Tag Archives: Titanic

Sunday Titanic News

Village Where Harold Bride Lived Will Have Memorial Plaque On Former Home (The Courier.UK, 20 Sep 2019)

Bride died of lung cancer in 1956 aged 66, and a plaque has been displayed in his honour at his childhood home in the London borough of Bromley and the house has become a popular pilgrimage site for Titanic enthusiasts. But Scone and District Historical Society believe that his home in the village should also bare a memorial in Bride’s honour. The group have applied to the council’s planning team to put up a plaque on the C-listed building, which is still a privately owned home. It’s owner is due to celebrate his 100th birthday on December 14 and the plaque would be a fantastic present to mark the occasion, according to the Historical Society.

Northern Ireland House Hides A Secret From The Titanic (New York Post, 20 Sept 2019)

Part of the Old School House near Belfast — a charming 1833 structure that has been converted into a four-bedroom single-family property — is made of wood from the fated ship. The house’s owner was told by a man who worked in a local salvage yard that the wood for the kitchen’s window seat was used in the building of the Titanic. The timber is said to came from Belfast’s Harland & Wolff shipyard, where the Titanic was constructed between 1909 and 1912. The link has never been confirmed, and it’s unclear when in the house’s 186-year history the bench was added. But it is plausible that the wood could have come from the famous Belfast shipbuilding hub — it’s less than 5 miles away.

5 Timepieces That Carry A Piece Of History (Economic Times, 15 Sept 2019)

Geneva watchmaker Romain Jerome purchased a piece of the hull of the Titanic, the oceanliner that sank in 1912, to make the Titanic-DNA collection. The watch has an alloy using the slab from the wreck that was retrieved in 1991. The black dial face is made of lacquer paint that includes coal recovered from the debris field of the wreck site. Jerome made 2,012 watches — costing between $7,800 and $173,100 — to coincide with the centenary anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking in 2012.

Being Kosher on titanic

Collapsible lifeboat D photographed by passenger on Carpathia on the morning of 15 April 1912.
Public Domain(Wikipedia)

One  of the underreported aspects of Titanic is that there were Jewish passengers aboard. Only 27 Jews survived and they were welcomed by the Hebrew Sheltering Home and Immigrant Aide in New York. Synagogues all over the country viewed the sinking as a tragedy. And inspired songs as well.

One of the problems encountered by Jewish passengers was staying true to Kashrut (religious dietary laws called kosher). Jews comprised a fair number of 3 rd class passengers on these ships but many ships had no facilities for kosher food preparation. That meant either you brought rations to eat on the voyage or you fasted. And fasting was not easy on a 5 day or more journey across the Atlantic ocean. In fact, some died from starvation.

The Hamburg-Amerika line started in 1905 having kosher food prepared aboard to serve to mainly 3rd class Jewish passengers. Other lines began to do the same because they could market that Jews would get kosher food aboard their ships to America. And since 3rd class was very profitable for the large liners, it was worth the cost to do so.

The Hebrew steerage passengers were looked after by a Hebrew who is employed by the company as a cook, and is at the same time appointed by Rabbi as guardian of such passengers. This particular man told me that he is a pioneer in this work. He was the first to receive such an appointment. It is his duty to see that all the Jewish passengers are assigned to sleeping quarters that are as comfortable and as good as any; to see that kosher food is provided and to prepare it. He has done duty on most of the ships of the White Star line. On each he has instituted this system of caring for the Hebrews and then has left it to be looked after by some successor. (U.S. Immigration Report, 1909)

Titanic had kosher service according to a recent article on jewishpress.com. “All kosher serving dinnerware and utensils for all classes on the Titanic were marked “milk” or “meat,” and mashgichim (supervising rabbis) were authorized by White Star to regularly inspect the ship’s catering departments in both England and New York. Those who ate kosher food used the same tables as everyone else, were served in the same manner, and were fed food of the same quality.” There was also a kosher butcher that supplied meat and rabbinical supervision to make sure the food was prepared according to Kashrut dietary laws.

