A Day to Remember

 

April 10, 2024 was the 112th anniversary of the day that the British passenger and mail-carrying ocean liner RMS Titanic slipped her surly mooring bonds in the English port of Southampton and set sail on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic.

In her honor, and on that date, I embarked on an excursion I don’t undertake much anymore, unless under protest: I gritted my teeth, girded my loins, screwed my courage to the sticking place, and drove to Pittsburgh.  My destination, on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, was the Carnegie Science Center.  It’s almost adjacent to Heinz Field (which is now called something else), and is at the center of a rats’ nest of narrow roads, twisty alleys, and one way streets that confound any GPS system I’ve ever had the misfortune of using.  The last time I was in the vicinity, which was a couple of years ago for the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit (which was great, BTW), I spent about twenty minutes going round and round in circles afterwards, before I got myself pointed in the right direction, or at least in a direction I recognized and from which I could figure out how to get home. (To be perfectly clear, it’s not the absolute worst rats’ nest of narrow roads, twisty alleys, and one-way streets I’ve ever been in, in my life, but it’s up there in the top two. What makes it better than the other is that, at least in Pittsbugh, the directional signs are posted in a language, and a script, that I can read and understand. Other than that, there’s not much to choose between them.)

My ultimate goal on April 10 was the much-hyped Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, set to close on April 15, and for which I’d bought a spur-of-the-moment ticket, several days before.

I’ve always been fascinated with shipwrecks. Just as I’ve always loved the sea. Perhaps it goes back to early childhood trips between Liverpool and Lagos on Elder-Dempster Lines vessels carrying British colonial officers and their families off on tour to deepest, darkest West Africa and back home. Perhaps some of it has to do with summers in Prince Edward Island, and the stories of shipwrecks off that North Shore, particularly those of the Yankee Gale.

Or perhaps, when it comes to the Titanic, it has something to do with the fact that two of my childhood playmates were the grandsons of the ship’s junior radio operator.

To be clear, that fact had nothing to do with our relationship. I don’t believe we ever spoke of it, and from everything I understand, the gentleman concerned rarely spoke of it either. I think his response to his ordeal was like that of many combat veterans; he endured it, dealt with it, and then–for better or worse–put it away. And while I think he gave a couple of interviews immediately afterwards, and was probably involved in the many follow-up investigations of the tragedy, I’m sure he just wanted to have it behind him.

Cannot blame him.

Still, it was a fact that was known among us, and my mother sat me down to watch (on television, when we finally got one after moving to the States in 1963) the 1958 movie A Night to Remember. Although not perfect,** it’s still (IMHO) the best Titanic movie there is, and certainly it’s far superior to the James Cameron version which–like that bloody song at the end–just goes on. And on. And on. Not for any good reason that I can see.

When it came to A Night to Remember, though, Mum reveled in the role of the junior radio operator, who was played in the film by a very young David McCallum, someone I always thought Mum had a bit of a crush on. That’s how I came to know him too, and–while mostly missing out on the whole Man From Uncle experience, I eventually caught up with him again as Medical Examiner Donald (Ducky) Mallard on NCIS. And fell in love with him myself.

But I digress. Back to the exhibit.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. So I was neither disappointed (as I think some were), not over-the-moon about it. I found it interesting, moving, sobering, and instructive.

I don’t think it’s for kids. There’s no whizz-bang. No moving parts. Not even any moving pictures. Nothing remotely resembling a video-game. It was quiet and intimate. (The Science Center can do the other thing, as it has an IMAX dome theater. Many years ago–maybe 25 or so–Mr. She and I saw the David Brashears Everest documentary there. It was thrilling and spine-chilling.) But the Titanic exhibition was different.

There was a lot of reading. Placards and posters. Someone had done a very good job of intermingling the narrative of events with the stories of the passengers. And they correlated it well with the exhibits under glass of the artifacts recovered from the ocean floor.

Many of those artifacts were small items recovered from passenger luggage.

