The role of the mediaWhat if Titanic had happened in 2001


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Jul 9, 2000
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Hi Steve, I can't account for the rough seas aspect, though maybe that's what the designers had in mind with those boyancy tanks mentioned in the TRMA artical I alluded to if those things were actually installed. I shudder to think what it would have been like if the seas had gotten nasty. Between the icy cold and monster waves, I suspect the boats would have done better then those aboard them.

I'll trot on over to the TRMA website so I can get the artical on the boats. I suspect it'll answer more then a few questions posted here.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Paul Rogers

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Hello all.

I think I have found the source for my faulty memory - although (as expected) it isn't a Primary Source, but only deduction from an author. I quote from "The Titanic - The Full Story Of A Tragedy" by Michael Davie. (Grafton Books - 1987, page 106 to 108.)

One mystery remains however. Even if Lightoller and Lowe did not know about the strength of the davits, what about Captain Smith? Supposing that Smith did not know either, what about all the Harland & Wolff representatives on board? They included Thomas Andrews, the Harland & Wolff director, Lord Pirrie's nephew, who had been trained by the firm and had taken a deep interest in all practical details of the ship's design from the initial stages. They also included the chief shipyard draughtsman, Mr R. Chisholm, than whom, said Engineering, "no one was more conversant with modern practice in the building of large merchant ships." They must have seen what was happening. Yet it was only the last boats, after pushing and shoving, that were filled up.

One gets the impression from Lightoller and Lowe that they were fearful of being rushed by panic-stricken passengers. ...... The Titanic's Officers knew from the beginning that there were not enough boats to accommodate all those on board; they soon realised that there was also a shortage of trained crew. It is hard to resist the conclusion that, consciously or unconsciously, their aim in these desperate circumstances was to get away as many first- and second-class passengers as possible - who were in any case the nearest to the boats - before the whole operation was swamped by uncontrollable hordes from steerage.


Sorry everyone - I raised false hopes, as all I have to show for my memory of Lightoller bluffing through the inquiries is the above passage. Just to rub salt into the wound, Davie confirms that the results of H&W tests of the lifeboats and davits were not made known to the Officers - a conclusion he bases on transcripts of the American inquiry.

I must remember to practice the motto: "A closed mouth gathers no foot."

Regards,
Paul.
 
Aug 19, 2000
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Hi Paul,

The boats were indeed tested to capacity while lowering. However, as you've concluded, there is no evidence that the officers of the Titanic were ever made aware of this fact. They were, most likely, operating on outmoded knowledge. A prime example of a breakdown in the line of communication resulting in tragic consequences.

I was very surprised to read the following from Teri:

And I am glad to report that Mr. Ismay did attempt to take some menial command in the loading of boats but was reprimanded by Officer Lowe. After this incident with Lowe, Mr. Ismay stepped back a bit as commander, but still assisted with the loading of boats instead playing a more subtle role alternatively.

Why should you be 'glad' to report that Ismay attempted to take some 'menial' command (whatever that means - 'menial' is defined as 'lowly, degrading')? Ismay did nothing to assist in this specific situation (his confrontation with Lowe). Instead, his interference made an already difficult job even more so. In discussing this with merchant mariners familiar with handling similar equipment, several have suggested how problematical it would be to deal with the falls with passengers milling about on the boat deck. Lowe himself refers to this difficulty in his testimony, when he speaks of 'hallooing' at people who were getting foul of the falls. As Lowe was on the deck himself, assisting with the lowering, the very last thing he needed was an interfering passenger of whatever status swinging his arms and ordering 'lower away, lower away'. To say that Ismay was *not* assisting by doing so is an understatement. Lowe quite rightfully gave him a short, sharp reminder that he had no place in the hierarchy of the deck crew. Ismay neither had nor should have had any role as a 'commander' in the evacuation, and to suggest that he did contradicts his own later attempts to construct himself as an 'ordinary passenger'.

If he had been a crewmember, there is no doubt in my mind he would have filled those boats to full capacity. He possessed the mental stamina and
audacity needed to command the passengers to get into the lifeboats.


