Titanic: Why she collided, why she sank, why she should never have sailed

Jim Currie

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If the newspaper report faithfully follows the alleged facts then this is once again, a pile of unmitigated tripe. But those who condemn Senan should look to their own writings.
 

mitfrc

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Murdoch was a Scot and Lowe was Welsh. They were not all "Englishmen".

I acknowledge the point. However, from reading his works, Molony has an evident distaste for traditional British high society that he carries into his critiques of Titanic's officers. I was trying to convey /British not Irish/ but in the 19th century, Irish were British--but not in Senan Molony's eye. I just really, really feel his works come off as the Sinn Fein version of the Titanic tragedy. My belief is that he interprets Titanica through that ideological lens and that's where the problems come from.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Mila, are you saying that the earth is really round? Then those in Australia are standing upside down,and they would all fall off. :confused:
When I was a kid of 7, I believed that in Argentina the ground started to slope downwards steadily as one went South till the horizon was literally at your feet. You could then look at the sky up, front and even partly down.
 

Encyclopedia Titanica

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Read the review by Geoff Whitfield:
Titanic: Why she collided, why she sank, why she should never have sailed
Senan Molony presents a fascinating insight into White Star Line’s conduct following the loss of their prize vessel “Titanic”. In his opinion the ship should never have been allowed to sail whilst in such an unsafe condition. It is a now accepted f... Titanic Review Thu, 11 Apr 2019

Continue reading...
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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Read the review by Geoff Whitfield:
Titanic: Why she collided, why she sank, why she should never have sailed
Senan Molony presents a fascinating insight into White Star Line’s conduct following the loss of their prize vessel “Titanic”. In his opinion the ship should never have been allowed to sail whilst in such an unsafe condition. It is a now accepted f... Titanic Review Thu, 11 Apr 2019

Continue reading...
I have just done so.

The reviewer can be forgiven for a complete lack of knowledge. However, if someone's work is to be trashed, such action should be backed up with reason's why.

1. Senan's opinion regarding ship safety is in no way qualified. He is a journalist, and as far as I know, not a Naval Architect, metallurgist or shipbuilding engineer of any kind.
2. According to the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, Titanic's construction and machinery would have been surveyed and passed at every stage by BoT Hull & Machinery Surveyors. A final Builder's Certificate would have been issued and would have been sighted by the Liverpool Registrar at the time of Registration.
3, Completion of passenger accommodation would be certified under the provision of the same Act. A certificate would require to be issued before embarkation of passage-paying passengers. A break down in machinery is anticipated with all such new ships on regular liner runs. Consequently, it was normal practice to have a small number of yard employees on board to deal with them in anticipation of such events happening. The hull &Machinery of the Titanic was covered to the value of £1 million. No way would she have been covered if she had been allowed to sail in an unsafe condition.
4. Titanic did not sail in an unsafe condition. Bulk coal storage internal combustion fires were very normal in 1912. Then, and for many years after, these were to be expected and there were formal procedures in place for dealing with them. They were only dangerous when exposed to air. As Far as I can gather, Titanic's boilers wee fire-up before the day of the sea trials. This tells us something.
Internal combustion in a heap- of coal will not start until certain conditions of temperature and moisture exist. They did not exist before the coal was loaded and would not have had time to develop before the day of the trials since the boiler rooms and bunkers would have started from cold. Spontaneous combustion begins to develop when the coal temperature reaches 150 to 300F. Then. it begins to give off very small quantities of hydrogen, and CO(2) - the building blocks of combustion. When the coal temperature reaches 600-700 degrees F--the gasp production gets much greater. When it gets above 750 degrees F, combustion starts. If sufficient oxygen is present, self-ignition and flame, will occur. This process takes time. I would suggest a lot longer than the few days before the sea trials started. Who said it started then?
5. Titanic was constructed of mild steel. The Watertight Bulkheads in the Bunker were thickest at the base and designed to withstand enormous pressure by the fitting of vertical steel framing at about 3 feet intervals. If the steel plate between the frames was heated to 1000F the plate would expand by about 0 .25 inches. However, the frames being much heavier would restrict the expansion and the plate would buckle... the "dinged" as described by one of the firemen. Additionally, steel heated to 1000F would be slightly red-hot. Did anyone see red hot steel?
Having said all that... in no way would such a fire contribute to the sinking of Titanic. Anyone who believes it did had fairies at the bottom of the garden...or perhaps leprechauns?
 

