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Told And Untold Stories Of R.M.S. TITANIC (Part III)

December 05, 2011  by: S. Chowdhury  Points: 12   Category: Others  Earning $0.50   Views: 953

As the Captain of R.M.S. Titanic and few others of the crew came to know of the cruel reality that Titanic was sure to be doomed and there wasn't much time to spare lowering of lifeboats were ordered by the Captain into the water with passengers on board. From this point onwards the remarkable human stories surrounding the sinking of Titanic started to unfold itself.

         

(Continued from Part II)

Captain Smith ordered his crew to fill the lifeboats and lower them to the water with a priority to women and children. Many of the passengers did not believe in the beginning that the 'Unsinkable' Titanic is really going to sink. Therefore they didn't consider leaving the Ship as a wise option. Hence the first few lifeboats were launched with only a few people on board. It was a terrible waste considering the fact that the lifeboats had only room for about half of the total 2,223 souls on board. Thomas Andrews realized what tragedy was going to occur unless people start vacating the Ship soon and therefore he urged whomsoever possible to put a life jacket and get into a lifeboat at the earliest.


One of the Titanic Lifeboats

2nd Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller who was the highest ranked crew on 'R.M.S. Titanic' to survive the disaster was handed over the charge of manning the lifeboats and he had quite a tough time doing so after people started to realize that Titanic was sure to be doomed as the tilt went on increasing and panic started setting in among the waiting passengers about their final outcome. Many of the crew had to use firearms to keep the ruckus at arms length though it might not have been actually necessary in every case as suggested by some survivors. The lone Japanese national and survivor of the Titanic tragedy Mr Masabumi Hosono later wrote a letter to his wife describing the startling and tragic incidents of the tragedy revealing the fact how many other male passengers were stopped at gunpoint by the Titanic crew from sneaking into a lifeboat. Somehow he managed to occupy a seat in a lifeboat as his luck clicked but that act of cowardice - as derided by many - ruined his life forever since he was demonized in his own country for putting the country to shame and not dying like a brave man similar to the way so many others perished. He died a broken man afterwards in 1939.


Masabumi Hosono

The scene from James Cameron directed 1997 blockbuster Hollywood Movie 'Titanic' that showed 1st Officer William McMaster Murdoch taking bribe from a first class passenger, shooting a third class passenger amid the commotion and then committing suicide by shooting himself in the head is not only false but utter hogwash. The makers of this film 'Twentieth Century Fox' later apologized to the Scottish town where Murdoch is revered as a local hero by sending a letter of apology to Alisdair Morgan - the MP for Murdoch's hometown Dalbeattie in Scotland at the time of the film's release. I read a newspaper report published in 1998where historians mentioned that Murdoch did his utmost to save the passengers of Titanic guiding them into lifeboats and then throwing deckchairs overboard for those who had jumped into the icy waters to cling on before he went down with the Ship. It is very unfortunate that a director of James Cameron's reputation should taint the image of an honest and dedicated person like William Murdoch in this fashion. Cameron should have been made to apologize in public and censured as well for this obnoxious and utter shameful lie!


William Murdoch committing suicide in James Cameron's Titanic

Captain Smith told the orchestra band to play a nice tune on the deck to ease the tense atmosphere a bit. They followed the orders with perfection till Titanic was alive and went down with the Ship to be immortal as a myth among the famous ones related to the aura surrounding the tragedy.

Amid the entire rumpus Bruce Ismay quietly found his way into a lifeboat and he was later reviled by everybody for not going down with the Ship like so many others. He spent the rest of his life a broken man in despair and depression probably a fitting punishment for his sins.


Bruce Ismay

Some of the millionaire businessmen on the Ship infamous for their scandals and infidelity tried to redeem themselves in the last hours of their life. John Jacob Astor IV - the richest man on Titanic and one of the wealthiest businessman of America at that time - was last seen standing quietly on the deck of Titanic in its final hours after being refused entry to a lifeboat by 2nd Officer Lightoller along with his teenaged pregnant wife and maidservant. It is also reported that he helped many other people get to the lifeboats in those hours of utter confusion and commotion. Some days later to the sinking of Titanic the crew of the cable Ship 'CS Mackay-Bennett' recovered his dead body along with many others from water and it was found that his pocket was filled with lots of money as well as valuables like diamond rings and gold watch he wore but he didn't use those to bribe out his way. He stood quietly on the deck of Titanic in its final hours while everybody else was running helter-skelter and using all possible means of getting into a lifeboat!


John Jacob Astor IV

Another wealthy American businessman by the name of Benjamin Guggenheim boarded Titanic with one of his many mistresses and several servants even though his wife was at home in New York along with their children. It is reported that in his last hours Guggenheim first got his mistress and her maid into a lifeboat and then he and his valet helped many women and children to get to lifeboats and even urged many to get hold of one at the earliest. After the boats were gone he returned to his cabin, dressed himself up and came down to the Grand Staircase with his valet and stated, "We've dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen." He was last seen having brandy and smoking cigars in the Staircase with his valet. None of the bodies were found afterwards.


Benjamin Guggenheim

As the Wireless Operator Jack Philips continued to send distress signals a few ships responded including 'S.S. Olympic' the sister ship to Titanic. But they were far away and the closest Ship that responded positively and eventually arrived to rescue the survivors was 'S.S. Carpathia'. Sadly it took a little more than four hours to arrive by that time not only was the Ship gone beneath the North Atlantic but those that were scattered in the icy waters had already died of Hypothermia.


Reference:

Wikipedia.
Encyclopedia Titanica.
Several other websites.

(To be Continued)




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