Lord. I don’t know if the companies that made those suitcases are still in business, but what a story! Eighty years, 2.5 miles underwater, at pressures of about six-thousand pounds per-square-inch, and suitcases were brought up which could be identified as belonging to specific passengers, which had jars of cold cream with the cold cream still in them, razors and shaving brushes, and perfectly preserved (with apparently no water damage) postcards of–from a family with connections to the city–Pittsburgh’s Smithfield Street Bridge and railway station, or–probably from a tourist to the area–England’s Malvern spa town. Most poignant for me, perhaps, was a faux-ivory dresser set. I have one that’s almost identical, that belonged to my paternal grandmother, and is probably from about the same era.

I remember the advertisements, a few decades ago for Samsonite luggage. It was dropped from planes, or shown with troops of chimpanzees jumping up and down on it. All intended to highlight its indestructibility. Cannot help thinking that the manufacturers of the luggage taken onto the Titanic had it beat several times over. Wow.

Other artifacts belonged to the White Star Lines or the ship itself. Pots and pans from the kitchen, some of them so specific their use beggars belief.  Asparagus pots.  The Bain Marie. China (different for first, second, and third class). Tools.  Rivets.

Speaking of which: There were over three million rivets in the ship’s hull.  Most of them were steel, and were pounded into place with new technology which used hydraulic machines.  Sometimes, though, that wasn’t feasible, based on the placement.  And in that case, two members from a team of three worked to heat softer iron rivets to red-hot temperatures inside the hull, after which they’d place them in position through the hull and to the outside.  Then, the third member of the team would use a hammer to pound the rivets flat and secure the plates in position.  There’s some speculation that the different types of rivets, and the different strengths of them, may have contributed to weaknesses in the hull and exacerbated the tragedy.

But the stories! I was struck by the opulence of the first-class passenger experience. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous simply doesn’t compare. The many restaurants, The Main Concourse, the Veranda Cafe, the Palm Court (complete with live palm trees). Specialty dining. The men’s smoking room. The Turkish baths. The many amenities. A first-class ticket on the Titanic (depending on whether you were traveling lower first-class or upper first-class) would run you (in today’s money) between $50K and $100K.) Second-class wasn’t bad either. Third class (steerage), whose cabin recreation was far more like one of my home bedrooms than I’d like to admit, might have been alright too, although the revelation that there were only two bathrooms for the 700 third-class passengers is a bit daunting, in terms of today’s requirements.

A few of the posters mentioned that many passengers who might have been able to afford a higher class of ticket went with a less-expensive one in order to save money so that they could make a better life for themselves as immigrants to the United States.

The tickets for the exhibit were quite nice, in the guise of a “boarding pass.” Here’s mine:

On the back side was a story about a specific passenger. Mine was that of “Mr. Austin Blyler Van Billiard.” A native Pennsylvanian, he’d traveled to Europe in 1900, married there, gone to Central Africa, where he’d mined diamonds, and was returning home, 3rd class, on the Titanic with two of his sons to reconnect with his family and establish himself as a diamond merchant.

At the end of the exhibit, we could scan the QR code on our ticket, and see the fate of “our” passenger. Sadly, neither Austin, nor his two sons, survived the night. However, a dozen small diamonds were discovered sewn into his clothing. They were sent to his wife, and she used them to buy a passage for herself and the rest of the children to the United States where they settled in Philadelphia and–I hope–were able to make a good life for themselves.

After exiting the exhibition, and finding myself in the (inevitable) shop, I eschewed the T-shirts, afghans and snow-globes (iceberg-globes?) as rather maudlin and somewhat morbid mementos.  Even a replica of a first-class china teapot; I really did consider that one.  Eventually, I settled on a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, a black-and-white photograph of the ship as she launched from Southampton.  I’ll really have to be in the mood, and it’ll probably take several months to complete.  Perhaps a good winter project.  Anyone who’d like to stop by and add a piece in the correct spot is always welcome.

 

**Many thanks to Ricochet member @lowtech redneck who–in one of those serendipitous moments that can’t always be explained–just posted an excellent review of the movie, A Night to Remember, on another thread.  You can find it here.  (To the credit of the exhibit, they largely stayed away from the conspiracy theories and character-bashing that seems endemic to studies of the Titanic disaster over the past few decades.)

