The cover image and story, Entertainment Onboard an Ocean Liner, came about from frequent questions to the Titanic Historical Society about activities during a voyage. “Was it boring? What did passengers do besides eat, nap in a deck chair, read, play cards or walk around the deck?” We know ships like Titanic had magnificent public rooms but one generally didn’t spend a lot of time in them. A gymnasium, swimming pool and pursuits to promote health were innovative circa 1912 but consumed a minimum of time so we are back to the question––what did people do to keep from being bored, especially on long voyages?
Titanic Dinners are immensely popular now and people also contact the THS asking about entertainment to complete their dinner party. “Are there any games that were popular that we can play?” In contrast, today’s cruise ships provide so much activity for all ages and interests, from climbing a rock wall to Broadway revues, that when a port of call is reached, some people choose to stay aboard. In Titanic’s era amusements were organized by the passengers. The social or cruise director did not evolve until much later. Your editor was fortunate to observe and participate in part of this transition in Entertainment On Board between the simpler times and the super-organized, non-stop entertainment aboard many contemporary cruise ships.
Milton Long, a first-class passenger from Springfield, Massachusetts died in the Titanic disaster. There were two other individuals connected to that western Massachusetts city who were traveling in third class, Abraham Hyman and Jennie Carr whose accounts have not been told. Abraham lived and Jennie died––their stories are featured in this issue.
Tom McCluskie replies to a newspaper article in The New York Times based on a new book (see Book Reviews) that turned into a general condemnation of Harland & Wolff’s shipbuilding practices. Newspapers and television in search of easy headlines, picked up the story and coined “cheap rivets” from an incorrect assumption and that message was sent around the world.
In films, Joseph Bruce Ismay left Titanic from a virtually empty boat deck and escaped in a lifeboat. When the world awoke to news that the luxurious new White Star liner had gone to the bottom of the North Atlantic taking 1500 people with her, an unbelievable calamity ensued. The inevitable questions, recriminations and accusations broke into a frenzy in the attempt to sift facts from the chaos. Paul Lee sorts through passenger accounts and Inquiry testimony in Ismay’s Escape-Did he jump or was he pushed?
Despite receiving five separate wireless messages containing coordinates of observed icebergs and field ice on Sunday, April 14, 1912, Titanic continued to follow the normal westbound route for steamers heading from Fastnet Light off the southeast coast of Ireland, to the Nantucket Shoals lightship off the coast of Massachusetts. When she collided with an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. that night, Titanic was steaming at her highest speed to date. In Speed and More Speed, Mark Chirnside and Samuel Halpern examine several key questions.
In response to the Titanic disaster, the International Conference on the Safety of Life at Sea convened in London on November 12, 1913 laying the groundwork for the International Ice Patrol. On February 7, 1914, the Revenue Cutter Service, a predecessor of the modern Coast Guard, began patrolling the waters of the North Atlantic to prevent similar maritime tragedies and since has played a significant role in protecting lives, ships and commerce traveling between the continents of Europe and North America. The Coast Guard International Ice Patrol’s Titanic Memorial Ceremony and Wreath Drop took place on April 15 and 18th this year continuing their tradition of eternal vigilance and remembrance.
Contents in this Issue
Titanic People from Springfield, Massachusetts: Abraham Hyman and Jennie Carr Extracts from the Springfield Newspapers.
Coast Guard International Ice Patrol remembering RMS Titanic and preventing tragedies at sea By Coast Guard Cmdr. Scott Rogerson, Commanding Officer of the International Ice Patrol; Petty Officers Charly Hengen and Kip Wadlow.
Tom McCluskie Replies on the “Faulty Rivets” controversy By Tom McCluskie.
Ismay’s Escape-Did he jump or was he pushed? By Paul Lee.
Epilogue: W. J. Oldham & J. B. Ismay By The Editors.
Entertainment On Board By Karen Kamuda.
Speed and More Speed Part 1 of 2 By Mark Chirnside and Sam Halpern.
Sea Poste: A death notice on Barbara Anderson McDermott, the last known American survivor of the Lusitania sinking; date and location of a Titanic memorial service; a White Star Line souvenir pin; a memorial wreath is dropped over Titanic’s wreck site on QE2’s last World Cruise thanks to notification by a THS member; were Titanic’s decks strengthened for the installation of artillery? Should the book, “Titanic: The Ship that Never Sank” be taken seriously? Identifying a White Star Line Cabin Passenger’s Contract Ticket on Titanic; correction on Rene Harris.
Book Reviews: “Normandie,” “What Really Sank the Titanic” and “Titanic The Ship Magnificent” Vols. 1 & 2, by Tim Trower.
Front Cover: Strolling, sitting in a deckchair, reading or conversation are typical impressions of pastimes onboard. In actuality, there was a lot more activity back in Titanic’s era.
Back Cover: Ladies and gentlemen enjoying the fresh air on the deck of an ocean liner while playing a game of Bull Board. Postcard images: Kamuda Collection