The Daily Mail had an interesting report about a claim concerning the Northern Lights (aurora borealis). An independent weather researcher is arguing that the presence of the Northern Lights that night contributed in its demise. The compass would have been off by a degree and wireless communication would have affected as well. It would make receiving them more difficult or not at all. It is certainly interesting and certainly adds something new to the events of that night.
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The Peterborough Family Who Left For A New Life But Died On The Titanic (Rugby Advertiser, 13 Sep 2020)
In April 1912 they left the UK on board the Titanic, to start a new life in Jacksonville, Florida, as pecan farmers. They had intended to sail to the USA on the Philadelphia, but were forced to change their plans due to a coal strike. After bidding their farewells to many well-wishers,the family travelled by train to Southampton and boarded the Titanic on 10 April 1912 as third-class passengers (ticket number 2343 which cost £69 and 11 shillings).
History Revisted: Father Byles, A Hero Of The Titanic From Ongar (Epping Forest Guardian, 12 Sept 2020)
The priest was praying on the upper deck when the ship struck an iceberg at 11.40pm. He assisted the women and children on their way to lifeboats, consoling them and twice refusing a place himself. When passengers got excited or anxious he would say: “Be calm, my good people.” Miss Helen Mary Mocklare, a third class passenger, gave an account of what she witnessed. She said: “A few around us became very excited and then it was that the priest again raised his hand and instantly they were calm once more.
Shipyard Worker’s Son Tells The Fond Stories He Heard From His Proud Dad (News Letter, 11 Sept 2020)
Dan shared some of his family’s remarkable links with shipbuilding on this page last Friday – his grandfather, father and five uncles all worked in the yard and his two aunts wedded shipyard men. Dan’s play about the H&W shipyard – The Boat Factory – has received substantial local, national and international acclaim. It was hailed as “a unique story” in Brussels, “the epitome of great storytelling” in New York and in Belfast it had “many in the audience reaching for a hanky.”
The Titanic Sinking’: The Story Behind The Telegram With Which The Belfast Telegraph Landed One Of History’s Greatest Scoops (Belfast Telegraph, 11 Sept 2020 -Payment required)
It’s one of the most famous ‘scoops’ but also perhaps the saddest in the 150-year history of the Belfast Telegraph… the story the newspaper would never have wanted to cover. For the exclusive that broke the news of the Titanic disaster in April 1912 was too painfully close to home for a city that had proudly built the doomed ocean liner and where virtually everyone knew someone with a link to the construction of the luxury White Star heavyweight.
New Documentary Explores Mystery Of Titanic’s ‘Unknown Child’(New York Post, 5 Sep 2020)
The identity of the boy remained a mystery for nearly a century until a group of forensic experts gradually pieced it together, using breakthroughs in DNA technology and the discovery of a pair of tiny shoes, which had been kept by a Halifax police sergeant tasked with burning all the victims’ clothing in 1912. He just couldn’t bring himself to destroy what remained of the youngest victim recovered by the sailors.
Podcast: Irish Diver Who Went To Titanic (NewsTalk, 3 Sep 2020)
35 years ago this week, the Titanic’s wreckage was found in the Atlantic. The ship got a lot of popular attention over the years for its tragic end – and of course because of the mega hit Hollywood film. Kieran Cuddihy was joined by Rory Golden, the very first Irish diver to ever go to the iconic ship’s wreckage – and he shared his experience.
On 1 September 1939, German forces using the pretext they were acting in self-defense against Poland, invaded. The German infantry was not fully mechanized but had Panzers and fast-moving artillery that included truck mounted artillery. The German strategy was to quickly concentrate forces and encircle an enemy quickly. Thanks to the relatively flat terrain of Poland, it made it easy to move mobile infantry about.
The invasion came one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact on 23 August. This non-aggression pact meant neither side could assist the enemy of the other. A secret protocol to the agreement defined German and Soviet spheres in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. This protocol would not be proved until the Nuremberg Trials. So, when Germany invaded, Poland was already split with defined borders between the two countries.
With this pact, Poland signed defense agreements with Britain and France. Talks between those powers and Germany did take place and the invasion was held up until they were concluded. Hitler did not believe they would declare war, and if they did would be willing to compromise after the invasion of Poland. Germany wanted the restoration of Danzig (in Polish Gdansk) as a free city (it had a large German population), the Polish Corridor, and the safeguarding of Germans in Poland. Germany demanded that a Polish representative with the power to sign such an agreement be present. The British, remembering what happened before when Czechoslovakia was forced to capitulate to the Germans, did not like that demand. When the Polish representative met with Ribbentrop on 31 Aug, he was dismissed when he had no power to sign. The Germans then claimed that Poland had rejected their demands and Hitler ordered the invasion for 1 September.
