Stateroom flooding


Oliver K

Member
Jul 8, 2018
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42
73
Hello, was there any report of staterooms flooding by passengers? if i'm correct the windows on Boat deck could be opened on a hinge and held in that position by a propbar (such as the officers quarters) the windows on A-Deck (e.g smoking room) could roll down like a car window by the use of a key and a crank, the windows on B-deck worked in the same way, then the windows or maybe portholes on C-Deck could be opened like a cars side vent, probably to direct air into the rooms, and if i'm also correct no portholes below C-deck could be opened?

I don't believe any passengers reported their staterooms flooding, just only ice breaking through their windows.

It must have been horrifying for a lower class passenger to wake up and see nothing through the porthole.

If portholes were left open (like Britannic) it would have decreased the sinking time, making me wonder why "close all windows and portholes" was not an emergency procedure on the ship.

I would love to see a thoughtful discussion on this, also to see if i'm correct about the operation of the windows and portholes!
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
4th officer Boxhall was asked at the American Inquiry about the portholes.

Q - Mr. Boxhall, do you know whether the air ports on the Titanic were closed at the time of the collision, or before or just afterwards?
A - The air ports? I do not know what the air ports are.
Q - The port holes.
A - Oh, the port holes. No; I could not say about that, sir.
Q - You gave no order to have them closed?
A - I did not hear any orders.
Q - You do not know whether they were closed or not?
A - No, sir.
Q - If they were not closed.....(interrupted)
A - The ports I saw down below in the steerage, when I first visited down there a few moments after the ship struck, to the best of my memory were closed. That was in the fore part of the ship, between the forecastle head and the bridge. Those ports, to the best of my memory, were closed.
Q - You did not have occasion to observe them anywhere else?
A - No, sir.
Q - What was the custom or practice on the ship as to leaving them open in calm weather?
A - I could not say about that, but in foggy weather it had to be reported on the bridge whether they were open or closed, and in bad weather, of course, if there was any sea at all running, we knew then about the ports, and the orders were given from the bridge. But in calm weather, I am at a loss to remember what was done about them.

I believe he knew very well that the windows would remain open in calm clear weather. He just wanted to dodge the blame for not closing them and did not want to blame anyone else within the company for negligence, so he replied "I am at a loss to remember what was done about them". Smooth move. 2nd officer Lightoller said the Inquiry was looking to blame somebody for the sinking. Leaving the portholes open would certainly show a clear sign of negligence.

There are various accounts of water entering the passenger's cabins e.g.

Mrs Ryerson was in a lifeboat and she said: "I could see all the portholes open and water washing in, and the decks still lighted.....a great many were open."

Q - Did you notice anything in particular about the portholes on the water?
A - Yes, the water was washing in the portholes, and later I think some of the square windows seemed to be open, and you could see in the cabin and see the water washing in and the gold furniture and decorations, and I remember noticing you could look far in, it was brilliantly lighted, which deck I couldn’t tell. (It is believed she was looking at the open windows of C-deck)
Q - Did you notice any of the lines of portholes disappear after you got in the boat?
A - Yes, she was sinking very rapidly then, we saw two lines and then we saw only one; it was very brilliantly lighted and you could see very distinctly.

Some of the passengers saw the water down on E-deck soon after the collision but I believe that might have been in relation to the water rising rapidly from the mail room up to E-deck, rather than entering the portholes e.g.

Survivor Laura Francatelli was leaving her cabin on E-deck and she found water "coming along the corridor." Survivor Eimilie Kreuchen was also on E-deck and discovered the corridor was flooding. She went to warn another passenger about the water and when she returned to her cabin on E-deck she found her cabin was flooded.

Mr. Joughin worked in the kitchens. He was asked:
Q - On E deck are the portholes in practice opened from time to time?
A - Very, very often we keep them open the whole of the passage.

Here are photos of the Olympic with various windows open on her decks.

upload_2018-11-24_12-10-46.png


upload_2018-11-24_12-11-7.png


upload_2018-11-24_12-11-16.png


upload_2018-11-24_12-11-25.png


The Titanic listed to port during the latter stages of the evacuation. This may have been caused by the open portholes on the port side (seen by Mrs. Ryerson). The cold breeze was coming from the north (Titanic's starboard side) and this could explain the reason why the windows were possibly kept closed on the starboard and allowed the ship to flood only along her port side. She was a new ship and the smell of the fresh paint and varnish work would have been uncomfortable to sleep in and I think a number of passengers sheltered from the breeze on the port side would have kept their windows open and accidentally allowed the ship to flood on that side.

The stewards were ordered to lock the cabin doors to prevent looters, but there is no mention of them switching off the lights and closing each window. They were not told the ship was sinking, so they probably had no reason to close the windows. e.g. 2nd officer Lightoller ordered the forward gangway door on E-deck to be opened during the evacuation. He told the Inquiry he did not realize at the time how serious it was and that the water would rapidly flood into the gangway door which possibly contributed to the flooding of the ship. e.g. "I did not take that into consideration at that time; there was not time to take all these particulars into mind. In the first place, at this time I did not think the ship was going down." So I believe the closing of the portholes was possibly something the crew did not realize at the time was important, or possibly the order was given to close them 'after' the order was given to lock the cabin doors to stop looters, so the crew could not enter the cabins and close the windows because the stewards had locked the doors.
 
