Where Was Barrett

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Oct 28, 2000
If anyone has the know-how to do it...perhaps this debate should be moved to a thread of its own entitled, "Where Was Barrett?"


Cal and I are reasonably good e-friends. My first thought was that our friendship was worth more than a drawn-out affair on this forum. Then, I decided that this is a subject which needs airing. As you read this keep in mind that Cal and I are presenting points of view backed up by bits and pieces of testimony. It is just as possible that both of us are wrong as it is that either of us is correct.


One aspect of this debate on which we apparently agree is that somebody was bending the truth to protect White Star and/or British national pride. Cal thinks it was Beauchamp who was brought in to protect the sainted image of the engineers as men who stayed at their posts to the end. He sees Barrett’s testimony as indicating that engineers like Hesketh and Shepherd abandoned their posts in the crisis.

I see Barrett as the culprit. In my view his testimony was carefully “bent” to deliberately block public knowledge of the relative smallness of ice damage. It is Barrett’s testimony alone that extends through all three holds, boiler room #6, and into boiler room #5. Even to laymen, such massive damage and flooding is obviously enough to doom the ship. And, creating that assumption in the public mind was the purpose of presenting Barrett to Senator Smith almost as a gift. The senator rose to the bait and put Barrett’s erroneous version of events on the public record. That gave the BOT inquiry carte blanche to use Barrett as the cornerstone of its blatantly false Final Report.

I believe that Cal and I also agree that neither man lied per se. If the truth was bent, it was not either man’s doing so much as machinations of others in more official roles.


To understand why Barrett must be wrong we have to start with the actual damage to Titanic. The bulk of the testimony refutes Barrett’s claim of catastrophic flooding in boiler room #6.

Olliver was very specific that the rumbling stopped before the iceberg got to the bridge wing. Boxhall said the impact appeared to be in the “bluff of the bow.” These two statements support each other and indicate that the berg did its mischief forward of bulkhead D.

Lightoller’s U.S. testimony to Senator Burton spoke to the actual extent of the damage. In the following dialogue Lightoller confirms the impressions of Boxhall and Olliver. Although probably not his purpose, Lightoller also refutes Barrett’s version of events.

MR. LIGHTOLLER: ...I judge No. 1, of which I have no proof, was pierced, and No. 2, and I should think No. 3.

SENATOR BURTON: Do you think No. 4 was pierced?

MR. LIGHTOLLER: There is no No.4. No.4 is No. 6 stokehold. You next come to No. 6 stokehold.

SENATOR BURTON: Was that pierced, do you think?

MR. LIGHTOLLER: No, sir, I do not.

SENATOR BURTON: So the injury was confined, in your judgment, to the first three compartments?


There is more testimony that speaks to this point, although it is hearsay. Lamp trimmer Hemming was asleep when the ship’s joiner, John Hutchinson, burst into the room awakening him. Hemming recalled the joiner’s words for the U.S. inquiry:

MR. HEMMING: ...Then the joiner came in and he said, “If I were you, I would turn out, you fellows. She is making water, one-two-three, and the racket court is getting filled up.

“One-two-three” was not a reference to the speed of the flooding as has so often been misinterpreted. Rather, the joiner meant that holds #1, #2, and #3 were flooding. This is confirmed by the location of the racket court on G deck in the same watertight compartment as hold #3. It is significant that Hutchinson did not mention boiler room #6.

The size and location of the ice damage plays a direct role on the fate of the ship. The physical damage supported by the testimony of Olliver, Boxhall, Hemming, and Lightoller was potentially embarrassing to more than just White Star. It raised serious questions about the basic design and construction of the ship. And, it brought into question the quality of the best British rolled steel.

Let me say it here for the record: The physical damage done by the iceberg to Titanic was not sufficient to cause the ship to sink. No matter how big or small, holes in the hull forward of bulkhead D should in theory have been survivable. Yet Titanic most certainly sank. If it were not for Barrett’s confused testimony and the erroneous conclusions of the BOT Final Report the public might have demanded answers...