The Germans were better prepared for war than the Polish. They had higher numbers of troops and had air superiority. Poland had older fighters while the bombers were more modern. They waited too late to upgrade so newer fighters and bombers would not be there when the Germany invaded. Poland had two armor brigades and its 7TP light tank was better armed than the German Panzer. But they only had 140 of those and 88 tanks they imported from Britain and France. The Polish Navy was a small fleet with destroyers, submarines and support vessels. Most of the surface vessels escaped and joined the British Royal Navy. Submarines did engage German shipping in the Baltic Sea but it was not successful. Polish merchant ships that did escape or elsewhere would join the allies and take part in wartime convoys.
By 3 October both German and Soviet forces had secured their spheres ending the Second Polish Republic. Both German and Soviet governments quickly took control of their territories, organizing and annexing, and setting up regional controls. Government and military leaders who did escape would form a military force in support of the Polish government-in-exile. In response to the invasion of Poland, Britain and France formally declared war on Germany on 3 September but little else (France did invade the Saar but quickly withdrew).
On 1 September 1985 history was made in the early morning hours. A combined expedition of Woods Hole Institute and the French national oceanographic agency IFREMER would locate the wreck of Titanic lying approximately 12,500 feet south-southeast off the coast of Newfoundland. Using a remote controlled deep-sea vehicle Argo equipped with sonar and cameras, it was towed by Knorr over the area. Robert Ballard of Woods Hole Institute had used this system to locate the sunken submarines Scorpion and Thresher. An earlier attempt by the French ship to locate by sonar had failed. So now he was focusing on finding a debris field, similar to how he found those submarines. Finally after a week of searching, at 12:48 am on Sunday, 1 September 1985 pieces of debris began to appear on Knorr’s screens. It brought both cheers and a somber moment of remembering Titanic’s sinking. The boiler found was identical to pictures from 1911. The next day the main part of the wreck was found showing Titanic had split in two.
On the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese formally surrendered ending World War II. By this time Japan was no longer the military power it once was. The Battle of Midway in June 1942 had been the turning point when four Japanese aircraft carriers were sunk. Since then Japanese control over its captured territories were pushed back under massive effort of U.S. and Allied forces. By the summer of 1945, and with the capture of Okinawa, Japan was being blockaded and being bombed often. Plans for the invasion of Japan had been drawn up. After the bloody experience of capturing territory such as on Iwa Jima, it was expected to be a difficult invasion that would cost a lot of allied lives. However, the dropping of two atomic weapons on Japan in August on Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed things dramatically.
Members of the Japanese War Council and Emperor Hirohito favored accepting the peace terms; some objected and acted to stop a surrender. On 15 Aug a coup was attempted against Prime Minister Suzuki, but it was crushed. At noon that day, and for the first time in Japanese history, Emperor Hirohito addressed the nation by radio. “We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable.” The US and the allies accepted the surrender.
Titanic: One of History’s Greatest Scoops Landed by Belfast Telegraph (Belfast Telegraph 28 Aug 2020)
Even over a hundred years ago, the Belfast Telegraph was first with the news. In 1912 the newspaper reported the sinking of the Titanic on the same day that the liner went down in the north Atlantic — an amazing feat for the time. The Tele was the first newspaper in Europe to report the collision with an iceberg, after a telegram was sent to the newsroom alerting it of the disaster in what remains the earliest documented notification of the disaster.
This granite memorial is located on St. Nicholas Place, Pier Head, Liverpool, England. Constructed in 1916 by Sir William Gascombe John, its original purpose is to commemorate the 32 engineers who perished on Titanic. With the heavy loss of life in World War I, the monument was also for all maritime engine room fatalities. During World War II, the monument was damaged by shrapnel from bombs that were dropped nearby (still visible today).
The monument is 48 feet tall and shaped as an obelisk on a square pedestal. The east and west side have carved life-size sculptures of stokers and engineers. According to Historic England, the monument is a registered historic monument. Also, its design had influence on future war memorials.
