Vertical stern or heavy list to port?

Thomas C.

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I think I’ve asked this question in another thread, but is it possible that the ship was “vertical” before the breakup? At certain points of view, the 20-25° angle of the ship would have looked very extreme, and then exaggeration is added during the re-telling of the story. Then to some, the lights go out, and the stern settled further down into the water, missing the break. This would make 25° be the greatest slope the ship ever experienced on the surface. The keel separates completely when the stern is in a horizontal configuration, and it rolls over and sinks with a point of rotation at the poop deck.
Very interesting sinking process was described by Joseph Scarrott:

"She went slowly down. bow first with a slight list to starboard until the water reached the bridge, then she went quicker. When the third funnel had nearly disappeared I heard four explosions, which I took to be the bursting of the boilers. The ship was right up on end then. Suddently she broke in two between the third and fourth funnel. The after part of the ship came down on the water in its normal position and seemed as if it was going to remain afloat, but it only remained a minute or two then it sank. The lights were burning right up until she broke in two."

Most survivors stories agree with each other. They saw a ship, sinking at an angle of about 60 degress, with all lights still on. Only after the lights went out, survivors stories split into 2 groups.
1 - Titanic sank as Cameron's movie shows it.
2 - Titanic sank as Night to remember shows it.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Very interesting sinking process was described by Joseph Scarrott:

"She went slowly down. bow first with a slight list to starboard until the water reached the bridge, then she went quicker. When the third funnel had nearly disappeared I heard four explosions, which I took to be the bursting of the boilers. The ship was right up on end then. Suddently she broke in two between the third and fourth funnel. The after part of the ship came down on the water in its normal position and seemed as if it was going to remain afloat, but it only remained a minute or two then it sank. The lights were burning right up until she broke in two."

Most survivors stories agree with each other. They saw a ship, sinking at an angle of about 60 degress, with all lights still on. Only after the lights went out, survivors stories split into 2 groups.
1 - Titanic sank as Cameron's movie shows it.
2 - Titanic sank as Night to remember shows it.

Plus a third group. Those who saw both ends rise up. e.g.


- Mrs. Chaffee "The middle seemed to go down, lifting bow and stern into the air."

- Mrs. Hippach "We heard a fearful explosion. I saw the ship split open. At the same time the ship's bow rose up in the air as the steamer sank towards the center."

- Ellen Walcroft "She just broke in two and the ends were sticking up."

- Nellie Becker "She seemed to break right in the middle, and the middle fell in."

- Mrs. Chaffee - "The ship sank steadily until just at the last, when it plunged rapidly. Just before going down it seemed to writhe (twist), breaking into the three parts into which it was divided. First the middle seemed to go down, lifting bow and stern into the air. Then it twisted the other way, throwing the middle up. Finally the bow went under, and it plunged, stern last."

- Jack Thayer "The ship appeared to split well forward to midship, and bow or buckle upwards." (v shape)

- Percy Oxenham "The halves seemed to rise out of the water."

- William Mellors (On the ship - near the bridge) "Suddenly, her nose (the bow) on which I was on, seemed to suddenly rise from underneath the water."

- Eugene Daly (On the ship - near the bridge) "I reached a collapsible boat that was fastened to the deck by two rings. It could not be moved. During that brief time that I worked on cutting one of those ropes, the Titanic gave a lurch downward (bow breaking and becoming unstable) and we were in the water up to our hips. She rose again slightly (bow rising), and I succeeded in cutting the second rope."

- Thomas Dillon "The bow seemed to bob up and then break off like a piece of carrot."

- Susie Webber "There was an explosion, and then I saw the leviathan part in the middle. The stern rose high in the air. The bow less high."

Mr. Thayer noticed how the ship was moving forwards as she sank lower and lower, and when she broke her bow may have detached itself away and pulled itself forwards and free from the stern. The bow would continue to move forwards and possibly there was quite some distance between the two sections before they sank. The bow would immediately become a black mass just a few feet above the surface and her stern would be floating some distance behind and buckling rapidly upwards as the enormous weight of her engines tilted her up, and both sections may have sunk independently. The stern is resting quite far from the bow and there is a long trail of coal running almost half a mile south of the stern. This might indicate the length of time the stern was afloat and drifting down with the current before it eventually keeled to one side and sank.


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SmileyGirl

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Very interesting sinking process was described by Joseph Scarrott:

"She went slowly down. bow first with a slight list to starboard until the water reached the bridge, then she went quicker. When the third funnel had nearly disappeared I heard four explosions, which I took to be the bursting of the boilers. The ship was right up on end then. Suddently she broke in two between the third and fourth funnel. The after part of the ship came down on the water in its normal position and seemed as if it was going to remain afloat, but it only remained a minute or two then it sank. The lights were burning right up until she broke in two."

