Possible death theories


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Jack Coburn

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I read somewhere that because J.J Astors body was so battered it was thought he had been struck by the forward funnel when it collapsed. I was just wondering if there were any other possibilities for having such a horrible corpse?
 

Dave Gittins

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I noticed only recently that the supposed battered state of Astor's body comes from a second-hand story that was told to Colonel Gracie. It's typical of the sensational stories that are in the early reports. It's in his book and has evidently been passed on and added to.

Excuse me if I can't quote the exact page. I'm working under difficulties after an eye operation.
(Violins in background)
 

Dave Gittins

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With my usual devotion to duty, I've managed to find the reference. It's in Chapter II of Gracie's book. Page 131 if you have the Jack Winocour edition. He says that he was told by one Harry K White of Boston, that Astor's body was crushed. White claimed to have seen the body at Halifax. Gracie suggests that Astor was crushed "when the boilers tore through [Titanic]" rather than by the falling funnel.
 
Jul 9, 2002
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I have heard both theories and have no idea which to believe, if either. I have always thought it possible (if however unlikely) that Mr. Astor may have ben pinned to or inside the wreck as she sank. His battered body simply the result of the enourmous pressure he went through under water. Unlikely, but possible?!?
 

Dave Gittins

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Ryan, read the link given by Mary Mason above. There's good evidence that there was no "battered body". George Behe cites three eyewitnesses, who agree pretty well, as against the one second-hand account from Gracie. I might add that I've never seen a mention of Astor being crushed in any of the contemporary press.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Where Astor was last seen would confirm where he was during his final moments, and it doesn't make sense that he would go back into the ship when it was sinking so rapidly.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Where Astor was last seen would confirm where he was during his final moments,<<

Uhhhhhh...actually, no it wouldn't. It might give us a good idea, but in the end it only speaks to where he was last seen by somebody who survived.

>>and it doesn't make sense that he would go back into the ship when it was sinking so rapidly.<<

Doesn't make sense for people to rush into a burning building either, but it happens. Still, I tend to doubt that Colonel Astor did this, else he would likely have his grave on the bottom of the North Atlantic.
 

Paul Visser

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Sep 19, 2007
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>>Doesn't make sense for people to rush into a burning building either, but it happens. Still, I tend to doubt that Colonel Astor did this, else he would likely have his grave on the bottom of the NorthAtlantic.<<

You put that so liberally
happy.gif
 
Dec 6, 2000
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I agree with Michael. I seriously doubt anyone who was *inside* the ship during sinking, had their body recovered later. There are comments that almost all of the recovered bodies were in pretty good shape, only a very few were damaged in a way that *possibly* could be caused by the breakup of the ship.

All, or almost all, of those inside the ship during sinking, went down with her.
 
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Jack Coburn

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If his body was battered when found, does it necessarily mean he was crushed? If he stayed on the ship for longer would it have been possible that when the ship split in two he might have fell into the gap like on Camerons Titanic?
 
Dec 31, 2003
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"If his body was battered when found.." Battered, crushed or mangled, he lost neither of his shoes nor either of his cuff-links. A sooty serge suit or not a sooty serge suit, it was blue. What does this tell us? Not a lot, perhaps. Certainly nothing about his head.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Jack, the problem here is that what's known about the condition of the body doesn't support the notion that Colonel Astor suffered any such trauma.

You may want to check out the accounts of Gerald Ross, John Snow, and Captain Richard Roberts on This Website which Mary provided the link to a couple of days ago. These people actually saw Colonel Astor's body for themselves.

While freaky occurances are impossible to entirely discount, I have real problems with the idea that Colonel Astor could have fallen between the broken halves of up to 53,000 tonnes of metal and not end up being ground up into hamburger.
 

Dave Gittins

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I think it's significant that there's no mention of the supposed crushed body in the books by Logan Marshall and Jay Henry Mowbray, which were both published before Gracie's book. I don't think Marshall Everett mentions it either, but I don't have his book. All these books lean heavily on contemporary newspaper reports and their authors would have loved to add a bit of sensation. Mowbray actually says that Astor was registered as "accidental drowning". I wonder who was the first to mention it after Gracie. It's not in ANTR and I fancy it's a quite recent piece of embroidery, based on the brief remark by Gracie.
 
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Paul Melville Austin

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The page Mary linked says this of Astor's body "The face was swollen, one jaw was injured" -what could have caused that? (and that his watch stopped at 3:20 - does that mean he lived for an hour after the sinking?)
 

Dan Cherry

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Mar 3, 2000
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Paul,
injury could have been caused by anything, and the fact his watch stopped at 3:20 only means the watch either kept running or the time was off to begin with. Most watches recovered stopped in the 2 o clock hour, but if Astor's watch was set an hour ahead, it would indicate actual stoppage at 2:20, the accepted time of Titanic's sinking.
The owner doesn't have to be alive for the watch to continue running, of course...
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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>>The owner doesn't have to be alive for the watch to continue running, of course...<<

Seawater would have stopped the watch wouldn't it?

And another question - why would he set his watch 1 hour ahead?
 

Dave Gittins

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Maybe the watch kept running for a while simply because it was a superior watch. You can bet Astor had something pretty good.
 

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