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Titanic's Rockets - Senan Molony

This discussion on "Titanic's Rockets - Senan Molony" is in the Articles on other Topics section; Senan, Haven't had the pleasure of "meeting" you here before, but I just wanted to ...

      
   
  1. #1
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    Senan,
    Haven't had the pleasure of "meeting" you here before, but I just wanted to say that your article was excellent. It was something that I had always wondered about, but never knew all the details that you have provided. You brought me through the thought process and that also helped and assisted with the aupport of your theory. Thanks, great job! MAureen.

  2. #2
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    Senan,

    Thanks for a really interesting article.

    Just a thought, though: if the rockets were fired "simultaneously" or practically simultaneously from 2 positions forward on the boat deck, wouldn't they still have looked like a single rocket from a great distance?

    The Californian saw eight rockets. If the Titanic fired 16 to 18 this would have looked like 8 or 9 from a distance, right? I mean, isn't it at least plausible that individual streaks and sparks would have fused into one continuous column as viewed from a great distance?

    I wonder if that's the reason for the discrepancy rather than the idea of a third ship in the vicinity of the Titanic and Californian?

    Randy

  3. #3
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    Hi Senan!

    Thank you very much for a really interesting article. It was excellent and it's something I've always wondered about as well.

    I don't accept Lord Mersey's conclusion one little bit that only eight rockets were fired from the Titanic that fateful night. I believe several more were fired and from both sides of the ship. Great job!

    Best regards,

    Jason D. Tiller
    Jason D. Tiller
    "To be happy is to be contented in your own mind"...Harold Godfrey Lowe
    43° 44' 01" N, 79° 24' 16"W
    Author of an upcoming biography on Arthur G. Peuchen

  4. #4
    John M. Feeney
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    Hello, Senan:

    With all due respect -- and you've certainly put in a good deal of effort here -- I had more than a few questions/comments about the article:

    1) Extracts from the U.S. Senate Inquiry are not identified as to page, making it exceptionally difficult to appraise the context of the original source. (It's pretty standard to cite US### as page number, similar to what you used for the British question numbers.) Would you consider including these in a revised edition?

    2) The "supporting" observation that Gibson of the Californian "only saw 3" rockets is of very little merit, considering that it's well established that Gibson was below decks when the other five were fired, and that there's no disagreement on this between Stone and Gibson. Including this Gibson anecdote has all the weight of saying "Ernest Gill only saw 2!" (So what of it? He went back to bed.)

    3) I feel there's a major logical fallacy employed in your case-making for the multiple firing positions. At first I really couldn't understand how you were construing this from the testimony cited, until I realized you seemed to be alleging that every "you" question implied "you" exclusively in the singular, not plural. Alas, modern English makes no such distinction -- a sound argument for a return to "thee" and "thou" -- and the case based on such an assumption is a shaky one indeed. Re-read in the proper context, most of these excerpts are totally ambiguous as to number, and could well have been asked, or answered, or both with "you" meaning an individual, a team, or everyone on the ship. And the assertion that "you", asked of Bright and/or Rowe, automatically means these two men only equally escapes me.

    4) While you point out quite correctly that there are discrepancies in the various "Titanic" accounts about the firing intervals, you neglect to point out key concordances between those accounts and the observations on Californian.You report:
    Meanwhile his description of rockets going up - sometimes together, or at one-minute intervals - is totally at odds with Boxhall’s telling the Inquiry that he himself was firing rockets at intervals of (15399) "probably five minutes".
    But you don't include:
    7842. Did they come in quick succession? - At intervals of about three or four minutes. (Stone)
    This is in complete agreement with Boxhall and Lightoller (within a small margin of error), and conflicts strongly only with the one account -- Symons' -- which is also the ONLY account to claim such frequency.


    There are other other objections. There are too many bits of evidence you cite with phrases like "strongly suggests", etc., that really don't gel at all. At best, many of them "may imply", but much too speculatively to be considered firm evidence. Likewise, excerpts from the testimony where an individual has said "I think ..." later put forth as "he says" are misleading as to the degree of certainty expressed.

    Please don't get me entirely wrong here. While there are a number of things I did not like about the article, it's not that it isn't a good effort. It's just that without further critical review and tightening by yourself, this boat is too leaky to float. (And I'm willing to be convinced, but CONVINCE me.)

    Regards,
    John M. Feeney

  5. #5
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    I have no intention of entering into an argument as to the merits or demerits of my article, which is for others to judge.
    However John M. Feeney misses my passing point in relation to Jim Gibson, apprentice officer, ss Californian.
    The point is that Gibson came onto the Californian bridge at 1am Californian time and stayed there until the Leyland Liner's nearby vessel had moved out of sight.
    In the hour from 1am to 2am Californian time, Gibson and Stone together saw only three rockets.
    Three. Ignore for a moment the rockets that Stone saw alone. He and Gibson saw three when they were together over an hour and more from 1am by Gibson's evidence.
    It is unknown how Californian time related to Titanic time. Californian time was ahead of Titanic time before midnight; thereafter it is slightly problematic. Both inquiries cut the Gordian knot by deciding that Californian and Titanic times were interchangeable throughout.
    No matter which vessel had what time, the difference was not so considerable as to make any significant difference when one is considering the reality that Titanic rocket firings were contemporaneous with Californian sightings in the hour from 1am to 2am Californian time.
    Gibson and Stone watched from 1am to 2am Californian time and saw three rockets. Three.
    Boxhall and Rowe agree that they were firing rockets until 1.45am. Bright was also involved. Rowe and Boxhall both agree on this time, and Rowe's said he was involved in firings for forty minutes after being summoned by Boxhall.
    If we accept Boxhall's five minute intervals and also accept a "similarity" between Californian and Titanic times, then it means that three men firing rockets over 40 or 45 minutes on the Titanic nonetheless resulted in two men on the Californian seeing only three rockets in the same timeframe.
    Even if three men were firing from only one rocket position aboard Titanic, the situation is absurd...
    Are we really to believe those three men managed to fire only three rockets between them in three quarters of an hour?
    Common sense dictates otherwise.

  6. #6
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    Not writing this to comment on Senan’s arguments per se – we’ve gone a few rounds on this before (not so much specifically on the number of rockets, however). At times, we have differed quite emphatically on issues relating to the Californian.

    Research into the Titanic is dominated by too many accepted ‘facts’ – really interpretations of the data that have been elevated to the status of truth. I believe strongly that these ‘truths’ should be periodically examined, in some instances questioned, and perhaps in some instances the canonical interpretation should be reappraised.

    This doesn’t mean that one needs to assume that every challenge to an accepted interpretation is valid, that every divergent account has the weight of truth, or that we should tear up the existing bulk of research and start from scratch. What we should do, however, is be prepared to listen, investigate for ourselves, and if necessary adapt to new ideas.

    I don’t always agree with Senan, but I do admire his absolute vigilance against intellectual laziness – even when that means embracing a controversial view (alright, sometimes I’ve told him what I thought he was full of, but I admire him and his mental vigour anyway).

    I’m not going to accept his arguments on the distress signals as he’s presented them at face value – any more than I accept any interpretation of data without critical examination. But what he has done is raised questions, and made me think that it would be worthwhile, when the opportunity presents itself, to return to the witness accounts and re-examine them and the points he has raised.

    Ing

  7. #7
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    Senan, I liked it when I read it and I like it now. And I believe that the above reason that Ing sites is why I thought it was good, becuase it makes you begin to think about exactly what was said and whether or not they were using the kings English or the Queens (we). (sorry)...seriously, I began to think about the inquiries and what was said. I find it hard to believe that between three men that out of forty eight possible rockets, that these three men only managed eight rockets. Only eight were sent up in this emergency. They now knew the gravity of their situation and reaching the "other ship" was critical.

    I am no expert on much of anything here and all of you are much more professional in your base of knoweldge,...but I say that Senan makes a good case that merits looking into.

    It also takes a lot of work to place something out there and I admire you for doing so. Maureen.

  8. #8
    John M. Feeney
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    Inger Sheil wrote:

    But what he has done is raised questions, and made me think that it would be worthwhile, when the opportunity presents itself, to return to the witness accounts and re-examine them and the points he has raised.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, I don't deny this, and I came to basically the same conclusion. I'd also like very much to be able to go back to the testimony and dig a little deeper. This, in fact, was what I started to do when I began to realize how limited the actual citations were. Which is why I raised my first major point above, and *made* it my first major point. (It's also true that the Gibson account is not attributed with any specificity, though it is from the readily citeable British Inquiry.)

    Now please don't get me wrong here. I would never slight anyone for making a serious attempt at research. Nor am I in any way calling you a liar, Senan. Those quotes that I *could* follow up on, since they were precisely identified, seemed quite reasonable. My frustration was that most of your excerpts were not well cited, making it truly difficult for the reader to reference them. (And it's really not that hard to do.)

    And you are quite right -- I did not recognize the significance you were attributing to the "three within one hour" portion of Gibson's account at that point in the article. But the flip side of this -- if you'll be a little open-minded about it -- is that maybe your intended meaning just doesn't stand out clearly enough. Which is simply an invitation to some editorial revision.

    As for your opener, Senan -- "I have no intention of entering into an argument as to the merits or demerits of my article, which is for others to judge" -- I'm left completely in the dark as to what possible meaning this has. I mean, I *am* one of those others. So isn't it a bit circular to say this? Certainly a man who listens only to his admires and ignores his critics ...

    No, I think you have me entirely wrong here. I'm not arguing with your premise. I'm simply trying to point out that the somewhat journalistic style you've employed and lack of full citations does not make your case very effectively. The missing citations are a roadblock to serious inquiry. The logical non-sequiturs may ultimately be well founded, but they are nonetheless non-sequiturs. And the lack of a balanced treatment on the more tenuous elements put forth gives the paper all the markings of typically one-sided "Lordite" literature. It just doesn't behoove a historian to adopt a pet theory then extricate only the evidence that would support it. But that unfortunately is what the treatise comes across as in more than a few places.

    I meant what I said originally. I'm more than willing to be convinced, but CONVINCE me. I'm not damning your premise in any way, I just don't feel you've really demonstrated it.

    Just my opinion!

    Sincerely,
    John M. Feeney

  9. #9
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    To use an expression well-known to Edwardians, Senan’s article on Titanic’s rockets is something of a curate’s egg. (Those who are not Edwardians can look it up!) Rather as literary critics can comb a Shakespearian text and find meanings never dreamed of by the Bard, Senan has taken the text of the US and British enquiries and analysed it in a degree of detail which it will not bear. By giving strict meanings to imprecise words like “you” he has constructed interpretations which cannot be justified. By trying to reconcile the accounts of numerous witnesses of varying credibility, he has produced a scenario that is seriously flawed.

    He is on sound ground concerning the number of rockets fired. Lord Mersey appears to have followed Lightoller when he states that “about eight” were fired. This is typical of the tendency of both Senator Smith and Mersey to favour the evidence of the senior surviving officer. One example of this is the conclusion that the ship sank intact, as Lightoller thought, though others did not. It would be more accurate to say that “about a dozen” were fired, following the evidence of Boxhall and Pitman.

    If about a dozen were fired at intervals of about five minutes, we can account for the rockets seen by Stone and Gibson on Californian being spread over about one hour. The fact that they only saw eight of the dozen need not indicate that Californian was a great distance off. For much of the time, Stone was alone on the bridge and if he was keeping a proper watch it was his duty to scan the whole horizon, rather than staring at the ship and its rockets. He could easily have failed to see some of the rockets. He would have been in for a rocket himself if say, Mauretania, had come charging over the horizon, unseen by him. Gibson is an unconvincing observer. He says that after the first eight rockets he saw three more rockets, but one was on a quite different bearing from the others. That does not give a good impression of his observational skill. Stone’s own description of the last three rockets is very vague. Though Gibson was sure that they were rockets, to Stone they were unidentified lights. Altogether, I am quite prepared to accept that these two hapless mariners were capable of failing to see all the rockets fired.

    So far, I largely agree with Senan, but when he brings in “Californian’s own nearby ship”, I must bluntly disagree. This remarkable ship, whose identity has never been discovered, must meet several curious criteria.

    It must have been manned by officers and crew who were either blind to Titanic’s signals or culpably ignoring them. If the latter, the matter was covered up totally, a feat quite beyond Captain Lord.

    The ship, as seen from Titanic, must have mimicked Californian’s motion, showing Titanic her lights in the same sequence as Californian would have, as she slowly turned around. From Californian, she managed to look rather like the distant Titanic and vanish at about the time Titanic sank.

    The ship somehow happened to stay exactly on a line between the rockets and Californian. This is a truly amazing coincidence. Even Stone realised that.