I think it's just as possible that his actions on the boat deck stem from the desperation of a man who knew from the start (unlike most of the crew, several of the officers included) that the ship was doomed. You yourself have painted a picture of Ismay after the disaster as a broken man - how does this accord with your idea of 'mental stamina'?

The 'Titanic's' officers were neither fools nor incompetents. All of them - even down to James Moody, who as the youngest had 10 years experience at sea, including over four years in sail - had done the hard yards and knew their jobs as well as any other merchant officers afloat. Why else do you imagine they were selected to serve on the 'Titanic'? To suggest that Ismay could have done better then these men - all of whom had both the practical experience and the theoretical knowledge to pass the stringent BoT certification system and then be not only employed but promoted within the WSL - is somewhat arrogant. To presume that simply by owning a ship a man is more qualified to oversee an evacuation than experienced, board certified officers is preposterous.

While deriding the job they did of organizing the evacuation,you're using a theoretical ideal. They were men struggling to do the best they could with what they knew, within an uncertain time frame. Yes, training in evacuation procedures was flawed- but that was universal in 1912, not limited to either the WSL or these men. They were also struggling with the need to forestall a panic - who needed another 'La Bourgoyne'?

There are quite a few threads on this board that discuss the complexities of why the boats were not filled to capacity, and the reasons are still one of the contentious issues of 'Titanic' studies - and probably always will be. But to put it down to a lack of force on the part of the 'Titanic's' officers is absurdly reductive - can you imagine that Lowe, for example, ever lacked the imperative will to back up his orders? They were walking a tightrope, trying to strike a balance between urgency and maintaining calm. In once instance, a 'young officer' (most likely Moody, given the location of the boat) is reported to have had difficulties in inducing non-English speaking passengers to enter a boat. In frustration, he pointed at a half-filled boat in order to get his message across. The result was a panicked push forward.

The disaster was the culmination of many factors - not just individual human error, but the practices of the era. The Titanic's deck officers - half of whom perished in the disaster - were also victims of inadequacies in safety procedures. Ismay - like many male passengers such as Gracie and who knows how many others who *didn't* survive - assisted in loading the boats by ushering women into them. But it was most certainly not his place to intervene in the bridge hierarchy, and even if Lowe was less politic about it than some of his colleagues might have been, Ismay invited -and deserved- the reprimand he received.

Take Care,
Kerri
 
Apr 7, 2001
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Michael & Paul,

Whilst I do not know precisely how seriously the Officers took the communication they received of Titanic's fate, I do know that Mr. Ismay was fully aware of the implications of the communication he received regarding the fate of Titanic and was therefore willing and able to DO all he could to assist in getting the passengers off the ship.

It is highly speculative that the Officers were not truthfully informed of the nature of the impact with the iceberg and what the fate of Titanic really was. If this is the case than Smith would be the individual to inquire whether the fate of the ship was emphasized enough and made clear enough to the Officers to grant them the knowledge they needed to fill those boats to capacity.

If Lightoller and Lowe knew that there were not enough boats for all the passengers, this should have given them more incentive to fill the boats to full capacity, would it not?

Kerry,

No info in your profile.

I think the point I was really trying to make with Mr. Ismay was that I wished to see the Officers carrying the same uncompromising attitude Mr. Ismay had that night with regards to the loading of the boats, is all. I was not inferring that Mr. Ismay was "commanding" the evacuation, I was only trying to point out what I just posted in my last sentence, that he displayed an uncompromising attitude. (however distorted this may appear)

I think it's just as possible that his actions on the boat deck stem from the desperation of a man who knew from the start (unlike most of the crew, several of the officers included) that the ship was doomed. Precisely my point, Kerry! Mr. Ismay KNEW of the fate of the ship and therefore tried in desperation to assist however distored this may have appeared to everyone else!

You yourself have painted a picture of Ismay after the disaster as a broken man - how does this accord with your idea of 'mental stamina'? I was referring to his mental stamina during the evacuation of the passengers and crew, not to the times AFTER the disaster.

