Titanic proceeding to Halifax


A

Aaron_2016

Guest
The order hard a-starboard followed by hard a-port would have been highly risky as the ship was moving fast and the iceberg would have passed down the starboard side with only a handful of seconds to make a choice. I doubt the porting around manoeuvre was attempted. Murdoch was commended for his quick thinking aboard the RMS Arabic. The helmsman had orders to turn the ship away from a passing sailing boat that appeared to be on a collision course. Murdoch knew the action of turning the helm would merely swing the stern into the danger and increase the risk of damage. He instinctively grabbed the wheel off the helmsman and kept the helm straight. The Arabic passed the sailing ship safely thanks to Murdoch's quick judgement. I can't imagine he would intentionally swing the stern of the Titanic into the iceberg and hope that the helm could be shifted the opposite way before the iceberg had passed the starboard beam. Too risky in my opinion. At the US Inquiry Quartermaster Olliver said he was approaching the bridge and arrived in time to see Murdoch closing the watertight doors. He said he never heard the first helm order given, and never heard Hichens or Moody confirm when the helm was hard over. Boxhall arrived on the bridge about the same moment Olliver did and also witnessed Murdoch close the watertight doors.

The porting around scenario was claimed to be heard by Boxhall. He claimed that he heard Murdoch telling the Captain this, but Olliver and Hichens were both present and neither of them heard Murdoch say that to the Captain. In fact neither of them recalled seeing Boxhall there. Boxhall made no mention of the second order "hard a-port". He also thought the ship was still facing west during the evacuation and even said - "I do not see how it was possible for the Titanic to be swinging after the engines were stopped. I forget when it was I noticed the engines were stopped, but I did notice it; and there was absolutely nothing to cause the Titanic to swing." If the helm was hard over in either direction it would undoubtedly cause her to swing and continue to slowly swing after the engines stopped. The fact that Boxhall believed "there was absolutely nothing to cause the Titanic to swing" suggests that either no helm orders were given, or he was not present on the bridge when they were given. I personally believe the hard a-starboard order was not given, and immediately after the collision Boxhall went down to check for damage and was not present when the order 'hard a-port' was given. This could explain why he thought the ship was still facing west and why he did not believe there was any reason for the ship to swing after the engines stopped. He was just unaware that a 'hard a-port' turn had been given.


.
 
Dec 13, 2016
149
54
73
31
I may be mistaken but didn't Oliver state that he heard the order to port around, when the iceberg was adjacent to the bridge. The port around had to have been executed...at some point, because of the final orientation of the ship.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
To port around an object means to turn the helm one way followed by a second order to turn the helm the other way in an effort to veer the bow away and then swing the stern away. Olliver only heard one helm order given.

"What I know about the wheel. I was stand-by to run messages, but what I knew about the helm is, hard a-port." (Right turn)
Q - Do you mean hard a-port or hard a-starboard?
A - I know the orders I heard when I was on the bridge was after we had struck the iceberg. I heard hard a-port, and there was the man at the wheel and the officer. The officer was seeing it was carried out right.
Q - You do not know whether the helm was put hard a-starboard first, or not?
A - No, sir; I do not know that.
Q - But you know it was put hard a-port after you got there?
A - After I got there; yes, sir.
Q - Where was the iceberg, do you think, when the helm was shifted?
A - The iceberg was away up stern.
Q - That is when the order hard a-port was given?
A - That is when the order hard a-port was given; yes, sir.


Olliver was the standby quartermaster. He arrived on the bridge after the collision. However Hichens said Olliver was standing right next to him when the order 'hard a-starboard' was given.

Hichens
"He rushed to the engines. I heard the telegraph bell ring. Also give the order "Hard astarboard," with the sixth officer standing by me to see the duty carried out and the quartermaster standing by my left side. Repeated the order, "Hard astarboard. The helm is hard over, sir."