 

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 18 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    Thank you for the mention, @She!  You may wish to check out Oceanliner Designs on Youtube, it has a lot of good videos on the Titanic and other ship disasters.

    There’s also a few real-time computer animations with chronological notes, on this channel:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsdn7oZK6ao

    edit: did the embedding process change?

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I read quite a bit about the Titanic when I was a boy. My grandmother bought a box of books at a farm sale, and one of them was a book that came out immediately after the Boards of Inquiry reached their conclusions. It was filled with pictures of the ship, the principals, the aftermath. One of them was a photo of Junior Wireless Operator Bride being helped off of the Carpathia due to his severely frostbitten feet.

    • #2
  3. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    My most popular “Saturday Night Radio” was about the wireless on Titanic.

    Awesome post, @she

    • #3
  4. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):

    My most popular “Saturday Night Radio” was about the wireless on Titanic.

    Awesome post, @ she

     

    The first episode of “The Time Tunnel” was also about the Titanic, with Michael Rennie as the captain.  I expect they used a set from a movie made at that time; imdb says that the episode included scenes from 1953’s “Titanic” but would the radio room still be available from that movie, over a decade later?

     

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):

    My most popular “Saturday Night Radio” was about the wireless on Titanic.

    Awesome post, @ she

     

    The first episode of “The Time Tunnel” was also about the Titanic, with Michael Rennie as the captain. I expect they used a set from a movie made at that time; imdb says that the episode included scenes from 1953’s “Titanic” but would the radio room still be available from that movie, over a decade later?

     

    All the set dressing probably got packed away into boxes and stacked in a studio warehouse someplace.

    • #5
  6. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Percival (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):

    My most popular “Saturday Night Radio” was about the wireless on Titanic.

    Awesome post, @ she

     

    The first episode of “The Time Tunnel” was also about the Titanic, with Michael Rennie as the captain. I expect they used a set from a movie made at that time; imdb says that the episode included scenes from 1953’s “Titanic” but would the radio room still be available from that movie, over a decade later?

     

    All the set dressing probably got packed away into boxes and stacked in a studio warehouse someplace.

    Could be.  One thing Irwin Allen had going for him with that show, was access to all that Fox studio stuff.

    • #6
  7. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    I don’t know all that much about the Titanic, but a few years ago I came across this guy

     And, this guy led quite an eventful life. Charles Lightoller (1874-1952) is most well known as the Second Officer on the Titanic and the highest ranking officer to survive her sinking. However, that was neither the first nor  the last sinking ship he survived. He went to sea at age 13 on a four-year apprenticeship on a sailing ship – visiting ports all over the world (Rio de Janeiro, Calcutta, New York City, etc). When he was 15 he survived his ship running aground on a small island in the middle of nowhere (Ile Saint-Paul   which is located about half way between Australia and Antarctica has as good a claim as any to that title), and on another occasion put out a coal fire that saved his ship from disaster.

    At age 21, he served on his first steamship and continued climbing the promotional ladder in the merchant marine making it to first mate. However, he quit the sea and headed for Yukon to prospect for gold during that 1898 Gold Rush. When he realized he wasn’t gonna strike gold he cowboyed in Alberta, Canada before hoboing his way across the continent and back to Great Britain where he resumed his merchant marine career.

    Skipping ahead a bit – when World War I broke out he made his way into the Royal Navy and, since he was not in the Grand Fleet, he saw a plenty of action on a number of smaller ships some of which he commanded. He was on one ship which ran aground and another which sank after a collision. He shot down a Zeppelin and sank a U-Boat and was awarded a couple of medals for valor and rose to the rank of commander.

    After the war, he apparently had a hard time getting positions in the merchant service because of his service on the Titanic so began a nomadic existence roaming from job to job (innkeeper, chicken farmer, real estate agent).

    During World War II, he entered some sort of Home Guard (something called the Small Vessels Pool) where he patrolled various English rivers. When Dunkirk occurred in 1940, he took part, sailing his small boat licensed to carry 21 passengers and rescued 127 British servicemen.

    Along the way, he found time to marry and raise five children.

    All in all, a life well lived.       