To suggest that Ismay could have done better then these men ... To presume that simply by owning a ship a man is more qualified to oversee an evacuation than experienced, board certified officers is preposterous. I never suggested that, and sorry if you took it that way, but I was merely trying to make the point I mentioned above about Mr. Ismay being uncompromising. It has nothing to do with his being an owner of a shipping line. On the contrary, he could have been anyone having this same characteristic, and my point would have been the same.

Sincerely,

Teri
 
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steve b

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Found this writing by George Bernard Shaw to the London Daily times and thought it was relavent to the discussion. It goes as follows: "Third romantic demand: The officers must be calm, proud steady,unmoved in the intervals of the shooting terrified foreignors. The verdict that they had surpassed all expectations was unanimous. The actual evidence was that Mr Ismay was told by the officer of his boat to go to Hell and that boats not full refused to go to the rescue of those who were struglling in the water in cork jackets. Reason simply given:They were afraid. The fear was as natural as the language to Ismay. Who of us dare blame them or feel sure we would have been any braver or clearer?" That from the Daily London News May 14 1912..Just thought it applied he
 
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The officers launching the lifeboats knew that Titanic was foundering (why else put people over the side in boats?); and they knew from first-hand experience testing the boats that they could carry a full load. Anything said to the contrary during the American and British hearings was deliberate perjury.

But, the surviving officers had to lie under oath when it came to discussing loading the lifeboats. The truth was too horrible for anyone not connected with life/death at sea to accept. Even today, when the reasons for under-loading the boats have been fully exposed, most of the people on this web site still cannot accept the truth. Instead, it is easier to cling to the old bromides and half-truths.

The harsh fact is that Captain Smith and his officers had to choose who would live and who would die that night. They had the ability to save only half of the souls on board Titanic. And, they were duty-bound to choose who would see the dawn and who would stare lifeless from a frozen cork lifevest. Not a pretty decision to make. But somebody had to decide.

Wait, there is more to that decision. It was Captain Smith's responsibility to save as many of his passengers as possible. He had to formulate a plan to evacuate his sinking ship that would choose as many survivors as possible. It was beyond any human capacity to have concocted any plan to save everyone aboard Titanic that night.

Any attempt to fully load every boat before sending it down would have required a general "Abandon Ship" alarm. While that sounds like a proper approach, such an alarm would have brought 2,200 people to the boat deck where only half enough lifeboats were waiting. Now, that's a recipe for panic if there ever was one. And, in the resulting panic how many people would have been trampled or pushed overboard while the strong and forceful overran the weak and timid. Then, how many lifeboats would have gotten down and released from the falls intact?

Captain Smith could have yelled "abandon ship" and let the brutish side of mankind decide who would survive. He could have done that, but he was made of sterner stuff. He made the hard choice to save as many people as possible by postponing the inevitable panic as long as possible. Toward that end, the officers at first loaded only those people who were smart enough, or lucky enough to get to the boat deck. Undoubtedly a secondary part of the evacuation plan was for partially-empty boats to return and pick up additional people. However, the primary motive for lowering partly empty boats was to get as many people off the ship as possible before panic erupted.

Captain Smith's plan in large part worked. There were more than 700 survivors in the light of dawn. If the captain had used his heart instead of his head, the number of survivors might have been one-tenth that many.

This is a very ugly side of the Titanic story with absolutely no romance. However, I am tired of people condemning the officers for not loading more people into the boats. In fact, Captain Smith and his officers and men did a fantastic job of saving the maximum number of people possible under the circumstances.

It is the circumstances surrounding the lifeboats which must be condemned, not the brave and correct actions of the ship's officers. Those circumstances started in the offices of Harland & Wolff when 64 lifeboats were removed from the first drawings of the Olympic Class ships and replaced with 16. Look there for blame...not at the men who were handed the mess a few years later on the slanting deck of a sinking ship.

-- David G. Brown
 
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David,

I quite agree with you that the blueprints at Harland and Wolff were edited to the dismay of the author. The number of lifeboats should have been left as designed. I do believe it was Mr. Ismay who made those changes and would be the one to blame for the lack of lifeboats available the night of the sinking. I am aware of this.