The memorial had a considerable influence upon the design of post 1919 war memorials, particularly in respect of the portrayal of the ordinary man or woman, rather than of members of social or military elites. It is thought to be one of the most artistically significant memorials to the Titanic disaster on either side of the Atlantic.
Historical Note: There is a disconnect between what was believed happened and what did happen regarding the engineers. During the British Inquiry into the disaster, it was learned that all of the engineers had been instructed to leave and went topside in the hopes of surviving the disaster. There simply was nothing further than could be done. They did not die at their posts, as is often claimed. They were ordered to go topside and they did. Neither Boxhall nor Lightoller saw them but it is clear from testimony they went up. Lord Mersey choose not to mention this in his report leaving the impression that the engineers had all died at their posts. Some did not survive but they did not stay down in the bowls of the ship until the end.
A Last Bright Shining Lie
Senan Molony, Encyclopedia Titanica
- Memorial To Heroes Of The Marine Engine Room (Historic England)
- Wikipedia: Memorial To Heroes Of The Marine Engine Room
Irish Hero Who Saved At Least 50 Lives On The Titanic Is Honoured In Cork (Irish Post, 18 Aug 20)
As the ship began to sink, Mr Foley and his fellow crewmen took charge of Lifeboat 4, guiding dozens of women and children to safety as they awaited rescue, which eventually came in the form of the RMS Carpathia. An estimated 1,500 people died in the disaster, but every woman and child who were guided on to the lifeboat by Mr Jack Foley survived. The plaque to commemorate the native Youghal man was unveiled in the town over the weekend by Mayor Mary Linehan Foley, with Jack Foley’s great-grandnephew Don Mulcahy, and great-great-grandniece Sarah present at the ceremony.
A ship that has leaked more than 1,000 tons of oil in pristine waters off the coast of Mauritius has split in two. The bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef off the southeastern coast of Mauritius on July 25 and began oozing oil more than a week later, threatening a protected marine park boasting mangrove forests and endangered species.Mauritius declared an environmental emergency and salvage crews raced against the clock to pump the remaining 3,000 tons of oil off the stricken vessel.
MSN has set up a Titanic slid show. It is pretty good and since most Titanic museums are closed, this is a okay substitute.
Tour the Titanic: the world’s most famous ship (MSN, 16 Aug 20)
Titanic Is Being Turned Into A Board Game Because Why The Hell Not (Tweaktown, 14 Aug 2020)
We all remember James Cameron’s massively successful 1997 movie Titanic, catapulting its stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet into Hollywood super-stardom. Well, Titanic is being turned into a board game with Titanic: The Game. Spin Master Games has used the 1997 movie Titanic for its inspiration for the game, pulling the characters that Cameron used in the movie with players able to play as Jack, Rose, Cal, Ruth or the Captain.
Fact Check: Black Woman Didn’t Drown When Titanic Sank (USA Today, 13 Aug 2020)
The claim: A Black woman named Malinda Borden died on the Titanic because lifeboats were only for white women and children. The Titanic, the “unsinkable” ship turned tragedy that inspired one of the world’s highest-grossing films of all time, is often associated with iconic romance and Celine Dion. Now, an inaccurate meme is promoting a less romantic story about a Black crew member allegedly killed by discrimination and arctic waters.
Titanic Belfast Re-Opens With A Special Thank You To NHS Workers (The Mayor.eu, 10 Aug 2020)
During the ceremony, Alderman Frank McCoubrey also stated that “Titanic Belfast is synonymous with Belfast, it is an inspiring testament to RMS Titanic and our city. As First citizen, it was a privilege to be its first official visitor and experience the enhancements it has made for locals this year. There is no doubt that discovering the world-famous story on our doorstep evokes a sense of civic pride and I would encourage locals to support the world-leading attraction by visiting this summer.”
Titanic’s £200m Treasure Trove Exposed As Experts Pin Hopes On Tiny Robot Probe Of Wreck (Express, 30 Jul 2020)
The UK Department for Transport says the treaty means the British and US governments have the power to grant or deny licences to enter the ship and remove items, and that unauthorised activity will be punishable by large fines. But RMS Titanic Inc has reportedly argued the new treaty has “no teeth” in US law, and has filed a notice of intent to retrieve items from the ship at the US district court in eastern Virginia. They announced this week that it has developed a special robot to reach in through a deck house roof and extract the Marconi without the need to cut into the wreck. The company has partnered on the project with Guernsey-based deepwater specialists Magellan Limited.
