The inquiries' finding that the Titanic sank intact


Dan Kappes

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Were the survivors who claimed the ship broke in two upset that no one believed them?

It's kind of a shame that 73 years had to pass before they were proven right when the wreck was found. Too bad most of them would be dead by then. :(
 
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SmileyGirl

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Yes I’ve often wondered this. I would be annoyed if no-one believed me about something like this.
 
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Aaron_2016

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A number of survivor accounts were published in various newspapers and the breaking of the ship became sensational stories.

titanicintwo-png.png


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The public would have read and believed this version for quite some time. When the final report on the Inquiry was published several months later the public and the survivors would very likely have moved on with other matters. Several survivors might have been irritated that the break up was rejected in the final report, but I think they would have been more angry and concerned by the lack of prosecutions. Nobody was officially criminalised and prosecuted. It was well known that the Titanic was steaming towards a region that contained ice bergs and that they did not reduce speed. I believe that some survivors who maintained a keen interest in the findings of the Inquiry would be more annoyed about the shipping company receiving no blame, and also their annoyance with the Board of Trade who allowed the ship to leave with a limited number of lifeboats.

When the Inquiry's conclusions were released in the press the general media would have moved onto other sensational stories and scandals. All further mentions of the Titanic's sinking were likely suppressed in order to preserve their PR and boost ticket sales up, and the disaster would keep a low profile until the First world war took over the newspapers and the Titanic disaster would feel like a distant memory compared to the horrors and daily news reports during the war. I recall that in 1929 the film 'Atlantic' was based on the Titanic disaster and the White Star Line decided to pull a few strings and all references of the Titanic were removed from the film. The sinking scene in the film I understand was also removed. I wonder if they showed the Titanic breaking in the film and they were forced to edit that part out by orders from the White Star Line.
 
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Dan Kappes

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Yeah, I also read that the final sinking scene was removed and the ship in the film was renamed Atlantic, which was also used as the title of the film. When the film was released on DVD in 1999, it was re-titled Titanic: Disaster in the Atlantic. Here is its Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00000K4YW/?tag=encyclopediatita

I think the 1912 German film In Nacht und Eis (Night and Ice) shows the Titanic's boilers blowing up like the 1953 Hollywood film, but not the breakup.
 
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Mike Spooner

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This subject is extensive research in the ON A SEA OF GLASS of 149 survivors. Far from a straight forward as so many thought one way or the other way. In the pitch dark it must of be difficult to see what was happening.
 
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Dan Kappes

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Yeah, but some survivors like Jack Thayer said that he clearly saw the ship split in half and he later drew a famous sketch of it, while officers Lightoller and Boxhall insisted that the ship sank in one piece; which the general public believed until the wreck was found.
 
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Dan Kappes

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A number of survivor accounts were published in various newspapers and the breaking of the ship became sensational stories.

View attachment 43829

View attachment 43830

The public would have read and believed this version for quite some time. When the final report on the Inquiry was published several months later the public and the survivors would very likely have moved on with other matters. Several survivors might have been irritated that the break up was rejected in the final report, but I think they would have been more angry and concerned by the lack of prosecutions. Nobody was officially criminalised and prosecuted. It was well known that the Titanic was steaming towards a region that contained ice bergs and that they did not reduce speed. I believe that some survivors who maintained a keen interest in the findings of the Inquiry would be more annoyed about the shipping company receiving no blame, and also their annoyance with the Board of Trade who allowed the ship to leave with a limited number of lifeboats.

When the Inquiry's conclusions were released in the press the general media would have moved onto other sensational stories and scandals. All further mentions of the Titanic's sinking were likely suppressed in order to preserve their PR and boost ticket sales up, and the disaster would keep a low profile until the First world war took over the newspapers and the Titanic disaster would feel like a distant memory compared to the horrors and daily news reports during the war. I recall that in 1929 the film 'Atlantic' was based on the Titanic disaster and the White Star Line decided to pull a few strings and all references of the Titanic were removed from the film. The sinking scene in the film I understand was also removed. I wonder if they showed the Titanic breaking in the film and they were forced to edit that part out by orders from the White Star Line.
Since World War I was the first war in which flying machines bombed cities, I guess it would make a more sensational newspaper story than an argument about whether or not an ocean liner split in half while sinking.

