I'm doing a research paper on the Titanic and I was wondering if any of you guys have studied it in college or whatever and would be willing to e-mail me at [email protected] and let me ask you some questions for my paper?
>>1. How did the New York break loose when it went swinging at the Titanic during her departure? <<
This one is commonly attributed to the suction as the Titanic passed by which strained the mooring lines enough to cause them to break.
>>2. Other then Bruce Ismay, were there any other important officers that escaped the sinking ship? <<
If by that, you mean White Star corperate officers...no. There were some people aboard from the Harland & Wollf Gaurantee group, the most important of whom was Thomas Andrews. All of them were lost. You can read about him HERE. You can find a page with links about the rest of the gaurantee group HERE.
>>3. Were there any iceburg warnings ignored right before the Titanic stuck the iceburg? <<
IMO, no. There were some messages which never made it to the bridge though. You can read about the Titanic's radio equipment HERE. You can read about the crucial messages HERE
>>4. What was the smallest number of people in the boats?<<
As I recall, 12. To be sure, you can research the lifeboats by going to the index page of this site and check each of the individual listings.
>>5. Did the passengers in the lifeboats offer to help the people freezing in the water? <<
Not really. I fact, the only boat which even went back was the one commanded by 5th Officer Lowe. For more, click on 5th Officer Lowe and Lifeboat 14
>>6. Have we determined how exactly the Titanic sunk and which hole was actually made by the iceburg? <<
5. Is a bit nebulous...in addition to Lowe, the crew of No. 4 both helped some who swam to the lifeboat and, after the sinking, sought out others like Prentice before pulling away. D also pulled in a passenger before pulling away who had swum to the boat (although he swum after it once it left the side of the ship after putting his wife into it before it was launched).
Some passengers and crew in other lifeboats did wish to assist those in the water, in a sense fulfilling your criteria of an 'offer to help', (Pitman and Jones spring to mind) but they were in most instances 'overruled' or met strong resistance from others in the lifeboat, and so did not help.
In 2., how are you defining 'important officers'? Is it only WSL corporate officials, or is it intended to include Board of Trade certified officers (in which case 4 deck officers survived - one watch keeping senior First Officers Charles Lightoller and 3 junior officers, Third Officer Herbert Pitman, Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall and Fifth Officer Harold Lowe).
Cindy, in addition to what I posted above, you may notice that I posted a number of links to sources on line where you can do the needed research for yourself. I cannot emphisize strongly enough how important it is that you do so. If somebody tells you something, you don't really know, you have merely been told, and it's important for your perposes that you know. It's also important to double check sources for yourself so as to avoid being tripped up by somebody elses mistakes. No historian, however knowladgable is ever inspired inerrant.
One primary source which you need are the transcripts to the U.S. Senate and British Wreck Commission inquiries themselves so you can get the information in the words of the people who lived through the horror of April 14th to 15th 1912. While none of these accounts and testimonies are flawless...quite a few people didn't understand the dynamics of what was going on...you will at least know what they were saying.
Here's a hidden fact, although I welcome any corrections you experts out there may wish to contribute. Icebergs can capsize when they get top-heavy. Recently capsized icebergs are called growlers. Once capsized, it takes 30 minutes for frost to coat the berg, making it the white color we usually expect to see. Prior to that, it is more crystaline in appearance, which at night makes it more difficult to see, as there is nothing to reflect light. Frosted icebergs can reflect light more easily at night. It is interesting to note that the officers and lookouts first spotted a "black mass" before realizing it was an iceberg. One officer even thought it was a sailboat until his brain registered it was actually an iceberg. And there is speculation that the "black mass" could have been viewed by at least one officer as a passage through the field of packed ice.
Not too many sources provide this information.
All the best on your report. Feel free to ask more questions. In fact, the more you learn, the more questions you should have!
Good question on the kennels. According to the deck plans in Eaton & Haas "Titianic, Triumph and Tragedy", the kennels were located on F Deck, starboard side, just across the passageway from the 3rd Class Galley.