Titanic Belfast Reopens With Free Admission For NHS Health Workers (News Letter 31 Jul 2020)
Judith Owens, chief executive of Titanic Belfast said: “We are absolutely delighted to open our doors again. Welcoming visitors, telling stories and creating experiences is what we do best. Now more than ever, we need the support of our city and Northern Ireland, and we’ve been working away behind the scenes to ensure that those who come to visit have a truly memorable Titanic experience. “For us, home is where the heart is and this has never been more apparent. As one of Belfast’s iconic symbols, we are always keen to play our part and reflect the city’s spirit. This is our way of saying thank you to our local heroes for their hard work and bravery.
Remembering History: England Defeats Spanish Armada
On July 29, 1688 naval forces of England and Spain engaged in an 8-hour furious battle off the coast of France that determined the fate of both countries control of the seas. Spain had created the armada to not only gain control of the English Channel but also to land an invasion force in England. England since the early 1580s had been conducting raids against Spanish commerce and had supported Dutch rebels in Spanish Netherlands. The other reason was to restore Catholicism that had been outlawed since the reign of King Henry VIII
The invasion fleet was authorized by King Philip II and was completed in 1587 but delayed by a raid by Sir Francis Drake on the Armada’s supplies. It did not depart until May 19, 1588. The fleet consisted of 130 ships under the command of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia. It had 2,500 guns, 8,000 seamen, and 20,000 soldiers. The Spanish ships though were slower than their English counterparts and lighter armed as well despite their guns. Their tactic was to force boarding when their ships were close enough. They believed with the superior numbers of Spanish infantry they could overwhelm the English ships.
The English were commanded by Charles Howard, 2nd Baron Howard of Effingham. Like his counterpart, he was an admiral with not much sea experience but proved to be the better leader. His second in command was Sir Francis Drake. The English fleet was at its height 200 ships but in the actual combat was at most 100. Only 40 were warships and the rest smaller but they were armed with heavy artillery that were able to fire at longer ranges without having to get close to the enemy to be effective. The English strategy was to bombard their enemy from a distance and not give them the opportunity to get close and possibly board their ships (which had smaller number of soldiers aboard than the Spanish had).
As the Spanish Armada made its way, it would be harassed by English ships that bombarded them at a distance negating Spanish attempts to board. The Armada anchored near Calais, France on 27 July. The Spanish forces on land were in Flanders and would take time to get down to Calais. However, since there was no safe port and enemy Dutch and English ships patrolled the coastal shallows, it meant those troops had no safe way to get to the Armada.
Around midnight on 29 July, the English sent 8 fire ships into the anchored Spanish fleet. The Spanish were forced to quickly scatter to avoid the fire ships. This meant the Armada formation was now broken making them easier targets for the English to attack. They closed to effective range and attacked. Surprising to the English, the return fire was mostly small arms. It turns out most of the heavy cannons had not been mounted. And those that were did not have properly trained crews on how to reload. Three Spanish ships were sunk or driven ashore. Other ships were battered and moved away. The English also were low on ammunition, so they had to drop back and follow the Spanish fleet.
The Spanish fleet had to flee north and around Scotland and from there head back to Spain. The English fleet turned back for resupply. It was a long road back to Spain for the Armada. Autumn had arrived and gales in the North Atlantic made passage tough. Ships were lost to bad weather, navigational errors, foundered near Ireland, and possibly battle damage as well. Only 60 of the 130 survived with an estimated loss of 15,000 men. The English losses were much smaller with fewer men wounded or killed in battle. It appears most of the deaths that came later were due to disease (possibly scurvy). Damages to the English ships were negligible.
With the defeat of the Spanish Armada, England was made safe from invasion. The Dutch rebels the English backed in Spanish Netherlands were saved as well. Spain up to that point had been considered to be the greatest European power, so it was a major blow to their prestige that would have ramifications down the road for them. Also, it heralded a major change for naval battles. This was the first major naval gun battle where the combatants fought at a distance rather than closing and boarding. Warships that could move quickly and had artillery that fire at long range would become the norm on the seas from that point on. England would now become a major world power. Spain still was in the game for several decades (the English were not successful either in trying their own invasion) and was still a major colonial power. England and Spain formally ended their conflict in 1604. Spain however would eventually go into decline as England and other European powers would successfully expand into Asia and establish their own colonies and trade routes.
(Note: All dates are given are for the Gregorian calendar, which was adopted by England in 1750. At the time of the battle, the Julian calendar was in effect.)