Encyclopedia Titanica

The Iceberg that Sank the Titanic?

Rare image taken two days before Titanic sank

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Titanic Iceberg
The iceberg photographed by Captain Wood of the SS Etonian

Rare photograph of possible Titanic iceberg taken two days before Titanic collision.

40 hours before the Titanic sank, a prime candidate for the iceberg she struck was photographed by Captain Wood of the SS Etonian.

The photograph is captioned  "Iceberg taken by Captain Wood SS Etonian in 41°50N 49°50W April 12th at 4pm 1913 (sic) Titanic struck April 14th and sank in 3 hours".

Iceberg Lot

Letter from Captain wood with iceberg photograph and SS Etonian in a gale

While it cannot be proven that the iceberg is the same one that caused the Titanic disaster, it bears striking similarities to sketches drawn by lookout Frederick Fleet, the lookout on duty who first spotted the iceberg, and Joseph Scarrott, an able-bodied seaman.  

Captain Wood described the encounter in a letter sent from New York, where the Etonian had docked. 

FREDERICK LEYLAND & COMPANY LIMITED
LIVERPOOL

SS ETONIAN
NEW YORK
Pier 59 North River

Dear Billy Tucker,
I received the photos you so kindly sent and they are good. It was a great pity the light in the shed was so poor, you might have got the horses.  We landed late[?] last Wednesday, but they were not such a fine lot as last. I hope they are all doing well. If you see Dr Kirk give him my best wishes, maybe next year we shall meet again. I am sending you a sea picture The Etonian running before a gale, and the iceberg that sank the Titanic. We crossed the ice track 40 hours before her but in daylight, so saw the ice easily and I got a picture.
Best wishes from yours sincerely
Captain Wood

SS Etonian

The photographs and an accompanying letter were auctioned by Henry Aldridge and Son, at Devizes on 20 June 2020. 

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Andrew Aldridge, UK

Comment and discuss

  1. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie said:

    It cannot be possible that less than 2 hours after Titanic hit that iceberg - after 4-30 am that morning of April 15, 1912 - the culprit was not stll nearby in all its glory to be seen by everyone within a radius of 10 miles . It does not matter whether there was or was not a current in the immediate vicinity because everything in the immediate vicinity would have been carried along by that which was effecting it. Sp why wasn't such an obvious candidate mentioned by anyone? The photograph 2 days earlier, purporting to be that of the berg that sank Titanic, cannot be true, it is the wrong shape as described by AB Joseph Scarrott. Not only that but it was about 7 miles NW of the wreck site and would have to have been almost stationary i.e...had only move that distance in 40 hours. - which is 1074 ft/hour. Furthermore: the Photgraph was taken in Gale conditions. A Gale would have moved an iceberg of that shape a very great distance as long as it was blowing. and

  2. Steven Christian

    Steven Christian said:

  3. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie said:

    Steven, there is a verbal description of the berg given by AB Joseph Scarrott... he said "I went and looked over the rail there and I saw an iceberg that I took it we had struck. It would be abaft the beam then - abaft the starboard beam.... 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. The Captain Wood photograph was not taken in a Gale. A Gale in that part of the world would have had enormous breakers around the base of a

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  4. Samuel Halpern

    Samuel Halpern said:

    Senator SMITH. Did you see icebergs the next morning? Mr. STENGEL. I guess you could. They were all around. You could see them. As soon as we landed down into the water, as soon as we were afloat, you could see icebergs all around, because we thought they were sailing vessels at first, and began pulling this way, and then turning around and going the other way. They were in sight all along the horizon. Senator SMITH. Were you menaced in any way, after you got into the water in this emergency boat, by ice? Mr. STENGEL. No, sir. Senator SMITH. How far away was it from you, apparently? Mr. STENGEL. It was quite a ways, but you could see the outline in the dusk. Senator SMITH. Describe these icebergs. How large were they? Mr. STENGEL. There was one of them, particularly, that I noticed, a very large one, which looked

  5. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie said:

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  6. Steven Christian

    Steven Christian said:

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Citation

Encyclopedia Titanica (2020) The Iceberg that Sank the Titanic? ( ref: #164, published 17 June 2020, generated 24th January 2022 02:41:09 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/the-iceberg-that-sank-the-titanic.html