Will those who perished on the sea


Jan 29, 2001
1,282
16
221
...be recovered once more??

The newspaper(s) reported today, that a submarine which penetrated PEARL HARBOR in December 1941 has been found. Some of you may recall that Dr. Ballard also sought to *discover* the same sub...however his efforts went in vain.

The kicker...there may be *two* bodies entombed in the wreck of this casualty of WAR. Will it be recovered? Will the salvagers be labeled graverobbers? Will the knowledge gained (If salvaged) be a furthur inclusion for future
generations? What will become of the Japanese crew members remains, whom knowing of their *ill-fated* trip, nonetheless, opted to lay their lives down, thereby honoring their homeland?
Will they receive full Military honors, as with those remains recovered from U.S.N. MONITER?

Who is to judge whether it is right or it is wrong to recover the remains and or the effects of those who met peril on the sea??

Who indeed?

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
5,045
318
353
It's up to the Japanese. By international law, warships belong to the nation that owned them, regardless of where they are found. The remains will be dealt with as Japanese tradition requires. Anybody messing with the wreck will be in big trouble.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,614
692
483
Easley South Carolina
>>Who is to judge whether it is right or it is wrong to recover the remains and or the effects of those who met peril on the sea??<<

As Dave indicated, it would be for the Japanese government to judge. I would put it to you that if anyone has a problem with that, take it up with them.

Regarding the disposition of the remains if/when recovered, I would hope that they get the full military honours they deserve. They may have been on the losing side, but they gave their fullest measure of devotion to their country to the point of sacrificing their lives. It's a concept I understand and respect.
 
May 9, 2001
741
14
171
The men in the sub knew that they were placing themselves in harms way by going on that mission. These men died doing their duty at a time of war. Considering that they died on foriegn soil, I would think it very appropriate that any human remains found to be recovered and repatriated to Japan for final burial, if that is what the people of Japan choose to do.

In comparing the destiny of the remains in this submarine to the justification of removing personal items from the wreck of Titanic is an apples to oranges comparison. IMHO.

If it were possible at the time (1912), to recover all or some of the bodies from the wreckage of Titanic, then I'm sure it would have been done. Recovering remains after a tragedy is nothing new. But once it was understood that there was no way for any recovery to take place, then the only thing to do is to declare that wrecksite as the final resting place for those that were lost and unrecovered.

Yuri
 

Eric Paddon

Member
Jun 4, 2002
567
44
193
"In comparing the destiny of the remains in this submarine to the justification of removing personal items from the wreck of Titanic is an apples to oranges comparison. IMHO."

The apples and oranges aspect of comparison with regard to the Titanic is that no human remains have *ever* been disturbed to facilitate the recovery of a single artifact from the Titanic.

Recovery of the midget sub serves the same purpose as recovery of Titanic artifacts: The contribution to historical knowledge and understanding. And those who condemn artifact recovery from the Titanic IMO have no choice but to condemn any attempted recovery of the midget sub, or the Monitor etc. to remain consistent.
 
Jan 29, 2001
1,282
16
221
Yuri:

So then when the technology does become available
is it then considered "tuff luck"?

The HUNLEY remains were, estimated to have been covered with bottom sediment some 20 yrs. after her loss, thus preserving her remains human and et al.

"All eight men were found inside the submarine, their bones remarkably well preserved in the mud that filled their iron coffin from stem to stern. Even their brains, though shrunken, remain, and will help reveal the cause of death."
__________________________________________________

And like you stated to such effect, "It is that 12,500 feet of water that keeps us seperated."

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,614
692
483
Easley South Carolina
>>The apples and oranges aspect of comparison with regard to the Titanic is that no human remains have *ever* been disturbed to facilitate the recovery of a single artifact from the Titanic.<<

That's because there are no remains to recover. The sea has taken them all. However, that does not make it any less the grave of those who went down with the ship though. We might want to keep that in mind.

I don't have any special passions regarding the salvage issue in and of itself. I'm all for anything that will advance the cause of scientific investigation into the wreck itself, especially as it illuminates our understanding of the causes of the sinking as well as sheds light on the characteristics of the ship herself, especially the similarities and differences between the Titanic and the Olympic.

I'm not entirely convinced that bringing up common personal effects serves a very useful perpose though. A teacup, after all, is a teacup. There's nothing especially remarkable about that.

It may be a moot point anyway. Salvage is a good way to turn a large fortune into a very small one, which lesson RMSTI has learned the hard way.

Dave Gittins has asked if RMSTI has ever shown a profit.

Have they?