    The ship somehow managed to sail away through the icefield without coming to harm.

    In spite of efforts beginning in 1912, the mystery ship remains unidentified.

    Senan develops a theory of two firing positions but he bases it on very flimsy evidence. He makes much of Symons’ remark that “rockets were going up simultaneously, every minute, minute intervals.” Firstly, Symons is the only one to place the rockets so close together. Secondly, nothing in the evidence is so shaky as estimations of time. A classic example comes from Frederick Scott, who had the engines running for about half an hour after the collision. Symons’ timing is a very frail support for a two firing point theory. We must also consider Symons’ use of the word, “simultaneously”. Symons was shown at Mersey’s enquiry to have a limited command of English. His repeated use of expressions like “master of the situation” and “using my own discretion” contrasted so sharply with his poor grammar that Lord Mersey strongly and probably correctly suspected that he had been coached by a solicitor. Symons’ evidence is confused and unsatisfactory in other ways. At one point the distant ship is a steamer. Soon after, it is a fishing vessel, five to ten miles off, regardless of the fact that the oil lights of a fishing boat would be invisible at such a distance. A single word from such a man must count for little.

    As to the supposed two firing positions Senan is finding implications where none exist. Why shouldn’t Captain Smith give orders to a quartermaster, whether Boxhall was present or not? He was the captain! Actually, Hardy did not even say he gave orders. “He was superintending the rockets, calling out to the quartermaster about the rockets.”

    Rowe says he used the port Morse light, which he would naturally do, as it was the one on the side where the distant ship lay. It doesn’t prove he also fired signals on the port side. The Morse key was probably in the wheelhouse anyway. On the starboard side, naturally Boxhall ordered people to stand clear. He was the officer and would have given orders whether the quartermasters were there or not. Also, it may not take three men to fire distress signals but extra hands would be useful. The signals consisted of several parts that had to be carefully assembled and somebody would have to check the socket for burning debris before reloading. To imply that Bright’s statement that “Rowe and I, and Mr Boxhall” fired rockets indicates two parties is stretching the language too far.

    The starting time for the rockets is contentious if we accept Boxhall’s evidence about putting the lanyard away as the phone rang. However, Boxhall’s evidence is so conflicting with other witnesses that I think he must be mistaken. Four observers were sure that the rockets began after boat 7 was lowered. They were Hendrickson, Pitman, Lowe and Duff-Gordon.

    Hendrickson.

    4992. Then after the boats were lowered that you had been assisting in, where did you go
    ?—To the starboard side of the deck.
    4993. Did you see any people there ?—Yes, there were not so many there as there were on
    the other side in the first place. There were a good many there.
    4994. Did you do anything on the starboard side ?—The boatswain called me and asked me to
    1end him a hand with the boat on the after side of the bridge.
    4995. That is this little bridge which is there. No. 1 boat, was it not? —Yes.
    4996, Did you assist to lower that ?—To clear it— to clear the rope away and everything.
    4997. Who were there at that boat ?—I could not say ; I knew the boatswain was there and an
    officer, and at the time the officer started firing rockets.

    Pitman.

    Senator SMITH. You saw those signals of distress, did you, from the Titanic?
    Mr. PITMAN. Yes.
    Senator SMITH. And you saw about a dozen or so of them?
    Mr. PITMAN. It may have been a dozen or it may have been more, sir.
    Senator SMITH. When was this? When did you first see them; before you left the Titanic?
    Mr. PITMAN. No; shortly after.
    Senator SMITH. Did you see any while you were aboard the Titanic, any of that character?
    Mr. PITMAN. None were fired.
    Senator SMITH. None were fired?

    Lowe.

    Senator SMITH. Did Mr. Ismay assist in filling that boat?
    Mr. LOWE. Yes; he assisted there, too.
    Senator SMITH. You found him there when you turned from No. 5 to No. 3?
    Mr. LOWE. He was there, and I distinctly remember seeing him alongside of me - that is, by
    my side - when the first detonator went off. I will tell you how I happen to remember it so
    distinctly. It was because the flash of the detonator lit up the whole deck, I did not know who
    Mr. Ismay was then, but I learned afterwards who he was, and he was standing alongside of
    me.

    Duff-Gordon.

    12496. Were they firing rockets at that time?—Yes, they had just begun while they were
    lowering No. 3 life-boat.

    All these witnesses place the first signals after boat 7 was launched, indicating that Boxhall was not firing them as early as Senan suggests.

    It is not clear that Boxhall could have fired signals earlier. It is not clear exactly what Rowe and Bright brought to the bridge. It would make sense if the dangerous detonators were stored well away from the explosive charges and the pyrotechnics. Boxhall may well have had the main parts of the signals on hand in the wheelhouse and been unable to fire them until the detonators were brought forward.

    To cut a long story short, I suggest that the conventional account is not far wide of the mark, except for the number of signals fired. Firing began at some time between 12-45 and 1-00 and continued for about one hour at intervals of 3 to 5 minutes. About 12 were fired but Stone and Gibson did not see all of them, as they did not watch them continuously. Lord Mersey put excessive faith in Lightoller’s evidence. I might add that, like Senator Smith, he also hopelessly over-estimated Californian’s ability to assist. All the same, at the end we are left with a basic fact. Stone, Gibson and Lord share responsibility for one of the more shameful episodes in the Titanic story.

    In passing, I am not aware that Mersey was given to using Jewish passwords, which is what a shibboleth is.

    Judges|12:6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he
    said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce (it) right. Then
    they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan.
    Dave Gittins
    Titanic: Monument and Warning.
    http://titanicebook.com/Book.html

  10. #10
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    John M. Feeney wrote:

    >>And the lack of a balanced treatment on the more tenuous elements put forth gives the paper all the markings of typically one-sided "Lordite" literature. It just doesn't behoove a historian to adopt a pet theory then extricate only the evidence that would support it. But that unfortunately is what the treatise comes across as in more than a few places. <<

    It appears he is thus not enamoured of the idea that an argument that more rockets were fired could be relevant to the continuing discussions about Captain Lord - discussions which tend to be marked by intemperate use of language, of which I myself have been guilty in the past.

    To say something is one-sided suggests the other side has been left out. In fact my interlocutor goes on to specifically make this charge by saying that only the evidence that would support a "pet theory" has been adduced.

    It is time for him to support this charge with references. I look forward to seeing any germane quotation which I may have left out in order to be one-sided. My very point is two sides...! (a poor joke)...

    What, exactly, are the arguments in favour of eight and only eight rockets being fired?

    I can assure him and all others that I have referenced every single person who spoke at either or both Inquiries as to the *number* of rockets fired that night.

    They are all there - and only Lightoller speaks of eight, "all on the starboard side." His brother officers, who also survived, speak of a "dozen or more" or "between half a dozen and a dozen," the latter from Boxhall (said by Lord Mersey to have fired 'about eight') in response to a question as to how many rockets you fired.

    I am afraid that even if I sought to convince John M. Feeney - which I do not - then I would be unable to do, simply because the evidence in itself is insufficient. This I freely concede. I build a platform from stray planks. And for this reason -

    Not enough witnesses were asked rocket-type questions. Few indeed were asked the same question... Rowe for instance was never asked "how many rockets did you fire?" much less "how many rockets did Titanic fire?" and thus offers us no number at all.

    (The insufficiency of evidence suggests the number of rockets fired ought to be an open question, but some seem happy with what they have been told by an elderly land-based English judge. One who also told us that two torpedoes had struck the Lusitania.)

    There is an obvious qualitative difference in the "you" and "Titanic" questions cited above. Obviously "How many rockets did Titanic fire?", followed by "and how many did you fire personally, and over what time?" would have been preferable.

    What does a witness make of it when he is asked "how many rockets did you fire?"...
    I have covered criminal trials for fifteen years and feel some insight into how a sworn witness, conscious that he is one of a succession, is likely to answer that question. He is not going to answer for anyone else. Witnesses rarely do. If they do, it is 'hearsay,' a point that led to a number of interventions in 1912.

    The witness (all men in this instance) is most likely to answer for himself - or, if in any doubt as to whether "you-plural" is intended in the question, to query whether this is the case. Put yourself in a witness's shoes for a moment...

    Of course we do not know what tone of voice or emphasis, or gestures, were made between counsel and witness box in 1912. I can only suggest that Boxhall is in no doubt as to what "you" meant in a question, nor Bright, who mentions only six rockets...

    When Pitman is asked how many he saw (obviously an all-encompassing question) he responds that it may have been a dozen or it may have been more. He was the Third Officer. There is a distinct difference with Lightoller, who sees eight rockets as far as he can tell, "all fired from the starboard side."

    Similarly Crawford is asked how many were fired and says a dozen, probably more. The question to him is uncontaminated, because he fired no rockets personally. But where are the succession of witnesses who say "eight, eight, eight..."?

    There is another curiosity.

    Boxhall never mentions firing rockets on the port side, but is clearly on the starboard side firing rockets for a considerable time.

    Yet he signalled the mystery ship at the port side. (There were Morse lamps on both the port and starboard sides. We know Rowe used the port Morse lamp, and it is most likely that Boxhall, who testified to Morsing, used this lamp too.)
    Now, one might think that human nature would lead one to fire rockets at a mystery ship, seen on the port side of a vessel, from the side on which the vessel is seen (port).

    Is this unreasonable?

    Or is it more likely that no rockets were fired here, but on what might be considered the distant or occluded side, where Lightoller saw eight rockets fired, "all on the starboard side."

    Obviously rockets fired from either side will be seen equally well, but why signal with a Morse lamp on the port side and then dash across the bridge to the starboard side when either rail was equally good?

    I meanwhile look forward to John M. Feeney's submission to this thread of the "missing" side from my argument. No doubt it will be exhaustive, not to say accompanied by US Inquiry page numbers.

  11. #11
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    Dave Gittins now tells us:

    "It would be more accurate to say that “about a dozen” were fired, following the evidence of Boxhall and Pitman."

    He also asserts:

    "About 12 were fired but Stone and Gibson did not see all of them, as they did not watch them continuously."

    There is a good deal of confidence being exhibited here as to numbers and, following this, as to the reason as to why some rockets may have been missed.

    At the end of the day, the Californian is going to be the subject of questioning by the Titanic disaster Inquiries as soon as it is said that rockets were seen. Whether three rockets, eight rockets, or 108, the number is to some extent immaterial. Californian is certainly not lying about actually seeing 20, for instance, and only claiming 8. There is no conceivable motive to trim the account.

    Dave also states:

    "The fact that they only saw eight of the dozen need not indicate that Californian was a great distance off." He then describes Gibson and Stone as "hapless mariners...capable of failing to see all the rockets fired."

    Hmmmm.

    It should be remembered that the average distance ascribed to the Titanic's nearby ship was between 5-6 miles. Titanic witnesses could see her sidelights. She was so close they Morsed her. Yet two hapless mariners might not see one-third of the rockets this slumping Leviathan was firing.

    They were on watch, but not watching when rockets were fired.

    >>So far, I largely agree with Senan, but when he brings in “Californian’s own nearby ship”, I must bluntly disagree. All these witnesses place the first signals after boat 7 was launched, indicating that Boxhall was not firing them as early as Senan suggests. <

    It is not I who say it. It is Boxhall. I wasn't there.
    Dave suggests Boxhall is mistaken.
    Perhaps he is hapless.
    Dave then announces:

    "All the same, at the end we are left with a basic fact. Stone, Gibson and Lord share responsibility for one of the more shameful episodes in the Titanic story."

    A fact, you say?

    I am meanwhile tempted to answer Dave's quote from the Good Book with the slice of Scripture that says "judge not, and ye shall not be judged."

    He finally tells us what a shibboleth is, and that it is a "Jewish password."

    In its modern, figurative usage, shibboleth has come to mean an "old-fashioned catchcry, a discredited dogma" which is the sense in which I use it in relation to Mersey's "eight-fired, eight-seen" coincidence.

    Perhaps there are those who would still like to slay those who speak in a different tongue at the passages of.... Mersey.

  12. #12
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    This forum is all new to me and I am certainly no expert. I have read a lot by the writers here of their posts and banterings here and there. But I have as yet not experienced this sort of back and forth "stuff".

    Ernest Hemmingway I believe said that writing was like an iceberg, one only needs to expose an eighth of what he/she is trying to say to know that the 7/8 lurks there beneath the surface. He goes on to say that the reader will know th e rest. Of course I am badly paraphrasing him. But the point is that I found Senan's article as a mere whetting of the appetite for more.

    And he is allowing the readers to find the truth there for themselves. Kind of like the first discovery of a mystery love where you see only the surface at first and yearn to seek the depth of that unknown mystery!
    But I enjoyed the comments made. It is interesting to read how people come to their own conclusions.

