What happened to Britannic's smokestacks?

Severin Vogt

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Apr 12, 2017
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I know that on the sinking of the Titanic, in the end, the smokestacks all toppled off when it sank. But what about the Britannic? Did her smokestacks fall off too? It one video on YouTube (HMHS BRITANNIC SINKS - REAL TIME DOCUMENTARY), it has at the end that all the Britannic's smokestacks fall off. With another video (HMHS Britannic Sinking), it has the first two falling off but not the third and fourth. Also, please tell me why the smokestacks usually fall off when a ship sinks. I'd like to know.
 

codad1946

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Apr 28, 2016
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Malaysia and Philippines
The smokestacks - or funnels in UK - are light casings that enclose the actual uptakes (which carry the exhaust gases) for the purpose of aesthetics. They are built round the uptakes which are supported by an internal framework. The funnel casings are stayed with wires and are not meant to be subjected to large angles of heel or trim. When Titanic and Britannic sank, there was a lot of stress on the shrouds holding the funnels up, which broke and allowed the funnel to fall, carrying the uptakes with it.
mauretania ii funnel.jpg

In the photograph you can see the uptakes (4 of them) projecting out of the light funnel structure.
Incidentally when the Queen Mary was refurbished in Long Beach, her funnels fell to bits when they tried to remove them. In a video of the scrapping of either Olympic or Aquitania (not sure which) you can see the funnel toppling and flattening when it hits the deck.
 
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A

Aaron_2016

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I understand the 3rd funnel of the Lusitania broke and fell over the starboard side directly onto a lifeboat that was just being lowered. The wireless operator jumped out of the boat just in time. Mrs Royd was in a lifeboat that was directly underneath the one that was struck by the funnel. It caused the lifeboat above her to crash down on top of her boat, throwing her into the water.


Robert Leith (wireless operator)

Q - How long were you in that boat?
A - Just a matter of moments.

Q - What did you leave the boat for?
A - The ship's funnel appeared to be coming down on top of me at the time, or it appeared to be so, so I sprung from that boat to another one.


Mrs Mabel Royd (passenger)

"We no sooner got into the boat than it was lowered with another boat on top of us, and a funnel fell on to us."
Q - Do you mean it really actually fell on to you?
A - Well, directly we got into the boat, we were aware of another ship's boat being lowered on to us, and a broken funnel may have fallen on to that boat or was falling at the same time.

Q - You did get away, at any rate?
A - No, we did not get clear; we had just got into the boat as this happened.

Q - The boat that was being lowered on the top of you was not lowered so far as to actually fall upon your boat?
A - Yes, it was the cause of our boat going down.

Q - It actually struck your boat?
A - Yes, it actually struck our boat, and turned our boat over and we went down under the water.

Q - And do you remember what happened to you after that?
A - Well I was in the water. I had a lifebelt on and I was underneath for a few seconds, and then I came to the surface again.......


Here is footage of the forward funnel falling on the liner Ile De France.


Skip to 4:43



Here is footage of two funnels falling on the liner Berengaria.


Skip to 2:10



.
 
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Kyle Naber

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Oct 5, 2016
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I thought that the funnels fell because of a pressure difference between the water and the trapped air inside the funnel, causing the bases to crumple in, sending it downwards. I may be wrong.
 
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The smokestacks - or funnels in UK - are light casings that enclose the actual uptakes (which carry the exhaust gases) for the purpose of aesthetics. They are built round the uptakes which are supported by an internal framework. The funnel casings are stayed with wires and are not meant to be subjected to large angles of heel or trim. When Titanic and Britannic sank, there was a lot of stress on the shrouds holding the funnels up, which broke and allowed the funnel to fall, carrying the uptakes with it. View attachment 3082
In the photograph you can see the uptakes (4 of them) projecting out of the light funnel structure.
Incidentally when the Queen Mary was refurbished in Long Beach, her funnels fell to bits when they tried to remove them. In a video of the scrapping of either Olympic or Aquitania (not sure which) you can see the funnel toppling and flattening when it hits the deck.
One of the stories on the Queen Mary at Long Beach was that the metal in the funnels had so corroded that they fell apart as they were being removed. "The only thing holding them together was (the many coats of) paint." Of course the present re-constructed funnels on Hotel Queen Mary are strictly for decoration only and serve no other purpose.
 
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