Hichens said Olliver was "standing by my left side" yet Olliver testified that he wasn't even there and had no knowledge of that helm order.


.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Dec 13, 2016
149
54
73
31
I thought "port round" simply meant to turn the tiller to port, to turn around an object. I might be mistaken. One thing that bothers me is the comment of "Hard a port" once the iceberg was way up astern. Why? At that point much of the damage would have already been done. What would have been the point? To keep the screws from being damaged?
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
You make a good point. If the order was given when the iceberg was already "away up stern" then the damage would already have been done by the time the helm began to turn and swing the stern away from the iceberg. It is my belief that they lost a propeller blade and that is why the order was given because they needed to protect the blades and tried to swing the stern away from the iceberg when it reached the stern. Captain Smith may have ordered half speed ahead after the collision to test if the blade had been lost as he would recognise the vibration. The Olympic lost a blade 3 times in 1912 and survivors including Lightoller and Ismay believed they had lost a blade. Other survivors believed this as well, including several who were previously on the Olympic and recognized the same sensation. There is a blade missing from the starboard propeller on the wreck. Naturally there are a number of reasons how the blade could have broken, but I can't help but wonder if the iceberg was the cause. When it passed the stern quartermaster Rowe thought the iceberg was less than 10 feet away from the side of the stern as it brushed passed. That would bring it very close, perhaps too close to the starboard propeller.


.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Dec 13, 2016
149
54
73
31
How do we know that the blade is actually missing, and not just buried? I don't think the order was given to protect the screws. Although I don't have solid proof, no doubt it would take some time for the helm to be put over from hard a starboard to hard a port. By the time the berg was way up astern, it would have been too late to carry the order out, and for the ship to respond. No solid proof of course, as I can't perform the experiment myself, just my thoughts.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Here are the accounts that I found regarding the Titanic losing a blade.


Mr. Witter - "I thought she had dropped a blade from the propeller."
Mr. Wheelton -"It felt as if it was the dropping of a propeller or something like that."
Mr. Ward - " I thought at first it was the propeller gone, the way she went."
Mr. Crowe - "I thought one of the propellers had been broken off."
Mr. Burke - "I thought probably she had dropped her propeller, or something."
Mr. Ismay - "I really thought what had happened was we had lost a blade off the propeller."
Mr. Wheat - "Well, I thought she had cast one of her propeller blades. It sounded to me like that."
Q - Have you been on a ship where that has happened?
A - Yes.
Q - And you thought it was that?
A - Yes, I thought it was the same thing.

Mr. Silverthorne - "The vessel shook for a moment and we could feel her slackening speed. I jumped to my feet remarking to one of the (card) players who had crossed with me on the Olympic when we had lost one of the blades from a propeller, that I guessed we had lost another propeller."

Lightoller - "It was a feeling as if she may have hit something with her propellers, and on second thoughts I thought perhaps she had struck some obstruction with her propeller and stripped the blades off....It flashed through my mind that possibly it was a piece of wreckage, or something. A piece of ice had been struck by a propeller blade, which might have given a similar feeling to the ship."


After reading the above accounts I then did a bit of detective work and found a picture of the starboard propeller. One of her blades is clearly missing, not buried. The bolts that held the missing blade in place are also not there. I believe it was torn away by the collision. It cracked the ice which allowed the other blades to remain in place as the ship passed by.


propeller01a.PNG


When the Olympic lost a blade the passengers were asleep. Reports said:

'Vibration of the screw was a source of discomfort for the passengers.'
'The damage created vibration and some of the passengers were roused from their cabins.'

Very similar to what the Titanic survivors felt.