Most survivors stories agree with each other. They saw a ship, sinking at an angle of about 60 degress, with all lights still on. Only after the lights went out, survivors stories split into 2 groups.
1 - Titanic sank as Cameron's movie shows it.
2 - Titanic sank as Night to remember shows it.
Did the ship not break between the second and third funnel though?
 

Thomas C.

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Plus a third group. Those who saw both ends rise up. e.g.
Two groups which I mentioned, are two possibilities, what happend with the ship, after the lights went out. Events described by survivors from the third group are true, and happened before, so I do not included them in my previous post.
 

Thomas C.

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Did the ship not break between the second and third funnel though?
Yes, it broke. To be more precisely: With 10 degrees list to port and forward trim, Titanic was unable to float in one piece. She broke just in front of the third funnel at 02:14 from bottom up. Bow rose slightly and moved forward, while stern shot into the air, until reached 60 degrees angle. Bow sank, while the stern was still in the same position. Then the lights went out at 02:20 or 02:22. Some survivors said, that the ship broke for a second time, beetwen the third and fourth funnel. Others said, that she simply sank into the ocean with a high angle.
 
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SmileyGirl

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Yes, it broke. To be more precisely: With 10 degrees list to port and forward trim, Titanic was unable to float in one piece. She broke just in front of the third funnel at 02:14 from bottom up. Bow rose slightly and moved forward, while stern shot into the air, until reached 60 degrees angle. Bow sank, while the stern was still in the same position. Then the lights went out at 02:20 or 02:22. Some survivors said, that the ship broke for a second time, beetwen the third and fourth funnel. Others said, that she simply sank into the ocean with a high angle.
I see thanks very much :)
 
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Aaron_2016

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This is propably what Scarrott and many others saw before the lights went out.

View attachment 43345
I think the port list would have increased as her broken stern rose up and did a corkscrew as it turned around on its side. Mr. Joughin was resting on the starboard side of the well deck when her stern was rising upwards. Owing to the strong list to port (almost 90 degrees) he did not notice her stern was rising up in the air. e.g.


"I did not notice anything. I did not notice her being much down by the head."
Q - Do you mean that the list to port was more serious than being down by the head?
A - I thought so, yes.

"Just as I got down towards the well she gave a great list over to port and threw everybody in a bunch except myself. I did not see anybody else besides myself out of the bunch......I was not exactly in the well, I was on the side, practically on the side then. She threw them over. At last I clambered on the side when she chucked them."
Q - It has been stated that she turned practically perpendicular. I want to ask your opinion about that, because I think it is very important. Did you see the propellers come out of the water at all?
A - She was not far out of the water at any stage that I saw.
Q - So that to say that she stood up like that (showing) would be wrong?
A - It would be absolutely wrong.


As he was holding onto her starboard side hull plating I believe he would not realize her stern was rising high as the list to port was much more noticeable from his perspective.



joughin.png




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Thomas C.

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I think the port list would have increased as her broken stern rose up and did a corkscrew as it turned around on its side.
Well, I think we must trust Joughin's testimony. I think he was the only person on the Titanic during the final plunge. The only other person was Dillon, but from his testimony it appears he got into the water before Titanic made final plunge. From Joughin testimony it seems that Dillon got into the water just after the ship rightened. If he was on the port side of the poop deck, with a strong list to port he would get into the water with a part of the ship. Exactly as he decribed.


3850. Well, what did you do?
- I went on to the poop.
3851. Was she getting low in the water then?
- Yes.
3852. Were there many others on the poop besides yourself?
- Yes.
3853. Any passengers?
- Yes.
3854. Any women?
- No.
3855. How long did you wait on the poop? Until the ship actually sank?
- Yes.
3856. How did you get off the ship?
- I left her in the water.
3857. (The Commissioner.) Am I to understand that you were actually on board the "Titanic" when she went down?
- Yes, my Lord.
3858. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Before the ship actually went down did you see her make any movements?
- Yes, she took one final plunge and righted herself again.
3859. She gave a plunge and righted herself again?
- Yes.
3870. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Then you say the ship plunged and righted herself again; and was it then that you dived into the water?
- I did not dive into the water.
3871. How did you get off the ship into the water?
- I went down with the ship, and shoved myself away from her into the water.
3872. Were you sucked down at all?
- About two fathoms.
3873. And did you then come up again to the surface?
- I seemed to get lifted up to the surface.
3874. You got lifted up to the surface?
- Yes.
3882. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) When you came up again, after you were sucked down - you told us you were sucked down and came up again - was the ship still floating then?
- No.
3883. She had sunk when you came up again?
- Well, I saw what I thought would be the afterpart of her coming up and going down again, final.
3884. Then she had not sunk?
- She came up and went down again.
3885. You saw what you thought was the afterpart coming up again?
- I thought it was the ship coming up again. She came up and went down again - finish.
3878. Did you see any of the other passengers in the water - any other people in the water of any sort?
- Yes.
3879. Many?
- About a thousand.
3907. You say when you came up to the well deck there were a great number of people there, men?
- Yes.
3908. Had they all lifebelts?
- In my estimation they had.
3909. Most of them?
- Yes.
3910. What class of passengers did these seem to be?
- Steerage passengers.
3911. All steerage passengers?
- Yes.

