When I look at pictures of the stern of Titanic/Olympic, I can see several structures on the stern bridge. But I can't say for sure what they are. I'm pretty sure I can see some engine telegraphs, and a phone box on a small pole.

But do I see a ship's wheel? I see something that looks round, and about the right size. But it looks to be covered with something. Perhaps its just a life ring strapped to the rail.

I've also tried to see the log that Rowe checked immediately after the collision. But I can't see it. (I really wouldn't know what it looked like anyway.)

Can anyone help me with this? There is a larger question I want to ask regarding what Rowe experienced during the collision, but I need to get more information first.


Adam Leet

The docking bridge had the following objects:

Ship's wheel (the covered object you describe; it was covered in canvas)

Two engine telegraphs, though I'm not sure of their purposes

Telephone, located behind the ship's wheel

Binnacle, located ahead of the wheel

A board-looking object against the forward railing (not sure if anyone has determined what that's for)

Of course, the liferings (x4)

Some clamp-like objects on the railings at either end of the docking bridge

Flag poles (deployed at the ends of the bridge, or laid flat on the deck)

Any other items I missed?

good job on ID'ing the docking bridge items. The board looking object was not identified the last time it was asked about, but on Olympic photos, there are a few switches on the stern side, with wiring running down the board. I have no idea the use, function, etc. of this, though.
Yuri, the patent log was recovered from the Titanic site, I believe. I have seen pictures of the patent log online, but cannot currently locate them. One was on a French Titanic web site, but I have lost the bookmark to it.
The recovered log device was almost bell-shaped, with a dial on the end. This would have been mounted to some place near the port side of the docking bridge, as it had a mounting bracket. The spinner was run on a rope, it appears, from viewing similar devices, which registered the mileage. I have not seen it in the docking bridge picture, either.
I'm glad to hear that there was indeed a ship's wheel and engine telegraphs on the stern bridge afterall. And thanks so much for the picture of the patent log. I had always wondered what it looked like.

I had been perplexed by two flag poles that appeared on the stern bridge in Belfast, then dissappeared later. Now I know that they layed down when not in use. Thanks again.

So my next question is, were the engine telegraphs and the ship's wheel linked to their counterparts on the forward bridge?
That is to say, if someone ordered 'Full Ahead' on the main, forward, bridge, did the telegraphs on the docking bridge also ring and communicate that order at the same time?

And then the same question regarding the ship's wheel. Did it turn along with the wheel in the wheelhouse?

The answers to these questions could cast a new light on Qtmst. Rowe's testimony.

On page 96 of the illustrated edition of A Night to Remember the log can just be seen. It's on the starboard side of the aft bridge and the governor wheel can be seen hanging below it. The photo must have been taken inshore, as the log has not been streamed. The rotator was on the end of at least 100 yards of rope when in use.

Quartermaster Rowe remembered the log being on the port side and he may be right, as there could easily have been two mounting brackets.

The log was a Walker Neptune, which was the model meant for speeds over 18 knots, not the Cherub that some mention.
And I believe pretty much all of the stern bridge equipment from Titanic has been recovered.
During the sinking, when the poop deck peeled back, i assume that knocked loose the equipment, though a portion of the docking bridge is still on the stern- sqashed beneath the the peeled back poop- and a portion sticks out...


Tarn Stephanos
That's right Michael, he did mention recovering the log. But the reason he gave for doing it was he worried it might get fouled in the propellers.

So how could that happen if the helm was 'hard a-starboard'? That would put the spinner at the end of the line off to the port side of the ship wouldn't it? Now if the helm was turning to starboard after a 'hard a-port' order, then the spinner would be dragged toward the starboard side of the ship. If the manuever was drastic enough, the line might even cross over the rudder. But given a long line, the spinner should still be clear of the props.

But, if the engines were reversed while the stern was swinging out to port, then the line could easily get caught up in the props. So if Rowe felt he needed to reel in the log line to keep it out of the props, then it must have been likely to happen. Thus the line would have to have been across the rudder with the spinner off to the starboard side of the ship. And the ship's propellers would have had to have been going into reverse, or getting ready to do that. Otherwise, why reel it in? Rowe wasn't worried about the spinner getting caught on the iceberg was he?

And another question, why didn't Rowe know exactly what was going on with the helm and engine orders? He had the telegraphs and the wheel right in front of him. Unless these instruments were disconnected from the forebridge when not in use. Were they?

It just seems that Rowe's testimony left a lot out. He didn't even mention reeling in the log during his official testimony. That would have been very important information to withhold from the inquiry.

Back to the different items located on the after bridge, wouldn't there be a binnicale with a compass near the wheel? Or would a compass not be needed back there, since that bridge was only used when in port.

The patent log was a recent topic of discussion Dan and I were having. I took some pictures at Titanic Toledo of a log and a diagram showing it's use. I could send them to you if you'd like.

Also, there was a binnacle on the docking bridge. Check the diagram on the Rivet Counter link from before. It's in there, tucked behind the wheel.

I've learned so much from this thread.
Thanks to everyone for the information.

Just one question remains for me, were the engine telegraphs and wheel on the after bridge linked to the same ones on the fore bridge? i.e. Could Rowe have seen/heard the helm commands being carried out on the main bridge by Murdoch and Hitchens. Or were these stern instruments turned off somehow when not in use.

Thanks again to everyone for contributing here.