The Baker's Account of the Breakup


Cody Gentry

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I have wondered - for quite some time now - about the account of the baker and his interpretation of the sinking. If he rode the stern till the very end, wouldn't he have a testimony considering the breakup and what it might have been like to be aboard during the event?
Please, I need resolution to this matter.
Does he have account of this happening?
 
Feb 24, 2004
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One of my suspicions is that many of the mental images we have re: Joughin have come not only from the movies, but also from various authors' attempts to shoehorn his account into the pre-1985 idea of how the ship went down, i.e., intact and vertical: If there were no break-up (!!), then Joughin had to have been clinging to the very stern, way up in the air (like "Jack and Rose"), if he were going to step off into the water at the last second - and not get his head wet. But that isn't what he said at all. Thanks, Trevor, for posting that link to Paul's site - Joughin's follow-up letter to Walter Lord offers an entirely different perspective on a sequence of events that can be darn hard to picture.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Roy, I think you've got it right that most impressions of Joughin's experiences are wrong. The interpretations of the man standing on the taffrail and riding it down like an elevator are totally at odds with his testimony. Joughin was quite specific that he was on the starboard side of the ship when it went out from beneath him. He also said the stern did not go up in the classic manner.

The man's testimony up until he wound up in the water has enough touch points with other eyewitness accounts that it appears quite solid. Joughin's claim the stern did not stand on end, however, does have some opposition from other witnesses. I think we have to cut the baker some slack, however, because it is difficult to judge anything from the perspective of a lifevest, and worse in the dark.

-- David G. Brown
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Hi, David!

My take is that, when he heard the beginnings of the break-up from his cabin, he also heard feet above him running towards the stern. (Where was his cabin, by the way?) This seems to tie in with Carl Janssen, on deck, hearing screams from amidships, followed by a surge of people again running towards the stern. Joughin said he got to the Starboard railing on A Deck and stepped off into the water when "the big list to port occurred." Some witnesses and writers have alluded to that sudden tilt, but there's by no means a consensus amongst historians. In any event, once Joughin had stepped into the water and the ship's lights had gone out, as you said, it's doubtful what he could have seen of the stern going vertical, especially being up that close (fancy that!). From there, without being sucked under, and without much physical effort on his part, he was rescued by Collapsible B. Now, also of interest to me is Paul's note regarding a friend of Joughin's, Captain J.H. Anderson, who maintained this version of events was the one which Joughin told verbatim all his life.

Roy
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Roy -- Joughin was in his cabin for a "wee nip." He noted some water running on the low (port) side. This seems to tie well to steward Wheat's story of water coming down the stairway a bit earlier. Then Joughin went up to A deck where he tossed some deck chairs overboard before ducking into a pantry at the base of funnel #3 for a drink of water. That's where he heard the metal sounds beneath him.

His testimony does not indicate that he went all the way to the stern of the ship. As I read it, Joughin said he was on the side when it went out from beneath him. Later generations of historians have assumed that he must have been standing on the taffrail as Titanic sank, but that's not what I read into Joughin's words.

-- David G. Brown
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Joughin's room was labeled “Confectioner and Second Baker.” It was located on the port side on E deck just abaft watertight bulkhead K. The sliding WTD was not closed when he went to his room. If he was there after boat #10 was launched, then we talking close to 2 a.m. It was not the first time he went there to drink. He was there before he went up to the boat deck:

"That was just after I had passed the first lot of bread up, and I went down to my room for a drink, as a matter of fact, and as I was coming back I followed up my men on to the deck."

Don't assume he literally followed his men up after going to his room. Before he admitted going to his room to drink, he said, "I stayed in the [baker's] shop for a little while, and then I followed them up the middle staircase." He apparently went down to his room to drink first, and you can guess what he was drinking and how much. At some point he went up to the boat deck to his assigned boat #10 and helped load the boat which can be verified in the testimony of others. When #10 was being loaded, the ship had already assumed a list of about 10° to port which is why there was that big gap between the rail and the boat that he and many others talked about. #10 was the last of the aft boats to be lowered. It went down about the same time that #4 up front was lowered. Only the collapsible boats remained. About that time, the ship was down by the head between 5° and 6°, and water would have been as far back on E deck by bulkhead K.

When Wheat observed water coming down the 1st class staircase aft of bulkhead F, the ship was only about 3° down by the head and still carrying a slight list to starboard. It was about 12:50, or just a little after. Steward Ray saw water on E deck right by that same staircase just a few minutes after boat #7 was lowered. Boat #7 was the first to be sent away.

