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Out of the Depths: the TRUE Story of the Sinking of TITANIC

"There was peace, and the world had an even tenor to its ways. True enough, from time to time there were events, catastrophes - like the Johnstown Flood, the San Francisco Earthquake, or floods in China - which stirred the sleeping world, but not enough to keep it from resuming its slumber. It seems to me that the disaster about to occur was the event, which not only made the world rub its eyes and awake, but woke it with a start, keeping it moving at a rapidly accelerating pace ever since, with less and less peace, satisfaction and happiness... To my mind, the world of today awoke April 15, 1912."    - John B. Thayer Jr., Titanic passenger

"With Eyes That Watch the World & Can't Forget"

The sinking of Titanic was indeed a wake up call for the 20th century. The mystery of it's loss has fascinated countless people up to the present day. Yet time always yields up it's secret's, even those buried in the depths of the ocean floor. There are those alive now who carry the memories of this tragedy within themselves.

Two of them have returned in other lives and identities to tell the true tale of the sinking of Titanic. These are their stories. The first is from Harry Bride, the junior wireless operator, as recalled by the reincarnation of his wife, Lucy Bride. The second is from Thomas Andrews, the ship's builder, who went down with his ship.

After their story is told, you will see that there is more to the sinking of the Titanic than history records. This is the story of Harry Bride and his fellow wireless operator, Jack Phillips, from Titanic Memories.

"The Captain released them around 2 a.m., barely sticking his head in the door, but Harry and Jack stuck to their post. Captain Smith repeated "Abandon your cabin, men. You have done your duty, there is nothing else to do. That's the way in these situations." He then left and Harry glanced at Jack to see if he was ready to go.

Jack was still Morsing - trying to rouse even more help - when the power to the wireless was too weak to get a spark. Harry had to shake him into awareness, saying: "Jack, it's time to go now. Jack, we've got to leave. Captain's orders." Jack finally looked up, said "Let's clear out", and they abandoned their cabin.

Once outside, Jack and Harry climbed to the roof of the officers' quarters to help the group trying to free Collapsibles A and B. B was pushed off and landed upside down. Harry scrambled down with the rest of the group to try to right it. He looked up for Jack and saw him still standing on the roof, leaning over with his hands on his knees, and trying to catch his breath. This was the last time Harry saw Jack alive.

The wave created by the forward funnel falling washed Collapsible B and the men working on her overboard. Harry ended up a bit of distance from the overturned boat and so swam back toward it. Harry found his way back to Collapsible B and was pulled on by Jack Thayer. (He did not know who the boy was at the time - he was just a helpful passenger.) The first thing Harry did when he was pulled onto B was call for "Jack! Jack Phillips! Has anyone seen the senior wireless operator Jack Phillips?" But he never answered. Harry and Jack Thayer held on to each other's jackets to stay on the upset raft.

Whenever anyone doubted their rescue, Harry would repeat: "The Carpathia is coming as fast as she can. I gave her our position. There is no mistake. We should see her lights at 4 or a little after." At 3:30, the Carpathia's rockets were sighted and at 4 she stopped at Titanic's last radioed position. Harry's time on B consisted of repeating that the Carpathia was on her way, squinting into the distance trying to catch a glimpse of her, and worrying about his friend, Jack Phillips.

He never thought of himself, survival instinct just kicked in, but only wondered where Jack was and if he was all right. Boats 4 and 12 rescued the men on Collapsible B. Harry, Jack Thayer, and the majority of the others jumped for 12. Second Officer Lightoller lifted a dead body from B to 12 and then took charge. At length, Harry turned his head and saw a dead man on the bottom of 12. His hair was plastered against his forehead and his arms were at an odd angle, but it was unmistakably Jack. He was the dead man Lightoller had found."

Most on Titanic, like Harry Bride, were caught up in the events of the sinking: so busy trying to survive that they could not understand why the unsinkable ship had foundered. Only a few really understood what was going on. Of those few, the man in the best position to know the truth was Thomas Andrews, designer and builder of Titanic. This is Thomas' insider view of the true cause of Titanic's loss.

From "I Built the Titanic, Past Life Memories of a Master Shipbuilder" by William Barnes, Thomas Andrews speaks to us from beyond the grave:

"You weren't there at my first meeting with Ismay to see the little red marks all over the blueprints. First thing I thought was: 'Now here's a man who wants me to build him a ship that's gonna be sunk. We're sending gilded egg shells out to sea.' Truth be known, no ship is unsinkable."

"The bigger the ship, the easier it is to sink her. I proposed all the watertight compartments and the double hull to slow these ships from sinking. In that way, you get everyone off. There's time for help to arrive, and the ship's less likely to break apart and kill someone while she's goin' down."

"A double hull ... will cut down vibration on the hull plates if the ship collides with a shoal or a berg. It works like the damper on a bell and, with a hull that big, you've got a very large bell. And bells are known to crack... There's a woeful cry coming from that hull. I even put my ear to the plates, and I heard it... It sounds like the ringin' of a crystal glass right before it breaks..."

