*Last year there was a theory that large numbers of icebergs in 1912 were caused by a rare celestial alignment. The theory, such as it was, received a yawn from the Titanic community. It does not matter whether the icebergs in 1912 were caused by a celestial alignment, a warmer current, or perhaps Marvin the Martian playing with his weapon on Mars. Titanic struck an iceberg because a lot of things went wrong. There was complacency of all kinds from the Board of Trade to Captain Smith deciding to speed up Titanic on a cold, moonless night through an iceberg field. Now researchers at Sheffield University disputes there was an abnormal amount of icebergs in 1912. They claim there was a “raised iceberg hazard” but it was not exceptional. But hold on because they claim that now it is much more dangerous because there is more ship traffic in the Arctic. And this means more iceberg incidents will occur. Well of course if your are moving through areas where icebergs normally float around in, the possibility of hitting one is not remote. Easy to avoid the ones that can be seen but no so the ones just under the surface or getting to close to a berg that has a much larger base underwater than can be seen.
Source: Titanic Theory Put On Ice: Icebergs Were Not At Dangerously High Levels In 1912 – But They Are Today
(9 April 2014,Daily Mail)
Lightoller, right, with third officer Herbert Pitman. Image: Public Domain
* The upcoming Titanic memorabilia auction by Henry Aldridge includes a four page statement signed by Titanic’s surviving officers called “Letter of Marine Protest.” This document, signed by Titanic’s surviving officers, is part of the insurance claim White Star Line submitted. Henry Aldridge says of the document: “It is fascinating that the officers would seem to minimize their encounter with the rather large and ominous iceberg by describing it as a ‘small low-lying iceberg’. This could possibly have been an attempt to downplay the size of the iceberg due to the question of liability and who was to blame for the sinking.” Anyone who has submitted claims to insurance companies knows they want the who, what, when, and how the incident occurred. So the document says the date, time and location where it occurred that the ship collided with the iceberg. The iceberg is described as “ ‘growler’, or small low-lying iceberg.” To be fair to Charles Lightoller, the senior surviving officer, he did not see the iceberg and descriptions of it varied. I am not sure that saying it was low lying minimizes or changes the fact that colliding with it caused ruptures in the hull that sank Titanic. The lookouts did not see it until it was nearly upon them due to there being no moon and the stillness of the ocean. Other things are boiled down to simple factual statements like: “On examination it was found water was coming into several compartments; all hands were called on deck, the boats were ordered to be cleared, and subsequently filled with women and children.”
Later thanks to survivor accounts and witness statements at American and British inquiries, we learn much more about what happened. The insurance company–Atlantic Mutual–had to determine whether the loss was covered or not. Were the officers and in particular Captain Smith negligent in full or in part for what happened?If they denied the claim arguing Smith was negligent, they would have to prove that in court. Who handled the ice warnings and why were they not plotted out? Those and other questions would have to be answered in court. Did Smith know the danger or did one of his junior officers fail to inform him? Get the picture? It would be difficult to prove in court whether Smith was really at fault or one of his junior officers. You could argue indifference or complacency but it would be a long legal battle that might take years to resolve. They choose to pay likely because it would cost more in the long run to litigate the matter and end up paying more in the end. Did Lightoller cover up for Smith or other officers who did not properly plot out the ice field from the warnings received? Possibly but the statements given in the document are factually accurate and meant to neither overplay or underplay anything. Just the basic facts, to paraphrase Sergeant Friday from Dragnet. Atlantic Mutual paid out £3 million (one news report said Titanic was insured for $5 million). When Titanic was discovered in 1985 and later a salvage award was issued, I believe they or a successor company put a claim in with RMS Titanic, Inc. A settlement was reached and the amount paid to them confidential.
1. Titanic Insurance Claim To Be Sold(10 April 2014,Irish Independent**)
2.TITANIC INSURED FOR $5,000,000(Encylopedia Titanica)
*The Titanic Effect is something I call that happens when people recall other maritime disasters that are less known. Consider what is called “Minnesota’s Titanic.” On 13 Jul 1890, a paddlewheeler called Sea Wing was smashed by a wave and turned over killing 98 people (mostly teenagers and young adults). Ben Threinen and Fred Johnson are preparing a documentary about this tragedy so that people remember what happened. Most are stunned when they learn of it says Johnson. And properly so.
Source:Documentary To Recount ‘Minnesota’s Titanic’(11 April 2014,Post Bulletin)
*Dr. Paul Lee is involved in a new project called Titanic Global Database. He is collecting locations “relevant to the Titanic society as an aid to researchers and tourists. ” He plans to add new locations each week but the project is huge and is just starting. You can visit his website at paullee.com.
