Thursday, August 23, 2007

J. Bruce Ismay

Joseph Bruce, Ismay has received a lot of criticism over the past decades. Why? Because he got into a lifeboat when there were still women and children aboard. But is there any just foundation for this serious criticism? We'll look at the two sides of the story, 1. reasons for staying aboard, 2. reasons for getting on a lifeboat! Now this will be rather hard for me, since I already have an opinion of Ismay, but I will try to not let that come through..... you decide for yourself what he should have done!

1. First we'll look at the reasons that J. B. Ismay should have stayed aboard the sinking Titanic!
After the Titanic collided with an iceberg at about 11:45, it did not take long for John E. Smith to figure out there was not enough places for all the men, women and children in the lifeboats. So he gave the well known order, "women and children first." Now, did the Captain mean that there was no men to be allowed in the lifeboats? NO! The lifeboats needed officers, and sailors to make sure they were operated safely, and correctly. It was the spirit of the order that counted, if you did not have a legitimate reason for getting in a lifeboat, you had no place in one. Some fantastic men of measure did get off in a lifeboat, such as Harold Bride the wireless operator, Lightoller the Titanic's Second Officer, Archibald Gracie, Jack Thayer, and the list could go on.
Whats noticeable about these men, is they did not receive the criticism that Bruce, Ismay did, why is that?
Did Ismay have a responsibility to stay with the Titanic till she sank beneath the waves, like the Captain did? Lets look at some things that took place years earlier..... When the Titanic was still on blueprints the planning of how many lifeboats the Titanic would carry came up. The Titanic's designer at the time Andrew, Carlyle was pushing for 48 lifeboats which would have been enough for everyone one on board in case of a disaster. But there was one man standing in his way, Joseph B. Ismay! When the rubber met the road Ismay said no, for various reasons. But when you get to the night of April 14, 1912 its a different story. Because of his choice, it puts him under some obligation to stay aboard and take whatever comes.
Here's possibly another reason that he should have stayed aboard. J. B. Ismay owned the White Star Line, which means he owned the Titanic. If a person owns something that is used for the public, and if fails in some way, and death follows, or injury, it seems that whoever owns it should take whatever other had to take as well. He was responsible for the passengers as well!
I guess one more thing that should have binded him to the Titanic it time of trouble, is the fact that there were still women and children on board, and he owed them all the safety that was in his power as a man. By giving up a spot in a lifeboat, and doing the courteous thing, and not to mention the polite thing!

2. It wouldn't be fair to explain one side of the story, so we'll make an argument for the opposite side. In this kind of situation we have to be fair, because Ismay is no longer around to speak for himself!
J. B. Ismay claims that there were no women in sight, and there are witness to back up the fact. Since that being true why should he stay on a sinking ship and face certain death? And if there was no women sight was he really breaking a rule? I think that if your standing on the side of a sinking ship, and there's an empty spot on a lifeboat, there are no women and children about, would we have the fortitude to remain on the ship? There are a lot of questions that come into play here, and what it comes down to is, was he doing something really out of the ordinary?
Why should he stay on a sinking ship if he could get off, and go back to his family, we can't really say that he had motives of the baser sort. He was the managing director of the White Star Line, he had a lot of responsibly back on shore.
Was there really a need to end his short life, just to make a name for himself?
And after all, you can't blame the entire construction of the ship on him, Thomas, Andrews obviously didn't have a problem with 20 lifeboats!
Just because countless men stayed aboard, doesn't mean that Ismay did if a opportunity presented himself.
To call this man a coward just because he got off a sinking ship, doesn't seem right! What would you have done in his position?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Thomas Andrews

Andrews met his fate like a true hero, realizing the great danger, and gave up his life to save the women and children of the Titanic.
They will find it hard to replace him."Mary Sloan, Titanic Stewardess
letter to her sister, 27 April 1912

Thomas Andrews was just one of the many heroes that fateful night. But more than being a hero on the Titanic, he was considered a hero in his day for what he accomplished. He overcame some courage defying feats! When you hear the name of Thomas Andrews, you immediately think of the Titanic's designer! But there was more than that, he lived a life just like many others you hear about. But today we will go behind the life of the designer of the Titanic, Thomas Andrews!

