Remembering History: Britain & France Sign Entente Cordiale (8 April 1904)

In the early years of the 20th century, the colonial powers of Britain and France became increasingly concerned with Germany’s military growth. France had suffered defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 and was concerned about its growing military power. Britain was concerned as well about Germany’s growing navy bringing both countries together in an agreement. Africa was the main point of contention with British, French, Belgium and Germany all having colonial territories. Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain also had territory in Africa.

Colonial Africa On The Eve of World War I
Image: reddit user whiplashoo21

On 8 April 1904, both countries declared that they recognized certain territorial claims of the other in Africa. The British agreed that France had control over Morocco and France agreed to recognize Egypt as under British control. The declaration became known as the Entente Cordial and the beginnings of an alliance between the two powers. Although there was an agreement to diplomatically support the other, there was no requirement they provide military assistance if they were attacked.

Why This is Important

While not a formal alliance, it put the world on notice and in particular Germany that Britain and France recognized each other’s colonial territories. Germany saw the agreement exactly for what it was and would take steps to challenge it. Germany supported the Sultan of Morocco in 1905 against France. Britain however sided with France and resulted in an international conference that confirmed France’s control over Morocco. Germany decided to send troops to Morocco in 1911 precipitating another crisis. This forced both Britain and France into an informal military alliance to counter Germany. Rather than break up the two parties, Germany’s actions only brought them closer together. And it would result in more formal military agreement that would include Russia as well. By 1912, Europe was divided into two main blocks: Britain, France and Russia and Germany, Austria-Hungary.

Sources:

—. “Entente Cordiale | Franco-British Alliance, 1904 Treaty.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 6 Apr. 2024, www.britannica.com/event/Entente-Cordiale.

Sullivan, Missy. “Britain and France Sign Entente Cordiale.” HISTORY, 5 Apr. 2024, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/britain-and-france-sign-entente-cordiale.

—. “Entente Cordiale.” Wikipedia, 1 Apr. 2024, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entente_Cordiale.

Titanic Chronology: Titanic Loads Fresh Food (8 April 1912)

Titanic Lunch Menu 14 April 1912
Photo: AP

Fresh food was loaded today on Titanic in preparation for its departure. Feeding passengers and crew was no small thing back then. At maximum capacity, it would carry 2,453 passengers and around 900 crew. That meant having large quantities of just about everything- meats, dairy, vegetables, fruits, flour, bread, and cereals. Since the ship served alcohol, it also carried ale, wine, and liquor as well. And, of course, a gentleman back then would have a cigar with his brandy, so they had cigars as well. Drinking water had to be stored as well for the voyage along with crockery, glassware, and cutlery for food to be prepared, served and eaten on. You can view a list of food at Titanic Facts.

Sources:

Books

Behe, George TITANIC: SAFETY, SPEED AND SACRIFICE, Transportation Trails, Polo, IL 1997

Eaton John P. & Haas Charles, TITANIC TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY, SECOND EDITION, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, New York, 1995 First American Edition

Lord, Walter, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, Holt Rinehart and Winston, New York, New York, 1955. Multiple revisions and reprints, notably Illustrated editions (1976,1977,1978 etc)

Lord, Walter, THE NIGHT LIVES ON, Willian Morrow and Company, New York, New York, 1986 (First Edition)

Lynch, Don & Marshall Ken, TITANIC AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, Madison Press Books, Toronto, Ontario Canada, 1992

Internet

Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Titanica
History.com

Titanic Chronology: Titanic Adds Crew (6 April 1912)

The only picture of the Marconi radio room onboard the Titanic. Harold Bride is seated at his station. Photo was taken by Father Francis Browne, SJ, while aboard Titanic.
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Titanic fills the remaining vacancies in ship’s crew. Coal and cargo also begin loading today

688 crew members would be aboard Titanic when it sailed. The wireless operators, Harold Bride and Jack Phillips, were actually employees of Marconi. For ship purposes, they were made part of the Victualling Department as they provided a service rather an essential operation. The ship’s orchestra were not employees of White Star but contracted from the Liverpool firm of C.W. & F.N. Black. This firm provided musicians for most British liners. They were treated as second class passengers.

Due to a miners’ strike that ended on 6 April, there was a shortage of coal. To make up for the shortage, coal from other White Star ships were transferred to Titanic so she could sail on 10 April. Passengers on those ships would be transferred as well to Titanic.  The ship would carry 5, 892 tons, which was more than sufficient for the voyage.

Sources:

Purchase Titanic Books on Amazon.

