Virtual St Mary's Institute for Historical Research

Where St. Mary's Staff and Historians live virtually.

Virtual St Mary's Institute for Historical Research

Where St. Mary's Staff and Historians live virtually.

April 14th, 2019
Report By Nicole Pilcher

Before I begin the report on the Titanic jump I would just like to thank each and everyone of you for your support and input. Without your help and assistance this jump would never have got of the ground. I am truly touched on how you all threw yourselves into this and made it the success that it was.

I have some special thanks. To Marietta Winfrey for all her help and support in helping me keep this all together. When you are loosing your head you need someone who can keep their cool.

To Wayne Sefton and Jeff Pinner. I always knew how I was going to get the First Class team off the ship but I was at a loss on getting the Second and Third class teams out. It was their inventive idea of zip lining everyone out to the pod that saved the day.

To Jasonlouise Shaw and all his hard work on getting TB2 seaworthy and keeping the timings of the jump in check. My deepest thanks.

And to every other member of the jump who took part and posted. Thank you. It was an honour and a privilege.

Titanic: A Jump to Remember

The team gathered in Hawking hanger at 11:30 am this morning. All eager and ready to go.

Jenny Blackmore walked elegantly into view clutching her basket with something white protruding from the top. I watched Wayne Sefton stride towards her with a grim look on his face. He stopped and pulled out of her basket a towel beautifully folded into the shape of a swan. Laughed and sent her on her way.

We all crowded into TB 2 and Jasonlouise Shaw completed the countdown and the world went white.

Southhampton April 10th 1912:

We arrived at the dockside intact and took up various positions along the dock and started recording as much as we could. The stores being loaded, last minute members of crew signing on. The third and second class passengers starting to arrive. The first class would not board until an hour before sailing. Some bright spark started to hum "My Heart Will Go" and I groaned. We still have to check all the film we took but to my untrained eye I couldn't see the tale tale dark stain on the side of the ship which may have signified a bunker fire.

As the First Class passengers arrived we returned to TB2. Jeff was to cause a commotion in order of Wayne to slip quietly on board so he could check that the gymnasium was clear and locked so the rest of us could board by pod. As I got to TB2 I heard in my earpiece Wayne say "He's fallen in the water Eccles" I wracked my brains to remember which radio show that had come from and saw Jeff being hauled out of the water whilst Wayne took advantage of this distraction and sprinted up the gangplank.

I can assure you that Jasonlouise Shaw was far from pleased to find a wet and dripping Jeff Pinner making a mess all over his pristine TB2.

We successfully got to the gymnasium an from there we stood on the deck to watch the Titanic leave the dock. And yes we did all wave our hankies to the people watching from dry land.

After that we split up into our groups and went to record as much as we could before the night of April 14.

As our comms were always on we could always hear the excitement of the other groups. I would say that it sounded as if the Third Class team had a ball and got great film of life below decks as well as the Radio room and even picked up the first SOS.

Wayne Sefton was almost overcome with excitement when he managed to have brief conversations with Captain Smith and Charles Lightoller. And Jenny Blackmore, Jackie Pieper and Marion A Brown did a spectacular job of getting snaps of the Hart family.

In the meantime those of us on the First Class team took advantage of mixing with the Rich and Famous and walking down the Grand Staircase, eating in the first class restaurant (the food was fabulous) and even had a trip to the Turkish baths. Jenny Gurton and Chrissie Kelby had incredible luck filming the conversation when Captain Smith was almost bullied by Ismay into speeding up the ship despite the recently received ice warnings.

On the evening of the 12th Jacqui Ryder and Peterson were pulled from the ship. There was no way I was going to let them stay until the iceberg hit. And whilst Jacqui looked great in her boiler suit I was worried that her disguise was going to be discovered.

The day of the 14th was fraught. By now we had got to know our fellow passengers and Rachel Garstang Penman was having a particularly hard time about leaving her fellow steerage passengers on board Jeff Pinner , Wayne Sefton and Julie Jennifer almost wore holes in the decks walking the escape routes and the four of us had several fraught conversations about abandoning ship early.

Then it happened. Jasonlouise Shaw spotted the berg long before the crew of the Titanic did. Jeff herded his people together and headed to get them off the ship. We lost contact with Wayne Sefton or a good 30 minutes and Rachel Garstang Penman was almost trapped below decks due to her reticence to leave passengers behind.

I watched with growing horror as the Passengers refused to take the danger seriously. I wanted to scream at them Eliza Doolittle style "Move your blooming Arse'.

We saw the ships baker, Charles Joughin walk drunkenly up the deck throwing steamer chairs into the ocean. We watched people jump from the sides as the danger became more obvious. As the deck slanted Julie Jennifer and I walked Jenny Gurton and Chrissie Kelby to Life Boat 6 Molly Brown was already on board. We then ensured that Melissa Whitner and Isabell Tifft got to Lifeboat 1 though I am not sure that the Duff Gorden's were very pleased to see them.

Julie Jennifer and I then fought our way to Collapsable 6. It was really hard and I had to stop Julie from picking up a small child along the way. And through the windows I saw Thomas Andrews looking shocked and bewildered as his beloved ship sank from beneath him. During the evening we had seen Bruce Ismay help load several of the lifeboats and it was he who helped us in to the collapsible. He looked each way for more passengers before entering behind. us.

I really don't know how to write the next bit. It was bitterly cold and the lights on the Titanic went out and all we could see was the outline of the ship as her stern lifted high into the air, then crashed back into the water as her back broke. She bobbed there for a minute or two more before sinking into the water at quite a speed.

At first, there was silence and then the screaming started. Only 2 lifeboats went back for survivors and Bruce Ismay buried his head in his hands for the rest of the night. It was about 2 hours later that the Carpathia arrived, and it was to be several hours before we were all safely onboard. Markham and Jasonlouise Shaw were waiting for us with warm blankets and cups of tea and bundled us back to the pod for the jump back to St Mary's.

Back in Hawking Hanger we stood in silence whilst Tina Jaray who had been waiting for our return read out the names of each and every passenger and crew member who died that night. It was a very somber team that stood in the bar raising glasses to those who perished that night.

After that night no ship could have lifeboats based on their size but had to provide a seat for each and every crew member and passenger. Lifeboat drills had to be held regularly and all crew had to be able to correctly fill and launch the boats. The SOLAS regulations came into effect soon after. It was to be 1985 before the Titanic was found again and despite some protests that she should be left as a grave, many of her artefacts have been brought from the ocean floor. The Titanic is now rapidly deteriorating and there may come a time when nothing is left of this great leviathan.

To recount this jump in action, visit the Virtual St. Mary's Facebook Page. Find the LIVE jump by searching "Titanic" and read Nicole's April 14th post.  Over 500+ post in two hours!!!  (There is also a memorial video!)