    And I still loved this piece and plan to snuggle with my books and dig deeper to seek this mystery anew! maureen.

  13. #13
    Dave Billnitzer
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    I have been following this exchange a little bit. Senan wrote this, in response to John's note:

    "To say something is one-sided suggests the other side has been left out. In fact my interlocutor goes on to specifically make this charge by saying that only the evidence that would support a "pet theory" has been adduced.

    It is time for him to support this charge with references."

    Here is one example of one-sidedness I saw immediately. Senan, in your article, you wrote:

    "In the hour from 1am to 2am Californian time, Gibson and Stone together saw only three rockets. Three. Ignore for a moment the rockets that Stone saw alone."

    Why do you want us to "ignore" the rockets that Stone saw alone? It's misleading to rely only on Gibson's counts and estimates of time to suggest that they saw only three rockets between 1 and 2 am.

    (Before we get to that, a better end-time for the rockets, using either Californian or Titanic time, would be 1:40 or there-abouts, not 2 am, and this shaves off a good twenty minutes off the clock that you used.)

    First, when we do include the rockets that Stone saw alone, we come up against a discrepancy between Stone and Gibson. True, Gibson says he returned to the bridge five minutes before 1 am, and that he himself saw three rockets. However, Stone says that he first notified Capt Lord about the first five rockets at 1:15, and *then* he and Gibson saw the remaining three.

    Second, IF Stone's times are accurate, this sequence places those last rockets occuring sometime between 1:15 and 1:40 am, which is roughly in agreement with the previously accepted time estimates.

    So why did you ask the reader to "ignore" the rockets that Stone saw alone?

    Third, on the other hand, if Gibson's estimate of his arrival is accurate, and if Stone's estimate of the time of his call to Lord is also accurate, this leaves us wondering about the time gap between 12:55 and 1:15. What were they doing for twenty minutes?

    Another example of one-sidedness that I saw is your description of Stone's mystery ship "lying motionless and unresponsive..." Maybe one-sidedness is the wrong word; but it is at least an inaccurate presentation of what Stone said about it. He thought it was moving; in fact, he was *puzzled* about "why when the ship altered her bearings, the rockets should alter their bearings also" (his words).

    Another point - you suggest that perhaps the Californian missed some of the rockets because of her distance. Then how did Stone and Gibson manage to see three more rockets at 3:30 am, more to the south and "right on the horizon" according to Gibson? (These are presumably from the Carpathia - certainly coming from the direction she was approaching from.)

    Ultimately it comes back to questions about the appropriateness of the behavior of the Californian's crew; certainly this notion of "missed rockets" raises more questions about their watch-keeping vigilance than it answers any questions about the distance between the two ships.

    One last observation. As Dave Gittins pointed out, you took Symons exactly at his word when he said "simultaneously." Symons also said in the same breath, "every minute, minute intervals." If we took that literally too, it would mean between 40 and 60 rockets. If we accept that Stone and Gibson did see three more rockets further away at 3:30, then their missing some 40 rockets from a closer ship suggests either immeasurable incompetence, or a much worse cover-up than the one they eventually tried to pull off.

    In the end, the point you seem to be making is that Mersey picked the wrong number from the testimony. Is it really that important to the Californian's case? How many rockets did the Californian need to see? Aren't eight enough?

    There's much more I could say about this, but in a message board there isn't enough space to do it properly.

  14. #14
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    All,

    I agree with Dave Billnitzer's remark that in the final analysis it doesn't matter how many distress rockets the Californian saw or how many exactly the Titanic fired or any of those details. It's sufficient to know that the Titanic fired them and the Californian saw them - and failed to anything about them.

    I've never understood why those who defend Captain Lord choose to get lost in all these futile intricacies of argument instead of just addressing the inescapable fact that the Californian, whether she saw 8 or 12 rockets or was 5 or 17 miles away (or even further), was still in a position to do something and did not. No amount of argument can excuse the Captain's not being adequately alerted nor the wireless' not being turned on so that word could be had of possible trouble.

    Everything else is incidental. Even if the most extreme and to my mind ludicrous case-scenario of the mystery ship is true, the Californian cannot be excused from responsibility for the fact of the rockets remains and the men on watch ought to have made more diligent efforts to discover the reason for them. They chose not to. They watched and waited and did nothing. Lord slept and did nothing. The Californian drifted and did nothing.

    Randy

  15. #15
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    It is of interest to me that Dave Gittins attacks the reliability of witnesses cited by me – Stone, Gibson, Boxhall, and Symons – without feeling the need to enter any similar caveats about witnesses put forward by himself.

    Presumably this is because “my” witnesses are wearing black hats and “his” are wearing white ones, but I digress. It was ever thus.

    It is of particular note that he reserves some harsh things to say about Symons, who offers us the word “simultaneously” in the transcript, on which I have dwelt for consideration.

    Dave may not like the case I construct, as he is free to dislike it, but there is apparently no barrier to it being slapdash work in the fact that I have been cautious with phraseology, using words like “may imply”, “could suggest,” “seems,” and other guarded terminology as we try to find our way around this minefield.

    Dave however declares, thus far without feelings of hindrance, that Symons has been “coached” in preparation for his evidence.

    This seems to be based on an approach to Symons by a solicitor or agent acting for Duff-Gordon, which led to a one-hour interview in Symons’ Weymouth home on the day of his return to England. But Symons denies he was told what to say, and says he simply gave his recollection of events and the man wrote it down.

    People can read this for themselves at 11580-11650. Symons states (11679); “I will not tell a lie.”

    Symons, an able bodied seamen, departed in the Duff Gordon boat early in the night, obviously one of controversy. But of no relation whatsoever to Titanic’s rockets.

    And who could possibly coach him to use the word “simultaneously” in relation to rockets being fired from Titanic’s decks, and for what purpose?

    One could be facetious for a moment and say that Symons is of course a key witness, a name that trips off the tongue whenever and wherever Titanic is talked about. A man who cunningly inserts the word “simultaneously” into his testimony, where it has remained unremarked for years, only to disturb Dave Gittins nearly a century later. Is this the reason for the uncluttered pronouncement that Symons has been coached?

    Dave in parallel would appear to offer the alternative argument that Symons, if he was not coached, was using words of which he did not know the meaning.

    It is obvious that such a charge could be levelled at any witness at any Inquiry, not just then, but now and though history.

    (Just as Dave may have seemed to suggest, on one possible interpretation of his earlier post, that I did not know the meaning of “shibboleth.” Some might think that he corrected me. It could equally be assumed he used a cut-and-paste from some online Old Testament that came to his aid when “shibboleth” was entered in a search engine, allowing for an ostentatious sign-off. But of course, I am very likely wrong. And the lesson is that we must beware of all assumptions.)

    But in fact, Mr Gittins, (and I use the word ‘fact’ advisedly), we are fortunate in that there is evidence precisely to the point that Symons knew the exact meaning of the word “simultaneously.”

    It is in his US Inquiry evidence (p. 574, Mr Feeney).

    Senator Perkins asks him: “Were they working simultaneously?”
    Symons replies: “Yes, they were working together.”

    Again, I would invite people to read Symons for themselves. He strikes me as an honest and clear man, one who takes responsibility for his own actions and inactions, and a very educated man for his station. His vocabulary is extensive, and he uses words like “respective” correctly.

    He also makes clear, without fear or favour in relation to the White Star Line, that the lookouts sought glasses as soon as they left Soton, and that he felt he could “smell ice” at 9pm. Coached?

    Finally he tells the 1912 investigators that the Titanic split in two, and that the stern stood straight on end for some time before the final plunge. All in all, given what we know in 2000, I find him a remarkably reliable witness, one who does not contradict himself between the British and American Inquiries, but who in fact corrects a single word in his deposition as taken down by the British Consul. Here is a man who is anxious to get it right.

    There was a rush to judgement in 1912. Let interested persons give Symons the benefit of a reading before considering the judgements passed on him here 88 years later.

  16. #16
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    Dave Billnitzer is not a man I will choose to have any discussion with for personal reasons.

    My article was about Titanic's rockets. Let that question be addressed, although the Anti-Lordites would seem hell-bent on eradicating any hint of Lorditism wherever it should raise its head. Why?

    What is it about Anti-Lorditism that makes for a special kind of Anti-Tolerance whereby any discussion that touches on Titanic questions that might become relevant to the Californian argument must immediately be shut down by concerted attack?

    Readers of this thread will see an interesting contrast in styles. There are erroneous assertions in the post of Dave Billnitzer which are apparent to me, and I hope others, but he is an individual with whom I am afraid I do not care to converse. Forgive me this childishness.

    John M. Feeney meanwhile should either substantiate his serious allegation or withdraw the imputation. His silence thus far is deafening.
    I will watch for his post. He has placed that burden upon himself in a public forum and the readers will make their own minds up.

    I tried earlier not to be drawn into yet another Californian harangue, a misplaced hope. I have better things to occupy my time, such as the seven month old baby that now gurgles on the floor, seeking her father's attention no doubt.

    Thus, adieu to this thread - and let future readers take from it what they will.

  17. #17
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    Gauntlet thrown, gauntlet retrieved! (I can see I've been too gentle here.)
    ================================================
    Senan Molony says:

    'It is a tribute to the British Inquiry that the idea of eight rockets and EIGHT ALONE
    was so assiduously implanted into public consciousness ...'

    'Lord Mersey first espoused this DOGMA ... :

    '"In all, Mr. Boxall fired ABOUT eight rockets. There appears to be no doubt that
    the vessel whose lights he saw was the Californian. The evidence from the
    Californian speaks of eight rockets having been seen between 12.30 and 1.40. The
    number sent up by the Titanic was ABOUT eight. The Californian saw eight."'
    ...
    'When we ignore Lord Mersey and examine what the Titanic witnesses who gave
    evidence had to say, it is suddenly revealed that there was no agreement that
    EIGHT AND EIGHT ALONE WERE FIRED.'

    (all emphases mine)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The article starts right off with a mock dramatic premise based on false pretenses. Senan’s own
    quote from Lord Mersey stipulates “ABOUT eight”, yet Senan immediately twists this broad
    approximation into a “DOGMA” of “EIGHT ALONE“ supposedly espoused by Lord Mersey.
    ================================================
    Senan Molony says:

    'How many rockets were fired from the Titanic, according to that ship’s crew?

    'Third Officer Herbert Pitman: "It may have been a dozen or it may have been
    MORE, sir."' (emphasis Senan's)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The FULL statement (US 293):

    Senator SMITH. Did you see any rockets?
    Mr. PITMAN. I should say ABOUT A DOZEN rockets were fired.
    Senator SMITH. What did you see? What did they do?
    Mr. PITMAN. They were fired from the rail. They make a report while leaving the rail,
    and also an explosion in the air, and they throw stars, of course, in the air.
    Senator SMITH. Red in color?
    Mr. PITMAN. Various colors.
    Senator SMITH. You saw those signals of distress, did you, from the Titanic?
    Mr. PITMAN. Yes.
    Senator SMITH. And you saw about a dozen or so of them?
    Mr. PITMAN. It MAY have been a dozen or it MAY have been more, sir.

    (all emphases mine)

    It seems just a wee bit biased to skip entirely over the PRIMARY (and most definite) response,
    and cite only the secondary, more "IFFY" answer. Of course, this one better supports the initial
    "thesis", but that hardly makes for a balanced treatment.
    ================================================
    (more to come)

  18. #18
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    Senan,

    I was going to resign myself to being ignored until I read your remarks dealing with Symons. As I know not a little about the events concerning boat 1, I will be heard out on this. I doubt Symons was coached on any matters dealing with the Californian but I can at least tell you that it is absolutely true, based on knowledge provided by the Duff Gordons' descendents themselves, that George Symons WAS INDEED COACHED by the couple's attorneys in regard to boat 1's failure to return for a rescue.

    This is fairly obvious to anyone reading the transcripts, in my opinion, but two years ago, after almost complete silence on the matter of the Titanic, the late Earl of Halsbury, Lady Duff Gordon's grandson, confirmed to me his knowledge that the Tweedie law firm, of which Duke and Vaughan were representatives,did conspire to save the Duff Gordons' reputations by instructing them to deny that they objected to a rescue of the drowning when in fact they had done so. Almost all, to my knowledge, of the sailors in boat 1 were approached by the Duff Gordons' solicitors. Only Symons was directly coached as he had been in charge. The others were not considered important as they were not seen as a threat, most having admitted that they hadn't heard the conversation about going back anyway.

    Now this may all be "by the way" to you but at least in reference to boat 1 and the Duff Gordons it is true that George Symons was coached in his evidence.

