Tag Archives: RMS Titanic

TITANIC NEWS 7 JUNE 2020

Irish Diver Rory Golden To Advise Expedition To Locate Titanic’s Radio The Sunday Times, 7 June 2020 (subscription required)

Irish deep sea diver Rory Golden is providing expertise to a new expedition to the Titanic which aims to recover the Marconi radio from the wreck. The ship’s wireless Marconi telegraph was instrumental in saving more than 705 passengers from the freezing Atlantic waters when the Titanic sank after striking an iceberg in April 1912 with the loss of almost 1,500 lives

The Heroic Stories Of The Forgotten Victims Of The Titanic
New York Post, 6 June 2020

In the summer of 1912, weeks after the Titanic sank with her furnace-stoker husband, William, on board, his impoverished widow, Emily Bessant, heard a knock at the door of her tiny row house in Southampton, England. As family lore goes, it was a rich gentleman offering to send Emily’s eldest daughter, Gladys, to private school. He explained that William had helped him to a lifeboat amid the chaos on the fated ship. “It was a story handed down to us younger generations,” William’s great-granddaughter Julie Cook told The Post. “We can’t prove that it was true because Gladys supposedly declined, but it helped ¬everyone believe, in their grief, that William died a hero.”

Titanic Exhibit Delayed Until 2021

WHBY, 3 June 2020

People will have to wait a year to learn about the state’s connections to the Titantic at the Oshkosh Public Museum. Spokeswoman Tammy Malewski says they’re going to delay a special exhibit until July of 2021.
She says about 700 people went through the museum every day, when they had Titanic artifacts on display in 2006. Museum officials are concerned about how to handle that potential demand, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Titanic Court Ruling ‘Disrespects The Dead’
The Southern Star, 1 June 2020

GOLEEN lawyer has said he’s extremely disappointed at the decision by a US judge to allow a salvage operation on the Titanic this summer. Michael Kingston, a London-based maritime expert said the 1,500 people who lost their lives when the ship sank in 1912 deserve more respect. The salvage operation will cut into the wreckage to try to recover a Marconi telegraph.

Titanic books

Welcome to June

Why Titanic’s First Call For Help Wasn’t An SOS Signal (National Geographic, 28 May 20)

But by 1912 when Titanic sailed, there was another, competing distress signal on the scene: “SOS.” There’s a common misnomer that the distress call is short for “Save Our Ship” or “Save Our Souls,” but the letters didn’t stand for anything—it was an adaptation of an existing German radio call. The signal consisted of three dots, three dashes, and another three dots—simple to tap out in Morse code during an emergency and easy to understand, even in poor conditions. An international group including the United Kingdom had ratified SOS as the official international distress signal four years earlier in 1908, but British and Marconi telegraph operators took their time adopting the new signal. (The United States, which resisted early international radio regulation, did not initially sign on to the SOS agreement.)

Cork Historian Teams Up With US Company To Bring Titanic Trail Online (EchoLive.ie, 27 May 20)

Acclaimed historian and lifelong Titanic researcher, Dr Michael Martin is collaborating with American travel experiences company Walks to provide an online tour of Cobh, the Titanic’s last port of call. The Titanic Trail, established in 1998 by Dr Martin is a daily guided walking tour that explores the heritage of Cobh, providing an insight into the maritime, military and social heritage of the town and harbour.  The renowned tour is now going online for a limited time as part of Walks ‘Spotlight Series’ With many walking tours affected as a result of Covid-19, the Spotlight Series brings fascinating tours online, which people can enjoy from the comfort of their own home. 

Bouquet of beautiful red roses
Davidjose365, May 2015
Wikimedia Commons

June is the sixth month on both the Gregorian and Julian calendars. June has the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Traditionally this is on June 21 but that can vary each year.  Ancient Romans thought the period from Mid-March to Mid-June was a bad time to get married. June’s birthstones are the pearl, alexandrite and moonstone. The rose and honeysuckle are June flowers.

Catching up on Titanic News;Court Allows Salvage of marconi radio

[Sorry for not posting sooner-been busy with work!]

Judge Okays Titanic Salvage

Titanic Wreck Bow
Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)

A federal judge has ruled in favor of R.M.S. Titanic (RMST)to go on an expedition to recover artifacts from the Titanic wreck. The company had petitioned to court to allow it to retrieve the Marconi telegraph and other artifacts. The company argued that due to deterioration these items had to be removed or they would be lost forever. The company, which has salvor-in-possession status, was seeking a modification of a July 2000 order which forbade it from cutting into the hull.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) opposed by filing an amicus curiae with the court. NOAA challenged the evidence justifying the expedition and arguing it was illegal under a 2017 Commerce Appropriations Act that prohibits this activity unless approved by the Secretary of Commerce. They also argued it was out of bounds due to an international agreement. Judge Rebecca Smith found the only issue before the court was whether RMST had followed the requirements required by previous court rulings. Since NOAA was not an actual party to the case, she did not rule on any of the merits raised in their brief to the court.