This piece I believe could support what Mr. Brown is proposing regarding Halifax. When the Olympic first lost her blade in February 1912 Captain Smith sent several messages to the company.


blade1.PNG

blade2.PNG



This is an example of Captain Smith deciding to change their destination before the carpenter (we assume) had even checked the ship for damage. The Captain made his own judgement and assumed the worse. Thinking the ship was severely damaged he sent word to the company that they would proceed to Belfast for repairs. However once the carpenter had finished his inspections he then sent another message saying that the damage was not as great as he originally thought and they would return to their original schedule. One can only wonder if Captain Smith had assumed the Titanic was not badly damaged and would proceed to Halifax for patching up and repair and he informed the company about this, but once the report was made and perhaps Thomas Andrews explained the bad news to him, he realized the ship had to stop and began evacuation procedures.

Although this is plausible I personally believe he simply wanted to test the propellers to see if they were still functioning and if he required a tow to port.

Have to wonder what role Mr. Ismay played. If the Captain had previously sent messages on the Olympic to the company when they had lost a blade, and he stated what his destination would be, I wonder who the messages were addressed to - Mr. Ismay? As he was a passenger on the Titanic the Captain might have told him his intentions, rather than send a message to the company - unless it was protocol?


.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
6,589
1,364
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
It would be nice if you lads read the evidence clearly.

On the basis of the last shall be first etc. I comment as follows:

1. Daniel is making the obvious observation. ", suppose as soon as the order was carried out, she struck ice."...The position of the first point of contact brings Danials's supposition to a reality.

2. The evidence has 1st Officer Murdoch stating
"Mr. Murdoch replied: "An iceberg, Sir. I hard-a-starboarded and reversed the engines, and I was going to hard-a-port round it but she was too close. I could not do any more. I have closed the watertight doors." (15355)"...The bold emphasis is mine they clearly back-up Daniel's supposition and at the same time illustrate an intention which was never carried out.
When a moving ship contacts an imoveable object with her 'shoulder; the stern will invariably, momentarily swing away from the point of contact. If that ship is under hard left rudder, her stern will begin to move back toward the opposite side to the turn...in Titanic's case, toward the iceberg. As a simple experimenr...imagine yourself to be Titanic. Walk quickly through a doorway in your house. As you pass through, do not slacken speed but allow your right shoulder to contact the right side of the doorway, Now see what happens to your rear end. Try not to think avoidance tactics!

3. A ship dos not stop dead when the Astern order is given, Aaron. Momentum keeps it going ahead.
Lightoller was out on the bridge wing shortly after the engines had stopped:
" I lay there for a few moments, it might have been a few minutes, and then feeling the engines had stopped I got up. The evidence of Thomas Dillon, Trimmer tells us the minimum time that Lightoller lay there. "3720. Was anything done to the engines? Did they stop or did they go on? A: - They stopped.
3721. Was that immediately after you felt the shock or some little time after? A: - About a minute and a half." Again, my bold emphasis.
When a ship's engines start to turn astern, the only way one can tell when she stops moving forward is by observing the propeller wash round the stern. In the case of Titanic, that was part of what was being done by her Commander and 1st officer. They manned the bridge wings and would have watched the water round the ships' stern. It would have spread out in a ring of foam. when the near edge of the ring strated to advance, forward toward the watchers, the ship would be almost stopped and the STOP order would bve given. The other part of the duties of the men on the bbridge wing was to watch out for the berg they had just passed and for any other bits and pieces... "friends" the big berg had accompanying it.

4. Strangely enough, although he stated that he heard the three warning bells from the Crow's Nest, heard the same ginding sound as did Lightoller, even saw the tip if the iceberg as it passed the bridges after the grinding sound had ended... QM Olliver stated that he did not hear the hard-a-starboard helm order and that he only heard a second one.
" Senator BURTON: You do not know whether the helm was put hard astarboard first, or not? A: Mr. OLLIVER.: No, sir; I do not know that."
QM Hichens was damant that a secondm hard-a-port order was not given as part of the ice-avoidance manoeuvre. "
1314. You were given the order to hard-a-starboard? A: - Yes.
1315. Was that the only order you had as to the helm? A: - Yes.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
I think Hichens was simply stating what he did to avoid the collision i.e. what he did immediately before the collision, not what he did immediately after. I did not mentioned any astern orders on this topic, merely that Lightoller felt the engines had stopped when he lay in his bunk and afterwards when he went on deck and saw the Captain and Murdoch on opposite sides of the bridge he then noticed the ship was "proceeding" about 4 - 6 knots which I think does support the slow ahead order being given and also observed Murdoch standing on the footplate on the "lookout" as the ship proceeded slowly in the water.


