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

Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

Member
Hello Jim,
It is widely believed by historians who cannot visualise what Scarrot was telling them, Thomas.
I mean no offense with what I am about to state however one might can use the same argument that you didn't visualize the exact lion couchan they imagined, considering there are a great number of different designs of them if we apply the same logics and such.
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.
His questioners perfectly understood him
"(The Commissioner.) Like a lion couchant?"

If, and I do not state that it is, the sketch does match what able bodied seaman Scarrot saw and we compare it to the photograph there is a likeness that cannot be compared to any of the other icebergs photographed. If this is indeed the iceberg and/or a matching sketch it is not a perspective as seen by the lookouts, but rather a perspective of the back of the iceberg, which if I can recall correctly Scarrot only saw. Out of the photographs the iceberg in question, as far as I am aware, matches the rock of Gibraltar the most as well.
1643233258992

According to some collision damage on the iceberg caused by the collision on on the right of the photograph.
1643233476789

BEFORE
1643233641944

AFTER
A pal of mine from the United States made a 3D model (an admirable talent I do not have, considering I am terrible with computer programs) of the iceberg seen in the photograph and made two versions of it. One prior to the collision and one after. If it is indeed the iceberg that collided with the Titanic this missing bit could perhaps explain the ice found on the forward well deck.
 
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chrismireya

chrismireya

Member
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.
Thanks, Jim!

I think that the Ice on Deck, Pfeifer is suggesting something that I've considered -- that the ice may not have come from above but (perhaps) dislodged from the lower portion of the berg. This would have been by (what Pfeifer called) a "rebound effect."

1643232131782


Given the shape and height of the ship, it doesn't seem like the upper decks struck the berg (since there was no damage reported by Boxhall and others...whereas they focused on the interior lower decks).

Boxhall's testimony is the most perplexing to me because (if I am understanding it correctly) he was walking on the starboard side from having tea in his room to the bridge and didn't see the berg as he walked (but described the impact as felt by his feet). His testimony of the iceberg was that it seemed low -- but he isn't even entirely certain that he saw it.

Alfred Shiers seems to indicate a height of the iceberg as roughly the height or the forecastle deck (or even higher). In the British inquiry, it seems like the assumption was that it was higher than the well deck because ice needed to "fall" upon the well deck (in order to explain the presence of ice).

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.

I cannot tell if this is what it looked like approaching the iceberg or, in more likelihood, what it looked like when Titanic moved past it. The Rehorek photo of the iceberg (first publicized in 2000) does seem to have that "look" of Gibraltar from Europa Point. However, even if the higher part of iceberg was the side that Titanic struck, it seems that the "feet" of the "lion couchant" would have been the part struck by the ship with the taller part somewhat further away.

Pfiefer's theory would negate the need for a tall iceberg towering over the well deck and ice "falling" onto it. Why? The ice that was seen in the well deck could have been ice that shifted from the waterline (or even below) that was dislodged rapidly by the speed of Titanic and that ice simply rebounded into it.

During a Boy Scout camping trip during middle school, I was sitting in the back of a pickup truck on someone's ranch. When we left, the truck sped off on a gravel road very close to a brick building. The truck's tire threw a rock from the road and it bounced off the side of the building. It then flew by the truck and hit my friend sitting next to me.

The rock gave my friend a nice knot too. He showed the driver the rock (that was still in the bed of the truck). After the driver knew that he was wasn't badly hurt, he laughed and told him that he could keep the rock.

I just wonder if that ice may have "rebounded" into the well deck.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
I mean no offense with what I am about to state however one might can use the same argument that you didn't visualize the exact lion couchan they imagined, considering there are a great number of different designs of them if we apply the same logics and such.
Precisely. None of us can be certain about the shape of the iceberg that the Titanic collided with and in actuality it could well have been a composite of various statements. A B Scarrot was quoting from his position and memory, as were the others who saw the iceberg and survived and so his description was not necessarily the most accurate. We will never know which one (or more) of them came closest, but IMO it really does not matter.

