The Titanic TITANIC

‘Eternal Echoes’

The Saddleworth & Tameside and District connection (105th Anniversary April 15th) By Mark Sheppard and Joyce Raven

The sinking and the story of the Titanic is much well documented, however new evidence disclosed in January this year tells another story, which contributed towards that fatal evening, when so many innocent lives perished. The local newspapers at the time said there were no local fatalities, however on investigation it soon showed that there were.

She was the largest ship ever built, and yet her maiden voyage would be her last, after RMS Titanic struck an iceberg. A total of 1517, men, women, and children drowned.

So why did she steam at full speed into an ice field? In addition, why did the supposedly unsinkable ship, sink so suddenly? Recently a treasure trove of unseen photographs has been unearthed, in a recent fascinating programme presented by Titanic Historian Senan Malony. It unveils new evidence for the first time, showing an anomalous in the hull. A crisis

unfolding below decks, even as the Titanic set sail, a crisis that would drive the ship to disaster. After a century of speculation, the true story of the sinking of the Titanic can now finally be told. In addition, a large number of men from Ashton and district worked on the ship for Harland and Wolff, Belfast, as tin plate workers, due to a local Strike.

Postcard sent by Leonard Taylor originally of Glossop When the Titanic was completed in 1912, she was not just the biggest ship

afloat; she was the largest manmade moving object on earth. A mysterious mark over 30 feet long appeared on the hull; in the very region, where the iceberg would hit the hull. The ship had suffered a fire, even before she left Belfast; the fire took place in a coal bunker in boiler number six, behind the place where the dark mark begins. (The fire was mentioned in the inquiry in 1912, and unbelievable was judged not to have taken any part in the disaster, which instigated that this was a cover up.)

Four days later when the fire was getting worse, nobody including the passengers were told nothing of the inferno below decks, the crew were told to 'keep their mouths shut!’. The coal had been stacked against the hull, and the bulkheads, both were critical to the ships strength. The ship had been blazing for weeks, before it had even set sail from Belfast, and then took a further 6 days before it was under control. Only eight of the original 160 firemen, took the onward journey back in 1912, it seems the scale of the blaze seems to have spooked the firemen who travelled with the ship to Southampton. As previously mentioned only eight of these continued, bound for America. It was an unprecedented change of crew.

Sailors were notorious for being superstitious, one fireman Joe Mulholland recalled that before the Titanic set sail from Belfast, he took pity on a stray cat which was about to have kittens, At Southampton another seaman shouted "Look Big Joe, There's you cat taking its kittens down the gang-plank" That settled it, I went and got my bag and thats the last I saw of the Titanic."

Amongst the passengers on board, was Benjamin Howard and his wife, Ben had been born at 138, Cotton Street, Ashton under Lyne, on 8th May 1848. He sadly lost his parents at a young age. He went to live with his elder sister Mary Ann, and her husband Samuel Kenworthy, at their homestead; Hill Barn, near Running Hill, Saddleworth, where he was a farmer of 13 acres. His siblings lived with his uncle in Castle Hall, Stalybridge.

In 1861, young Ben was described as a farmer’s boy, aged 13, at their home in Saddleworth. However, some years later, he moved to live with his elder sister


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