by Terri Bey

The book of the month for January is "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent Vols 1 & 2," written by Bruce Beveridge, Scott Andrews, Steve Hall, Daniel Klistorner, and Art Braunschweiger. This book comes in a two-volume set, the first of which discusses the design and construction and the second describes the interior design and fitting out. This blog is going to be a little different as I have only just started to read the first volume. I am going to make this blog a photoblog and give my readers an overall impression of this book as I have looked through both volumes.

My overall impression of "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent Vols 1 & 2" is that if you want to know anything about the RMS Titanic, this is your book. This book is the "Titanic Bible," if you will. I looked through the book and I was in awe of how detailed it was. There were charts, drawings, and photos of how the Titanic was built and fitted out. If you are a "techie" and love the construction aspects, this is your book. If you love architecture and interior design, you will enjoy this book. The authors had to use photos of the Olympic, as there is a lack of photos of Titanic for certain things like the interiors. I will say that this book is very detailed and the reader needs to pay attention. However, when I looked through it, I was amazed at all the details and information I could find out about the Titanic.

Here are some photos of the book. All photos were taken by me.

The Two-Volume Set of "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent" and the case they come in.

The "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent" Vol 1 Back Cover

The "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent" Vol 2 Back Cover

Image from "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent" Vol 1: Chapter Four: "Frames, Beams, and Pillars," Page 80. This is a photo of the construction of the Titanic's Shelter Deck. (The Engineer/Authors' collection)

When I saw this photo and others like it, I wanted to read more of this book. I was becoming very fascinated by how the great liner was built.

From "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent," Vol 2: Chapter One, "A Palatial Hotel," Page 21 This a page from a Second Class Passenger List and Information Booklet from Olympic, c. 1920 (Peter Davies-Garner collection)

When I looked through the second volume, I found it more fascinating than the first, as, in this volume, the reader learns about the fitting out of the ship. I particularly loved the images of the cabins and suites, even though many of them were of the Olympic, including this Booklet from the Olympic in the above photo, because of a lack of Titanic photos, as I said previously. There were more photos of the Olympic as she was the first ship built from the Olympic Class Liners.

Even though this blog is just a generalized overview of the book, I would highly recommend this book. It really is a masterpiece.

Contact: Alydace@yahoo.com

67 views0 comments

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

by Terri Bey

On September 14, 2021, I published a blog on this site about the October "Book of the Month," "Titanic: Solving the Mysteries." I had not read the book at that time. However, I was familiar with one of the two claims that continue to be made about the disaster, the time between time ashore and the Titanic's shipboard clocks as the great liner was sinking and the "coal fire" theory which claims that the 10-day coal fire that had been burning in a coal bunker in the ship was the reason for why the ship sank so fast and was the reason for the disaster.

As I didn't have the book at that point, I decided to write about the "coal fire" theory, as I was very familiar with it. I said in the blog when I was able to get the book itself, I would give it a review. I have read it, and here is my review of "Titanic: Solving the Mysteries."

If you would like to read my blog before reading the review, here is the link: Debunking the RMS Titanic "Bunker Fire" Sinking Theory (titanicbookclub.com)

"Titanic: Solving the Mysteries" is a masterly written book, debunking a long-held belief that a coal fire weakened the hull of the Titanic and was the cause of the disaster and proving that there was a 2 hour and 2 minute time difference between the events of the disaster and time ashore. The authors meticulously use charts, photos, graphs, and even passenger testimony to set the record straight. It is one book that a Titanic enthusiast must own.

In my September 14th blog, the link of which is included, I gave some general reasoning of why Senan Molony and others who push the "coal fire" theory are totally wrong, as supported by this book. What I liked about this book was the use of photographs and graphs in disproving the existence of this so-called "smudge" that Molony claims proved some "raging fire." The authors show that the "smudge" was most likely caused by the way the sunlight hit the Titanic, and even her sister, the Olympic, because of how their hulls were constructed (pgs 87-94). The reader can see how this so-called "smudge" shows up on these Olympic Class ships. The "smudge" was a trick of light."

Another famous claim is that this "raging fire," located in WTB E, caused the hull to become weakened throughout the voyage and do so much damage to the hull, that it was the cause of the disaster and was the reason the ship sank so fast. The authors show, through testimony in proper context and through countless photographs and graphs that this claim is just not true. On pages 42-43 of the book, on the day the ship left Belfast, April 2nd, when the fire might have started, the authors point out where WTB E was and the reader can see no hull damage. There are plenty of photos of the ship at Southampton, where there is no hull damage (pg 57). As I said in the blog, the Swimming Pool Bath was also in the vicinity of WTB E. In a photo of the pool on page 39, taken right before the liner left Southampton on April 10th, the reader can see the WTB E, and off to the side on the right would be the outside hull without any sign of damage whatsoever. Had the fire been that hot that it was destroying and warping the steel during the voyage, the water in the pool would have been so hot, that the passengers would have noticed. First Class passenger Colonel Archibald Gracie said that he was reminded of being "on the seashore" and that the pool was a "comfortable temperature. He wouldn't have said that, had the fire been doing all that damage that some are claiming. The authors also go into great detail dismissing other rumors, such as cover-ups for the fire, the Titanic had too little coal, the Titanic was built poorly and had low quality steel, and other falsities that people still repeat till this day.

The other subject that the authors cover is the time difference between the events on the Titanic and time onshore. As most people who are familiar with the disaster know, the RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg on Saturday, April 14, 1912, at 11:40 pm ATS, meaning Apparent Ship Time. The liner sank at 2:00 pm ATS. The authors go into great detail discussing the creation of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and the 5-hour difference between GMT and EST (Eastern Standard Time). They explained how New York City was in EST and Southampton, UK was in GMT.