1. What design flaws made Titanic vulnerable to damage in the bow?

2. Was the construction adequate for a ship of that size?

3. Was British steel of the vaunted quality claimed? Or did it have some latent problems that allowed Titanic to sink?

4. Did Captain Smith do anything to exacerbate the situation and cause Titanic to sink sooner than it might have, thereby potentially increasing the loss of life?

None of these questions were asked in public debate. I am of the opinion that Lord Mersey’s sub rosa mandate in the BOT inquiry was to hide any and all evidence that Titanic had design flaws, that it’s steel was inadequate, or that it broke apart. That’s why Barrett’s testimony was so important. He alone gave Mersey the “facts” needed to claim Titanic sank intact, a myth we have seen exploded by the physical evidence on the bottom of the Atlantic.


As to the open bunker doors in hold #3, I know this is theoretically contrary to IMM/White Star regulations. I am also well aware that men follow regulations only when it is convenient to do so. (Otherwise, why would motorists speed on freeways?)

Cal has pointed out the hot, dusty work done in the stokeholds of a ship like Titanic. Cooling off was so necessary for survival of the “black gang” that ships were legally mandated to provide the men space on the uppermost deck for the purpose. On earlier ships this meant climbing a few decks out of the boiler rooms. Titanic was huge in every respect, including the vertical distance between the tank top and the space reserved on the boat deck for cooling stokers. Not only that, but the boat deck was swept by a sub-freezing 22 knot ship’s wind.

Contrast that to the cool and quiet environment of an empty bunker. The perimeter of this space was the outside shell plating of Titanic. Those plates were exposed to sea water, so the air temperature in the bunker was probably in the low 40 degree (f) range. Not only was the bunker cool, but there was no wind blowing. And, best of all, you could cool off there without climbing 8 stories to the boat deck. Knowing what I do of human nature, I can suspect where most “black gang” members chose to escape the heat of the furnaces that night–regulations or not.

Something else, the IMM/White Star regulations on bunker doors referred to the types of doors found on the bunkers inside of the stokeholds. These were basically steel plates on hinges. The doors in the firemen’s vestibule were large, watertight man-doors with dogs, quite different from the plate doors on the stokehold bunkers.

However, the IMM/White Star rulebook does present us with a possible reason for Barrett’s deliberately placing himself in the wrong location. He may have feared that by going into that bunker to cool off..and having left that door open..he could have contributed to the loss of the ship.

In his U.S. testimony, Barrett told Senator Smith, “A bell rang...We sang out shut the doors and there was a crash just as we sung out. The water came through the ship’s side. The engineer and I jumped to the next section....” While making that statement the transcription says he indicated the “ash doors to the furnaces.”

There is a problem with his account–Murdoch’s engine orders.

The first order sent down was ASTERN FULL. If accomplished, this would have required full steam from the boilers. Closing the “ash doors” (dampers) would not be indicated. Beyond that, Barrett says the order to close the dampers came before impact while testimony from Beauchamp was that the order to closed the dampers came after impact in the same time frame as the ALL STOP order to the engines. Testimony from Olliver and Scott confirms that ALL STOP was sent after the iceberg impact.

The bell heard by Barrett was most likely part of the cataract movements which controlled the descent of the two doors in the firemen’s vestibule. Murdoch operated the watertight door switch prior to impact per Olliver. What then were “the doors”? If not the dampers, what? There are only two other doors which needed closing that night–the manual watertight doors to the bunkers in hold #3.

Fear is a powerful motivator, especially when there are 1,500 deaths associated with it. I submit that if Barrett was trying to hide anything it was that he left the door open to the starboard bunker of hold #3. He probably gave this version of events in the (now lost) private depositions taken from the crew upon their return to Britain. Barrett’s only goal would have been to protect himself and not to hide any problems with construction of Titanic, its steel, or the final breakup. He was just saving his own skin with what seemed a “white lie.”