"Even my dullest apprentice sees the way we're half-buildin' these ships. They're askin' me things like - 'Why do the bulkheads only go up to the waterline, Tommie? Why are we puttin' in electric watertight doors when the water's just goin' to pour over into another compartment, Tommie?' We all have a bad feelin' about it."

Here is what really sank the Titanic: "J.P. Morgan purchased White Star Line in 1902. Although it flew under the British flag, England was buzzing in speculation. Could White Star ships, now under foreign ownership, be conscripted into the Royal Navy during time of war? Cunard convinced the British Government to subsidize the building of three immense ships, built as liners, but really light cruisers that they could convert to wartime use. As a result, Lusitania, Mauritania, and Aquitania were born. White Star, coveted the size, technological advances, speed and luxury, of the new Cunard ships. Fortunately, White Star did not need to look to the government for money. It had the deep pockets of J.P. Morgan.

White Star CEO J. Bruce Ismay was placed under much pressure. Morgan wanted to get even bigger, more luxurious ships completed before Cunard's ships gained a greater foothold in the industry. Harland and Wolff's Chairperson, Lord Pirrie, was also an employee of J.P. Morgan. This arrangement occurred when J.P. Morgan bought White Star through the International Mercantile Marine Company. Contractually, Harland and Wolff constructed all of White Star's fleet, so the Shipbuilding Company had that economic stake in White Star's success. They made Lord Pirrie a Director of the Mercantile Marine Company.

Enter Thomas Andrews on the scene. Andrews was a workaholic, obsessed by his love of shipbuilding. He was perhaps the most knowledgeable man at the Shipyard. He had a working knowledge of fifty-three departments in the Firm as managing Director and Chief Design Engineer. He oversaw all aspects of the design of ships going out of Harland and Wolf. They knew Andrews not only as a hard working perfectionist, but also as a man's man. He was not afraid to take his coat off and get in the thick of work with the men under him.

When confronted with Ismay's proposition about bigger, more luxurious ships, Andrews was at first hesitant. He was concerned about some very real problems large ships would have. He took an avid interest in the building of Cunard's new ships. He no doubt wondered himself about the disposition of White Star's fleet in wartime. Andrews visited John Brown Yards, and made notes of their problems and techniques. His concerns were confirmation about building ships as large or even larger than Lusitania, when he learned of a few near-misses reported by Lusitania's Captain. The large ships were VERY unwieldy.

After exhaustive study, Andrew's team came up with a design that would cover most of his major concerns for building large ships. This included: a double hull, complete bulkheads with watertight sub-compartments, a large rudder, rotating Welin davits and more than enough lifeboats to get passengers safely off a foundering ship. White Star Line was not beholding to the British government, but to the deep pockets of J.P. Morgan. Their orders were to build the ships quickly, make them as luxurious as possible, and certify them quickly. They were to be put to sea rapidly enough to absorb any advantage Cunard might have initially gained.

The Line approved Andrews' painstaking designs only where White Star's requirements (above) were met. They drastically changed the designs in favor of capacity, and decor. Thomas Andrews fought a losing battle to have the ships built properly. Although the ships exceeded the safety regulations of the British Board of Trade, Andrews argued that the ships were still going out half-built.

The rush to build the ships pushed the steel making technology to it's outer limits. Andrews complained they were pumping out the wrought iron for rivets coming from Colvilles and Company in Glasgow, "like bilge water". And they were poor in quality. He even instructed the riveters to inspect all the rivets for imperfections and cracks. Even then, given the poor quality of the wrought iron, and the time pressure imposed by White Star, that was only a haphazard approach.

Whereas Lusitania took more than two months to certify, they certified both Olympic and Titanic in less than a day. Granted they built them under Andrews' strenuous direction, but nonetheless, they were still works in progress during their maiden voyages. Morgan's money bought certification under the understanding those "minor" problems would be fixed while underway or in New York Harbor.

In Titanic's case, one of the "minor problems" was a fire in the forward coal room, that threatened the hull's integrity. Andrews and his men were working to points past exhaustion during the voyage, and the fire only made matters worse. On April 13th, 1912, they decided that it was better to get Titanic to New York faster, in case the fire, now under control, re-emerged as a problem. The Captain ordered the last two boilers lit and pressed on at twenty-two knots. Titanic was now exceeding her designed speed of twenty-one knots.

When the collision with the iceberg occurred, all the factors that Andrews had originally feared came into fruition. The ship was unwieldy, and navigated by a crew unfamiliar with her handling characteristics. Titanic's small rudder exacerbated her unwieldiness. A double hull might have allowed Titanic to survive the glancing blow. Complete transverse bulkheads to "B" deck would have slowed the sinking. Finally enough lifeboats would have made Titanic more a lesson in irony - that is the sinking of an "unsinkable" ship - rather than a tragedy of infamous proportions."

And YES both J. Bruce Ismay and J. P. Morgan lived on after Titanic was "lost"!

Credits: from "I Built the Titanic, Past Life Memories of a Master Shipbuilder" by William Barnes and from the website (now offline) of "Thomas Andrews" and "Lucy Bride" entitled "Titanic Memories".


 

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