    Charles LIghtoller

    Lightoller’s Sundowner at Ramsgate Maritime Museum

    • #7
  8. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    I was in Belfast last weekend, and I drove by the brilliant Titanic Exhibition building, located a very short distance from where the ill-fated vessel was built. It was actually closed due to storm damage, but I have visited previously and can recommend it very highly. There is a smaller version in Cobh (pronounced ‘cove’) in County Cork, which was the ship’s last port-of-call. 

    • #8
  9. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    I have a piece of Titanic coal, about a half-inch in diameter, scooped from the debris field. This tiny haunted thing in a plastic display case in my museum closet, inert, so potent.

    That exhibit, or some form of it, came to my town as well, and I took my daughter. Both of us perished in the sinking but for some reason they refused to validate our parking.

    • #9
  10. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    The genre of Titanic movies is an interesting subject, no? We tend to group around the two, the B&W almost documentary-like Night, and the big color spectacle. There was a silent quickie made shortly after the sinking, starring one of the survivors. There’s Atlantic (1929), which is just laughably bad. The Nazi take on the tragedy, with its anti-capitalist message, would go down well with today’s leftist youth if you didn’t tell them who did it. The 1953 version left no impression on me  – it didn’t give you the sense of the ship. Night to Remember is the gold standard for many of us because we saw it young, and its British DNA gave it something authentic. I don’t think anything hit me like the aged butler cradling the child as the ship went down, saying “We’ll find your mummy. We’ll find your mummy.” 

    It also laid out some basics that would define the story for everyone who took it on later. Lightholler’s instinctive level-headedness and capability (he was a remarkable man), Ismay’s lack of character (he was not a remarkable man), the John-Bull stolid confidence, and later stunned remoteness, of the Captain (say what you will, he went down with the ship), the remarkable tale of the drunken baker Charles Joughlin (a role model should you find yourself in similar circumstances), the quick-clicking engineer brain of Thomas Andrews, the valiant work of the lads in the wireless sheds, and so on.  Cameron had the challenge of doing a better job than Night with these characters. A tall job.

    I rewatch Cameron’s Titanic maybe once a year, but FF through the mushy stuff. I would have preferred a straight-forward story, but understand the appeal of his framing device. What impressed then, and now, was his devotion to meticulous reconstruction of the ship – for those of us who’d studied the event for a long time, it was an astonishing banquet. To see the physical ship as it had actually looked – it was true, it was real. 

    One thing I learned recently in a Rest is History podcast about the sinking: the locked doors that kept steerage trapped below for a while were not due to a cruel British class-distinction. They were required by American law for immigrants, for quarantine reasons. 

     

    • #10
  11. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    One thing I learned recently in a Rest is History podcast about the sinking: the locked doors that kept steerage trapped below for a while were not due to a cruel British class-distinction. They were required by American law for immigrants, for quarantine reasons.

     

    Correct; they also weren’t technically trapped, but language barriers combined with the confusing ship layout made it so that many may as well have been.

    Regarding the under-utilized lifeboats, there were several factors contributing to it, including:

    A lack of information and drills regarding the lifeboats and their new launching framework; the ship crew was essentially learning on the fly based on their experience with previous set-ups, and didn’t realize that passenger capacity was already tested (though the angles might have potentially complicated that capacity in any event, as tragically happened for most lifeboats on the Lusitania).  They were trying to guesstimate safe occupancy, learning as they went along.

    One side of the ship interpreted orders as ‘woman and children only’ rather than ‘woman and children first’, so if there were no more women and children in the vicinity, boats were launched without letting any male passengers on board.

    Passengers were highly reluctant to board the boats; many were convinced that the unprecedented safety features would ensure that the ship wouldn’t fully sink, while simultaneously believing that the lifeboats were potentially unsafe.  They weren’t entirely wrong about that second part, lifeboats at the time were designed and regulated as a means of ferrying passengers from a sinking ship to another ship, not saving passengers from sinking ships by themselves, and many things could go wrong in the launching process (again, look to the Lusitania for examples).  This was further complicated by the fact that they were trying to convince passengers to board the lifeboats without causing a panic that would have doomed even more lives.  The boats needed to be launched within a certain timeframe regardless, and it turned out they did not have time to successfully launch two of the ‘collapsible’ lifeboats as it was.  Incidentally, there were more lifeboats than regulations required, but more lifeboats probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference, in this case.