Furthermore, I suggest that other than being untruthful about his location at the moment of impact Barrett described events with reasonable accuracy.

Beauchamp’s testimony about the order of events–closing of the watertight doors, stoker alarms, etc.–is reinforced by testimony of Olliver, Boxhall, Scott, and Dillon. Barrett’s version differs with all of those witnesses.


Cal talks about men abandoning their posts. I can’t find even a hint of that in any of Beauchamp’s testimony. Nor do I see that implied in Barrett’s–if boiler room #6 was opened by the iceberg. Nobody is abandoning his duty by escaping from a rapidly flooding compartment. So, I cannot see that either man’s testimony was particularly damaging or supportive to the White Star Lines.

Also, Cal accused Beauchamp of “bending the truth.” Yet his claim to have worked in stokehold #10 is confirmed by Barrett’s testimony. Does this mean that Barrett lied to protect Beauchamp’s lie? I doubt it.

As to who gave what orders, I can only speak to shutting the dampers. Barrett claimed to have yelled to shut them and Beauchamp said the leading stoker yelled to shut them. In Beauchamp’s world, Barrett was the leading stoker. There are few hints as to who issued other orders.


Cal’s long description of what it took to draw the fires should be put in a more accessible location on this forum. He is correct that it was a prodigious effort.

And, Cal is correct that no stoker would have undertaken such an effort without a direct order from an engineering officer. The fact that Beauchamp raked his fires is de facto proof that at least one engineer was present in boiler room #6 during the first minutes after the accident. And, if I am correct, Hesketh would have been at the forward end of boiler room #6 after scampering beneath the closing watertight door from the firemen’s vestibule. Barrett said so.


Cal commented on there being no point in drawing the fires without releasing the steam. He also said that, “the steam did not start blowing off until later.” I must agree on both counts based on Beauchamp’s testimony. It took about 15 minutes to get the fires drawn, then he stood around before being sent on deck. If the last engineer out of the compartment pulled the safety discharge, that would have occurred “later” as Cal said.

I’m not sure why Cal thinks 8 to 10 men were “left” in boiler room #6. Beauchamp’s testimony is quite clear that they were 0.discharged on deck from that compartment after drawing the fires. And, there are some anecdotal accounts of this group of stokers appearing on deck. Nobody was “left” in boiler room #6. They all got out in an orderly fashion.

If the side of boiler room #6 had opened as Barrett described, there would have been no mystery as to the condition of that compartment. No one would have doubted it was flooded. The only question would have been the depth of the water. Two men would not have been required to look down a ladder to ascertain the depth of flooding. Why would Barrett and Shepherd been sent on such a simple errand? And, why would they have been sent by Hesketh who, according to Barrett, also escaped from the catastrophic flooding of boiler room #6?

Barrett said he was sent back into #6 about ten minutes later, not within a minute or two. His answer to BOT questions 1936 to 1938 make that clear:

1936 That is a rise of six feet since you left it?

Mr. Barrett: Yes.

1937 (The Commissioner) How Long?

Mr. Barrett: It was not a quarter of an hour, just on 10 minutes.

1938 (The Solicitor General) You told us you got as quickly as you could into No. 5?

Mr. Barrett: Yes.

So it would seem that Barrett spent at least 10 minutes in boiler room #5 before he and Shepherd were sent back into #6 by engineer Hesketh. And, if those men had been involved in the raking down of the furnaces, that was 10 minutes after 20 minutes of hard labor. We are now looking at Barrett and Shepherd returning to boiler room #6 some 30 minutes after the accident, not within a minute or two.

According to Barrett, Hesketh was one of the men who ducked beneath the closing automatic watertight door. If so, he knew the condition of boiler room #6. As I have stated, he would not have sent two men back into that compartment if he thought it had been inundated by the accident. However, if he had been there for up to 20 minutes while the fires were raked and knew the compartment was dry, then Hesketh’s orders to Shepherd and Barrett begin to make sense.