*With another anniversary of Titanic’s sinking nearly upon us, I always take out two videos to watch. One is the 1958 movie A Night To Remember (based on the excellent book by Walter Lord). Although it was made long ago, it still does the story right and never fails to entertain. Another is the excellent A&E documentary which goes through everything with interviews from survivors, researchers, and others. And it is narrated by David McCallum (Ducky on NCIS) who played Harold Bride in the 1958 movie.
Amy and Samy Outside Restaurant. Photo: Fox
*Kitchen Nightmares is back! Once again we find out how bad some restaurants can become and in dire need of Gordon Ramsay’s help. Of course the season could not start without first going over what happened at the now infamous Amy’s Baking Company. It was the rare episode in which Gordon realized there was nothing he could do since Crazy Amy and Samy The Hammer were totally in denial about what was wrong. They were not interested in anything Gordon had to say or suggest. And America saw two people who either were the greatest actors of all time or truly crazed. The Internet went wild and so did they in responding. From what I saw, it looks like they have not changed much and in fact angrier than before. Now they are making wild claims that Gordon Ramsay sexually harassed Crazy Amy. They make this claim in a video and are declining to take it down despite threats from Fox and the production company. You can view the video at Radaronline. However on their recent appearance on Dr. Phil, they did not make this claim.
**Links to Republic of Ireland newspapers are not provided due to pay for links policy.
Masabumi Hosono, the lone Japanese Titanic survivor, will have his memoirs displayed at Yokohama Minato Museum this month as part of “Treasures collection” to celebrate 25 years of the museum. Hosono, age 42, was a civil servant of the Japanese Ministry of Transport who had been sent to Russia in 1910 to study their railway system. He then went to London for further research then boarded Titanic as a second class passenger. While aboard he started writing a letter to his wife though it was not completed until after he survived.
He was awakened by a knock on the door and went outside to find out what was going on. He was initially sent to the lower decks since he was a foreigner but made his way back to the upper deck. He got into Titanic lifeboat #10 when an officer called that there was room for two more. He did not, as some claim, try to disguise himself as a woman to get aboard the lifeboat. After he was rescued and returned to Japan, initially he was well received but then came under considerable criticism for surviving when so many women and children died. Condemned a coward in the Japanese press, he lost his government job. Textbooks used him as an example of being dishonorable. However he was hired back by the Transport Ministry and stayed there until his death in 1939.
Hosono never spoke of Titanic and was a source of shame for his family. The letter to his wife was published twice, the second time in the 1990’s. With that letter published and now an exhibit of his memoirs and letter,it is hoped to reverse the years of social disgrace that resulted from surviving such a tragedy.
1. The Marine Museum in Fall River will have a fund raiser that will feature a Titanic themed buffet followed by a presentation by Robert Ballard, co-discoverer of Titanic. The event will take place on 2 May and costs $125 for members, $150 for non-members, and is limited to 200 people. Tickets can be purchased by calling 508-674-3533 or at the Marine Museum in Fall River, MA.
Source:Titanic Discoverer Ballard To Speak At Museum (7 April 2014,The Herald News)
2.Titanic Memorial Garden To Open In Cobh(7 April 2014,Irish Examiner) A special memorial garden is to be opened in the Titanic’s last port of call to commemorate the 123 people who boarded tenders onto the ill-fated liner. At 3pm this Friday, the memorial garden will be officially opened in Cobh, Co Cork — 102 years to the day after the Titanic anchored in the harbour. “The focal point of the garden is a glass memorial wall overlooking the final anchorage of Titanic onto which the names of the 123 passengers that boarded her in what was then known as at Queenstown are inscribed,” Hendrick Verwey, chairman of Cobh Tourism, said.
3. Southampton Cemetery Walks Will Remember Loss Of Titanic(8 April 2014,Daily Echo) A series of walks will be held in Southampton to remember the loss of the Titanic. Friends of the Southampton Old Cemetery will be holding the walks this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, starting from the main gates at the end of Cemetery Road. Walkers will be guided around graves with family inscriptions relating to the loss of the White Star Line vessel.