.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Mar 18, 2008
2,652
1,153
248
Germany
I thought "port round" simply meant to turn the tiller to port, to turn around an object. I might be mistaken. One thing that bothers me is the comment of "Hard a port" once the iceberg was way up astern. Why? At that point much of the damage would have already been done. What would have been the point? To keep the screws from being damaged?

If you ask me Murdoch was most likely going to minimize the damage and gave for that reason the "hard-a-port" order. With the "hard-a-starboard" the bow of the ship would go to port while her stern would swing to starboard.
We know the order hard-a-port was given and carried out. Hichens said it aboard Carpathia and QM Qlliver at the inquiry. Also if the hard-a-port order was not given, Captain Smith, Murdoch & Boxhall would have been not able to see the iceberg from the starboard side as it would have been hide by the stern. They would have to go to the pot side.
We have also ABS Scarrott confirming that the ship was reacting on a port helm. More interesting is also what QM Rowe at the poop deck (under the docking bridge) had to say about it;

Senator BURTON. Do you not think that if the helm had been hard a starboard the stern would have been up against the berg?
Mr. ROWE. It stands to reason it would, sir,if the helm were hard a starboard.
Senator BURTON. Do you think the propeller hit the ice? Did you feel any jolt like the propeller hitting the ice?
Mr. ROWE. No, sir.

Senator BURTON. Do you not think the propeller would have hit the ice if the helm had been turned hard a starboard?
Mr. ROWE. Yes, sir.
 
Last edited:
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
The collision may have unsettled the iceberg and caused chunks of it to crumble and break apart. If several tons of ice had fallen onto the deck, imagine how much fell into the sea, and this could have been sucked into the blades as the ship passed by.


Mr. Taylor
"I felt the boat rise and it seemed to me that it was riding over the ice. It was a veritable sea of ice and the boat was rocking over it. I should say that parts of the iceberg were 80 feet high and had been broken into sections, probably by our ship."


Mr. Buley
Q - I believe, after the collision you found some ice on the deck?
A - Yes, on the well deck.
Q - Was there much?
A - A couple of tons.
Q - Of block ice?
A - Of block ice.

Mr. Lucas
Q - How much ice was there on the deck there?
A - I suppose, about a couple of tons.

Mr. Crowe
"I heard there was several hundred tons of ice found."


Quartermaster Rowe was on the stern and watched the iceberg pass by. He said he did not watch the iceberg disappear because he had to quickly run over and pull in the log line that was trailing behind the ship and he read it about "half a minute" after he felt the collision. The Inquiry never asked him why he reeled in the log, but in his 1957 interview he said he had to reel it in because he thought the engines were going full speed astern owing to the vibration that would have been felt under his feet. However we know that order was not carried out, at least not that soon after the collision. It is my belief that one of the blades was lost and the vibration he felt was mistaken for the engines going full speed astern, and he instinctively ran over and pulled in the log line.


.
 

Rob Lawes

Member
Jun 13, 2012
1,187
734
208
England
I'm not 100% certain but I don't think Titanic had the ability to trail her shafts because the engines acted directly on them. The result of the order to stop engines at 22 knots would mean the shafts would stop rotating and the propellers would be dragged through the water causing a severe amount of cavitation which would be felt as a vibration through the stern.

