Runboard.com
You're welcome.


Forum hosted by Runboard | TDTSC Home        Please register for a free account (Learn about it) | Login to TDTSC (lost password?)


 
Lights Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Cedric Member
Global TDTSC User

Registered: 06-2003
Location: Anyplace on Water
Posts: 1779
Reply | Quote
A Bit of Titanic Fatal Voyage



           PROLOGUE


       Joseph Bruce Ismay was very happy as he settled into the back seat of the limousine next to his wife, Florence. The two of them had just attended a dinner party-a very exclusive dinner party-at the home of Lord and Lady Pirrie.
       After an exquisite dinner, while Florence and Lady Pirrie had taken their after-dinner coffee in the drawing room, Lord Pirrie and he had retired to his Lordship’s study, where, over brandy and cigars, the two men had developed a strategy to counter the Cunard Line’s latest fusillade. Lusitania and Mauretania were beautiful, sleek and above all fast. To put it a bit crudely, White Star had been caught out with its corporate trousers down. They had to get going if they wanted to win the latest battle in the war between shipping-lines.
       In the course of a couple of hours, based on a sketch which Ismay had made of the sort of ship he thought would do the job, the two men had come to an agreement. There would be three ships, each the biggest and most luxurious yet built. With no government subsidy such as that enjoyed by Cunard, Ismay and Lord Pirrie had decided that the combination of turbine and conventional engines installed in an earlier ship, Laurentic, would be fitted on all three of the new liners as well. Long before, White Star had settled on luxury, comfort and size over speed where its ships were concerned, and this policy would continue with the next three ships as well.
      “Bruce, did it go well?” Florence nudged him gently, breaking his reverie.
     “Oh my yes, dear, there will be three ships - super ships - each the largest yet built.” he smiled at his wife.
      “Have you thought of names for them?”
     “I want people to know that when they book passage on one of these ladies, they have booked passage on the largest, most luxurious-and the safest-ships which money can buy. I have it! The Olympic, the Gigantic, and-and the Titanic!!"

           ____________________________________

  


---
"What I remember about that night- what I will remember as long as I live- is the people crying out to each other as the stern began to plunge down. I heard people crying, 'I love you.'"

http://com3.runboard.com/btheadvert
Mar/14/2012, 5:43 am Link to this post Send Email to Lights   Send PM to Lights AIM Yahoo Blog
 
Lights Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Cedric Member
Global TDTSC User

Registered: 06-2003
Location: Anyplace on Water
Posts: 1779
Reply | Quote
Re: A Bit of Titanic Fatal Voyage


   May 31st, 1911 had dawned clear and warm. J. Bruce, as family and friends knew him, was in an excellent mood as he checked his image in the full-length mirror of their cabin’s dressing room. Yes, very nice.
       Now nearly fifty, the managing director had begun to go grey at the temples and in his dark, nearly black curly hair, his eye detected a few strands of silver. Still, his head of hair was still as thick as it had been when he’d married Florence on that cold December day in 1888.
       The choice of the grey suit had been a good one, its subtle elegance only enhanced by the silver and blue tie, secured with a small platinum tie tack, the French cuffs of his white-on-white shirt fastened with matching platinum cufflinks.
       Looking into the mirror, he saw his wife set the large gold hat with its white plumes over her heavy, still largely dark hair. Such a lovely suit; gold silk with white flowers embroidered on the large square lapels, the high collar of the white lace blouse accented with a small gold brooch. Nothing flashy for Florence-ever.
       As the two of them walked out on deck, their overnight ship to Belfast was making the final approach to the Harland and Wolff shipyards. Today, the first of the great Olympic-class liners, the 882-foot Olympic, would be officially handed over to the White Star Line, then taken on her sea trials before being sailing for Liverpool and Southampton.
       Actually, since today was the birthday of both Lord and Lady Pirrie, the festivities would include the launching of Olympic’s not-so-little-sister, the Titanic, following which there would be a gala luncheon. Even J.P. Morgan, the American tycoon and real owner of the White Star Line, would attend.
           At that thought, Ismay’s stomach involuntarily twisted into a knot of revulsion. In 1902, Ismay, outvoted by family and stockholders, had sold his father’s beloved White Star Line to International Mercantile Marine, Morgan’s enormous shipping trust. Even nine years later, there were times when he agonized over the sale, silently apologizing to his late father for his lack of strength.
       Morgan was, in the considered opinion of J. Bruce Ismay, a completely sleazy individual with no sense of business ethics: if Morgan wanted it, he went after it hook, line and sinker, not stopping until he’d had his way. Morgan had made J. Bruce managing director upon the sale of the line, a position which Ismay had accepted in the hope that the presence of an Ismay would help to ensure that the line was run as it had been since its founding in 1869, when Thomas Henry Ismay had bought the name and the house flag-a red swallow tailed pennant with a single white star-for a mere pittance. In the thirty years that followed, the elder Ismay had built the line into what it had been at the time of the sale. His son was determined to keep his hand in at White Star; to make certain that it was a line of which his father could be proud.
        Once managing director, though, Ismay had discovered that the only thing that Morgan cared about was making money. How in the hell much money did one man need? Apparently as much as he could amass, at least according to Morgan.
       In the past couple of years, whilst the Olympic had been under construction, Ismay had begun to think of a way to bring the line back under Ismay family control. White Star had been a British Line in the beginning, and would be again, at least if he had anything to say about it!


