Your Titanic 'obsessions'


Arun Vajpey

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OK. Most of us like the Titanic saga precisely because of the sequence of events that night - the then largest ship in the World on its maiden voyage - many rich and famous passengers - collision with the iceberg - sinking over 2 hours and 40 minutes - not enough lifeboats for all etc. But there must be certain events, people or anything else that fascinated you more than others - a sort of Titanic related 'obsession'.

Mine are as follows:

- Major Peuchen's $200,000 bonds that he left behind
- Michel Navratil's mindset and future plans as he boarded the Titanic
- The fate of Martta Hiltunen after Lifeboat #4 left
- The real fate of Alfred 'Big Neck' Nichols
- The 'shots in the dark' scenario

Do others have similar Titanic related things that fascinate them more than others?
 
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SmileyGirl

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OK. Most of us like the Titanic saga precisely because of the sequence of events that night - the then largest ship in the World on its maiden voyage - many rich and famous passengers - collision with the iceberg - sinking over 2 hours and 40 minutes - not enough lifeboats for all etc. But there must be certain events, people or anything else that fascinated you more than others - a sort of Titanic related 'obsession'.

Mine are as follows:

- Major Peuchen's $200,000 bonds that he left behind
- Michel Navratil's mindset and future plans as he boarded the Titanic
- The fate of Martta Hiltunen after Lifeboat #4 left
- The real fate of Alfred 'Big Neck' Nichols
- The 'shots in the dark' scenario

Do others have similar Titanic related things that fascinate them more than others?
Yes, you are interested in those Bonds aren’t you Arun ;)

That’s a good one about Michel Navratil. I have wondered if their mother would have seen them again if Titanic had not sank.

I would have liked to know who, if any, Officer shot himself.

I think I’m most interested in what the Officers were doing. I haven’t been able to read everything on this forum much (there’s so much to get through) and look forward to reading about the Officers roles in the sinking. I know pretty much what Lightoller was doing. But don’t know much about what Wilde or Moody were doing.

And I wonder what could have been done to help the people in the sea, whether rafts could have been made, what they could have been wrapped in to help them survive etc.

I think my main ‘obsession’ is Murdoch for some reason.
 

Arun Vajpey

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That’s a good one about Michel Navratil. I have wondered if their mother would have seen them again if Titanic had not sank.

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Probably not and that is what makes me think so much about the Navratils. Michel Navratil kidnapped his sons from his wife (who he believed was having an affair) and under the assumed name of Louis Hoffman was travelling to America to settle there. If the Titanic had not sunk, 'Louis Hoffman' and his sons would have disappeared among the tens of thousands of new immigrants arriving every day and his sons would have grown up as Americans somewhere, without any clue of their background. Of course, the older son Michel Jr was almost 4 years old by then and might have retained fleeting memories of their life in France and of his mother but I am sure his father would have accounted for that and have a ready explanation.

As it was, the older Navratil handed his children safely into a lifeboat and stood back, going down with the ship. They were eventually reunited with their mother and grew up as French citizens. In some odd sort of way that I cannot explain, I find that unfortunate.
 

Kyle Naber

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I don’t know why, but the physics of the sinking have always been interesting to me; especially the break up.

How could so many people ignore the fact that multiple witnesses stated the ship broke apart?

Did the stern roll to port or go vertical after the break?

Why did Lightoller not see the break? Was it smoke and debris in his way? Was it his POV?

Why does Charles Joughin’s account of the final moments match up with others in the boats, but not others on the actual stern?
 
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SmileyGirl

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Probably not and that is what makes me think so much about the Navratils. Michel Navratil kidnapped his sons from his wife (who he believed was having an affair) and under the assumed name of Louis Hoffman was travelling to America to settle there. If the Titanic had not sunk, 'Louis Hoffman' and his sons would have disappeared among the tens of thousands of new immigrants arriving every day and his sons would have grown up as Americans somewhere, without any clue of their background. Of course, the older son Michel Jr was almost 4 years old by then and might have retained fleeting memories of their life in France and of his mother but I am sure his father would have accounted for that and have a ready explanation.

As it was, the older Navratil handed his children safely into a lifeboat and stood back, going down with the ship. They were eventually reunited with their mother and grew up as French citizens. In some odd sort of way that I cannot explain, I find that unfortunate.
I am glad they were re-united with their mother. But again, I have not read specifically about this family. Was she really having an affair? Was she a bad mother? Would they have had a better life with their father? Or was he just being nasty?
 
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SmileyGirl

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I don’t know why, but the physics of the sinking have always been interesting to me; especially the break up.

How could so many people ignore the fact that multiple witnesses stated the ship broke apart?

Did the stern roll to port or go vertical after the break?

Why did Lightoller not see the break? Was it smoke and debris in his way? Was it his POV?

Why does Charles Joughin’s account of the final moments match up with others in the boats, but not others on the actual stern?
I wonder why they decided that the ship did not break up. I think they did not want the Titanic to be seen to be so weak as to break up and Lightoller of course said untrue things to try and protect White Star didn’t he. He was probably told to say it didn’t break up?

I think I saw a James Cameron documentary and he said he got it wrong when he had the stern fall aback. I think it rolled slightly to port when it broke and then went pretty much vertical then sank. I think!!
 

Arun Vajpey

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I am glad they were re-united with their mother. But again, I have not read specifically about this family. Was she really having an affair? Was she a bad mother? Would they have had a better life with their father? Or was he just being nasty?
Good or bad parenting, unless to one extreme, can have perceptive variations and so I do not think of such issues. All of us are imperfect human beings.
But in specific Navratil case, my sympathies are definitely with the father. There are no 'rights and wrongs' about that view, just a strong gut feeling. I wish 'Louis Hoffman' had survived and I am certain that in 1912 America it would not have been too difficult to 'disappear' even with their later celebrity status as Titanic survivors.
 
