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Sketches of the Titanic sinking: A survivor explains how the huge ship went down (1912)

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Below are terrifying and telling sketches of the Titanic’s last moments, drawn by Lewis P Skidmore, who was a passenger on the rescue ship Carpathia on the night they picked up the survivors of the Titanic.

The sinking was described to Skidmore by a 17-year-old survivor, Jack (John) Borland Thayer, from which these drawings were made on their way to New York.

As these sketches offered some of the most detailed visual information about the disaster that was available at the time, the images were published by several different newspapers around the country.

Sketches of sinking ship

Sketches of the successive steps in the foundering of the Titanic, made by John B Thayer, Jr. from one of the Titanic’s collapsible rafts. His sketches were filled in by L P Skidmore of Brooklyn, on the Carpathia, the same day. Mr Thayer is son of the second vice president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, who was one of the victims of the disaster.

MORE: Titanic rescue: First Carpathia photos (1912)


How the Titanic met her fate

Mr. Skidmore’s drawings showing the Titanic’s fate after the collision appear in The Farmer today. They were based upon the vivid description furnished him by a young student who was among the last to leave the Titanic.

Mr Skidmore’s drawing give a comprehensive idea of the manner the Titanic met her fate. He is a member of the faculty of Pratt Institute, also a teacher in the School of Applied Sciences, New York.

He took an active part in the detailing of the rescue. – The Bridgeport Times and Evening Farmer (Bridgeport, Connecticut) – April 20, 1912


The drawings showing what a survivor saw (images 1, 2 & 3)

Strikes starboard bow (11:45pm)

Settles by head – boats ordered out (12:05am)

Settles to forward stack, breaks between stacks (1:40am)

Sketches of the Titanic sinking (1912)


Sketches of the Titanic sinking (images 4, 5 6)

Forward end floats, then sinks (1:50am)

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Stern section pivots amidships and swings over spot where forward section sank (2:00am)

Last position in which Titanic stayed 5 minutes before final plunge

Sketches of the Titanic sinking (1912)

 

About the rescue of Titanic survivor Jack Thayer (Junior), who described the ship sinking for the illustrations above

From The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) April 20, 1912

Titanic: He [Senior] stood aside to give place for women and children

New York. April 19. — Little is known of the manner in which John B. Thayer, second vice-president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, met his death, but that little indicates that he died like a man.

Those who saw him just before the end say that he might have stepped into a lifeboat and taken an oar, as there was need of men to row the boat into which he had placed his wife. but he stood aside to allow women and children to be handed into the life-saving craft.

Mrs. Thayer had been placed in the small boat, and young “Jack” Thayer, their son, was urged to get in also. He refused. What happened later is told in his own words:

Remained with father on Titanic

“I was with father,” he said. “They wanted me to go into a boat, but I wanted to stay with him. Men and women kept calling to me to hurry, but it wasn’t any use. Nobody appeared to be excited. We had struck with a smash and then we Seemed to slide off the big field of ice. It was cold, but we didn’t mind that.

“The boats were put off without much fuss. Mother was put into one of the boats. As I said, she wanted me to 20 With her. Suddenly. I felt the ship tipping toward the front.

“The next thing I knew I was in the water. Down, down, down. I went, ever so far. It seemed as if I never would stop. I couldn’t breathe. All the time I knew it was the Ship that was sucking me down with it. Then I shot up through the water just as fast as I went down. I had just time to take a long, deep breath when I went down again. It wasn’t so long that time.

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“When I came to the surface the second time, I felt something beside me and caught it. I found it was a raft. It was a struggle to pull myself upon it, but I did it after a while.

“The next thing I remembered was when the boat from the Carpathia came, and I was taken into it and wrapped up in the coats of the men. They told me I was more than three hours on that raft.”

Had fine railroad record

Vice-President Thayer went down with the Titanic, and one of the best railroad men in the country perished.

Through the death of Mr. Thayer, the traffic department of the greatest transportation system in the United States is left without a head. For nearly seven years, Mr. Thayer, who was 50 years old, occupied that responsible position.

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2 Responses

  1. I am proud to say that Lewis Skidmore was my great-grandfather. I just wanted to add, I do not believe he was a journalist at the time, but I could be wrong. He taught art at the Pratt Institute in New York and later became a director at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. He was also knowledgeable about boats and ships. He drew the account of what happened to help document it as soon as possible. I also have 3 photographs he took of the life boats as they came up to the Carpathia.

  2. HAVE OLD SKETCH OF POSSIBLE TITANIC SINKING FROM PROSPECTIVE OF SURVIVOR ON LIFEBOAT. UNLIKE ANY SEEN ON WEB SITE, NOR ANY RECORDS IN MUSEUM IN ENGLAND THAT ASST. PROFESSOR KNEW OF. IT IS SIGHED “BEST WISHES, PETER FRANKLIN”. NOT FOUND IN ANY SURVIVOR OF PASSENGERS OR STAFF. FOUND IN OLD ABANDONED HOUSE IN BACK CLOSET 30 YEARS AGO. SLIGHT WATER DAMAGE, NO PUN INTENDED!!! WHO IS PETER FRANKLIN? TRYING TO FIND OUT FOR TEN YEARS TO NO AVAIL.

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