The mysterious 2 12 mile journey to the bottom of the Atlantic


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brendan kilmartin

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Having been an avid reader and watcher of all things titanic for some years, I would like to express my appreciation of a superbly consructed web site.
One thing I find disappointing are the opinions of people who i am sure share my enthusiasm for this great subject, but seem to share their opinions
based very loosely on programs they may have seen or clips from a book they may have read.Had they browsed this site and read the main points given, their views may have held more steam with me.This isn't to say i disagree with all i have read from readers(we are all entitled to our opinions)i just think over the years the subject of hows and whys has become increasingly complex with so many professional opinions seeming to share totally contradicting views on how the Titanic came to rest 2 1/2 miles down at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean.I guess with such a bold opinion myself you would like to hear my opinion on the mystery, well here goes..........
Rather going through details that are universally shared by all, I will skip to the moment of impact with the iceberg.
although the seas were calm one thing that was unusual was the presence of icebergs not usually seen in these areas, i guess this should have been enough to rouse care and attention but as the saga unrolled, it was obvious it didn't.had it been then perhaps this disaster could have been avoided.
Having struck this huge form of ice, the proceeding events that occurred led to the largest and most luxurious sea faring vessel resting 2 1/2 miles down at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
So how did she sink? How could such a massive and as was said at the time, such an unsinkable vessel....Sink!
She was built to withstand all mother nature and her seas could throw at her.Yet her tragic downfall was a piece of ice, all be it a big piece.It is widely believed the impact of the ice would not neccessarily have led to her sinking, more the events that were to follow did.There were problems in this massive vessel that only this type of impact or event could have highlighted.
There is no arguement that the huge iceberg tore a huge gash in the side of the Titanic.However further investigation since, has proved that although the hull was breached, the massive pressure exerted by the iceberg forced the rivets holding the massive steel structure together, to come away:thus increasing the potential effects of the disaster.Titanic was designed so that any two compartments may flood, still allowing her to stay afloat.This is where the design faultered.As the water flooded in to the first 2 compartments, almost immediateley 3,4, and 5 flooded due to the design error which meant that deck E was not watertight as had been stated in the designs.this meant the first 5 compartments flooded almost immediately.And with deck E not watertight at the point where the bulkheads ended, the sinking of Titanic was almost inevitable.
I don't want to get into the rescue attempts or the launching of the life boats, as my main interest lies in the way the huge ship sank and once under water, how she came to rest.
There have been lots of eyewitness reports as to the events that led to Titanics' final moments afloat.Not wishing to disagree with the survivors recollection of those events, I do believe that science can put a clearer picture on what actually took place.
In a situation like this, it would be easy to exaggerate the events.And who could blame them.To be on a ship that is sinking would lead me to perhaps over state the facts.As an example i recently saw a story of a couple who had been on a sinking cruiser, not once but twice.I listened to their recollections and watched actual footage of both sinkings, And it was surprising how innacurate their memories were.Not something you do purposely, but in such a frightening position it would be quite easy to lose an accurate picture of events.
Once the great vessel had taken in that much water, her sinking was just a matter of time.She began her fateful journey to the bottom of the ocean Bow first, this is where the first conflicts seem to begin as regards to how she went down.I dont think there is much doubt that Titanic was in one piece when she went down, however testimony described her final position afloat as almost perpendicular to the water.Then under the shear weight of water finally secumbed to the ocean.For years this view of her stern high above the bow was believed, the best films always depict this as so.Yet there is one significant detail that seems to have been lost.Titanic was designed with 2 narrow gaps across her body, known as expansion gaps.Their job was to allow some flexibility in the massive structure as she coped with the extreme pressures of the ocean.These gaps originally were only a few inches across.However, after further investigation of the expansion gap on the bow remains, it was discovered they were now several feet across at some points.the wreck of the stern was much harder to decifer, as it lays on the sea bed in a pathetic state of ruin.Later the condition of the stern wreckage will add creedance to my theory.The fact that the bows' expansion gap was now feet across and not inches would suggest that the pressure forces on the titanic were massive.there are 3 main wreckages' on the ocean floor, the bow , stern and a huge chunk of hull(discovered much later).The bow was discovered in remarkably good condition, especially after all it had been through, the explosions and the speration from the stern and its long journey to its final resting place.The stern however was discovered in an extrememly poor state.Almost unrecognisable from the struture that had left Southampton.And finally the piece of hull.Again as with the bow found in exceptional condition.It was a massive aswell, as wide as Titanic and almost 90 feet in length.These remains are the main clue to the events that led to the Titanics sinking and eventual seperation.How did she sink?, that is how did she go down.Did she rise from the water as people have suggested or infact is this an inaccurate description of events.Firstly look at the clues in the bows wreckage.As the bow filled with water, its nose began to dip into the water.
as the force of the sinking bow and as yet clear
stern fought against each other the expansion gap began to come under the sort of stresses it wasn't designed for.now the bow was beginning to drag the entire vessel down.At some point the expansion gap couldn't take this excess strain and finally gave way.At this point the bow was completely filled with water.As Titanic rose upwards under the force of the sinking bow the stern would have been raised.Now the expansion gap
towards the stern was under immense stress, and she began to buckle in 2 places.There is no doubt that Titanic could not have risen to a perpendicular state, because the expansion gaps would not have allowed this to happen.The scientifically agreed ammount would not have exceeded 12 degrees.A lot less than most believed.
It is widely agreed that an explosion occured at the bow end expansion gap.Now the stern takes in water and slowly but surely at 12.45 approx(new york time) Titanic breathed her last breath and sank to her final resting place.
So how could a bow that came under so much strain rest in an excellent condition, yet the stern which followed the bow was almost unrecognisable?The Theories have rolled on for years, but now new science and technology has given us the best clues, and i believe the answer.
The bow was full of water as it sank, the stern however would have only taken on most of its water once it had sank.The pressure of water at great depth is an unbelievable force.The only thing holding her together was a piece of hull.As she sank the hull gave way, and finally the bow and stern completed their journeys seperately.As the stern sank the water pressure increased to an extent where by the wreck would have simply imploded then exploded, causing the mangled wreckage we see today.The bow however was full of water and as it sank the fact that it was full of water meant it could withstand the water pressure.
It is believed that this would have occurred somewhere around 500 feet.
It took some time to find this missing piece of hull to support this theory, but find it they did.
Its edges where not mangled to a point that would suggest Titanic simply ripped in 2 then sank.More over it suggested that the seperation would have been a steady one, simply tearing apart under the strain as it sank.The bow would have sank in a pretty steady way.It wouldn't have rolled, and it wouldn't have dived.This is supported by the condition of the bow wreck.Had it sunk in these ways, certain details on the deck would have been ripped away by the sheer pressure, ie. the rails, and the 2 cranes.They were discovered as they were when she left on her voyage.She would have sank in a fairly level manner,hitting the ocean bottom nose first, then the rear finally coming to rest.this would tie in with the 2 huge mounds of ocean bed that were dug up by the bow, one at the front and one at the rear.
I'm certainly no scientist, but with a bit of research and knowledge i think i'm entitled to come to my own conclusions on the sinking of Titanic.i believe all i have said is accurate, so if you would like to give me your opinions, i would look forward to it.The most important thing is you enjoy reading what i have written.I guess we will never know the whole truth about this tragedy, but for something that holds so much mystique and mystery, it's probably best we don't.After all it's the unknown that keeps us interested in this amazing event

