Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Retrieval and burial of the
Marker of the unknown child
who was later positively identified
as Sidney Leslie Goodwin.
Once the massive loss of life
became clear, White Star Line
chartered the cable ship CS
Mackay-Bennett from Halifax,
Nova Scotia to retrieve bodies.
Three other ships followed in the
search, the cable ship Minia, the
lighthouse supply ship
Montmagny and the sealing
vessel Algerine. Each ship left
with embalming supplies,
undertakers, and clergy. Of the
333 victims that were eventually
recovered, 328 were retrieved by
the Canadian ships and five
more by passing North Atlantic
steamships. Most of the bodies
were numbered. The five
passengers buried at sea by
Carpathia went unnumbered.[72]
In mid-May 1912, over 200 miles
(320 km) from the site of the
sinking, RMS Oceanic recovered
three bodies, numbers 331, 332
and 333, who were occupants of
Collapsible A, which was
swamped in the last moments of
the sinking. Several people
managed to reach this lifeboat,
although some died during the
night. When Fifth Officer Harold
Lowe rescued the survivors of
Collapsible A, he left the three
dead bodies in the boat: Thomas
Beattie, a first-class passenger,
and two crew members, a
fireman and a seaman. The
bodies were buried at sea from
The first body recovery ship to
reach the site of the sinking, the
cable ship CS Mackay-Bennett
found so many bodies that the
embalming supplies aboard were
quickly exhausted. Health
regulations permitted that only
embalmed bodies could be
returned to port.[74] Captain
Larnder of the Mackay-Bennett
and undertakers aboard decided
to preserve all bodies of First
Class passengers, justifying their
decision by the need to visually
identify wealthy men to resolve
any disputes over large estates.
As a result the burials at sea
were third class passengers and
crew. Larnder himself claimed
that as a mariner, he would
expect to be buried at sea.[75]
However complaints about the
burials at sea were made by
families and undertakers. Later
ships such as Minia found fewer
bodies, requiring fewer
embalming supplies, and were
able to limit burials at sea to
bodies which were too damaged
to preserve.
Bodies recovered were preserved
to be taken to Halifax, the
closest city to the sinking with
direct rail and steamship
connections. The Halifax
coroner, John Henry Barnstead,
developed a detailed system to
identify bodies and safeguard
personal possessions. His
identification system would later
be used to identify victims of the
Halifax Explosion in 1917.
Relatives from across North
America came to identify and
claim bodies. A large temporary
morgue was set up in a curling
rink and undertakers were called
in from all across Eastern
Canada to assist.[73] Some
bodies were shipped to be
buried in their home towns
across North America and
Europe. About two-thirds of the
bodies were identified.
Unidentified victims were buried
with simple numbers based on
the order in which their bodies
were discovered. The majority of
recovered victims, 150 bodies,
were buried in three Halifax
cemeteries, the largest being
Fairview Lawn Cemetery followed
by the nearby Mount Olivet and
Baron de Hirsch cemeteries.[76]
Much floating wreckage was also
recovered with the bodies, many
pieces of which can be seen
today in the Maritime Museum
of the Atlantic in Halifax. Other
pieces are part of the travelling
exhibition, Titanic: The Artifact
The Anna Bliss Titanic Victims
Memorial in Woodlawn
The memorial to Titanic's
engineers in Southampton
In many locations there are
memorials to the dead of Titanic.
In Southampton, England a
memorial to the engineers of
Titanic may be found in Andrews
Park on Above Bar Street.
Opposite the main memorial is a
memorial to Wallace Hartley and
the other musicians who played
on the ship. A memorial to the
ship's five postal workers, which
says "Steadfast in Peril" is held
by Southampton Heritage
A memorial to the liner is also
located on the grounds of City
Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
There are a number of
memorials in the United States
— the Titanic Memorial in
Washington, D.C. and a
memorial to Ida Straus at Straus
Park in Manhattan, New York
are two examples.[80][81]
On 15 April 2012, the 100th
anniversary of the sinking of
Titanic is planned to be
commemorated around the
world. By that date, the Titanic
Quarter in Belfast is planned to
have been completed. The area
will be regenerated and a
signature memorial project
unveiled to celebrate Titanic and
her links with Belfast, the city
that had built the ship.[82]
The cruise ship Balmoral,
operated by Fred Olsen Cruise
Lines has been chartered by
Miles Morgan Travel to follow
the original route of Titanic,
intending to stop over the point
on the sea bed where she rests
on 15 April 2012.[83]
Investigations into the RMS
Titanic disaster
Political cartoon from 1912 which
shows the public demanding
answers from the shipping
companies about Titanic disaster
Before the survivors even arrived
in New York, investigations were
being planned to discover what
had happened, and what could
be done to prevent a
recurrence. The United States
Senate initiated an inquiry into
the disaster on 19 April, a day
after Carpathia arrived in New
The chairman of the inquiry,
Senator William Alden Smith,
wanted to gather accounts from
passengers and crew while the
events were still fresh in their
minds. Smith also needed to
subpoena the British citizens
while they were still on American
soil. This prevented all surviving
passengers and crew from
returning to the UK before the
American inquiry, which lasted
until 25 May, was completed.[84]
The British press condemned
Smith as an opportunist,
insensitively forcing an enquiry as
a means of gaining political
prestige and seizing "his moment
to stand on the world stage".
