ANNOUNCEMENT : ALL OF ROYAL MAIL'S EMPLOYMENT POLICIES (AGREEMENTS) AT A GLANCE (UPDATED APR 2019)... HERE



From the Titanic to the Lusitania: The story of the Royal Mail Ships

Reminisce about days gone by in the job.How it used to be what you miss and how things have changed.This is an open forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
TrueBlueTerrier
Posts: 62802
Joined: 30 Dec 2006, 10:29
Gender: Male
Location: Proud to be part of the Union
Contact:

From the Titanic to the Lusitania: The story of the Royal Mail Ships

Post by TrueBlueTerrier »

http://home.bt.com/tech-gadgets/titanic ... 4215559944" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

On May 7th 1915, the Lusitania was sunk, find out more about her role as a Royal Mail Ship during World War One.



One hundred and three years ago this week the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German torpedo, causing world wide outcry in Britain and the United States.

The RMS Lusitania was for a short time the world's largest passenger ship and responsible for transatlantic mail transit.


BT’s forerunner, the GPO, was central to UK communications, contracting ships to deliver mail across the ocean from the early Victorian era. Here’s a look at the rich history of Royal Mail Ships.

The first mail ships
The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) distinction was first awarded in 1841.

Originally, RMS vessels were run by the Admiralty as part of a contract with newly-formed Royal Mail Steam Packet Company (RMSPC). It provided 14 purpose-built vessels for the service.

The first RMS ships were named after British rivers (Thames, Trent, Severn, Avon, for example) and sailed to Barbados twice a month. From 1850 a South American route was added.

Diplomatic incident
In 1861, the RMS Trent almost provoked war between the US and the UK. In an incident known as The Trent Affair, during the American Civil War, the vessel was intercepted by the USS San Jacinto, sparking a diplomatic crisis: on board were two Confederate diplomats heading to Britain and France to seek recognition for the Confederate States.

The Union threatened war, while the affronted Brits (who had not chosen a side in the Civil War) demanded an apology and strengthened its military presence in Canada and the Atlantic. France had Britain’s back too, so President Abraham Lincoln eventually released the envoys to avoid conflict.


The age of the ocean liner
Around the turn of the 20th century, passenger liners also began receiving RMS distinctions.

As well as ensuring lucrative contracts, the designation was considered a mark of quality for passenger ocean liners. Because the mail had to be on time, passengers could rely on it too. Stern penalties were issued for every minute the arrival was delayed.

As with many Royal Mail designated ships, twin ships the RMS Lusitania and the RMS Mauretania (launched in 1906) were designed with its mail subsidy in mind. The ships' stipulated service speed was 24 knots in moderate weather, and the two sparred for the title of fastest Atlantic crossing during their first years in service.

Titanic clerks put the mail first
The RMS Titanic is arguably the most famous ship to bear the RMS title. She had a designated compartment for mail on G deck.



There were five Sea Post clerks on board, Englishmen Jago Smith and J. B. Williamson, and American employees of the US Post Office Department John S. March, William L. Gwinn and Oscar S. Woody, who was celebrating his 44th birthday when the ship struck an iceberg in April 1912. All five men perished.

According to an article in the Smithsonian National Postal Museum's EnRoute newsletter, the five men sacrificed any chance they had of survival by attempting to save the mail.

"From available information, within minutes after the collision, the mail storage room, which was located well below the ship’s water line, began flooding, sending some of the mail sacks adrift," reads the report.

"Frantically, the clerks brought as many sacks as possible up to the sorting room in preparation for moving the mailbags onto the deck for possible recovery by a rescue ship. According to the Postmaster General’s 1912 Annual Report: 'The last reports concerning their actions show that they were engaged in this work . . . to the last moment'."

In all, 3,423 sacks of mail were lost. They contained over seven million items of mail (including 1.6 million registered letters and packages). An estimated $150,000 in postal money orders was also lost. It is thought some of the mail may have survived at the bottom of the North Atlantic.

Titanic

Although the wreck of the Titanic is protected by a United Nations convention and thus cannot be tampered with, the 105-year-old mail still on board could arguably be considered an exception due to postal service obligation.

The ship that came to the rescue of the Titanic's few survivors, the Carpathia, was also a Royal Mail Ship.


The sinking of the Lusitania
During the First World War, a German U-boat torpedoed the RMS Lusitania, killing 1,198 passengers and crew. The May 1915 sinking sparked a diplomatic crisis, because Lusitania was officially an unarmed, non-military boat. However, the Germans argued the cargo containing war munitions made it a legitimate military target. Because 128 American citizens went down with the ship, it became a factor in the United States joining the war in April 1917.

BT Archives - RMS ships

Many RMS ships were repurposed for military use during the war effort. The Mauretania served as a troop ship and also hospital ship for allied casualties. When the US eventually joined the war in 1917, she carried thousands of American troops over the Atlantic. She returned to civilian service in 1919.

RMS Queen Elizabeth
In 1932 the RMSPC was liquidated after falling into financial trouble. Its assets were taken over by Royal Mail Lines Ltd, which enabled operations to continue.

On September 27, 1938, the Cunard Line’s RMS Queen Elizabeth was christened. Her life as an iconic passenger liner was delayed until after World War II, but she was contracted as a mail ship between Southampton and New York for more than 20 years.

The RMS Queen Elizabeth served with distinction as the world’s largest passenger ship until its retirement in 1968. It was sold to a Chinese shipping tycoon who turned it into a university campus. However, it sunk in 1972 following an arson attack in Hong Kong harbour.

