Racing Through The Night: Olympics Attempt to Reach Titanic
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Edward J. The pioneering movie mogul organized a private screening for Guglielmo Marconi—the inventor of the wireless technology that had played a central part in the Titanic story—and gave a copy of the film to President William Howard Taft, whose close friend Maj. Archie Butt had died in the sinking. Spurred on by the success of his Animated Weekly feature, Brulatour decided to go ahead with a silent film based on the disaster, starring his lover, authentic Titanic survivor Dorothy Gibson.
Within a few days of her arrival in New York, Dorothy had sketched out a rough outline for a story. She would play Miss Dorothy, a young woman traveling in Europe who is due to return to America on the Titanic to marry her sweetheart, Ensign Jack, in service with the U. Shooting began almost immediately at the Fort Lee studio and on location on board a derelict freighter that lay in New York Harbor. She was clad in the same outfit she had worn the night she had escaped the sinking ship—a white silk evening dress, a sweater, an overcoat and black pumps.
The verisimilitude of the experience was overwhelming. Dorothy drew on her memory and shaped it into a reconstruction. When the film was released, on May 16, , just a month after the sinking, it was celebrated for its technical realism and emotional power. That is all I tried to do. Soon after the release of Saved from the Titanic , Dorothy walked out of her dressing room at the Fort Lee studios and turned her back on the movie business. After scandalous and protracted divorce proceedings, Gibson married Brulatour on July 6, , in New York. It soon became obvious that whatever spark they had between them had been kept alive by the illicit nature of the relationship.
The couple divorced in Dorothy fled to Europe, where her mother had already settled. Ensconced in Paris, she had enough money from her alimony for everyday luxuries such as cocktails and champagne and entertained a wide range of bohemian friends including the writers Colette, H. Wells and James Joyce. I tell you it was an immense burden. I have had my share of troubles, as you know, but since coming to France, I have recovered from that and feel happy at last. Who could not be deliriously happy in this country? I have such fun. But I fear it cannot go on like this always.
I have had my dream life, and am sure that someday a dark cloud will come and wash it all away! The shadow she feared would destroy her dream life was World War II.
The RMS Olympic - Titanic's Twin Ship which had a Dramatic Fate of its Own
It would still have been possible for the two women to return to America. Certainly their experience on the Titanic was a factor. In the spring of , while still in Florence with her mother, she was informed by the questura , the Italian police, that she would be taken to the German-controlled Fossoli internment center. She tried to escape, but on April 16 was arrested and taken to a Nazi concentration camp. Ugo, who wanted to infiltrate Allied intelligence in Switzerland something he subsequently failed to do.
Gibson was smuggled out of the camp under the pretense that she was a Nazi sympathizer and spy.
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Although the plan worked—she did escape and crossed into Switzerland—the experience left her understandably drained. After interrogation in Zurich, where she gave an affidavit to James G. Bell, vice consul of the American consulate general, she was judged too stupid to have been a genuine spy. Dorothy tried to resume a normal life after this episode, but the trauma of her survival—first the Titanic , then a concentration camp—took its toll. After the war ended in , she returned to Paris and enjoyed a few months at the Ritz, where, on February 17, , she died in her suite, probably from a heart attack, at age The mids is generally considered to represent the second wave of Titanic fever.
In the midst of the cold war—when there was a perceived threat that, at any moment, the world could end in nuclear Armageddon—the Titanic represented a containable, understandable tragedy. A mist of nostalgia hung over the disaster—nostalgia for a society that maintained fixed roles, in which each man and woman knew his or her place; for a certain gentility, or at least an imagined gentility, by which people behaved according to a strict set of rules; for a tragedy that gave its participants time to consider their fates.
She plays Julia Sturges, a woman in the midst of an emotional crisis. Trapped in an unhappy marriage to a cold but wealthy husband, Richard Clifton Webb , she boards the Titanic with the intention of stealing their two children away from him. The film, directed by Jean Negulesco, was not so much about the loss of the liner as the loss, and subsequent rekindling, of love. Yet the story had its roots in real life. Immediately after the Carpathia docked in New York, it came to light that on board the liner were two young French boys—Lolo Michel and Momon Edmond —who had been kidnapped by their father traveling on the Titanic under the assumed name Louis Hoffman.
Fellow second-class passenger Madeleine Mellenger, who was 13 at the time, remembered the two dark-haired boys, one aged nearly 4, the other 2.
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My brother and I played on the forward deck and were thrilled to be there. One morning, my father, my brother, and I were eating eggs in the second-class dining room. The sea was stunning.