Thomas Andrews Jr. was born on February 7th, 1873 in Belfast Ireland. He was born to Thomas Andrews, and Eliza, Pirrie which was their second child.
Thomas's mother was the sister to Lord William James Pirrie, the owner of the H&W shipbuilding company, James Pirrie had started out as an apprentice and worked all the way up to owner.
Thomas's elder brother continued in his Father's footsteps in politics, and became the Prime Minister of Northern, Ireland.
From a very early age Thomas had shown an interest in ships, and as a result went to Royal Belfast Academical Institution, and left there at age 16 to begin his apprentice at H&W.
On 24 June 1908, Thomas was married to Helen Reilly Barbour, daughter of John D. Barbour, a company director. The couple made their home at "Dunallon," Winslow Avenue in Belfast. It is known that he took her to view Titanic one night in 1910, shortly before their daughter Elizabeth was born, while the ship was still in its cradle and Halley's Comet was at its greatest brilliance.
Upon leaving school in 1889, at age sixteen, Andrews began work as a premium apprentice at Harland & Wolff Ltd. shipbuilders in Queen's Island, Belfast. The apprenticeship he served was designed for one intended to end up quite high in the company. He began with three months in the joiner's shop, followed by a month in the cabinetmaker's ship and two months actually working on the ships. His great talent for mechanical engineering and construction and his growing leadership abilities singled him out for a bright future, possibly as a senior manager.Andrews became a member of the Institution of Naval Architects in 1901. After working up through several departments, he became the firm's managing director and head of the draughting department.
Andrews seemed well-suited to his work. Shipbuilders were apparently a very exclusive bunch; their work was very hard, and it took a great deal to gain their respect. Andrews had earned it. During his apprenticeship he had shown that he could meet the physical demands of the work. He was by this time six feet tall and broad-shouldered. Once, when a red-hot rivet fell from an upper deck and barely missed his head, he kicked away and laughed. He was also developing a great reputation for integrity, according to Daniel Allen Butler, "were it not so well documented, would be hard to believe."
"One evening my husband and I were in the vicinity of Queen's Island, and noticing a long file of men going home from work, he turned to me and said, 'There go my pals, Helen.' I can never forget that tone in his voice as he said that, it was as though the men were as dear to him as his own brothers. Afterwards, on a similar occasion, I reminded him of the words, and he said, 'Yes, and they are real pals, too."

On one occasion Andrews had a chance to rescue one of his "pals." Anthony Frost, had climbed 80 feet of scaffolding during a gale in order to secure some loose boards. While up there, Archie became terrified and Andrews climbed the scaffolding himself to help bring him down before securing the boards himself. Archie was a member of the team of eight men from Harland & Wolff who accompanied Andrews on Titanic's maiden voyage, all of whom perished.

It has been frequently pointed out that he knew every detail of his ship and none escaped him. During the last few days he had many meetings with owners, engineers, subcontractors, officials, he gave tours, and in between these events he found himself adjusting furnishings, electric fans, and no doubt answering constant questions. Andrews's work was not finished once he and the ship set out from Southampton. After the voyage began, he continued to help the crew adjust to the new ship. He carried a notebook with him and was constantly making notes for improvements. The pebble dashing on the promenade, for instance, was too dark and the stateroom hat racks had an excessive number of screws holding them in. Still, on 14 April, Andrews remarked to a friend that Titanic was "as nearly perfect as human brains can make her."

On the night of April 14th 1912, Thomas Andrews was a courageous man, running here and there, making sure that rooms were emptied out, assisting women into the lifeboats, and insisting that men put on their life-belts. He was last seen in a first class reception room, and there surly met his fate.
I'm sure that even more could be said about this great man, but that is the limit of my knowledge, of his life. There is more that I could talk about him in the process of designing the Titanic, but we'll save that for another day, I just thought it would be interesting to see his life, and who he really was!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Titanic's First Officer

Murdoch had a plain face, a ready smile, and boundless humor. He was a Scot from Dalbeattie, Galloway, the son of a seafaring family. He was a contentious officer, amply shown over the years. Yet, he was an excellent seaman, nearly faultless judgment and nerves of iron.
His residence in 1912 was Southampton, England.
He was 39 at the time of the disaster." First officer William Mcmaster Murdoch did not survive the Titanic’s sinking.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Titanic Discovered