Hesketh quite obviously still had not gotten the word about boiler room #6 when Hendrickson reported the flooding of the firemen’s tunnel to him. As I pointed out in an earlier post, Hesketh would not have requested that Hendrickson take oil lamps to a known flooded compartment. But, if Hesketh still believed it to be dry, he would have sent lamps to boiler room #6–because he had just sent two men there to accomplish some work.

Also, Hesketh does not seem to have reacted with alarm to word from Hendrickson that the firemen’s tunnel was flooding. Water entering the ship would take precedence over oil lamps, if only long enough to get full details. However, Hesketh seems to have brushed off that flooding and been more concerned with lamps for the dark boiler rooms. This suggests that Hesketh already suspected the tunnel was flooded, a suspicion logical enough for someone who had seen hold #3 broken open by an iceberg and water flow into the firemen’s vestibule.

By the way, Hesketh was on E deck because the watertight doors remained closed. He had to go up and over the bulkheads to move from compartment to compartment. His mission was probably to find loitering stokers and trimmers to send for lamps.


Working on my chronology involves lots of electronic cutting and pasting of entries. It is extremely easy to lose sight of the “big picture,” so at regular intervals I print out a hard copy to read. Sometimes the things I find are almost hair-raising.

For instance the sojourn of passenger Norman Chambers. After the accident he went on deck to learn what had happened. He found things normal everywhere, so went below. The passenger stairway leading the to squash court took him as deep into the ship as he could go. This stairway also served the post office, so Chambers found himself looking in on the men trying to rescue the mail sacks. A contingent of ship’s officers (he could not identify who) was there as well. As they left, one of those officers remarked to another officer that the ship was no longer making water. The timing of this remark is after the discovery of the flooding in the firemen’s tunnel and the 8 feet of water in boiler room #6.

Chambers would not have made up such a remark. It seems preposterous in view of the fact that the ship foundered only a few hours later. The very impossibility of Titanic healing itself is what makes this remark believable–it’s too strange to be fiction. Surprisingly, it is also exactly what you would expect if boiler room #6 and the tunnel suddenly started taking on water not from outside the ship, but from within hold #3. In effect, the water inside the ship would “drain” away from hold #3 as it moved aft into boiler room #6 and forward down the tunnel and up the spiral staircase. For a few minutes the water level in hold #3 (and the post office) would not rise and might even have dropped. It would, indeed, have appeared as if Titanic had stopped making water.

Chambers could not identify the officers. Stewardess Annie Robinson was wandering about at the same time. She reported seeing Captain Smith and Purser McElroy going toward the mail room.


As to Boxhall’s two trips forward, I brought him up to show that you cannot consider events in isolation. Barrett’s story impinges upon Boxhall’s activities. If what he said is true, then the fourth officer was either a liar or super-hero. If Beauchamp was telling the truth, however, Boxhall has the time needed for his two visits forward. Ten minutes is all the time available in the conventional chronology which has boiler room #6 flooded to 8 feet by then. However, if you add in the 15 minutes Beauchamp needed to pull down the fires, and the minutes he stood around, and the 10 minutes Barrett was in #5 after leaving #6...then you have roughly a half hour of time for Boxhall’s two trips. That’s a realistic situation.

A key test of any historical research is, “does it allow for what really happened or not?” Beauchamp’s testimony allows for other events which actually took place outside boiler room #6 while Barrett’s does not. If anyone “bent” the truth, it was a frightened Barrett who was trying to protect himself.


This discussion has been of great benefit to me. I have come to realize that my perception of the flooding of boiler room #6 has not been correct. Questions have been raised in my mind that will require some sleuthing to answer.

One final comment in case you missed it: yes I did say that the iceberg damage did not sink Titanic, or at least not by itself. But, that is the topic of another thread.