Sadly no kosher menu has survived from the White Star Line but it is surmised they did exist. References to kosher meat and being served to Jewish passengers suggest that a menu had to exist. It is a fascinating bit of history to read about. And continues to show Titanic still has stories to tell.

Source: Sailing Aboard The Titanic: A Kosher Cruise? (jewish press.com, 11 Sep 2019)

Sunday Titanic News: Santa barbara Boat fire owners Using Titanic legal strategy

The tragic loss of life recently in a Santa Barbara boat fire is going to trigger lawsuits against the boat owner and perhaps other parties as well. It is being reported that the boat owner, Truth Aquatics Inc. has filed a lawsuit to limit its liability. It is suing under the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851 which says the owner of a ship can limit damage claims to the value of the ship. They must show that the owners had no knowledge of potentially dangerous flaws. The law was used to protect White Star Line from huge lawsuits back in 1912. And apparently has been used since then as well and survived legal challenges that took it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Legal experts are stating it is not unexpected as they are trying to limit damage claims by the families of those who lost loved ones. Others criticize the decision as heartless. Since this occurred on water and involves maritime law, the legal action will take place in federal court which has jurisdiction on these matters. What is likely to occur will be confidential settlements between the company and the parties that sue for damages. While the lawyers for the parties seeking damages will talk publicly about trying to upend this law, in reality it will be more difficult then it first appears. And it will cost money if the parties seeking damages have to foot the bill for appealing it up if they lose at any stage of the process.

Source: Boat Owners In Deadly SoCal Fire Trying To Avoid Compensating Victims’ Families, Citing 168-Year-Old Law (SF First, 6 Sep 2019)

The News That Wasn’t:Titanic Decaying

This last week saw a lot of reporting in print and online about a recent dive to Titanic. These were the most up-to-date photos of the wreck. Commentators went agog describing how it was falling apart. Some blamed it on global warming. Some opined it should be brought up. Others had silly things to say as well. But a few pointed out this is exactly what is supposed to be happening so this is not a surprise.

Titanic sank in 1912 and has been resting in two parts on the bottom of the cold North Atlantic ever since. Until 1985, no one had a clue as to what it would look like. And people were stunned by what was revealed. It also confirmed that, as some reported back in 1912, the ship had broken in two. Another thing that was dashed was the concept of a long gash. Instead it was punctures caused by the iceberg that resulted in water entering the ship.

Scientists have noted over the years that Titanic was slowing but surely going to deteriorate. Photos from later expeditions confirmed this was well underway. A recent article in Forbes about this decay noted the following:

During the first visit to the wreck in 1985, scientists observed bacteria and fungi colonizing the rusty remains. One type of bacteria was an unknown species, appropriately named Halomonos titanicae in 2010. Oxidizing the iron parts, the microorganisms produce energy to sustain their metabolism. The waste products of the microbial metabolism is a thick layer of rust, covering the entire wreck, forming stalactites (called rusticles) along the hull.

Every day, the microorganisms consume almost 100 pounds of iron. The peculiar feeding mechanism causes quickly growing holes in the steel plates of the outer hull. The upper ship’s decks are made from thin steel plates, so these quickly decaying this part of the ship may collapse in a few years. The lower parts of the ship’s hull are made of thicker plates. They will likely decay over the next few decades. In the end, the weakened hull will collapse entirely and be buried by sediments, transported by underwater currents.

Other things had an impact. Now there is disagreement as why there are so many microorganisms on Titanic. Some say it is due to over fishing (which means those little microorganisms multiplied and sank to bottom and found Titanic delicious) while others argue it is actually what is supposed to be happening.

