Page 17 - The Times Titanic Souvenir 1988
P. 17
11. IIIE IITIIIIC STIIRY (continued from page 16) relieved Lightoller, the two men chatting briefly about the Wish you andTitanic all suc- falling temperature, now 32 degrees, and the emphatic cess. Commander." reminder to the lookouts to be on their toes for any signs of The message was handed icebergs. Lightoller then went below, leaving Murdoch to directly to Captain Smith, the darkness and freezing night air. who, instead of posting it in By ll:30pm most passengers had gone to bed, but a few the chart room, gave it to night owls were gathered around a card table in the first- Ismay. Later in the day Smith class smoking room. In the main dining saloon, stewards asked for it back, perhaps were preparing for breakfast, carefully arranging gleaming sensing its importance. Smith silverplate and fine china, edged in22+arat gold on immac- was very aware of the danger ulate damask linen. from ice. On Friday he had As her passengers slept or relaxed, lhe Titanic forgd received ice warnings from steadily onwards, speed unabated, a white wave of foam WirelessoperatorJackPhillips the French Line vessel la curling around her bow, ablaze of light from her sidelights failedtopassonavitalmessage Touraine and on saturday illuminating the ambient darkness. Out beyond the liner's the Furness, Withy & Company steamer Rappahannock prow lay an inky black expanse of water. reported having passed through heavy field ice. The clock situated on the first-class grand staircase, TheTitanic steamed on and had passed this area without decorated with a carved panel of two classical figures, spotting any ice but messages from the Baltic and the representing honour and glory crowning time, showed Cunard liner Caronia indicated that ice would mntinue to the time was ll:40pm. pose a threat during the voyage. Smith altered course, steaming 16 miles further south CHAPTER IV before making the turn at the socalled corner, and heading due west towards the Nantucket Lightship. As the Titanic approached the next iceberg danger zone, she remained on course, her powerful quadruple expansion engines and single low-pressure turbine driving the liner Steel & lee smoothly through the water at a moderate 22 knots. The temperature was falling fast and by 8.55pm it was A FEW moments later, Fleet in the crow's-nest began, only one degree above freezing. Second Officer Charles make out a black object directly in their path. "There is. Lightoller sent word to the ship's carpenter John ahead," he said to the other lookout as he rang the Hutchinson to see that the fresh,water supply did not bell three times to indicate to the bridge that something freeze. Soon afterwards, Captain Smith entered the bridge directly ahead of the Titanic. and together with Lightoller discussed the conditions. They Sixth Officer James Moody answered the telephone noted the lack of wind and the unruffled sea. Up in the asked what had been spotted. Iceberg, right ahead, crow's nest, lookouts Frederick Fleet and Reginald t,ee had the reply. Without emotion in his voice Moody said been told to keep a sharp lookout. you, replaced the receiver and called loudly to Mu The night was clear and although there was no moon, the "lceberg, right ahead." By now the first officer had seen sky was filled with stars. The sea looked as smooth as plate glass, which, paradoxically, made the lookouts' job harder. Without waves breaking around its base, an iceberg would be hard to spot, especially on a dark night and if it was showing its "dark" side. Matters were made worse by the fact that their binoculars had been removed at Southampton and not replaced. Having assured himself that all was well, Captain Smith retired for the night with the instruction: "If in the slightest degree doubtful, let me know." Lightoller continued to peer into the darkness ahead. In the wireless room, Phillips, the senior operator, was interrupted by a message from the Atlantic Transport Line steamer Mesaba.The message read: "Ice report. In latitude The last distress message sent by the Titanic 42N to 41.25N, longitude 49W to 50.3W. Saw much heavy "We are sinkingfast, passengers being put into boatt' pack ice and great number large icebergs, also field ice. Weather good, clear." Phillips replied: "Received, thanks." iceberg and rushed to the engine room telegraphs, The Mesaba's wireless operator waited to hear that the the handles to Stop then Full Speed Astern and message had been relayed to the captain and sent two iately ordered "hard a starboard". Moody, standing words: "Stand by." Instead, Phillips continued to send the helmsman Robert Hitchens replied: "Hard a s backlog of passenger messages to Cape Race. The most The helm is hard over. sir." The 46.329-ton liner important ice warning sent to the Titanic was never deliv- responded to the helm and began to turn to port. ered to the bridge. At l0pm, First Officer William Murdoch Murdoch intended to order (continued on page 23) 18
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