However, this is far from a sure thing becuase of the obvious health and sanitation issues this brings up. We've debated this at length here without coming to any real consensus, but it's just as possible that they may have been located on the boat deck in a chair storage that may have been modified at the last minute for this perpose.
Offhand, I don't know how many pets were aboard the ship.
1. How did the New York break loose when it went swinging at the Titanic during her departure?
It depends how far you want to take this. Briefly, Titanic had to make a 'dog-leg' passage past two vessels moored in line abreast in order to clear the dock entrance and gain the fairway.
If my memory serves me right there is a tidal draw of about five feet at Southampton docks. I would therefore conjecture that the New York, the outer vessel of the two, had negligently been allowed by her harbour watchmen to ride to slack moorings on a falling tide. This would have allowed the momentum imparted to her reactive sway to put an untenable stress on her lines, causing some to fail.
As for the fluid dynamics of the incident, check out Bernoulli's equation, whereby pressure and velocity are mutually exclusive.
As for the legalities of the incident, Titanic was under compulsory pilotage at the time. Her pilot was probably faced with an invidious decision in that he was concerned to maintain steerage way in confined waters without stressing the moorings of ships on adjacent berths.
As to liability, my conjecture would place this on either one or both of the moored vessels rather than Titanic. It would devolve upon the diligence with which their respective shipkeepers had tended their respective moorings. Damage was probably restricted to parted mooring lines and I doubt if either vessel had a sustainable claim against Titanic, constrained as she was, although they may have had an issue between themselves.
Others may be able to tell you how the matter was in fact resolved.
On another matter....
I have to disagree with Kyrila Scully. A 'growler', as I understand it, is largely fragmented pack-ice or otherwise low-lying ice fragments, navigable with caution.
Noel -- in nearly every situation a ship is considered responsible for the damage done by its wake..which includes Mr. Bernoulli's interaction of pressure and velocity.
Titanic was obviously traveling faster than "bare steerageway" at the time of the New York incident as it was able to slow, stop, and even reverse engines without loosing station beyond the ability of the attending tugs. In other words, Titanic's own actions to get out of extremis prove that it could have been moving slower than it was at the time of the incident.
Captain Smith was not ignorant of the suction created by a large moving ship. He had already encountered Mr. Bernoulli's principal on an earlier occasion with another Olympic-class liner that tangled with a Navy vessel. Apparently, Smith still did not believe that his ship could create such a powerful suction. He was not alone in his disbelief, of course, as most of the maritime community still doubted such things.
The suction that caused the incident was 100% Titanic's creation. That puts the responsibility for the incident squarely on the pilot and captain of our favorite ship. New York did not break free of its own will.
Had there been a collision, Titanic should have been considered "at fault" unless it could be proven that New York was, indeed, improperly moored. In that case, the comparative damages portion of Admiralty law would have determined what percentage of responsibility each vessel had in creating the incident.
I think it may be Wade's book that describes growler as a fragment which calves off a bigger berg, with the attending noise it makes furnishing the name. I understand from the ice patrol folks that ice does indeed make unusual noises- air pockets hissing inside, ice turning turtle, cracking, popping, creaking, thawing. etc.
3. By the wireless operators, yes. They were too busy to bother to take the message to the bridge. Some important messages are: From the Mesaba midday Apr. 14, which gave the coordinates of the field. Also, the Californian, a ship somewhere between 10-25 miles (sources disagree) away from Titanic, gave a simple message: "We're stopped and surrounded by ice" to Titanic.
6. My opinion is that the iceberg smashed the plates, and popped the rivets, but there are numerous theories... This is something we'll never know, as the area of impact is buried in sand.
8. Definitely! One, there was a boiler fire between Southampton and Cherbourg. Some say that the weakened steel caused the bulkhead to collapse, thus flooding the ship faster. Also, first class passengers and founders of Macy's, Isidor and Ida Straus have a very sad but courageous story, of how Mrs. Straus refused to leave her husband.