---
"What I remember about that night- what I will remember as long as I live- is the people crying out to each other as the stern began to plunge down. I heard people crying, 'I love you.'"

http://com3.runboard.com/btheadvert
Mar/14/2012, 5:45 am Link to this post Send Email to Lights   Send PM to Lights AIM Yahoo Blog
 
Lights Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Cedric Member
Global TDTSC User

Registered: 06-2003
Location: Anyplace on Water
Posts: 1779
Reply | Quote
Re: A Bit of Titanic Fatal Voyage


In his own mind, he had failed his father; never in a million years would Thomas Ismay have sold his Line to a snake like Morgan! Now, J. Bruce sighed heavily; he had loved his father-had damn near worshipped him, but James had always come first in his father’s heart-his mother’s, too. He cringed to think what his father would think of his not being able to stand up to the rest of the family.
       “J. Bruce, stand up and be a man! That’s why I passed the Line down to you! Because I thought you had what it takes to run something like White Star! Apparently I was wrong.”
       Yes, that’s what his father would say, and then give him that cold rejecting look that he’d often given his son and walk away. J. Bruce had known better than to cry as a child, as that would have just brought down more scorn. How many nights as a little boy, before going to sleep, he would hope and pray that his father would love him, would be proud of him…
         Yes, it seemed as if he had lived his entire life in the shadow of Thomas Henry Ismay-and he was still living in it, even though his father had been dead thirteen years. Didn’t it ever end?
       Still, J. Bruce was certain that his father had loved him. Coming as close as he ever would to expressing love for his eldest son, shortly before his death in 1899, he’d told Bruce that he couldn’t possibly leave White Star in better hands than Bruce’s. It just hadn’t been his father’s way to be effusive in expressing love and approval.
         His wife’s gasp roused him from his thoughts and he looked over at her to see her face looking raptly to port. He followed suit and when he did, what he saw caused him to gasp as well.
           There she was, fully painted and provisioned, ready to sail-and what a beautiful lady she was! The racing designs of Edward Harland had been successfully modified and transferred to White Star’s newest liner. A good 882 feet in length, her lines were slender and elegant. Towering over her black hull and white superstructure, slightly raked back to enhance the image of sleekness and speed, were four black-and-buff funnels, all but the aftmost streaming smoke, making her look almost like a thoroughbred chomping at her bit. Two masts, one fore and one aft, supported the wireless antenna, which hung suspended over the funnels. This would mean that the Olympic would always be within radio contact.
       Wireless telegraphy, or radio, as some called it, had proven its worth two years before, when the Florida had collided with the White Star Liner Republic. Thanks to the Republic’s wireless and her operator, Jack Binns, there had been only four fatalities-everyone else had been got off safely. Now most ships-all the crack ones, certainly-were equipped with wireless.
       “It-it’s beautiful, Bruce. She’s beautiful,” Florence corrected herself, smiling.
      “Yes, she is. Isn’t she?”
      Yes, indeed, the Olympic was beautiful. Such a sleek lady; if ever a ship had been created to be queen of the ocean, this lady was it!

