks to blithering idiocy... perhaps even the pets thought better of choosing to selflessly die with their owners.

    If not, they were dumb animals indeed. One newspaper report has Madeleine Astor seeing terrier Kitty running up and down the deck, presumably in panic. Not sitting stoically guard with J.J. like Greyfriars Bobby.

    Add to our understanding? Jeepers...
  20. Nancy Bratby

    Nancy Bratby Member

    To paraphrase a film...typical, first class dogs go into the lifeboats....

    It appears to be sort of sandwiched between the two oarsmen and it is pure luck it happens to be looking straight at the camera.

    I don't see what else it could be as I can't think of any other object, inanimate or otherwise in a Titanic lifeboat with eyes and a snout. In any case as we KNOW dogs were rescued then it's not outrageous, after all they had to be somewhere on a boat.

    Should a dog have been rescued ahead of a human? Or another question, would a dog have taken up a human seat in a boat in any case? They would have been on the floor of the boat surely?