We’re so used to hearing tales of doom and tragedy about the sinking of the Titanic that’s it’s surprising to find a funny story about it. As a major exhibition prepares to open in London next year at an as-yet-undisclosed location to mark the 110th anniversary of the 1912 tragedy, MyLondon is investigating the lives of the Londoners who were aboard the ill-fated ship. In the process, MyLondon came across the rather incredible yet touching story of the 22-year-old signalman who was cracking up in fits of laughter while sending SOS signals from the freezing ship.
He’s infamous as the sailor who was blamed by some for the sinking of the Titanic, but the collection of medals which belonged to David Blair reveal his true heroism. In his haste to disembark, however, he forgot to leave a key which was needed in the crow’s nest to access binoculars and a telescope. As such, Blair is known to history for his unwitting part in the sinking – but the officer had in fact won a series of prestigious medals for his bravery and military service. Roughly a year after the Titanic sank, Aldridge was serving as first officer on the SS Majestic – another White Star ocean liner – when he swam to the rescue of a drowning man who had thrown himself overboard. For his bravery, King George V awarded Blair a Sea Gallantry Medal at Buckingham Palace. He earned further medals during the First World War, when he served with distinction in the navy.
The Titanic Centre in Belfast is one of the island’s most popular attractions. Located next to the Titanic slipways and the former shipyard Drawing Offices, the centre is at the heart of where the Titanic was planned, designed, built and launched. It took Belfast a long time to come to terms with the Titanic’s fate. The Titanic Centre was opened to mark the centenary of the sinking. The long gestation was due to a mixture of shame and embarrassment surrounding the ship’s tragic end. For a long time, the city’s tour guides quipped “she was all right when she left here” but ultimately it was realised that other cities around the world such as Halifax, Nova Scotia and Orlando, Florida were telling a story, through exhibitions, that could really only be told properly in Belfast.
1.Underwater Explorer Has A Deep Respect For Leadership(Lethbridge Herald, 4 Mar 18) Ballard is one of the featured guests at this year’s Greatness in Leadership conference taking place in March.He is best known for finding the RMS Titanic in 1985, while on a secret navy mission to investigate two sunken nuclear submarines. “I was a naval officer doing something else, and needed a cover,” he said from his headquarters in Connecticut “I must say, the Pentagon was pissed when I made the discovery. I apologized and said I’d never do it again.” In May, Ballard will hit the open sea to work with Ocean Networks Canada. He and his crew are assisting with efforts to provide improvements to a tsunami early warning system by investigating the Juan de Fuca plate, a tectonic plate subducting under the West Coast.
2.WSU Engineering Students Helping Remap The Titanic (King5.com,1 Mar 2018) Since Titanic was discovered in 1985, there have been dozens of voyages to the wreckage from government agencies and scientists. But the last time a tourist laid eyes on it was 2005, and the last scientific expedition was in 2010. Technology has also changed a lot in eight years. This time, their five-person sub named Titan will be armed with 4K cameras and a special laser to bring back the best images ever seen. “We can tell within millimeters what the hull is like and create a 3D image of it which we will use in our virtual reality presentation of the wreck,” said Rush.
3.US Museum Labelling Titanic A Failure Blasted By Belfast Councillor(Belfast Telegraph, 27 Feb 18) The Museum of Failure in Los Angeles is dedicated to displaying 100 items which are rated in terms of innovation and design before being subjected to the museum’s ‘Fail-O-Meter’. The Harland & Wolff-built luxury liner was deemed unsinkable by its designers but tragically sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912 with the loss of more than 1,500 lives. However, Councillor Sonia Copeland, who represents the Titanic District Electoral Area in east Belfast, said the inclusion of the ill-fated cruise liner in the exhibition is completely inappropriate. “I think it’s disgusting. The Titanic hit an iceberg. That wasn’t a failure of the shipbuilders – it was a failure of nature, so to speak,” she said.
4.Medals Of War Hero Who May Have Unwittingly Helped Sink Titanic Go Up For Auction(Belfast Telegraph, 27 Feb 2018) A special set of medals owned by a Titanic crew member whose memory loss may have sparked the liner’s tragic demise is set to go under the hammer. Crew member David Blair was a selfless man who once plunged into the sea to save a life and received an OBE – but he may have unwittingly caused the catastrophic sinking of the famous ship in 1912. That’s because Second Officer Blair was taken off the Titanic at the last minute – and accidentally held on to the key to a locker containing the crow’s nest binoculars. Titanic survivor Fred Fleet told the official inquiry into the tragedy that if they had the binoculars they would have seen the iceberg that took the ship to its watery grave sooner.