I will just add that a mass of humanity in the water described by Dillon, is with agreement with Joughin, and his bunch of people thrown over the ship side. ''About a thousand'' people in the water is a
exaggeration. Titanic was carrying about 700 third class passengers. 178 passengers survived. About 520 were lost.
 

Kyle Naber

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I wonder how Frank Prentice was able to hang on while the post list threw everyone to the port side (according to Joughin). He claims that the stern was nearly vertical when he jumped off, but I have the feeling that the stern was at a 30-40 degree angle as it was going down by the broken end.
 
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Before his testimony Joughin stated in a newspaper in the US that he jumped off the ship when it started to sink.
Nichols mentioned that the baker (Joughin) jumped off the ship before the "explosion" while another men (Prentice) jumped 150 feet down after the "explosion".
 

Thomas C.

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I wonder how Frank Prentice was able to hang on while the post list threw everyone to the port side (according to Joughin). He claims that the stern was nearly vertical when he jumped off, but I have the feeling that the stern was at a 30-40 degree angle as it was going down by the broken end.
Frank Prentice never mentioned list to port. He also never mentioned anything about the break up of the ship. So in my opinion, he jumped into the water, before the ship split in two. If there was list to port, it was only after Titanic split in half.
 
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Thomas C.

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Before his testimony Joughin stated in a newspaper in the US that he jumped off the ship when it started to sink.
Nichols mentioned that the baker (Joughin) jumped off the ship before the "explosion" while another men (Prentice) jumped 150 feet down after the "explosion".
I heard about this, some time ago. Because of this, my approach to his testimony, and his list to port is rather sceptical. What is more interesting, is why he lied, and told this other story to Lord Mersey.
 

Kyle Naber

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Frank Prentice never mentioned list to port. He also never mentioned anything about the break up of the ship. So in my opinion, he jumped into the water, before the ship split in two. If there was list to port, it was only after Titanic split in half.
He never specifically said that it broke apart, but he said that the stern “went down and then she came back up. Almost like a cork.” To me, it sounds like he experienced the settling of the stern, but without the port list.

I’ve wondered, though, if he was talking about how he felt the bow go down from the angle of the ship increasing, and then slowly rising up out of the water on the stern. Based on this approach, he would have jumped from the ship when it was at an angle of about 20°, and he fell from about 130ft into the water. From there, he would’ve only seen the stern slip under, missing the break.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Frank Prentice never mentioned list to port. He also never mentioned anything about the break up of the ship. So in my opinion, he jumped into the water, before the ship split in two. If there was list to port, it was only after Titanic split in half.
Frank Prentice gave several TV and radio interviews. Here are some quotes:


"She was gradually listing over to port and then I thought there is something very serious now."

"We couldn't get them (the last boats) down because she had a list to port, and you can imagine half way down they would have hit the side."

"She gradually went down by the head and righted herself."

"I felt her go down and then she came up again, just like a cork, just like a float, you see. Going down and bobbing up and then I felt it was time to leave."

"All of a sudden she lifted up quickly and you could hear everything cracking through her....and then she went down and seemed to come up again and so I thought now I am going to leave and I was hanging onto a board....and I was hanging onto one of these and I was getting higher and higher into the air."

"There was so much debris floating (looking down at the water) and bodies dead and alive were all around. Hundreds of them around the stern of that ship. They all seemed to drift down that way." - I believe he was describing the huge crowd of people who fell over the port side into the water when she broke in two (witnessed by Joughin) and the currents had pushed the people towards the stern and this is when Prentice looked down and saw a massive crowd of "hundreds" "dead and alive" drifting down as the stern bobbed up again like a cork.


prentice.png




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Kyle Naber

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Or some exaggerations were made. Some Britannic survivors said it sank nearly vertical, but given the depth of the water, it would’ve been a maximum of 45°.
 
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mitfrc

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Yes, the oral history is important from a historical perspective and as human heritage, but I am very much against using oral history as a source of disaster forensics. Modern cognitive science shows that memory is so faulty that it shouldn't even be used as a reliable basis of criminal conviction. I think no argument can be supported by eyewitness testimony alone, and that only stability, static and materials mechanics and flooding calculations can tell us the most probable angle at which the breakup occurred and then at which the stern briefly floated before sinking.
 
I think that we are getting in an interesting but ultimately thorny philosophical debate here. If you like what I am going to say next you should take it, but if you do not, leave it. From my perspective, forensics are useful only insofar they can explain not only the logical/mathematical chain of events, but also explain why eyewitness saw what they think they say, even if it was incorrect regarding the facts.
 
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