Photograph of the ship sinking

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Joshua McCracken

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About a year ago I saw a special on the Cousteau expedition to the wreck of the Britannic, and I believe that something was said about a man who claimed to have witnessed the ship sink when he was a boy, and not only that, his father had snapped a photograph of it. I could be way off on this, but I'd heard that the the photograph showed a white four stacker down by the head. Anyone else hear about this?
 
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Nicolas Roughol

Guest
Never heard of such a photograph, and I highly doubt it even exists. Photographs at the time were not as easy to get as today because of the equipment involved, and I seriously doubt someone being in the process of being evacuated from a sinking ship would have had the time and the space needed to set up his equipment within a lifeboat and take a picture of Britannic's final plundge.
 

Remco Hillen

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Jan 6, 2001
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Hello Joshua,

The rumours indeed exist, and some time ago I read some more about it in an old Commutator. It stated that a survivor had taken a photograph from a lifeboat, which showed the sinking Britannic in the background. The photo hang on the wall in his house; until German bombers dropped a few bombs on it during WWII...
As such a picture is still not found, I'm afraid the rumour above is true to the extend that none exist. (although the recent Ebay offering of some unknown Olympic/Britannic pictures is keeping the hope alive!
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Regards,
Remco
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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Anyway, this seems more practical than other rumours of photos taken of the sinking Titanic and Lusitania. There was more order and lifeboats for all so a person who got off in an early boat could have taken a picture.
Let's hope that such a photo can one day be found!
 
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Jake Angus

Guest
Ahem, next that guy who's selling the 'Olympic Room' on Ebay will say this pic is hanging on the wall!!
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Joshua McCracken

Guest
OK, I believe that Simon Mills made reference to it in the interview that is posted on the Hospital Ship Britannic webpage, it's either him or Cousteau's diver, but they said something about a man that Cousteau and Tantum met on Kea who showed them a photograph that he'd snapped from the shore as a boy. So to clarify, this isn't a photograph taken from one of the lifeboats.
 

Remco Hillen

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Jan 6, 2001
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Joshua, I vagely remember something, but I guess you know as much as me on this one! If one really exists, I'm sure it'll pop up in a book sooner or later.

Regards,
Remco
 
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Brian R Peterson

Guest
I believe the likelihood of a photo of the Britannic sinking being published has the same odds as an authentic image of the Titanic Grand Staircase. If such photos exist I do not think the public will see them anytime soon.

Best Regards,

Brian
 
Jan 5, 2004
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I have never heard of such photograph too. But it sounds really interesting. Maybe we will see it in many years. I hope so. It would be marvelous.
 
May 3, 2002
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With respect all to the Nicholas, I disagree.

Kate Odell sailed on the Titanic with her family between Southhampton and Queenstown as did their guest the Jesuit seminarian Father Frank Browne. both had portable camera technology that people to point and shoot and both created a unique body of photographs during the maiden voyage.

Father Brownes Titanic work was published recently as the subject of E.E. O'Donnell's book THE LAST DAYS OF THE TITANIC (1997) and Kate Odell's work can be seen in it's debut publication on pages 42-43 in Don Lynch's TITANIC: An Illustrated History (1992 ed)

I hope this helps

Martin
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Martin makes a good point. By the beginning of the twentieth century photography had come a long way from its origins, and cheap, compact roll-film cameras like the 'point and shoot' Kodak Brownie were mass-produced and sold in millions. These little cameras were fine for taking snapshots outside in daylight with no difficulty at all. It's significant, however, that the Britannic was operating in a theatre of war, and cameras in private hands were strictly forbidden for personnel on active service.
 
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Brian R Peterson

Guest
Jeremy,

Bob answered your question already

>>Britannic was operating in a theatre of war, and cameras in private hands were strictly forbidden for personnel on active service.<<

As the crew of the Britannic are among the personnel under active service in a war theatre they would not have cameras

Best Regards,

Brian
 
May 3, 2002
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Good point Bob However I know of One photo taken illicitly on board the QUEEN MARY of the CURACAO being cut in half. The image is not the greatest but one can discern the fighthing tower of the CURACAO rolling to a perilous angle.

Martin
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Yes, it's fortunate from our point of view that not everybody followed the rules! The reason for the restriction at the time was twofold. First because any exposed film falling into enemy hands might provide useful military information, and second because governments were fully aware that 'a picture is worth a thousand words', and were keen to ensure that only officially approved 'images of war' were available to influence public opinion back home.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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Then in this case, the chances of personnel breaking the law on the Britannic by taking a photograph would be extremely slim.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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This would assume that a law was being broken, that the one doing the lawbreaking cared about whether or not it was illegal. Just because "It's a law." doesn't mean everybody's going to abide by it.

Given the number of photos that do exist that were taken on the Britannic by those who sailed aboard her, all these assumptions are questionable to say the least.
 
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Brian R Peterson

Guest
Micheal makes a fine point there, as does Bob when he says if it werent for the "law-breakers" we wouldn't have the photos of these ship that we do.

I think the photos of the Britannic were taken because the knowledgeable photogs who sailed on her knew she was the Titanic's younger sister and wanted photos to remember thier voyage and perhaps as bragging rights, even more so when she sank.

Best Regards,

Brian
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Michael, had you been in uniform on the Western Front and in contravention of General Routine Order No 1137 (no military personnel or other person subject to military law is permitted to be in possession of a camera), you could have protested at Court Martial that you were the victim of a questionable assumption, but you'd still get the 90 days field punishment!
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Actually there were areas where offences of this kind were not taken quite so seriously, notably by the Australians at Gallipoli and quite possibly in the less formal atmosphere of a hospital ship, but on the Western Front such regulations were rigidly enforced to the extent that very, very few of the millions of images on file at the Imperial War Museum were taken 'illegaly'.
 

Remco Hillen

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Jan 6, 2001
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Then in this case, the chances of personnel breaking the law on the Britannic by taking a photograph would be extremely slim.
As others have said, not quite so. Here's a quote from nurse Sheila Macbeth:
Our days were well filled. One of the sergeants given us a gymnastic class each morning on the boat deck, much to the amusement of the M.O.s, who come up and take snap-shots of us when looking most ridiculous and unable to retaliate.

Regards,
Remco