-- David G. Brown
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
In the Watertight Doors thread, David Brown suggested: If anyone has the know-how to do it...perhaps this debate should be moved to a thread of its own entitled, "Where Was Barrett?"

Since one cannot move a post to a thread that doesn't exist, I've started a new one. Seems that David and Cal have opened up yet another can of worms...which is what I've come to expect for a forum where quite a few of the members are on the very cutting edge of Titanic research.

Per David's request, his latest post has been moved here.

Ladies and gentlemen, the floor is open!

Cal Haines

Nov 20, 2000
Tucson, AZ USA
Hi David,

I'm confident that we can have a nice debate without resorting to tossing chunks of coal about...

For those just joining us, here is a link to my reply to David & Yuri's earlier messages: https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/cgi-bin/discus/show.cgi?tpc=5664&post=99453#POST99453

Here link to my 2001 thread Boiler Room Damage & Flooding Testimony, which summarizes and excerpts the relevant testimony: https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/cgi-bin/discus/show.cgi?tpc=5919&post=20649#POST20649

I think it would be best if the moderator/administrator rename this thread something like "Boiler Room Flooding - Barrett vs. Beauchamp", so that it will be easier to find down the road.

To summarize where we are:

The thesis of David's book Last Log of the Titanic includes the idea that Boiler Room #6 (BR#6) was not fatally damaged as a result of the collision with the iceberg, but that an attempt to continue to sail Titanic after the collision resulted in a failure that flooded the boiler room and doomed Titanic and many aboard her. David relies heavily on the testimony of Fireman Beauchamp to support his thesis.

My position is that BR#6 flooded very rapidly and that Titanic was doomed from the moment of collision. This is the conclusion that the BOT inquiry reached in 1912. The testimony of Leading Firemen Barrett and Hendrickson support my version.

To my way of thinking, the Barrett/Hendrickson version cannot be reconciled with that of Beauchamp. Somebody is very confused at the least.

Before I press on, it would be nice to hear from some of the rest of "yous guys", including Yuri, Cap'n Erik and Mike S.. Don't let David and I have all the fun.

I discovered something today that has put a big hole in my conspiracy theory and probably doesn't help David's either. Barrett testified first at the BOT Inquiry (May 7 & 8). He returned to New York aboard Olympic where his statement was taken by Senator Smith on May 25. Smith was apparently aboard for the purpose of taking the statement of Captain Haddock. According to Barrett's bio here at ET: ...Haddock mentioned that one of his stokers had been aboard Titanic, and Smith then went down to the engine room to talk with Barrett [https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/bio/c/e/barrett_f.shtml]. Since Beauchamp testified before Barrett, he wasn't put on solely for purposes of controlling damage to White Star and British Pride done by Barrett, as I had so grandly suggested. And given the fact that White Star gave Barrett a job after his BOT testimony, they can hardly have been sore with him for sullying the memory of heroic engineers. There are no ambiguous "door" references in Barrett's BOT testimony.

Regarding Barrett using the reserve coal bunker to cool off: Titanic's stokeholds were equipped with large fans that had discharges just above the level of the bunker doors. For every pound of coal burned about 130 cubic feet of air is required. That means that the fans in boiler room #6 had to supply about 150,000 cubic feet of air per hour, enough to replace the air in the stokeholds at least 3 times per hour, just to keep up with combustion. The air coming out of the ducts was close to freezing that night, I think all that Barrett would need to do to cool down was step under one of the fan ducts.

Well, I'm about out of time for today and I haven't been able to respond to all of David's points. However, David, it does seem as if your last post, above, largely restates things that I have already responded to.

David, would you please expand on two items: 1) why you think Barrett's testimony is internally inconsistent, and 2) the basis for your statement that Barrett is describing the vestibule forward of BR#6 "exactly" rather than BR#6 itself.