The fact that Titanic is decaying is not news but the news media throws it up like this could not or should not be happening. Except of course we know that it could not possibly stay the same. And eventually the wreck will slowly but steadily decrease in mass as the sea claims as much as it can. One day most of it will no longer by visible. Only bits and pieces will remain of the once great liner. Fortunately we have a library of photographs and artifacts along with exhibits that will keep the story alive long after the wreck is gone.

Who was amelia earhart and why is ballard looking for her?

Famed explorer Robert Ballard is now looking for evidence that will determine what finally happened to Amelia Earhart who disappeared in July 1937. She was a famed aviator of her day one of the rare female aviators in a male dominated area. She achieved a lot putting her on par with another famous aviator Charles Lindbergh.

It has been an enduring mystery to find out what happened to her. Many claims over the years have been made–some fanciful and others grounded in logic–but nothing has yet been found to prove what happened to her. Ballard sees this as another challenge to perhaps correct history much like what he did with Titanic. Below is a re-posting of a write up I did on Amelia Earhart. Hopefully he does find something definitive so we can at last know what happened back in 1937.

A few days ago the 80th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance went by without much notice in the press. There was some obligatory mentions in This Day In History write-ups and a mention of a possible finding of her plane. So who was Amelia Earhart and why was she important?

Amelia Earhart circa 1928
Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress digital ID# cph.3a22092)

On 20 May 1932, five years after Charles Lindbergh made his famous solo nonstop flight from the U.S. to France, Amelia Earhart set out to be the first female aviator to accomplish the same feat. Unlike Lindbergh, Earhart was already well known before this flight. She gained fame in 1928 as part of a three person crew to be the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane. On that trip, she kept the plane’s log. Early on 20 May 1932, her Lockheed Vega 5B took off from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. She intended to replicate Lindbergh’s flight but encountered strong northerly winds, mechanical problems, and icy conditions. Instead of landing in France, she landed in a pasture at Culmore(north of Derry)in Northern Ireland. When asked by a farmhand how far she had flown, she famously said “From America.”

Her feat received international acclaim. She received the Distinguished Flying Cross in the U.S., Cross of Honor of the Legion of Honor from France, and the Gold Medal from the National Geographic Society. Her fame allowed her develop friendships with many important and influential people such as First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Earhart would continue to make solo flights and set records. Sadly her next most famous mission would forever be shrouded in mystery. In 1937 she attempted–along with copilot Frederick Noonan–to fly around the world. On 2 Jul 1937, her plane disappeared near Howland Island in the South Pacific. Despite extensive searching by the U.S.Navy and Coast Guard, no trace of the plane or its pilots were ever found. The search was called off on 19 July.

Earhart was declared legally dead on 5 Jul 1939 so that her estate could pay bills. Since then numerous theories as to what happened have been put forth. Many believe her plane either crashed and sank or that they landed on an island and perished awaiting rescue. Some intriguing evidence recovered in 2012 off Nikumaroro might be from their plane which supports the crash and sank hypothesis. More speculative theories have her being a spy for FDR or being captured and executed (along with Noonan)by the Japanese on Saipan (the area checked for the pilots bodies revealed nothing). A 1970 book claiming she had survived, moved to New Jersey, and changed her name to Irene Craigmile Bolam. There really was an Irene Bolam who had been a banker in New York in the 1940’s. She sued the publisher and obtained an out-of-court settlement. The book was taken off the market. National Geographic debunked it in 2006 on Undiscovered History.

Recent Titanic News-Ballard looking for Amelia earhart;Harland & Wolff to close?

Amelia Earhart: Titanic discoverer Robert Ballard bids to solve mystery (12 August 2019, The National) “The man who found the Titanic and the Bismarck at the bottom of the Atlantic is now turning his full attention to finding the aircraft in which Earhart apparently perished on July 2, 1937, while attempting what would have been the longest flight around the world at the time. ”

Sound of silence: will shipyard that built Titanic vanish into history? (9 Aug 2019, Guardian)”Their Belfast counterparts this week experienced their own twist of fortune. Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries, since 1861 the maker of some of the world’s most famous ships, including the Titanic, collapsed into administration. The two great cranes are now motionless; their fate, like that of the stricken company’s employees, uncertain.”

