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David Freeman - The Titanic

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My Father, Captain C P Freeman joined the White Star in the 1909 era, and was one of the crew sent to supervise the building of the sister ships Olympic and Titanic. Titanic was completed first in 1912 at Harland and Wolff and my father was one of the skeleton crew mustered to sail her from Harland and Wolff down to Southampton to be fitted out. He therefore, only served on the Titanic for the fitting out voyage down to Southampton as a skeleton crew and he served, as far as I know in a capacity of a purser type Captain. That is not the actual captain of the ship, but a part captain looking after passengers only, in other words, more of a purser. But, regarding the Titanic, Captain Smith had on board Lord Ismay as passenger and Lord Ismay wanted the Titanic to be a record breaker on her maiden voyage. A record breaker for the Atlantic Blue Riband, so when Captain Smith received radio reports of icebergs in the vicinity he requested, to Lord Ismay, to reduce speed to a crawl for safety. But Ismay wanted the record and between the two of them, they kept up the speed, with the results that everybody knows, that is to say, collision with an iceberg. Since the iceberg floats with nine tenths of it's surface under water, the Titanic, literally ran up onto the iceberg ripping her plating from the bow, beyond the seventh closing bulkhead, which in theory would have made Titanic unsinkable. But as it was she became literally flooded, simply because the water was pouring into the first seven water tight compartments, which were now no longer water tight. But certainly. holding air, which kept their bow from plunging straight down into the sea. The damage to Titanic was literally beyond any repair Captain Smith could have done, either by closing the water tight doors of which he had lost the halfs because there was only seven, and he had to abandon ship. I have never heard my father talk about what he knew and Lord Ismay used to come occasionally to dinner with my father at number 4 Myers Road West My Mother was a German trained cook, she was a Polish Jew and she trained in Germany, Heidelberg, in cookery, and Lord Ismay, particularly liked her cooking. So she was honoured with his presence. What they talked about certainly wasn't shipping, it would be more about German cooking, with the two wives leading, but I don't know, I cannot tell. Lord Ismay survived the collision and lived at the front at Waterloo and as I say, occasionally had dinner at Myers Road. The tragedy of the Titanic couldn't turn out otherwise, unless they had reduced speed. And it is a known fact that if Carpathia had not heard her wireless messages, which in those days were in their infancy, Titanic didn't maintain constant wireless watch, she did wireless watch according to international regulation, so it was pure luck that Carpathia was listening when Titantic transmitted her distress calls. That was a miracle. Only God knows how it came about. But of course, there was lives saved by that miracle, despite the terrific loss eventually. What can I say about Titanic? She was a dead image of Olympic, they were sister ships. She claimed to be unsinkable because of the seven different water tight bulk heads starting in the bow, and going past the mandatory collision bulk head spaced at intervals down the ship. A study of the Titanic plans would reveal exactly where each bulk head was. Hitting an iceberg, nine tenths under water, probably ripped the bottom out of the Titanic. Certainly to the end, further back than the seventh bulkhead as I said before. You all know about Carpathia and the rescue. Other small craft were involved, but I don't know any details. That's all I know about Titanic. Transcribed by Tim

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 3 seconds
Year: 2012
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Views: 157
Posted by: mrjonesy on Apr 10, 2012

David talks about his father who worked on The Titanic before her final voyage.

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