Robert Ballard's Plaque


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Simon Welch

Guest
In 1985 Bob Ballard left a plaque on the stern of the Titanic in the memory of those who died and Bill Tantum who died while trying to find her.

Does anyone know if it is still there and have any other plaque been added.

I guess the question I'm asking is would RMS Titanic Inc have replaced it after they gained the salvage rights or hidden it for fear of it getting in the way of a shot.

I don't mean to imply that they would be disrespectful of the souls lost but because Bob believes Titanic should rest in peace and not be disturbed further, and is in total disagreement as to what has happened since then.
 

Bill Willard

Member
Mar 24, 2001
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Simon, respectfully allow me to comment on your statements.

RMST did not move the Ballard plaque he left on the capstan years ago. If you look at the mosaic produced by the company during the 1998 expedition, you'll see the plaque still on the capstan.

Other plaques and remembrances have been left at the wreck, including, I've been told, a bit of Mel Fisher's ashes in a sealed acrylic container.

There is evidence that Ballard wanted to recover artifacts from the ship. Many people believe he changed his tune when he wasn't involved in the RMSTI operations. And remember, he's the one who first tried to open the safe in the debris field, so he started the ball rolling.

Bill
 

Bill Sauder

Member
Dec 19, 2000
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Simon:

Regarding the Ballard Plaque:
I was on the RMST 2000 mission to Titanic so I can say from personal experience (I saw the footage of all the dives) that the Ballard plaque was not removed at that time. It is my understanding that it disappeared some time in the 90's, probably because Ballard himself made the mistake of leaving it on top of a capstan. Capstan drums are covered with a shallow dome, meaning that any plaque is very susceptible to lift generated by the movement of water and the feeling is that it was simply pushed off the capstan top by the current. I don't think it has been seen since it turned up missing, so it might be on the seabed.

Regarding the ashes of Mel Fisher: Yes, I'm sorry to say, they were placed in the wheelhouse on the 2000 mission. Not all, just some. I was approached by the mission leader at that point in time and was asked what I thought of doing this. I said I thought is was not the correct thing to do because: 1) Mel Fisher was not connected with the history of the Titanic and that internment there was presumptuous 2) It sets a bad precedent with the increasingly easy public access to the wreck -- I do not want to see the ship turned into a modern "memorial park". 3) By placing known human remains in the wreck, RMST was turning the Titanic into a burial site, leaning to complications with the salvage position. 4) The entire affair would be looked upon as something to be chalked up to "connections" in the company. The conversation lasted about an hour, and I gather my position was not persuasive since Mel was left down there the next day.

On another subject: Before the 2000 mission I had a blacksmith friend make a brass and iron rose which I had intended to leave at the remains of the Smoking Room fireplace in memory of Thomas Andrews. I wanted the event to be noncommercial and not publicized in any way, but with several documentary crews onboard all eager for a story, I decided not to try since it was impossible for them not to notice it in the MIR claw.

Two years later, I had a second chance when Jim Cameron went to the wreck and I was scheduled to go. At the last minute, I was dropped from the roster with five others, but fortunately for me, Ken Marschall was going and knew of my plans. He took the iron rose to the ship and got Jim's OK to place it on the wreck privately and according to my wishes. Unfortunately, the Smoking Room fireplace site was far too demolished to attempt this, so as an alternate site, the rose dropped on the fantail in an inconspicuous spot in memory of Andrews and the ship's Engineering Staff.

Bill Sauder
 

Bill Sauder

Member
Dec 19, 2000
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Opps, I goofed. Ballard left two plaques: one on the Bow on a capstan, and the other at the stern on the edge of the fantail. I wrote the above post very late and crossed the plaques in my mind. It's the stern plaque that's missing, and presumably on the ocean bed.

Bill Sauder`
 

Eric Paddon

Member
Jun 4, 2002
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Just to add to this, back in 1997 when the movie came out, Cameron appeared with Ballard on "Larry King Live" and Larry asked specifically about the plaques. Cameron's answer then was "They're there." He used the plural in that interview indicating both Ballard plaques so that would suggest it was still there on the stern at the time of the Cameron dives for the movie.

There is no evidence to suggest that the allegations about plaques being removed to spite Ballard and the THS (made by someone who I only learned today is no longer alive) have any basis in fact.
 

Mark Taylor

Member
Mar 18, 2005
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To further back up a point by Mr. Paddon, the allegations about the plaques being removed are utterly false. The allegation, however, occasionally still circulates on the Internet (along with that cursed mummy story). It will, I am afraid, become part of mythic Titanic lore. :)

Mark Taylor
titanicnewschannel.com
 
Feb 14, 2011
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The plaque Ballrd left on the forcastle is still there, as can be seen in the Ghosts Of The Abyss film...
And despite THS claiming the plaque Ballard left on the stern was 'deliberalty remoived', its fairly obvious that as he left it on the very edge, it slipped off...



Tarn Stephanos
 
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Simon Welch

Guest
You can also see it on page 54 of the GOTA book just at the base of the capstan. I would agree the stern plaque is probably lying on the ocean floor.
 

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