brendan....
 

Adam Leet

Member
May 18, 2001
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Not a bad piece of work, Brendan. As you have requested opinions, I'll offer mine.

"There is no arguement that the huge iceberg tore a huge gash in the side of the Titanic.However further investigation since, has proved that although the hull was breached, the massive pressure exerted by the iceberg forced the rivets holding the massive steel structure together, to come away:thus increasing the potential effects of the disaster."

Are you suggesting that the iceberg did tear a large gash? This part seems a bit vague, but if this is what you imply, then you would be incorrect. I've understood for many years that the damage was separation of hull plates. Recently, however, I have given mind to the well put theory that the damage was in fact to her underside, per David Brown's suggestion. This explains testimony from important eyewitnesses, as well as other examples of ships broadsiding objects versus running aground, and comparing those experiences with the recollections of the passengers and crew that night.

"There is no doubt that Titanic could not have risen to a perpendicular state, because the expansion gaps would not have allowed this to happen.The scientifically agreed ammount would not have exceeded 12 degrees.A lot less than most believed."

Indeed, it is becoming more accepted that she did not reach a 45 degree angle before breakup. There are debates about which angle she did reach, however, and I question some of the computer models used to show this event. As for the stern rising perpendicular, I disagree. It would not be impossible for the stern to reach a perpendicular position once the ship had broken in half. As well, some survivors' testimony indicates this. Of course you have discounted their testimony, but keep in mind some people can recall events more accurately than others. This can be difficult for forensic studies, of course.