Halifax tour company limiting visits to Titanic cemetery due to sewer work (9 Aug 2019,CBC) “A Halifax tour bus company has temporarily halted visits to a cemetery that houses 121 Titanic victims because of emergency repair work being done to a sewer line where its buses normally park. The unexpected and urgent work on Chisholm Avenue is expected to take two more weeks to complete. The construction has blocked off one of the main entries to the Fairview Lawn Cemetery.”

Opening up the Titanic’s toolbox: Rare shipyard artefacts go on display (2 Aug 2019, Belfast Telegraph)”Many of the items have never been valued and are being displayed for the first time within Titanic Belfast’s Andrews Gallery from today. The Out of Stores: Explore Our Shipyard Collection runs throughout August and has opened up Titanic Foundation’s extensive archives to showcase a selection of never-seen-before items.

New titanic Mural in Belfast and Titanic II In 2022

New “Titanic” Mural Unveiled at Titanic Belfast (Travel Agent Central, 29 May 2019)
The mural is a collaboration between local artists Terry Bradley and Friz, and it aims to attract crowds by shining a spotlight on the city’s history, as well as its contemporary art movement. The recreation of Terry Bradley’s “Docker’s Rest” is located at Hickson’s Point, Titanic Belfast’s newest shipyard-themed hospitality space, which serves up traditional music, food and drink for locals and visitors alike. The mural is appropriately placed, as it depicts men from the Sailortown and the docks, and it showcases Belfast’s maritime heritage as well as the city’s traditions of murals and hospitality.
https://www.travelagentcentral.com/destinations/new-terry-bradley-and-friz-mural-unveiled-at-titanic-belfast

Model maker builds 8ft Titanic in his dining room (Bolton News, 31 May 2019)
Martin Barton’s eight-foot model of The Titanic, which is on display in his Mackenzie Street home, is causing curious passers-by to ring on his bell asking to take a closer look. “Only this morning a woman who was taking her young son to school came in to have a look. The little lad was so amazed that he was jumping up and down with excitement,” said Mr Barton, 79.
https://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/17675988.titanic-achievement-is-a-tourist-attraction/

Titanic II is sailing in 2022 and will follow the same route as the original ship (Belfast Live,25 May 2019)
Titanic II, a ship from Australian company Blue Star Line, is set to sail on its maiden voyage in 2022. To pay tribute to the original ship, Titanic II will be sailing on the same route as the liner, which famously sank back in 1912 after crashing into an iceberg during its maiden voyage between Southampton and New York City. The project has been a few years in the making with the company first announcing plans to build the ship in 2013, and while there were several models and tests already taking place, the venture was stalled during some financial disputes.
https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/belfast-news/titanic-ii-sailing-2022-follow-16331485?_ga=2.198099751.920686984.1559527284-1850300768.1559527284

Letter to Lady Duff Gordon auctioned off;incredible story of man who survived Titanic & Lusitania sinkings

Lucy Christiana, Lady Duff Gordon(circa 1916 or earlier by Arnold Genthe)
Photo:Public Domain (Arnold Genthe Collection,US Library of Congress digital id agc.7a15137)

Titanic survivors Lady Duff Gordon and her husband Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon were criticized when it was learned the lifeboat they were in had only twelve people. There were unsubstantiated allegations they had bribed the crew not to go back and get survivors. It was disproved in the British inquiry.

