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Titanic Little Known History

14 January 2014
David Blair Second Officer

David Blair Second Officer

 

We all know the terrible story of The Titanic which sank into the icy ocean in April of 1912 killing 1522 people. What if I told you that disaster could have been avoided?

A second officer by the name of David Blair was removed from the ship’s roster right before the ship’s departure from Southhampton. In all the haste to replace him, Blair forgot to pass the key to the crow’s nest locker which contained the binoculars vital for the lookouts.

Fred Fleet

Fred Fleet

After the disaster a US inquiry was held and Fred Fleet, a surviving lookout testified that they did not have binoculars on the voyage. Had they done so, he said, they could have seen the iceberg earlier. When asked by the chairman of the inquiry “How much earlier?” Fleet replied, “Well, enough to get out of the way.” Someone asked me, why didn’t anyone on the ship bother to breakdown the locker door and get the darn binoculars? I have not an answer for that, and I myself wondered why myself. More importantly, was that question asked of someone in the inquiry?

The ill-fated Titanic

The ill-fated Titanic

Blair’s descendants kept the key that could’ve prevented this awful disaster as a memento for a long time. They finally put it up for auction in 2007 and it sold for $148,000.

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One Comments to “Titanic Little Known History”

  1. This is only partially true. It’s true that the Titanic’s lookouts did not have binoculars and gave that as the excuse for why they didn’t spot the iceberg in time.
    David Blair’s involvement is also true.
    But it was well established in the 1912 hearings that if they had binoculars it would not have resulted in spotting the iceberg any earlier. First and most important binoculars don’t help you spot distant objects in the dark. They help you *identify* objects. Binoculars reduce your field of view (which really hurts when you’re trying to look for unknown objects) and actually reduce the amount of light which reaches your eyes, which really limits your vision in the dark. In addition binoculars lead to eyestrain which also makes it more difficult to spot something.

    This was all documented in the testimony of the British Inquiry in 1912.

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