Lord Mersey's private diary reveals notes about the mistakes he believed led to the ship's sinking
The contents of a private journal of the judge who oversaw the investigation into the Titanic disaster is set to be revealed for the first time in an upcoming documentary.
British lawyer and politician John Charles Bigham, 1st Viscount Mersey, was accused of investigating the sinking in 1912, in which 1,500 people were killed.
His diary, which lists his reasons for the sinking of the passenger ship, will be published tomorrow evening in a Sky History program after more than a century.
Lord Mersey's notes suggest that it was a combination of factors that led to the tragedy, including how the ship went too fast, how the crew ignored repeated ice warnings, and watertight doors stayed open as it sank.
He also noted that there weren't enough lifeboats – they could only accommodate half of the 2,240 passengers – and lifeboat drills had been canceled.
Craig Sopin, Philadelphia Titanic memorabilia attorney and collector, said: “It is amazing to see some of Lord Mersey's diaries after all this time.
"Through the diary we can see into Lord Mersey's mind and some people have said that this is one of the best documentaries on the Titanic ever made to see exactly what he was thinking."
Lord Merseys family has decided to reveal his private diary (pictured in the documentary – after more than a century
In the magazine he writes how an important lifeboat exercise was canceled and commented "this is unusual".
He stated that the Titanic was traveling at full speed in an icy environment and mentioned "excessive speed" and "no speed reduction".
He goes on to write that two ships notified them of "icebergs, growls and rivers" along with drawing graphs, adding that temperatures were dropping, and wrote "this ice indicated".
He says an ice warning came in at 2 p.m. and was handed over to Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star, who put it in his pocket instead of making it public.
The iceberg was finally spotted at 11:39 p.m. from the crow's nest lookout, which rang the alarm bell.
The diary contains notes on the mistakes he believed led to the ship's sinking in April 1912
Under his notes he writes "no speed reduction" and explains that the Titanic was traveling at full speed despite the ice warnings
But with the boat going at 26 mph, there wasn't enough time to turn it around.
The Titanic hit the 60-foot-high iceberg shortly afterwards.
The watertight doors were closed to wall off the flooded areas, but Mersey noted that some of them were then manually opened by the crew to move water hoses and pumps and then "left open".
Lord Mersey noted the fact that the Titanic stopped after hitting the iceberg, but then moved forward at half speed for another 20 miles, increasing the amount of incoming water.
About an hour after the collision, the first lifeboat was lowered, with orders being given to fill the boats with women and children first, but according to Mersey's notes "they did not fill the lifeboats full".
additionally He noted that 61 of the 68 passengers in one of the lifeboats were men, including Chairman Bruce Ismay.
He also included drawings of diagrams warning two ships of "icebergs, growls and rivers".
Lord Mersey noted that there weren't enough lifeboats for the Titanic's 2,240 passengers
Lord Mersey adds that the Titanic (pictured) did not have enough lifeboats to carry the 2,240 passengers and an important lifeboat exercise has been canceled
At 2:20 a.m., the bow of the boat submerged and it split in two and sank. Of the hundreds that fell into the water, only 40 were pulled out and survived. Lastly, he mentions that only two lifeboats went back to help.
The British Board of Trade's investigation into the tragedy took place between May 2nd and July 3rd.
The investigation was testified by both passengers and crew members of the Titanic, crew members of the California Leyland Line, Captain Arthur Rostron of the Carpathian Mountains, and other experts.
Up until that point it was the longest and most detailed investigative court in British history.
Prior to the British investigation, the US Senate investigation had taken place on April 19, the day after the Titanic arrived in New York, held by Senator William Alden Smith.
It concluded that those involved had followed normal practice and that the disaster was an act of God.
Lord Merseys final report, dated July 30, 1912, concluded that the regulations on the number of lifeboats were out of date and inadequate, Captain Smith had ignored the ice warnings, and the lifeboats were not properly filled.
He noted the "extremely high speed of twenty-two knots" sustained after numerous ice warnings as a factor leading to the disaster.
No IMM or White Star Line negligence was listed as a factor in any of the results of the investigation.
Lord Mersey was appointed commissioner to investigate the loss of the Titanic in 1912
John Charles Bigham, 1st Viscount of Mersey, who oversaw the Titanic disaster investigation
John Charles Bigham, 1st Viscount Mersey, was born in Liverpool on August 7, 1895.
He was a British lawyer and politician.
He was elected a Liberal Unionist in 1895.
In October 1897 he was appointed Judge of the Queen & # 39; s Bench
He was appointed commissioner to investigate the loss of the Titanic in 1912.
His leadership criticized that he was protecting the interests of the Chamber of Commerce and the major shipping lines rather than exposing the underlying causes of the disaster.
The following year he chaired the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.
He also directed investigations into the sinking of the Empress of Ireland in Canada in 1914 and the Falaba and RMS Lusitania in 1915.
In 1916 he was educated in the nobility by the baron to be Viscount.
He died in Littlehampton, Sussex in 1929 at the age of 89
The content will be revealed on January 5 on Sky History's Titanic & # 39; s Lost Evidence TV show as part of Laurence Fishburnes History & # 39; s Greatest Mysteries series.
For decades, historians have tried to unseal his personal documents, believing that his sealed opinions and judgments were part of a conspiracy to hide the truth about the tragedy.
Now, 108 years later, his family has decided to reveal the secret diary and offers a fascinating glimpse into Lord Mersey's true thoughts on the disaster.
The program has experts examining Mersey's drawings and observations for the first time and reconstructing the Titanic's voyage in the light of the new evidence.
Mr. Sopin added: “He writes about the speed of the Titanic and that it was running too fast and that there was no lifeboat exercise.
"We can see all of the things he's questioned and found unusual and his reaction to everything."
& # 39; It was a combination of things that caused the disaster. There was the speed of the ship; Lord Mersey also had a big problem with Ismay putting an ice warning in his pocket; and the crew was also poorly prepared as no lifeboat exercise took place.
'Also the fact that some of the watertight doors were opened and not closed again. Because of a culture of ignorance, many negligence and mistakes have been made. & # 39;
He said the result would have been completely different if an investigation had taken place today.
He added, “We would have blamed everyone, Captain Smith, the White Star, and there would have been civil claims as well.
"The White Star was only able to continue its operations because of the culture and laws of that time."
THE TITANIC DISASTER TIMELINE
Ned Parfett, the "Titanic Paperboy", in front of the White Star Line offices in London
April 10, 1912 (12:00):
The Titanic sails from Southampton to New York, reaching Cherbourg and Cork en route.
April 14 (9:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., ship time):
The radio officers of the Marconi Company on the Titanic received a total of six warnings of ice in the vicinity, not all of which were relayed to the crew.
April 14th (11:39 pm):
Lookout Frederick Fleet discovers an iceberg in the crow's nest that lies dead in front of the ship. In the direction of the port, the ship managed to avoid a direct collision, but instead suffered a “fleeting blow”.
April 15th (00:05):
Captain Edward Smith orders the ship to be abandoned and radio operators issue distress signals.
April 15th (02:05 am):
The Titanic's last lifeboat is launched. Ten minutes later, the angle of the liner in the water increased rapidly and finally reached over 30 degrees, as the water reached parts of the ship that had not previously been flooded through deck hatches.
April 15th (02:20 am):
The Titanic eventually disappeared under the waves, about two hours and forty minutes after hitting the iceberg.
- Sky History's TV show Titanic & # 39; s Lost Evidence will air on January 5th at 9 p.m.
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