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Aaron_2016

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My slight obsession would be the bridge commands before and during the collision. The witnesses would say one thing at the Inquiry and something completely different outside the Inquiry.
 
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mitfrc

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My personal what-if is if there had been someone onboard with the proper mindset and authority (like a RN Post Captain traveling to the US to become the new naval attache) to materially assist with properly organizing the evacuation -- the grim thing about Titanic will always remain those 400+ lives that could have been saved by filling the lifeboats to capacity. It's the one great misstep which nothing can erase.
 
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Kyle Naber

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I think I would have been one of the people who refused to get into a boat in those first few moments. I’d rather go back to my warm bed instead of participating in a “drill.”
 
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Harland Duzen

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Severals things I've aways wondered about from time-to-time have been:
  • Who was the person who shouted "Everyone!" to those congregating on the stern / poop deck that subsequently allowed them to access the boat deck?
  • Who was the couple that Henry Etches could't wake up from C-78?
  • Who were the unfortunate men found in Collapsible A by the Oceanic in May 1912?
 
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SmileyGirl

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My personal what-if is if there had been someone onboard with the proper mindset and authority (like a RN Post Captain traveling to the US to become the new naval attache) to materially assist with properly organizing the evacuation -- the grim thing about Titanic will always remain those 400+ lives that could have been saved by filling the lifeboats to capacity. It's the one great misstep which nothing can erase.
I agree. This always annoys me. I love Lightoller but was this predominantly his fault for thinking they could not be filled completely before lowering? I know women didn’t want to get into the boats also.
 
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SmileyGirl

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Severals things I've aways wondered about from time-to-time have been:
  • Who was the person who shouted "Everyone!" to those congregating on the stern / poop deck that subsequently allowed them to access the boat deck?
  • Who was the couple that Henry Etches could't wake up from C-78?
  • Who were the unfortunate men found in Collapsible A by the Oceanic in May 1912?
Regarding your third question, one was identified as a passenger, the other two were unidentified firemen according to this article.

The Titanic's last lifeboat pictured which still contained rotting bodies when it was found | Daily Mail Online
 
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Aaron_2016

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I’ll assume you’ve already seen this?

Yes, the only part I agree with is the hard a-port and stop engines order. Everything else does not tie in with the witness accounts. e.g.


4th officer Boxhall - As the only surviving officer who was on duty at the time of the collision, his account would be considered the most acceptable in the eyes of the Inquiry (similar to Lightoller stating the ship did not break in two and being believed because of his seniority)


Boxhall said he had just stepped onto the boat deck from his quarters when he heard the bell ring. He then immediately walked towards the bridge and felt the collision when he was just passing opposite the Captain's quarters. This would mean all of the avoidance orders had to take place within that tiny 10 second walk.

boxhall.png


Not enough time for anything to be done except 'stop engines' and turn hard a-port when the iceberg had struck and swing the stern out of the way. It would be career suicide to admit that they did not see the iceberg until it was too late. No time for the phone to be answered, or for any helm orders to be given before the collision let alone enacted and achieved and no time to reverse the engines full astern. Yet Boxhall would claim that this was all done in that short 10 second walk. The witnesses contradict each other so much on the collision and said one thing at the Inquiry and the complete opposite outside the Inquiry.

It strengthens Lightoller's claim that the Inquiry i.e. the official story, was a "whitewash" and he also stated that - "The Board of Trade and the White Star Line won." i.e. Saved their careers, reputation, and the company against all acts of negligence.


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Arun Vajpey

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Severals things I've aways wondered about from time-to-time have been:
  • Who was the couple that Henry Etches could't wake up from C-78?
  • Who were the unfortunate men found in Collapsible A by the Oceanic in May 1912?
I have also wondered a lot about the unidentified couple in Cabin C-78; or was it B-78? I believe I have posted a question about that here a while ago.
Etches did not have to wake them; they were very much awake and likely engaged in some nocturnal nefarious activities and probably did not feel the collision ;). When Etches knocked, first the man and then the woman apparently challenged him to tell them what was wrong but did not open the door. After a minute or two Etches left them to their fate.

As for the bodies abandoned on Collapsible A, I think there were three. My guess is they were Thomas Beattie (RIP), Edvard Lindell (RIP) and a man named O'Keefe (RIP). Contrary to some accounts, I don't think Mrs Lindell managed to get into the boat; her husband held onto her hand while she was in the water but did not have the strength to pull her in. Sad really, but he soon joined her.
 

Arun Vajpey

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The witnesses contradict each other so much on the collision and said one thing at the Inquiry and the complete opposite outside the Inquiry. It strengthens Lightoller's claim that the Inquiry i.e. the official story, was a "whitewash" and he also stated that - "The Board of Trade and the White Star Line won." i.e. Saved their careers, reputation, and the company against all acts of negligence.
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I agree, but to a large extent one can say that Lightoller's own statements were also carefully designed to save his career and reputation. It annoys me that in some people's views in the past (perhaps not as much now) Lightoller came out of the disaster sounding squeaky clean while Murdoch, whom I somehow feel was man of far greater integrity, took more than his fair share of the blame.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Was O'Keefe one of the firemen? Beattie certainly died on Collapsible A, very likely Edvard Lindell as well. They were both passengers.
 
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SmileyGirl

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I think they buried Edvard Lindell’s body at sea. It does not name the firemen in the article I posted so not sure.