Probus Club Talk – The Titanic

The Henley Probus Club welcomed Ian Black, a member of the Henley Probus Club to this month’s meeting who gave a presentation, with slides, on the Titanic.

Ian covered key points about the ship including:

  • The ship was built in Belfast in the period 1910-1912. It was designed primarily as a tourist class ship (quite unlike the image conveyed in the 3 Titanic films) primarily to facilitate emigration to the US. The ship’s capacity was 2200 people and its life boats could accommodate just 700 people.
  • After 3 days (only) of sea trials the ship left Belfast on April 2,1912 to pick up crew and a number of passengers at Southampton before departing, on April 10, for Cherbourg (more crew and passengers), then Queenstown, in southern Ireland, en route to New York.
  • The ship was fuelled by coal and, interestingly, 10 coal stokers refused to join the ship at Southampton over concerns on fire risk during the journey.
  • On 14 April, 4 days after setting off from Southampton, an iceberg was spotted, and the ship changed direction to try and protect itself from any head on collision; at the same time the ship accelerated to its maximum speed which was the advice given to minimise collision risk. In the event the collision with the iceberg was side on and 3 hours later, at 0200 on April 15, the ship had broken up in 2 parts, caught fire and had sunk.
  • 700 of the passengers survived the accident all of whom were in lifeboats. None of the passengers who fell into the sea survived.
  • The SS Californian, which was in the ‘iceberg area’ sent a message to the Titanic to warn about the icebergs but did not go to assist the Titanic; its Captain (Lord) was subsequently vilified. RMS Carpathia had received a telegraph message from the Titanic but on arrival at the site of the collision there was really nothing to see.
  • 200 bodies were buried in Nova Scotia, Canada but no other bodies were found.
  • Most recently, the 2 parts of the Titanic which rest at the bottom of the sea about 700 yards apart, were to be protected under a historic treaty with the United States.

There were very many questions at the end of the presentation after which Ian was given a very warm vote of thanks for his talk by the members.

The Chairman provided an update of the new Club Meeting and lunch arrangements at Badgemore Golf Club which will become effective from April 1, 2020. The Treasurer provided the financial status of the Club`s accounts including the current status of the charity collection which supports local charities in the Henley area. The next external event is a visit to the tulip fields in Holland in April 2020.Further events for 2020 are being discussed by the Events committee. The Friendship Secretary provided a summary/status of the Club Members who are currently not in the best of health.

Henley Probus Club meets at 11.00 at Badgemore Golf Club on the second Tuesday of each month; the next meeting is 10 March 2020. If you are interested in coming along, please contact Roger Griffiths on 01491 575137.