The fact that there were ice chunks on the forecastle and forward well deck clearly indicates that the side of the iceberg that made contact with the Titanic projected well above those decks. But, we cannot be sure that part of the berg was the highest above the water; might have been, might not.
 
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Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Hello Jim,

I mean no offense with what I am about to state however one might can use the same argument that you didn't visualize the exact lion couchan they imagined, considering there are a great number of different designs of them if we apply the same logics and such.


If, and I do not state that it is, the sketch does match what able bodied seaman Scarrot saw and we compare it to the photograph there is a likeness that cannot be compared to any of the other icebergs photographed. If this is indeed the iceberg and/or a matching sketch it is not a perspective as seen by the lookouts, but rather a perspective of the back of the iceberg, which if I can recall correctly Scarrot only saw. Out of the photographs the iceberg in question, as far as I am aware, matches the rock of Gibraltar the most as well.
View attachment 78631
According to some collision damage on the iceberg caused by the collision on on the right of the photograph.
View attachment 78632
BEFORE
View attachment 78633
AFTER
A pal of mine from the United States made a 3D model (an admirable talent I do not have, considering I am terrible with computer programs) of the iceberg seen in the photograph and made two versions of it. One prior to the collision and one after. If it is indeed the iceberg that collided with the Titanic this missing bit could perhaps explain the ice found on the forward well deck.
Hello Thomas. No offence taken. I hope you are feeling better.

Unlike many 'historians' who write before thinking for themselves - I suspect that the ''lion couchant' description was simply the questioner illustrating his understanding of what he was being told to him by Scarrott. That is why I included it in the post.

I re-emphasise - the main point here is that Gibraltar, seen from the sea, in no way resembles the Scarrott sketch or the later-produced photograph with the red smears.
This is not my considered opinion but a fact - one based on passing that very same spot in a passenger ship every three weeks for a number of years when on the Anchor Line India -UK run. Here we are:
1643288984158

Doubtless, my referral to experience will be considered in certain quarters, to be arrogant, condescending, or whatever other demeaning description might be used to mask fact, or hide lack of knowledge. So be it, but it does not detract from the fact.

I drew attention to Scarrott's description and published the photograph to offer an explanation as to why the ice was able to land on Titanic's decks.
If you look again at Scarrott's sketch, it is clear that the ice from the one in the press photograph could never have been anywhere near the ship's main deck. As for the photograph and your friend's fine computer effort? It still has two high points... nothing like Gibraltar from Europa Point.

Stay safe.
 
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Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Precisely. None of us can be certain about the shape of the iceberg that the Titanic collided with and in actuality it could well have been a composite of various statements. A B Scarrot was quoting from his position and memory, as were the others who saw the iceberg and survived and so his description was not necessarily the most accurate. We will never know which one (or more) of them came closest, but IMO it really does not matter.

The fact that there were ice chunks on the forecastle and forward well deck clearly indicates that the side of the iceberg that made contact with the Titanic projected well above those decks. But, we cannot be sure that part of the berg was the highest above the water; might have been, might not.
Not true! We are told the high point was nearest the ship, and that was from two men who actually saw it seconds and minutes after impact.
This is how close it was:
"Maj. PEUCHEN.
No; but I know a great many of the passengers were made afraid by this iceberg passing their portholes. The ship shoved past this ice, and a great many of them told me afterwards they could not understand this thing moving past them - those that were awakened at the time. In fact, it left ice on some of the portholes, they told me.
Ice was found on porthole rims - that is how close it was to the ship's side."


As for he highest point:
"Mr. OLLIVER.
The iceberg was about the height of the boat deck; if anything, just a little higher. It was almost alongside of the boat, sir. The top did not touch the side of the boat, but it was almost alongside of the boat...
I only saw the tip top of the iceberg."
 