I'd like to see an answer to that one myself. They may have at first, but overall, it would appear that the whole enterprise has been a failure. Any potential salvors who step up to the plate if RMSTI bows out would have to be aware of that. So would any potential investor. This just might do more to immunize the wreck against salvage then any amount of arguements we may exchange here.

We'll see soon enough.
 
Jan 29, 2001
1,282
16
221
Michael H:

Your "there are no remains to recover" seems a bit of fore-conclusion...

Who is to say that if for instance the bow section of TITANIC was recovered intact, as was the HUNLEY, that considering the bow section penetrated 60' into the sea bottom, that there would not be human remains therin? You may recall that NAUTILE'S r.o.v., ROBIN attempted a "look and sea" into TITANIC'S bunker hatch, only to be negated by debris and mud!

In regards to the ships artifacts, AH! but indeed, as a result of salvage, we did learn of a china pattern exclusive to TITANIC.

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,614
692
483
Easley South Carolina
>>Your "there are no remains to recover" seems a bit of fore-conclusion... <<

Show me some remains and I'll believe it. Given the acidic environment and ninty years for that and the critters to do their work, it is highly unlikely that any remains are there to be found anywhere.

Of course, if any are, it sure closes the debate about the wreck being a gravesite, doesn't it?

As to "who's to say", try the scientists qualified in the appropriate diciplines! They don't pretend to be speaking ex cathedra but until firm evidence is produced to the conterary, I'll go with it. Note that Cameron's last expedition went further into the wreck then anybody and didn't find so much as a bone.

BTW, there is a question pending as to whether RMSTI has ever shown a profit. Would you care to have a go at it?
 
May 9, 2001
741
14
171
A china pattern exclusive to Titanic?? Well stop the presses! In my opinion, that is hardly enough of an acheivement to justify the money, man hours, and controversy that has gone into salvaging the items from Titanic.

Look this all goes back to the issue of burial at sea. Is it really a legitimate final resting place? My opinion is a very strong YES. And the only people with authority over the disturbance of those graves at sea are the family of the dead, and the government to which they belonged. Period. Not a salvage company, not a tourist expedition, not a movie company.

Those people who died on Titanic were considered buried at sea. That's just the same as if they were buried in Fairview cemetary. And I don't see any salvage company digging around out there do I. Why? Because they'd be arrested and charged with ghoulish larceny.

There IS a difference between recovery and larceny.

Humbly,
Yuri
 
Jan 29, 2001
1,282
16
221
Mr. Singleton:

So again you will makle an exception to your "decree" in regards to the identification of the "UNKNOW CHILD" at your mentioned FAIRVIEW CEMETARY. Oh, because it was done legimately according to the law? Why then did not Judge Clarke override RMSTI (Titanic Ventures) original salvage claim? Tell me, can you?

BTW, what does the money and man hours have to do with you? I don't see your name amongst those of said Co. backers.

As far as this bitter controversy goes and the family having the last word, well yes of course...but then you must consider all of the survivors/families not merely your Eva Harts. What about Edith Haisman and her family, and Eleanor Shuman, or for that matter L. Beesly's ancestors? (SEE: N.Y. TIMES article "The Great Escape).

Yes indeed we must consider *ALL* the parties involved when amending an athourization of sort.

I don't think you have the slighest of clue
as to where "WE DRAW THE LINE". Do you?

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 

Eric Paddon

Member
Jun 4, 2002
567
44
193
Amen to the fact that if the issue of survivors feelings must be considered, then it's about time we start looking at what *all* survivors who ever expressed an opinion had to say, because IMO one of the most outrageous distortions that ever came from the Ballard side was the false impression that the Eva Hart perspective spoke for all survivors.

Discovering the differences between Olympic and Titanic from something like the china pattern may seem trivial to some, but there are those of us who find it a more fascinating historical discovery than anything Ballard ever found on the Isis when he had no qualms about taking things from that "gravesite." The only argument one can use to say Titanic does not fall into the same category as the Isis is the tired cliche of chronological snobbery.

Also, the argument that only a government should have say over what to do with a wreck in international waters for which the original owners declared a total loss long ago, flies in the face of all precedents with regard to international salvage law, and I see no reason to make a special exception for Titanic when no similar precedents were advocated for the Andrea Doria or the Lusitania.
 
Jan 29, 2001
1,282
16
221
Mike:

You missed the point...HUNLEY'S human cargo (INCLUDING THEIR BRAINS!!) were preserved because of the bottom silt! What does 90 yrs. have to do with anything man? HUNLEY vanished in **1864** and, still there are brains aboard. These remains
were secluded by a mere *three* feet of sediment, engulfed by water far, far less than that which envelopes TITANIC'S wrecksite. Recall Mike, TITANIC's bow is buried in 60' of mud. How much of her crew "went down with the ship"?