           _______________________________________


---
"What I remember about that night- what I will remember as long as I live- is the people crying out to each other as the stern began to plunge down. I heard people crying, 'I love you.'"

http://com3.runboard.com/btheadvert
Mar/14/2012, 5:46 am Link to this post Send Email to Lights   Send PM to Lights AIM Yahoo Blog
 
Lights Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Cedric Member
Global TDTSC User

Registered: 06-2003
Location: Anyplace on Water
Posts: 1779
Reply | Quote
Re: A Bit of Titanic Fatal Voyage


     The last sounds from the crowd died away as Lord Pirrie looked around. In addition to the celebrities and those who had paid admission, hundreds upon hundreds of Harland and Wolff yard workers were present to see the launching of the second great Olympic-class ship, sitting or standing wherever they would be able to get a good view. On the gantry under which the Titanic’s hull stood, propped up by heavy shoring timbers and connected to a series of hydraulic rams to send her on her way, were three flags. On one side hung the Stars and Stripes, on the other side, the Union Jack and in the centre the White Star house flag. Below these spelled out by semaphore flags was one word: success. Oh, yes, yes, success indeed!
     At a few minutes past twelve, a rocket shot up into the sky with a whistle followed by a loud bang. This was the launch signal. Men ran about the ways, knocking down shoring timbers so that the great hydraulic rams could do the work of sending the Titanic on her way into the River Lagan.
         Once all the workers were cleared, Pirrie activated the ram mechanism and slowly, almost imperceptibly, the Titanic began to move, picking up speed as her stern came closer and closer to the water, her passage eased by all the tallow and fat which had been laid on the ways. At last, with a gentle motion, she slid into the river Lagan, to the cheers of the hundreds on shore, travelling roughly her full length again before her enormous drag lines brought her to a stop.
      Ismay smiled as he looked at the hull, riding high in the water. God, his dream of making White Star the world’s greatest line was coming true! No, he corrected himself, had come true.
         Most people were not aware that a ship was not launched fully-built, but the part of construction which took place under the gantry dealt mainly with the hull. After launch, the Titanic would be towed to her graving dock, a sort of dry-dock where, once water had been pumped in, the hull would be gently nudged into her new home, the gate closed and water pumped back out. There, for several months, she would undergo the process of becoming a true ship, like her sister, the Olympic. Here, her massive reciprocating and turbine engines would be added, along with boilers, inside panelling, fixtures, carpeting, light fixtures-well, everything that made a ship what she was. The crowning touch would be the four funnels which, when installed, would tower a good sixty-five feet above her boat-deck.
       A launch was such a lovely thing to see, at least as far as he was concerned. Well, maybe one had to be a ship owner or shipbuilder to be able to appreciate that sort of thing. All he knew was that he thought launchings to be a beautiful sight.
      Well, then, these ladies would be the queens of the ocean. Yes, all of them-Olympic, Titanic, and Gigantic-were going to make history!


           _____________________________________


    The young boy watched as the huge hull slid down the ways and entered the water with a gentle splash. Weren’t they supposed to break a bottle of wine on her bow or something? ‘Least that is what his grandpa had told him once, as had his da.
     “Da, ain’t they supposed to break the wine bottle over her bow—to-to
christen her? I remember what you and grandda told me”.
     Oh, White Star don’t never christen their ships. They just builds ‘em and shoves ‘em in.” the man shook his head, “That’s not good, laddie. A ship needs to be christened or she’ll never know good luck.”
     Yes, indeed. There’d been rumours in the yard that late at night, and sometimes in the day as well, an eerie, plaintive moaning could be heard coming from the great hull. That wasn’t good at all. That lassie was just crying out to be properly christened. That’s what that moaning meant: she was beset with some spirit and needed it driven out of her!
     One thing was certain, the man thought as he emptied his pipe, the Titanic was one ship that he would never sail on-not in a million years!





