What could people hear from the lifeboats?


Kyle Naber

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Oct 5, 2016
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Throughout the course of the night, there were reports of music, gunfire, explosions, and various other sounds. I certianly think that the explosions (the breaking up of the ship) and gunfire could be heard, but I wonder how the group of strings playing could possibly reach within earshot to the boats. I bet the music could be heard up until the last couple songs when the panic really started up. This really makes me question how people said they heard "Nearer my God to Thee" when:

1) Thousands of tons of water are rushing on the boat deck

2) Four explosions were reported at about the time the last song was playing

3) The screaming of 1500+ people

4) The flexing of the ship would have been tremendous

What are your opinions?
 
A

Aaron_2016

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I think the band could be heard as Colonel Gracie said there was no panic even when the sea was about to rush onto the boat deck.

"My friend Clinch Smith made the proposition that we should leave and go toward the stern, but there arose before us from the decks below a mass of humanity several lines deep converging on the boat deck facing us and completely blocking our passage to the stern. There were women in the crowd as well as men and these seemed to be steerage passengers who had just come up from the decks below. Even among these people there was no hysterical cry, no evidence of panic. Oh the agony of it."

The band were near the bow on the port side and quite a number of lifeboats were rowing towards a ship off the port bow which would make it much easier to hear the band playing as the sound waves travelled towards their direction.

However it is unclear if the band had stayed on the port side as she appeared to list heavily to port and the passengers were ordered to the starboard side and then they moved back again to the port side. Perhaps the band was used to persuade them to move from one side to the other? Frank Prentice heard them play their last hymn and he was on the poop deck. This could suggest that the band moved aft towards the stern where more people could hear them. There were reports of people singing 'Nearer my God to Thee' as well. The 'wave' washed many people off the forward boat deck. The intense cold of the water may have stopped them from screaming. The people in the aft well deck were hundreds of feet away from the people at the bow, so there might have been little sense of panic for the people at the stern who could not see what was taking place in the dark hundreds of feet away towards the bow.

According to Ruth Becker the screams started when the explosion / break occurred, so there would have been relatively little noise to disrupt the band playing before this occurred. Survivors heard many screams coming from the ship. I believe this was the moment the stern broke and listed heavily to port. According to Charles Joughin it - "Threw everybody in a bunch....Many hundreds I should say." Edith Rosenbaum heard the roar of people and she thought they were cheering because the ship might stay afloat after all.

Survivors heard gunshots after the ship sank. 5th officer Lowe fired his gun several times when he approached a collapsible boat. Others heard explosions after the ship sank. I believe the gunshots could have been mistaken for explosions especially if there was an echo over the calm sea. e.g.



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Harland Duzen

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Jan 14, 2017
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Since the band was stationed on the Grand Staircase's Port Side, this ended up submerged quite quickly and we know by the discovery of Hartley's Violin that he jumped ship. I think the Band stopped playing rather quickly and they would't have been heard after the 1st Funnel Fell.

It possible again that the trauma or horror being seen by those in the Lifeboats having heard the music playing pre-1st Funnel fell was implanted in their memory and they believed it continued longer than it did till she disappeared at 2:20.

Note: I don't believe the Piano being played in the 3rd Class General Room during the sinking of the latest Titanic: Honor & Glory sinking video would actually be heard and there more for dramatic effect. In reality you would have heard it during regular sailing and really irritated those in 1st Class!

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Dec 4, 2000
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Gunshots?

Are you sure about gunshots? Talk to someone who has survived the breakup of a riveted steel ship and you hear a first-hand account of rivets "popping" like the sound of a shotgun blast. Until his recent passing I was acquainted with Dennis Hale, sole survivor of the SS. Daniel Morrell which broke apart and foundered in a Great Lakes storm. That ship was built of similar steel and rivets to Titanic. He gave a colorful account of hearing the gunshot-like sounds of rivets coming apart.

He also experienced the steel plating being broken and pulled apart. When a plate would break, he said there was a flash of light and a report like an explosion. "It was an explosion, a real explosion," he told me one New Year's Eve on the shore of Lake Erie. "It was an explosion inside the metal as it came apart."

Could there have been gunfire that night? The answer is, "yes." Lots of men were "packing heat." And, we have some sketchy evidence of an officer being shot, etc. around the last collapsible on the starboard boat deck. Maybe there was a skirmish. Maybe not. The jury's out on this one and may never come back with a verdict.

-- David G. Brown
 

Harland Duzen

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I did read ''The Baron'' Alfred Nourney was firing his gun at intervals in Lifeboat 7. They definitely heard that!
 

Kyle Naber

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Note: I don't believe the Piano being played in the 3rd Class General Room during the sinking of the latest Titanic: Honor & Glory sinking video would actually be heard and there more for dramatic effect. In reality you would have heard it during regular sailing and really irritated those in 1st Class!
I fully agree. It possibly could have been heard at the beginning and end of the video up close to the ship, but not out to where the boats were.
 
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