    Randy

  19. #19
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    (continued)
    ================================================
    Senan Molony says:

    'Quartermaster Arthur Bright: "Six were fired in all, I think (but implies these were ones solely fired by him and fellow Quartermaster George Thomas Rowe alone – and after Boxhall had previously been firing rockets.)'
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The FULL story (US 832):

    Mr. BRIGHT. I went out to the after end of the ship to relieve the man I should have relieved at 12 o'clock, a man by the name of Rowe. We stood there for some moments and did not know exactly what to do, and rang the telephone up to the bridge and asked them what we should do. They told us to bring a box of detonators for them - signals. Each of us took a box to the bridge. When we got up there we were told to fire them - distress signals.
    Senator SMITH. Who fired them?
    Mr. BRIGHT. Rowe and I, and Mr. Boxhall, the fourth officer.
    Senator SMITH. How long did you continue firing the rockets?
    Mr. BRIGHT. Six were fired in all, I think.
    Senator SMITH. One at a time.
    Mr. BRIGHT. Yes, sir; at intervals.

    Senan CLAIMS an implication that is by no means apparent from the FULL context. A mere
    comma injected, a slight parsing of a sentence indicating perhaps nothing more than a pause, somehow is translated with the precision of a Boolean expression: (Rowe & I) & (Mr.Boxhall).
    ================================================

  20. #20
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    (continued)
    ===================================
    Senan Molony says:

    Meanwhile his description of rockets going up - sometimes together, or at
    one-minute intervals - is totally at odds with Boxhall’s telling the Inquiry
    that he himself was firing rockets at intervals of (15399) "probably five
    minutes".
    -------------------------------------------
    The FULL Q&A:

    15398. Did you send them up at intervals one at a time? - One at a time, yes.
    15399. At about what kind of intervals? - Well, probably five minutes; I did not take any
    times
    .

    (emphasis mine)

    Um... Kinda left something off there, didn't we, Senan? The actual answer sounds just a shade
    different, but of course, if you're just trying to support your own contentions ...

    And as previously pointed out:

    7842. Did they come in quick succession? - At intervals of about three or four minutes. (Stone)

    Gee. The Californian even agrees!

  21. #21
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    Last but not least, here is the full and uninterrupted version of the Bright and Rowe testimonies that Senan has snipped into tiny little pieces. In that form -- hacked to death -- the testimony might support his assertions, but taken as a whole?

    (US519):
    Mr. ROWE. I took them to the forebridge and turned them over to the fourth officer. I assisted the
    officer to fire them, and was firing the distress signals until about five and twenty minutes after 1.
    At that time they were getting out the starboard collapsible boats.
    -

    (US 832):
    Mr. BRIGHT. I went out to the after end of the ship to relieve the man I should have relieved at 12 o'clock, a man by the name of Rowe. We stood there for some moments and did not know exactly what to do, and rang the telephone up to the bridge and asked them what we should do. They told us to bring a box of detonators for them - signals. Each of us took a box to the bridge. When we got up there we were told to fire them - distress signals.
    Senator SMITH. Who fired them?
    Mr. BRIGHT. Rowe and I, and Mr. Boxhall, the fourth officer.
    Senator SMITH. How long did you continue firing the rockets?
    Mr. BRIGHT. Six were fired in all, I think.
    Senator SMITH. One at a time.
    Mr. BRIGHT. Yes, sir; at intervals.

    Rowe says he took the detonators, "turned them over to the fourth officer" (Boxhall), and assisted him in firing them. Bright says that he, Rowe and Boxhall were firing them. So where does it even look like any of them claim to be alone??

    And there's no basis for claiming that Rowe was specifically asked how many HE fired. In fact, he'd just answered a question that indicated a plurality -- the THREE of them were firing. Even if he had, for some strange reason, rapidly shifted his perspective back to a singular one, he answers GENERICALLY "Six were fired in all, I think." (No specificity as to number whatsoever!)

    Now, I could go on with this -- believe me, I could -- but I think I've demonstrated that it's relatively easy to issue proper citations, and to make meaningful arguments based on the testimony within its actual CONTEXT. I have also pointed out a few (certainly not all) cases where balance and consistency were not made high priorities in the presentation. (I mean, geez, Rowe outright SAYS he was working with Boxhall.)

    But I have no desire to make a career of this. I have responded to Senan's challenge in spite of the fact that he barely responded to my original comments. Senan, if you want to live in a fool's paradise -- my meaning when I alluded to "a man who heeds his admirers and ignores his critics ..." -- be my guest.

    My contention remains that the work is weak, as are are the follow-up arguments regarding "criminal" cases, etc. Many of the assertions made, without much better substantiation, are merely wishful thinking on the part of the author.

    John M. Feeney

  22. #22
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    John M. Feeney is factually incorrect when he says I "skip(ped) entirely over" Pitman's initial mention of "about a dozen" rockets fired. It is there in the article if he should care to look.

    A comma said to be "injected" into Bright's response when asked who had fired the rockets (replying "Rowe and I, and Mr Boxhall the Fourth Officer") was not injected by me. It is there in the 1912 transcript, put there by the stenographer, as one might think to indicate a pause. That is what I think it means. It is, of course, open to interpretation.

    Mr Feeney has a strange fascination with Boxhall's intervals of "five minutes" (which Boxhall repeats in his US testimony, by the way) and lays great emphasis on Stone's three or four minutes.

    The obvious point is that four minutes or three would lead to an ever more rapid disposal of eight rockets.

    Eight rockets would not last long at a children's Fourth of July celebration. They cannot last as long as Boxhall says he was firing rockets (He says both before AND after Rowe came up... Rowe saying he then fired for another 40 mins). And indeed the distress regulations called for rockets to be fired at "short" intervals. I myself consider five minutes to be rather long.

    And I wonder whether others were firing intermittently therewith.

    But how many rockets does John M. Feeney contend were fired? Will he tell us and give reasons?

    Boxhall says he was firing before Rowe and Bright came up from the poop. That is his sworn evidence. Rowe tells us he then took part in firing for 40 minutes, Bright thinking half an hour. Four minute intervals (Stone, cited by Mr Feeney) would enable Mr Rowe in his forty minutes to fire a further ten rockets on top of Boxhall's claimed earlier firings. Half an hour (Bright's guess) at four minutes each would enable Bright to fire seven, but he says "six were fired in all."

    And if Stone is right when he alternatively offers three minutes...

    Stone gave those estimates, but anyone reading Gibson's various accounts will find it difficult to reconcile the three rockets that he and Stone saw fired while they were watching together from 1-2am Californian time with firings that continued on Titanic until 1.45am. Again, let it be emphasised, and I see no contradiction, Titanic and Californian times were "similar-ish."

    Gibson's accounts seem to suggest considerable gaps in the sequence of the three rockets he saw. It may be of relevance that Stone also said that the rockets Californian saw were "very low lying." I point out this additional material, but I do not accuse my detractors of being one-sided for failing to mention it. If every article on any aspect of the Titanic has to bring in both Inquiries in toto to avoid being accused of one-sidedness, then we are at a pretty pass.

    Mr Feeney choses to believe from Rowe's "turning over" the rockets to Boxhall that Rowe was working with Boxhall. That is certainly an interpretation open to him.

    If he reads my article he will see that the "turning over" is specifically included therein. It is NOT omitted.

    But I also include Boxhall's reference to firing rockets, seemingly alone, on the starboard side right up to the starboard collapsibles being readied, hard by 1.45am. Where was Rowe? And why, at this similar time, did Rowe ask the Captain if he should fire any more rockets? We have Hardy saying that the Captain addressed the Quartermaster, and now we have the Quartermaster addressing the Captain. Where is Boxhall?

    Mr Feeney confuses Rowe with Bright at the end there, but this is of no consequence and nothing turns on it. It is a slip.

    As I say, my purpose in writing the article was to raise questions as to whether eight rockets were fired - a figure that is everywhere accepted as Gospel.

    Open any Titanic book you care to name, and see how many rockets it tells you were fired by Titanic...

    John M. Feeney may cavill at my economies of space (and in the earlier part of my article, those economies were specifically for ease of comprehension on the part of the reader), but there are no serious omissions he can point to.

    Again, I would like to know how many rockets he considers were fired that night.

    Finally I assert that the absence of say - a chapter to my article about the Duff Gordons, or the inclusion of the various claims about the colours of rockets (Californian say theirs were all white, an interesting area in itself) - does not amount to mala fides on my part.

    I emphatically did not write my article in bad faith, and I dislike the continuing whiff in the tone and tenor of Mr Feeney's writings.

    Am I entitled to my "fool's paradise" belief that considerably more than eight rockets were fired, or should I be committed to a Lordite asylum? There would be, I dare say, no shortage of people to sign me in.

  23. #23
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    I say, old man:

    Are you by any chance the same Senan Molony who actually wrote the article? Or just his daddy come round to defend Junior's work?

    Ta ta!
    JMF

  24. #24
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    I have to say John that your last represents a tragically feeble conclusion to an otherwise interesting thread.
    Philip Hind

  25. #25
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    One thing that puzzles me about this one. When does a plain old rocket become a "distress signal". The people on Titanic were undoubtedly sending distress signals. But this does not mean that they were interpreted as such by other vessels.

    As you pointed out elsewhere Senan, it's like beinng flashed by the headlights of a car - what does it mean? Hello, road hog!!, pull over, thank you???

    I may be betraying my unquestioned ignorance, but I undertood that the firing of a rocket in 1912 could be open to any number of interpretations.
    Philip Hind

  26. #26
    Jan C. Nielsen
    Guest
    I'm a bit puzzled, too, but for different reasons. In my experience, when someone has been so extremely chastized, even fired, as 35-year-old Stanley Lord was, on account of some deed - - they never recover from it. Their careers end. They have to find other work doing something else in another industry. But in Lord's instance he got fired from Leyland Lines and then purportedly went on to have a stellar career as a ship captain for another shipping line. How can that be? Quite aside from the rockets and related inquiries, something about this Californian incident just doesn't make sense. My experience also tells me that its always a strategy of the powerful to defend themselves by finding some third party to focus the blame on. Lord's behavior at the Board of Trade and Senate hearings seems beguiling to me, as well. His manner of answering questions is careful, brief, precisely on point, and seems as if he - like the other parties at fault - is trying to avoid as much disclosure as possible. As such, again based upon my experience having conducted well over 100 depositions of witnesses, he doesn't present himself as the type of witness who perceives himself as innocent. Alternatively, he presents himself as a witness who is protecting his employer. Remember, his employer was ultimately International Mercantile Marine Co., which owned Leyland Lines. Then, apparently years later - well after he is likely no longer beholden to any management - Lord undertakes to clear his name. To me, I see a guy who's afraid of people in power, who defends his innocence but tries to play down his role so he can maintain his career, who doesn't want to do anything that upsets the powerful men that could potentially be embarassed by the Titanic disaster, and who, in the end, more or less succeeds. Lord is the antithesis of today's "whistleblower," he's a company man.

  27. #27
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    Phil,

    With all due respect - and you are certainly THE man to respect - a rocket is a distress signal when the ship firing it is sinking, something the Californian would have known immediately if those dim-wits on its bridge had backed up their curiosity with action and awakened the wireless man or else INSISTED that Capt. Lord come up on the bridge himself.

    And as to rockets meaning any number of things in 1912 - I think most reasonable people then as now would think that a ship firing them in the middle of the night in a known hazardous ice field was more than indicative of trouble. Also the rockets were white which were generally the type used for distress. Capt. Lord continually asked if there were "colors in them," hoping perhaps they were company signals of some sort, but even in being informed they were only white, he still went on snoozing. His inertia is incomprehensible for a sea captain.

    I think there can be no doubt that the Californian officers on duty knew the ship firing rockets might be in trouble and that Capt. Lord too knew it was possible. I think they were all afraid to risk their ship in the ice flows. Only at dawn, when it was a low-risk effort, did they try to do anything.

    For myself I'm not attacking Senan's theory. I enjoyed the article. But some of what he has said certainly leads to more questions. I'm probably not considered the best qualified person to raise many of these questions as I do realize he and others may feel that I'm better versed in matters of frills and furbelows but I am not totally ignorant on other more serious issues and though I'm not an "anti-Lordite" I have followed the story of the Californian closely and am fascinated as much as anyone.

    Randy

  28. #28
    Dave Billnitzer
    Guest
    Thank you, John Feeney, for taking the time to hunt through the transcripts to set the record straight for us.

    After seeing the snippets from the inquiries presented in their larger context, it seems to me that we have just witnessed another example of Walter Lord's description of the Lordites and their arguments. I have to admit it, Senan's article met all three criteria: it was "energetic, resourceful - and highly selective" in presenting its evidence, as you pointed out.