As far as Joughin being on the poop at the end, he said he was (if he still could remember clearly by then):

6060. Can you tell us what happened to you? - Yes, I eventually got on to the starboard side of the poop.
6061. (The Commissioner.) Will you point out to me where you got to? - This is where I eventually got to. (Showing on the model.)
6062. You got on to the poop, did you? - Along here (showing).

Where exactly on the starboard side of the poop we do not know, but it doesn't seem to be at the very end judging from the description he gave.
 

Paul Lee

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Joughin's cabin was too far aft for water to have reached it before the ship sank. His cabin was at, of near, the area of the engine casing on E deck.

6290. Then there is another matter I want to ask you about. As to water, you say, as I understand, you only saw water on the alleyway?
- I did not see it in the alleyway; I saw it in my room. My room is in what we call the skin of the ship, and the water was on the lower port side, just enough to cover my feet, that was all.

6358. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) There is a question which I did not examine into, but which has arisen, if, your Lordship will permit me. (To the Witness.) When you saw this water in your compartment did it lead you to any conclusion as to the special danger in which you thought the ship was?
- No, not anything special. If it had been higher I should have thought something about it, but under the circumstances I thought it might have been a pipe burst, because there was a pipe burst on the "Olympic" from the engineers' quarters and we got the same water. It might have been the same thing.
 

Paul Lee

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If water was up to that bulkhead on E deck, then it means that that part of the ship must have been on the waterline, or under water. How does this jibe with other testimony and the low-angle break theory?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Hi Paul. How are you doing? Good hearing from you.

Looking over Joughin's complete testimony, I find:

6217. What water did you see, and where was it? - There was not very much water. It would just cover my feet, that is all. The list of the ship sent it down against my settee in the room.
6218. Sent it down from where? - I could not say where it came from.
6219. Was this place of yours on the port side of the ship? - Port side, amidships.
6220. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Would you see the direction from which this water was coming? - I should say it came from forward.
6221. Was there much of it? - No, not much; it just went over my ankles I should say.

6226. Are there any bulkhead doors in the alleyway outside your room? - One immediately outside.
6227. Is that forward or aft? - Forward of my room.
6228. And the water was coming from forward? - The water was coming from forward.
6229. So that if that bulkhead door had been closed it might possibly have kept the water out? - The door was not closed, but just about that time I saw two men coming and they said they were going to close it, but I did not see it closed.
6230. Was it closed after they said that? - I do not know; I walked upstairs.

We can get the trim of the ship from other accounts and then compare. Probably the most reliable time wise comes from Bride who said that Phillips went outside to look around while he took over the key. Bride established contact with Baltic. Messages were exchanged. The time can be nailed down from several PVs. When Phillips returned, he told Bride the well deck was awash and they both noticed the ship had a severe list to port. The trim angle for the well deck being awash happens to be between 5° and 6°. The time of the Baltic response was 1:49 Titanic ATS.

A 6° trim would put the waterline back near bulkhead K. I'll try to see if I have a sketch that I could post.
 

Paul Lee

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Hi Sam,
I'm feeling OK thanks, how are you?

The thing that concerns me is that if the source of the water was the iceberg damage and it came from all the way forward, it would certainly have flooded all the boiler rooms forward of Joughin's room, and the Titanic would have sunk by then.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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That's the wrong way to view it Paul. Water has to find its way down into the machinery spaces. Yes, down from the decks above through whatever openings it can find. It did not fill like an icecube tray.

I found one the diagram I have showing a 5° and 10° waterline. The latter corresponds to when Lightoller left the ship just before the break.
copy_of_profile_from_shipbuilder.gif
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Feb 24, 2004
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The implications are that those guys down below, who kept the lights burning for so long, were working in what amounted to a submarine.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Paul -- I put the time at between 1:50 and 2:00 a.m. in April 14th hours. He was on deck for the launching of boat #10 at about 1:50 or a bit later. Then, he went down to his room.

-- David G. Brown
 
Mar 22, 2003
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I agree David. The only boats left were the collapsibles up front. At that time the forward well deck was awash, but the forecastle head had not gone under yet.

The real question for me is how much did Joughin drink, not what? And later, when he went to pantry, was it to have a drink of water as claimed, or was it something else that was kept there?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>And later, when he went to pantry, was it to have a drink of water as claimed, or was it something else that was kept there?<<

For whatever it's worth...and that may not be much, getting drunk was something Joughin denied. Of course, it's not as if anybody would be keen to admit to something like that, but I'm inclined to believe he was being honest about that.

Now whether or not "honest" is the same thing as "an accurate reflection of reality," well, that is the question!
 

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