Thayer's account of listturn


Tim Brandsoy

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I'm intrigued by Thayer's accounts. He details the movements (accurately??) but I've never seen it depicted in the movies accurately.

"He returned to the stateroom (C-68) to get his parents They went to the starboard side of A deck where John B. Thayer senior thought he saw small pieces of ice floating around, but Jack saw nothing. As they crossed to the port side they noticed that the ship had developed a list to port."


"Eventually, however, they could wait no more and after saying goodbye to each other they jumped up on the rail. Long put his legs over and held on a minute and said 'You are coming, boy, aren't you?' Jack replied 'Go ahead, I'll be with you in a minute.' Long then slid down the side of the ship. Jack never saw him again."

I assume he's on the starboard/high side, before the break-up that he later witnessed, but where did they jump? And why did Thayer wait?
(Is there another account where someone skittered down the side? Or was I just imagining that?) They had some trouble lowering the starboard lifeboats earlier, so the list must have been pretty extreme by this point.

'Her deck was turned slightly toward us. We could see groups of the almost fifteen hundred people aboard, clinging in clusters or bunches, like swarming bees; only to fall in masses, pairs or singly, as the great part of the ship, two hundred and fifty feet of it, rose into the sky, till it reached a sixty-five or seventy degree angle. Here it seemed to pause, and just hung, for what felt like minutes. Gradually she turned her deck away from us, as though to hide from our sight the awful spectacle."

To this day he is the most accurate personal account. Thayer seemed to get so much of it right, he observed so well....I sometimes wonder if that led to his suicide in the 40s. Did he see and remembered too much?
 
J

Jeff Brebner

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He got so much right, but it always baffled me why his drawing showed the very bow re-surfacing before sinking. I don't see how it could have.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>but it always baffled me why his drawing showed the very bow re-surfacing before sinking. I don't see how it could have.<<

The gentleman who actually did the drawings...a man named Skidmore...probably indulged in a measure of artistic license. As far as I know, the bow popping up was a claim which Jack Theyer never made. It's certainly not in his book.
 
J

Jeff Brebner

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That would make more sense. I just don't see any way the flooded bow could have popped back up. Overall Thayer proved a remarkably accurate observer under extreme duress.
 

Alvin Dusaran

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the bow popping out through the surface may be a little bit exaggerated, though i think it has some point which led to the theory that titanic bow was bending the other way. Just like the theory shown on titanic missing pieces. It might be thayer saw the stern start the rose high while amidship was pushing downward and crashing the upper decks though no passenger account can prove that, and there he saw that the bow decks still remain at low angle. While stern rose high. May be his reference point was the forward mast that still on surface water where almost half of the ship has gone beneath the sea.

Sorry for my english i hope everybody understand my thoughts.

AlvinD
 
Dec 2, 2000
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He may also have confused some aspect of stern section for the bow. This much assumes that the drawing Mr. Skidmore was actually faithful to what Jack Theyer described to him. We have no evidence that it was and Jack himself never makes any such claim in anything he wrote.

Remember, it was dark out there and it's easier to get confused that any of us might generally realize.
 

Alvin Dusaran

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but the description of thayer was so vivid and even in the absence of light during the sinking of stern he saw it clearly turning from its original position, i remember officer or passenger said in their account that that night was strange, the sea was calm and visibility is clear even without moon, it is not possible that thayer actually saw the bow remain at low angle (maybe his reference point was the forward mast) and the stern begin to rose high, and it might be possible that the ship light was still on during this point. If he saw clearly the stern turning even only with the light coming from the star, how about even the ship light was still on.. Maybe the visibility was very clear.

Hope everybody understand my thoughts. Sorry for my english..
 

Jim Currie

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Gentlemen,

There is an interesting account of the ship's final moments given by Trimmer Thomas P. Dillon in Q3857 to 3870 on Day 5 of The British Wreck Commissioners' Inquiry.

Clearly, Dillon got the impression that the ship partially righted herself before the stern finally went below the surface of the sea. However his account of the time after the last ladies were sent from the aft well deck up onto the boat deck to get to the last lifeboat on the port side, also tells us that the ship was on a fairly even keel at that time. Otherwise, if the stern was in the air at an angle of 65 degrees, the people on the 'poop' would not have been able to hold on for very long, and Dillon would have had a mountaineering effort to climb up to the poop to join those already there.
He does remember the aft funnel canting back toward him just before the stern went below the sea surface. It did not fall down as did the foremost funnel. However the events were probably related.

To people standing on the Poop Deck, the last funnel would only seem to cant back toward them if :

A: The ship went down stern first or:
B: The ship broke her back.

In the case of 'B'; while the aft funnel seemed to cant toward an observer on the poop; the foremost funnel would seem to cant toward anyone standing on the bow. Obviously, the latter was not possible on Titanic since at the time in question, the bow was under water. However, the foremost funnel was not under water and we have evidence that it did fall over.

Since the timing of the two funnel events is very close - somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes before the final moment, this seems to be further confirmation of a hull break at the surface. Perhaps some one can work the timing out out more accurately.

