A grand-daughter of a Titanic officer had revealed the true story about the sinking Titanic.
Louise Patten, the grand-daughter of the Titanic officer(Cdr Charles Lightoller) told that Titanic hit the iceberg could be down to a misunderstanding.
The ship sailed during the transition from sail to steam. So, there were two different steering communication systems in operation:
1) rudder orders for steamships
2) tiller orders for sailing ships.
The two steering systems were opposite with one another. So, a command to turn ‘hard a-starboard’ meant turn the wheel right under rudder orders system, and left under tiller orders system. And vice versa. (command to turn ‘hard a-starboard’ meant turn the wheel left under rudder orders system, and right under tiller orders system)
The man at the wheel, quartermaster Robert Hitchins, was trained under rudder orders, but tiller orders were still in use that time.
So when first officer, William Murdoch saw the iceberg and gave a “hard a-starboard” order, the panicked Hitchins turned the liner towards the iceberg.
By the time the error had been corrected, two minutes had been lost. Nothing could stop the iceberg breaching the hull.
Lightoller was also privy to shocking decisions that followed. Shortly before the Titanic went down, there was a final meeting of four senior officers in the first officer’s cabin. It was there that Lightoller heard of the communication error.
He also discovered that after the iceberg struck, the captain, Edward Smith, was persuaded to keep sailing by the chairman of White Star Line, Bruce Ismay, perhaps fearful of damaging the company’s reputation.
Pressing on added to the pressure of water already within the hull, forcing it over the bulkheads and sinking the ship many hours earlier than it would otherwise have sunk.
The nearest ship was four hours away. Had she remained at ‘stop’, it’s probable that Titanic would have floated until help arrived.
There is a third part to the story, one that reflects less well on Patten’s grandfather. Why did he not tell the truth at the inquiries into the Titanic ’s sinking?
Patten said he felt duty-bound to protect his employers, fearing it would bankrupt the company, and every job would be lost.
Lightoller died before Patten was born, but she was close to her grandmother, who passed on the stories.
Patten’s mother did not want the secret revealed because “grandpa had lied”, and Patten herself would probably have gone to her grave with it unless she had been plotting her nove
The claims, of course, are just that. They are another story adding to the mountain of theories that have been suggested for nearly a century.
Michael McCaughan, a maritime specialist who has been writing about the Titanic for 30 years, said it was not the first time he had heard claims regarding the rudder/tiller orders. “But of course, as we come up to the centenary, this is clearly interesting. It’s a new piece of aural evidence, and it will give rise to a lot of discussion and debate.” – (Guardian service)