The watertight door control as seen by MrHarder


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Paul Lee

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In his testimony, Mr.Harder speaks of seeing a watertight door control for an F deck door, on the starboard side floor of the 1st class accommodation on E deck between the elevators and the staircase . Which door did this close? I see that there is a door on F deck almost below, and just to port of the turkish baths, which leads to the swimming pool. Is this the door?

Thanks!

Paul

 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hello Paul,

Looking at copies of deck plans there were two floor plates in that general area. I believe you will find the one that closed the door between the Turkish Bath and the Swimming Pool was in the side passageway near E-25. The other would seem to have been in the Elevator Lobby near the forward inner corner of E-36. That was for the WTD between the the Grand Staircase and the passage that gave access to the Turkish Bath and the Swimming Pool. - I think that will be the WTD plate that Harder saw.

I hope that helps.
 

Paul Lee

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Hi Lester,
Thanks for your help! From the sound of it, the one near E25 sounds like it is closer to the one that Harder saw as he said it was between the elevators and the staircase (presumably, the foot of the grand staircase)?
I am not sure what you mean by the plate near E36 as it sounds like it controls the door on the E-deck starboard first class companionway (could you clarify please?) and Harder thought it was for an F deck door.
Looking at my tiny deck plans, E36 looks like it is amidships, about level with the back end of the 2nd funnel casing uptake... this seems a bit too far astern for me - although since Harder was in E50, he would have seen this plate on his way to and from his stateroom.

Thanks

Paul

 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hello Paul,

Sorry I typed E-36 in error. The number should have been E-26. - The two near [or in] the Elevator Lobby were in line with each other, so it looks as if the one near E-26 would have been part way out into [the entrance for] the Elevator Lobby. - If you look at deck plans the passageway that gave access to E-25 had it continued inboard it would have gone into the Elevator Lobby.

There were two further aft. About E-49 and E-64.

The one near E-49 would have been within a few feet of the Harders' room.- Heading for the Grand Staircase [unless Harder went past and into the entrance for the Elevator Lobby] I doubt that he would have been able to see [unless he was previously aware of them?] the two in that area. Why not mention the one near his room? - It is a bit of a puzzle.
 

Paul Lee

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Hi Lester,
Do you know of any other watertight door floor plates on E deck? I am really interetsed in possible ones on Scotland Road.

Also, Steward Wheat refers to an inner and outer door on F-deck near the Turkish baths... do you know where these doors were? Were they co-joined or along a corridor?

Cheers

Paul

 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hello Paul,

I recall a post on the WTDs which highlighted the question of the plates on E-deck. - If the very forward one on the port-side at the after corner of the No 2 Hatch had a plate on E-deck then it looks as if that plate would have either been under one on the seamen's bunks or in the Linen cupboard next to room 9.
For Scotland Road itself. - one near E-202, one near the 3rd Class Dining Room stairs, one alongside the No 1/2 Boiler Casing, one near the forward corner of the main 2nd Class stairway [probably within the 2nd Class Dining Room], with another one near the after 2nd Class stairway [again within the 2nd Class Dining Room], and one near D-80.

There does not seem to have been a doorway near the outer of the two WTDs [the one nearly under E-25], but rather a passageway, with a door on the right-hand side leading to the Cooling Room and one across the passage itself that gave access to most of the other Turkish Bath rooms. - It looks as if the Cooling Room could also be accessed via a small lobby from immediately near the foot of the Grand Staircase.

What deck plans do you have access to?
 

Paul Lee

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Hi Lester,
Don't laugh, but I use the Eaton and Haas plans as used in the end papers of Triumph and Tragedy - however, when on a computer, I look at a set of plans scanned in from the shipbuilder special from May 1911; a bit difficult as the arrangement of rooms in the deck F/turkish bath area don't match on the starboard side of the ship! However, this latter set of plans show the watertight doors on F deck better than E&H.

I've attached a couple of cropped images of E and F deck: E deck shows where (I think!) the water tight door plate on the floor was (the unfilled yetllow circle); F deck shows the two watertight doors.

By the way, do you think there should be another watertight door floor plate on E deck in the area I've attached? And which set of plans do you think I should use?

92927.jpg

92928.jpg


Many thanks, mate

Paul

 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hello Paul,

In general the E&H plans are not too bad. Unless you get yourself a copy of the TRMA plans you should continue with those by E&H.

