Tuesday 19 November 2019

Pictured: the iceberg that sunk the Titanic

New pictures and a hand-written eye-witness account have emerged showing the floe that caused the 1912 disaster

A hand-written statement describing the iceberg that sunk the Titanic
A hand-written statement describing the iceberg that sunk the Titanic

A picture that purports to show the iceberg that sunk the Titanic has emerged after spending nearly a century hanging on a boardroom wall.

The hand-written eye-witness account was by the chief steward of an ocean liner that passed by the disaster site hours later.

The German steward, named only as M. Linoenewald, described seeing red paint "plainly visible" on a large iceberg that appeared to have been made by the "scraping of a vessel" on it.

The sides of the doomed Titanic were painted red just above the waterline.

The seaman then took a photograph of the iceberg.

Both the photo and document were later submitted to Burlingham, Montgomery & Beecher who were the lawyers acting for White Star Line, which owned the Titanic.

After the official inquiry into the disaster in which 1,523 people died, both items were framed and hung in the company's boardroom until they went out of business in 2002.

 They are now being sold by four former partners of the firm at auction with a pre-sale estimate of £10,000 to £15,000.

Photos of at least two other icebergs taken in the same vicinity as the sinking have previously been claimed to be the bergs Titanic struck on her maiden voyage in April 1912.

But the photograph that has now emerged shows the iceberg most likely to have been responsible as it comes with the contemporary account.

Both documents are being sold as one lot by Henry Aldridge and Son of Devizes, Wilts, for an estimated £15,000.

Linoenewald was the chief steward on the German liner Prinz Adalbert that passed the disaster scene on the morning of April 15. Titanic had sunk at 2.20am on the same day.

He wrote: "On the day after the sinking of the Titanic, the steamer Prinz Adalbert passes the iceberg shown in this photograph. The Titanic disaster was not yet known by us.

"On one side red paint was plainly visible, which has the appearance of having been made by the scraping of a vessel on the iceberg. SS Prinz Adalbert Hamburg America Line."

He signed the statement as did three other crew members.

 The photograph of the iceberg was published in the 1955 book 'A Night to Remember' by Walter Lord, which is widely regarded as the definitive resource on the tragedy.

Andrew Aldridge, of Henry Aldridge and Son, said: "The strength of this photograph of an iceberg lies in the fact that it was used by Burlinghams for their liability hearing and that it is accompanied by this contemporary account by someone who was there.

"This photograph was regarded by generations of Burlingham's as 'The Titanic Iceberg'."

Andrew Aldridge, of Henry Aldridge and Son

"The photo is known of as it was published in a Night to Remember but the note is practically unknown and unheard of.

"Walter Lord contacted Burlinghams maritime lawyer when researching the book and this photograph was used in the book alongside the caption 'The Iceberg that sankTitanic?'

"This photograph was regarded by generations of Burlingham's as 'The Titanic Iceberg'. Both items has hang in the boardroom of Burlinghams for almost 100 years. They obviously appreciated the importance and history of it."

"It and the copy of the steward's latter are now being offered for sale on behalf of the four attorneys who were partners of the firm at the time of its demise.

"There is a small tear to the top right corner of the photograph, however this does not impinge on the main subject of the photograph.

The photo measures 16ins by 20ins and the document will be sold on October 24.

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