Source:

Commentary:

This was not wholly unexpected. While many in the Titanic community were against the salvage, RMST claimed it was trying to preserve important artifacts from being lost as the wreck deteriorated. They were able to show to Judge Smith had to merely determine if this was a proper request, that how it would be done be consistent with previous authorized salvage, and that the items would be properly conserved. She was satisfied with what they presented to her.

NOAA’s involvement with the case was odd. Since they were not an actual party, they could only file a friend of the court brief. Their brief though was clearly meant as if they were an actual party to the case. One gets the distinct impression that folks at NOAA believe the federal government and not the court has jurisdiction here. They argued that the Secretary of Commerce is the one that makes decisions here and that an international treaty was also an issue. Judge Smith acknowledged the treaty but made it clear that NOAA has no seat at the table. They were essentially in the stands looking down waving paper at the judge. This must have miffed those behind it at NOAA. They can choose to appeal but on what grounds? If they go the route the Department of Commerce has authority, it sets up an interesting fight on maritime law. They may very well appeal this to stop the salvage. Providing of course they can convince a higher court to stop it. That may not be so easy as it sounds.

Titanic Chronology Updates

May 16,1912

  • Two boys thought orphaned when Titanic sank-Michel Navratil, Jr., 3, and Edmond Navratil, 2, were reunited with their mother. Their father had placed them in a lifeboat and perished when Titanic sank. A worldwide appeal to find relatives of the two boys led to finding the mother.

May 14,1912

  • Advertisement for the 1912 film “Saved from the Titanic”. This is an EDITED version, it is a simulated color version based on the color version already on Commons.
    1912
    Public Domain

    The first silent disaster movie, Saved From The Titanic, was released. Starring Dorothy Gibson, who had been a passenger aboard Titanic, received positive reviews from critics. Sadly due to a fire in 1914 at the film studio, all prints of the movie were lost. All that we have are production stills and secondary evidence from other accounts of its existence.

May 13,1912

  • RMS Oceanic found the remains three people in a lifeboat from Titanic. The body of passenger Thomson Beattie and two unidentified firemen were recovered. While they apparently survived the sinking, they died from hypothermia or thirst in the collapsible lifeboat. The Canadian ship Montmagny  recovered three victims and brought them to Louisberg, Nova Scotia where they were transported to Halifax.

May 6,1912

  • The cable ship Minia returned to Halifax, Nova Scotia with 17 bodies from Titanic . Only 1 had died from drowning and the rest from exposure.
  • The will of John Jacob Astor IV, who died in the Titanic disaster, was probated. His $150,000,000 estate (worth more than $3.3 billion in 2012)[17] was left to his 22-year-old son, Vincent Astor.[18

Titanic Chronology-April 30,1912:mackay-bennett arrives halifax, nova scotia

CS Mackay Bennett (circa 1884)
Artist Unknown
Public Domain

On April 30. 1912 the cable ship Mackay-Bennett along with RMS Olympic arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia. 200 bodies of people who had died after Titanic sank. Mackay-Bennett recovered 306 bodies but 116 had to be buried at sea due to insufficient embalming fluid. Of those identified included John Astor and Isidor Straus.  Minia, another cable ship, took over the duties of Mackay-Bennett

Most of the bodies were unloaded at the Coal or Flagship Wharf on the waterfront. Horse-drawn carriages brought the victims to the temporary morgue in the Mayflower Curling Rink. 59 bodies were shipped out by train to their families. The remaining bodies were interred in three Halifax cemeteries three Halifax cemeteries between May 3 and June 12. Burial services were conducted at various churches in Nova Scotia. Flowers and wreaths for victims were provided by local people and businesses. Coffins of the unidentified had lilies on them.

White Star Line paid for many of the tombstones in the cemeteries. Many of the plain block granite ones were replaced by family members and friends with more ornate tombstones.

Titanic Grave markers at Fairview Cemetery Halifax N.S
William B. Grice (Wikimedia)

Sources:

Titanic chronology: april 24, 1912;Olympic departure halted over lifeboats

March 6, 1912: Titanic (right) had to be moved out of the drydock so her sister Olympic (left), which had lost a propeller, could have it replaced.
Robert John Welch (1859-1936), official photographer for Harland & Wolff
Public domain

RMS Olympic was barred by a shipworkers strike in Southampton, England from departing over insufficient lifeboats.  At issue were 40 collapsible boats that were thought not seaworthy. After a test that showed only one was unsuitable, the workers were offered to return but objected to non union workers brought aboard during this time.  After  54 sailors refused to work and left, the sailing was cancelled. The 54 sailors were arrested and charged with mutiny. They were found guilty but no penalty was imposed due to the circumstances of the case. They were allowed to rejoin the crew and Olympic set sail on 15 May.