    Thanks for doing this; excellent work!

  29. #29
    George Behe
    Guest
    Phil Hind wrote:

    >One thing that puzzles me about this one. When >does a plain old rocket become a "distress >signal".....
    >....I undertood that the
    >firing of a rocket in 1912 could be open to any >number of
    >interpretations.

    Hi, Phil!

    Although the firing of a *single* rocket could have been interpreted in a number of ways, a *series* of rockets fired one at a time at short intervals was open to only one interpretation -- distress.

    >As you pointed out elsewhere Senan, it's like >beinng flashed by the
    >headlights of a car - what does it mean? Hello, >road hog!!, pull over,
    >thank you???

    A better analogy would be if someone tried to signal a Western Union telegraph operator by using his car headlights to flash the universally known Morse code signal "SOS." The telegraph operator would have no more excuse for misinterpeting the flashing headlights than the Californian's officers did in misinterpreting distress rockets.

    All my best,

    George

  30. #30
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    Phil -

    Absolutely agree with you on the tenor of Feeney's post.

    Am writing from what can very loosely be described as an "anti-Lordite" position, incidently, and from the perspective of someone who has crossed swords with the author of this article about this issue on many occasions.

    Up until that point I was watching the exchange on the distress signals with tremendous interest - prepared to be persuaded on the number of rockets fired, although I've yet to see material that would change my mind on the Lordite position as a whole (or about the significance of the rockets and the response that they should have recieved, and did not). I was noting all the points made, and intended to follow them up myself.

    Now, however, I'm just left with an exceedingly unpleasant taste in the mouth after reading Feeney's unnecessary and absolutely non-constructive post.

    Molony, keep investigating with that quirky, challenging, brilliant mind. I'll probably disagree with you at every other turn it makes (as I have in the past), but there are at least some non-Lordite matters you've persuaded me on, forcing me to re-examine matters I'd already reached conclusions on and was reluctant to re-appraise.

    Regards,

    Ing

  31. #31
    John M. Feeney
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    Perhaps you just misunderstood it, Sheil.

    I'd say more -- and did, about an hour ago -- but the dynamics of the Message Board and those of my browser seem at odds, and all of that is now floating aimlessly somewhere in cyberspace.

    (No doubt, some will be pleased to hear this.)

    Cheers!

  32. #32
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    Feeney wrote:

    I say, old man:

    Are you by any chance the same Senan Molony who actually wrote the article? Or just his daddy come round to defend Junior's work?

    Ta ta!
    JMF


    If you feel I 'misunderstood' your post (as, presumably, did Phil although you don't mention his response), by all means point out where the misunderstanding comes in.

    Inger

  33. #33
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    Alright, I think we can safely move on from worrying about the tone of foregoing posts and return to the debate. After all interpreting someone's true tone and meaning using email is about as difficult as interpreting words in the transcription of some ages old inquiry :-)
    Philip Hind

  34. #34
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    A deal of poison seems to have crept into posts on this thread. It is unfortunate, because I imagine the one thing that unites us is that we are all fans of the Titanic and everything that goes with her.
    To my mind, it is strange that there are still people who define themselves in these open, all-comer, discussions by what they are AGAINST. They define themselves as Anti-Lordites. Captain Lord of the Californian is a man who has been dead for 38 years, a historical figure. The circumstances that gave rise to two public Inquiries visiting iniquity on his name took place 88 years ago. I may not like what the USA did to its indigenous people, but I don't waste my time looking around for "Custer-ists," or "Cortezists," or dare one say, "Enola Gayists."
    Yet it seems to me that the "Anti-Lordites" search out "Lordites" as if some of their contemporany humanity of this here present day were the Devil's spawn, offspring of the man they love to hate. Well, he died the year before I was born, so I guess it's just possible. Incubus lives, right lads?
    Now, leaving aside the question of whether people you have never met before but you consider "Lordites" should be hated or not, there is also, again it seems to me, a curious reflex mechanism at work whenever historical revisionism is seen by some to be at work, lest it should upset the apple cart and their most-cuddled truths, chief of which, in the Anti-Lordite canon, is that Captain Lord is a man about whom one ought to be Anti. To say the very least.
    Bear with me a moment as I attempt to tease out this further point. It seems to me that in seeking to safeguard always the Ark of the Covenant of their faith (viz. that Captain Lord was a profoundly bad man) there is the possibility that soi-disant Anti-Lordites may be drawn into obscurantism; that is, the refusal to even want to shine a light on historical questions. This can lead, even when such examination is made, to the readiness to surrender anyone on the altar of Anti-Lorditism, including virtually the entire crew of the Titanic.
    I'll give you a convoluted example.
    Boxhall, we have already been told in this thread, is mistaken. Symons too is mistaken.
    Meanwhile John M. Feeney introduces the wider element of Titanic Third Officer Pitman's evidence and is warmly congratulated for doing so by Dave Billnitzer (whose profession is that of family counsellor, whose email signature directs one to sign up for some tolerance thingy, and yet who seems to take inordinate glee in fomenting bitter division within the Titanic family.)
    On we go. I wasn't going to mention it, but John M. Feeney did. Pitman, the Titanic's Third Officer, said his vessel fired rockets of various colours. Rockets of various colour. Californian, ahem, saw only eight WHITE rockets fired. So how many coloured rockets did Titanic fire that Californian didn't see? Or is Pitman too also be executed on the altar of mistakenness?
    Don't like the Titanic's Fourth Officer? Don't like the Titanic's Third Officer? Seems to be a widening list of people who say things that Anti-Lordites are against... Agony Aunties and "Againsty Antis" - people one imagines who could kill off any Titanic witness as long as they can keep their prize prisoner in their dungeon. I find it odd.
    Who else don't they like?
    A number of Titanic witnesses talk of their firing coloured rockets, besides the whites:
    Pitman: Various colours. (pace Mr Feeney)
    Hitchens: Some were green, some were red, and some were blue - all kinds of colours - and some white, Sir. I think, if I remember rightly, they were blue. (1198)
    Lookout Lee (asked whether coloured rockets, or only white ones ?):- No, coloured rockets. (2584)
    Passenger Peuchen: different colours flying down. (US p. 352)
    So how many green, red, and blue rockets did the Titanic fire, *besides* the eight white ones that Stone and Gibson specifically say they saw, as pointed out by Randy? They saw only white.
    Oh wait a minute, she couldn't have fired any green, red and blue rockets, could she? Her crew may say what they like, but Anti-Lordites don't want to hear it. Ergo, we must add Lee and Hitchens to the growing body pile of Titanic's own crew that Anti-Lordites must decide they don't like in order to preserve their Bete Noir of a caged Stanley Lord.

    A quick side note on colour. The regulations said distress signals could be : "(3) Rockets or shells of ANY colour or description fired one at a time at short intervals.”

    Now Randy appears quite wrong when he suggests *white* rockets were sole harbingers of distress. The regulations specifically state *any* colour. Green and blue and red would have done just as well, and in fact red subsequently became the distress colour. I would be interested, in a non-confrontational way, if Randy could post instances of previous sinking ships choosing to fire only white rockets, if he thinks this happened previously. It would be highly informative.

    Nor do the regulations specify that rockets IN THEMSELVES are the be-all and end-all of distress. This is something else that is trotted out as an accepted truth. If you look at my quote above from the regulations, rockets are offered only as option number three. The first two options to indicate distress mentioned by the 1912 regulations are: "(1) a gun fired at intervals of about a minute. (2) Flames on the ship as from a burning tar barrel, oil barrel, etc."

    There is another matter here. The Titanic's detonator rockets were there "in lieu of guns" by the ship manifest. In other words their primary function was to make a large bang, not to show light at a great height. And guess what? Men aboard the Californian, while they say they saw rockets, *heard* nothing.


    Meanwhile there are other issues on which Titanic crew are similarly happily sacrificed by the A-L lobby who weren't there in 1912. But I had sought only to re-examine one idea in my article - the extraordinarily deep-seated public belief that the Titanic fired just eight rockets. Eight white ones! When she had 48 rockets aboard and sheaves of company signals and flares of different colours.
    Now - here's a thing.
    There's a book called "The Ship That Stood Still" which is the Bible of the self-described Anti-Lordites.
    On p. 47 of that book it states in relation to the number of rockets fired by Titanic that Boxhall and Bright in their estimations were "close to what was certainly the best estimate of all. 'About eight' was the number given by Second Officer Lightoller." That's a direct quote. The author does not care to mention that Lightoller made careful mention of the fact that the eight he saw were all fired from the starboard side. And why would Lightoller offer this qualification, indeed?
    Meanwhile that author (same page) does go on to say that "exact corroboration" of the number will become apparent later, and we must derive therefrom that he is talking about the number seen by the Californian, which - to my mind at least - is completely specious reasoning.
    This is why the number of rockets fired by the Titanic is such a tender topic to those who identify themselves as Anti-Lordite. There can be no possibility of the Titanic firing more than a mere eight rockets because this disposes of a beguiling coincidence.
    On page 149 of the same book, the author, adhering slavishly to eight rockets and ONLY eight rockets, has Boxhall firing seven of these in rapid succession and then holding onto his last (the supposed eighth) to fire it half-an-hour after all the others, at 1.30am. If you have the book, open it and look at the illustration.
    Now, quite apart from the fact that there is ample evidence from everywhere that rockets were fired until 1.45am Titanic time (not 1.30am), nowhere does it appear in his evidence that Boxhall jealously guarded a last rocket for half an hour to choose his "dying swan" moment. Why would he? From what I can establish, if Boxhall fired only 7 rockets, then he is not left with a "last" one of eight, but an absolute war-chest crammed full with 71 different remaining pyrotechnics. Last one?
    And firing it at 1.30?
    Here's what steward John Hart says of boat 15, which departed at 1.40 (*a time offered us by avowed Californian dislikers George Behe and Bill Wormstedt in their revised launch chronology, and which does not significantly differ from the British Inquiry guess in 1912):
    10103. At the time you were leaving in No. 15 boat, were there rockets being sent up ?
    Hart: —Yes; rockets had been fired some time previous to that.

    Since I am the sole individual inhabiting a "fool's paradise" in relation to my belief that more than eight rockets must have been fired by the sinking largest ship of all time (It takes her two hours and forty minutes to sink... she fires a ludicrous eight rockets... is she too proud to yell out that she's drowning?) let me offer just some more observations about this famous Duff Gordon boat, number 1, dragged into this thread by others.

    Dave Gittins wants the first rocket contemporaneous with the first boat lowered. I'll run with that for a while - George Behe and Bill Wormstedt, who both passionately dislike the Californian (as indeed they are entitled to their views) say, as did the British Inquiry, that the first boat was lowered at 12.45.
    Cue Rowe ringing the bridge: "Do you know there's a boat in the water?" Boxhall: (I paraphrase): "Bring two boxes of rockets up to the bridge." How long before the two boys start for the bridge from the poop would you say? How long before they get there? Shall we give them ten minutes?
    Okay then, it's 12.55 and they are breaking out rockets with Boxhall... and I am told to believe that all three men were from then on firing rockets from the starboard side only, even though Boxhall had been firing them alone before they arrived.
    So why do I find Hendrickson at Number 1 boat (lowered at 1.10am) seeing only "the officer" firing rockets at that location, accompanied by the Bosun (Nicholls) ? (no Rowe and no Bright!)
    And why is it that Behe and Wormstedt agree that Murdoch and Lowe lowered this boat, but Hendrickson would have rocket-firing Boxhall involved:
    11089. Did you know Mr. Murdoch ? —I did not know him. *The only officer I saw there was
    the officer who fired the rockets.* (Boxhall)
    (now skipping questions).
    11094. — When I got round the boat, I was at the bo'sun end at the same time the officer was firing his rockets. After the officer finished firing the rockets he sung out, “How many seamen are there in the boat?”
    11100. —He called out was there any more ladies about, and got no answer, and then *gave the order to lower away.*
    Okay, so maybe Hendrickson is mistaken? Very good. Yet Dave Gittins hath told us that Hendrickson is an honourable witness... And of course we should remember that Symons is in charge of this very boat boat when it is lowered, and he says that rockets were going up *simultaneously* with each other at a time when they were "also working the port and starboard Morse lamps."
    Meanwhile who else is at this boat? Fifth Officer Lowe, that's who (is he firing rockets, or is Hendrickson mixing him up? The latter, probably). What does Lowe say about rockets at boat number 1?
    "Yes; they were incessantly going off; they were nearly deafening me." (US Inq. p. 401)
    Here we all are at boat number one. All of us standing around. Rockets going off. There are people like the author of The Ship That Stood Still who believe in only eight rockets fired in total. But let us compare Symons "simultaneously, minute intervals" about the rockets with Lowe's "INCESSANTLY." Incessantly means unceasingly; it goes to vouch with Symons' great rapidity of firing. Eight rockets???
    I ask again: How long would it take to fire eight rockets if you were firing incessantly?
    Meanwhile of course, if we have Lowe and Murdoch and Boxhall and the Bosun all standing at boat number 1 at 1.10am, are we then to add in Quartermaster Rowe and Quartermaster Bright to this enormous parade of senior crew, the last two the better to help Mr Boxhall fire his starboard rockets in crowded confines?
    Lads - I know you hate Captain Lord, I wish you well in that, I could say that I personally quite like the odd "injection" of common sense, but I do have to say that you can be good value for a bit of merciless prodding.
    Love and goodwill to all,

    Daddy's Boy.

