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

January 09, 2012  by: S. Chowdhury  Points: 12   Category: Others  Earning $0.70   Views: 878

The final moments of R.M.S. Titanic and the human stories surrounding it is shrouded in such mystery that it is being dissected even to this day and still absolute clarity over specific incidents and theories cannot be attained. Still it continues to intrigue millions of people around the world and I've tried to cover few of some contentious areas here along with the human stories.

         

(Continued from Part III)


There is a theory that has been very controversial to say the least and has remained an unsolved mystery for a century by now. The Ship 'S.S. Californian' that had earlier send iceberg warnings to the Titanic was the Ship much closer to 'R.M.S. Titanic' from the point of collision with the iceberg than 'R.M.S. Carpathia' - the ship that ultimately rescued the surviving passengers of Titanic. The exact distance between Titanic and the Californian is a matter of controversy but investigations and researches have found it to be about seven to eight miles approximately, even though all kinds of efforts has been made by those put under scrutiny after the sinking of Titanic to debunk this theory with futility. Several Titanic survivors have reported of seeing the lights of a static mystery ship in the horizon on that night. The crewmembers of 'S.S. Californian' also reported spotting the lights of a strange ship far away on the night of the tragedy and even saw it firing several rockets in the air but its Captain 'Stanley Lord' has not been proactive in trying to contact the Ship.


The controversial S.S. Californian

Both the Californian and Titanic crew tried to send signals by their 'Morse Lamp' but both were not reciprocated as it was out of range. Even though Captain Lord had retired for the day but still he should have come himself on the deck to check it out and wake up his radio officer and try to contact the ship by sending wireless signals. He did nothing of that sort and only instructed his crew to keep an eye on the Ship and report him of any change. Later they informed the Captain that the strange looking Ship had suddenly disappeared and every body thought that it had drifted away while in reality it had gone down by then. Stanley Lord would rue his cowardly and selfish inaction for the rest of his life, as after the tragedy he would be accused of not coming for help of the sinking Titanic in time despite being so close that would've saved so many lives and his reputation and credibility as somebody in charge on sea would be totally shattered as a fallout of the incidents of that fateful night. Lord kept fighting to salvage his damaged reputation and clear his name from the controversy throughout his life with futility.


Captain Stanley Lord

Returning back to the events of that night - the Radio officers of 'R.M.S. Titanic' did all they could do in sending distress signals everywhere possible within the limitations of the technology available then and got responses from many Ships but since Titanic had little time available so all those efforts proved futile except the positive response from 'R.M.S. Carpathia'. Finally Captain Smith released both the Radio Officers from duty by saying: "Men you have done your full duty. You can do no more. Abandon your Cabin. Now it's every man for himself."


Harold Bride

Despite the release orders of Captain Smith Radio Operators Jack Philips and Harold Bride tried their best to reach out to ships till the radio room had power and water had not seeped in. After the radio room lost power from the surging water they went looking for lifeboats and parted for the last time. Bride did make it to 'R.M.S. Carpathia' and beyond in life in a miraculous fashion by clinging to an overturned collapsible lifeboat with many other people but Philip couldn't make it. Even though Philips also hung on to the same lifeboat but he couldn't bear the stress of overwork and extreme cold and died of Hypothermia eventually until help arrived and his body was lost at sea.


Jack Philips

Head Ship Building Designer, Thomas Andrews was an inconsolable man all this time, probably from the guilt of not being able to build a ship strong enough to withstand the impact of the iceberg. Still he did his best in helping out people in every possible way and even insisted 2nd Officer Charles Lightoller that the lifeboats must be filled to capacity. As is reported, he was last seen staring at a painting in the first class smoking room with a look of despair and disbelief to his dreams that lay allover around him in shards of sorrow!


Thomas Andrews

There are conflicting reports about the final moments of Captain Smith. Some reports state that he went quietly to the ship's wheelhouse, while the most common and generally accepted theory suggest that he stood by the deck till he was washed away by the icy waters. There were also interesting survivor accounts suggesting to have seen him rescuing a child and handing over to the overturned collapsible lifeboat B before swimming back to the doomed ship. The veracity of this claim remains dubious though.


Captain Smith

As the flooding went on increasing the bow of Titanic started dipping further and the Stern continued on rising higher in the air. It was absolute mayhem on the Ship. People were scampering for the stern, some falling down and getting badly injured, some barely hanging on. The lifeboats were all gone and even the last two collapsible lifeboats were swept away by the surging water. Those would act as clinging structures for some of the survivors for the rest of the night. The cables holding one of the forward Funnels snapped suddenly and the huge structure collapsed on the deck smashing many people under it.

I remember watching a documentary on the National Geographic Channel some time ago where a Titanic sinking survivor named Eva Hart - who was a child of seven years then - was narrating her experiences, describing the pandemonium that she vividly remembered. She said that the confused running of people when all the lifeboats were gone created loud thuds on the deck of the ship, which she watched from her lifeboat and never forgot even in old age. She said in her interview that the sound of those confused running of passengers on the deck of Titanic and people drowning after the Ship sunk still rang in her ear, which according to her is impossible to describe or for anyone to understand other than those who were there that night.


Eva Hart

There is another controversial area that I must cover without which this true story won't be complete. There are conflicting statements and reports related to the alleged incidents of third Class passengers not being allowed to go up at the deck and locking them up behind collapsible Gates by the crew as was shown in James Cameron's Movie. From whatever reports and historical analysis I have read I'd have to say that what was shown in the Movie was very much exaggerated but the class divides and general apathy for the steerage passengers was certainly there among the rich and the decision-makers on the Ship. Though there were reports of some people being stopped on their way to the upper decks but they were not as bad as shown in the movie. Time was limited to act in helping out women and children steerage passengers stuck in lower decks and very few people of the crew were willing to take that trouble. Since many of them were non-English speaking immigrants so they probably failed to understand the gravity of the situation. Also not everyone of the crew even was aware about the ultimate fate of the Ship in the beginning and when desperation started to set in it created absolute panic. In the entire melee hapless people below decks were forgotten and left to their fate!

The orchestra band of Titanic played until their final moment and became one of the most intriguing parts of Titanic folklore. Just moments after the forward Funnel collapsed the stern continued to rise even further and at this point of time the lights went out altogether. The bow of Titanic had taken in more volume of water by then than the ship could possibly bear and eventually the inevitable and long-disputed occurrence happened: the Ship split into two parts. As the bow of Titanic began sinking it dragged the stern with it down in the water for a little while before separating. The stern popped up for a minute or two in a complete perpendicular position and then finally sank beneath the North Atlantic at 2.20 A.M. Sadly therefore 'R.M.S. Titanic' - the Grandest Vessel of her time - was lost from life forever!


Titanic breaks into two halves just prior to sinking

Reference:

Wikipedia.
Encyclopedia Titanica.
Several other websites.

(To be Continued)




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