Where did the "ice on the well deck" come from?

chrismireya

chrismireya

Member
There are several accounts of ice being seen in the well deck. This has bothered me for quite some time. After all, if the ice supposedly came from the iceberg, then the iceberg needed to tower above (at least) the well deck.

For this claim to be accurate, it would require a section of ice protruding over and falling onto the well deck. This would require either Titanic "scraping" that overhanging section of the iceberg or for that ice to fall due to a collision sufficient enough to cause a disturbed section of ice to fall onto the well deck.

I have combed through as many photos of the starboard well deck as I can. I just cannot see any damage to the side of the ship (including the outer railing) along the well deck.

Is it possible that the claims of "ice" -- significant or even just a small amount -- is little more than a rumor told and retold so often until it became a part of the sinking mythology?
 
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Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

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Good day to you,

After all, if the ice supposedly came from the iceberg, then the iceberg needed to tower above (at least) the well deck.
Based on eye witnesses the iceberg is estimated to have been around 70 feet to 80 feet above the waterline, well above the forward well deck which had it's decking only a little under 45 feet above the waterline, that is just a little higher than decking of the boat deck.
For this claim to be accurate, it would require a section of ice protruding over and falling onto the well deck. This would require either Titanic "scraping" that overhanging section of the iceberg or for that ice to fall due to a collision sufficient enough to cause a disturbed section of ice to fall onto the well deck.
It's possible that the ice broke off due to the fact that A-deck and the boat deck extend 2 feet more outwards, on both sides of the ship. Perhaps this could have been the cause of the ice falling onto the forward well deck.
Is it possible that the claims of "ice" -- significant or even just a small amount -- is little more than a rumor told and retold so often until it became a part of the sinking mythology?
Impossible, considering there are sworn statements from people such as Major Peunchen, first class bedroom steward Etches, fourth officer Boxhall and many other people who described the ice on-board the Titanic in personal letters.


Yours sincerely,


Thomas
 
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A

Andrew

Member
I agree. with Chris - this has never sat well with me either.

If the iceberg were that high above the waterline it must have been an enormously heavy berg overall, given that nine-tenths is below the waterline.

For the Titanic (therefore much lighter than the iceberg) to create a vibration strong enough to knock chunks off it would require a substantial collision. But passengers only described a 'glancing blow' that they barely felt.

If the upper decks were colliding with the berg enough to somehow knock chunks off it, then the starboard davits & lifeboats would have to been damaged. But nobody (as far as I'm aware) reported any damage to them.

In any case, how would loose brittle ice have formed on the berg in the first place?

Just doesn't make sense to me, whichever way you look at it.
 
chrismireya

chrismireya

Member
Good day to you,


Based on eye witnesses the iceberg is estimated to have been around 70 feet to 80 feet above the waterline, well above the forward well deck which had it's decking only a little under 45 feet above the waterline, that is just a little higher than decking of the boat deck.

It's possible that the ice broke off due to the fact that A-deck and the boat deck extend 2 feet more outwards, on both sides of the ship. Perhaps this could have been the cause of the ice falling onto the forward well deck.

Impossible, considering there are sworn statements from people such as Major Peunchen, first class bedroom steward Etches, fourth officer Boxhall and many other people who described the ice on-board the Titanic in personal letters.


Yours sincerely,


Thomas
I know that there were people who claimed to have seen the iceberg. I know their descriptions. However, I am not talking about the HEIGHT of the iceberg but whether there was an overhanging chunk of ice that somehow dislodged when Titanic struck.

From the wreckage, we do not see any damage above the waterline. All of the damage was below (consistent with the testimony of the surviving officers).

The question that I have is: How did the ice get in the well deck -- if, indeed, there was ice from the iceberg?

Was a chunk of brittle ice hanging over and above the wheel deck? Did it break off from the impact (which was not even enough to cause Boxhall to "lose step" as he walked to the bridge)?

Otherwise, did people see ice simply formed on items in the well deck? Or, did it become one of those myths spread by hearing and repeating (like the "suicide" of First Officer Murdoch, Captain Smith, etc.)? Not all eyewitness testimony about Titanic is sound.
 
Seumas

Seumas

Member
Far too many people testified to having seen the ice on the deck, some even said they handled it, for us to dismiss this as a tall tale.

There is no doubt about it, ice fell on the forward well deck. To suggest otherwise frankly is heading into Robin Gardiner territory - which one does not want to go to !

What may be the case is that we have all got this picture in our heads of the film and tv adaptions, which depict a big shower of ice upon the well deck. The actual amount that fell into the ship may have been more modest.

In fact, Joseph Boxhall, fifty years afterwards in a BBC interview, described "a powdering of ice" on the deck. It doesn't sound like he was all that impressed with the amount which did fall on the deck.
 
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chrismireya

chrismireya

Member
Far too many people testified to having seen the ice on the deck, some even said they handled it, for us to dismiss this as a tall tale.