A letter criticizing Lady Duff Gordon was auctioned off recently by RR Auction for $11,875. The auction house estimated it would fetch $6,000 at the online bidding that concluded in Boston last Friday. The name of the buyer was not released.
Source: First Class Couple On Titanic Are Shamed For Leaving The Sinking Ship On A Lifeboat Less Than Half Full (Maritime Herald,23 April 2019)
http://www.maritimeherald.com/2019/first-class-couple-on-titanic-are-shamed-for-leaving-the-sinking-ship-on-a-lifeboat-less-than-half-full/

George Beauchamp was a lucky man. As fireman stoker on Titanic, he survived and testified at the British inquiry. Then he signed on Lusitania which was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1915. After that, his family says, he had enough of big ships. He worked on trawlers and other ships after that. His family is paying tribute to him 75 years after he died.

“His great granddaughter, Susan Norton, said she’s proud of him and the “part he played in saving the lives of some passengers.”

Source:The extraordinary story of sailor who survived both Titanic and Lusitania disasters (The Independent,23 April 2019)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/titanic-rms-lusitania-sailor-survivor-george-beauchamp-family-a8882561.html

Titanic Steward letter up for auction

A letter from Titanic steward Richard Geddes to his wife Sarah is up for auction in the UK. According to Fox News, the letter describes the near collision between Titanic and SS City of New York as it was departing Southampton. “I hope you are feeling good and not worrying” he says in his letter and closes with his “fondest love” for his wife. Geddes would perish when Titanic sank on April 14, 1912.

The letter is up for auction at Henry Aldridge and Son on April 27. It is expected to fetch between $155,885 to $233,827.

Source: Titanic victim’s long-lost letter surfaces, describes near miss as doomed ship set out on its maiden voyage (Fox News, 20 April 2019)
https://www.foxnews.com/science/titanic-victims-letter-surfaces-describes-near-miss-as-doomed-ship-set-out-on-its-maiden-voyage

Titanic Chronology:Carpathia Arrives on 18 April 1912

U.S. Library of Congress,Bain Collection, Control #ggb2004010347 Public Domain
U.S. Library of Congress,Bain Collection, Control #ggb2004010347
Public Domain

It had been a long three days since Titanic sank when Carpathia arrived bearing Titanic’s survivors. What had been first optimistic news turned grim after the miscommunication had been sorted out. Titanic had sunk and 1500 had perished out in the cold North Atlantic. News as to who exactly had survived was not fully known as Carpathia had kept a media blackout during its journey to New York. There was a reporter on board but had to keep his notes secret in a cigar box lined with champagne corks. He would toss it towards a Hearst editor in a tugboat in New York harbor where it would be raced for a special evening edition of New York World. 50 tugboats full of reporters yelled at the ship through megaphones offering money for eyewitness accounts. Carpathia first stopped at Pier 59, the White Star Line pier and offloaded Titanic’s lifeboats. They were all that were left of the ship aside from the flotsam and jetsam that would be found later in the Atlantic. Then Carpathia proceeded to Pier 54 and the Titanic survivors disembarked. It was only then it was truly known who did survive and who did not.

Pier 54, 2012 where Carpathia docked to unload Titanic survivors, Photo: Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)
Pier 54, 2012 where Carpathia docked to unload Titanic survivors,
Photo: Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)

Pier 54 is now part of Chelsea Piers and is located at Little West 12th Street and the Hudson River (in the Meatpacking District and Greenwich Village area). It is now part of the Hudson River Park. It is now used mostly for concerts, exhibits, and free movies. Several television shows have used the Chelsea piers as a backdrop for  television shows (Law & Order, Spin City, The Apprentice). There is a desire to convert it into a nautical museum though that has yet to come to fruition. There is also a plan to redevelop Pier 54’s original style pier for mixed use space.

Sources:
Books
Eaton, John P.; Haas, Charles A. (1994). Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy. Wellingborough, UK: Patrick Stephens
Lord, Walter (2005) [1955]. A Night to Remember. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin
Lord, Walter (1987). The Night Lives On. London: Penguin Books
Lynch, Donald (1998). Titanic: An Illustrated History. New York: Hyperion

Websites:
Encyclopedia Titanica: Titanic Facts, History and Biography

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