107 #53: Titanic engineers and stokers were trapped below by the watertight doors as they came down after the collision

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FALSE. Titanic’s doors closed relatively slowly and every watertight compartment had its own escape ladder, for use both to evacuate and gain access to these compartments after the watertight doors had closed.

However, one man was trapped briefly. He was a tunnel greaser who looked after the propeller shafts at the stern of the ship and although there was an escape ladder, he apparently was not aware of it and had to be rescued by greaser Frederick Scott and others. Each watertight door could be opened by hand even after they had been closed automatically from the bridge, and this is how the greaser was rescued. Subsequently Scott and his colleagues were told by the engineer on watch in the turbine room to pull up all the watertight doors so the suction hoses could be brought through, in an attempt to stem the flood of water coming in, as greaser Frederick Scott’s testimony shows:

5546: (The Attorney-General, Sir Rufus Isaacs) ‘Then the next thing that happened was something with reference to the watertight doors?’

Mr Scott: ‘Yes, the watertight doors all closed.’

5547: (Sir Rufus) ‘Did you hear any bell ring first?’

Mr Scott: ‘No, not for the watertight doors.’

5548: (Sir Rufus) ‘Do you mean that without any signal they came down?’

Mr Scott: ‘Yes.’

5549: (Sir Rufus) ‘Which watertight doors are you speaking of?’

Mr Scott: ‘All of them.’

5550: (Sir Rufus) ‘When you say “all of them,” how many do you mean?’

Mr Scott: ‘I think it is about six, leading down to the afterend of the tunnel.’

5551: (Sir Rufus) ‘Do you mean not only in your engine room, but you are speaking also of what you could see aft; the other watertight doors had been open?’

Mr Scott: ‘We had to go and open them up afterwards.’

5552: (Sir Rufus) ‘I understand now what you mean. You are standing in the turbine engine room and there you have got watertight doors fore and aft which were open, and aft you could see the other watertight doors were open?’

Mr Scott: ‘Yes.’

5553: (Sir Rufus) ‘Then, if I follow you correctly, what happened was, all those doors closed down at the same time?’

Mr Scott: ‘Yes.’

5554: (Sir Rufus) ‘What did you do after that?’

Mr Scott: ‘After that we went up to the turbine room and down one of the escapes to let one of the greasers out in the after tunnel.

5555: (Sir Rufus) ‘That is into the electric room?’

Mr Scott: ‘No, there is another tunnel after that one.’

5556: (Sir Rufus) ‘Do you mean the aftermost one?’

Mr Scott: ‘Yes, the aftermost one of the lot.’

5557: (Sir Rufus) ‘That is the very last on the tank top, your Lordship will see. (To the Witness) You went there?’

Mr Scott: ‘Yes, and heaved the door up about two feet to let the greaser out.’

5558: (Sir Rufus) ‘Who was the greaser there?’

Mr Scott: ‘He was tunnel greaser, the one who looks after the tunnel.’

5559: (Sir Rufus) ‘You had to release him?’

Mr Scott: ‘We had to go and heave the door up.’

5560: (Sir Rufus) ‘Did you hear any message given by the Chief Engineer [Joseph Bell] to release the watertight doors?’

Mr Scott: ‘No.’

5570: (Sir Rufus) ‘To release the clutch?’

Mr Scott: ‘No. After we got the greaser out we came back to the turbine-room again, and the Engineer in the turbine-room told us to heave up all the watertight doors. That was after we came back from letting the greaser out of the tunnel. ‘

If you’d like to read the full book of101 Things You Thought You Knew About The Titanic…But Didn’t!, or any of my other books on Titanic, please visit my Author Page on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/tim-maltin/e/B005LNHYEQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_1

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