Thursday, November 19, 2009

THEME THURSDAY: LATE



Late Warnings:

I was thinking of the phrase "better late than never" and how in most cases it seems innocent enough. However, my mind took a turn to when being late actually results or has resulted in devastation, especially when being precisely on time or even early could have prevented a catastrophe. A great example of this is in the case of the Titanic tragedy of 1912.

On Titanic's maiden voyage from Southampton, England, she cast off and departed precisely on time. That was on Wednesday, April 10, 1912 at noon. On Titanic's second day at sea, the wireless operators began receiving the first of many iceberg warnings from a number of ships in the North Atlantic,some of which reported that they had been forced to cease their voyages due to encountering dense icebergs and ice fields. However,Titanic's Captain Smith ignored the warnings and continued on, powering the vessel at full strength with the ferocity of its 30,000 horsepower engines blazing.



As history has revealed, not all the ice warnings reached the bridge. Tragically, the wireless had broken down on Friday night, and a number of unsent messages multiplied, destined to remain in a sort of limbo until the radio was fixed. As the operators worked to clear the backlog, most of the messages were of little importance- a large number of them from elite passengers sharing the wonders of their trip to friends and family. Consequently, because the operators focused on these mundane messages, late ice warnings were never delivered to Captain Smith or his officers. In fact, the California, a near-by ship, endeavored to contact Titanic as late as 10 minutes prior to impact with the ill-fated iceberg. The response from Titanic? The wireless operators told them to "Shut-up!". At 11:40PM Titanic hit the iceberg. The lookout on duty, Frederick Fleet, was the first to spot the iceberg. Mistakenly,he believed it to be a small mass a mile or so away from the ship. He rang the "three-bell alarm" and then telephoned the bridge. It was then that first officer Murdoch shouted, " Hard a starboard and full speed astern!"...It was too late.

Sadly, we all know how this story ended....



22 comments:

willow said...

The Titanic disaster is so bone chillingly sad.

Brian Miller said...

and so many people were late ever getting home...sad...

Rebecca said...

Willow, it leaves one numb when you think that so many could have been spared had the messages not been late...

Brian, that's an excellent point.

Alan Burnett said...

How strange ... my first thoughts on seeing this weeks TT subject was the Titanic and the California. Glad I didn't follow that path - I couldn't have done it as well as you. Nice post.

R.J. Edwards said...

It is amazing to think how the course of history can be changed in a matter of minutes. Such a tragic loss.

AngelMay said...

Very good post on the subject. Gives one pause for thought.

Jill said...

I feel panicked when thinking of those communications failing in such a disastrous manner!

Great TT.

Betsy said...

I wonder if anyone was running so late that they missed being a passenger. That would be interesting to find out...how being late saved their life.

Stephanie said...

Interesting account of that famous disaster.

...mmm... said...

Betsy's comment above makes me think of those individuals who were late to thier work in the Towers and missed the 9-11 horror of being trapped in those buildings, inevitably dying.

Rebecca, this is such a well written, very pointed post, detailing it with just enough insightful facts mixed with personal intrigue and nuance. Gripping, to say the least, even though, obviously, most of us know the tragedy fairly well.

Great TT. Sobering too.

Wings said...

Too late, indeed. :(

Tom said...

seems like a lot went wrong with the Titanic...too much to overcome. Thanks for the history lesson.

Ronda Laveen said...

That was one cruise that it would have been good to be late for arriving.

JeffScape said...

Insanity. Are you familiar with the novel that was written in the late 1800s? It supposedly mirrors the actual tragedy quite closely. One of these days I'll get around to checking it out.

Rebecca said...

Alan, after looking over your blogs, I've little doubt that you would have written something especially poignant and well versed on the same topic. Thank you for your kind comments.

RJ, that is so true...

Angel May, thank you. It certainly does give one pause.

Rebecca said...

Jill,
Me, too...Sadly, miscommunication seems to be on the rise, even though we seem to keep "advancing" in technology


Betsy,
That's a great question. I would imagine there were some who could have shared that tale with us. What a story that would be.


Stephanie,
Thanks...

Rebecca said...

M,
Thank you!

That is so very true about 9/11...It's still so fresh, isn't it?


Wings and Tom, it certainly seems that way...

Ronda, I agree...Late or missed alltogether...Imagine the relief someone would have felt when the news of the sinking broke..

Jeff, do you know the title of that book? I would love to read that.

Colette Amelia said...

well this could be a case for better late than never...how sad that all these seemingly benign instances added up to cause such a tradgedy.

thanks for sharing!

Kris said...

I wouldn't have minded missing that boat!

ZipZipInkspot said...

Dear Rebecca,

I had no idea that the Titanic had been ignoring messages. It's just so human, isn't it?

Natalie

ChaChaneen said...

Wow, I never knew that before of the commincation errors. Fun post to read, makes me want to watch the movie again now. Lol

Bachelor said...

Yes, what a tragedy this was. Another example of the fate of timing. How sad. The Bach