Jul 14, 2000
David and Cal,

Great discussion! Always enjoyable, and educational, to hear others' ideas. Especially on a part of the accident that is possibly the most important regarding the final understanding of what 'really sank Titanic'.

So, in reply to Cal's response:

You make a good point. Why would Barrett and Hesketh flee BR6 if the damage wasn't catastrophic?
I can only surmise that either a: they DID think it was catastrophic and fled as a reaction to save their lives.
Or b: They had some other reason to quickly leave their station and go back to BR5.

The testimony reads to me as if they fled out of emergency, that is not neccessarily panicked, but still ran away from the danger.
However, I'm open minded enough to consider the possibility that they may have took off to BR5 as part of their duty. But how could an sprung hull in BR6 require them to go into BR5. Unless they were purposely following the damage aft to see how far it continued. Or trying to report to their superior that BR6 was damaged, or maybe even to reach a closer escape ladder to higher decks.

Whatever the reason, fear, or duty, I still think that it took them more than 10 minutes from impact to make it into BR5, be ordered to stand by stations, climb up to E deck, go forward and then try to enter BR6 from the top of the escape.

Nope, not quite ready to go there yet.
But lets move on.
(I REALLY, REALLY need a copy of those plans we had laid out in Topeka about now!!!!)

And even if for argument sake they DID travel all that way in less than 10 minutes, or even in 1-2 minutes as was suggested earlier, WHERE WERE THE REST OF THE BR6 GANG??? Eight to 10 men can't panic, rush forward up the firemen's tunnel, or dart up the vestible escape to E deck and then vanish in less than 10 minutes. Can they?? Its my understanding that the Boiler Rooms were around three decks high or about 30 - 40 feet high. (Like a high school gym) How can those men slosh through the rapidly rising, spraying, water, and climb a ladder with wet, coal dusted hands and boots so quickly. And vanish from the E deck corridore without making a huge mess and leaving tracks everywhere down the aisle? I just don't get it. If the men fled when Barrett and Hesketh did, then why didn't they all run into each other at E deck?

No, I speculate, that for some reason, the men either a: didn't immediately go up the escape to E deck, or they did and Barrett missed them because he came along much later. More than 10 minutes later I'll add.

*****There is a big storm approaching my house now, and the lightning is flashing close by. I need to post this message and turn off the computer before the power starts to flicker. I'll continue it as soon as I can. SORRY GUYS!"

Oct 28, 2000
With limited time at my disposal a quick answer to Cal's two questions.

Barrett's testimony is of a rapid escape horizontally to another compartment. Horizontal escapes are not the preferred way to escape flooding in any ship other than a submarine. The preferred method is up and out. Climbing extends the time your head is above rising water while running horizontally does not. Barrett would have been much more likely to choose an escape stairway to Scotland Road if he were in boiler room #6 than to have scuttled under a closing watertight door. Proof--that's what he did when that surge of water came through the boilers in boiler room #5.

I mention submarine for a reason. There was no escape upward from the bunker of hold #3. In that sense it was like a submarine. Once inside the vestibule Barrett was already moving rapidly in a horizontal direction. He would not have stopped to climb the escape ladder when an open door to boiler room #6 was available directly in his path of flight. His own momentum would have propelled him through the vestibule and into #6.

Barrett's testimony is of a rapid escape, not one of running across half the breadth of the ship. His description of the water places him outboard, not on the centerline. (How far outboard can be debated, so I'll just say "outboard.") The deisgn of the bunker/vestibule makes for a straight-line escape which fits his description. The layout of the boiler room with the necessity of moving across the beam and then down a short tunnel to the watertight door does not.

The internal inconsistency of his testimony involves going back into a space he already knew was flooded. It is made doubly inconsistent by the order coming from someone who also saw what appeared to be catastrophic flooding. And triply inconsistent by the fact that a third man with personal knowledge of the flooding led Barrett (Shepherd being the senior man as an engineer) back into the known flooded compartment. This story...pardon the pun...simply does not hold water.