  35. #35
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    Senan,

    I am no mariner and no maritime historian and so I have no direct knowledge of what sort of rocket or what color of rocket would have generally been used in times of distress at sea but I have always understood from what I have read that white rockets meant distress. Am I the only one who has been under this impression? Surely this has been said elsewhere. Maybe George Behe or someone else expert on the subject can tell where this came from. I could hardly have invented it.

    And, as to your feeling that you are alone in believing in your "more than 8 rocket" theory, for the record I believe you are probably right in your theory of more than 8. It stands to reason that there could very well have been more, perhaps many more. I just don't agree with how you interpret the fact.

    I feel badly that you have felt attacked and hope you know I was not attacking you and that I have no ill will whatever. I have every respect for you and your opinions and want you to know your contributions are valuable. You went to some trouble in your article and should be proud of it; I know how discouraging it can be to have people shoot down your work.

    I have my own view of the situation, which may be anti-Californian, if you will, but I do not subsribe to the practice of aligning myself to any faction - as in "Lordites" and "Anti-Lordites" - which I think is devisive. Capt. Lord I believe made profoundly bad judgements as a captain and as a man that night but I have great sympathy for him as he is but a man and no doubt suffered much. I have always felt people who research Titanic must understand human frailty as much as they revere courage. One cannot have one without the other.

    All my best,

    Randy

  36. #36
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    There's a lot of junk written in books, Randy.

    I imagine there may be those who would like to keep the actuality hidden (such as the simple and stark 1912 distress provisions) for their own reasons.

    There are some who would prefer to dwell in - what was it? some sort of paradise? - rather than have comfortable notions made subject to scrutiny.

    At worst, it could be argued that it may on occasion amount to choosing to live in a form of Anti-History rather than probing for possibilities and letting the consequences thereafter fall as they may.

    I tell you one thing: I have always said that I regard the contra-Californian point of view as an honourable position to hold for those genuinely convinced of this outlook.

    I have NEVER heard any reciprocation as to the contrary position.

    Meanwhile, one can never read enough on this subject. Nor enough consider "received opinion" for oneself.

  37. #37
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    Mr. Molony:

    It's amazing to me how you continue to argue the supposed merit of your constructions by dragging in totally extraneous discussions unrelated to the subject at hand and again based on false premises.

    You might as well remove yourself from that "persecuted Lordite" soapbox right now -- as you have likewise extricated yourself from dealing with the pertinent flaws in your work -- before you make yourself look even more foolish.

    If you will read my second post once again -- the one in which I included the carefully worded sentence:
    "And the lack of a balanced treatment on the more tenuous elements put forth gives the paper all the markings of typically one-sided "Lordite" literature"
    you will see that you have indeed been "had" here, and by yourself alone. The relevant phrase therein is 'typically one-sided "Lordite" LITERATURE' -- an observation about such lopsided revisionist writings I most heartily subscribe to from experience.

    Yet somehow you translate this, in your own mind, into some personal vendetta against "Lordites" -- the INDIVIDUALS -- and proceed to adorn your remarks with relentless pontification, as if the "poor, persecuted Lordite" defense somehow excuses the severely flawed argumentation that permeates this article. Unfortunately, my wording does not attack Lordites, but rather the bulk of their writings -- and I am certainly not alone in this assertion -- as the highly selective examples of mere advocacy (not history) they usually represent.

    So, you may now remove the sackcloth and ashes -- it will not work. My criticisms are of your work, and that is the issue here -- not how many rockets *I* think there were, nor what "strange fascinations" you may feel I hold, nor who supposedly employed what electronic lexicon with which to spice their comments -- an accusation I find particularly amusing, since *your* thesaurus seems to have been working overtime in the last few "rebuttals".

    Incidentally, I "cavil" at nothing here. The verb "cavil" means "to raise trivial objections" or "find fault unnecessarily", neither of which I did with your article. There is plenty with which to find fault here! In fact, while you reverted to "bait and switch" tactics to remove the limelight from the real issue -- the quality, or lack thereof, of the arguments contained in your article -- I provided significant examples of full evidence from the testimonies which illustrate the absurdity of several of your conclusions. Now, rather than demonstrate, in the light of the full, unadulterated evidence presented, how your conjectures regarding separate firing positions et al. can possibly be substantiated, you muse about with irrelevant commentary regarding my motivations for presenting particular examples and seque into totally irrelevant topics, while ignoring the basic issue of this thread, which is your paper. These attempts to refocus the discussion away from your work serve as little more than a smoke screen intended to conceal the basic weaknesses of your logical constructions, and are unworthy of a serious author. If the piece cannot stand on its own merits, then no amount of pomp and innuendo you supply will prop it up.

    The article is based on slim and very selective extractions from much more robust texts -- the testimonies themselves. Without the aid of the editorial blades you wield to whittle the testimonies down, many of your arguments simply do not hold water. I am most recently astounded that you have once again utilized this questionable tactic, recycling my own submissions from the testimony -- now sans citation -- to raise a whole new set of arguments.

    continued ...

  38. #38
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    continuation
    -----------------

    You report:

    Pitman: Various colours. (pace Mr Feeney)

    But it's not quite that simple, Mr. Molony:

    (US 293)
    Senator SMITH. What did you see? What did they do?
    Mr. PITMAN. They were fired from the rail. They make a report while leaving the rail, and also an explosion in the air, and they throw stars, of course, in the air.
    Senator SMITH. Red in color?
    Mr. PITMAN. Various colors.

    While it's admittedly a stretch -- though certainly not so much of a stretch as claiming that a Quartermaster who specifically testified he was "assisting the officer" was actually not (and that the officer was working alone) -- there is a significant shift in tense during this portion of the testimony which certainly imposes some ambiguity as to whether the response actually addresses the rockets specifically fired by Titanic, or has drifted to a description of distress rockets sensu lato ("in the broad sense").

    Mr. Molony says:

    Hitchens: Some were green, some were red, and some were blue - all kinds of colours - and some white, Sir. I think, if I remember rightly, they were blue. (1198)

    But the testimony actually reads:

    1198. Can you tell us what colour rockets? - I did not take no particular notice of the colour, Sir. Some were green, some were red, and some were blue - all kinds of colours - and some white, Sir. I think, if I remember rightly, they were blue.

    Once this significant omission is returned to its rightful place, it is far less certain that anything but blue is the actual "guess". And the *quality* of that color distinction should be assessed beside the testimony of the Californian's own Ernest Gill (US 712):

    Senator FLETCHER. What kind of rockets were they? What did they look like?
    Mr. GILL. They looked to me to be pale blue, or white.
    Senator FLETCHER. Which, pale blue or white?
    Mr. GILL. It would be apt to be a very clear blue; I would catch it when it was dying. I did not catch the exact tint, but I reckon it was white.

    (Note: Gill's earlier affidavit stipulates only "white.")

    So once again, Mr. Molony via "minor" omissions ever so slightly bends the testimony to fit his intention. But then, these weren't even the arguments in question, were they, Mr. Molony?

    Regarding my ill-taken prior comments (and they were admittedly somewhat ill-put), my meaning was that the constructions intended to support this work are fairly juvenile, and readily overturned by the evidence itself. As for the "daddy" comment, my implication was that it almost seemed another Mr. Molony had arrived to champion the work, proferring only the most obtuse of arguments -- anything to defend his child!

    My beliefs on any particular subject are not in the least germane to this discussion, which should focus soley on the "merits or demerits" of the article. As Mr. Molony's current design seems to be merely to convert this thread to a pulpit for projecting his personal opinions on books, Leslie Reade, Captain Lord, and various and sundry other unrelated topics, rather than to support his own original contentions in the light of reasoned criticism, I say to him:

    "I am 'Dances with Wolves'; you are not worth talking to."

  39. #39
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    Well, since you chose to drag George and I into the conversation:

    Regarding Murdoch and Lowe at #1, see:
    Symons, Page 575 American
    Symons again, 11453 & 11454 British
    Horswill, 12400 British
    Collins, 12976 British
    Lowe, 15820-15821 British
    Lowe, 404 & 405 American

    So, given the sources you prefer, it seems that Murdoch & Lowe were at #1, and Hendrickson was mistaken.

    George and I have no doubt that rockets had started firing before #1, in fact, they seem to have started before #3.

    What I don't understand is why you think the number of rockets makes that much difference? I am well aware that there are different number of rockets reported by different individuals, and that there may have been more than 8. Are you trying to say the Californian did NOT see the Titanic rockets, and instead saw some other ship which fired only 8 rockets? If so, who is that other ship? If not, the Californian saw the Titanic's rockets, and did nothing.

  40. #40
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    Senan Molony said:

    So why do I find Hendrickson at Number 1 boat (lowered at 1.10am) seeing only "the officer" firing rockets at that location, accompanied by the Bosun (Nicholls) ? (no Rowe and no Bright!)
    .....
    11089. Did you know Mr. Murdoch ? —I did not know him. *The only officer I saw there was the officer who fired the rockets.* (Boxhall)

    -------------------------

    Now this is just plain silly! I rest my case.

  41. #41
    George Behe
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    Randy wrote:

    > I have always
    >understood from what I have read that white rockets meant distress. Am I
    >the only one who has been under this impression? Surely this has been
    >said elsewhere.

    Hi, Randy!

    Boxhall testified (BR15396) that he sent up regulation distress rockets, which he also specified were white (SR910.)

    Senan wrote:

    > I would be interested, in a
    >non-confrontational way, if Randy could post instances of previous
    >sinking ships choosing to fire only white rockets, if he thinks this
    >happened previously. It would be highly informative.

    Hi, Senan!

    Perhaps I can help out here. On the night of March 29, 1912 the Romsdell (which was caught in the same icefield that later claimed the Titanic) noticed a steamer of about 8000 tons situated about five miles away from her. This steamer began firing white distress rockets, but the damaged Romsdell was unable to go to her assistance. The rocket-firing steamer soon disappeared, and the Romsdell's Captain Hole was certain that she had foundered. (Incidentally, Captain Hole heard no loud detonations accompanying the distress rockets that were fired by the sinking vessel -- which was approximately the same distance from the Romsdell that Titanic was from the Californian.)

    >There is another matter here. The Titanic's detonator rockets were there
    >"in lieu of guns" by the ship manifest. In other words their primary
    >function was to make a large bang, not to show light at a great height.

    The BOT regulation re: distress signals says "Rockets or shells of *ANY* color or description...." That would mean (1) rockets with or without color; (2) rockets with or without accompanying detonations; or (3) shells with "loud" or "not-so-loud" detonations. The regulation further stipulates that the above types of signals can be "used or displayed together or separately." That being the case, your claim that the "primary function" of distress rockets was "to make a large bang" instead of "show light at a great height" is inaccurate and misleading; sound was not a compulsory requirement for a distress signal.

    >This is why the number of rockets fired by the Titanic is such a tender
    >topic to those who identify themselves as Anti-Lordite.

    Not at all. You seem to assume that Californian's watch officers kept their eyes glued to the so-called 'mystery ship' for the entire time they were on watch and that they *must* have seen every rocket that she fired that night. As John Feeney mentioned earlier, though, there is no evidence to support that contention; Californian's watch officers were responsible for watching the entire horizon around the drifting Californian, and there is no reason for anyone to assume that they did not do so (which consequently means they might have missed seeing a few rockets.)

    >Now, quite apart from the fact that there is ample evidence from
    >everywhere that rockets were fired until 1.45am Titanic time (not
    >1.30am), nowhere does it appear in his evidence that Boxhall jealously
    >guarded a last rocket for half an hour to choose his "dying swan"
    >moment.

