On This Day

17 October

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1936 Death of Ismay


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Joseph Bruce Ismay, former Chairman and Managing Director of the White Star Line and a passenger in Titanic, died at his London residence today.

His achievement in making White Star one of the world’s leading shipping lines, the planning of a class of giant steamships and development of an integrated travel system, is largely overlooked today by some that choose to ignore his achievements in favour of the myth built up over time that Ismay was a coward and jumped into a lifeboat to save himself while his passengers died.

In the British Inquiry, Lord Mersey defended Ismay, writing: ‘As to the attack on Mr Bruce Ismay, it resolved itself into the suggestion that, occupying the position of Managing Director of the Steamship Company, some moral duty was imposed upon him to wait on board until the vessel had foundered. I do not agree. Mr Ismay, after rendering assistance to many passengers, found “C” collapsible, the last boat on the starboard side, actually being lowered. No other people were there at the time. There was room for him and he jumped in. Had he not jumped in he would have simply have added one more life, namely his own, to the number of those lost.’ 

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1891 Pindari


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The 5,674-ton cargo ship Pindari (Yard No. 245) was launched today shortly after 9am from the north-east end of the yard for Thomas & John Brocklebank, Liverpool. Pindari was intended for the Company’s East Indian trade. Shortly after launching she was towed around to the Abercorn Basin, where she was later fitted with her boilers and triple-expansion engine.

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1883 Guido

The 3,313-ton cargo ship Guido (Yard No. 163) was launched today for G. H. Fletcher & Co., Liverpool. The founder of the Company, George Hamilton Fletcher was also a shareholder in the White Star Line, a close friend of T. H. Ismay, and one of the prime movers in the founding of the Line.

Guido sailed under the flag of La Compania de NavegaciĆ³n la Flecha, of Bilbao, trading out of Liverpool and managed by Fletchers. The vessel was fitted with very powerful engines, designed and built by Harland & Wolff and was in many respects similar to the early White Star liners.