Page 15 - The Times Titanic Souvenir 1988
P. 15
e|l, : Five days before his mEltTrl{rcsr0RY search for the Titanic CHAPTER III was due to be called lcebergs ahcad : off, BOB BAJ,IARD was sleeping in his cabin. But far below, SUNDAY, April 14 dawned with the promise of another glorious day: bright sunshine, a calm sea and cool, bracing air. Most of the his cameras were passengers settled into their shipboard routine. It may have been too cold to stroll on deck, but there were plenty of distractions to inching closer to the keep passengers occupied in the Titanict splendid interiors. After breakfast, in the dining saloon, Captain Smith presided over a find of the century... Church of England service. That morning's lifeboat drill had been cancelled, but most pas- sengers did not seem to notice. In 1912, there was no statutory requirement for drills or musters. White Star went some way towards regulating boat drills, stating in its published Regulations for the Navigation of the Company's Steamships: "The crews of each boat are to be mustered at their boat stations every Sunday at noon, the chief officers reporting a supply of water in each boat, and the carpenter reporting the davits and screw lashings in working order... On each occasion on which the crew are so drilled it is to be entered in the ship's log book, and reported home in the commander's letter." No adequate explanation has ever been discovered as to why this vital part of shipboard routine was overlooked While passengers and crew were eating Sunday lunch, the Titanic's Marconi wireless operators, Jack Phillips and Ha Bride, were busy catching up on the backlog of passenger mes- or a few minutes there was' sages. The previous evening the wireless set had broken down and nothing to see on the monitor but some small glacial boulders. Then, at two minutes to one in the morning. definite debris fragments began to appar. By four minutes past, all sorts of wreckage was streaming past and everyone in the ship's control van was convinced something was up. Then something new appeared. Bill Lange sang out: "It's a boiler!" Now there could be absolutely no doubt. 'The guys think you should come down to the van," said the cook sticking his head through the door of my cabin. I must have run down and aft in about 30 seconds. Atgo,the underwater sled carrying the camera, had just passed over a massive ship's boiler. They replayed the tape and, sure enough, I saw a big ship's boiler. It was Titanic's. For a few seconds, I didn't say anything. Then I simply kept repeating quiefly: *God damn. God damn..." Our hunt was almost over. Somewhere Elegant passengers enjoyed a sumptuous evening meal on theTitarig very near lay the wreck of.Titanic. blissfully unaware that just minutes separated themfrom disaster Around us the van erupted into whoops the two men were unable to send or receive messages until and shouts. I went around congratulating members of the watch, yzattng backs and on Sunday morning. At l:40pm their routine was disturbed by shaking hands. Larger and larger pieces of incoming message from the White Star liner Baltic: wreckage were now passing underArgo. Smith, Titanic. Have had moderate variable winds and clear We didnt know where the main wreck was. weather since leaving. Greek steamer Athinai reports passing i If large pieces were intact, they would loom bergs and large quantities of field ice today in latitude up too suddenly to avoid. 4l.5lN, longitude 49. I lW. (continued on page 18) As the images on the video screen grew
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