    Quite true. Leslie Reade made a mistake here (not that it alters the main facts of the case.) Boxhall testified (BR15394) that "Between the time of sending the rockets off and watching the steamer approach us I was making myself generally useful round the port side of the deck." This means that Boxhall left the bridge for a certain amount of time between each rocket firing and that the interval separating each rocket firing might therefore have varied a bit. (BR15399: "Well, probably five minutes; I did not take any times.") At any rate, between 12:45 and 1:45 Boxhall had launched "between half a dozen and a dozen (rockets), I should say, as near as I could tell" (BR15395.) That is entirely consistent with an interval of approximately five minutes between each launching.

    >Here's what steward John Hart says of boat 15, which departed at 1.40
    >(*a time offered us by avowed Californian dislikers George Behe and Bill
    >Wormstedt in their revised launch chronology, and which does not
    >significantly differ from the British Inquiry guess in 1912):
    >10103. At the time you were leaving in No. 15 boat, were there rockets
    >being sent up ?
    >Hart: —Yes; rockets had been fired some time previous to that.

    Absolutely. There's nothing new here.

    >Since I am the sole individual inhabiting a "fool's paradise" in
    >relation to my belief that more than eight rockets must have been fired
    >by the sinking largest ship of all time

    I wouldn't say you're necessarily alone in that belief; even though the evidence is contradictory, there's every possibility that more than eight rockets were fired by the Titanic (and that the Californian's Stone and Gibson missed seeing a few of them.)

    > George Behe and Bill
    >Wormstedt, ...... say, as did the British Inquiry, that the
    >first boat was lowered at 12.45.
    >Cue Rowe ringing the bridge: "Do you know there's a boat in the water?"
    >Boxhall: (I paraphrase): "Bring two boxes of rockets up to the bridge."
    >How long before the two boys start for the bridge from the poop would
    >you say? How long before they get there? Shall we give them ten minutes?
    >Okay then, it's 12.55 and they are breaking out rockets with Boxhall...

    12:55 or 1 a.m. is a pretty fair estimate for that activity, since Rowe said he began firing rockets at about 12:45 "adjusted ship's time" (which was about 1:08 a.m. "unadjusted ship's time.") Again, nothing new there.

    >So why do I find Hendrickson at Number 1 boat (lowered at 1.10am) seeing
    >only "the officer" firing rockets at that location, accompanied by the
    >Bosun (Nicholls) ? (no Rowe and no Bright!)

    Perhaps you can tell me. Boxhall testified (BR15394) that "Between the time of sending the rockets off and watching the steamer approach us I was making myself generally useful round the PORT (my emphasis) side of the deck." Boat #1, as you know, was on the starboard side of the ship, and (to the best of my recollection) Boxhall did not mention having assisted with any boats on that side of the Titanic.

    >And why is it that Behe and Wormstedt agree that Murdoch and Lowe
    >lowered this boat, but Hendrickson would have rocket-firing Boxhall
    >involved:

    Bill and I agree on that fact because AB Symons (who was in charge of boat #1) testified (BR11454) that, after supervising the loading of boat #1, First Officer Murdoch ordered him into that boat and gave the order to lower away. Samuel Collins confirmed that Murdoch presided over #1.

    >But let us compare
    >Symons "simultaneously, minute intervals" about the rockets with Lowe's
    >"INCESSANTLY." Incessantly means unceasingly; it goes to vouch with
    >Symons' great rapidity of firing. Eight rockets???

    I take it you believe that -- at one per minute -- forty rockets were sent up during the 40 minute interval between 1:08 a.m. and 1:48 a.m. (at which time stopped Rowe firing rockets and entered Collapsible C?)

    >Lads - I know you hate Captain Lord, I wish you well in that,

    We don't hate Captain Lord -- we just don't want to see historical revisionism give him a 'clean bill of health' when he doesn't rate it.

    But I'm puzzled about something here, Senan. You seem to be suggesting that (1) Titanic sent up far more that eight distress rockets; (2) Californian's watch officers could not have missed seeing a significant number of rockets over and above the eight rockets they *did* see; (3) since Titanic was supposedly nineteen miles from the Californian and fired far more than eight rockets, the eight rockets seen by Californian's watch officers could not have been the same ones fired by the Titanic; (4) the eight rockets seen by Californian's watch officers must therefore have been fired by a 'mystery ship' that was situated midway between the Californian and the Titanic.

    If this summary is accurate, and since the so-called 'mystery ship' was supposedly midway between the Californian and the Titanic (and therefore well within visual range of the latter), why didn't the Titanic's watch officers see this 'mystery ship' fire her eight rockets?

    All my best,

    George

  42. #42
    Pat Cook
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    Okay, I'll try this for old times sake. I've tried it before and I'll probably end up trying it again.

    Guys? Drop this. Please!

    You won't solve it, you won't reach any conclusions, you won't even be debating after awhile. Trust me, you'll respect each other SO much more if you just agree to disagree.

    I know what you're going to say.
    "Hey, this is a forum for debating!" - Yeah, just wait.
    "Who're you to tell us what to do?" - Not telling, just pleading. It always ends up in explosions, emotional flare-ups, name calling...

    PLEASE, take it from someone who's seen this SO many times. If it hasn't already, it will turn ugly - there's no other way, there never has been, there never will be!

    Just thought I'd try this one more time.

    Best regards to you all,
    Cook

  43. #43
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    I actually think we’re making progress.

    George M. Behe (unlike John M. Feeney) now says he is prepared to accept the possibility that more rockets than the commonly-accepted eight may have been fired by the sinking Titanic. Dave Gittins will venture down this road too. That’s all I was trying to suggest in the article, as it happens.

    If we accept or even merely entertain this premise, the next question is: Why did Californian officers of the watch miss “extra” rockets above the eight that they did see?

    George and Dave would suggest that they missed them because of incompetence. I have suggested that distance – “low-level” rockets cited by Stone, only some rising over the horizon – is another possibility. There may be more possibilities. This, I would suggest, is a concept that needs to be ruminated upon some more.

    And in doing so I’ll go back to the Titanic witnesses.

    Their evidence is that the mystery ship off the port bow was between 5 and 6 miles away.
    I have found every speculation of this distance, from the shortest to the longest, and averaged it all out. It works out at 5.6 miles, and indeed the overwhelming mean of guesstimates is in the “five or six miles” category.

    Now five or six miles on a flat sea in clear weather is very close indeed.

    This is difficult to convey to people who have never been to sea, but I’ll attempt to give a crude example, one sure to be pilloried for its lamentable laughability. But we’ll see.

    The Titanic was nearly a fifth of a mile long. She saw a ship 5.5 miles away.
    What did she, Titanic, look like to that ship?

    The biggest of my cars is less than 15 feet long (five yards).

    Imagine yourself sititng in a parked car in a dark, flat park at night.

    There is a solitary other vehicle, just 27 and a half yards away (five and a half times the length of that car, just as the mystery ship was looking at a very large ship at a distance of five and a half times that ship's length away.)

    Now do we imagine, on a flat field, at less than 30 yards from another parked car, that we should miss a considerable number of times that she flashes her lights, even if the people in our car are also looking out some of the other windows?

    The above illustration is to offer some idea of *proximity*. The Titanic was twice as high and twice as long as the Californian. The Titanic‘s mystery ship was extremely close. Her crew could see the sidelights with their naked eyes. Boxhall says: “She got close…”

    I know there will be objections to the above on the grounds that the Titanic somehow appeared small because of the way she was turned. But this is highly speculative. The A-G at the Br. Inq. Specifically said there was no reliable evidence on the way the Titanic came to rest.

    Well, let us accept for the sake of conjecture that this near ship was as small as possible. Let’s say the car we are watching from less than 30 yards is head-on to us, or even rear-on.

    Similarly to rockets – which, being up in the sky, have no relationship to the positioning of the ship from which they emanate – if that car should flash its lights in any direction, I should expect to see the accompanying illumination. Because I'm close.

    In any case I welcome the fact that George M. Behe accepts that Leslie Reade in his book “The Ship That Stood Still“ is wrong in his portrayal of the Titanic’s rocket firings and pattern.

    John M. Feeney won’t be drawn, but I have already attempted to demonstrate that the “Lightoller” idea of three men firing rockets all on the starboard side is not borne out by any evidence.

    There is simply no citable witness who puts Boxhall and either of the Quartermasters together when firing rockets – and this is the reality of the situation, despite John’s differing interpretation to mine of what it means when Rowe says that he "assisted" the Fourth Officer to fire rockets.

    A ship seen on the port side, yet no specific mentions of port side firings at all, apart from Rowe’s mention of firing rockets and then working the port side Morse lamp. It is equally curious – but there are straws of evidence, to my mind, that lead us towards the port side as a place for firing, apart from the human inclination of firing to a near ship from the closest point.

    Why do we imagine that port side lifeboats 2 and 4 were so delayed in departing? Again, the common belief is that they were forgotten, or overlooked. If we listen to what Boxhall tells us about having to personally clear away people form the area of the starboard boats when firing rockets, then I think there is more circumstantial evidence to the possibility that boats 2 and 4 did not go away early because crew members were busy for some time firing rockets in that locality. Indeed the boats had earlier been lowered down to A Deck, a move that would, as a side-effect, create more room for anyone who cared to consider firing rockets on the port side, rather than on Boxhall’s crowded starboard side, a side also said to be crowded by Lowe, Hendrickson and others.

    John M. Feeney correctly points out that I left out a line in quoting Hitchens, the line being:
    ”I did not take no particular notice of the colour, Sir.” He says this was a “significant omission.” I will leave others to judge that since the entirety of his quote is still there, including the bit where he discards his earlier speculation about red and green and decides that they were blue. I must have run out that earlier line with my cursor. I plead the court's mercy.

    He then goes on to quote Ernest Gill, a “witness” in whom even the virulently Anti-Lordite author Leslie Reade places no reliance. This is because Gill’s evidence is full of contradictions which it would be too time-consuming to list...

    Hello George! I enjoyed your contribution about the Romsdell.

    >> On the night of March 29, 1912 the Romsdell (which was caught in the same icefield that later claimed the Titanic) noticed a steamer of about 8000 tons situated about five miles away from her. This steamer began firing white distress rockets, but the damaged Romsdell was unable to go to her assistance. The rocket-firing steamer soon disappeared, and the Romsdell's Captain Hole was certain that she had foundered. (Incidentally, Captain Hole heard no loud detonations accompanying the distress rockets that were fired by the sinking vessel -- which was approximately the same distance from the Romsdell that Titanic was from the Californian.) >your claim that the "primary function" of distress rockets was "to make a large bang" instead of "show light at a great height" is inaccurate and misleading; >I take it you believe that -- at one per minute -- forty rockets were sent up during the 40 minute interval between 1:08 a.m. and 1:48 a.m. (at which time stopped Rowe firing rockets and entered Collapsible C?) >But I'm puzzled about something here, Senan. You seem to be suggesting that (1) Titanic sent up far more that eight distress rockets; (2) Californian's watch officers could not have missed seeing a significant number of rockets over and above the eight rockets they *did* see; (3) since Titanic was supposedly nineteen miles from the Californian and fired far more than eight rockets, the eight rockets seen by Californian's watch officers could not have been the same ones fired by the Titanic; >(4) the eight rockets seen by Californian's watch officers must therefore have been fired by a 'mystery ship' that was situated midway between the Californian and the Titanic. <<<

    I do not think this at all. Why should it follow?
    However, as I was not there in 1912, I can only look at the evidence. Stone, in one part of his evidence, seems to think this ship close to the Californian could have been signalling to some other ship over the horizon. He also saw rockets rising to half the height of the light on the mast of the Californian’s nearby ship. If that was the Titanic and I was Boxhall I would be quite disappointed with that rocket performance. But in fact Boxhall tells the US Inquiry that the rockets worked perfectly well and did what they were supposed to do.

    I must go to work…

    Senan M. Olony

  44. #44
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    The abobe became garbled from the Romsdell on:

    Here' what I wanted to say thereto:

    Although Hole was “certain” the vessel had foundered, no vessel at all was ever reported missing, let alone sunk, and no wreckage was found. This raises the question as to whether her rockets actually indicated distress. You say the vessel was “sinking,” which presumably was Hole’s impression, but no vessel, as I say, was ever reported sunk. This is a matter you may have neglected to point out . Did Hole, incidentally, rouse his wireless operator ?

    >>your claim that the "primary function" of distress rockets was "to make a large bang" instead of "show light at a great height" is inaccurate and misleading; <<

    I respectfully disagree. The ship’s manifest shows that they were carried ”in lieu of guns.” I have yet to see artillery pieces that fly up several hundred feet in the air and resolve themselves into dazzling light displays without giving out any sound.

    you say:
    "I take it you believe that -- at one per minute -- forty rockets were sent up during the 40 minute interval between 1:08 a.m. and 1:48 a.m. (at which time stopped Rowe firing rockets and entered Collapsible C?)"