Julian Atkins

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I completely agree with you Jim in your forensic conclusions.

The simple unavoidable fact is that Senan does write in a most readable style. I don't myself consider it 'journalese', just good writing style. Going back many years ago it has certain parallels with A. J. P. Taylor, a very noted academic and historian.

Senan has done a lot to promote proper research on here, and he has provoked probably far more to put pen to paper than anyone else has done. Others have had to follow where he gave a lead. We probably know far more about 'The Californian Incident' due to Senan provoking others, and he also did much excellent research of the primary documentary sources, so that in my early days on here my only source for the 18th April statements of Gibson and Stone was from one of his research articles on here. Same with Groves' 'Middle Watch' essay.

I think certain books and articles that have subsequently been written might have been better in hindsight if not so overtly 'Senan bashing'!

One could equally argue Leslie Reade's book would have been a far better book had it not gone in for 'Leslie Harrison bashing'.

Cheers,

Julian
 

Jim Currie

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I completely agree with you Jim in your forensic conclusions.

The simple unavoidable fact is that Senan does write in a most readable style. I don't myself consider it 'journalese', just good writing style. Going back many years ago it has certain parallels with A. J. P. Taylor, a very noted academic and historian.

Senan has done a lot to promote proper research on here, and he has provoked probably far more to put pen to paper than anyone else has done. Others have had to follow where he gave a lead. We probably know far more about 'The Californian Incident' due to Senan provoking others, and he also did much excellent research of the primary documentary sources, so that in my early days on here my only source for the 18th April statements of Gibson and Stone was from one of his research articles on here. Same with Groves' 'Middle Watch' essay.

I think certain books and articles that have subsequently been written might have been better in hindsight if not so overtly 'Senan bashing'!

One could equally argue Leslie Reade's book would have been a far better book had it not gone in for 'Leslie Harrison bashing'.

Cheers,

Julian
Absolutely, Julian!

An unfortunate human failing is to condemn at the blink of an eye, without thought or reasoned argument.

Senan has literary talent most of us can only dream of. He has the two main attributes of a true Irishman...a fertile, romantic mind and the strength never to back down in a good argument. Add these to a journalist's nose for information and you have a formidable adversary. However, I dare say, if he found it intellectually profitable to do so, he would have jumped into this affray long ago.
 
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Senan Molony doesn't mind stirring the pot. I have a couple of his books, including the one dealing with the Californian Incident which is essentially the case for the defense. Regardless of what side one takes in that debate, if you read the book, you get a good sense of why Captain Lord was not prosecuted as some proposed. He very likely would have gotten a walk!

That aside, Senan's predilection for stirring things up, in my opinion, sometimes goes too far, but he's impossible to ignore.
 

Seumas

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A good pal of mine (who i'm delighted to say is starting to get interested in Titanic) and I were talking and the subject of Titanic came up.

"Oh aye, I meant to tell you, the other day I watched a documentary on the internet about the Titanic that you'd love."
"Great, what was it called ? what did it focus on ?"
"I can't remember what it was called but it was about how a coal fire basically snookered the ship and they covered it all up, oh and about how they cut corners during the construction too."
"Aww fir f.........."

:mad:

I did recommended that he watch the A&E series "Death of a Dream" and "The Legend Lives On" :cool:

I have just done so.

...
Captain Currie, have you ever thought of writing a book about Titanic ?

Perhaps a professional's analysis on various examples of leadership, the chain of command, basic seamanship on the night of April 14/15 1912 ?