Books

Behe, George TITANIC: SAFETY, SPEED AND SACRIFICE, Transportation Trails, Polo, IL 1997

Eaton John P. & Haas Charles, TITANIC TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY, SECOND EDITION, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, New York, 1995 First American Edition

Lord, Walter, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, Holt Rinehart and Winston, New York, New York, 1955. Multiple revisions and reprints, notably Illustrated editions (1976,1977,1978 etc)

Lord, Walter, THE NIGHT LIVES ON, Willian Morrow and Company, New York, New York, 1986 (First Edition)

Lynch, Don & Marshall Ken, TITANIC AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, Madison Press Books, Toronto, Ontario Canada, 1992

Internet

Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Titanica
History.com

Titanic Chronology: Titanic Arrives Southampton (3 April 1912)

After departing Belfast at 20:00 (8 pm), Titanic arrives in Southampton just after midnight. She would be towed to Berth 44. She traveled 577 nautical miles (664 miles) and her recorded maximum speed is 23 1/3 knots. That is approximately 26 miles per hour.

Titanic advertising from New York Times, 10 April 1912.
Public Domain (Wikimedia)

Sources:

Books

Behe, George TITANIC: SAFETY, SPEED AND SACRIFICE, Transportation Trails, Polo, IL 1997

Eaton John P. & Haas Charles, TITANIC TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY, SECOND EDITION, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, New York, 1995 First American Edition

Lord, Walter, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, Holt Rinehart and Winston, New York, New York, 1955. Multiple revisions and reprints, notably Illustrated editions (1976,1977,1978 etc)

Lord, Walter, THE NIGHT LIVES ON, Willian Morrow and Company, New York, New York, 1986 (First Edition)

Lynch, Don & Marshall Ken, TITANIC AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, Madison Press Books, Toronto, Ontario Canada, 1992

Internet

Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Titanica
History.com

Titanic Chronology 2 April 1912-Titanic Sea Trials

[This has been updated for 2024 with some new information.

Titanic leaving Belfast with two guiding tugs, 2 April 1912
Robert John Welch (1859-1936), official photographer for Harland & Wolff
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

 

Titanic’s sea trials would begin at 0600. It was cancelled the previous day due to bad weather. The day was clear and fair for the trials. Aboard were 78 stokers, greasers, and fireman. 41 members of the crew were also aboard. Harold Bride and Jack Phillips were aboard as well both as radio operators and to make sure the equipment was ready.

Various representatives were aboard which included the following:

  • Thomas Andrews and Edward Wilding of Harland and Wolff
  • Harold A. Sanderson of IMM
  • Francis Carruthers of the Board of Trade to certify the ship was working correctly and fit to carry passengers.

Unfortunately, due to illness neither Bruce Ismay nor Lord Pirrie could attend. The Titanic was out through a series of tests to show how she handled. These were done in Belfast Lough and in the Irish Sea. Over 12 hours the ship was driven at different speeds and her turning ability was tested. Testing on how fast Titanic could stop quickly (called a “crash stop”) was done as well. This was achieved by reversing full ahead to full astern. Titanic came to a stop in 850 yards taking approximately 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Titanic covered a distance of about 80 nautical miles (92 land miles) with an average speed of 18 knots (21 mph). Titanic reached its maximum speed of slightly under 21 knots (24 mph).

Titanic returned to Belfast at around 1900 (7 pm). Carruthers as surveyor for the Board of Trade signed the document (“Agreement and Account of Voyages and Crew”) certifying for 12 months the ship was seaworthy. Titanic would depart at 20:00 (8 pm) for Southampton. It would take 28 hours to reach her destination near midnight on 4 April 1912.

Sources:

Cameron, Stephen. Titanic: Belfast’s Own. Wolfhound Press (IE), 1998.

Walter Lord
—. A Night to Remember. Henry Holt, 1955.
—. Night Lives On. Avon, 1998

—. “Titanic.” Wikipedia, 2 Apr. 2024, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanic.

Welcome to April

April, Brevarium Grimani fol. 5v (Flemish)
Circa 1510
Venedig, Biblioteca Marciana
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

April is the fourth month on the current Gregorian but the fifth month on the old Julian calendar. In the Northern Hemisphere, April is the beginning of spring in many places. In the Southern Hemisphere, April is the equivalent of October. The name April comes from the Latin word Aprilis and was the second month on the old Roman calendar that used to begin in March.