April 15, 1912
My feeling was one of total and utter well-being. When I think of it now, I am very moved. They knew they were going to die. Despite this, the man calling himself Louis Hoffman—real name Michel Navratil—did everything in his power to help fellow passengers safely into the boats. She escaped to safety with her mother in Lifeboat 14, leaving the sinking ship at a. Witnesses recall seeing the man they knew as Hoffman crouching on his knees, ensuring that each of his boys was wrapped up warmly.
As he handed his elder son over to Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller, who was responsible for loading the boat, Michel stepped back, raised his hand in a salute and disappeared into the crowd on the port side of the ship. His son Michel later recalled the feel of the lifeboat hitting the water. After the Carpathia docked in New York, the two boys became instantly famous. Back in Nice, Marcelle Navratil, desperate to know about the fate of her children, appealed to the British and French consulates. She showed the envoys a photograph of Michel, and when it was learned that Thomas Cook and Sons in Monte Carlo had sold a second-class ticket to a Louis Hoffman—a name Navratil had borrowed from one of their neighbors in Nice—she began to understand what her estranged husband had done.
Only a matter of weeks later, Marcelle Navratil arrived in New York. She found Michel sitting in a corner of the room, in the window seat, turning the pages of an illustrated alphabet book. Edmond was on the floor, playing with the pieces of a puzzle.
He let out one long-drawn and lusty wail and ran blubbering into the outstretched arms of his mother. The mother was trembling with sobs and her eyes were dim with tears as she ran forward and seized both youngsters. Since then I have been a fare-dodger of life. A gleaner of time. Edith, a fashion buyer, journalist and stylist, had contacted producer Charles Brackett when she had first learned that the Barbara Stanwyck film was going to be made, outlining her experiences and offering her services.
The letter elicited no response, as Brackett had decided not to speak to any individual survivors. The filmmakers were more interested in constructing their own story, one that would meet all the criteria of melodrama without getting bogged down by the real-life experiences of people like Edith.
The production team did, however, invite her—and a number of other survivors—to a preview of Titanic in New York in April It was an emotional experience for many of them, not least third-class passengers Leah Aks, who had been 18 at the time of the disaster, and her son, Philip, who had been only 10 months old.
Leah tried to push her way into this vessel, but was directed into the next lifeboat to leave the ship. The reunion brought all these memories back. Edith enjoyed the event, she said, and had the opportunity of showing off the little musical pig, together with the dress she had worn on the night of the disaster.
Edith congratulated Brackett on the film, yet, as a survivor, she said she had noticed some obvious errors. It fairly shot into the water whereas yours gracefully slid into the water. After the melodrama of the Titanic film—the movie won an Academy Award in for its screenplay—the public wanted to know more about the doomed liner. The demand was satisfied by Walter Lord, a bespectacled advertising copywriter who worked for J.
Walter Thompson in New York. With an almost military precision—Lord had worked as both a code clerk in Washington and as an intelligence analyst in London during World War II—he amassed a mountain of material about the ship, and, most important, managed to locate, and interview, more than 60 survivors. The resulting book, A Night to Remember , is a masterpiece of restraint and concision, a work of narrative nonfiction that captures the full drama of the sinking. On its publication in the winter of , the book was an immediate success—entering the New York Times best-seller list at Number 12 in the week of December 11—and since then has never been out of print.
Madeleine Mellenger wrote to Lord himself, telling him of her emotions when the Carpathia pulled into New York. I live it all over again and shall walk around in a daze for a few days. Walter Lord became a receptacle into which survivors could spill their memories and fears.
The rights to the book were bought by William MacQuitty, an Irish-born producer who, like Walter Lord, had been fascinated by the Titanic since he was a boy. The overall effect MacQuitty wanted to achieve was one of near-documentary realism. Art director Alex Vetchinsky employed his obsessive eye for detail to recreate the Titanic itself. Working from original blueprints of the ship, Vetchinsky built the center third of the liner, including two funnels and four lifeboats, an undertaking that required 4, tons of steel.
Survivor Edith Russell still felt possessive of the Titanic story—she believed it was hers alone to tell—and she wanted to exploit it for all it was worth. The gentleman writer and the grand lady of fashion hit it off immediately, drawn together by a shared passion for the Titanic and a sense of nostalgia, a longing for an era that had died somewhere between the sinking of the majestic liner and the beginning of World War I.