I could "buy" that Barrett might have been sent back to ascertain the depth of the flooding. But, that would have been a one man mission. The fact that he was sent with an engineer, Shepherd, indicates the purpose of re-entering #6 was to do some sort of work. From Barrett's testimony and other indications, the engineers in #5 were working on pumping (dewatering or ballast) at the time. After the abandoned trip into #6 Barrett opened the manhole that later claimed Shepherd's leg. This is yet another indication on efforts to either pump water overboard or shift ballast (or check on the status of ballast tanks beneath the tank top deck, an need related to pumping).

The context of the Shepherd/Barrett trip is within that of pumping. And, the indication from events in #5 is that this work was being done at the lowest level and not high in the compartment. There are many reasons Shepherd and Barrett could have been sent into #6, but the most logical would be a job arising from events in #5 from where they were dispatched.

In my view, the conventional story as Cal espouses boils down to a man who knew that #6 was flooded sending two other men who also knew that #6 was flooded into #6 to do work at a level below that of the waterlevel of the flooding that all three had seen taking place. To me, that's not logical.

Logical is that Barrett escaped into #6 from the bunker of hold #3. He helped pull down the fires in #6 and then went into #5 with his engineer, Shepherd. After about 10 minutes in #5 he was dispactched back into #6 with Shepherd (remember, #6 was "their" boiler room) to make some adjustment on pumps, suction valves, etc. At that point, they discovered the flooding and returned to report it. These are the actions of real men in an emergency.

Note that I never said that boiler room #6 was not taking on water while the fires were being pulled down. If I am correct about Barrett's whereabouts, then water was pouring from a fire hose-size opening in a seam across bulkhead #6 in the forward starboard bunker. And, this matches Beauchamp's testimony that water was running over the stoker plates before he was discharged on deck from #6.

Finally, Cal is absolutely correct that his is a different version of things from my book, "Last Log." Frankly, the four plus years of reasearch and discussion on this site have given me a greater insight into Titanic than I had while writing that book. My knowledge has grown wider and deeper. And, I am quite willing to admit when I am wrong, correct the matter, and go forward. That's the necessary result of research.

-- David G. Brown

Cal Haines

Nov 20, 2000
Tucson, AZ USA
Hi Yuri,

I don't think Barrett has to hang out in BR#5 for ten minutes in order to miss the fleeing firemen and trimmers from BR#6. All that is necessary for Barrett to miss them is that there be just enough time for ten men to make it up the ladders before Barrett starts back down again. If Barrett starts up say 30 seconds after the last man in BR#6 starts up, they could miss. Perhaps the men from BR#6 didn't exit at E-deck, but continued up the ladder to A-deck. That would explain the lack of mess on E-deck. And the men fleeing up the ladder from BR#6 would have that extra adrenaline boost that Barrett would have already used up. I would buy a 2 to 3 minute delay between the collision and Barrett's return, but not 10. I'm sure it seemed like ten minutes to Barrett, but I bet it was much less.

This drawing has the best view of the escape ladders that I know of:

You can find some pretty good BR 1&2 plans here:
(the plans are pretty large, right click the link and download them to view)

Jul 14, 2000
Great links! Thanks, I'd seen them before, but had forgotten all about where they were. Those diagrams of the Boiler Rooms are a tremendous help.

I'm going to need a little time to prepare a clearer post. There are several angles I'm considering, and I need time to keep rambling down the different rabbit trails of "what if's" in my mind before I put thought to keyboard.
So hopefully I can focus on a few key points and highlights that can be considered in an organized fashion.

Dave, I loved, and still read, Last Log. Always thought provoking with each subsequent visit.
But I'm having trouble following your descriptions of Barrett's alleged movements and whereabouts at the time of impact and afterward.
I wish you could lay it out graphically of chronologically for me.

Back soon.

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