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dazjstuart

Member
Apr 16, 2015
11
2
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Interesting discussion. My thoughts would be that it was a bitterly cold April night, most folk were in their beds and if it was me I would have the porthole shut if it was freezing outside.

On a related note, are there any records about how warm it was in Titanics or comparable steam ships at the time? Obviously they wouldnt have had a modern HVAC system in each room but there were many vents with blowers (did these go to public areas or only machinery areas etc). I’m guessing there would have been little to no insulation (especially on lower decks). It did have several boilers and steam pipes thoughout though which would have undoubtedly created a lot of heat.

What I’m getting at is would the ship have been roasting hot (therefore likely that people had portholes open) or would it have been quite cold. Are portholes either open or closed or do they have little catches that hold it slightly ajar to allow ventilation while minimising heat loss?

Regarding the baker, I would imagine a hot kitchen would have the portholes open all the time, I’m assuming this is where he is coming from rather than the ship in general.
 

K9Thefirst1

Member
Jan 24, 2013
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0
31
Well, last summer my Dad and I stayed a couple nights on the Queen Mary, A Deck if I remember the deck arrangement properly, and I learned two things:

1) The walls were very thin even in First Class accommodation (yes, our neighbors were obnoxiously loud to begin with, but it felt like the walls were also thin - not surprised, considering how often the interiors were rearranged throughout Olympic's and likely Mary's service).

2) The room was HOT! As in it was hard to get comfortable to sleep hot. I accommodate that to a number of reasons, but they all stem from the fact that she was built to run in the North Atlantic's chilly spring and freezing winter climates, not Southern California's hot and arid one: The black paint (along with hiding coal dust stains) were to help absorb heat from the sun (the white of cruise ships is partly to reflect the sun, hence why older liners sent to cruising in their latter years - like Mauretania - were white, though I wouldn't be surprised if there were other reasons), and all of the ventilation's intakes are noticeably pointing forward, so I've always suspected that the ship's forward motion would play a role in circulating the fresh air.

So to summarize: I would imagine that Titanic's interiors would have likely been either comfortable to warm, depending on the individual's own nature. If you were cold-natured, Titanic would have been just fine If you were warm-natured, she likely would have been warm to toasty. The former would be more likely to leave their porthole's closed, while the latter would be more likely want them open.

And looking at earlier posts about the windows on B-Deck up, I wouldn't stress over worrying about the windows in the superstructure. That part of the ship wasn't actually the hull, and so even if those windows were closed tight they would have leaked a great deal, while the portholes on C-Deck down wouldn't have.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Interesting discussion. My thoughts would be that it was a bitterly cold April night, most folk were in their beds and if it was me I would have the porthole shut if it was freezing outside.

On a related note, are there any records about how warm it was in Titanics or comparable steam ships at the time? Obviously they wouldnt have had a modern HVAC system in each room but there were many vents with blowers (did these go to public areas or only machinery areas etc). I’m guessing there would have been little to no insulation (especially on lower decks). It did have several boilers and steam pipes thoughout though which would have undoubtedly created a lot of heat.

What I’m getting at is would the ship have been roasting hot (therefore likely that people had portholes open) or would it have been quite cold. Are portholes either open or closed or do they have little catches that hold it slightly ajar to allow ventilation while minimising heat loss?

Regarding the baker, I would imagine a hot kitchen would have the portholes open all the time, I’m assuming this is where he is coming from rather than the ship in general.

I believe the heating may have played a part. Survivor Mr. Stengel said one of the passengers in First class kept his porthole window open (probably could not sleep with the strong smell of fresh paint and varnish). Mr. Stengel was asked at the American Inquiry why that passenger had his porthole open because it was a cold night.

Mr. Stengel replied - "He just wanted air. He said, "I left my port hole open for air."

Survivor Mrs. Shelley complained about the heating on the Titanic in 2nd class.

"On asking the steward to have the heat turned on, he answered that it was impossible, as the heating system for the second-class cabins refused to work. That of all the second-class cabins, only three, the three first cabins to be reached by the heat, had any heat at all, and that the heat was so intense there that the occupants had complained to the purser, who had ordered the heat shut off entirely; consequently the rooms were like ice houses all of the voyage."

If the heating in 2nd class was shut off, then this could mean the heating was primarily reaching the First class cabins (perhaps too much heat) which resulted in many passengers keeping their windows open e.g.

Mrs. Ryerson saw the windows on C-deck were open when her lifeboat was lowered. e.g.

"I could see all the portholes open and water washing in, and the decks still lighted.....a great many were open......the water was washing in the portholes."
 
If the heating in 2nd class was shut off, then this could mean the heating was primarily reaching the First class cabins (perhaps too much heat) which resulted in many passengers keeping their windows open e.g.

It could be... but take into account that according to the statement... when the cabins got too hot, passengers could reach out to the stewards and ask them to shut off the heating. I imagine that if that was the case, first class passengers would have the same power (if not more).

Anyway, I wish you all have a Happy New Year!
 

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