April was seen as a month of both sun and growth by the Romans, which may be how they came up with the name Aprilis. There may be some connection to the Greek goddess Aphrodite as well. Whatever its origin, the name stuck and has come to us as April. With winter over for most in the Northern Hemisphere, it was a time of joy. It started getting warmer, the cold days of rain, snow, and frost receded and replaced by much nicer days.

There are countless festivities in April to celebrate this time of year to be chronicled here. April Fools Day (1 April) is celebrated around the world as a day of playing pranks. It possibly goes back to a time when people, happy to see winter come to an end, would play joyful pranks on their family and friends. Whatever its source, it has become ingrained into culture and tradition. Easter and Passover are often celebrated in April as well.

For those interested, the birthstone for April is the diamond and the birth flowers are the daisy and sweet pea.

1 April in Titanic Chronology

RMS Titanic under construction. Photo taken between February-March 1912
Original source: Robert John Welch (1859-1936), official photographer for Harland & Wolff
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

 

Titanic’s sea trials postponed due to bad weather. They will  take place on 2 April weather permitting.

Sources:

Cameron, Stephen. Titanic: Belfast’s Own. Wolfhound Press (IE), 1998.

Walter Lord
—. A Night to Remember. Henry Holt, 1955.
—. Night Lives On. Avon, 1998

Titanic Chronology: Construction Begins on Titanic (31 Mar 1909)

RMS Titanic ready for launch(1911)
Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress, digital id#cph.3a27541)

Due to the immense size in constructing the Olympic class vessels for White Star Line, Harland & Wolff had to demolish three existing slipways on Queen’s Island in Belfast Harbor. The two new ones, the largest ever built at that time, would be where both Olympic and Titanic would be constructed. The keel for Olympic was laid on 16 December 1908 and Titanic on 31 March 1909. Both ships would be constructed parallel to each other. Queen’s Island became known as Titanic Quarter and an enormous gantry was built to hold the cranes needed during construction. Expedited completion for each ship was 26 months. The base of both ships had a double bottom of 5 feet 3 inches deep supporting 300 frames (each were 24 and 36 inches apart and measured up to 66 feet) which terminated at the bridge deck (B deck). These were covered with steel plates which provided the outer skin of both ships. Both ships were floating box girders with the keel as the backbone of the ship.

Sources:

Books

Purchase Titanic Books on Amazon.

Behe, George TITANIC: SAFETY, SPEED AND SACRIFICE, Transportation Trails, Polo, IL 1997

Eaton John P. & Haas Charles, TITANIC TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY, SECOND EDITION, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, New York, 1995 First American Edition

Lord, Walter, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, Holt Rinehart and Winston, New York, New York, 1955. Multiple revisions and reprints, notably Illustrated editions (1976,1977,1978 etc)

Lord, Walter, THE NIGHT LIVES ON, Willian Morrow and Company, New York, New York, 1986 (First Edition)

Lynch, Don & Marshall Ken, TITANIC AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, Madison Press Books, Toronto, Ontario Canada, 1992

Internet

Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Titanica
History.com

Friday Titanic News

The recent disaster of the Key Bridge being downed by a container ship invokes a law Titanic’s owners used to escape liability.  The big difference is that this was a freight ship and not a passenger or cruise ship. While the law was amended to make changes after a small boat caught fire off California (and nearly everyone died), it does not apply here. You can certainly guess though that families that lost loved ones will be filing lawsuits. The Coast Guard and NTSB are both investigating but final report will be at least one to two years away.

Bloomberg. “Titanic Law Helps Ship Owner Limit Liability in Baltimore Bridge Collapse.” www.business-standard.com, 27 Mar. 2024, www.business-standard.com/world-news/titanic-law-helps-ship-owner-limit-liability-in-baltimore-bridge-collapse-124032700081_1.html.

The company could face a bevy of lawsuits from multiple directions, including from the bridge’s owner and anyone who sues for personal injury or emotional distress. Damages claims are likely to fall on the ship owner and not the agency that operates the bridge, since stationary objects aren’t typically at fault if a moving vessel hits them, said Michael Sturley, a maritime law expert at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Law.  But an 1851 law could lower the exposure to tens of millions of dollars by capping the ship owner’s liability at how much the vessel is worth after the crash, plus any earnings it collected from carrying the freight on board, said Martin Davies, the director of Tulane University’s Maritime Law Center.  The law was passed initially to prevent shipping giants from suffering steep and insurmountable losses from disasters at sea. An eight-figure sum, while still hefty, would amount to “considerably less” than the full claims total, Davies said.