Anything said to the contrary during the American and British hearings was deliberate perjury. Again, I agree with you here 100% David. Those crewmen HAD to have known the ship was sinking.

Teri
 

Dave Hudson

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I had always thought that the boats were loaded half full primarily because they were intended to come back at a later time. Smith called boat 6 back, but Hitchens wouldn't budge.

Or I could not know what I'm talking about.
That's always a possibility.
happy.gif


David
 

Tracy Smith

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Well, considering the time factor, the number of boats, whether it was 20(counting the four collapsibles) or 64, the number of lifeboats became a moot point that night. In the time it took the Titanic to sink, they only had time to load 18 boats; the remaining two being washed away. If they'd taken the time to fully load each boat, they probably wouldn't have gotten off the 18 they did manage to launch.
 
Oct 28, 2000
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There is an hour of time "missing" in the Titanic story. That is the hour between the actual iceberg accident and the launching of the first lifeboat. Most histories of the sinking just ignore this missing hour, giving the impression that the lifeboats started down mere minutes after the accident. Unfortunately, that's not what happened.

Captain Smith knew Titanic was most likely mortally wounded from the beginning. All of his training and experience told him to get the wounded ship back into the shipping lanes as quickly as possible. That meant steam north, which is what he did from just after the iceberg accident to sometime after midnight. It was a logical and prudent thing to do, as Parks Stephenson has pointed out.

Radio was new and untrusted in 1912. Smith obviously preferred to launch boats near the steamer track where they had a better chance of being spotted and rescued. Boats launched 5 to 10 miles south of the regular steamer routes might have gone undetected for days.

By the way, Titanic was south of the regular shipping channels at the time of the accident. Most likely, this was to avoid meeting or overtaking other ships during Ismay's planned "speed run" on Monday.

If Smith had "trusted" the Marconi system to bring help...and if the ship had been fitted with 64 boats...then it would have been possible to begin lowering lifeboats as early as midnight. That would have provided 45 more minutes during which to have loaded and launched boats.

And, of equal significance, if there had been sufficient boats it would have been possible to have created an evacuation plan for the passengers. People could have been sent to the boats to wait their turn to board without the fear of panic.

Based on the actual performance of the crew that night, it took a bit more than 4 minutes to launch each boat. 45 more minutes equals eleven more lifeboats launched. And, without fear of panic each would have been full to its limit. Conservatively, at least 1,000 more souls could have been saved. The death toll would still have been horrific, but not the carnage that ultimately obtained.

And, the picture would have been even brighter if the ship had remained stopped after the accident. Undoubtedly, moving forward increased the speed of the flooding to some extent. Perhaps the ship would have floated another hour if it had remained absolutely dead in the water after the accident. That would have given time for at least 15 more boats to be launched full of survivors. We have now provided sufficient duration for the safe evacuation of every one of the 2,200 living souls aboard Titanic.

In the end...1,500 people killed by an eraser.

-- David G. Brown
 
Aug 19, 2000
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Teri wrote:
Whilst I do not know precisely how seriously the Officers took the communication they received of Titanic's fate, I do know that Mr. Ismay was fully aware of the implications of the communication he received regarding the fate of Titanic and was therefore willing and able to DO all he could to assist in getting the passengers off the ship.

To put Ismay's actions in perspective, remember that he did no more than many passengers like Gracie who, although not in Ismay's privileged position regarding the dissemination of information, also attempted to assist in the loading of women and children into the boats. Of course, many of these managed to do so without getting in the way of the officers. I think it's safe to say that the officers *did* take what they *did* know about the situation very seriously.

It is highly speculative that the Officers were not truthfully informed of the nature of the impact with the iceberg and what the fate of Titanic really was. If this is the case than Smith would be the individual to inquire whether the fate of the ship was emphasized enough and made clear enough to the Officers to grant them the knowledge they needed to fill those boats to capacity.

Lightoller, Boxhall and Pitman all made it quite clear during their testimony that they were not aware of the scenario that Andrews had so bluntly laid out - that the ship would indeed sink, and in possibly an even shorter time then she managed to last. Lowe is not as clear on this point, and it is possible that - given that by the time he awoke the ship was tipping noticeably - he may have grasped the fact that the ship was indeed in peril. Certainly he seems to have prepared for a worst-case scenario.