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Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

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Hello Thomas. No offence taken. I hope you are feeling better.
I fear I am not feeling any better at all. Sadly there's not much to do except helping other people out by writing biographies, timelines and scripts for them. I took a break from my second year in college because of all the stress caused by Kate her disappearance, so now I don't have much to do with my education either. Which can be both a curse and a blessing.
Gibraltar, seen from the sea, in no way resembles the Scarrott sketch or
I can't recall if Able Bodied seaman Scarrott ever recalled from which side he saw the resemblance to the rock of Gibraltar.
or the later-produced photograph with the red smears.
The photograph I posted yesterday isn't the one that is claimed to have the red smears, that is the one I have posted below as taken from the SS Prinz Adalbert, there's quite a lot of evidence against it being the iceberg that collided the Titanic as well. (http://www.paullee.com/titanic/Adalbert/index.php)
1643289774970

If you look again at Scarrott's sketch, it is clear that the ice from the one in the press photograph could never have been anywhere near the ship's main deck. As for the photograph and your friend's fine computer effort? It still has two high points... nothing like Gibraltar from Europa Point.
I only stated, from the photographs taken, it's the one who bears the closest resemblance to the iceberg.
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Thanks, Jim!

I think that the Ice on Deck, Pfeifer is suggesting something that I've considered -- that the ice may not have come from above but (perhaps) dislodged from the lower portion of the berg. This would have been by (what Pfeifer called) a "rebound effect."

View attachment 78630

Given the shape and height of the ship, it doesn't seem like the upper decks struck the berg (since there was no damage reported by Boxhall and others...whereas they focused on the interior lower decks).

Boxhall's testimony is the most perplexing to me because (if I am understanding it correctly) he was walking on the starboard side from having tea in his room to the bridge and didn't see the berg as he walked (but described the impact as felt by his feet). His testimony of the iceberg was that it seemed low -- but he isn't even entirely certain that he saw it.

Alfred Shiers seems to indicate a height of the iceberg as roughly the height or the forecastle deck (or even higher). In the British inquiry, it seems like the assumption was that it was higher than the well deck because ice needed to "fall" upon the well deck (in order to explain the presence of ice).



I cannot tell if this is what it looked like approaching the iceberg or, in more likelihood, what it looked like when Titanic moved past it. The Rehorek photo of the iceberg (first publicized in 2000) does seem to have that "look" of Gibraltar from Europa Point. However, even if the higher part of iceberg was the side that Titanic struck, it seems that the "feet" of the "lion couchant" would have been the part struck by the ship with the taller part somewhat further away.

Pfiefer's theory would negate the need for a tall iceberg towering over the well deck and ice "falling" onto it. Why? The ice that was seen in the well deck could have been ice that shifted from the waterline (or even below) that was dislodged rapidly by the speed of Titanic and that ice simply rebounded into it.

During a Boy Scout camping trip during middle school, I was sitting in the back of a pickup truck on someone's ranch. When we left, the truck sped off on a gravel road very close to a brick building. The truck's tire threw a rock from the road and it bounced off the side of the building. It then flew by the truck and hit my friend sitting next to me.

The rock gave my friend a nice knot too. He showed the driver the rock (that was still in the bed of the truck). After the driver knew that he was wasn't badly hurt, he laughed and told him that he could keep the rock.

I just wonder if that ice may have "rebounded" into the well deck.
Hello Chris.
As I pointed out (no pun intended) to Thomas - The Scarrott description does not include two points - just one.
I have taken the liberty of altering your graphic (clumsily) to show what Scarrott and Olliver were describing. It also explains the ice on porthole rims.
Modified Chris
 
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Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
I fear I am not feeling any better at all. Sadly there's not much to do except helping other people out by writing biographies, timelines and scripts for them. I took a break from my second year in college because of all the stress caused by Kate her disappearance, so now I don't have much to do with my education either. Which can be both a curse and a blessing.

I can't recall if Able Bodied seaman Scarrott ever recalled from which side he saw the resemblance to the rock of Gibraltar.

The photograph I posted yesterday isn't the one that is claimed to have the red smears, that is the one I have posted below as taken from the SS Prinz Adalbert, there's quite a lot of evidence against it being the iceberg that collided the Titanic as well. (http://www.paullee.com/titanic/Adalbert/index.php)
View attachment 78658

I only stated, from the photographs taken, it's the one who bears the closest resemblance to the iceberg.
Sorry to hear that, Thomas.