Akin to debunking historical tales as modern civilization uncovers the tracks of time, is'nt it?

Again, how do we close a debate, upon which no legal authority has been drawn?

WE DO WE DRAW THE LINE MIKE? All around the TITANIC'S 2 1/2 mile radius wrecksite? Everything else is open game? Afterall...your Military correct? Ar'nt the MONITER and HUNLEY'S crew considered lost at sea? Did we violate their gravesites...in your honest opinion?

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 
K

Kathy A. Miles

Guest
>Show me some remains and I'll believe it. Given >the acidic environment and ninty years for that >and the critters to do their work, it is highly >unlikely that any remains are there to be found >anywhere.

I don't necessarily take Chas. Pellegrino as all fact, however he does make mention to pieces of bone recovered from one expedition. They did not believe they were human bones, but they were definetly bones. See Ghosts of the Titanic pp 126-8. There was an area in the debris field that was anoxic. They brought up a silver soup tureen in 1996 that had a chunk of sediment attached. In the sediment was chips of bone and shreds of clothing. They claimed that the bones were chicken or lamb, but the point is, they found bone. After that, they supposedly avoided that area. I don't think you can argue that if a chicken or lamb bone survived, than human bones certainly could have survived. It is a gravesite.

As far a china patterns go, I thought that that would have been in the records of H&W. If not, I still don't think it added much to the body of knowledge.

We're debating this same sort of topic elsewhere, dealing mostly with the topic of mail. But whether it's mail or bones, or Titanic or a Japanese sub, I don't feel we have any business salvaging it.

As for RMST, IMO the buggers deserve to go under! They've done nothing but waste money and pry into things they had no business to pry into. They hav e not added any value to history in general and Titanic research in particular. They have upset people who have already suffered enough. All for some teacups, trinkets and chicken bones!
 

Eric Paddon

Member
Jun 4, 2002
567
44
193
"As for RMST, IMO the buggers deserve to go under! They've done nothing but waste money and pry into things they had no business to pry into. They hav e not added any value to history in general and Titanic research in particular. They have upset people who have already suffered enough. All for some teacups, trinkets and chicken bones!"

I'm sorry, but that is pure rubbish. What these expeditions did was take the responsible step of preserving these artifacts so that future generations would have something tangible to experience of the actual Titanic itself, which is a far more moving experience then looking at murky underwater photographs ever will be from my standpoint. I know that from personal experience and so do many thousands of other Titanic buffs who never felt a true emotional connection to the ship until we could see a piece of her with our own eyes for the first time. That is a far greater addition to the body of knowledge than anyone could have asked for.

And as far as "wasting money" goes, unless its your tax dollars going to fund the project (which curiously is what anti-salvor extremists want to waste for having government police wrecksites in the name of keeping them "sacred"), what business is it of anyones how much money is spent by a private company on this expedition?

Finally, by whose definition do you say that we have "no business prying into Titanic"? Because if we carry that thinking to its logical conclusion, what business does Cameron or any other expedition have for just diving on the wreck to look? As far as I'm concerned if its somehow ghoulish to look at recovered artifacts in a museum setting, then those who just want to dive to look are nothing more than peeping tom voyeurs according to the same kind of thinking, and the anti-salvors should then say stop diving altogether (what a bigger waste of money to dive on something and not make use of the tools to bring back objects and preserve them for the future!)

And just who are the people who have been upset the most by salvage? Not the survivors because the opinion was 50-50 on the matter with many approving of salvage for the same reasonsn I've outlined (Louise Pope, Beatrice Sandstrom etc.). The ones most upset it seems are Robert Ballard and a peculiar group of modern Titanic buffs who have track records that rival if not exceed the worst behavior RMSTI has at times engaged in.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
60
308
Without trying to embroil myself too deeply (even more so than I already have!) in this debate as it rapidly turns into a conflagration over several threads - the more things change, the more they remain the same - I just wanted to quickly address this final paragraph.

And just who are the people who have been upset the most by salvage? Not the survivors because the opinion was 50-50 on the matter with many approving of salvage for the same reasonsn I've outlined (Louise Pope, Beatrice Sandstrom etc.). The ones most upset it seems are Robert Ballard and a peculiar group of modern Titanic buffs who have track records that rival if not exceed the worst behavior RMSTI has at times engaged in.