---
"What I remember about that night- what I will remember as long as I live- is the people crying out to each other as the stern began to plunge down. I heard people crying, 'I love you.'"

http://com3.runboard.com/btheadvert
Mar/14/2012, 5:49 am Link to this post Send Email to Lights   Send PM to Lights AIM Yahoo Blog
 
Lights Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Cedric Member
Global TDTSC User

Registered: 06-2003
Location: Anyplace on Water
Posts: 1779
Reply | Quote
Re: A Bit of Titanic Fatal Voyage


     Able Seaman Frederick Fleet looked at the hundreds of people around him, all of them scurrying along the White Star Dock. Today, April 10, 1912, was sailing day. Though it was still dark out, people were anxious to be aboard by five-thirty.
     A coal strike had lasted for six weeks, throwing thousands of people out of work for lack of fuel to power the great ships that were England’s economic lifeblood. Always precarious at best, people’s lives had only gotten more difficult; a friend had told him that he and his wife and four little ones had been facing eviction before Titanic’s sailing had given him the promise of steady work again.
      Fleet looked up at row after row of riveted plates towering above the dock. Now, this was one bloomin’ big ship! At just under nine hundred feet, she was almost a third again as long as the Adriatic. No wonder she was named Titanic; it was the only name, really, which fit!
     Not that Fleet was ever likely to get to see it for himself, but he’d both seen the pictures and had read in the Southampton Daily Echo that the new liner was the most luxurious ship afloat. According to the newspaper story, she had a gymnasium, a Turkish bath with something called “electric baths” and a richly-ornamented “cooling room” supplied with divans upon which First Class ladies could presumably recover from their ordeal. He’d read that there was an on-board barbershop, and that the First Class Men’s Smoke Room had mahogany panelling inlaid with genuine mother-of-pearl. Surrounding the funnel casing were stained-glass windows and they had something called “back-lighting” which meant that cleverly concealed lights would give the impression, even at night, of sunlight streaming in. There was a Palm Court-two of them, actually, where passengers could sit and chat whilst enjoying a cup of broth or tea brought by an obliging steward. To hear the newspapers tell it, the First-Class Dining Saloon down on D-Deck would to seat over five hundred people in one “go”, Then there were the staterooms, many of which were done in something called “period décor”; why, a bloke could sail to New York in a cabin-stateroom- smiling, Fleet now corrected himself -that looked like something out the days o’ bloody’ King Henry the Eighth if he so fancied! Many of the staterooms could be connected to form a suite the size of a small flat. And on B-Deck, where the best accommodations were, there were two suites, each with its own private fifty-foot promenade. Crimey!
      For those passengers who wished to eat outside of the scheduled times for meals or who simply wanted a more varied menu than that offered in the First Class Dining Saloon, there was something called an a la carte restaurant, located on B-Deck aft. A friend who’d sneaked aboard and looked at the one on the Olympic said that it was almost unbelievable. Fawn panelling, touched with gold leaf here and there, carpeting of a colour called “Old Rose”, crystal light fixtures in the ceiling and each table provided with its own little lamp, it was undoubtedly the poshest place to dine afloat. Each day, it was open, from eight in the morning until eleven o’clock at night. What more could a man want?
     Of course, all this luxury didn’t come cheaply. No, indeed. A one-way fare in one of the suites with the promenade ran about a thousand pounds-equivalent to what Fleet might earn over a couple of decades. Of course, for blokes like John Jacob Astor, a thousand pounds was nothing-just walking around money.
     Well, even if he would never be able to afford even the cheapest First Class stateroom, Fleet was happy-and proud-to be aboard. This maiden voyage would be old Captain Smith’s final voyage before retiring. ‘E.J.’ as crew and passengers alike knew him, was a nice old bloke. Yes, everyone loved Captain Smith. The old captain had crew lining up to serve under him as well as passengers who wouldn’t sail on a White Star ship unless he was in command. Now that was a good way to end one’s years at sea, beloved by hundreds.
     He smiled at a couple of young ladies as they hurried by, both wearing their uniform, a black dress with white apron and small white cap similar to those worn by women in Puritan England, a small enamelled red pennant with a White Star pinned to the bib of the apron.
     Fleet considered himself fortunate. He was an able seaman, but he also possessed good eyesight and had been trained as a lookout, a position that, in addition to his seaman’s pay, entitled him to extra pay, called “lookout money”-five shillings per voyage extra for the responsibility of being the ship’s “eyes”, as lookouts were sometimes referred to. He’d managed to sign on as a lookout and would work two hours on and four hours off around the clock ‘til they reached New York. Here he was, in a job that paid relatively well, and he’d be travelling to New York and back on the world’s greatest ship-“Ship of Dreams”, the newspaper story called her. Aye, she was that and then some.