The Scarrott reference to the berg was as follows:
Q361 - UK Inquiry - "Well, 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."
362. (The Commissioner.) Like a lion couchant?
- As you approach Gibraltar - it seemed that shape. The highest point would be on my right, as it appeared to me.

A sailor approaches from the sea.
Gibraltar only looks like the popular photographs of th iceberg when The Rock is viewed from the Algeceiras side... like this
1643292933182
 
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Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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From Alfred Fernand Omont's hand written account, which I just submitted to the site:

"..we went and played Bridge in the "Cafe Parisien". We played on until about 11:40 p.m and then there was a shock. I have crossed the Atlantic thirteen times, and the shock was not a great one, and I thought it was caused by a wave. After about a few minutes I asked the waiter to put down the port - hole, and he did so, and we saw nothing. When the shock had happened, we saw something white through the port - holes, and we saw water on the ports. When the waiter opened the port - hole we saw nothing except a clear night."

Major Peuchen:

"I suppose the ice had fallen inside the rail, probably 4 to 4 1/2 feet. It looked like shell ice, soft ice. But you could see it quite plainly along the bow of the boat."

As well, passengers were seen on the forward well deck kicking around 'chunks of ice', as if they were playing a game of soccer.

We'll probably never know exactly just how much fell onto the forward well deck, but it was obviously significant enough for passengers to take notice and remark on it.
 
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chrismireya

chrismireya

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Sorry to hear that, Thomas.

The Scarrott reference to the berg was as follows:
Q361 - UK Inquiry - "Well, 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."
362. (The Commissioner.) Like a lion couchant?
- As you approach Gibraltar - it seemed that shape. The highest point would be on my right, as it appeared to me.

A sailor approaches from the sea.
Gibraltar only looks like the popular photographs of th iceberg when The Rock is viewed from the Algeceiras side... like this....

Thanks again, Jim.

I only find one minor issue with this approach to the shape of the iceberg though. It's the fact that Mr. Scarrott made (or directed) a sketch of what he saw some time later.

1643323144374

The handwriting (as best as I can tell) says (upper right first):

"Part that seemed like Rock of Gibralter;" and,
"Dark patch is of earthy matter."

"Not more than 100 yds on Starboard beam;" and,
"Gleaming icy sides that reflected ships lights;" and,
"Broken & irregular with many splits: snowy appearance on top."

This seems to have been used for the image in the following May 25th, 1912 "special supplement" edition for The Sphere (newspaper) which quotes details accounted for by Scarrott. The image is drawn by The Sphere's John Duncan and shows what Scarrott supposedly saw after the ship was passing the iceberg.

1643324110818

One of the interesting things is that the image in The Sphere shows "loose ice" in the water next to Titanic. I don't know if this reflects a field of ice or, possibly, ice dislodged from the berg itself. It may have simply referred to something in his recollection about seeing "field ice" after dawn broke.

Very interestingly, Scarrott is quoted by the paper as having said that the ship "broke in two between the third and fourth funnel." He states that the stern then "came down on the water in its normal position" before sinking a minute or two later. He also states that the lights were on "right up until she broke in two." He also accounts for the gunshots as having come from Fifth Officer Harold Lowe.

The details of this account are remarkably clear and fairly consistent with what we know of the sinking since the wreckage was discovered. Moreover, even some of the discrepancies (such as the place where the ship broke apart) can be attributed to vantage or even some very viable theories about the sinking (e.g., Roy Mengot's bottom up theory postulating two breaks -- before third funnel then after).

While I do like the image of the photo of the iceberg taken by Stephan Rehorek and first published in 2000, there is no consensus that it is the actual iceberg. It simply fits (somewhat) the image of a "Rock of Gibraltar" shape. Unfortunately, we cannot accurately determine size from the photo. Moreover, we don't really see what Scarrott described as "having many splits" (but this is difficult to determine from an old black and white photograph anyway).
 
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