4. Malaysia Airliner: ‘Best Lead Yet’ As Possible Black Box Signal Is Picked Up Deeper Than The Titanic(7 April 2014, Mirror Online) Salvage teams hunting for the plane’s black box devices have picked up signals from 14,764 feet below the surface of the southern Indian Ocean. So-called “pings” have been detected 1,650km off the coast of Perth, Australia, at a depth of 4,500m. When the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on 14th April 1912 it finally rested 12,500ft beneath the Atlantic ocean. The depth will pose difficulties for salvage teams using the latest state of the art technology to locate the black boxes. There is little wonder as to why the area in the southern Indian Ocean is called the “loneliest place on earth”. One of the devices being used to try and fix the point of location of the two black boxes, the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, is the Bluefin 21. The 21 foot long robotic underwater vehicle which has a depth limit of 14,763 ft (4,500M) meaning it will be pushed to the very limit of its capabilities.
1. MLB TV has had problems this season. Due to technical problems caused by a third party, watching on Roku has become a guessing game. Will the home or away feed be the one not working right, both, or should one just listen to the game instead? MLB is promising to fix the problem.
2. A Titanic exhibition in Estonia that recently ended broke attendance records for the museum. The Baltic Course reports that 220,000 people visited the “Titanic: story, findings, legends” exhibition that ran from November 2013 to March 2014. “Such a high visitors’ number at our museum landscape is undoubtedly extraordinary and exceeding or even repeating that would be rather complicated. The number of guests of the Titanic exhibition is proof and acknowledgement that we have offered to the public a world class museum experience,” said Maritime Museum director Urmas Dresen.
Source:Titanic Exhibition Breaks Estonian Museum Visitation Record(2 April 2014,The Baltic Course)
3. A letter written by the mother of Titanic survivor Eva Hart will be auctioned off next month reports the BBC. The letter is written on Titanic stationery was addressed to her mother in Chadwell Heath, England. The letter was found inside her husband’s jacket after they were rescued. Henry Aldridge & Son are the auctioneers for the letter and is perhaps the only one of its type to have survived.
Source: Titanic Last Letter To Be Auctioned(1 April 2014,BBC)
4. Since opening two years ago, the Titanic Belfast Visitors Center has been visited by 1.45 million people reports Irish Times. It has drawn people from all over the world and broke all projections for attendance. 650,000 people passed through last year showing interest in Titanic has not slowed down. Needless to say, Titanic Belfast is “delighted” with the news.
Source:Titanic Centre Visited By 1.45M People Since Opening In 2012(2 April 2014, Irish News)
5. Hungarians @ The Titanic Film Festival(3 April 2014,Xpatloop.com) This year’s Titanic Festival – running between 4-12th April – will also present the works of Hungarian film makers too. Erik Novák’s brand-new action-thriller and black comedy mixture Black Soup will have its premiere screening at the festival. Simon Szabó’s short film Wall that won the main award at the Tampere Short Film Festival, and Réka Bucsi’s animation short Symphony no. 42 that competed in the Berlinale can also be watched at Titanic. The original score for the Turkish movie The Long Way Home was written by Mihály Víg, and a special film selection and a round table-discussion will commemorate the recently deceased Miklós Jancsó.
6. Irish Titanic Survivors Featured At Irish-American Cultural Society Monthly Meeting(4 April 2014,The Current) A journalist will provide a multi-media presentation about Irish-American Titanic survivors and the lives they lived out in the United States during the next monthly meeting of the Irish-American Cultural Society. Jim Curley, a journalist with personal ties to the story, will present a multi media talk on a County May village that sent a group of young women off for better opportunities across the Atlantic Ocean. Curley will give his presentation during the next meeting of the Irish-American Cultural Society at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 15 at the American Legion Hall, New Jersey Avenue and Mill Road, Absecon, NJ.
7. Rostron Cup Part Of Online Auction
Boston based RR Auction will be putting the Roston Cup and other Titanic artifacts up for auction online from April 17-24. Letters photos and other memorabilia will be up for auction and the Roston Cup will likely be the big ticket item for this auction. For details and information about the auction, go to rrauction.com.
Source: Online Auction For 240 Titanic Artifacts(4 April 2014,Business Standard)
Clive Palmer is disputing claims Titanic II is stalled according to Sunshine Coast Daily. It has been recently reported that construction was stalled, no contract had been signed, and the Chinese were not as enthusiastic as Palmer had hoped. The attacks, Palmer now says, are politically motivated. He points out they just finished tank testing and that they have signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese group. Palmer points out that it took seven years to design Titanic and that they are ordering stuff for the ship. He also said the keel will be laid in the third quarter this year.
However Palmer is no longer committed to an exact date for the first voyage, which initially was to be in 2016.
If online polls are to be believed, most do not believe it will be built. Vegas odds makers are not taking bets at this time on Titanic II construction.