Also, had the Titanic shed a blade, when the engines were later started and ran ahead and astern it would become obvious that something was wrong. Dillon from his position in the engine room would have noticed a severe vibration in the shaft from running unbalanced. Running an unbalanced shaft would damage the bearings and the stern gland seals. It would be stopped immediately not left for several minutes to run ahead and then astern.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Frederick Scott was near the main engines and said - "I felt a shock and I thought it was something in the main engine room which had gone wrong." Perhaps that was the moment the blade broke off. Lawrence Beesley was above the engines and felt them heave shortly followed by a second heave. This might have been the crew doing whatever was necessary to correct the problem.

The engines moving slow ahead again after the collision might have produced a much smaller vibration. When the Olympic lost a blade at full speed the reports said that most of passengers were not disturbed out of their cabins and must have slept right through it. If the Titanic was rapidly slowing down by the cessation of the propellers, or the grounding over the ice then perhaps the vibration created by a lost blade would have lasted a very short time. I wonder if the vibration that Titanic survivors felt was not the actual collision but the immediate effects of the lost blade. Scarrott said he saw the iceberg about "five or eight" minutes after hearing the bell ring in the crows nest. He said there was a strong vibration before he saw the iceberg. If that vibration was also felt about "five or eight" minutes after the bell rang, then that could have been the moment the blade was lost as the engines stopped or when the engines restarted. Mr. Bright said - "It was like a heavy vibration. It was not a violent shock." Lightoller said - "I felt a sudden vibration jar run through the ship." Mr. Stengel said "They started again just slightly; just started to move again. I do not know why. Whether they were backing off, or not. I do not know. I hardly thought they were backing off, because there was not much vibration of the ship." He felt a vibration as the ship moved slowly ahead. Perhaps the action of moving very slowly created only a small vibration compared to the large vibration that was felt earlier during the collision when I believe the blade broke as she was moving much faster. I think Captain Smith wanted to detect if they had lost a blade without disturbing the passengers' sleep and decided to go slow ahead and when he felt the vibration building up again and got the carpenter's report he stopped the engines.


.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Mar 18, 2008
2,652
1,153
248
Germany
Interesting how the same accounts about the vibration are now used for the lost blade while back on the Titanic-Titanic Forum they were used as a proof for the engines running full astern...
And this is only a observation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Mark Baber

Moderator
Member
Jul 4, 2000
6,359
375
433
Moderator's note:

This thread is now a bit shorter that it was a few moments ago. Several messages that deviated from the topic and became a personal dispute have been removed from public view.

Everyone, please stop the personal debate and stick to the subject.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Thank you, Mark.


Interesting how the same accounts about the vibration are now used for the lost blade while back on the Titanic-Titanic Forum they were used as a proof for the engines running full astern...
And this is only a observation.

That was a theory about the engines going astern which I put forward several years ago to see what the general consensus was and to learn from people who contributed in a positive helpful manner. Now I put forward a theory about the ship losing a blade. I may put forward 100 different theories if I wish.

Back to Topic.


.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Harland Duzen

Member
Jan 14, 2017
1,594
722
188
Back to Topic.

That's my catchphrase! ;)

Anyway on the idea of the missing Propeller Blade, did anyone in Lifeboat 2 not notice one of the Propeller blades being missing as they rowed around to the Port Side? Since Boxhall commented about them, you think he would have seen something was wrong unless it was too dark.

Back To Topic!
 

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
6,589
1,364
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
I may be mistaken but didn't Oliver state that he heard the order to port around, when the iceberg was adjacent to the bridge. The port around had to have been executed...at some point, because of the final orientation of the ship.

No Daniel. Olliver heard that second order when the iceberg had passed the bridge. In his own words:

"Mr. OLLIVER: What I know about the wheel - I was stand-by to run messages, but what I knew about the helm is, hard aport.
Senator BURTON: Where was the iceberg, do you think, when the helm was shifted?
Mr. OLLIVER:
The iceberg was away up stern."