What a funny world we live in!:D
 
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Rennette Marston

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It has always puzzled me that the British and American inquiries into the loss of the RMS Titanic concluded that the ship did not break apart despite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Out of the 82 survivors who were questioned during both inquiries, 13 reported she broke apart and only 4 people (Charles Lightoller, Herbert John Pitman, Thomas Patrick Dillon, and Hugh Woolner) claimed she went down intact. To me, it seems there was a coverup of some sort to protect the White Star Line and the U.K. Board of Trade from potentially serious consequences if it came out that the newest, biggest and "safest" ship ever built at the time had broken-up, which would therefore raise many questions about the structural integrity of the Olympic-Class liners. What are your thoughts on the matter?

For more information, visit: Titanic Inquiry Project
 
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Rennette Marston

Rennette Marston
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I recall that in 1929 the film 'Atlantic' was based on the Titanic disaster and the White Star Line decided to pull a few strings and all references of the Titanic were removed from the film. The sinking scene in the film I understand was also removed. I wonder if they showed the Titanic breaking in the film and they were forced to edit that part out by orders from the White Star Line.

You mean this scene? Pardon the Family Guy background sound. It is at 0:11:


BTW, this video is from a cool youtuber called The Hills of Silence. He has good videos on the Titanic sinking you should check out:



 
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Dave Gittins

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The trouble with the witnesses who said the ship broke was that they didn't agree on where it broke. They placed the break at points all along the ship. The inquiries preferred the evidence of the officers, who said it didn't break and of Edward Wilding, who calculated that it couldn't break. The break seemed unlikely in 1912. Ships had been known to break when they lay on a reef, with their ends unsupported, but it was about unknown for a ship to break in open sea. It's happened a few times since. There's no conspiracy here, just a stuff up.
 
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Rennette Marston

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Be that as it may, I still find it a little odd that they favored the testimonies of four surviving officers and one naval architect who was never there over 10+ survivors who said she did break-up. You would think that in an impartial inquiry that the inquirers would be on the side of the survivors who said the Titanic broke into pieces before she sank, even if all of those survivors weren't in unanimous agreement on when, where, and how she broke, over the survivors who said she sank intact which made a tiny percentage of the eyewitnesses convened at the British and American inquiries. I suppose they didn't have the hindsight and a plethora of information at the time to come up with a more correct conclusion, like we do today, but who really knows for sure. I do find it nonetheless significant since the decisive conclusions made at the inquiries had shaped public opinion on the Titanic disaster and was reinforced in cultural adaptations like A Night to Remember (1958) and Titanic (1953) until the discovery of the wreck decades later. Even today, public opinion is still pretty much influenced by what was presented and concluded at the 1912 inquiries but after learning new information about the ship and what happened to her has deviated from the traditional official story only to a small degree.
 
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Rob Lawes

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This is the Attorney General's statement to the commission regarding the break up which is taken from the final arguments at the British Inquiry:

The Attorney-General:

No. I think the reason why they came to that conclusion was that apparently one of the funnels broke aft, and possibly those looking at it, seeing that happen, may have thought that meant that the afterpart of the vessel was still afloat. That is some explanation of it. But it is quite plain, I think, from the evidence which has been given now that she did not break in two, there can be no question of that, and that she did go down certainly with her stern at an angle of something like 45 degrees. I think that seems to be established pretty clearly by the evidence, especially by the evidence of the Officers, and that would be explained also by the plan which Mr. Wilding put in, which showed your Lordship what would happen if those compartments became filled. It is exactly what those who are skilled in the floatability of vessels would naturally expect to happen, and what, according to the evidence, did happen.
 
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Dave Gittins

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Another point is that the people who thought the ship broke didn't all appear at the British inquiry. Some, such as Jack Thayer, didn't appear at either inquiry. I rather like the statement from Caroline Bonnell, who saw from her lifeboat that the ship was hog backed, showing it was about to break, but she was not at an inquiry.
 
