Interesting thread.....I suppose that it is the UNEXPECTED death and mayhem where, only a few hours before, was a ship full of so many people representing practically the entire cross-section of the planet, from the extremes of rich, and the extremes of poor, simply crossing the ocean for a multitude of reasons, when quite suddenly, more than 2/3 of the people on board met their deaths, some quite violently. Rich and poor alike suddenly, simply became human beings in a common struggle. I think there lies the fascination. Many of us seem to be able to remain emotionally detached simply because it happened so long ago.
In my opinion Cameron showed a pretty decent depiction without going too much off the deep end. I've never thought too much about what probably went on deep in the bowels of the ship right when she foundered, such as Cameron's aforementioned engine-room scene. What about the 3rd class passengers that were trapped below decks in the stern section, and how horrible that must have been as it imploded on the way to the bottom?
There were many people that were in the wrong place on the ship at the wrong time such as men who were on Lightoller's side instead of Murdoch's side of the ship as the boats were lowered, etc.
As a semi-related issue, I think Ken Marschall's "death of the innocents" besides being an amazing painting (probably my favorite) of the Lusitania going down is that in the painting there is none of the obvious carnage that must have been there, and is still a VERY effective depiction of the events
No real salvation there I'm afraid. Even if it weren't for 110's reputation for grabbing and holding on (Whereas 220 supposedly knocks you back.) you're talking about a scene where one is trying to keep a switchboard running in a shower of salt water while the ship is coming unglued around you. No safe places to be had when that happens.
Besides, if I recall correctly, Titanic's electrical system was 110 volt DC. Have to dig out my Shipbuilder to check that out again.
I've done research on hypothermia, it's actually a very peaceful death. You slowly become detached from the rest of the world. Vision blurs. Limbs weaken. You become confused, disoriented and then careless. You stop fighting. The world goes black. The heart beats slower and slower then it stops all together. Blank, glassy eyes stare up at the dark night sky as others around you are lulled by the same tune.
It is not a violent death. The only better way to die, in fact, is of old age in your sleep. Most of the Titanic victims died in this way. Only a handfull of people fell into the crack as the ship split up. Several died when they hit their heads on the propellers when jumping from the stern. While many people did drown, the actual percentage is surprisingly low. The vast majority froze in the 28 degree water. This may sound heartless but I think that the person who died the most violent death that night was not a person at all, it was the ship. Think about it. The iceberg punches her senseless and she slowly bleeds to death, and in the process, breaks in half. That's the most violent death story I've heard of from the disaster. With a groan of pain and anguish, the ship finally slid to her silent, watery grave.
Titanic did die violently. Just imagine what it must have been to see her die, this great ship shatter in pieces and sink to the bottom of the abyss.
I was also thinking, the others who suffered pain were those who were hit by flying debris as Titanic broke in two, cables from funnel 1 as it ripped away, and were sucked down into the opening. Some survivors did describe being hit with flying debris. The engineers in the engine room also suffered, using Roy Mengot's version of the sinking, it was horrible to even imagine what it was like for them.
Whether the base of the funnel was underwater or not before the funnel collapsed is still a matter of speculation. If it was, it wasn't very deep under it, so not many people would have been near the hole. The people hit by the cables would have suffered greatly but I could count them on one hand. The engineers voluntarily surrendered themselves to a nightmare. I commend them for this bravery. All they could do was watch as their death slowly rose to meet them. When the bow went under, the last of the engine rooms would have been flooded, killing them all. Another thought, the third and fourth funnels would have collapsed when the ship broke in two. That must have killed somebody. I want to put a question out there: I wonder who was the first person to die that night. My guess is someone in Boiler Room 6.
>>The people hit by the cables would have suffered greatly but I could count them on one hand.<<
You can? Is there statistical evidence or eyewitness testimony to the effect? If so, I haven't seen it. As for cables parting, keep in mind that what's being discussed there are cables made of heavy metal and anyone caught in the backlash of that would have been virtually, if not completely cut in half. Pretty messy.
>>The engineers voluntarily surrendered themselves to a nightmare. <<
Don't be so sure of that. You might want to check out This Article by Senan Molony when this part of the site becomes accessable again. (Seems to be down at the moment) Quite a few engineers were seen topside towards the end and a number of them...72 out of 325 according to the BOT report...survived. Some even gave testimony.
(Caveat: There are a number of errors in the figures given by the BOT so treat this with caution.)
T Eric: "I've done research on hypothermia, it's actually a very peaceful death. You slowly become detached from the rest of the world. Vision blurs. Limbs weaken. You become confused, disoriented and then careless. You stop fighting. The world goes black. The heart beats slower and slower then it stops all together. Blank, glassy eyes stare up at the dark night sky as others around you are lulled by the same tune. "
First off - how DO you quote someone on here - all the other forums I visit have a "quote" button but I'm missing it here (not hard since I'm registered partially sighted!)?
Look at the way Rose (ok, so it's THAT movie, but!...) starts tripping while she's floating on the wood, humming "Come Josephine..." and then hearing the voices from the lifeboat... Certainly, if I had to choose a way to die that night, it would have had to be hypothermia. That said, I've heard it said that after you take that initial breath of water in, drowning is supposed to be "pleasurable" (euphoric??) but I fail to see how...
I for one would not have wanted to be in a cabin in steerage right at the end, for reasons already stated.
Wouldn't Engineer Jonathan Shepherd who fell through the manhole and broke his leg likely have been the first person to die on Titanic?
Sorry if this is morbid - but I've always had that curiosity, as I find the root causes of disasters and the chains of events in them fascinating - although the deaths themselves, I'd prefer not to think about too much...
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According to the documentary "Titanic: Lost ship, lost souls" that was on the Discovery Channel, fireman Fredrick Berret tried to help a man who had his leg broken. The man died when one of the watertight bulkheads failed and flodded the area, the man drowned. Another is the clerks in the mail room, it's said they were the first victims- trying to save the mail they were in charge of and drowned from the rapidly rising water.
I also think the violent deaths can also go with the third class passengers who felt better to go back to their cabins and wait. Anyone trapped inside the stern would have died from the implosion as some of the air filled portions burst, mostly under the aft well deck. those people were sucked down with the ship and their remains fell in the debris field, which we now see as the pairs of shoes scattered about.
Being two of the five mail room clerks bodies were recovered weeks later, I seriously doubt most or even any of them were trapped below early on. If they had been trapped in the bow, their bodies would have stayed there and never been found.
The 'man with the leg broken' would have been Enginneer Shepard.
There is an interesting Microfilm in the Public Record Office in Kew about settling claims by the families of the two British Postal Clerks. The film has all the various pieces of correspondence on it.
Agreed, Bill. There's no way the mail clerks could have been trapped - the layout of the area in which they were working doesn't allow for the possibility. Once the sorting room on G deck was awash they gave up and simply climbed the stairs to E deck and thence up to the boat deck. Violet Jessop recalled a brief conversation with one of these men at that time. He simply remarked "without emotion" that the mail bags in the sorting room were "floating up to F deck" and they'd decided to call it a day. Wise decision.
>>Random thought...remember the story of the drunk cook? That story is rather unbelievable. How could drinking a lot of whiskey help him stay alive?<<
Yeah...the Chief Baker. We've hashed it over befor. If he was drunk...an assertion that Charles Joughin denied...it's concievable that it numbed him to the pain of being in freezing water so that he wouldn't inhibet his movements or stop him from breathing. Beyond that, he would still have to get out of the water fast as alcohol tends to open up the blood vessels in the skin, so that he would losse body heat even more quickly.