Well, unless you count me as one of the 'modern Titanic buffs' with such a dire track record, I think that's rather a sweeping generalisation. The most emphatic opinions that I've encountered, though - and these weigh far more with me than Ballard et al - have come from the families of those who lived and those who perished. Among those I've interviewed the disgust and abhorrence at the idea of salvaging the wreck was uniform, save in one instance, where it was best characterised as indifference (Harold W G Lowe believed his father wouldn't have given a damn if someone poked around his lost possessions, and said it in tones that suggested that he didn't care either).

Often I fear that their views are overlooked because they choose largely to absent themselves from the intense, sometimes circus-like interest in the Titanic disaster. While responsive to approaches with a little sensitivity and respect, all too often the crass and intrusive interest in what is a painful episode in the history of many families has driven them further 'under ground'. Some are now wary of any public position or comment (although I hope to soon run an article on one of these interviews, and may include the strong anti-sal position of the speaker).

I wouldn't say that the ones who are 'most upset' are necessarily the group you nominate. I know many individuals (and include myself among them) - decent, ordinary, intelligent folk who for whatever reason happen to disagree with the idea of salvage. Holding such a stance, IMHO, doesn't make us either fools or malcontents - we simply disagree.

I've said before - many times - that I know there are individuals in the pro-sal camp who are deeply honourable and who profoundly believe in what they are doing. I count many of them as friends, and have had the great pleasure of working with some of them on collaborative projects. But on this issue we disagree. Given that so much of what we're discussing here boils down to subjective emotion and personal morality (what does or does not constitute a grave site, what is legitimate and what is intrusive curiousity etc.), this should come as no surprise.
 

Eric Paddon

Member
Jun 4, 2002
567
44
193
"Well, unless you count me as one of the 'modern Titanic buffs' with such a dire track record, I think that's rather a sweeping generalisation."

The ones I'm referring to are thankfully not members of this forum, but they include not unfamiliar names in the realms of Titanic buffdom (I will not be naming them here). And among the things this group has done in the name of demonizing people who support salvage is the following:

1-Attempting to defame people by suggesting they are on the take from RMSTI to post their opinions in newsgroups.

2-Constructing false e-mail messages for the purpose of using fraudulent material to defame those holding contrary views from their own.

3-Making deliberately misleading statements about the nature of what is and is not to be found in the evidence concerning RMSTI's alleged "destruction of the wreck". The infamous "crows-nest destruction" issue stands out most on this one.

4-Suggesting that Titanic survivors who supported artifact recovery had all been "brainwashed" and that they had less regard for the Titanic tragedy then the modern-day anti-salvor extremist.

5-And above all making postings that represented a hateful streak above anything else, such as wishing for personal catastrophe to befall any salvage expedition, or likening the members of the salvage team to the same camp as that of mass murderers.

I am one of those who have found myself on the receiving end of this kind of demonization from this cabal in the past, and I confess I still carry deep scars from these confrontations to this day, in that they succeeded in driving me out of Titanic discussion forums for two years altogether. And very seldom did I ever see any effort on the part of more moderate people in the anti-salvor ranks to repudiate the disgusting tactics these people resorted to in any of the previous Titanic forums I've belonged to. So if at times it seems like there is a visible disdain in what I say about anti-salvors, it stems from the fact that the only side that ever seemed to be vocal about the issue was the group that engaged in the aforementioned conduct. Seldom if ever did I see the sentiments expressed that it could simply be seen as an honest difference of opinion among good people on both sides. If that had been the prevailing tone from the anti-salvor side all these years, then I doubt the issue would be as contentious as it has been over the years. I put much of the blame for this ugliness on Robert Ballard, who adopted this demonization position from the outset and gave it a legitimacy that enabled the extremists to go wily-nily for years in their conduct without any concern over being taken to task for their conduct, because they could always seemingly fall back on the point that they were merely echoing what Titanic's discoverer and one prominent survivor (Eva Hart) happened to be saying.
 
K

Kathy A. Miles

Guest
Eric, please explain how salvage has advanced the historical body of knowledge about Titanic? You say that you want to preserve artifacts for the benefit of future generations so that they might be able to be "moved" by this artifact, and to feel closer to Titanic. Can I point out that for decades people were inspired by her story without ever even seeing a murky underwater image?

My opinion is that there is no justification for disturbing Titanic's gravesite. We know just about all there is to know about Edwardian lifestyle. We know what happened to Titanic, we know who her passengers and crew were (most of them anyway) and we know when and why she sank.

You and others keep trying to justify salvage, but I have heard no reason other than to satisfy curiosity. It's almost as if you are saying "well, MORE people will be hooked on Titanic if we can press the story harder by artifacts." Why is it that you feel such a need to interest all these people. To me, that "preserve artifacts for the future" just sounds like a front end to "what I really want is to satisfy my curiosity, but I'll make it sound nicer by saying it'll benefit the future." I apologize in advance if that sounds harsh, I'm not trying to be that way. I'm just trying to illustrate what it seems like.