Already, however, he had a
reputation as a campaigner for
safety on the railroads of the
U.S. and he wanted to
investigate any possible
malpractices by railroad tycoon J.
P. Morgan, Titanic's ultimate
Lord Mersey was appointed to
head the British Board of Trade's
inquiry into the disaster. The
British inquiry took place
between 2 May and 3 July. Each
inquiry took testimony from both
passengers and crew of Titanic,
crew members of Leyland Line's
Californian, Captain Arthur
Rostron of Carpathia and other
The investigations found that
many safety rules were simply
out of date, and new laws were
recommended. Numerous safety
improvements for ocean-going
vessels were implemented,
including improved hull and
bulkhead design, access
throughout the ship for egress of
passengers, lifeboat
requirements, improved life-vest
design, the holding of safety
drills, better passenger
notification, radio
communications laws, etc. The
investigators also learned that
Titanic had sufficient lifeboat
space for all first-class
passengers, but not for the
lower classes. In fact, most third
class passengers had no idea
where the lifeboats were, much
less any way of getting up to the
higher decks where the lifeboats
were stowed.[87] U.S.
immigration regulations required
complete isolation of third class
passengers and the route to the
boat deck, through the higher
classes of accommodation, was
somewhat tortuous as a result. A
third-class steward, John Hart,
had to guide E-deck passengers,
in two trips, to the boat deck but
many were left behind.[88]
SS Californian inquiry
Both inquiries into the disaster
found that the SS Californian
and her captain, Stanley Lord,
failed to give proper assistance
to Titanic. Testimony before the
inquiry revealed that at 22:10,
Californian observed the lights of
a ship to the south; it was later
agreed between Captain Lord
and Third Officer C.V. Groves
(who had relieved Lord of duty
at 22:10) that this was a
passenger liner. Californian had
warned the ship by radio of the
pack ice because of which
Californian had stopped for the
night, but was violently rebuked
by Titanic's senior wireless
operator, Jack Phillips. At 23:50,
the officer had watched this
ship's lights flash out, as if the
ship had shut down or turned
sharply, and that the port light
was now observed. Morse light
signals to the ship, upon Lord's
order, occurred five times
between 23:30 and 01:00, but
were not acknowledged. (In
testimony, it was stated that
Californian's Morse lamp had a
range of about four miles (6 km)
, so could not have been seen
from Titanic.)[50]
SS Californian
Captain Lord had retired at
23:30; however, Second Officer
Herbert Stone, now on duty,
notified Lord at 01:15 that the
ship had fired a rocket, followed
by four more. Lord wanted to
know if they were company
signals, that is, coloured flares
used for identification. Stone said
that he did not know and that
the rockets were all white.
Captain Lord instructed the crew
to continue to signal the other
vessel with the Morse lamp, and
went back to sleep. Three more
rockets were observed at 01:50
and Stone noted that the ship
looked strange in the water, as if
she were listing. At 02:15, Lord
was notified that the ship could
no longer be seen. Lord asked
again if the lights had had any
colours in them, and he was
informed that they were all
Californian eventually
responded. At 05:30, Chief
Officer George Stewart
awakened wireless operator Cyril
Furmstone Evans, informed him
that rockets had been seen
during the night, and asked that
he try to communicate with any
ships. Frankfurt notified the
operator of Titanic's loss, Captain
Lord was notified, and the ship
set out for assistance.[89]
The inquiries found that
Californian was much closer to
Titanic than the 19.5 miles (31.4
km) that Captain Lord had
believed and that Lord should
have awakened the wireless
operator after the rockets were
first reported to him, and thus
could have acted to prevent loss
of life.[50]
In 1990, following the discovery
of the wreck, the Marine
Accident Investigation Branch
of the British Department of
Transport re-opened the inquiry
to review the evidence relating to
Californian. Its report of 1992
concluded that Californian was
farther from Titanic than the
earlier British inquiry had found,
and that the distress rockets, but
not Titanic herself, would have
been visible from Californian.[90]
Discovery of the wreck
The idea of finding the wreck of
Titanic, and even raising the ship
from the ocean floor, had been
around since shortly after the
ship sank. No attempts were
successful until 1 September
1985, when a joint American-
French expedition, led by Jean-
Louis Michel (Ifremer) and Dr.
