There is also the Princess Alice disaster which is slightly linked to the ripper case as Stride was reported as saying her husband and 2 children had died on that disaster. This has been found to be untrue.
Another forgotten martime disaster is the sinking of the SS. Antinoe, and that one really is heroic.
In 1926, the SS. President Roosevelt sailed out of New York Harbour, setting a course for Germany. The weather was rough and stormish. When they were out at sea, the crew of the Roosevelt recieved news via wireless, that another ship, the SS. Antinoe, was in serious trouble and in danger of foundering. The Roosevelt jotted down the Antinoe's position and immediately steamed to the rescue.
The Roosevelt found the Antinoe rolling in heavy seas, with the crew, though perfectly alright under the circumstances, trapped aboard their vessel, unable to launch lifeboats and escape, due to the rough conditions.
The captain of the Roosevelt decided to send a lifeboat and men over to the doomed ship several times, but this failed due to the weather, resulting in the loss of six of the Roosevelt's boats, and two of its crew.
The captain was determined not to leave the men to drown at sea, and sent a wire to his company in New York City, saying that he was attempting a rescue-mission and would stay alongside the Antinoe until such time as the men were rescued, or until such time as the ship sank and the rescue would be fruitless.
Unknown to the captain, this simple telegram caused a storm, and soon newspapers and journalists were desperate for news. It also caused a storm at the offices of the United States Lines offices.
In those days, as it is today, time means money. The longer a ship stayed at sea, the more money it would cost the company. The captain of the Roosevelt knew this, but he threw it to the wind.
On Thursday, 28th of January, 1926, the weather had finally calmed down. Captain Fried of the Roosevelt deemed it safe to try another rescue, after staying by the Antinoe's side for three and a half days.
This time, rescue was successful and the captain of the Antinoe, a man named Tose, ordered that the married men amongst his crew be the first to be towed to safety. Eventually, everyone, including Tose, were rescued, and the Antinoe left to the mercy of the waves. Fried radioed his offices in New York with the results of his mission and sailed onto Germany.
When the crew of the Roosevelt next docked in New York City, they recieved a hero's welcome and a tickertape parade.
"Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" - Admiral David Farragut.
Was A Night to Remember based on solely on Archibald Gracie's book, or was it taken from more than one book? I've been reading Gracie's book, rather slowly though, and I'm to the opening of the investigation.
Did anyone see the documentaries where they found part of the hull of the Titanic and the companion one where they dove on the Britannic and found some of the same defects in the two ship? I can't remember the name of the programs, but they ran on our History Channel and I think it was either Underwater Detectives or Underwater Archaeologists or something like that.
"What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?"" From Pyramids by Sir Terry Pratchett, a British National Treasure.
Lord, born in Oct. of 1917, was only 5 when the ship sank, and grew up to be a writer of documentaries.
Gracie, was a survivor of the shipwreck, but died later that year. He wrote a small book, Titanic: A Survivor's Story. The book has its flaws but is apparently respected. Gracie died in Dec. of 1912. He never recovered from the effects of the hypothermia apparently and the trauma. The link is a report of his death in the Times and recaps his story.
The two men ran together in my mind apparently and I thought Gracie's book was also used in the making of the movie.
There is also one of the darkest stories of the sea: the burning of the turbo electric Ward liner MORRO CASTLE in September 1934. Over 130 people (mostly passengers) were burned or drowned in the disaster, and the exact cause is still a mystery. Indeed, one of the heros of the disaster, the radioman, may have set the fire - in his later career he murdered two neighbors and ended in prison. There was a good book on the story: SHIPWRECK by Max Thomas and Max Morris Witt (I think that is their names).
Some mysteries do get somewhat solved. In 1898 the steamer Portland was lost in a terrible gale off Massachusetts, but her exact fate was unknown (all the 200 people on board were lost - no survivor accounts). But four years ago the wreck was found. From studying it, apparently a wave smashed the superstructure of the boat (where the passengers were) and carried it away.
Then the ship sank.
There are also the trio of dreadful shipwrecks in the U.S.:
1) The Sultana - probably the worst shipwreck in American history - 1,700 to 1,900 returning Union soldires blown up, burned to death, or drowned when the steamer Sultana blew up (probably due to a boiler explosion - but possibly a hidden explosive in the coal supply has been suggested) on the Mississippi River south of Memphis.