On 1985, July 14th, the Titanic was discovered! It was the first time the great ship had been seen for more than 70 years. A French and American research team joined up with Bob Ballard to search for and find the Titanic.
Once again, the ship caught the world’s attention. At the American inquires, not much could be reported because the ship was gone there was no hard fact evidence. But now that the ship was rediscovered, it raised new questions and gave new answers! For the first time, it was verified that the ship did break in two. Why did the steel plates snap apart? Why were they speeding through a known ice field? Why? Why? Why? As a result of finding the Titanic, many of these questions could be answered.
The Titanic broke in two because of the angle it was at and the pressure it put on the lower part of the ship! Also, in 1912, they were not concerned about the grade of steel used, and tests of the Titanic’s steel proved it was of a poor grade. If steel will bend and move to pressure it is of a higher grade, if under pressure poorly graded steel will snap, and will become brittle in cold water. This is also the reason the rivets popped out of their seams, the steel was pushed apart by great pressure, and not ripped apart like many think.
Why didn’t the watertight compartments work? Because they only went up to E deck, one more deck higher [to boat deck] and the ship would have been completely sealed off. A vital flaw in the design! It worked like this, if any four or five of her compartments were flooded, the weight of the water would not pull her down far enough to spill over into the next compartment. None could think of a wreck of such magnitude that more than five of her compartments would be punctured. But alas, six compartments were damaged the night of April 14th. The weight of the water pulled the bow down into the ocean, thus having an ice-cube tray effect, it just spilled over into the next compartment and into the next until it sank. So, which means that they were not really watertight like the owners and builders said, there was a gap at the top of each bulkhead allowing water to spill over. That is not watertight.
They were speeding through a known ice field because J. Bruce Ismay want to surprise everyone and get to New York, a day early He wanted to beat the Olympic’s record crossing the Atlantic.
These are just a few of the things the world wanted to know.
Since 1986, many, dives have been made to the Titanic, gathering information, finding new things, and exploring the unknown parts of the ship.
James Cameron, the movie director of the film Titanic, has spent more time with the ship underwater than the passengers that sailed on her. One couple was even married over the stern of the Titanic! Anyone can go down to the wreck, for the small amount of $38,000.
One thing that will go down in the history of the Titanic is the abounding bravery of the men aboard the Titanic. They will be forever being remembered as men who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the women and children. Think about if the men had no restraint, there probably would have been no surviving women and definitely no surviving children. The Titanic would be a different story. They deserve more honors, and respect than they get.
What if a situation arose today, where it was women and children, or the men first?
Think about the Titanic’s band, they showed more bravery than some men show on the battlefield. Playing to the very last instead of trying to save themselves, their song must have drifted out on the waves into the ears of the few who got in a lifeboat. White Star Line charged the family members of the ship’s band for the loss of their uniforms!
What about John Bruce Ismay? That cowardly man was rejected by the world and died lonely and poor, his life was ruined when he stepped into the lifeboat. Was it really worth it?
What about the Californian? Sitting all night through the disaster? Her Captain was charged with failure to render aid to a ship in distress. As a result of his decisions, he lost his job and was looked at very poorly by the world. If he would have used common sense he could have saved almost everyone on board!!!
Many people took their lives. The lookout in the crow’s nest, Fredrick Fleet, who called the bridge and said those fateful words……… “iceberg dead ahead”, killed himself 5 years after the disaster, he, also was not able to live with himself. As we know, First Officer Murdoch took his life on the ship, he also could not live with the regret. Jack B. Thayer had haunting thoughts of the disaster till he was 52 and took his own life.
A lot is said about the bravery of the Captain and Officers, but little is said about the bravery of the men below decks. It was said that 17 engine men got down on their knees in the engine room and prayed until water surged up to their necks, then they stood up, clasped hands formed a circle and died there in the belly of the ship, staying at their posts till death took them in its cold embrace. Southampton alone lost 500 men on the Titanic, all stokers or trimmers, men who stayed at their posts and died just as gloriously as the brave men on the top of the ship.
Many movies have been made about the great ship Titanic. But none can ever compare to the real thing, or how people felt.
People have been down to the wreck numerous times to bring back artifacts, some say that should not be done. I am not against bringing up different items. Why let it all turn to rust? I’m not for trying to make a profit off of it. It should be strictly used for museum purposes. It should be used as a learning experience.
Some have talked and thought to bring the Titanic up out of the depths. That’s going too far! It’s impossible to “raise the Titanic.” When she sped down through the depths, she hit the bottom at a great speed; the bow sliced through the mud and is buried in 60 feet of mud. The stern plunged with huge air pockets inside, and when it hit the ocean floor the air burst through the steel and it crumpled and fell apart. So, in order to raise the Titanic’s bow, you would be trying to lift over 33,000 tons of rusted steel out of 60 feet of mud, and where the pressure per square inch is 6,000 pounds! And even if you were able to get a grip of it, it would probably crumple in its weakened state. The stern would be completely impossible to raise, all it is, is twisted and crumpled steel. It is a graveyard, many brave men were killed there and to go and cause that much disruption would be disregarding death, and for that reason alone we ought to have respect for it.