When the hull commenced to fracture, since the bow went down at first and a considerable amount of stern section was unsupported, the hull must have fractured from top to bottom. The fracture would not be catastrophic in that the hull did not immediately divide in two parts. Rather it seems it was progressive. As it progressed down ward, extra sea water would pour into the exposed forward and aft section of the hull, causing each to be pushed downward and each section to momentarily attempt to re-join. It would then seem to an observer that the ship was righting herself. If we use out imagination a little more:
Just before two parts completely separated, the forward part -the bow section - still attached to the stern part, would go downward with the uneven weight and, for a split second, so would the aft part of the bow. The point where the two parts were still attached would bend downward with the weight of water and loose internal parts sliding toward the point of attachment.This would be a very brief moment in time during which, the stern and bow sections would cant back toward each other- almost trying to come together again. At that time, the bow would seem to pop- up for a moment. However, since the bow section was already full at that moment, the water would take over and the bow would go/bend down very quickly, causing the final break in the region of the ship's keel. At this moment,the The forward funnel would surge against it's retaining stays causing them to part. The funnel would fall over, the bow would start it descent to the ocean floor and then the stern would continue to rise until gravity did its work and it too, would follow it's missing part.
I have seen some learned opinion suggesting that the funnel stays were sufficiently strong to withstand the weigh of the funnels and they would not have parted. The researchers in question missed one simple fact:
Funnels stays being metal, expand with the heat and contract with the cold. Often, in service they had to be slackened or tightened to compensate for this. If the stays on the funnels of Titanic were slightly slack due to the cold temperature, they would not only be slack but probably slightly brittle. The sudden shock load of a funnel surging against it's stays was probably just enough to part one or more of them. After one broke, the rest would go like skittles. This shock load was the common cause of funnel guy failure when ships rolled violently in a seaway

Thought you like to share that with me!

Happy New Year!

Jim
 

Alvin Dusaran

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thanks jim,

Thats also what i'm pointing out. The sea water rushing through the middle section of the ship due to break up is one factor that the makes the ship bend due to additional weight at the center of the ship. And that point may be jack thayer referring in the drawing that the bow seems popping out through the surface, (which is impossible to happen) but actually might be the bow remain in the low angle and seems its trying to right itself but sinks while the stern begins to rose high. But if he saw the ship bend where the bow is almost gone may be his reference point was the forward funnel and forward mast that is high enough and still visible when the stern rose high.

Hope everybody get it.

AlvinD
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Funnel No. 1 fell much earlier then No. 4. I think it was during the 2001 wreck expedition when they noticed that the funnel stays have not much to do with it.
Regarding Dillon, he was on the poop for about 40 minutes so has not to "climb up". Funnel No. 4 falling aft fit very well with the ship breaking apart. (It is not quite clear if the break was top town or from bottom up.)
As for Jack Thayer, in his reports there is nothing quite similar as the drawings made on board Carpathia by Skidmore. It is not quite clear what he really saw and what he told him. Some think it was the grand staircase coming to the surface and not the bow which is physically impossible. It is most unlikely that he was able to see funnel No. 1 and the forward mast in the position he was also he does not mentioned that in any of his reports. (No. 1 funnel has collapsed the time he was in the water).
 

Alvin Dusaran

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hi,

about the position of thayer in the ship, i haven't read yet his whole account and i still don't know yet where he was when he saw the bow popping out to the surface, but i'm sure that he was already on the lifeboat when he saw the ship stern turn. About the bow popping out through the surface, does anybody know if thayer was already on lifeboat when he saw the ship broke? if the breakup begin much earlier it might be there are lifeboat that still not being launched. And the swarm of people rushing through the aft boat deck might have witnessed the breakup of the ship not because of the water began to rushed in through it. Nobody knows..

AlvinD
 
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Jack Thayer was at the high of the 2nd funnel together with his friend Milton Long. From there they jumped into the sea. During the break up jack was in the water and after it he got on board collapsible B and watched from there how the stern disappeared. In his report (1912) no mention about the bow coming to the surface but that the ship broke in two.
It was in the later years were he described how the water reached the base of funnel No. 1 which he did not report in 1912 as he still was on board during that time preparing to jump over board.
His 1912 report seems to be more to the truth as the disaster was more "fresh" in his mind and also in his later report he described a few things different not to forget things which were based on wrong memory.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>but the description of thayer was so vivid and even in the absence of light during the sinking of stern he saw it clearly turning from its original position,<<

Mmmmm...I think we may be talking past each other here since what was on the table was the proposition of the bow popping up per the drawings made by Mr. Skidmore based on what he claimed Jack Theyer described to him.

The problem is that Jack never makes that claim in an extant writted account, testimony, statement, or affidavit known to be by his own hand or taken from him.

Regarding his vivid descriptions, I have no doubt as to the scincerity of what he believed. He was completely honest to the best of my knowladge, but completely honest is not the same thing as accurate.

You can't completely dismiss out of hand the accounts of the eyewitnesses. They were there and we weren't. However, you need to be cautious with it because they often turn out to be unreliable on close examination.
 