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The trouble with the witnesses who said the ship broke was that they didn't agree on where it broke. They placed the break at points all along the ship. The inquiries preferred the evidence of the officers, who said it didn't break and of Edward Wilding, who calculated that it couldn't break. The break seemed unlikely in 1912. Ships had been known to break when they lay on a reef, with their ends unsupported, but it was about unknown for a ship to break in open sea. It's happened a few times since. There's no conspiracy here, just a stuff up.
This is the Attorney General's statement to the commission regarding the break up which is taken from the final arguments at the British Inquiry:

The Attorney-General:

No. I think the reason why they came to that conclusion was that apparently one of the funnels broke aft, and possibly those looking at it, seeing that happen, may have thought that meant that the afterpart of the vessel was still afloat. That is some explanation of it. But it is quite plain, I think, from the evidence which has been given now that she did not break in two, there can be no question of that, and that she did go down certainly with her stern at an angle of something like 45 degrees. I think that seems to be established pretty clearly by the evidence, especially by the evidence of the Officers, and that would be explained also by the plan which Mr. Wilding put in, which showed your Lordship what would happen if those compartments became filled. It is exactly what those who are skilled in the floatability of vessels would naturally expect to happen, and what, according to the evidence, did happen.
I could see someone coming to that conclusion not knowing what we know today and no wreckage to look at. Wouldn't be unreasonable for someone seeing the funnel collapse to interpret the ship breaking. That scenario with some bias thrown in from the inquiry and their findings were different from what really happened. Before Dr. Ballard found the wreck I had read about Titanic and looked at what I could which was limited pre internet days. It was not a huge issue for me and believed like many she went down intact with a 300 foot gash in her side. When I saw the footage I was like wow at the amount of destruction. Bottom line was I had the wrong conclusion in my mind before the discovery. Could see where others did too.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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The trouble with the witnesses who said the ship broke was that they didn't agree on where it broke. They placed the break at points all along the ship. The inquiries preferred the evidence of the officers, who said it didn't break and of Edward Wilding, who calculated that it couldn't break. The break seemed unlikely in 1912. Ships had been known to break when they lay on a reef, with their ends unsupported, but it was about unknown for a ship to break in open sea. It's happened a few times since. There's no conspiracy here, just a stuff up.
Both good points. A little off topic but I recall reading later in the century (WW2) that a couple of liberty ships had broken in 2. The determined that it was faulty welded joints.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Be that as it may, I still find it a little odd that they favored the testimonies of four surviving officers and one naval architect who was never there over 10+ survivors who said she did break-up. You would think that in an impartial inquiry that the inquirers would be on the side of the survivors who said the Titanic broke into pieces before she sank, even if all of those survivors weren't in unanimous agreement on when, where, and how she broke, over the survivors who said she sank intact which made a tiny percentage of the eyewitnesses convened at the British and American inquiries. I suppose they didn't have the hindsight and a plethora of information at the time to come up with a more correct conclusion, like we do today, but who really knows for sure. I do find it nonetheless significant since the decisive conclusions made at the inquiries had shaped public opinion on the Titanic disaster and was reinforced in cultural adaptations like A Night to Remember (1958) and Titanic (1953) until the discovery of the wreck decades later. Even today, public opinion is still pretty much influenced by what was presented and concluded at the 1912 inquiries but after learning new information about the ship and what happened to her has deviated from the traditional official story only to a small degree.
Believe that statement is true. And with some bias of other factors I can see where they came up with the findings they did. They had a whole industry they were looking out for. They didn't (couldn't) know what we know today. Find it fascinating how modern tech has changed the story on many subjects.
 
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Rennette Marston

Rennette Marston
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Believe that statement is true. And with some bias of other factors I can see where they came up with the findings they did. They had a whole industry they were looking out for. They didn't (couldn't) know what we know today. Find it fascinating how modern tech has changed the story on many subjects.

Definitely. I believe that those biases, as well as the lack of forensic evidence at the time, played a huge role in how the inquiries addressed the subject and the conclusions they made.
 

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