    Finally, the intention was for the under-utilized lifeboats to pick up further passengers from the hull doors at D deck; eight crewmen were sent down to open the doors, and were never heard from again, presumably dying before they could open the doors.  Other types of rescue efforts were hampered by a general lack of lifeboat training among the crewman assigned to the lifeboats (such as only a very small number knowing how to link up the lifeboats or set the sails, and no planned process or training for such scenarios).  The decisions and circumstances relating to choices made within the lifeboats after this point is even more complicated, and I don’t think I remember enough to even begin to give enough information for people to decide where panicked selfish cowardice and tragic but necessary moral courage can be differentiated.  I hope never to find myself in any sort of comparable moral dilemma.

    • #11
  12. She Member
    She
    @She

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    One thing I learned recently in a Rest is History podcast about the sinking: the locked doors that kept steerage trapped below for a while were not due to a cruel British class-distinction. They were required by American law for immigrants, for quarantine reasons.

     

    Correct; they also weren’t technically trapped, but language barriers combined with the confusing ship layout made it so that many may as well have been.

    Regarding the under-utilized lifeboats, there were several factors contributing to it, including:

    A lack of information and drills regarding the lifeboats and their new launching framework; the ship crew was essentially learning on the fly based on their experience with previous set-ups, and didn’t realize that passenger capacity was already tested (though the angles might have potentially complicated that capacity in any event, as tragically happened for most lifeboats on the Lusitania). They were trying to guesstimate safe occupancy, learning as they went along.

    One side of the ship interpreted orders as ‘woman and children only’ rather than ‘woman and children first’, so if there were no more women and children in the vicinity, boats were launched without letting any male passengers on board.

    Passengers were highly reluctant to board the boats; many were convinced that the unprecedented safety features would ensure that the ship wouldn’t fully sink, while simultaneously believing that the lifeboats were potentially unsafe. They weren’t entirely wrong about that second part, lifeboats at the time were designed and regulated as a means of ferrying passengers from a sinking ship to another ship, not saving passengers from sinking ships by themselves, and many things could go wrong in the launching process (again, look to the Lusitania for examples). This was further complicated by the fact that they were trying to convince passengers to board the lifeboats without causing a panic that would have doomed even more lives. The boats needed to be launched within a certain timeframe regardless, and it turned out they did not have time to successfully launch two of the ‘collapsible’ lifeboats as it was. Incidentally, there were more lifeboats than regulations required, but more lifeboats probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference, in this case.

    Finally, the intention was for the under-utilized lifeboats to pick up further passengers from the hull doors at D deck; eight crewmen were sent down to open the doors, and were never heard from again, presumably dying before they could open the doors. Other types of rescue efforts were hampered by a general lack of lifeboat training among the crewman assigned to the lifeboats (such as only a very small number knowing how to link up the lifeboats or set the sails, and no planned process or training for such scenarios). The decisions and circumstances relating to choices made within the lifeboats after this point is even more complicated, and I don’t think I remember enough to even begin to give enough information for people to decide where panicked selfish cowardice and tragic but necessary moral courage can be differentiated. I hope never to find myself in any sort of comparable moral dilemma.

    Yes, the exhibit made some of those points.  I knew that there were fewer lifeboats than originally planned, only 20 instead of 32, or it might have been 36.  But that wasn’t even the issue, because so many of the were launched more than half empty.  (I think each lifeboat could have held 65, but very few launched with anywhere near that many passengers.)

    What I think was a simplified version of the ship’s blueprints was posted and what was evident was that it would have been very difficult to clear the decks–as it were–in a hurry, even without what must have been the overwhelming panic going on.    Passenger compartments, particularly on the lower decks, were all intermingled with the ship’s mechanical necessities–boiler rooms, storage, engineering, pipes, kitchens, galleys, etc–and there weren’t clear and obvious ways in or out.  Language difficulties (most prevalent among third-class passengers, those most in need of clear instruction and guidance) multiplied the problem, and even without the intervening series of doors, locked or not, things must have been very grim and desperate.