"The bow would have sank in a pretty steady way.It wouldn't have rolled, and it wouldn't have dived.This is supported by the condition of the bow wreck.Had it sunk in these ways, certain details on the deck would have been ripped away by the sheer pressure, ie. the rails, and the 2 cranes.They were discovered as they were when she left on her voyage.She would have sank in a fairly level manner,hitting the ocean bottom nose first, then the rear finally coming to rest."

Not necessarily. Exploration of the superstructure of the wreck has shown signs there was tremendous damage caused by water flow as she sank. There are several hypotheses about the bow's orientation during the descent, though I would tend to support a staggered leaf pattern, with the bow pitching gently as it fell. It likely dove nose-down first, then buoyed up. Of course this could be incorrect, as well. Also keep in mind the two cargo cranes are not in perfect shape. The booms were broken, perhaps by impact. Remember, too, that they are located in the well deck, which would shelter them somewhat from the effects you described. The angle and damage to the bow, however, points to a stubbed-toe effect. In other words, she nosed into the bottom, with her aft end resting even on the mud.

What you bring up does stimulate debate, and there are many opinions regarding what happened to the ship. Who knows? I may be wrong, you may be wrong. As you said, no one will ever know for certain.


Adam
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Where do I begin with all of this?

>>There is no arguement that the huge iceberg tore a huge gash in the side of the <<

I'd have to beg to differ on that one. Nobody at the inquiries said anything about a gash, only that the ship sustained damage along 300 feet of her length from the forepeak to boiler room 6. That's damage in six compartments. And whatever one may say of the sidscanning sonar images taken of the hull below the mudline, they do pretty much refute the notion that threre was ever a gash.

Regarding the expansion joints, I'm not sure this is as much a factor as one may think. The finite model analysis that was done showed maximum stresses in the area of the keel and going on up the hull in the region of the First Class Dining Saloon. This latter area, as wide open as it was is the weakest point in the structure too.

>>It is widely agreed that an explosion occured at the bow end expansion gap.<<

No it isn't.

What happened was that after the stresses exceeded what the ship could stand, the midsection basically collapsed. Final seperation of the sections may have happened after the ship was submerged, but it was already well advanced befor the ship ever left the surface. (Besides, what is there in that region that would explode?)Plenty of witness statements back this up. Particulary crewmen who were interviewed by the U.S. Senate on Day Seven. To read the transcripts for yourself...and you may consider this essential homework...go to the Titanic Inquiry Project at http://www.titanicin quiry.org/

The reason the bow section didn't implode under the water pressure was because it was flooded solid. The reason the stern section imploded was because there were quite a few compartments still filled with air. All of this compressed under the pressure but blew out when the compartments the air was in collapsed. The forces released were absolutely devestating as the demolished condition of the stern bears stark witness to.

>>The bow would have sank in a pretty steady way.It wouldn't have rolled, and it wouldn't have dived.This is supported by the condition of the bow wreck.Had it sunk in these ways, certain details on the deck would have been ripped away by the sheer pressure, ie. the rails, and the 2 cranes.<<

Actual tank tests done at the David Taylor facility suggest that the bow planed down but kept nosing up then stalling then nosing down again in a continuous cycle.

>>One thing I find disappointing are the opinions of people who i am sure share my enthusiasm for this great subject, but seem to share their opinions
based very loosely on programs they may have seen or clips from a book they may have read.<<

We (Defined as the researchers and enthusiasts who make up the membership) use the materials available, especially primary sources such as Inquiry transcripts as well as data arrived at by qualified naval architects, and we second, third, and forth source everything in sight.

Regarding the exact nature of the sinking, one web source you might want to try is Roy Mengot's The Wreck of the RMS Titanic at http://www.flash.net /~rfm/index/contents .html

This man has done a lot of exteremely in depth research on this particualar subject. I highly reccomend it.

Good luck!

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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brendan kilmartin

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thanks for the input so far, i'll check out that website.As for the point of the gash to the side of titanic, I think this point isn't argued any more, how else would you explain the extensive damage?the rivets popped due the stress of the inrush of water, not as people seem to think, due to the iceberg grazing them.
 

Adam Leet

Member
May 18, 2001
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What extensive damage are you referring to? The sonic surveys conducted in 1996 were inconclusive. They showed plate separations on both sides of the hull. You're saying the rivets were popped from inrush of water, so what started the inrush?


Adam
 
Oct 28, 2000
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Brendan -- My name has been brought up, so I feel compelled to jump into this discussion. Your original post is printed out on my desk and is awaiting a long and thoughtful reading.

As some have pointed out, I can argue with many of the facts that you present. But, I cannot argue with the tone and tenor of your comments. I must commend you for taking the time and effort to put so many thoughts together.