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One wonders if the person who bought it is one of those movie buffs that will add to their collection or perhaps a gallery or museum which will put it up to attract visitors. Or could it be that Clive Palmer bought it to be displayed on Titanic II?

Rhoden-Paul, By Andre. “Titanic ‘door’ prop that kept Rose alive sells for $718,750.” BBC, 27 Mar. 2024, www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-68672177.

The floating piece of wood that kept Titanic’s Rose alive has been sold for $718,750 (£569,739) at auction. The listing noted the prop “has caused much debate from fans”. The sale was made during an auction of props and costumes owned by restaurant and resort chain Planet Hollywood.

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Search for Titanic Books on Amazon.

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Quann, Peg. “Titanic Dinner to Be Recreated to Raise Funds for Johnsville Centrifuge Museum.” PhillyBurbs.com, 25 Mar. 2024, www.phillyburbs.com/story/news/local/2024/03/25/titanic-aerospace-warminster-museum-dinner-ivyland-johnsville-centrifuge/72986333007.

It may seem odd that the Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum, which celebrates Bucks County’s significant history in the race to outer space, will hold a fundraising dinner April 6 featuring the first-class menu from the ill-fated Titanic on the night the ship sank. But guest speaker Fred Hagen, a Bensalem businessman, is both an aviation and underwater researcher who has visited the sunken wreck of the Titanic. He was aboard the submersible Titan on an Atlantic Ocean mission to the Titanic before the one in which it tragically exploded last June.

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“Fundraising Dinner Event to Mark Anniversary of Fateful Titanic Voyage.” The Bucks County Herald, 21 Mar. 2024, buckscountyherald.com/stories/fundraising-dinner-event-to-mark-anniversary-of-fateful-titanic-voyage,42196.

A Night to Remember, a special fundraising event featuring a recreation of the last meal served on the R.M.S. Titanic, will take place from 6-10 p.m. Saturday, April 6 at Spring Mill Manor, 171 Jacksonville Road, Ivyland, and will benefit the capital campaign of the Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum. In addition to an elegant menu recalling that served in the first class dining room aboard the ship on its final night, the event will include a live quartet playing period music and an exhibition of Titanic artifacts from the private collection of Titanic expert Craig Sopin, secretary of the Titanic International Society. Additionally, the program for the evening will include a presentation by explorer, adventurer and businessman Alfred (Fred) Hagen, who will share the story of his two journeys to the Titanic wreck aboard the submersible Titan.

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Search for Titanic Books on Amazon.

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This is not about actual Titanic memorabilia but rather items from Cameron’s Titanic that are being put up for auction. The once iconic restaurant started seeing a serious drop off in repeat customers causing its profits to drop considerably. The food was considered underwhelming by most reviewers. And while it had the Hollywood vibe, without repeat customers, it started losing money and shuttered many restaurants and finally had to head to bankruptcy court to sort things out. You know things are bad when the very celebrities you once banked on to give your place that Hollywood vibe were rarely seen or none at all. You can read a news article about it at https://www.msn.com/en-us/movies/news/what-really-happened-to-planet-hollywood-and-where-you-can-still-find-them/ar-AA1b6LSb.

Dallas Express. “Titanic Memorabilia Listed at Dallas Auction.” Dallas Express, 20 Mar. 2024, dallasexpress.com/lifestyle/titanic-memorabilia-listed-at-dallas-auction.

The debate over Jack and Rose’s potential survival atop a wooden panel during the climax of Titanic has once again taken center stage, this time as a highlight of a local auction event in Dallas hosted by Heritage Auctions. Titanic’s infamous wood panel is among the 1,600 items owned by Planet Hollywood, as reported by The Dallas Morning News.

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DM Editorial. “New Expedition to Titanic Wreckage Could Get Go-ahead After Titan Tragedy.” International | Daily Mirror, 15 Mar. 2024, www.dailymirror.lk/international/New-expedition-to-Titanic-wreckage-could-get-go-ahead-after-Titan-tragedy/107-278891.

A planned expedition to the resting place of the Titanic could get the go-ahead after plans were scaled back in the aftermath of the fatal Titan implosion last year. The US government is seeking more information on the revised plans for the expedition, which is scheduled to go ahead in May, Kent Porter, an assistant US attorney, told a federal judge in Virginia on Wednesday.

