H.M.S. Titanic II

Despite the rather ominous name of the ship, my family and I had booked a passage to Australia on Titanic II. The voyage would have taken about three weeks but for a catastrophic happening.

It was on the eighth day of cruising at about half-past-two in the afternoon. The sun was burning the decks, and everyone was having a nice quiet siesta, when over the loud speakers came the captain’s voice: “This is your captain speaking. I have just been informed by the engine room that a weak spot in the hull of the ship has been found, and looks like giving way, but I don’t want anybody to panic. There is an expert team of welders on the way down there to fix it. I repeat, there is no need to panic.”

Needless to say, at the captain’s words everyone on deck had sat bolt upright, and despite his reassuring words, one or two nervous looking people were seemingly making their way to their cabins. I did not panic, but I did have my doubts as to the capabilities of this ‘expert team of welders’. After an hour had passed, everyone was more or less calm, and after two hours the captain’s words were all but forgotten. Then the voice boomed out again: “This is your captain speaking. I have been informed that the welders have run into a spot of bother, and a small hole has developed. There is no need to panic, the welders are still on the job and show every sign of succeeding. There is absolutely no need to panic.”

It was after this last speech that I realised the captain must either be inexperienced or a nutter, for surely no sane, experienced captain would have told the passengers that there was difficulty in the engine room, because with something like one thousand passengers on board, there undoubtedly would be someone on board who would panic. Again, I did not panic but I was wondering whether or not to pack a few things, just in case.

At about half-past-five, when the sun was getting low in the sky, I went to my cabin to change into some warmer clothes. It was as I was changing that I thought about lifeboat drill and how smooth everything happens when nothing serious is going on. I thought of films I had seen where the whole ship is thrown into a panic when something serious is happening. I hoped it would not be like that.

An hour-and-a-half later, we were sitting down, allowing our dinner to be digested, when: “This is your captain speaking. I regret to inform you that for the past to hours, water has been seeping into the engine room faster than the pumps have been able to remove it. As a result you may have noticed a list in the ship. There is no cause for alarm, but I would advise everyone to return to their cabins and collect personal belongings.”

There was not immediate pandemonium as one might have expected, but everyone in the lounge calmly stood up and returned to their cabins. I cannot say what the scenes were like in the cabins, but for my own part, I calmly gathered up my most valuable possessions I had with me, and put them into a small holdall. Then I sat down with a book and awaited further developments. I did not have long to wait. Fifteen minutes had elapsed, and I was half-way through the second chapter of the book when from the loud-speakers came: “I have been informed that it is in the interests of the passengers and crew that we evacuate the ship.”

He did not even bother with the ‘This is your captain speaking’ cliché, I thought as I picked up my holdall and left for my allocated lifeboat. On deck everything was all in order, no panic-stricken people or fainting women, just neat, orderly groups of people waiting while the lifeboats were lowered. Once in the lifeboats, everyone was sitting down, conversing about the Financial Times index or the long range weather report. Only one or two were concerned openly about the ship sinking, and they were talking about how much money would be wasted if the ship went down.

And then the captain appeared on deck with a megaphone to his mouth and: “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. I watched the evacuation carefully, and not one of you panicked. I am pleased to inform you that the leaking is more or less under control, and the water is being removed. You will be allowed to return on board in about an hour’s time when the list will be lessened, but in the meantime, amuse yourselves how you can.”

So it turned out that H.M.S. Titanic II did not end up as its predecessor did in the Atlantic, but sailed on to Australia and a happy ending.

Teacher’s Comments

A well written essay.

(c) M. Robert Gibson
Written 1978-10-17
This is a school essay.
It was written well before the internet. It is full of inaccuracies and assumptions; bad punctuation; bad grammar and a woeful lack of research, but, it is also a first draft. It was also hand-written in an exercise book, none of your fancy electronic gizmos back then.
And don’t forget, it was written by a schoolboy in a time before political correctness.
It is published here for purely selfish vanity reasons, so read it at your own peril and do not expect any great revelations.