Friday, May 15, 2009
The Refuge of Few
(Here's an example of what it would have looked like)
Click HERE to see footage from the 1997 video on what happened to Collapsibles A and B
Collapsible A was one of the collapsible lifeboats that was on top of the Officer's Quarters towards the bow just behind the Bridge on the Starboard side. It was in fact, one of the 4 lifeboats that weren't supposed to be there but since it was the outdated rule that a steamer of 10,000 tons and over should carry 16 lifeboats. However, the rule didn't change and the steam ships got bigger. The Titanic was so big, that with the addition of 4 Collapsibles, the was only enough for half. Collapsibles A and B were placed on the roof of the Officer's Quarters to provide more room for the passengers on the Boat Deck. The reason it was called a collapsible lifeboat, was because half of the sides were actual wood while the other half could be raised because it was made of canvas. The Titanic struck an iceberg of April 14, 1912. The damage was so great, that it began to sink. All the lifeboats were lowered and the water was creeping closer to the boat deck. Officers Murdoch and Moody worked and freed Collapsible A from the roof using oars as a ramp (since they were there to ease the passengers and no one thought that they would be taken down). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl50X86kgMU reached the Boat Deck, but the crewmen started to put the lifeboat on the davits. Then, the Titanic surged downward causing Collapsible A to drift off. After a cutting the ropes, it drifted away. The side canvases were not drawn up, so the rushing sea swamped the lifeboat half full of water. Just as Collapsible A clears the Titanic, the forward funnel collapsed and caused the dozen people rough seas. Famed tennis player R. Norris Williams gave his account, of what happened in his experience. He said that he and his father were swimming towards Collapsible A when the forward funnel collapsed, killing his father and narrowly missing him. He was on the side of A for several minutes until he was able to be pulled aboard. The water was 28-29 degrees F, so not many people survived. Out of the dozen men, few survived. It was in fact, the lifeboat with the fewest survivors. One thing that helped R. Norris Williams from dying of exposure like most of his companions, was his now waterlogged fur coat. Later, 5th Officer Lowe picked up those that were left and left three bodies in the boat. It then set out alone, to be picked up a few weeks later by the Oceanic with the bodies still in there. One was identified as Thompson Beatie. The others were unrecognizable and didn't have any identity on them. Nothing is currently known about what happened to Collapsible A nor the other lifeboats after they were returned to England and disappeared.