Everyone has heard the story of the Titanic, the then biggest-ever ship that was lost on its maiden voyage. Recently, new light has been shed on the reason that the ship ran into an iceberg and sank, ultimately killing more than 1,500 people. Apparently, there were two different ways to command steering; Tiller orders, for sailing ships, and Rudder orders, for steamships. Therefore the Titanic, being a steamship, was operating on Rudder orders. Unfortunately, Rudder orders and Tiller orders meant the exact opposite of each other; “hard-a-starboard” meaning “turn left” for one, and “turn right” for the other. Thus, when the order “hard-a-starboard”, which, under Rudder orders, would have turned the ship away from the iceberg, was wrongly interpreted by experienced Quartermaster Robert Hitchins to be Tiller orders, he turned the Titanic toward the destined iceberg. This new evidence as to why the Titanic sank was released from Louise Patten, who had learned it from her grandfather, who was afraid telling the tale would cause his friends, who worked for the people who owned the Titanic, to lose their jobs. This family “secret” is apparently old news to Titanic experts, who speculate that this could be one reason for the Titanic’s failure. Hitchens, the aforementioned Quartermaster, has a granddaughter who is now writing a book contrary to this evidence. The reason for the sinking of the Titanic will always be debatable, because, as with any other historical event, we do not have the full evidence of what happened.
Zachary K. Period 7