Wednesday, August 24, 2011

J.Bruce Ismay and the Rose

Well a year ago I was sitting in a wee apartment in Galway wondering what the heck I had done, had just arrived in Ireland and the Rose of Tralee was on the TV The host (Daithi O Se)  is back on again, just as smarmy. This time all my furniture is packed away again lol so it seems like everytime the Rose is on I am destined to be sitting on the floor with packed boxes all around.

I told my neighbour Eoin that I had bought a house down at Costello and he passed me later in the street, stopped his Land Rover and proceeded to tell me about J Bruce  Ismay and how he deserted the sinking Titanic by wearing a womans dress.
After the sinking he kept out of the public eye for most of the remainder of his life. He retired from active affairs in the mid-1920s, and settled with his wife in a large 'cottage', Costelloe Lodge, near Costelloe in Connemara.
Actually he wasnt wearing a dress. Ismay occasionally accompanied his ships on their maiden voyages, and the Titanic was one of them. During the voyage, Ismay talked with chief engineer Joseph Bell about a possible test of speed if time permitted. When the ship hit an iceberg 400 miles south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and started sinking on the night of 14 April 1912, Ismay was rescued in Collapsible Lifeboat C. He testified that as the ship was in her final moments, he turned away, unable to watch his creation sink beneath the waters of the North Atlantic.
After the disaster, Ismay was savaged by both the American and the British press for deserting the ship while women and children were still on board. Some papers called him the "Coward Of The Titanic" or "J. Brute Ismay" and suggested that the White Star flag be changed to a yellow liver. Some ran negative cartoons depicting him deserting the ship.Also there was a poem "To hold your place in the ghastly face of death on the sea at night is a seaman's job, but to flee with the mob, is an owner's noble right."

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