    The highest casualties were among the crew, of whom over three-quarters perished. Three-quarters of third class passengers perished, and about sixty percent of second class passengers.  First class was the only group with more survivors than victims (about a 60/40 split).  In all cases, the proportion of male victims greatly outnumbered those of females.  (Of the 175 men in first class, only 57 survived and 118 died.  Only four women (out of 144) in first class died,** and one child (out of six).

     

    **One of them must have been Ida Straus, wife of Isidor, the owner of Macy’s.  She refused to get in a lifeboat, saying, “I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together.”

     

    • #12
  13. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):
    Finally, the intention was for the under-utilized lifeboats to pick up further passengers from the hull doors at D deck;

    Growing up with 1970s music, and then The Love Boat, all I can think about is the Lido Deck.

     

    • #13
  14. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    Further to my comment above about the Titanic exhibition in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland, a relatively short drive away, one could visit Kinsale, very close to the site of the sinking of the Lusitania, a disaster which is well-commemorated there.

    • #14
  15. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):
    many were convinced that the unprecedented safety features would ensure that the ship wouldn’t fully sink, while simultaneously believing that the lifeboats were potentially unsafe.  They weren’t entirely wrong about that second part, lifeboats at the time were designed and regulated as a means of ferrying passengers from a sinking ship to another ship, not saving passengers from sinking ships by themselves, and many things could go wrong in the launching process (again, look to the Lusitania for examples).

    The Lusitania’s list was the main problem, no? And the speed of the sinking.

    As for the first part, the podcast to which I referred, which I have not been able to get out of my mind today since I learned that the hosts make 70,000 pounds a month, each, noted that yes, the lifeboats were considered for ferrying, and that the general idea was that the ship itself was the lifeboat, given its safety features.

    I can’t help but imagine Andrews looking at the precise nature of the ship’s injury, and thinking oh come on, what are the odds of this. We can say the bulkheads should’ve gone higher, but we can also say that airplanes should be fitted with airbags so they don’t crash, but bounce. 

     

    • #15
  16. Autistic License Coolidge
    Autistic License
    @AutisticLicense

    Sorry about this but I can only remember how I cried when I realized the Kate Winslet character was going to survive for Seventy.  More.  Years.   And then throw that diamond in the drink as a narcissistic gesture instead of giving it to, say, a charity.  The Walking Toothache Fund, for example.

    Now, on the reality front, I think about how many exemplars of ethical conduct went down with the ship.  How they might’ve changed things.  Who was it who wrote about “the Ought society,” standards of comportment, that kind of thing?

    • #16
  17. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):
    many were convinced that the unprecedented safety features would ensure that the ship wouldn’t fully sink, while simultaneously believing that the lifeboats were potentially unsafe. They weren’t entirely wrong about that second part, lifeboats at the time were designed and regulated as a means of ferrying passengers from a sinking ship to another ship, not saving passengers from sinking ships by themselves, and many things could go wrong in the launching process (again, look to the Lusitania for examples).

    The Lusitania’s list was the main problem, no? And the speed of the sinking.

    Yep, the Lusitania is an extreme example, but the Titanic experienced some of its own difficulties and close calls in that regard, despite having only a relatively mild list for a long time.  I would have to double check, but I think on the Lusitania, people might actually have had a better chance of survival if they avoided the lifeboats altogether (which is not something I generally recommend, just to be clear, and lifeboat safety has come a long way since then….also, the water wasn’t quite as cold as on the Titanic).

    • #17
  18. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    An unusual and interesting novel centered on the Titanic is Maiden Voyage, by Cynthia Bass.  12-year-old Sumner Jordan, returning from England the US, was named after a famous Abolitionist who was almost killed for his beliefs, and he is resolved to be a man of similar courage.  He has a crush on an older woman name Ivy Earnshaw, a suffragette.  She is determined to live independently and certainly not to need any man’s help in a crisis.

    But when Titanic strikes the iceberg, will either of them live up to their beliefs?

    • #18
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.