Incidentally, there is a big problem with that answer which a person who has been "down to the sea in ships" would spot right away. I have pointed this out numerous times to the "Experts" but as normal, have been completely ignored.

You will not find in any Glossary of nautical terms the expression "Way up Stern". No self respecting sailor-man would ever allow himself to be heard uttering such nonsese in public. QM Olliver had 12 years service under his belt...the first as an RN-trained boy. I can only guess that what we are seeing is a misheard transcribed expression by the court stenographer and that what QM Olliver actually said was "The iceberg was away up a-stern." or " way up at the stern.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
6,589
1,364
323
NewtonMearns, Glasgow, Scotland.
If you ask me Murdoch was most likely going to minimize the damage and gave for that reason the "hard-a-port" order. With the "hard-a-starboard" the bow of the ship would go to port while her stern would swing to starboard.
We know the order hard-a-port was given and carried out. Hichens said it aboard Carpathia and QM Qlliver at the inquiry. Also if the hard-a-port order was not given, Captain Smith, Murdoch & Boxhall would have been not able to see the iceberg from the starboard side as it would have been hide by the stern. They would have to go to the pot side.
We have also ABS Scarrott confirming that the ship was reacting on a port helm. More interesting is also what QM Rowe at the poop deck (under the docking bridge) had to say about it;

Senator BURTON. Do you not think that if the helm had been hard a starboard the stern would have been up against the berg?
Mr. ROWE. It stands to reason it would, sir,if the helm were hard a starboard.
Senator BURTON. Do you think the propeller hit the ice? Did you feel any jolt like the propeller hitting the ice?
Mr. ROWE. No, sir.

Senator BURTON. Do you not think the propeller would have hit the ice if the helm had been turned hard a starboard?
Mr. ROWE. Yes, sir.

The scene you describe of the stern swinging toward the iceberg would be fine as long as the bow did not contact any imoveable object or was pushed by an external force. Such a "push" would have an effect on how the ship steered until the point around which she pivoted had passed the source of the push.
I do not think anyone disputes the fact that a second helm order was given. However, for it to have been effective in avoiding the stern contacting the ice berg, Murdoch would have needed a great deal more sea room to make it work and he would most certainly not have touched his engines. As Rob Lowe points out, the minute the engines started to slow down, the propellers would begin to cause a great deal of turbulence round the stern and particularly in the area of the rudder. This would immediately begin to effect the pressure on the rudder blade and drastically reduce it's efficiency.
In his evidence, Qm Rowe described the iceberg as almost touching the bridge...what bridge? It must have been the docking bridge because he would not have been able to clearly see the side of the fore bridge. Consider the following exchange:

"Senator BURTON: You saw it as it was brushingby? Mr. ROWE: Yes, sir. It was very close to theship, almost touching it.
enator BURTON: Was the helm over when youpassed the iceberg? Mr. ROWE: That I could not say.
Mr. ROWE: It was so near that I thought it was going to strike the bridge.
Senator BURTON: Did you notice the icebergwhen the boat got clear of it?
Mr. ROWE: No, sir; I went on the bridge then,to stand by the telephone."

The iceberg must have passed QM Rowe at the stern and cleared the stern, about 18 seconds after impact. At that moment, the engineers would have been running around in the engine room shutting things down. The props would begin to slow down, the drag would start. If, as QM Olliver said, the Hard -a port helm order was given at about that time, then it would have taken at least another 8 to 10 seconds for the bow to be checked from turning away to the left and the stern from moveing to ward the iceberg. Additionally, if the bow direction swung 2 point away from the berg position, the stern would have swung into the iceberg and the ship's side would have been opened from bow to stern and there would not have been very many. if any, survivors.
Actually, Rowe was outrageously prompted by Senator Burton. There is no way that Rowe could have known that a propeller would have hit the ice. That is pure nonsense.

 

Similar threads

Similar threads