--David G. Brown
 
Sep 12, 2000
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Dear Brendan,

"One thing I find disappointing are the opinions of people who i am sure share my enthusiasm for this great subject, but seem to share their opinions based very loosely on programs they may have seen or clips from a book they may have read.Had they browsed this site and read the main points given, their views may have held more steam with me.This isn't to say i disagree with all i have read from readers(we are all entitled to our opinions)i just think over the years the subject of hows and whys has become increasingly complex with so many professional opinions seeming to share totally contradicting views on how the Titanic came to rest 2 1/2 miles down at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean.I guess with such a bold opinion myself you would like to hear my opinion on the mystery, well here goes.........."

Brendan providing one's opinions regarding the sinking of Titanic would mean that you provided us with your views or personal judgments of the facts and had formed a theorum based on these facts as you perceive them, and based on this thought process have in your mind a belief about a particular matter, namely Titanic and her sinking.

But you are not providing us an opinion of the sinking of Titanic. You are providing a critique of all here personally as to our ability to do research in the guise of great writing.

You base this on a pre-conceived notion that we are all an incompetent lot and you know this because you know everything and are the only one who knows the facts.

So your presentation is not food for thought for us to look at and ponder, it is written based on "facts" which you feel we have never bothered to take the time to see with eyes wide open. (or the missing binoculars would have helped us to see this perhaps) As in your oppinion, it has all been out there for all to see quite clearly according to you. And perhaps we have been too lazy to look at it in front of our noses. hmmm.

Your thoughts, which from what I have read, are all based on your own flimsy research, of the sort you hate. Interesting.

If you wish to DISCUSS, then bring a mind to learn and share, not criticize and preach and put down.

Hey, if it were just me, then fine. But there are simply too many people here that I really respect the daylights out of for me to let your whole attitude towards our membership slide.

WANT your opinion? You assume that an insult will make me want it.

The one thing that I personally find disappointing?..... a closed mind.

Bet you have an autographed color 8 x 10 glossy of yourself framed by your bedside too.

You could have a lot to offer the group and when get back down here from Mt Olympus, check back with us.

Maureen.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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G'Day Brandon, I don't think an inrush of water would be anywhere near enough to pop rivets, but collision with a solid object would certainly do the trick. So would flexing of the hull over time in the unforgiving environment of the sea. (Eventually, some of the bloody things just wear out from all the stress. Bear in mind that the hull was one inch thick steel plate made to the best standards of the day and the rivits used to secure them to the frames were pretty substantial. They had to be.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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brendan kilmartin

Guest
David, thanks for your compliment,I would stress my letter is based on fact and theory, and of course swayed by my own opinions.Pick through it at your leisure, i hope you find it at least interesting, if not accurate.

thanks.......brendan
 
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brendan kilmartin

Guest
Maureen, where do i start.
I'm still reeling from your onslaught, and yet wondering how you know so much about me from so little.You having wrongly assumed that i am a person with..quote "The one thing that I personally find disappointing?..... a closed mind."Had this been the case i wouldn't have requested others opinions, as i did.
I guess the remarks you made were not really meant for me, more they were to impress others by the way you attempt to put me down with your rather hasty assumptions.You seem to think i have a problem with others, and that i'm only interested in my own opinion.Wrong!I haven't critisised anyone on a personal level, and wouldn't.Yet you critisise me personally, and in your own words.......Interest ing.Could it be you find my writing a threat? do you feel literally incompetent when you read my passage? I hope not, i love to write and i love to read, which is why i enjoy this kind of discussion.

But you are not providing us an opinion of the sinking of Titanic. You are providing a critique of all here personally as to our ability to do research in the guise of great writing.

I think if you read my letter fully and understand it fully then you will realise how inaccurate that remark was.I think i bring up enough points to say that this is indeed an opinion and not a criticism of other peoples ability to do research.I said that people tend not to research to the degree that would make their opinions solid with me, not a critisism of their ability to research.Simply that some people haven't researched.

You base this on a pre-conceived notion that we are all an incompetent lot and you know this because you know everything and are the only one who knows the facts.

Simply put, where in my passage of writing do i say you are all an incompetent lot?
Where do i say i know everything?
Where do i say i am the only one who knows the facts?
I don't!

Your thoughts, which from what I have read, are all based on your own flimsy research, of the sort you hate. Interesting.

Although i haven't gone in to huge detail(a long piece of text can become tedious) I think i have covered the points as to my opinion(and i stress, my opinion) of how she sank.Agree or disagree, the guys that have replied to my letter have shared their opinions with me.Do they all agree? I don't think so.But thats what opinions are all about.

