Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A new angle on the Titanic story...

Time to change the subject from you-know-who, methinks! An interesting new story has just surfaced (as it were) as regards the Titanic. The story comes from Louise Patten who is the granddaughter of the Titanic's second officer (and also wife of Chris Patten but that's by the way) and tells the following tale: when the Titanic First Officer spotted the iceberg he gave the order 'hard-a-starboard' so as to avoid it. There was a problem. At the time there were two steering systems in operation - the sailing ship system (tiller orders) and the steamship system (rudder orders). Let Patten take up the story: 'a command to turn 'hard a-starboard' meant turn the wheel right under one system and left under the other'.

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.

10 comments:

B.E. Earl said...

It's a theory that's been around for a while, actually. But you are right. A bit dubious, seen as how she's promoting this book and all.

JoJo said...

Interesting Titanic story. It always amazes me how one split second decision to cover one's ass can result in major tragedy.

sybil law said...

Oh, Titanic. It's still interesting, but definitely suspect with the book.
It really doesn't shock me that you're not getting a reaction- her followers are pretty much a bunch of idiotic wankers, after all.

Catch Her in the Wry said...

Your humor is too intellectual for Team Christine, so how could they possibly be fun if they don't understand it? Stick with your blogging buddies - we love your wit, even when it lowers itself to a Frankie Howerd level.

white rabbit said...

Earl/JoJo/Sybil - I don't quite know what to make of the Titanic story. I'm surporised if true that it never cane upo before. Was the Patten grandfather the only survivor 'in the know'? Seems unlikely. And if bnot surely the story would have come out by some other route a long time ago.

Catchy/Sybil - I think enough is enough. Team Christine are such a bunch of dullards there's no sport to be had. I just posted a comment using the phrase 'pubic bushes' and accusing another poster of spending too much time on Russian Brides sites. Hopefully that will get me banned and that's an end to the business ;)

tony said...

Brian Blessed is a Marxist?

Petit fleur said...

I'm not sure why, but whenever I hear about the Titanic, all i can think of is scenes from the Poseidon Adventure, and Shelly Winters. And fumbling escape attempts.

I saw it much too young and I have emotional skid marks to prove it!

white rabbit said...

Tony - Nah, he's just a fat bloke with a beard what was in Flash Gordon - oh and was Fancy Smith in Z-Crass (I meant to type Cars - must be a Freudian typo) back in the late middle ages..

Little Flower - Epotional skid marks? :-O

Sarcastic Bastard said...

The Titanic thing is interesting, but I must confess the politics is over my head. Of course, I'm American and Jersey Shore is a stretch for me. Laugh.

Hope your day improves. It is Friday after all. Even in England it is Friday, right? I told you I was challenged.

white rabbit said...

SB - Thanks for good wishes. Actually it's Saturday now. Think Eastern Standard Time and subtract 5 hours. Then that's what we're up to timewise - mostly on the same day.

:D