The RMS Queen Mary is permanently docked in Long Beach, California. It is now a stationary hotel with tours, on board attractions and dining experiences. An overnight stay during September cost from $109 (around £80).



Still going strong
Of the more than 200 vessels to have been designated Royal Mail Ships, only four remain in active service and only one of these - the RMS St Helena - delivers mail.

The St Helena delivers the post - and absolutely everything else - from Cape Town to the remote British territory in the South Atlantic of the same name. The ship - which carried passengers and cargo between the UK and the island from 1989 until 2011 - had been due to leave service in 2010 when the island's £240m airport became operational, but concerns over wind shear have delayed the airport's opening indefinitely and the RMS St Helena remains in service.

The Queen Mary 2, the transatlantic liner which launched in 2004, was given the RMS title by the Royal Mail as a nod to Cunard's heritage.

The Scillonian III actually bears the title RMV (Royal Mail Vessel) and has carried passengers and cargo between Cornwall and the Scilly Isles since 1977.

Finally, the RMS Segwun is the oldest surviving ship to carry the RMS title. Originally launched in 1887, the steam-driven vessel carried mail and passengers along the Muskoka Lakes in Ontario, Canada, and was given the RMS handle in 1925. Taken out of service in 1958, the Segwun was restored in 1981 and now offers sightseeing excursions and dinner cruises on the lakes.
All post by me in Green are Admin Posts.
Any post in any other colour is my own responsibility.
I am using an automatic grammar and spelling app, your original post if quoted may be amended by default. No judgement in your use of grammar or spelling is intended or meant.
User avatar
PostmanBitesDog
Posts: 882
Joined: 17 Feb 2019, 15:46
Gender: Male
Location: Your fat momma's house.

From the Titanic to the Lusitania: The story of the Royal Mail Ships

Post by PostmanBitesDog »

Invite to the launch of the RMS Titanic:
Titanic.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Announcement From Royal Mail Management: "The beatings will continue until morale improves."
User avatar
PostmanBitesDog
Posts: 882
Joined: 17 Feb 2019, 15:46
Gender: Male
Location: Your fat momma's house.

From the Titanic to the Lusitania: The story of the Royal Mail Ships

Post by PostmanBitesDog »

An interesting article published by Popular Mechanics a few days ago...

Popular Mechanics (Sept. 18, 2020) ~ What If a Solar Flare Actually Sank the Titanic?
Just when we think we know everything there is to know about the Titanic—unsinkable ship, giant iceberg, "I'm the king of the world," etc.—along comes fascinating new research that raises big questions about what really transpired on the fateful night of April 14, 1912. Did a weather fluke from space actually cause the Titanic to sink?

The new study's key finding is that the northern hemisphere was in the grips of a “moderate to severe” magnetic storm that night, which could have altered the Titanic’s navigational readings, affecting both its planned course and the information the crew shared about their location during SOS signals.

The idea is pretty simple. The sun, which is powered by an innate nuclear dynamo that’s burning at millions of degrees, is covered with sunspots. These, in turn, are punctuated by giant explosions the size of the Earth or even larger: solar flares.

“In a matter of just a few minutes they heat material to many millions of degrees and release as much energy as a billion megatons of TNT,” NASA explains. These flares are often caused by magnetic changes or crashes, and their explosions cause magnetic ripples through the solar system.

It makes intuitive sense that the hottest thing in the solar system experiences extreme reactions to swirling and changing magnetic fields. One of the reasons Earth is a successful habitat for living things is that humans have a protective magnetic field that deflects a great deal of solar radiation and cosmic wind that would otherwise blast us into a bald, lifeless, Mars-like planetary surface.

This magnetic field also shifts and changes over time, especially as the magnetic poles move around Earth’s surface. Both animals and humans have learned to rely on the magnetic poles, in the form of manmade devices like compasses as well as animals’ sense for migration and navigation. Compasses, like clocks, must be adjusted to the correct units—like accounting for magnetic north as it moves around in a normal way.

It’s here that we rejoin the Titanic. Paper author Mila Zinkova has published four previous papers about the Titanic in the journal RMetS Weather, exploring a theory that mirages or other visual distortions played a part in the sinking. Now, Zinkova is using weather and space data to explore a different theory.

If a solar flare is severe enough, marked on that historic night by the telltale Aurora Borealis, it can skew the Earth’s magnetic field and wreak havoc with magnetic instruments like compasses. Even today, solar flares interfere with the electrical grid and space traffic, and truly precious file backups may be kept in protective Faraday cages.

Zinkova posits that the impact on compasses affected the coordinates reported in distress signals. “The Titanic’s Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall worked out the ship’s SOS position. Boxhall’s position was around 13 nautical miles (24 km) off their real position,” Zinkova writes.

But the rescue ship Carpathia likely had the same wrong information. “The compasses of the Carpathia could have been under the influence of the geomagnetic storm for 5.5 hours, before and after she received the Titanic’s SOS, and until she reached the lifeboats,” Zinkova continues. “Therefore, a possible combined compass error could have been one of the factors that contributed to the successful rescue of the Titanic survivors.”

This also points to how localized the solar flare phenomenon was. Ships in a certain radius received scrambled radio calls or missed them altogether. Back on land or even outside of the affected radius, everything seemed normal except when trying to contact or be contacted by the Titanic and other ships near it.
Titanic.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Announcement From Royal Mail Management: "The beatings will continue until morale improves."
Post Reply