RMS Olympic would be refitted in October and would incorporate lessons learned from Titanic. 64 lifeboats were added along with an inner watertight lining for the boiler and engine rooms. The watertight bulkheads were extended and an extra one added for a total of 17 watertight compartments. Olympic returned to service in March, 1913.

Titanic Chronology: April 15,1912;Titanic Sinks

Leaving the sinking liner, 27 April 1912
Charles Dixon
Public Domain

When it was determined Titanic would sink, it began transmitting signals by wireless telegraph, Morse lamp, and rockets. The ship nearest by most accounts was SS Californian. Her telegraph operator turned off his equipment at 11:30 pm and never heard the distress calls. Questions linger to this day whether or not they saw Titanic or her rockets being fired. The RMS Carpathia received the SOS and its captain, Arthur Rostron, immediately ordered to proceed directly to the last known coordinates to locate survivors despite having to navigate a dangerous ice field on a moonless night.

Titanic would sink on 15 April 1912 at 2:20 am. Although Titanic met the British Board of Trade regulations and exceeded it for the number of lifeboats required, it did not have enough for the full complement of passengers and crew. As a result over 1,500 men, women, and children would had no means of escape from the sinking ship.

RMS Carpathia (date unknown)
Image: public domain

Carpathia arrives at 4:10 am to rescue survivors who were in lifeboats or able to reach them. 710 survived the initial sinking but the final tally would be 705 due to  death from freezing cold. SS California would arrive later but would find no survivors. At 12 noon Carpathia sounded her horns and began heading back to New York.* It was the moment that many wives knew for certain their husbands had perished.

*It was the moment that many wives knew for certain their husbands had perished.

Titanic Chronology: April 14, 1912

Photograph of iceberg taken by chief steward of Prinz Adalbert on morning of 15 April 1912 near where Titanic sank. At the time he had not learned of the Titanic disaster. Smears of red paint along the base caught his attention. The photo and accompanying statement were sent to Titanic’s lawyers, which hung in their boardroom until the firm dissolved in 2002. Public Domain

Titanic struck the iceberg at 11:40 pm ship time on 14 April 1912. The night was moonless and the sea calm with temperatures at or below freezing. Titanic was moving quickly but did not see the iceberg until it was nearly upon them. An attempt to steer around it resulted in a collision on Titanic’s starboard side. The iceberg would puncture Titanic enough so that the first five compartments would flood. Since the compartments were not totally sealed all the way up, water would go from one compartment to the other making her sink at the bow.

CONTROVERSY-SHOULD THE MARCONI WIRELESS BE RETRIEVED BEFORE DECAY MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE?

Titanic Wreck Bow
Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)

I have been withholding posting on some new developments about Titanic until I was fully read up on it. Not too long ago a long dormant treaty to protect the wreck of RMS Titanic was agreed to by the United Kingdom and the United States. Both sides mutually agree that the wreck is to remain untouched. Canada and France have not signed the treaty but are in possible consultations to sign on as well.

Actual salvage ended some years ago when RMS Titanic Inc. (owned by Premier Exhibitions) said no further salvage expeditions were planned.  A salvage award was done and the entire collection is up for sale (it has to be sold as one unit). So far no one has put up a successful bid due to the high price and the strict conservation requirements the court imposed.

The state of the wreck is, well, it is a wreck that is going the way of most wrecks. It is steadily decaying and probably will be totally gone in a few decades (perhaps sooner or later but it is inevitable). That raises a concern that perhaps a valuable historical artifact will be totally lost forever if it cannot be recovered soon.

At least that is the concern of RMS Titanic Inc that now is petitioning the federal court for permission to retrieve the Marconi wireless transmitter from inside Titanic. Up until now, artifacts have been retrieved from the debris field and not from the ship itself. The argument is a simple one: it has to be retrieved before the ship decays further making it impossible. As can be expected, a storm of controversy has erupted. If it goes the course as before, the name calling and accusations of grave robbery will be thrown out.

During the first salvage, the Titanic community was divided.  Flame wars erupted on the Internet that were so nasty, so personal, and took no prisoners that it drove many from Titanic online communities to never return.  Anyone that was pro-salvage was vilified personally and without remorse. One notorious anti-salvager is rumored to have faked his own death to avoid facing his victims.

The essential argument is that with the ship in a rapid state of decay, retrieving this one artifact for history ought to be allowed. It is a compelling argument but so is letting Titanic being left alone as a memorial to those who have perished. A reproduction could serve the same purpose without having to disturb the wreck further.

Still had Howard Carter took pictures and sealed up the tomb of a virtually unknown pharoah, we would never have seen how ornate the tombs of pharoahs really were (most were looted and ransacked) in the Cairo museum today. Both sides have merit and a court in Virginia will make that decision. The treaty may or not play a role in this but it will be interesting to watch.