Bet you have an autographed color 8 x 10 glossy of yourself framed by your bedside too.

No! i have a picture of my 4 month old son...Charlie.And as yet he is unable to sign it.

Please don't take my letter personally.It was meant to be something people enjoyed reading.

thanks...brendan
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Uh Brandon, this is what you included in your original post;

One thing I find disappointing are the opinions of people who i am sure share my enthusiasm for this great subject, but seem to share their opinions
based very loosely on programs they may have seen or clips from a book they may have read.Had they browsed this site and read the main points given, their views may have held more steam with me.

Given a start like that, I can see why Maureen was annoyed. I found it a little off-putting myself, but I just chose to move beyond it. Regarding Maureen, don't shortsell her as a researcher. That would be a big mistake. The research she did with Dave Gittins concerning the Rappahannock was nice work IMO. (You can see the results of that work at dave Gittin's site at http://users.senet.c om.au/~gittins/rappa hannock.html )

My own personal observations regarding the rest of us; It might help if you understand that the membership of the ET forum includes some of the most respected researchers in the Titanic community, (Several are published authors on the subject) as well as enthusiasts who dig deep because it matters to them.

These are people you can find haunting newspaper morgues, libraries, public records repositories, book stores, forums, websites, and digging into inquiry transcripts to chase down leads, and ever so hopefully, answer questions that have never been answered, track down elusive passengers and crew, and perhaps gain insights that have never occured to anyone befor. I've learned a lot here by listening to people who have done their homework and my understanding of the Titanic has increased enormously because of that.

Now understand that we do not pretend to be perfect. We certainly have our disagreements (Issues such as salvage or the ever fractious Californian come to mind) and we make mistakes. However, we form our opinions and offer/exchange our ideas based on some very careful research, and I don't know of any one of us who does so lightly. So when somebody comes in with an remarks such as the above in blue, I'm sure you can see why it would ruffle some feathers.

Oh well...let's all move past that shall we? I think you've done quite a bit of homework yourself. Obviously, we differ on some points, but if it wasn't for differing views, this would be a pretty dull place.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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I think this is just a classic case of somewhat ambiguous language being interpreted in a way that it was not intended. I've written a post or two like that myself, only to see that it caused offense where none was intended. I must confess that I am somewhat relieved to see this happen--I thought that I was the only one who did that!

Anyway, I agree with Mike--let's move on! Brendan, it's good to have you aboard.

Jim Smith
 
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brendan kilmartin

Guest
I guess i must cofess that my first paragraph was at best slightly rude.I wasn't being general.I have looked through a fair portion of this web site, including a lot of posts, before entering my views.And can say i was extremeley impressed with the knowledge that seems to be bantered about.Perhaps in hind sight i may need to rethink my opinion slightly.
If i have offended anyone...please accept my apologies.
thanks for the comments people, i think i'm going to enjoy this site........brendan
 
Jul 9, 2000
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No problem as far as I'm concerned. Forum participation is something of a contact sport and not for the faint hearted. As James noted, it's all too easy for something one writes to be misunderstood. One just has to be careful.

Regarding rethinking your opinion, I do it all the time. If there is anything you care to discuss or questions you wish to ask, fire away.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Sep 12, 2000
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Mike, thanks for your kind remarks. Gittins only blames me for that information so that if it is wrong 90 years from now, he can point out my pole vaulting opera singing submarine posting. hehehehe

Brendan, thanks for reconsidering how you approach the people on the board. The Titanic information you included within your critique of us was well thought out and you should consider writing something to post as an article.

This site is accessed and used by literally thousands of people from elementary school aged children to senior-senior citizens from every walk of life practically and from many of our world's nations. There are kids writing school papers with a thought or a question or a theory that they express, but there are also many authors, lecturers, experienced seaman, and even some 1912 fashion and "people" experts.

So, the message board is presented with many views and various levels of knowledge.

The FAQ section was established for the "I do not see Rose and Jack on the crew list" people who honestly believe that the two were passengers. But the board still provides them the information they seek with the hope that it will encourage them to open their mind to learn.

And that is why I posted the way I did. I am not generally a poster devouring member, but people who are only open to seeing their own view close themselves off to learning. And if a person is closed to learning, then this board will always disappoint them.

Perhaps down the road the 8x10 glossy will be of you and your son on the back of your first Titanic book. Always remain open to comments and feedback and it will happen.

Feeling threatened? Naw. Trust me...my writing has been critiqued by the best and I know that I stink. My work ends up with more red than anything else. But I am grateful, because it helps me to grow and mature in my writing skills.

Enjoy your day Brendan and welcome aboard.
Maureen.
 
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