I have found an interesting point of view of the Titanic, what if the Titanic had never met disaster?
If the Titanic would-not-have sunk she would have arrived in New York, Tuesday, sometime before schedule, and it would have been a glorious arrival. She would have been a complete success! She would of served the White Star Line for many years. But later, she probably would have met the fate that her sister ships met. In World War1, the Britannic and the Olympic were turned into hospital ships. The Britannic met her fate by hitting a mine and sank in 45 minutes most of the soldiers were saved. Olympic served throughout the war and received many battle scars. After the war she was used again as a trans-Atlantic liner. In the early 1930s she was sold for scrap. Titanic would have probably have met a fate similar to this.
If the Titanic would have hit the iceberg head on, she would have survived, and been towed to Halifax for repairs. But sadly enough none of this happened! If just a few times, sense had been used, the Titanic disaster would have not happened.

Over the course of five years in the making all the planning, new slipways, work, fitting out, excitement, the largest most elegant ship sank in less than three hours! Many stories go along with the Titanic, some are sad some are stories of bravery and manhood, yet some are stories of cowards and treachery, and then there are stories of pride and arrogance.
Many things about the Titanic cannot be put on paper; it must be the legacy that the ship left. But many things can be learned from the disaster.
The story of the Titanic will go on forever.


The sinking of the Titanic has been a magnet to underwater ship-explorers. Even in 1912, after the Titanic sank, there was talk of trying to find her. They soon found out they really didn’t know where she was when she sank, nor how deep it was where she hit bottom.
But as the years went on, so did technology towards underwater exploration. Many different groups of people set out to find the great wreck, but all still came back empty-handed.
Not until July of 1985 did the American and French research team find the wreck. Once again the Titanic made world news, and once again she was in the spotlight. Now that the ship was found, it raised possibilities of going down in a small submarine that could withstand the deep-sea pressure. Exactly one year later, Bob Ballard and two other undersea explorers went, for the first time, down to the wreck. There was doubt in the minds of those going down to the wreck; they still didn’t know that the ship had broken in two. They didn’t know what to expect, what if all the rigging was intact, that would create a great hazard to maneuvering about the ship. Would the Titanic even be recognizable? Or would she be sitting perfect on the ocean floor? As Bob Ballard and the other researchers reached the ocean floor, they tried to locate the Titanic. The submersible they were using, the Alvin, sprang a leak in her batteries. Now they only had a couple of minutes on the ocean bed and they had not seen the Titanic. Peering through the small portholes of the Alvin, a massive wall of black steel loomed up right in front of them, that was the only glimpse of the ship they got that time. The leak in the batteries would become critical if they didn’t surface.
Since that July in 1986, numerous dives have been made to the Titanic. Several people have spent more time with the Titanic underwater, than the Captain spent with her on the seas.
One thing is certain; the Titanic is in a state of complete devastation. The ship broke in two in between the third and fourth funnels; and all of those funnels are gone. In one square mile there are boilers, teacups, beds, tables, engines, wine bottles, suitcases, chairs, and the list could go on.
The beauty of the ship is now gone, her once proud hull glimmering in the bright sunlight, now is encrusted in rusting steel. Where her four behemoth funnels stood are now just gaping holes on top of the ship. Her once proud stern, the beauty of the ship, where at the end of Titanic’s short life, men and women alike met their fate, now lays almost unrecognizable due too the impact that she suffered when she hit the ocean floor.
There she will sit until countless ages have taken their toll on her, and there is nothing left but
small piles of dust in the salty water.
Men will probably always go to her to seek just one more fact, something nobody else knows. Titanic may be sitting 2 ½ miles below the surface of the sea, but ask anyone what the most well known and famous shipwreck is, and they’ll tell you, it is the Titanic.
The Titanic will never be forgotten. She will always be alive in history.
Even though the Titanic is one among the many sea wrecks that litter the ocean floor, she still, to this day captivates the minds of underwater explorers, historians, and people like me. What more can be said? Titanic is still truly a great ship.