TITANICa at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum


Senan Molony

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Went up to this on Saturday, although it's been open since June 2011.

Its many artefacts explain some of the big-ticket purchases at Aldridge's in recent years. In many cases it involved buying back stuff that originated in Northern Ireland in the first place.

There's just one item that looks duff... but is being presented as if they paid a pretty penny for it.

It is claimed to be a picture of H.T. Wilde, but bears only a passing resemblance to him. The key drawback is that the man portrayed is a White Star Captain, with four stripes of braid on each of his sleeves.

Wilde never made Captain.

It is regularly said that he was on the cusp of that promotion, but of course he died in the disaster.

So that's not Wilde, UFTA transport folk! (Try to get your money back... )

My belief is that it is Captain Ransom, although I could be wrong.

Here is a pic I have of Ransom. The UFTA Titanic exhibition picture is strikingly similar, except that it shows him with a moustache alone.

208831.jpg


The false "Wilde" photo is also reproduced in the National Museums of Northern Ireland's book to accompany the TITANICa exhibition.

It appears on p. 90 of Titanic - Behind the Legend by William Blair, an otherwise fine publication.

Anyone who has that book can make the comparison for themselves with the Ransom picture I post here.

Since this is a bad error, I would respectfully suggest that the UFTA retire its 'Captain Wilde' photo.

It never happened.
 

Inger Sheil

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I don't have the other pic to do a comparison, Senan, but if (as you describe) the figure in question looks like Ranson above only sans beard, I wonder if he might be the similarly moustached Joseph Evans? I don't have a complete career record for Evans, but I do have an obituary that refers to him as having served at the rank of Captain. He also spent time as marine superintendant in Cobh according to this source, and there has also been past confusion between Evans and Wilde.
 

Senan Molony

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Hi Ing,

Congratulations on your recent stellar success with matters relating to a key Titanic officer, which I hear about on the grapevine!

All authentic extant pictures of Wilde show him to be clean shaven.

UFTA's image not only has the Captain's four stripes that Wilde never wore, but also shows a man with a moustache.

The idea of Wilde having facial fuzz is, I think, based on the common mislabelling of that Olympic officers image of Evans, Holehouse, etc, that you did so much to debunk yourself. Indeed you were ahead of the game in that regard.

This is the UFTA nonsense photo, small and grainy so as not to get into trouble.

But more because I'm not going to wreck the spine of a book to get a good scan.

208866.jpg


Think you might find a better version in a recent auction catalogue... not that I am remotely suggesting that it was consigned or sold in bad faith.

My lawyer told me to say that.
 

Inger Sheil

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Hmmm...hard to tell, but he does look potentially Evans-like. Here's one of him during his days with the Olympic

208872.jpg


and here's another photo of him I have:



There's kindred droop in the moustache, but given how common they were that's not precisely the most distinguishing feature with which to identify them!

Thanks for the kind words on the "project" - a contract is winging its way down under as we speak!
208873.gif
 

Senan Molony

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What's diabolically bad about the UFTA presentation (particularly since they have such good kit on display) is that they have this dodgy picture (it ain't Evans either, I believe) alongside a photo of the Olympic officers wrongly identified as being Titanic officers.

So they're using the picture of Evans with Smith et al to justify the accompanying picture of Walrus-man as Wilde...

Head-shakingly sloppy. And this is the premier State-funded museum exhibition of the Titanic in Northern Ireland, her birthplace!

We're not talking Pigeon Forge or Branson, here.

They should get rid of this rubbish double-quick.
 

Senan Molony

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Yeah, Mark, that's my boy from the first post. Captain of the Baltic on the night of the lamentable tragedy, Ranson gave evidence to the British Inquiry.

Re Wilde, where do we get this notion from that he had a moustache? It must be from the Evans confusion.

I have a first generation pic of Wilde as a young officer. No moustache. All the reliable pictures (very few!) published immediately after the tragedy show him without facial hair, even if they do seem hardly recent.

The key issue is that Wilde never made Captain.

As the 'Portrush Letter' (see Research Article on this site) makes clear -

“The last seen of Mr Wilde he was smoking a cigarette on the bridge... He leaves three children.
He would have been Captain of the Cymric two trips ago, only the coal strike and the tying up of some of the ships altered the company's plans."

Wilde never made Captain and most likely was clean shaven on the maiden voyage.

Even if he bristled with fuzz, the UFTA picture shows a White Star Captain and it is therefore not Henry Tingle Wilde, as claimed.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Senan!

I have seen Wilde described as 'a tall, powerfully built man. The lad in your picture can't be more than 5'8" tall. A good idea of how tall he is can be gauged from the engine telegraphs next to him, the handles of which
almost reach up to that man's chin!

JC
 

Senan Molony

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Good point, Jim! And here's another - H.T. Wilde was 38 when he died. That's young. The man below seems distinctly older, given his silver hair - even if his 'tache remains a luxuriant jet.

208924.jpg


Here's a quote from a man named Wilde:

“Man can believe the impossible, but can never believe the improbable.”

UFTM should not be foisting this on the public, and if they were a good Titanic repository they would be addressing this issue here - or would just meekly remove the offending image.

Hope they did not waste too many thousands of taxpayers' pounds on it. They did that with a ridiculous picture of Boxhall as a very young schoolboy. It's genuine, but practically meaningless.
 

Senan Molony

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That's not a Dalek -

It's a Standart compass.

(Oh no - wait. You're right. It is a Dalek)

"ET-terminate!

ET-terminate!"

Quick, into the Standart Tardis.
 

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