There is no doubt about it, ice fell on the forward well deck. To suggest otherwise frankly is heading into Robin Gardiner territory - which one does not want to go to !

I'm not sure that asking questions about the ice on the deck (and where it came from) or whether it morphed from a "powdering" to people kicking it around is the same as meandering into Robin Gardiner territory.

There are plenty of eyewitnesses that told tales from the ship that is either unlikely or unverifiable. In terms of forensics, the wreckage itself is enough to dispel some false claims (e.g., ship went down in one piece, bow rose, etc.).

However, my point is not to say that there was NOT any ice in the well deck...but to devise scenarios for just how it would be possible.
 
Seumas

Seumas

Member
We have a rough idea of what the berg looked like (ignore all those so called photos of "the iceberg that sank the Titanic") from eyewitnesses, but we don't have an exact image of it's composition.

For all we know, there may have been part of the berg that was slightly overhanging and may have clipped part of the rigging.

As I say, Boxhall did not seem all that impressed with the "powdering of ice" on the deck. It was probably just a small amount compared to what we have seen shown in the films.
 
Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

Member
I know that there were people who claimed to have seen the iceberg. I know their descriptions. However, I am not talking about the HEIGHT of the iceberg but whether there was an overhanging chunk of ice that somehow dislodged when Titanic struck.
There's no need to be rude, I only confirmed the height of the iceberg, the height of the forward well deck and lastly the height of the boat deck above the waterline for the readers drop onto this thread. Something I often prefer is to give additional information.
From the wreckage, we do not see any damage above the waterline. All of the damage was below (consistent with the testimony of the surviving officers).
All damage that attributed to the flooding and with that the sinking of the Titanic were indeed under the waterline, however there still was some damage above the waterline. Emma Bucknell for example saw that the glass of the 24 inches by 19 inches porthole of the small corridor between the staterooms D-15, D-17, D-19 and D-21 broken by the iceberg.
if, indeed, there was ice from the iceberg?
Based on in how many first-hand eyewitnesses reports it is mentioned, which I will collect for this thread tomorrow , why would you doubt them that it isn't there just based on that there's no visual damage on the wreck.
Or, did it become one of those myths spread by hearing and repeating (like the "suicide" of First Officer Murdoch, Captain Smith, etc.)?
It's off topic, however I wouldn't call the suicide of an officer a "myth", considering rumours were already spread on-board the Carpathia along with third class passenger Eugene Daly (who later reported the incident in a personal letter) being traumatized and being taken care off by Dr. Frank Hamlin Blackmarr, a doctor traveling in first class on-board the Carpathia with his neighbour. There are only a handful of first hand eyewitnesses reports however it's a debatable subject. There is however evidence to support that it indeed happened. However, the identity of the officer in question has been often falsely claimed to be certain individuals by the press or even reported by people who didn't saw it at all.
Not all eyewitness testimony about Titanic is sound.
Not all eyewitnesses testimonies are indeed sound, however if a multitude of passengers and even crewmembers report it in eyewitness reports, which I will post here tomorrow considering it's very late here, why outside the debatable subject how it came on the forward well deck would you doubt individuals who were there that fateful April night.


If I can recall correctly there were a few crewmembers nearby either when the iceberg passed by the forward well deck or just less than a minute after the iceberg hit the Titanic (First class bedroom steward Alfred George Crawford (1869-1938) and Able bodied seaman Joseph George Scarrott (1878-1938) were in the area at the time for example).
However, my point is not to say that there was NOT any ice in the well deck...but to devise scenarios for just how it would be possible.
Then why did you state: " Or, did it become one of those myths spread by hearing and repeating" with all due respect. Seumas his comparison to the late Robin Gardiner had most likely to do with giving the impression that you don't believe a number of eyewitnesses accounts from survivors.
 
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chrismireya

chrismireya

Member
There's no need to be rude, I only confirmed the height of the iceberg, the height of the forward well deck and lastly the height of the boat deck above the waterline for the readers drop onto this thread. Something I often prefer is to give additional information.
Easy there, Thomas. No one was attempting to be rude. I'm just explaining that I think you missed the point of my post.

Then why did you state: " Or, did it become one of those myths spread by hearing and repeating" with all due respect. Seumas his comparison to the late Robin Gardiner had most likely to do with giving the impression that you don't believe a number of eyewitnesses accounts from survivors.
Why? Because this is a multi-faceted question. The first part is pertaining to WHERE the ice came from. The second part -- that you took issue with -- is because there are people who do believe that there might not have been much ice (at least as much as some people later claimed).
 
Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

Member
Easy there, Thomas. No one was attempting to be rude. I'm just explaining that I think you missed the point of my post.
I apologize for that. It was quite late in the evening when I wrote that as well that over the last half year I don't feel well at all due a lot of personal matters happening. I take full responsibility of it and once again apologize.
is because there are people who do believe that there might not have been much ice (at least as much as some people later claimed).
I didn't saw the statements made as some believe it wasn't as much as later claimed, it more came across as if it was considered a myth all together that was allegedly sensationalized.