My understanding is that there were two plates. One over each door, so your yellow circle is in the wrong location. What I believe you should do is to align the two decks and put yellow circles on E-deck above where the doors are. - Hopefully they will be where I indicated. - One outside E-25 and the other within the Elevator lobby area near the forward inner [not outer as you have] corner of E-26. - That is why I do not see how Harder could have seen either of those plates.
 

Paul Lee

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Hi Lester,
According to steward Wheat, the inside (amidships one) was cosed by hand, the other was closed from above. Why they weren't both closed one way or the other is beyond me.

By the way, I placed the manhole cover in that location after reading the Molly Brown research article here on E-T.

Cheers

Paul

 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hello Paul,

My understanding is that both of those doors could be closed both on F-deck and from E-deck.

I had missed the plan in Daniel's paper. It means the plate was not even close to above the door.

I have now located one set of discussions under Technical/Construction/Design >>Archive through 26 September 2001 >>Water tight doors?? which discusses the locations of the floor plates. A post by Cal Haines reads:

" The watertight bulkhead in question is "F". Below "F" deck it is on frame 41-fwd. For some reason it steps forward on "F" deck and is on frame 42-fwd. (The frames are 36" apart here.) The doors of elevator sit about one foot forward of frame 42-fwd. So the bulkhead passes under front the elevator. There was actually a 15" depression in the deck under the elevators for the bottoms of the elevator (which stopped at "E" deck). The outer "F" deck door, opposite the door to the swimming bath, was just over 31 feet from the center of the ship (to the center of the door). That would put the actual door under one of the cabins that open into the passage. Probably on the E-24 side of the bulkhead between E-24 and E-25 (cabin numbers based on the ET deck plans).

The position of the other door differed between Olympic and Titanic. On Olympic it was 14 feet from center, just athwart the starboard elevator, that would put the door under cabin E-26. On Titanic the door was actually under the port elevator, a little less that 9 feet from center.

This means that in all cases there must have been some sort of mechanism to move the remote control over into the passageway. (That would be easy to do with either a chain or a shaft and bevel gears.) Since they had to extend the remote controls over, they would have some flexibility in where they put them. I would expect to find one near the door to the port elevator and the other in the passage near the door to cabin E-25."

Later Cal corrected port elevator to starboard elevator.

Regards,
Lester
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Lester/Paul,

I don't know if it is widely known that Miss Francatelli was actually in E26 (not E36) and in her letter she said that some crew members came and were working on a plate right outside her door. Which is why I placed the plate where I did in the plan of the Molly Brown article.

As for inner and outer doors described by Wheat, my take on that is that one was an actual watertight door, and the other a regular door. The watertight door was generally kept open unless there was an emergency. It was kept open for easy access going to and from one place to another. This was obviously the case between the Turkish baths and the pool, in the 3rd class dining rooms, 2nd and 3rd class corridors etc. In some areas, such as the Turkish bath/pool area, there was a regular door that was there, perhaps to prevent a draught.

Daniel.
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Paul,

Yes that's the letter. It is much longer than that, I may have had had a slightly longer version some place, but I have no idea where it is in the myriad of files on my computer. I recall she also mentioned two men coming up to her (McGough & Calderhead? -- same as Molly Brown?) and that she watched the water enter the corridor. There's nothing specific about times, other than the 20 min mentioned. I have a cabin listing on my computer with reasoning for why I place what passenger in which cabin. Here's what I have for Francatelli's E26:

quote:

In her letter to a friend, Laura Francatelli writes, “I still stood there quite 20 minutes or more, saw all the officers come down to inspect the damage and then started screwing down the iron doors outside my bedroom.” Using similar evidence as that examined in the Molly Brown article, it is clear that the hole in the floor Miss Francatelli observes right near her cabin is the same one described by Molly Brown and others. Thus we can conclude, as the hole in the corridor was outside E26, that Miss Francatelli was in E26 and that E36 on the Cave List is merely a misprint.

Regards,

Daniel.​
 

Paul Lee

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Hi Daniel,
Makes sense to me. If she had been in E36, and the plate was outside her room, this would have meant that the watertight door on F deck would have been over the foreward bulkhead of the 3rd class dining saloon - no watertight doors there!

Paul

 

Paul Lee

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Hi Daniel,
Makes sense to me. If she had been in E36, and the plate was outside her room, this would have meant that the watertight door on F deck would have been over the foreward bulkhead of the 3rd class dining saloon - no watertight doors there!

Paul

 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hi Daniel,

Thank you for the info from Miss Francatelli's letter. Appreciated.