9. I believe it was someone at her launch, but I'm probably wrong...
10. IMO, I would have to say the fact that Titanic, even if she did survive, would only be the biggest ship in the world for two months, when the Imperator would debut. Media seems to make it seem like Titanic was the biggest ship in the world, and always will be.
Actually, the coal bunker fire wasn't that big of a deal. This was a common enough problem in the days of coal firing but more an irritant then a real threat. It was dealt with in the usual manner, which is to say be shoveling the coal out of the bunkers into the boilers then hosing down the fire when they reached it.
I do agree that it makes for an interesting story, and anyone who wants to read about it, click on Coal Bunker Fire by Cal Haines which is on the Titanic Research and Modeling website.
More interesting articles on technical matters can be had by going HERE.
I agree that a vessel is on the face of it liable for damage caused by her wake but, as the lawyers never tire of telling us, each case turns on its own facts.
The moored vessels, by reason of the adjacence of the mailship berths, should have anticipated movements of ships of such considerable power and length on the waterline as might generate wake damage.
If Titanic could adduce that any damage was attributable to New York lying to negligently slack moorings, that should provide Titanic with a complete defence. Provided she herself only engaged in such maneouvres as were requisite, exigent or contingent and not reckless or negligent.
The moored vessels could possibly have successfully pleaded that Titanic should have been conservatively unberthed fully under tow until clear of moored vessels. Or that they should have been given a specific warning of Titanic's imminent departure so that they could look to their moorings. I doubt however that such pleas would provide them with much relief.
Otherwise, none of the parties could claim ignorance or innovation of the conditions bearing. A general experience of such a combination of circumstances must have arisen from the several prior unberthings of Olympic; also the operation of commensurate naval vessels and such merchant ships as Lusitania/Mauretania which had been springing off from Liverpool landing stage since 1907 apparently without imperilling other vessels, including the much smaller cross-channel ships which customarily berthed at the extremities of the stage.
On the White Star side, presumably only the affidavit of the pilot would have been available. However, that the matter was (as I understand) not tested in the courts nor was the subject of a claim seems to support my assessment of liability.
On the coal bunker fire:
It was common practice to contain bunker fires by smothering with wet steam, although there seems no mention of deploying steam in this instance.
Just to keep any terminology argument within its historical framework, here are the various ice terms as defined in the British Report [p. 26]:
"An Iceberg may be defined as a detached portion of a Polar glacier carried out to sea. The ice of an iceberg formed from a glacier is of quite fresh water, only about an eighth of its mass floats above the surface of sea water.
A “Growler” is a colloquial term applied to icebergs of small mass, which therefore only show a small portion above the surface. It is not infrequently a berg which has turned over, and is therefore showing what has been termed “black ice,” or more correctly, dark blue ice.
Pack Ice is the floating ice which covers wide areas of the polar seas, broken into large pieces, which are driven (“packed”) together by wind and current, so as to form a practically continuous sheet. Such ice is generally frozen from seawater, and not derived from glaciers.
Field Ice is a term usually applied to frozen sea water floating in much looser form than pack ice.
An Icefloe is the term generally applied to the same ice (i.e., field ice) in a smaller quantity.
A Floe Berg is a stratified mass of floe ice (i.e., sea-water ice)."
So, from the evidence itself, Kyrilla is quite correct. But it also seems that some of this terminology has been further refined and/or restricted (in "official" parlance) during intervening years.
Michael, you say that a coal bunker fire was no big deal and you describe how it is quickly dealt with.......but if this fire had been burning for a few days before sailing and into the voyage with the number of men available to tackle it does this not suggest it was something of a major concern.
That is of course if the facts are true...as for yourself, whatever you say i take on board because you, in my opinion, are the most authoritative contributor to the site when it comes to shipping.