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Was the Titanic sinking avoidable?

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903185.  Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:15 am Reply with quote

Goodness me - I didn't realize the research had been done so thoroughly! Welcome to the QI forums DrPL. I see that you have reference numbers in your text - what are the sources to which they refer?

903230.  Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:52 pm Reply with quote

It's a genuine pleasure to be here, I love QI and I love being a part of this forum.

I was a proof-reader for a new book on the Titanic, and the author has done a lot of work on the various controversies about the ship, such as whether the Captain or 1st officer committed suicide, whether the third class were held back from the boats, whether the Titanic was trying for a speed record and so on.

I asked him if he would mind me quoting the section on the band and he was happy for me to do so. His book is at

Sadurian Mike
903232.  Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:02 pm Reply with quote

OOooh - look - advertising!!


Get 'im banned!

(Just kidding - extremely useful stuff)

903233.  Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:03 pm Reply with quote

If I have advertised something inadvertently and broken the rules, I apologise and ask that the relevant offending section be removed.

903248.  Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:01 pm Reply with quote

Completely overlooked part of your question Jenny, sorry.
The numbers refer to endnotes, with more explanation of certain points.

I can't find the pdf with the manuscript on it, but I do recall that one of the endnotes referred to the location of the band after Mrs.Gold's comments. A passenger named Hugh Woolner and his friend Mauritz Bjornstrom-Steffanson found themselves on "A" deck when the water rushed in over the gunwale and swirled around their feet. Spotting boat "D" being lowered right past the windows, they leapt for it - and made it into this very last boat. What is interesting is that before leaping Woolner looked down "A" deck - where the band were just moments before- and saw no-one. The deck was deserted and the lights were glowing "a devillish red" colour. The Titanic sank 15 minutes later.

If you've seen James Cameron's Titanic, boat "D" is the one that Rose jumps out of, which is just before Cal starts shooting at her and Jack. Compare the above with the way Cameron portrays the scene.

903251.  Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:12 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
Posital wrote:
Just a thought - would it have been less of a disaster if they'd steered straight for the iceberg?

If the issue was the number of sections breached - then if they simply trash the bow, perhaps it wouldn't have sunk?

Just I've not heard this option discussed.

I don't think so. Titanic hit the iceberg as a result of driver error (or neglect, depending on your views), but she *sank* as a result of manufacturing errors in the steel rivets which caused slag inclusions in the rivets that massively reduced their strength.

When the impact occured the hull flexed and the weak rivets failed over a very large length of the hull. If the rivets had been sound then (arguably) the hull breach would have been limited to a small number of sections near the bow and the internal compartmentalisation would have provided the intended protection. But the rivet failures allower water to enter too many sections, so that the overall loss of bouyancy caused the bow to sink far enough for the water to rise above the bulkhead level, negating their hull-integrity function.

Thanks PDR didn't know that - I'm wondering if Richard Feynman should have been on the inquest - and dunked a rivet in an ice cold drink.

Sadurian Mike
903252.  Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:21 pm Reply with quote

DrPL wrote:
If I have advertised something inadvertently and broken the rules, I apologise and ask that the relevant offending section be removed.

Not really.

The mods tend to be flexible when it comes to advertising stuff that is completely to do with the subject matter.

I wouldn't worry about it. You might want to worry about my strange sense of humour, but not putting the link up.

903270.  Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:33 pm Reply with quote

Phew, thank goodness for that!

Anyway, the final set of goofs for Fellowes's mess have just been uploaded -

Sorry for any typos, I'll work to correct them a.s.a.p

903520.  Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:55 pm Reply with quote

Don't worry DrPL - Sadurian Mike is absolutely right. Our policy is to be tough on anything that's there purely as spam, but in this case it's totally relevant to the question you were asked and the topic of the thread. And if you stick around and join in other conversations as well, you'll be very welcome.


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