Robert Ballard (WHOI), located
the wreck using the side-scan
sonar from the research vessels
Knorr and Le Suroit. In June
1985, the French ship Le Suroit
began systematically crossing the
150-square-mile (390 km2) target
zone with her deep-search
sonar. Le Suroit covered 80
percent of the zone, leaving only
20 percent for the American ship
Knorr.[91] The wreck was found
at a depth of 2.5 miles (4 km),
slightly more than 370 miles (600
km) south-east of Mistaken
Point, Newfoundland at
41°43′55″N 49°56′45″W, 13 miles
(21 km) from fourth officer
Joseph Boxhall's last position
reading where Titanic was
originally thought to rest. Ballard
noted that his crew had paid out
12,500 feet (3,810 m) of the
sonar's tow cable at the time of
the discovery of the wreck,[92]
giving an approximate depth of
the seabed of 12,450 feet (3,795
m).[93] Ifremer, the French
partner in the search, records a
depth of 3,800 m (12,467 ft), an
almost exact equivalent.[94]
These are approximately 2.33
miles (3.75 km), and they are
often rounded upwards to 2.5
miles (4.0 km) or 4 km. Video
cameras aboard the unmanned
submersible Argo were the first
to document Titanic's visual state
on the bottom of the ocean. The
submersible was based on Knorr
and the images retrieved were
featured in National Geographic
by December 1985.[95] In 1986,
Ballard returned to the wreck
site aboard Atlantis II to conduct
the first manned dives to the
wreck in the submersible Alvin.
Ballard had in 1982 requested
funding for the project from the
US Navy, but this was provided
only on the then secret condition
that the first priority was to
examine the wreckage of the
sunken US nuclear submarines
USS Thresher and USS Scorpion.
Only when these had been
photographed did the search for
Titanic begin.[96]
The most notable discovery the
team made was that the ship
had split apart, the stern section
lying 1,970 feet (600 m) from the
bow section and facing opposite
directions. There had been
conflicting witness accounts of
whether the ship broke apart or
not, and both the American and
British inquiries found that the
ship sank intact. Up until the
discovery of the wreck, it was
generally assumed that the ship
did not break apart.[97]
The bow section had struck the
ocean floor at a position just
under the forepeak, and
embedded itself 60 feet (18 m)
into the silt on the ocean floor.
Although parts of the hull had
buckled, the bow was mostly
intact. The collision with the
ocean floor forced water out of
Titanic through the hull below
the well deck. One of the steel
covers (reportedly weighing
approximately ten tonnes) was
blown off the side of the hull.
The bow is still under tension, in
particular the heavily damaged
and partially collapsed decks.[98]
The stern section was in much
worse condition, and appeared
to have been torn apart during
its descent. Unlike the bow
section, which was flooded with
water before it sank, it is likely
that the stern section sank with a
significant volume of air trapped
inside it. As it sank, the external
water pressure increased but the
pressure of the trapped air could
not follow suit due to the many
air pockets in relatively sealed
sections. Therefore, some areas
of the stern section's hull
experienced a large pressure
differential between outside and
inside which possibly caused an
implosion. Further damage was
caused by the sudden impact of
hitting the seabed; with little
structural integrity left, the decks
collapsed as the stern hit.[99]
Surrounding the wreck is a large
debris field with pieces of the
ship, furniture, dinnerware and
personal items scattered over
one square mile (2.6 km²). Softer
materials, like wood, carpet and
human remains were devoured
by undersea organisms.[97]
Dr. Ballard and his team did not
bring up any artefacts from the
site, considering this to be
tantamount to grave robbing.
[100] Under international
maritime law, however, the
recovery of artefacts is necessary
to establish salvage rights to a
shipwreck. In the years after the
find, Titanic has been the object
of a number of court cases
concerning ownership of
artefacts and the wreck site itself.
In 1994, RMS Titanic Inc. was
awarded ownership and
salvaging rights of the wreck,
even though RMS Titanic Inc.
and other salvaging expeditions
have been criticised for taking
items from the wreck. Among
the items recovered by RMS
Titanic Inc. was the ship's whistle,
which was brought to the
surface in 1992 and placed in the
company's travelling exhibition. It
has been operated only twice
since, using compressed air
rather than steam, because of its
Approximately 6,000 artefacts
have been removed from the
wreck. Many of these were put
on display at the National
Maritime Museum in Greenwich,
England, and later as part of a
travelling museum exhibit.[97]
A new expedition using sonar
technology and high-resolution
optical video and imaging has
been started by RMS Titanic Inc.
to document the wreck site.[102]
The new effort, Expedition
Titanic, will deploy the most
advanced 3DHD film and
acoustic modeling to bring
Titanic to life. The high-
resolution photos and video are
expected to reveal never-before-
seen parts of Titanic (Scotland
Road, the ship's pool, etc). The
20-day expedition will use
remotely operated submersibles
to complete an unprecedented
archaeological analysis of the
two- by three-mile (three- by
five-kilometre) debris field,
including Titanic ’s two halves.
Expedition Titanic will gather
hard data too, for example by
measuring the thickness of the
ship ’s hull and by hauling up
and examining experimental steel
platforms placed at the site.[102]


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