I got a note asking what happened to RMS Carpathia, the Titanic rescue ship, after 1912.
RMS Carpathia was a Cunard line transoceanic passenger liner and primarily made runs between New York, Gibraltar, Genoa, Naples, Trieste, and Fiume. During World War I she retained doing commercial runs but did carry both Canadian and American troops to Europe.
On 17 Jul 1918, she was sunk by a German U-Boat in the Celtic Sea. Three torpedoes were fired and one hit the port side and the other the engine room killing two firemen and three trimmers. A third torpedo hit as they were lowering lifeboats. All 57 passengers and 218 surviving crew members got off in lifeboats. The German submarine did surface and threatened the lifeboats. Fortunately the HMS Snowdrop arrived on scene and drove it away and rescued the survivors.
The wreck was thought located in 1999 by team headed up by Graham Jessop on an expedition sponsored by National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA). However that proved to be the liner Isis that sank in 1936. Noted author Clive Cussler announced in 2000 that his organization (NUMA-the fictional agency in many of his books that Dirk Pitt works for) had found the wreck at a depth of 500 feet and upright on the seabed. The wreck is now owned by Premier Exhibitions, the same group that also owns RMS Titanic, Inc which obtained salvage rights to Titanic. The company has recovered artifacts from the wreck for display in the Rescue Gallery in its Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition.
1. Those who use the Netflix streaming service will be happy to learn that Cameron’s Titanic will be available. Also coming via streaming are A League Of Their Own, Fox Network’s House, and B0b’s Burgers(season 3), see Lindsay Lohan before she became a hot mess in Mean Girls, those wanting a Scottish adventure will have Braveheart to watch. Saturday Night Live fans may recall the Coneheads movie and Robin Williams made everyone wary of boardgames in Jumanji. If you have been hankering to see the Rocky movies, fear no more as Rocky 1-5 are now streaming. For those who like horror gag movies, Scary Movie 3 is on. And just in time for Easter, The Bible: The Epic Miniseries is available.
Source: From House to Titanic: A Viewer’s Guide to the New Additions to Netflix(31 Mar 2014,E! Online)
2. Have you wondered about dogs on Titanic and what happened to them? The Smithsonian has compiled a guide about those 12 dogs. In The Definitive Guide to the Dogs on the Titanic , small dogs survived while the bigger ones perished. They were kept in kennels on F Deck and looked after by the ship’s carpenter. They got exercise, food, and a bathroom break. And there was a dog show planned but that never occurred. The dogs were let out at some point and were seen running about as the ship sank. There was no truth to oft-told tale that First Officer Murdoch’s dog was on a lifeboat and alerted Carpathia to the lifeboats by barking.
Source:The Definitive Guide to the Dogs on the Titanic(31 Mar 2014, Smithsonianmag.com)
3. Although doubts have been raised about a new Titanic being built by Clive Palmer, there are hopeful signs it may yet come to pass. There was a little noticed passage in a Asia Times about discussions to construct a cruise ship based on a historic, well known ship. No name was mentioned but some speculate it might be Titanic. Considering the source was within the Chinese government, speculation is that perhaps they will want to help fund this new ship to demonstrate how world class China has become in the 21st century.
Source: Chinese Government Considering Cruise Ship Business(1 April 2014, Asia Times)
Warning! Titanic Cliche Ahead
4. Titanic Cliche Alert:Reshuffling Cabinet=Rearranging Deck Chairs on Titanic
In the wake of losing power in local elections, French President Francois Hollande has named a new prime minister and now says (after supporting higher taxes) he wants to lower taxes and worker contributions. Rainbow Murray,associate professor at Queen Mary University of London, says “I think it’s really rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic. Until they sort the economy out, nothing else is going to fix the major reason why the French are so unhappy with the government.” And if you have to fall back on this old tired cliché to make a point about French politics, you need to re-read Shakespeare for tips on how to better use wit to make your point.
Source: Hollande confirms Valls as PM, stands by pro-business pact(31 Mar 2014, CNBC/Reuters)
Daisies(1894) William Bouguereau(1825-1905) Image: public domain
The Romans called the fourth month Aprilis which is how it became April under the Gregorian calendar. April (in the northern hemisphere)is the transition from winter to spring and farmers are generally busy during this month. In olden times, specific festivals to deities were often performed but fell out of use as people become more urbanized and Christianity replaced many pagan beliefs.
Passover and Easter are often celebrated in April. The diamond is the birthstone for April, while the flower is either the daisy or sweet pea.