.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
I know their descriptions. However, I am not talking about the HEIGHT of the iceberg but whether there was an overhanging chunk of ice that somehow dislodged when Titanic struck.

For all we know, there may have been part of the berg that was slightly overhanging and may have clipped part of the rigging.
I believe that there must have been part of the iceberg that was overhanging the side of the ship and with the impact, several chunks broke off and fell into the forecastle and forward well deck.

As for the shape of the iceberg, none of us will know for sure but I have a feeling that for many of us the roughly conical shape depicted in the book (was this the iceberg that sank the Titanic photo) and movie ANTR has made an impression. Although that is based on the photograph of a genuine iceberg taken on Monday 15th April 1912 by someone from the German ship Prinz Adalbert, I have never believed that was the berg that the Titanic struck precisely for the same reason - the shape does not look right. I think the actual iceberg was closer in shape to that depicted in the article Encounter in the Night by Sam Halpern in his Titanicology website. During the night of April 14th 1912, Captain E

As you can see, there is a slight overhang on the side of the berg closest to the ship. The actual berg must have been shaped something like that. As for the breaking off, a ship over 45,000 tons and travelling at about 22 knots had a fair amount of momentum and the impact could easily have jarred a few chunks loose to fall onto the forward well deck.

As Seumas said, quite a few people commented about the ice on the forward decks and so it was not a figment of someone's imagination.
 
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Jim Currie

Jim Currie

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The popular outline of the iceberg contradicts the description of it given by the man who saw it AB Scarrot described the berg as looking like Gibraltar from Europa point... from seaward with the high side nearest the ship.
QM Olliver said the tip - singular - was as high as the boat deck (70 ft)
As usual, everyone dismissed the evidence- thought of the postcard pictures of Gibraltar and came up with a berg with two peaks.
This was what Scarrot was describing.
1643220061536

He was describing what every RN and MN sailor who had sailed between Malta and Gibraltar saw every trip.

As bergs go, it seems to have been almost 'growler size - small.
That far south, it would have lost a lot of its bulk and a big ship like Titanic, scraping past it may have caused it to lean toward the ship, thus depositng loose material on her decks.
Fot a detailed story. i suggest you read "Ice on Deck" by Henning Pfeifer on this site.
 
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Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

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The popular outline of the iceberg contradicts the description of it given by the man who saw it AB Scarrot described the berg as looking like Gibraltar from Europa point... from seaward with the high side nearest the ship.
QM Olliver said the tip - singular - was as high as the boat deck (70 ft)
As usual, everyone dismissed the evidence- thought of the postcard pictures of Gibraltar and came up with a berg with two peaks.
This was what Scarrot was describing.
1643229345323

Here's a sketch made of the iceberg as seen by Able bodied seaman Scarrot.
1643229409724

It is widely believed by historians, if the iceberg that Titanic collided with was indeed taken it was the iceberg above.
 
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chrismireya

chrismireya

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I apologize for that. It was quite late in the evening when I wrote that as well that over the last half year I don't feel well at all due a lot of personal matters happening. I take full responsibility of it and once again apologize.

No worries. I'm certainly not saying that the "ice on the well deck" is undoubtedly false. I'm simply very interested in learning where the ice came from. Yes, there are eyewitnesses. However, some of the eyewitnesses' accounts contradict one another when it comes to details.

Able Bodied Seamen William Lucas described "several tons" of ice on the deck. However, Fourth Officer Boxhall seems to recollect much less ice than some other accounts make it seem. Lookout Reginald Lee acknowledges the presence of ice and seems to have indicated that there may have been a part of the iceberg that was overhanging above the well deck that somehow became dislodged.

However, the accounts of the iceberg -- its size and what it might have looked like -- differs from the few survivors who are alleged to have seen it. Thus, it still begs the question about how the ice came to appear in the well deck.
 
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Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
View attachment 78617
Here's a sketch made of the iceberg as seen by Able bodied seaman Scarrot.
View attachment 78618
It is widely believed by historians, if the iceberg that Titanic collided with was indeed taken it was the iceberg above.
It is widely believed by historians who cannot visualise what Scarrot was telling them, Thomas. He may have signed that newspaper sketch ( and got payment for it) but that is most certainly not what he described to the UK inquiry. L quote:
" it struck me at the time that it resembled the Rock of Gibraltar looking at it from Europa Point. It looked very much the same shape as that, only much smaller.
- As you approach Gibraltar - it seemed that shape. The highest point would be on my right, as it appeared to me.

This is what it looks like from that angle.
1643230470058

His questioners perfectly understood him
"(The Commissioner.) Like a lion couchant?"
1643231723710
 
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