The authors wrote about the operation of the Magenta Clocks and showed the practice of adjusting the time of 47 minutes back at 12 midnight, and the fact that Officer Pitman testified at the U.S. Inquiry that the Titanic's clocks were NOT turned back because "we had something else to think of" according to his "own clock" proved that the time between the events of the Titanic disaster and times ashore on New York EST was 2 hours and 2 minutes and not 1 hour 33 minutes as others believe. The authors also deftly show the reader how the 1hour 33 minute time difference is not possible and also examine the Titanic's chronometer.

As I said, "Titanic: Solving the Mysteries" is incredibly well written, especially for a well-versed Titanic enthusiast. While the is well written for a student of the disaster to comprehend, I will say that it can be very technical at times, so for those folks, I would advise them to pay close attention when reading it or I would use a highlighter to emphasize some parts you may want to remember. The appendices and endnotes are also worth reading as well. The authors did a great job and I highly recommend the book.

Contact: Alydace@yahoo.com

101 views0 comments

by Terri Bey

On December 12, 2021, I viewed "The Six" (2020) during the virtual Filmacracy Fest, which ran from December 9-12th. I went to the Festival's website and at 4:00 PM PST/7:00 PM EST, I went to the virtual room and watched the long-awaited documentary which was directed by Arthur Jones with James Cameron, Oscar-winning director for the 1997 classic "Titanic" as Executive Producer. "The Six" followed this six of a group of eight Chinese men who were aboard the ill-fated RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage and these six particular Chinese men who survived on that tragic night of April 15, 1912, when the great liner plunged beneath the waves at 2:20 AM after striking an iceberg on April 14th, the previous night at 11:40 PM. The viewer is shown that the Titanic disaster was not the only obstacle in the lives of these six survivors. The bigger obstacle was Chinese deportation laws and racial discrimination these men faced when trying to come into the United States and Canada.

Overall, I found "The Six" to be very well-done as far as telling the story the documentary makers wanted to tell. I, the Titanic enthusiast, found the parts about the legendary liner the most interesting. That is how I am wired. However, what I really liked was observing how the researchers, both Chinese and American, were going through names, and how they were attempting to connect evidence with the name. What I thought was a great addition to the documentary was the appearance of Tom Lynskey and Matt DeWinkler who were both working on the interactive game, "Titanic Honor and Glory" at the time the documentary was being made. The two men used their technology from the game and demonstrated through their game models how the Chinese men would have escaped from the ship.

What was also very interesting was how the researchers traveled to villages in China, and to cafes in Canada that one of "the Six," Lee Bing, might have owned, to see if there was any connection to the actual survivor. Two Canadian women did remember a male Chinese owner of a coffee shop talking about how his grandfather survived, but the researchers could not find him. The main Chinese survivor whom this documentary centered around was named Fang Lang, who, according to the documentary, had later changed his name to Wing Sun Fong. According to the documentary and using a deleted scene from "Titanic" (1997), the viewer is shown Fang Lang as possibly the last passenger being picked up by Fifth Officer Harold Lowe in Lifeboat 14. I was very moved by seeing the researchers meeting Tom Fong and looking at photos of his dad. Fong mentioned that his dad never spoke about the disaster. There is a great shot of Fong's grave which read's "Fong Wing Sun." Tom Fong is walking away in tears, crushed and disappointed that his father never shared his experience on the Titanic with him before he had died. That was heartbreaking.

The viewer learns about the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was enacted in 1882 and made permanent in 1902. As these six Chinese men did not have certificates of residence, they were put right back on a ship on dock 9, per the documentary, and had to be deported. It didn't matter that these poor men had undergone the worst maritime disaster in the North Atlantic at that time. They were Chinese and were unwelcome. According to the documentary, one of them didn't want to go back on a ship, but they had to leave and were sent to Havana. The viewer learns that Canada also had a similar rule, called the Chinese Immigration Act/Chinese Head Tax, where it stated if a person from China wanted to immigrate to Canada, they'd have to pay $50. The documentary also goes into much detail about the struggle and racial discrimination that the Chinese had to keep fighting to be accepted in the United States.

I also found this documentary to be very emotional. As a minority myself, I could totally understand the struggles that those men went through. Seeing old newspapers with racist comments about how the Chinese don't belong in the United States was heartbreaking. The final emotional impact for this viewer was when Tom Fong, the son of Wing Sun Fong, met John Lowe, grandson of Titanic Fifth Officer Harold Lowe at the Lowe Family Home in Deganwy, UK. I started crying my eyes out. Here was a Titanic survivor's son who is meeting the grandson of his father's rescuer. The two men speak and John Lowe, who has passed away in 2019, gave Tom Fong a framed photograph of his grandfather, Fifth Officer Lowe. Fong expresses his gratitude for himself and for his family, thanks to Mr. Lowe's "grandfather's humanity.

The only criticism I had was that I thought the documentary was a little slow at times when they were showing the viewers all the processes that they went through with research and all the traveling. Some of that could have been cut out. I also didn't understand this lifeboat experiment done that the documentary members were trying to disprove the claim that the Chinese men hid in the floors of the lifeboats to save themselves. The documentary makers had people in a mock lifeboat and ran some experiments and the experiments were supposed to prove that if the Chinese survivors were under their feet, they would have been felt. I thought that didn't sound right.

Regardless, I definitely recommend the documentary. It is very informative and emotional. I think Titanic enthusiasts will enjoy it. My favorite part of the entire documentary was when at the end of Tom Fong's visit with Fifth Officer Harold Lowe's grandson, John Lowe, Lowe told Fong how the "circle is complete." That touched my heart. The circle certainly was complete.

For all information about viewing "The Six," go to http://www.thesixdocumentary.com

Contact: Alydace@yahoo.com

46 views0 comments