Even though Edith was not employed on the project, MacQuitty was wise enough to realize there was little point in making an enemy of her. As Edith aged, she became even more eccentric. When she died, on April 4, , she was 96 years old. The woman who defined herself by the very fact that she had escaped the Titanic left behind a substantial inheritance and a slew of Titanic stories. To Walter Lord she pledged her famous musical pig. Yet, at this time, the membership comprised a relatively small group of specialists, maritime history buffs and a clutch of survivors.
By September , when the group held its tenth anniversary meeting, the society had a membership of only The celebration, held in Greenwich, Connecticut, was attended by year-old Edwina Mackenzie, who had sailed on the Titanic as year-old second-class passenger Edwina Troutt. Many people assumed that, after 50 years, the liner, and the myths surrounding it, would finally be allowed to rest in peace. But in the early hours of September 1, , oceanographer and underwater archaeologist Robert Ballard from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution—together with French explorer Jean-Louis Michel from the French organization Ifremer—discovered the wreck of the Titanic lying at a depth of roughly two and half miles, and around miles southeast of Mistaken Point, Newfoundland.
The ship sits upright on its bottom with its mighty stacks pointed upward.
There is no light at this great depth and little life can be found. It is a quiet and peaceful place—and a fitting place for the remains of this greatest of sea tragedies to rest. Forever may it remain that way. And may God bless these now-found souls. The world went Titanic -crazy once more, a frenzy that was even more intense than the previous bouts of fever.
There was something almost supernatural about the resulting pictures and films, as if a photographer had managed to capture images of a ghost for the first time. Journalist William F. On April 14, , from PM, while "Titanic" was approaching Canada, the operators received several warning by radio relating to ice packs and icebegs in their area. The messages were sent by boats further to the west.
The first message was sent by "Caronia" that spotted icebergs and growlers. But as the warning was not prefixed by "MSG" meaning that the communique was intended to the capitain, and buzy by other tasks, the information was not immediately transmitted to the capitain Edward John Smith on the bridge, and "Titanic" continued its route as planned. It is only by AM that captain Smith got the first telegraph warning of icebergs.
A second warning was received at PM. Then, in a few hours the air temperature dropped of 10 degrees, reaching 0. Immediately Bride took the telegram to the bridge but the captain Smith had already left for dine with passengers. The telegram was passed to another officer. It is only by PM that captain Smith did a check with the bridge but apparently without commentaries about icebergs before retiring to his cabin.
At PM, Phillips received a fifth and last warning from "SS Mesaba" that spotted a " great number " of large icebergs and ice pack But once again, as the message was not prefixed with "MSG", Phillips didn't process it immediately and failed to pass the communique to the capitain. At PM, the "Californian" sent a message stating that she has stopped sailing for the evening due to the ice. B harrassed by the passenger telegrams, Phillips simply replies to say " Shut up!
Titanic: The final messages from a stricken ship
I am busy. I am working Cape Race ". Meanwhile, the iceberg was approaching dangerously from "Titanic". At PM, the iceberg laid 6. But the lack of moonlight didn't allow the crew to see it. Contrary to what we often read, it is not the Titanic radio room but the one of the Olympic, her sister vessel. Doc Nova Scotia Online. At PM, the iceberg was yards or m ahead of "Titanic". But due to its high speed At PM, the belt rang on the bridge of "Titanic". The officer William Murdoch was on watch and saw the iceberg.
He asked that the engines be put into reverse, steering the ship away but it was too late, and "Titanic" hit the iceberg of the side. By On April 15, at AM the captain returned at the radio room and told the operators to send the message. Phillips sent in his spark gap transmitter : " CQD Titanic It's the new call and it may be your last chance to send it ".
At the same time, ship "La Provence" received the distress message requiring assistance. Drown in the noise of the stream, Philips and Bride checked the ship position. Then ship "Ypiranga" heard "Titanic" calling CQD during about 10 minutes without establish any contact. The situation worsening, at AM Phillips sent to any ship in their vicinity a new message. We have struck a berg. Position Unfortunately "Carpathia" was at 10 hours from "Titanic".
Immediately "Cape Race" called "Titanic" but received no reply. Require immediate assistance. We have collision with iceberg. Can hear nothing for noise of stream ". Titanic called so during about 15 to 20 minutes to "Ypiranga". For what I have understood it's sending " His Capitain "reversed ship". She was about 90 km 50 miles off "Titanic". After a lot of misunderstanding between ships, at AM the reply of "Carpathia" was examplar and it answered to "Titanic": " Putting about and heading for you ". But it seems that "Olympic" didn't answer or didn't hear her call.