Kathy
 

Eric Paddon

Member
Jun 4, 2002
567
44
193
"Eric, please explain how salvage has advanced the historical body of knowledge about Titanic?"

Because items from the ship are being preserved for future generations and that means that automatically the primary souce record of what was on the Titanic and what remains of her today is enhanced beyond the scraps recovered from the sea in 1912 and which have been preserved ever since. I see no reason why objects from the same ship should not be similarly preserved just because it took another three-quarters of a century to reach them. If you want to be consistent, the Halifax Museum should throw away all the woodwork recovered by the Minia.

"Can I point out that for decades people were inspired by her story without ever even seeing a murky underwater image?"

Actually, I was a Titanic buff for 20 years before I ever saw an artifact, and until I saw them I never had an emotional connection with the ship and the people who sailed aboard her. For me, it was just a fun exercise in historical knowledge to learn about the ship but that changed the day I was able to finally see them with my own eyes and it was like for the first time I ever had a bonding with the ship. So I'm speaking from my own personal experience on that score and I know I'm not alone in that experience. People bond more with history when their senses experience the objects and sites up-close, just like JFK buffs have an extra connection when they visit the Texas Book Depository, or Lincoln buffs feel an extra connection when they visit Ford's Theater and the House where Lincoln died. The Titanic belongs to that same tradition and to say it doesn't belong in that same category is to demean her importance in history ultimately.

"My opinion is that there is no justification for disturbing Titanic's gravesite."

Then why are you not objecting to the recovery from the Monitor, which involves disturbing of actual human remains, and did you object when recovery of artifacts took place from the Andrea Doria, the Lusitania, and yes, Robert Ballard's Isis? As far as I'm concerned you either must make a blanket denunciation of salvage from all ships in order to be consistent or else you're cheapening the lives of those from other salvaged shipwrecks by my reckoning.

"We know just about all there is to know about Edwardian lifestyle."

According to who? Knowledge of the recent past is not finite, and those who think it is are just resorting to the discredited "chronological snobbery" argument that says that age determines its value to history. Titanic and her artifacts have stories to tell for many generations to come, and we owe it to history to have the most complete account we can make from the ultimate primary source, the ship itself.

"We know what happened to Titanic, we know who her passengers and crew were (most of them anyway) and we know when and why she sank."

What you are doing in this statement is declaring that all further research into Titanic must now be closed because you say so, and because you feel there is enough according to your standards which says there is a finite amount of knowledge to be learned, and that is simply not how the process of historical scholarship and study works. But even those artifacts that don't tell as much as others still merit preservation, because they serve the same purpose that all the major artifacts of the Smithsonian and other museums serve and that is their association with a seminal moment in history, not their being a reflection of the broader age of history in general.

"You and others keep trying to justify salvage, but I have heard no reason other than to satisfy curiosity."

So what? If we weren't curious about our past, then the study of history would be a very poor thing indeed. Why do people go to the Smithsonian? Why do people go to Ford's Theater? Why do people go to Dachau and Belsen? It's because they are curious about the past and want to see things that help them understand it better by seeing things associated with those events in order to keep them from being dry pages in a textbook. And I find it the height of elitism to suggest that seeing the Titanic with one's own eyes should be a privilege reserved for only the elite few to dive on her in submersibles.

"Why is it that you feel such a need to interest all these people."

Because as an historian, I feel strongly about the need to preserve objects from the recent past, especially the 20th century, for generations to make use of. As a teacher I know all about how today's generation of students can not get hooked into the past by simple books alone and need the tangible reminders to make a deeper impression on them, and it'll be a cold day in you know where before I ever advocate the destruction of historical artifacts on the grounds of a dubious sanctimony that had never been hitherto attached to any other famous shipwreck.

"To me, that "preserve artifacts for the future" just sounds like a front end to "what I really want is to satisfy my curiosity, but I'll make it sound nicer by saying it'll benefit the future.""

I will turn your argument around by saying that your objection seems rooted in the desire to impose your particular standards of propriety in historical research on everyone else and to deny people of the opportunity to learn from them simply because of your own narrow objections. If you have qualms with a museum exhibition that shows these artifacts, then you are free to not visit such exhibits, but I see no reason why anti-salvors must impose their narrow definition of what is and isn't valuable for purposes of historical learning on the rest of us who do gain historical insight and deep emotional connection from these artifacts.
 

Similar threads

Similar threads