Watertight doors in the boiler rooms

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Paul Lee

Hi all,
Just had a thought, and maybe someone with more knowledge would care to comment on this:

as we all know, the watertight doors in the bowels of the ship were closed by Murdoch before the collision. Some of the after most compartments were opened some time later to allow easy ingress/egress by the crew and also to help rig the pumps up.

However, in boiler room 4, there was a strange pattern of sub-floor flooding. I know that watertight doors were rigged to close if water entered a compartment, so did the doors between boiler room 3 and 3 close automatically? And if not, were the doors to all the compartments aft of boiler room 5 allowed to remain open?

I'm just having some ideas about potential effects on the flooding of the compartments....

Happy Christmas to all, my friends!

Trimmer Cavell reported water, "...coming up over her stokehold plates....It came gradually." When specifically questioned (BOT #4260) he said that it came from below and (BOT #4261) not from the side of the ship.

Fireman Dillon was sent forward from the engine room to open watertight doors. He opened the one from the recip engine room to boiler room #1 and then to #2, #3, and then #4. He went forward to open the door between boiler rooms #4 and #5, but was told to stop. That door was left shut.

Both men reported about a foot of water rising above the stoker plates at the forward end of boiler room #4. This water seemed to rise upward through the bottom of the ship. I find it curious that this water appeared before the flooding of boiler room #5. The fact that Dillon was stopped from opening the door between #4 and #5 is also interesting. It indicates that someone had fears for boiler room #5 even though it was not yet flooded.

-- David G. Brown

Scott R. Andrews

Former Member

Yes, all WTD's on the decks above the Tank Top were manually operated. These were of the horizontal sliding variety and were operated locally, or from the deck above through a T-handle wrench or "key". There are accounts from various witnesses of the crew going about the business of closing these doors and, in some cases, experiencing some difficulty in doing so.

Additionally, there were two hinged swinging WTD's from the vestibule in the fireman's passage just forward of BR No.6 for port and starboard access into reserve coal bunker. These should have been closed and dogged tight since this reserve bunker was empty and not being worked.

Scott Andrews
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