According the transcript this is the first time that "SOS" was sent, so half an hour after the accident and the request of Bride! Note that Harold Bride testified in both the American and British investigations see below and in his original accounts of the sinking, that Phillips sent the CQD and SOS calls at 15 word-per-minute so that everyone would be sure to understand the message as there was language problems with some of the other ships.
There was now more than 1 hour that "Titanic" hit the iceberg and was slowly sinking.
Phillips continued so to send CQD, his position, explaining again that "Titantic" hit an iceberg, etc. This dramatic comedy last another half hour. Our position miles N. As soon as the wireless operator informed his captain, the "Carpathia" and " Cape Race", chimed in their acknowledgement of the disaster call. At AM at the requests of "Olympic" : " Are you steering southerly to meet use ", "Titanic" replied : " We are putting the women off in the boats.
At , "Titanic" sent again : " We are putting passengers off in small boats. At AM "Olympic" asked "Titanic" what weather she had. The reason was simple, even if according to our modern rules that looks incredible : the "Frankfurt" operator worked for Telefunken, the main competitor of Marconi company! Replica of the straight key used on the Titanic. It is for sale to Alpha Delta.
RMS Olympic radios that Titanic survivors only aboard Carpathia
You are much nearer to Titanic. The Titanic is already putting women off in the boats, and he says the weather there is calm and clear. The Olympic is the only ship we have heard say, "Going to the assistance of the Titanic. The others must be a long way from the Titanic. At AM "Carpathia" heard one of the last message sent by "Titanic" : " Come as quickly as possible old man: our engine-room is filling up to the boilers ".
She answered but received no reply. The "Frankfurt" operator came back also to get more information and asked to "Titanic" : " What is the matter with u? Unfortunately the commercial war edicted always its own rules! At this moment the "Frankfurt" was still at km miles from 'Titanic". It needed hours to reach her. Phillips continued to transmit information for about half an hour to other ships, but mainly to the "Carpathia", and "Olympic". The "Carpathia" operator took the time to transmit the list of survivors to the "Olympic", then he closed his radio station, keeping a radio silence and refusing even to answer to Navy cruisers sent to the scene by President Taft.
At AM "Virginian" still heard "Titanic" calling but this time her emitting power began greatly to reduce. At "Virginian" still heard two weak "v" surrounding with sparks. Once think that Phillips tried adjusting his transmitter to compensate for the dying power supply from the engine room. Now, "Titanic" began to take on water in her first five compartments located to the front of the ship. If the first five compartments were invaded by water, due to the weight of water supported by the front, "Titanic" would sink. So, forseeing the worst, orders were given to the crew to uncover the lifeboats and to get the passengers and crew ready on deck.
But there were only 16 lifeboats available where 51 would have been necessary to transport all 2, passengers on board Thus, in a first time it was decided to give the priority to leave the ship to all passengers of the first class, and specially to women and kids Harold Sidney Bride left , assistant radio operator and John George Phillips right , first radio operator.
Phillips had to die of hypothermia. We are sinking fast. Passengers are being put into boats. Titanic ". After the loss of all power in "Titanic"'s radio room, "Virginian" noticed that "Titanic"'s signal ended very abruptly. Bride and Phillips left the wireless room and made their way to the Boat-Deck, and began trying to help the other men in the releasing of collapsible Lifeboat B. While neither of them immediately made it onto a lifeboat, both were rescued from the sea.
Bride's feet were so severely frozen he could no more walk. Phillips died of hypothermia on or near Collapsible lifeboat B. His body was never recovered. Pretty soon, the "Titanic" lights flickered, and then totally went off, leaving everyone on the ship, and in the lifeboats, with total darkness. As the stern rose, it stood almost to a 90 degree angle.
People on the ship grabbed for anything to hang on to. A weak spot developed between the third and fourth smoke stack, which caused the stern of the ship to break off but the stern rested in the water in the normal position. After about a minute, the stern was over taken by water, and slipped into the sea, bringing with it for the eternity most of replies and its mysteries. Then the silent was total.
Documents from "Titanic" J. Cameron, Below left, a simulation of the wreck lying down by m deep and two images of the shipwreck taken on July 5, by Robert Ballard by m ft deep. Today the Titanic wreck is located km off Newfoundland. Documents R. I n less than two hours passengers died of hypothermia or drowned, and the so-called unsinkable "Titanic" sank by m ft deep at km miles south-east of Halifax.
Once arrived on site, at AM "Carpathia" picked up the first survivors and immediately sent a wireless message to other ships. At AM the last lifeboat was rescued by the Carpathia.