As you know from the TRMA plans there were two WTDs on bulkhead "F". One near the Grand Staircase and the other at the entrance to the passageway that ran between the Cooling Room and the other Turkish Bath rooms. Opposite to that WTD was a door giving access to the Swimming Pool.

As per what Cal posted I accepted two plates at different locations to what seems to be the case based on passenger testimonies.

Reading what Wheat said I understand he closed the WTD near the Grand Staircase while he was on F-deck then went up to E-deck and helped to close the other WTD - the one that Cal says was under E-24 from a plate outside E-26. Is that how you understand it?

Hope all is well with you.
With my best wishes. Regards,
Lester
 
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sashka pozzetti

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Apparently the letter that was sold with the Titanic life preserver was very detailed, and talked about these iron doors too. It seems that Miss Francatelli was very frightened indeed as there was water coming up along the corridor. She does say that the iron doors next to her room are bolted shut, so from where is the water coming in, is it from the other direction? I am interested to know how she got upstairs and what she would have needed to pass on the way in her obviously frightened state?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Sashka.

I believe the quote would be, “I still stood there quite 20 minutes or more, saw all the officers come down to inspect the damage and then started screwing down the iron doors outside my bedroom.”

Her bedroom was cabin E-26. The screwing down of the iron doors referred to the the closing of the watertight doors on the deck below, F deck, which were closed manually from either F deck or from E deck above where she was. Her cabin was on the port side corridor of E deck between the 1st class staircase and the elevators. She would have seen water coming from forward down that corridor but not at the time those watertight doors were closed. That would be some time later. To go up she would go aft of her cabin to get to the staircase and then go up the staircase.

See att. diagram.

120033.gif


According to Sir Cosmo, Miss Francatelli joined him and his wife just before they went up to the boat deck. This would have been between 12:30 and 12:45 because when they got to the boat deck the first lifeboat No. 7 was just about to be lowered. If Miss Francatelli left E deck close to about 12:30, she most likely would have seen water at the forward end of that corridor since the ship was trimmed down by the head about 3 degrees about that time. It all seems to fit.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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I just read this thread for the first time today.

When Steward Wheat referred to an "inside" door was actually the "inboard" door of the two. They did have privacy doors with the watertight doors in that area, but it's obvious from Wheat's description that he closed the watertight door near the stairwell on the F-deck level, then went up to E Deck to close the outboard door across the passageway from the Swimming Bath.

The plan reproduced above is of Olympic, not Titanic. However, the watertight door locations in this area are the same for both ships.

Just prior to the ROV's entry into the Cooling Room vestibule during Jim Cameron's 2005 dives, the camera quickly panned across the forward bulkhead where the watertight door was supposed to be. All that we could see in the image was what looked like a solid steel wall, which indicates that the inboard door was shut, as Wheat claimed. Once inside the Cooling Room the camera picked up no illumination from the Mir hovering outside, that was positioned there for the express purpose of pumping light into the portholes outside the WC, Electric Bath and Shampooing Rooms. This tells us a couple of things: 1) the Cairo curtains did not frame actual openings in the steel wall of the fore-and-aft passageway (in Olympic, the curtains framed portholes in the side of the ship), and 2) there is a very good chance that the outboard watertight door is also closed, as Wheat claimed. Otherwise, I would have expected to see some hint of light around the starboard door leading into the glass-walled vestibule (although the presence of light would not have proved that the door was open, as it could have come through the portholes aft of the bulkhead).

We used the description of the E-deck watertight door floor plates to help Cameron narrow down the possible location of Margaret Brown's cabin, but when he tried to enter E Deck with his ROV, he found that it was a constricted area and most of the features (walls, furniture, etc.) were gone, so he aborted his penetration attempt. We never would have found the brass floor plates themselves because of the accumulation of silt and debris covering the entire deck.

Parks
 
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sashka pozzetti

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Than you so much for the details, and the map. For someone like me, who does not have a good understanding of the layout it really adds something to the description. Your quote is what I am referring to, but the letter that was with the life preserver about is apparently slightly different, I will try and see if there are any other details which would be interesting. I think she says that she has noticed how low they were in the water particularly, because she had been keeping an eye on how high she was above the ocean, throughout the voyage. There are some details about how cold it was, and about how frightening it was in the lifeboat. She was completely terrified, which was a reaction that I had not really understood before thinking about it properly. I had always presumed a sense of relief of leaving a sinking ship, but of course tossing around in the dark in a tiny boat, in an ice-field, not knowing if you would be saved would prolong the agony! :-(
 
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