Alvin Dusaran

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if he's standing at front of the 2nd funnel and claimed later that year that he was still on ship when the 1st funnel flooded he might be standing to a point that the ship bow began to bend, he was close enough to see the bow and thought that it pops out but actually the ship bow trying to right itself while continue to sink and observed that the stern began to rise on his otherside.

Don't forget the pressure from the sea.

AlvinD
 
Mar 18, 2008
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>>if he's standing at front of the 2nd funnel and claimed later that year that he was still on ship when the 1st funnel flooded he might be standing to a point that the ship bow began to bend, he was close enough to see the bow and thought that it pops out but actually the ship bow trying to right itself while continue to sink and observed that the stern began to rise on his otherside.

Don't forget the pressure from the sea. <<

First of all, it was not later that year were he claimed seeing funnel No. 1. It was 1940! In 1912 there was no mention of seeing funnel No.1 but in 1940.
2nd, high of the 2nd funnel does not necessary mean in front of the 2nd funnel.
3rd Thayer never claimed how the bow began to bend! In is 1940 report he claimed how the ship bend in the middle. This was the result of several experts who try to "correct" him that the ship did not break and what he saw was possibly the decks bending. In 1912 Thayer clearly stated that the ship break!

I am not sure what you mean with "that the bow was trying to right itself...". If you are thinking something similar like the bow coming to the surface, that is physically impossible! And what did the pressure form the sea has to do with it?
 

Alvin Dusaran

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hi,

i'm not saying that the bow popping out through the surface was possible but what i,m trying to say that if the front bow was filled with water and the amidship which is empty and began to filled with water+the pressure coming from the bottom of the sea+the force from upper decks crushing above is enough to push the middle of the ship downward which if you look on perspective it appears the ship bow angle is going back to 0 degree but it stops because it was separated to the stern underwater. I don't have to explain it furthermore because this is the theory of roger long.

I believe only in two theory

the early breakup of roger long and bottom up theory
 

Jim Currie

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"I am not sure what you mean with "that the bow was trying to right itself...". If you are thinking something similar like the bow coming to the surface, that is physically impossible!"

Not really! Here's how it could quite easily have happened.
untitled_copy17.jpg

In the first sketch, the unsupported stern section tries to return to the sea and in doing so, causes the hull to bend. Since the upper parts are in tension, the failure (cracking) starts there and progresses down through the deck, taking the line of least resistance. Eventually, it reaches the lowest and strongest part of the ship - the keel and double bottom area. At this point, the breaking sequence is briefly halted. During the previous few minutes, water is pouring into the open wound and acting like ballast trying to sink that part of the hull in way of the crack. Consequently, this area sinks with the added weight and attempts to bring the hull upright again. In doing so, the reverse bending moment acts on the keel area and it breaks downward. The sudden release causes the stern to briefly come level and the broken (stern) end of the bow section to dip down. When this happens, the bow comes level with the sea or slightly above it for the last time. Thereafter, the whole bow section sinks rapidly, either on an even keel, by he bow or the rear part.

When considering this sequence, you have to account for the rapidly changing effects of Gravity and Buoyancy. During the sinking sequence. My little rough sketch tries to illustrate how that might have gone. Essentially, when a floating body - in this case a ship- is holed, it is a battle between the two. In the case of Titanic, Gravity was the victor.

The only way the hull could have fracture from the bottom upward would have been either by an explosion in the double bottoms or if the ends of the ship had been supported i.e. buoyancy pushing the bow and stern upward at the same time while gravity in the form of the weight of the middle part and/or a huge weight was added to the middle of the ship. This actually happens alternately all the time when a ship is crossing large waves or a swell as shown here:

hogging__sagging.jpg


Excuse the dreadful sketches,
Jim
 
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You can believe in what theory you like, the only problem is that the version shown on History Channel "Titanic's Final Moments: Missing Pieces" is not near to anything Jack Thayer described. (Or other survivors.)

You have to be also careful what was shown there and what Roger Long theory is. Roger Long theory is the shallow angle scenario. That the hull was too weak as he believed and shown in the documentary and in the later book "Titanic's last secrets" and that the ship would have stay longer afloat if it would have not break was proven to be wrong.

I do not like the sinking animation in the above mentioned documentary as it is inaccurate.
 

Walter Flynn

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Some chap above said that young Jack was remarkably accurate under extreme duress. Now why should we believe that? If he was so accurate, who else was there that said they saw the bow pop back up? It looks to me like someone knows how to spin a good yarn.
 

Alvin Dusaran

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I watched before titanic Achilles heel and it was proven that the titanic was strong enough to battled against the wave, it can bend along the sea, but i have still a doubt if Long was right about the low angle theory which both Long and the bottom up theory shown. I heard that he never prove the low angle break but i'm not sure if they proven that the ship only reach the low angle, but if he's not right about that, do the stern splashing might be the real possible happened? can you make it clear for me i have no copy of titanic AH so i can't review the docu.
 

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