Because if you did, I'd be going down to Waterstones to order my copy in a heartbeat ;)
 

Jim Currie

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If I remember correctly, Bisset was the man (who was there) and who said he saw Californian 10 miles to the northward of Carpathia that morning? We know she never could have been, because she started off from a position NNW of the Carpathia and increased her westerly longitude until she was near to the Mount Temple and even farther away from Carpathia.
On the other hand, Bisset's captain (who was also there) and probably better placed than Bisset to keep a lookout, stated that he never saw Californian to recognise her by name until 8 am that morning and then. she was about 6 miles to the WSW.

There was a great deal of what Senan might describe as shenanigan going on at that time and Bisset and his captain were up to their eyes in it.

My reason for this response is basic. While the book may be worthy of recommendation as a piece of interesting literature, it can hardly be classed as a textbook source of facts concerning the Titanic disaster.
 

Jim Currie

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A good pal of mine (who i'm delighted to say is starting to get interested in Titanic) and I were talking and the subject of Titanic came up.

"Oh aye, I meant to tell you, the other day I watched a documentary on the internet about the Titanic that you'd love."
"Great, what was it called ? what did it focus on ?"
"I can't remember what it was called but it was about how a coal fire basically snookered the ship and they covered it all up, oh and about how they cut corners during the construction too."
"Aww fir f.........."

:mad:

I did recommended that he watch the A&E series "Death of a Dream" and "The Legend Lives On" :cool:



Captain Currie, have you ever thought of writing a book about Titanic ?

Perhaps a professional's analysis on various examples of leadership, the chain of command, basic seamanship on the night of April 14/15 1912 ?

Because if you did, I'd be going down to Waterstones to order my copy in a heartbeat ;)
In the "oven" at this very moment and exactly as you would like. (Are you looking over my shoulder?):oops:
 
Mar 22, 2003
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My reason for this response is basic. While the book may be worthy of recommendation as a piece of interesting literature, it can hardly be classed as a textbook source of facts concerning the Titanic disaster.
Seumas wrote: "Perhaps a professional's analysis on various examples of leadership, the chain of command, basic seamanship on the night of April 14/15 1912."
Tramps and Ladies gives a very insightful look into the question of leadership, the chain of command, and basic seamanship in the early era of the 20th century from one who worked his way up that chain of command. The involvement in the Titanic disaster is but a small part of the overall story. Stepping back earlear, the same author wrote about growing up and apprenticing in the days of sail before moving on to steamships. The name of that first book was Sail Ho! My Early Years at Sea.
 

Seumas

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In the "oven" at this very moment and exactly as you would like. (Are you looking over my shoulder?):oops:
Smashing !

Good luck with it and I very much look forward to it's publication :D

Seumas wrote: "Perhaps a professional's analysis on various examples of leadership, the chain of command, basic seamanship on the night of April 14/15 1912."
Tramps and Ladies gives a very insightful look into the question of leadership, the chain of command, and basic seamanship in the early era of the 20th century from one who worked his way up that chain of command. The involvement in the Titanic disaster is but a small part of the overall story. Stepping back earlear, the same author wrote about growing up and apprenticing in the days of sail before moving on to steamships. The name of that first book was Sail Ho! My Early Years at Sea.
Mr Halpern, I will definitely keep an eye out for Bissett's memoirs without a doubt. Thanks for that recommendation.

I'm actually planning at some point this week on picking up a copy of "Report into the Loss of the SS Titanic" which you of course had a hand in. Very much looking forward to reading it ;)
 
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Julian Atkins

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For those of you who would like to read Bissett's 'Tramps and Ladies' for free...

Full text of "TRAMPS AND LADIES"

The Titanic and The Californian stuff is from p.284 onwards.

It is well worth reading. One thing that crops up around p.289/290 is that Bissett states Cottam got Evans' ice warning message to The Antillian. I will need to have a look at the 'reconstituted' Carpathia PV on this.

Happy reading!

Cheers,

Julian