UK and US agree ‘momentous’ deal to protect the sunken wreck of the Titanic (Daily Mail, 21 Jan 2020)

Relic hunters plan to retrieve Titanic radio that relayed the ship’s final pleas for help (Washington Post, 22 Jan 2020

Titanic news for veterans day

Titanic Wreck Bow
Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)

Unsinkable Metal Could Lead to Unsinkable Ships. Now Where Have We Heard That Before? (Popular Mechanics, 7 Nov 2019)

The material, which the researchers etched with designs at the nanoscale that allow it to trap air bubbles, could theoretically lead to a truly unsinkable ship or a perfect life preserver, according to Chunlei Guo, a professor of optics and physics at the University of Rochester who coauthored a paper on the new metal in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. The research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Army Research Office, and the National Science Foundation.

Metro Atlanta Woman Owns Collection She Says Belonged To Couple Who Died On Titanic (WSB-TV Atlanta, 6 Nov 2019)

Laub’s collection includes three small women’s handbags, a pair of spectacles and a lady’s makeup compact. “When I’m handling it, the purses and such, I feel like I’m almost there,” Laub said. “There’s a little ‘window.’ And you open it up and it has the most beautiful red lipstick I’ve ever seen in my life still in there.” Laub received the items from the great-granddaughter of the Straus family’s personal assistant. The assistant often traveled with the couple and Laub believes she was supposed to take the items to them.

The funerary mask of Tutankhamun
Roland Unger (via Wikimedia Commons)

How King Tut Exhibitions Became a Multimillion Dollar Industry (Artsy.net, 30 Oct 2019)

An ongoing show, which started at the California Science Center in 2018, moved on to Paris’s Grande Halle de La Villette in Paris, where it broke attendance records for a French art show—the previous record-holder was also a King Tut exhibition—and sold around 1.3 million tickets. The show will open at London’s Saatchi Gallery in November; the Australian Museum in Sydney will be its final stop. The general public’s embrace of the Boy Pharaoh shows no signs of relenting, but issues of ownership and repatriation surrounding Tut-related objects still rage.

The Daughter Of A Titanic Survivor Buried In Lannon Shares Her Mom’s Story For The Village’s 90th Anniversary (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 28 Oct 2019)

She calls herself a child of a Titanic survivor. Randall’s mother and grandparents survived the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912. But Randall’s great- aunt and uncle Maria and Vincenz Kink were among the more than 1,500 who died. Randall’s mother, grandparents and great- aunt and uncle ventured to Milwaukee in April 1912 for a better opportunity. They traveled by train from Zurich, crossed the English Channel by boat and then took another train to South Hampton, England, where they boarded the Titanic. “My mother says they were looking for a better life,” said Randall.

10 Mistakes That Sunk Titanic: Crew Were Left Without Binoculars As Iceberg Approached (Belfast Telegraph, 26 Oct 2019)

The documentary reveals that before the Titanic left Southampton Captain Henry Wilde swapped places with Captain Edward Smith of sister ship the RMS Olympic. As a result of this Second Officer David Blair also left the Titanic and it is believed he took a key to a cabin with him which contained the officer’s binoculars. Simon Mills, owner of the HMS Britannic wreck, said officers could have used the binoculars to help spot the iceberg. “The best way of spotting an iceberg was basically using your natural eyesight as wide as possible on the horizon,” he told the documentary.

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Friday Titanic News

J. Bruce Ismay, president of the White Star Line, in 1912
Public Domain(Wikipedia)

Titanic Survivor’s Guilt Over Escape From The Sinking Ship Revealed In Messages Set To Sell For £50,000 (Telegraph, 10 Oct 2019)

Mr Harrison was Mr Ismay’s personal valet and the collection includes a four page letter he wrote home to his wife Ann Harrison about how he was “fed up” with spending hours writing letters to post for Mr Ismay. Days after the tragedy Mr Ismay wrote to Mrs Harrison via telegram: “Words fail to express my sorrow at your terrible loss. “Am overwhelmed by this frightful calamity.”

Once Halloween season kicks in, it is inevitable you get stories with a supernatural tilt to it. The folks who run the Scottsdale, Arizona Titanic Exhibit are no exception. For the Halloween season they are adding a “ghost walk.” According to AzFamily,  on select days “visitors can walk around the haunted galleries and hear the ghost stories from the exhibit’s staff about the artifacts.” Apparently there have been claims of spirits and other things alleged to have occurred at the exhibit. A local psychic is also going to be on hand to add more ambience to the event. About the only thing missing is a ouija board.

Source: Scottsdale Titanic Exhibit Near Scottsdale To Feature The Ghost Walk (AzFamily.com, 10/8/19)