2) The General Slocum - called "the Titanic of Queens" as this excursion boat burned in June 1904 with over 1020 men, women, and children (most from the "Little Germany" section of Manhattan) were burned to death or drowned in the area around North Brother Island between the East and Harlem Rivers and the Long Island Sound. Prisoners from Rykers Island assisted in rescuing survivors. The disaster has some personal connection to me. My grandmother was visiting a school friend who was ill and upset that she and her family were unable to go on the excursion. While grandma comforted her friend as best she could, they hears screams from the street - people were yelling that the Slocum was on fire!
3) The Eastland - The worst disaster in the history of the Great Lakes (though not as well recalled as the Edmund Fitzgerald which has a song about it). Eight hundred passengers were drowned on the Chicago River when the Eastland capsized while still moored to it's pier (the passengers were going on an excursion). Recent studies show that safety devices were added to the Eastland in the wake of the Titanic, and helped increase its unsteadiness. Those 800 passengers perhaps should be added to the 1490 to 1522 from the Titanic as killed by the same set of circumstances and results.
4) The Waratah - the great mystery of the sea from 1909, when this large British vessel on a schedule run from London to Australia and back disappeared in heavy seas off South Africa. They still try to find it's wreckage around the Cape of Good Hope.
Location: McWopetaz Metroplex, Illinois U. S. of A.
Yes, Rogers may have set the Morro ablaze so he could play hero. He is also suspected of poisoning the Captain first. One account I saw said that he may have set the fire to conceal the murder of the Captain.
This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.
What a wonderful idea for a thread! I love anything to do with the Titanic. I guess that sounds aweful considering it's such a tragedy but like my interest with Jack the Ripper, it's one of those things that eats away at my mind and I just have to get my hands on anything related.
Thanks to the other posters for bringing up all the other ships...I recognized some of them. Another ship wreck that I didn't see posted was the Andrea Doria (not sure if I got the spelling right).
people always seem to forget the biggest tragedy (when it comes to lifes lost) of them all:
On the night of 30. January 1945 the Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk by a sovjet submarine in the baltic sea and over 9000 people, mostly refugees, died.
The Gustloff was a shocking thing, although by all accounts, if the captains had followed wartime procedure, it may never have happened at all.
According to a documentary, there were three captains (or two, I forget) onboard the Gustloff. Civilian, and military captains.
Wartime procedure went thus:
You sailed with your lights, OFF - Harder to spot in the dark.
You sailed in a zig-zag fashion - Harder for the enemy to aim.
You sailed close to the shore - Harder for submarines to get close.
The idiot captain onboard the Gustloff sailed in open waters in a straight line with all the ship's navigational lights burning.
Sad to say, but the Gustloff really was a sitting duck, and a disaster waiting to happen. If they'd followed those simple rules, the ship might never have sunk.
The makeup of the Gustloff was of nurses, German wounded, refugees and of course, the ship's crew. Total onboard was between 9,000-10,000, some say even more. A certain number of these survived and were picked up by other German vessels.
The sinking of the Andrea Doria was just human error.
Upon two ships heading towards each other on a collision-course, maritime law states that they must both turn STARBOARD (to the right), in order to make a safe pass.
Instead of both turning starboard, the Doria turned starboard, and the Stockholm turned Port. BOOM! The stockholm crashed into the Doria and ripped the ship open like a sardine-can. The Andrea Doria immediately sent out an SOS call by radio and other ships nearby responded immediately to the disaster. 56 people died.
The mystery of the Waratah is one that may never be solved. It left Australia, sailing for England (presumably Southampton) and...it never made it. "Witnesses" included a radio-operator on another ship (or possibly a land-station, I forget), who said he recieved a morse-code message from a ship. The reception was extremely bad, and he only caught the last three letters: "TAH".
Gracie did indeed write an account about his survival of the Titanic. Gracie was one of the last people to get off the ship alive. He was still onboard when it made its final plunge, but managed to get into a lifeboat at the last minute. The shock and the physical toll of hypothermia impacted his health greatly, and he died less than six months after the sinking.
"Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" - Admiral David Farragut.