In an ideal situation, yes - clear and unequivocal instructions should have come from the Captain. Where exactly the breakdown in communications occurred is something not ascertainable, given that the three most senior officers perished.

If Lightoller and Lowe knew that there were not enough boats for all the passengers, this should have given them more incentive to fill the boats to full capacity, would it not?

You're being far too simplistically reductive on this point, and I suggest that you go back and read some of the threads dealing with this issue. The officers did *not* know what time frame they had to operate in - even Andrews' initial estimate as to how long the ship would last was shorter than the actual time. As it was, they did not manage to successfully launch all the boats - the last two floated free. They were dealing with what task they could - to get as many boats loaded and in the water as soon as possible. The stewards had a responsible role here too - passengers should have been assembled and ready to load in the boats. However, neither they nor the passengers themselves were thoroughly trained in emergency evacuation procedures - a not uncommon situation aboard ship at the time (and not uncommon today too, it should be added - there are recent instances of evacuations going poorly due to lack of training and clearly defined procedure). Both Lightoller and, apparently (judging from the commands he gave) Murdoch were concerned about the question of lowering with a full capacity, and in order to address this formulated a plan to load more passengers from the gangway doors. The Bosun and a crew were sent below to see to this. While more than one boat attempted to obey these orders, others simply pulled away from the ship. It's one more tragic element that neither the Bosun's crew nor the lifeboats were able to carry out these orders.

Had the sense of urgency been instilled in the passengers as you recommend, and had they all been assembled up on deck, ready to be loaded into the boats, do you imagine that the passengers would be dense enough not to realize that there was insufficient lifeboat capacity? The notorious 1898 'La Bourgoyne' disaster demonstrated what could happen once a panic started. As it was, there were isolated instances where crew had to take measures to stop a rush on the boats - even as early as the launch of #14, where AB Scarrott had to push men back with a tiller.

Kerry,

No info in your profile.


That's because although I have been active for some time in the Titanic community and am known to many here and in other forums, I am a private person who restricts my on-line activity to public research and not personal matters. Simply put, I don't share my personal and/or private life with everyone. However, as a start, my name is spelled Kerri, not Kerry.

I think the point I was really trying to make with Mr. Ismay was that I wished to see the Officers carrying the same uncompromising attitude Mr. Ismay had that night with regards to the loading of the boats, is all.

In many instances the crew did force women and children into the boats. However, where is your evidence that Ismay was 'uncompromising' when it came to loading the boats? Can you cite a specific source? While he - as with other men assisting - urged women the boats, where did he force them? He ushered them into the boats, but so did the officers and crew.


I was not inferring that Mr.Ismay was "commanding" the evacuation

What you did say - very explicitly - that Ismay was attempting to usurp some authority in the evacuation. You stated that he "did attempt to take some menial command in the loading of boats."

I was only trying to point out what I just posted in my last sentence, that he displayed an uncompromising attitude. (however distorted this may appear)

Again, Teri, I don't think you can demonstrate that he displayed an 'uncompromising' attitude. What *is* evident, however, is that his involvement transcended simply assisting and tipped over into outright interference.

**I think it's just as possible that his actions on the boat deck stem from the desperation of a man who knew from the start (unlike most of the crew, several of the officers included) that the ship was doomed.**

Precisely my point, Kerry! Mr. Ismay KNEW of the fate of the ship and therefore tried in desperation to assist however distored this may have appeared to everyone else!

And my point, which evidently has eluded you, is that apparent gratification that Ismay attempted to take command is misplaced. His actions in attempting to intervene with a ship's officer in the act of lowering a lifeboat were highly inappropriate. Nor does 'desperation to assist' justify hindering the work of the crew, as he did in the instance with Lowe.

I was referring to his mental stamina during the evacuation of the passengers and crew, not to the times AFTER the disaster.