          



---
"What I remember about that night- what I will remember as long as I live- is the people crying out to each other as the stern began to plunge down. I heard people crying, 'I love you.'"

http://com3.runboard.com/btheadvert
Mar/14/2012, 5:54 am Link to this post Send Email to Lights   Send PM to Lights AIM Yahoo Blog
 
Lights Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Cedric Member
Global TDTSC User

Registered: 06-2003
Location: Anyplace on Water
Posts: 1779
Reply | Quote
Re: A Bit of Titanic Fatal Voyage


The cabbie leaned against his cab as his fare, a tall, dignified man with white hair and beard, dressed in a tall black derby and grey overcoat trimmed with black velvet collar and cuffs-the latest style, no less-finished saying good-bye to his wife and daughter. Well, no problem there, the driver mused; he’d get him where he was headed on time.
      As he lit his cigarette, the man looked around. He loved bringing fares up to Westwood Park, one of Southampton’s poshest neighbourhoods. Here lived many of the city’s wealthiest and most influential citizens and where most of those ship captains operating out the port of Southampton made their homes as well. Such a beautiful home, the cabbie mused, looking at the house in front of which he was parked. A very substantial house, it was twin-gabled, brick fronted, large plate glass windows, the shades still drawn at this early hour, with lots and shrubs and greenery, all of it neatly tended and clipped-almost like a miniature estate, the cabbie thought. This was clearly the home of a man who had “made it”.
     He smiled over at the man who’d now taken his wife who was dressed in a fashionable lace morning gown into his arms and was kissing her lingeringly. It was very obvious that he didn’t want to leave her. Even in what Herbert would judge to be somewhere in her late forties or early fifties, she was still quite beautiful, her hair, touched with just a bit of silver, done up in the Greco-Roman style his daughter was begging her mother to let her wear. Such a lovely dress; the latest fashion, of crème lace and rose satin for the bodice, the skirt the layered style all the rage these days, it fell in graceful folds to an inch or so above her ankles, revealing a pair of dainty cream-coloured shoes, a sash of rose satin tied loosely around her waist. Next to her stood a young lady of thirteen or fourteen, in a dress of white linen, trimmed in lace, decorated with a sash of pale blue satin, the hem of which came only to the middle of her calf, her long hair worn loosely, decorated with a large bow, wearing white lace stockings and white high-buttoned shoes. A very pretty little girl, a bit sturdily built like her papa, her features were a blend of both her mother and father. Her clothing, like that of her mother looked to be both expensive and fashionable. My, yes, this chap kept his ladies very well dressed.
       At, the man turned to his daughter and gave her a long hug, finally kissing her on her forehead. From the look on the girl’s face, it was obvious that she adored her father, and from the way he smiled down at her, it was clear that he loved his little girl as well. That was nice to see; Herbert had heard that often upper-class families had but a sham of affection whilst in reality everyone loathed everyone else, living lives as separately as possible.
      Squaring his shoulders, the man walked to the cab, got into the back seat and settled in with a sigh. As the cabbie started off, the man turned around, looking back at the house and the figures there as if he might never see them again. At last he could see them no longer and, sighing, he turned round to face front.
