Which tugs were used to launch The Titanic on her maiden voyage?


jjimm

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Mar 14, 2013
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Hi, i am Jim and new to this forum, i cannot find any information that tells me which tug boats were used at Southampton to launch The Titanic for her maiden voyage.
It would seem that 5 in total were used but the only one i can find mentioned is Vulcan.

I have recently inherited some original glass photo negatives of ships in Southampton during the 1940s and 50s and one of them has the tug boat TSST Neptune in it, Neptune was built in 1910 and ended her service in 1961.
I showed the photo of Neptune to an elderly gentleman (now in his 80s) who worked for many years at Southampton docks, he was of the opinion that Neptune was used to launch the Titanic that day and he said that Neptune was the very last steam Tug Boat to be used in Southampton.

Any information on this would be greatly appreciated and i look forward to hearing from other users of this great forum.

Kindest regards, Jim. From Poole.
 
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Doug Criner

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When Titanic was departing Southampton, the New York broke its moorings and nearly collided wilth Titanic. In the ensuing bedlum, all available tugs turned to the two ships, narrowly avoiding disaster.
 

jjimm

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Mar 14, 2013
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Hi Doug,
thanks for adding to my question so quickly and i am sure what you say will be correct, however my real question should perhaps have been whether TSST Neptune was one of the original 5 tugs allocated to assist the titanic on that day?

Best Regards, Jim.
 
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Rob Lawes

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Hi Jim,

As far as I can tell the tugs used to assist Titanic from her berth in Southampton were Albert Edward, Hercules, Vulcan, Ajax, Hector and Neptune. At least two of these tugs (Vulcan and Hector) were made into models for the James Cameron film Titanic.

If the Neptune was the same tug as your Neptune I couldn't say but it was made in part for the film.

The models can be seen at this website

Model Gallery 1

I hope that helps.
 
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jjimm

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Mar 14, 2013
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Hi Rob,

Thanks for that information, i have really struggled to get such details on the net.
I am sure that my Neptune is the same tug because the dates are exactly right and i look forward to any other information that can be supplied by members.

Good man, thankyou! Regatds, Jim.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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There's a short article about the tugs right here on ET:
The tugs at Titanic's Departure by John P. Eaton :: Voyage

Father Browne, who travelled on the Titanic only as far as Queenstown, took two very clear photos from an upper deck of Neptune and Hector nudging the Titanic's bow on that day to avoid the near-collison with the New York. One is a very close view with Neptune in the foreground, her name and many other details clearly visible - ideal for comparison with the plates you have.
 

jjimm

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Mar 14, 2013
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Thanks Bob,

The picture confirms that the plates i have are of the very same Neptune. Neptune one was retired in 1904 and Neptune two launched in 1910 so the dates are exactly right.
The photos i have had professionally printed are of the Neptune two with Queen Mary and Capetown Castle in Southampton waters.
I don't know if it is possible to post photos on this forum but if it is i don't know how to? If anyone can tell me how to attach photos i am happy to give it a go.

My other question was can anybody confirm that Neptune two was the last ever used steam tug in Southampton, the old chap that was shown the photos says that he worked on Neptune and insists that it was the last steam tug used.

If anyone knows of any links that help to confirm this information it would be much appreciated.

Once again thankyou all for your kind help and a special thankyou to Bob for the two links, they were a great help.

Kindest regards, Jim.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Glad to help, Jim. To post an image you might need first to go to your settings page for ET (link is top right of this page) and fiddle with the options. In 'general settings - miscellaneous options' you need to select 'standard editor with extra formatting controls'. With that setting you should now have a row of icons above your 'quick reply' window, and the third from the right is for inserting images. This opens a small window in which you can specify the name and location of an image file on your computer (make sure the option switch at the top of the small window is set to 'from computer' rather than 'from url').
 

Bob Godfrey

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Was Neptune the last of Southampton's steam tugs? Depends how you define a tug. The steam tug/tender Calshott was built in 1929 and served at Southampton until 1964, still under steam power. After that it was sold, converted to diesel and continued working elsewhere till 1986. Calshott is now back in Soton on display. It beats Neptune's record for steam by 3 years, unless as a tug/tender it's disqualified!

2910390_1a4d473d.jpg
 

jjimm

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Mar 14, 2013
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Hi again Bob,

Now you have got me wondering? I think your question is very interesting and i would hope somebody would know the answer.

Neptune two is listed as TSST and Calshot as TSS T/T, i assume that the difference in size and multiple use of Calshot, ie as a tender, could really open my original question for scrutiny.

I can only assume that the old gent was refering to tug boat and not tug tender, it will be interesting to hear other members views because we are perhaps splitting hairs now.
All your fault of course, hehe.

I look forward to an interesting debate now and really do hope we find the answer.

Thanks again for the info M8.
 

jjimm

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Mar 14, 2013
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You will be lucky, looked on ebay yesterday and they cost hundreds. And no, i can't buy you one. Hehe.
 

jjimm

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Mar 14, 2013
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neptune0.jpg

I have added a photo for you Bob, can you confirm that this is the one?

Send me an email address and i will send you some very nice additional pictures.

Cheers M8, regards, Jim.


Sorry M8. i couldn't resist this one. Hehe!

neptune0.jpg
 

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