Unlike the officers who - no matter what their personal trauma - had the 'mental stamina' not to break down in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, even though all would suffer considerably from what was a painful experience. Lightoller would later experience what reads like a PTSD flashback a year afterwards, Lowe would actively avoid discussing the event -even with his own family -, and Boxhall would be so profoundly affected he had his ashes scattered at the site. But throughout and immediately after the event, their 'mental stamina' was at the very least the equal of Ismay's.

What's more, where is the evidence of 'mental stamina' during the event? His actions in the incident with Lowe could even be seen as boarding on hysteria. I see no evidence of any great mental and emotional fortitude in his actions during the loading of the boats - if anything, they seem more the actions of a man desperate to palliate a ghastly situation that, no matter what the outcome, will adversely affect him.

**To suggest that Ismay could have done better then these men ... To presume that simply by owning a ship a man is more qualified to oversee an evacuation than experienced, board certified officers is preposterous.**


I never suggested that, and sorry if you took it that way

Actually, Teri, you do very clearly imply that Ismay possessed better personal qualities for dealing with the situation when you state that Ismay had the ability to get the boats loaded better than was actually done, then expressed pleasure in noting that he had attempted to take an authoritative role in loading the boats.


It has nothing to do with his being an owner of a shipping line. On the contrary, he could have been anyone having this same characteristic, and my point would have been the same.

And my point - as expressed above - would be the same. It did not matter who Ismay was - his behavior in attempting to intervene during the loading of a lifeboat was highly inappropriate. Far from showing the mental fortitude you attribute to him, he was visibly 'overanxious' and getting 'a trifle excited'. Rather than forestall a panic or assist the situation, his demeanor in this situation could have had the effect of spreading anxiety - the very thing that they were trying to avoid - had Lowe not nipped it in the bud. I have no doubt that Lowe, like the other officers, was grateful for the assistance of passengers like Ismay, Gracie, Clinch Smith and others who assisted them, or even those men who simply stood quietly back and allowed them to get on with their work. Lowe would stress in both the American and English inquiries that Ismay was trying to help. But in this case Ismay had well and truly overstepped his bounds, in a way that sits *very* much at odds with the 'just an ordinary passenger' idea he attempted to construct at the inquiries.


Put bluntly, Ismay could *not* have done a better job then the ship's officers did. If his behavior during the loading of #5 is at all indicative, he would have done far worse. If you've read 'The Ismay Line', you'd be aware of the many problems this rather complex figure had. Leadership ability was not one of Ismay's outstanding qualities, and not even desperation could redress that inadequacy.

All the Best,
Kerri
 

Kate Bortner

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May 17, 2001
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Kerri~
I appreciate you enlightening posts. Thank you. I think you've been very clear and I appreciate the factual, unbiased portrait of events. I wish I could have responded as eloquently as you; it certainly needed to be said. And if you have a moment I would appreciate a private e-mail.
-kate.
 
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steve b

Guest
Maybe this will sound rather simplistic, and if that be the case so be it, but is it at all possible that one J. Bruce Ismay was a victim of his own sucess? I admit not having fully gathered a lot of personal knowledge of him to this point, but i do know that the man was very sucessful in his ventures to that point before this tragedy. So i guess what im driving at, does anyone here believe this man may have been a victim of those earlier sucesses? After all, when you taste sucess, you want more. And maybe that have led to some short term decision making that ultimately proved fatal
 
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Good Evening All ~

Late post here. Just returned from being out of town for two days. Will post responses tomorrow.

Teri
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hi Steve, I don't know for sure just how involved Ismay was in any decision making, but I would be very surprised if he wasn't in on the loop somewhere whether he had any real business being there or not. As David Brown can attest from first hand experience, owners and/or their representatives have a funny habit of doing things like that.

As for victim of his own success, I can't really say. Captain Smith's accountability for the Titanic's loss is as ironclad and as absolute as anything can be. The trouble is that he also died what was considered a hero's death at the time, so nobody was about to nail his hide to the barn in a big way. The fact that Ismay was wealthy, represented the owners (IMM) and survived made him, unfortunately, the ideal scapegoat in a climate where people were looking for somebody to blame.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Apr 7, 2001
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David Hudson, David Brown, Paul Rogers, Michael Standart, Steve B, Tracy, Kerri & Kate,

This thread has drained me more than any other. And with good reason. I have had to re-think and re-organize my thoughts about this thread several times over. No wonder I am drained.