     Herbert smiled as he turned out of Winn Road. Now this was one fare he was proud to be driving! Such a nice chap, always asked after the wife and children, and always-but always-gave the cabbie a very sizeable tip upon reaching his chosen destination. Today, it would be his pleasure, his privilege-his pride as well-to take one of the best, most famous liner-captains ever to sail on salt water, Edward J. Smith, to his ship, the brand-new, ultra-luxurious Titanic, scheduled to depart on her maiden voyage promptly at twelve noon that day, April 10th, 1912. For the past week, everyone, Captain Smith included, had been working some long, hard hours to get the new liner ready to sail, and on every one of those days, Herbert had had the honour of driving Smith to the White Star Pier in the morning and back home again in the evening. As always, Smith had made sure that he gave Herbert a sizeable tip, but tip or no, Herbert would have been more than willing to ferry Smith back and forth. After all, Smith hadn’t picked just any cabbie for the honour-he’d picked him, Herbert Harkness! By any standards, that was a very great honour indeed and Herbert knew it well. Herbert Harkness had been a sailor at one time himself, but an accident whilst sailing on the Baltic a couple of years before had ended his sailing days for good. Still, old Captain Smith made certain whenever possible, that it was Herbert who would be the man driving him to the White Star Dock.
     “So, how are you today, Herbert? Your family?”
     “ ‘Bout the same as always, sir. And how are you?”
     “Well, I most certainly cannot complain. I’m fine.”
     “So, this is the big day, is it, sir?”
     “Indeed it is. Just this voyage and then it will be dry dock for me, I’m afraid.”
     “Captain, sir, might I be so bold as to ask you a question? Sailor to sailor?”
     “Certainly, Herbert. What’s on your mind?”
     “Well, the sea, sir. Will you miss it?"
     “Yes, I believe I shall. How about you? Do you miss it?”
      “So much it hurts sometimes. But I get to see the wife and kiddies every night, so that’s a consolation.”
     “I can understand. That’s going to be the best part of retirement; getting to see my wife and daughter on a daily basis, rather than once every two-and-a-half or three weeks or so.”
       Herbert smiled as he drove towards the piers. Yes, from all that he had seen and heard, old E.J. had three passions in life: his family, his ship, and his cigars. He could remember working the Adriatic; one night, the old captain had been out for a turn or two before bed, and there he was, smoking his last cigar of the day. Well, now, every man had his vice; all in all, E.J.’s were pretty tame.
       A bit over half an hour after leaving Winn Road, Herbert pulled the cab up to one of the gangways, got out and opened the door. E.J. was a famous liner-captain after all; the least Herbert could do was to open a car door for him!
     “Oh, uh, Captain, sir, could I ask a little favour of you?”
     “What, Herbert?”
     “Well, I got a postcard of the Titanic for my little boy, Alfie. Would you sign it?”
         Smiling, Smith took a fountain pen from his pocket and signed his name: “To Alfie from E J Smith” and handed it back to Herbert. As was his custom, Smith now handed him a pound note, telling him to keep the change.
         Then, the old captain turned round to find a steward standing there, resplendent in a short white jacket with gleaming brass buttons and black trousers. The steward picked up the bag and followed Smith up the gang-way. Just for a moment, Titanic’s master turned and waved at Herbert, then disappeared inside the ship.
         The cabbie lit a cigarette and smoked, leaning on the hood of the cab, looking up at the Titanic. Now this was one beautiful Lady for E.J.’s last command! God bless good old E J - finally retiring! Well, most sailors did, sooner or later, except for the ones who didn’t make it to old age. God knew that there were more than enough of those! His own father had been lost at sea when Herbert was seven; even almost forty-five years later, Herbert missed him. Well, just the way of it when one was a seaman
      Smiling, Herbert pocketed the postcard and started the engine. Time to get a quick cuppa, and then head for the hotels. Today, Captain Smith was going to be Herbert’s good-luck charm.

           ______________________________


---
"What I remember about that night- what I will remember as long as I live- is the people crying out to each other as the stern began to plunge down. I heard people crying, 'I love you.'"

http://com3.runboard.com/btheadvert
Mar/14/2012, 5:56 am Link to this post Send Email to Lights   Send PM to Lights AIM Yahoo Blog
 


Add a reply to this TDTSC topic.





You are not logged in (Login to TDTSC)


Copyright © 2003-2017 TDTSC Maritime Network