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Here we go again. He tried this in 2012 and 2018. He did get some preliminary work done (mostly designing and lining up others to help out) but the shipyard never got the order. Or if it did, it never got acted on. Both Palmer and China got into a big snit (it had to do with one of his businesses) so that delayed the project being built. And then the Covid Pandemic hit and that knocked things out. Now he is back again with this mammoth project. Believe me, a lot of people would like to see an actual floating replica of Titanic but costs have soared since then. And then he has to find a shipyard to build it (I cannot see him going back to China to do this).  I have real serious doubts this will be built. A Chinese version that was going to be built for an attraction never got built either (and you would be able to stay aboard it and even experience the “Titanic Sinking Simulator” as well.

Pedler, Taryn. “Billionaire Plans to Build Titanic II With Maiden Voyage Set for 2027.” Mail Online, 14 Mar. 2024, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13195841/What-possibly-wrong-Australian-billionaire-revives-plans-create-Titanic-II-maiden-voyage-set-2027.html.

Clive Palmer, 69, unveiled his latest plans at Sydney Opera House on Wednesday, claiming his build would be ‘far superior than the original’. The mining tycoon told his audience that his company, Blue Star Line, would construct ‘the ship of love and the ultimate in style and luxury’ but admitted he does not currently have a shipyard secured to complete the construction. Palmer reassured his audience that he was confident he’d be able to find one and start construction by 2025, with the ship’s maiden voyage from Southampton to New York – replicating the ill-fated 1912 voyage of the original. The construction of the mega 56,000-tonne replica is estimated to set Palmer back by £1billion but the businessman is set on bringing the RMS Titanic back to life.

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Search for Titanic Books on Amazon.

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You would think that someone at OceanGate might have sent a letter, email, or just called to express their sadness that her father died aboard their craft.

Keane, Isabel. “Daughter of Titanic Expert Killed in Titan Sub Implosion Says Dives to See Famed Shipwreck Should Continue.” New York Post, 11 Mar. 2024, nypost.com/2024/03/11/world-news/paul-henri-nargeolets-daughter-slams-oceangate-over-titan-tragedy.

The daughter of the French Titanic expert who died in the Titan submersible implosion last summer slammed the ill-fated sub’s creator for not reaching out to her family following the tragedy — but said trips to the famous shipwreck should continue. Sidonie Nargeolet, the 40-year-old daughter of the deep-sea explorer known as “Mr. Titanic,” Paul-Henri Nargeolet, says no one at OceanGate offered condolences after her father perished aboard the submersible as it approached the wreckage of the Titanic on June 18, 2023. “My anger is mostly because no one from OceanGate contacted us to say we are sorry for your loss,” Nargeolet told Pen News. “At least I think they could have contacted us to say we are sorry for your loss.”

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Lamdin, By Emma Elgee and Fiona. “Woman thanks RNLI for saving Titanic survivor in second shipwreck.” BBC News, 10 Mar. 2024, www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-somerset-68467635.

Fiona Kilbane, from Somerset, said her great-grandmother Mary Roberts was a “determined” woman. She was the head stewardess on the Titanic when it sank in 1912. Two years’ later she was saved by the RNLI when working as a nurse on the Rohilla, which sank off the coast of Whitby in North Yorkshire. Hayley Whiting, RNLI heritage and archive manager said: “We can never really decided if Mary Roberts is really lucky or unlucky, it depends on how you want to look at her.”

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This is a nice story of a kid who saw a LEGO replica and decided to build one himself. It took him several months to complete.

Herald, Lethbridge. “City Teen Docks Titanic Replica at Grandparents’ House.” The Lethbridge Herald – News and Sports From Around Lethbridge, 6 Mar. 2024, lethbridgeherald.com/news/lethbridge-news/2024/03/04/city-teen-docks-titanic-replica-at-grandparents-house.

A local teenager has helped the Titanic reach its destination, at least in LEGO form, after embarking on the building of a replica of the famous ship, during a journey that took months to complete.

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Ma, Haiyan. “Seawise Giant Vs Titanic: Comparing the Maritime Titans.” Cruise Hive, 3 Mar. 2024, www.cruisehive.com/seawise-giant-vs-titanic/124988.

Enormous ships have always captivated the imaginations of the general public. The RMS Titanic ocean liner and the Seawise Giant supertanker are among history’s most iconic and memorable vessels. Although at 1,504.1 feet long, the Seawise Giant is the longest ship ever constructed, eclipsing the 882-foot length of the Titanic, the two ships are still considered titans of their respective eras.

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Video:

“Titanic Survivors Discovered in Illinois Cemetery.” https://www.kwqc.com, 3 Mar. 2024, www.kwqc.com/video/2024/03/03/titanic-survivors-discovered-illinois-cemetery.

Titanic, historic ship, and general history news.