I will attempt once again to explain myself. Hopefully this time things will be clearer.

I should say that it would have been appropriate to have 64 lifeboats built on Titanic. More lives could have been saved simply by the fact that those additional lifeboats could have floated off the ship as she sank and more passengers could have clung to the boats as did Thayer and the others on the overturned lifeboat.

None of us knows for sure whether the Officers were telling the truth during their inquiry as to how serious a matter they took the loading of lifeboats unless you happened to occupy their minds at the time. Surely at some point they knew the Titanic was to sink but maybe they realized this piece of fact too late in the evacuation procedure. I really do not care to speculate further on this particular matter.

However crooked Mr. Ismay's attempt to assist looked, he was acting out of personal responsibility and yes, maybe he got in the way, yes maybe he upsurped some authority but Mr. Ismay only knew he was frightened, he was about to lose his ship and he was about to lose his passengers and crew. That is enough to stir anybody into a confused and frightened state of mind. Maybe Mr. Ismay THOUGHT he had the mental stamina to assist the loading of lifeboats, but as we have seen from different accounts he got in the way of things, erroneously.

Kerri you say: In many instances the crew did force women and children into the boats. However, where is your evidence that Ismay was 'uncompromising' when it came to loading the boats?

My evidence of Mr. Ismay's uncompromising attitude stems soley from my own close connection into the life of J Bruce. You asked an honest question, I obliged you with an honest answer.

Regarding your profile. Everyone has the right to privacy, of course.

Michael you had stated that many were looking for someone to blame, and I don't think that was a major issue with Mr. Ismay at the time. I think he was more concerned about his company, The White Star Line, and how he lost many passengers and crew as a result and what would the result of this disaster be to his precious company. THAT ~ was on his mind more than anything else after the disaster.

Steve B ~ Mr. Ismay may not have been a victim of his own success, but he at times was definitely a victim of his own arrogance.

Yours Truly,

Teri
 
Oct 28, 2000
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Teri -- there is an aspect of the Ismay story that is not obvious to non-sailors. Mr. Ismay was the owner, not a sailor. As such, from the sailor's point of view he was both the "king" and the "enemy."

Owners have certain legal responsibilities, one of which is to give command of their ships to a licensed master. Unless an owner holds the proper license, he or she may not command a vessel. Thus, Ismay had no legal authority over Titanic once it began the fatal voyage. That authority rested in Captain E.J. Smith.

There has always been natural tension between ship's officers and the owners. The officers hold licenses which are put in jeopardy by the practices of shipping companies like White Star. (Such as speeding through ice fields, etc.) This situation continues to exist in 2001, as I can attest from personal experience.

Once Titanic began to founder, Ismay had no status other than "adult male passenger" as far as the officers were concerned. Nor did he have any responsibility for evacuating people from the ship. That duty belong to the licensed officers who had ten or more years of training and experience. Ismay had no training or experience, so was considered an "outsider" meddling in the business of launching boats. Ismay's job was to wait until the women and children had been loaded, then enter a lifeboat at the direction of the officer in charge. It realy doesn't matter how earnest his intentions, J. Bruce Ismay had no right or responsibility to tell any officer or sailor what to do that night. He simply was not qualified. And, at least some of the officers treated him accordingly.

--David G. Brown
 
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David,

Thank you for your last post. It was presented well and received well by me.

"Once Titanic began to founder, Ismay had no status other than "adult male passenger" as far as the officers were concerned. Nor did he have any responsibility for evacuating people from the ship. That duty belong to the licensed officers who had ten or more years of training and experience."

David I fully understand this and agree with this. ~ if I may be so bold as to point out one more detail of Mr. Ismay and that is that I am most positive that he being an owner couldn't help but feel a sense of responsibility for his ship, passengers and crew.

Cordially,

Teri
 
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