The man at the wheel - Quartermaster Robert Hitchins - was trained under rudder orders – but tiller orders were still in use in the north Atlantic. So when First Officer William Murdoch first spotted the iceberg and gave the 'hard a-starboard' order Hitchins turned the liner into the course of the iceberg instead of as far away from it as possible.
It took two minutes to rectify the mistake but in those two minutes it became inevitable that the Titanic would hit the iceberg. But it gets worse. It is generally considered commonsense that if you have a crash, it is best not to keep moving forward. After the iceberg struck, the chairman of White Star Line, Bruce Ismay, persuaded the captain, Edward Smith, to keep sailing. The only rationalisation of this is said to be that he may have been fearful of damaging the company's reputation, although I confess that I struggle with the logic of this.
Let Patten take up the story - 'My grandfather described the decision to try and keep Titanic moving forward as criminal" Pressing on added to the pressure of water in the hull, forcing it over the bulkheads and sinking the ship many hours earlier than it would otherwise have sunk. The nearest ship was four hours away. How many of the 1,500 lives lost would have been saved had the chairman not thrown his weight about? The story never came out as Patten's grandfather said he felt duty-bound to protect his employers, fearing it would bankrupt the company and every job would be lost. 'He made the choice to keep it a secret; he thought he had a duty to protect his employers and he never doubted for one moment that it was the right thing to do'.
And why is the story coming out now and not before? Because Louise Patten is promoting a novel she has written around these events. Hmmm....
The rabbit despairs of Team Christine. What do I have to do to get a reaction? It's like trying to get a response out of a field of turnips. The latest is that Christine's pals are all very excited about an allegation that her Democratic opponent, a man called Chris Coons is supposed to be a 'bearded Marxist'. I don't quite follow the story, which seems utterly specious, but made a comment on the discussion forum at Team Christine 2010. I copy and paste...
'As regards the Chris Coons chappie and bearded Marxists, I see he doesn't have a beard any more. Does this mean that he's not a Marxist any more or is he in disguise?
I've done some research and Marx and Engels had huge great beards. Lenin and Trosky had little pointy ones and Ho Chi Minh had a really pathetc straggly puny one. Is it compulsory for Marxists to have beards? Is it some sort of Marxist thing? And what about female Marxists? Most of them can't grow beards. It doesn't seem fair'.
Replies so far? Naff all. They're no fun. I forgot to mention Stalin's moustache, it just occurs to me.