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Lot 235: R.M.S. TITANIC: Extremely rare original Reports of obstruction to
Titanic & Travel Memorabilia
22 October 2016
Devizes, United Kingdom
Description: R.M.S. TITANIC: Extremely rare original Reports of obstruction to Navigation sent to The Commander of the Titanic, five pages, dated from March 9th to April 10th, 1912. The five individual reports included are dated as follows: March 9th, 13th, 20th, 27th, and April 10th, the day Titanic left Southampton and sailed into history. Compiled by Hill Dickinson & Co., the maritime lawyers who represented Titanic's owners, the White Star Line, the reports detail a variety of obstacles deemed detrimental to the safe passage of the Titanic. The first, dated March 9th, 1912, in part: Belfast Feb. 29th. Howth Head (s) from New Orleans arrived here today reports on Feb. 20th, 6.50 a.m. 42.57 N, 57.21 W, passed a spar projecting about 5 feet out of the water, and surrounded by a mass of wreckage and from above position for a distance of 50' E.N.E. passed through numerous pieces of wreckage tree trunks and undressed spars or logs. The second report, on March 13th, reads, British steamer Bengore Head…which passed the Tuskar March 7th, reported having on board the crew of the Norwegian barque Illawarra, Leith for Valparaiso, which vessel was abandoned in Lat. 50.51 N, Long. 12.49 W, dangerous to navigation. A week later, on March 20th, a report concerning three submerged vessels and floating logs, in part: Louisiana (s) reports Feb. 23 lat. 32.44 N. long. 78.37 W. in 20 fathoms passed close to a wreck, with about 25 feet of a heel of a mast projecting out of water fast to wreckage. Could see under water what appeared to be sails. The fourth report, dated March 27th officially addressed to Captain E. J. Smith SS Titanic concerns submerged ships with masts projecting from the water. The final report, dated April 10th-the day Titanic departed on its maiden voyage-notes three sunken wrecks, in part: Galway, April 8th, French steamer 'La Touraine,' from New York, reports by wireless that in lat. 40.56 long. 66.18 she passed a broken mast emerging vertically, very dangerous. Interestingly an obstacle that Titanic's sister Olympic is also mentioned in the archive. In very good condition, with scattered creasing and soiling, and edge tears to upper right corners, not affecting any text. Before he replaced Captain Herbert Haddock as commander of the R.M.S. Titanic on April 1st, Smith twice played an indirect role in the postponement of the ill-fated ship's maiden voyage. As captain of the R.M.S. Olympic, Smith was in charge when she collided with the Royal Navy Cruiser H.M.S. Hawke on September 20th 1911, and then lost a propeller blade during a crossing in February 1912-mishaps which pushed the ship's subsequent departure date back to April 10th. Five days later, on April 15th, the Titanic sunk at the coordinates of 41.7 N, 49.9 W. Some of the reports included in this archive refer to potentially harmful waters in relative close proximity to Titanic's intended course of travel. Interestingly, although these reports inform of numerous submerged vessels and two instances of floating logs, there remains a notable absence of ice warnings. 8¼ins. x 13¼ins.