    No, I do not take that view. I don’t know how many rockets Titanic fired. I am just trying to feel my way through the evidence. I feel the evidence tends to support the belief that far more than eight were fired. I see nothing in the evidence however that would allow one to believe, for instance, that anything over 20 were fired.

    You ad:
    "But I'm puzzled about something here, Senan. You seem to be suggesting that (1) Titanic sent up far more that eight distress rockets; (2) Californian's watch officers could not have missed seeing a significant number of rockets over and above the eight rockets they *did* see; (3) since Titanic was supposedly nineteen miles from the Californian and fired far more than eight rockets, the eight rockets seen by Californian's watch officers could not have been the same ones fired by the Titanic;"

    Au contraire, mon frere! I fully accept that the rockets seen by Stone and Gibson in the earlier part of the night were from Titanic.

    You go futher:
    "(4) the eight rockets seen by Califo
    rnian's watch officers must therefore have been fired by a 'mystery ship' that was situated midway between the Californian and the Titanic."

    I do not think this at all. Why should it follow?
    However, as I was not there in 1912, I can only look at the evidence. Stone, in one part of his evidence, seems to think this ship close to the Californian could have been signalling to some other ship over the horizon. He also saw rockets rising to half the height of the light on the mast of the Californian’s nearby ship. If that was the Titanic and I was Boxhall I would be quite disappointed with that rocket performance. But in fact Boxhall tells the US Inquiry that the rockets worked perfectly well and did what they were supposed to do.

    Now I REALLY must go to work…

    S

  45. #45
    George Behe
    Guest
    Senan wrote:

    >If we accept or even merely entertain this premise, the next question
    >is: Why did Californian officers of the watch miss “extra” rockets above
    >the eight that they did see?
    >George and Dave would suggest that they missed them because of
    >incompetence.

    Hi, Senan!

    Not because of incompetence, but because Californian's officers could not afford to concentrate on observing the so-called 'mystery ship' at the expense of ignoring the rest of the surrounding ocean. Stone and Gibson already *knew* that the nearby ship was firing rockets, so there was no real need for them to ignore their other duties and spend all of their time counting every single rocket that went up. (As Dave Billnitzer says, "Eight is enough.") :-)

    >I have suggested that distance – “low-level” rockets cited
    >by Stone, only some rising over the horizon – is another possibility.

    That would be a possibility if Californian had truly been nineteen miles from the disaster site, but she wasn't; she was seen by a number of eyewitnesses *in broad daylight* just half a dozen miles north of the disaster site. Titanic was far too close to the Californian that night for any of her rockets to have been below Californian's horizon.

    >Their evidence is that the mystery ship off the port bow was between 5
    >and 6 miles away. .....
    >I know there will be objections to the above on the grounds that the
    >Titanic somehow appeared small because of the way she was turned. But
    >this is highly speculative. The A-G at the Br. Inq. Specifically said
    >there was no reliable evidence on the way the Titanic came to rest.

    The A-G at the Br. Inq. said that Titanic fired eight rockets, too, but we know that that wasn't necessarily the case. QM Rowe was very specific about his observations re: the direction Titanic was pointed, and he was absolutely certain she was pointed northward (toward the Californian.) Beesley confirms this fact in his book, and these observations seem to be corroborated by the present-day orientation of Titanic's bow on the ocean bottom -- she's pointed northward.

    >Although Hole was “certain” the vessel had foundered, no vessel at all
    >was ever reported missing, let alone sunk, and no wreckage was found.

    What is your source for saying that no vessel was ever reported missing?

    >This raises the question as to whether her rockets actually indicated
    >distress.

    Hole wasn't nearly as indecisive as Californian's officers -- he specifically said they were distress rockets.

    > Did Hole, incidentally, rouse his wireless operator ?

    Hole did not say whether his ship was equipped with wireless or not. (I got the impresson that it wasn't, but I'd welcome a documented answer to that question.)

    I wrote:

    >>your claim that the "primary function" of distress rockets was "to
    make a large bang" instead of "show light at a great height" is
    inaccurate and misleading; I respectfully disagree. The ship’s manifest shows that they were
    >carried ”in lieu of guns.”

    Your interpretation of that phrase is much too narrow. The BOT regulation specifies that "socket signals are regarded as equivalent to the night (distress) signals, classes 1 and 3...... prescribed by Article 31 above quoted." (Class 1 was the "gun or other explosive signal," and class 3 was the "rockets or shells fired one at a time" etc.) In other words, socket signals were equally acceptable as visual *OR* auditory distress signals and were not regarded as replacements for one or the other exclusively.

    >Au contraire, mon frere! I fully accept that the rockets seen by Stone
    >and Gibson in the earlier part of the night were from Titanic.

    Well, since Californian (as reported by the Mt. Temple's Captain Moore and various eyewitnesses on the Carpathia) was just half-a-dozen miles north of the disaster site when she began her 6 a.m. crossing of the icefield, that would seem to settle the matter regarding the true identity of Californian's rocket-firing 'mystery ship.'

    >Stone, in one part of his evidence, seems to think this ship close to
    >the Californian could have been signalling to some other ship over the
    >horizon.

    Which means that Californian's nearby 'mystery ship' was firing rockets. Boxhall, Rowe and Bright (who were specifically detailed to communicate with the ship visible to their north) would have seen such rockets if there was truly a rocket-firing ship situated between the Titanic and the Californian. (They didn't -- because there wasn't.)

    >He (Stone) also saw rockets rising to half the height of the light on
    >the mast of the Californian’s nearby ship. If that was the Titanic and I
    >was Boxhall I would be quite disappointed with that rocket performance.

    Stone did not use binoculars to observe the rockets, though, which explains why Gibson (who *did* use binoculars) did not corroborate Stone's impression of low-flying rockets. (BR7505-10) Gibson clearly saw a flash of light on the 'mystery ship's' deck as the rocket was fired, a faint streak of light that followed the ascending rocket into the sky (a streak which Stone was unable to see), followed by the rocket bursting into white stars. Stone's low-flying rockets do not seem to have existed anywhere except in his own mind. (It may have been an honest mistake, but nevertheless......)

    >But in fact Boxhall tells the US Inquiry that the rockets worked
    >perfectly well and did what they were supposed to do.

    They rose high into the sky just like the rockets fired by Californian's so-called 'mystery ship' seem to have done.

    All my best,

    George

  46. #46
    George Behe
    Guest
    My above message contains a slight mistake. Two quoted sections by Senan and myself were accidentally run together and *should* have read:

    I wrote:

    >>your claim that the "primary function" of distress rockets was "to
    make a large bang" instead of "show light at a great height" is
    inaccurate and misleading;

    Senan replied:

    >I respectfully disagree. The ship’s manifest
    >shows that they were
    >carried ”in lieu of guns.”

    The rest of the posting was accurate.

    Haste makes waste. :-)

    All my best,

    George

  47. #47
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    Noticed that the original thread was closed. I personally have learned a lot about many things during this "discussion" between collegaues and friends.

    I am too new at all of this to know what type of villian I am. Lordite? (based on testimony) "Lordtite?" (based on facts from above and coming down to earth) "Lordmite?" Based on facts from down under the surface of the earth and finding a resting place about 3 feet above the ground or what exactly.

    All I know is that all of you are pro's. You are experts in the areas that you know about. I truly respect each one of you...with the exception of the sort of nastiness that comes out which is unnecessary.

    ET Research is a place where folks can express themselves through their research. To say that something has missed the mark is one thing but to duel to the death is nuts. I agree with Pat Cook. It is best to accept your varied outlooks and go on. Staying friends.

    I believe that Senan wrote an excellent piece that is thought provoking...I find that my opinion is validated simply from the amount of conversation it produced.

    I guess that I challenge the others to place their energies into something more practical like writing a counter point type of article which is based on facts, not a "Well Senan said this...bah bah bah.."

    Perhaps it is due to the sensitivity of the subject matter that produced all of this 2000 Years War here on the other thread, but I think that based on my being an outsider from all of this, I had simply read it and taken in what Senan had written and it made me want to go to check out the facts for myself (soup stirrer that I am) I needed to check for myself.

    I love you guys out there and I learn a tremendous amount from all of you. My respsect for the people who worked with you throughout this have skyrocketed and my understanding of how tough it is to be a webmaster just made me stop in awe at Phil's judgment.

    This is a great place guys...just remember...It ain't personal...its just business....Ing helped me to remember that. (And no, my godfather did not teach me that)
    lol Maureen.

  48. #48
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    I only closed the original thread because it was getting so long to load each time. By all means continue the debate.

    Phil
    Philip Hind

  49. #49
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    Hello All!

    What a dastardly topic this is. Senan I love you to death but you are a man in search of trouble!

    Thought the article was very interesting. I don't even pretend to know the transcripts at all, never mind the way some of the folk here do.

    And personally, I refuse to join either the Lordite or anti-Lordite side. I think Captain Lord is a minor player. Do I think he saw signs of Titanic's distress? You betcha. Do I think he was responsible for hundreds of deaths? No way. What Titanic teaches us, in her own special way, is the number of what ifs there are in life. Blame Lord if you must, but don't blame him anymore than anyone else involved in the trans-Atlantic passenger trade at the time. The ice, the vanity, the speed race, all adds up to what is commonly known as "an accident waiting to happen."

    And fellas? History is worth debating, but it isn't worth fighting over. When the supernova blows heaven and earth to kingdom come someday, none of it will really matter, but perhaps how we've treated eachother will.

    Bonnie

  50. #50
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    While I do count myself nominally among the anti-lordite side, I beleive Bonnie raises a valid point on how much of a difference the Californian could have made. Could they have saved some more lives, I beleive the answer to that one is "Yes". However, as Dave Gittens pointed out to me once, it's not as if they could have simply pulled up along side, thrown a plank over and let all the masses swarm on.

    They still would have had to thread their way out of the ice they were surrounded by and once they got to where they needed to be, they would have had...if they were lucky...half an hour to play with.

    By the time they could have arrived on the scene, the sinking would have been accellerating and they would have had to stand off, put their own boats in the water and try to pluck as meny people off the Titanic as they could if there was still time, then fish as meny people out of the water as possible befor they froze to death after the ship sank.

    My own stand is that of a sailor who knew that the Californian should have acted but didn't. Even a futile effort is better then no effort at all. It matters very little whether the Titanic fired one rocket, eight, or eight hundred, and it is of no consequence whether they were at five miles distance of twenty and saw what they did by way of refreaction as the '92 investigation asserted. They did see the rockets, and if they didn't know what they meant, they should have.

    Among mariners, ignoring distress calls in conditions short of war is considered to be unforgivable. This may seem hard, but it's the reality.

    Cordially,
    Michael H. Standart

  51. #51
    George Behe
    Guest
    Michael wrote:

    >Among mariners, ignoring distress calls in >conditions short of war is
    >considered to be unforgivable. This may seem >hard, but it's the reality.

    Hi, Michael!

    Some of the most heartbreaking accounts I've ever read were of WWII British and American destroyers which were forced to steam past survivors of torpedoed merchantmen without picking them up; the survival of the convoy itself was paramount, and by the time the convoy's rescue ship would arrive on the scene (if it did at all) it was often too late for the men in the water.

    We owe a lot to the civilian (and military) mariners who made such enormous sacrifices to insure our freedom.

    All my best,

    George

  52. #52
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    Michael, George and Bonnie,
    Thanks for your comments and great feedback.

    I read about what Michael and George shared about rescue and war times and I am so glad that I have never had to serve in that way to make those hard choices.

    What do you think are the probabilities that anyone could get a military on exercise in the north atlantic to as part of their exercises test the rocket firing, refraction, and distances from each point that a ship was thought to have been? Califorian/titanic/mystery ship whatever. Or was this sort of thing done for the 90-92 thing. Just curious?
    Maureen.

  53. #53
    John M. Feeney
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    George Behe wrote:

    Some of the most heartbreaking accounts I've ever read were of WWII British and American destroyers which were forced to steam past survivors of torpedoed merchantmen without picking them up; the survival of the convoy itself was paramount, and by the time the convoy's rescue ship would arrive on the scene (if it did at all) it was often too late for the men in the water.

    Hi, George:

    And as a related (but totally OT) aside, let's not forget that many of the submariners themselves would have liked to stop to pick up survivors. The reason they could not was that there were standing orders forbidding this course of action, since earlier attempts had resulted in the shelling and near-loss of the "rescue" U-boat.

    In that case, even the "enemy" had "raced to the rescue."

    (Just for balance.)

    Cheers!
    John M. Feeney

  54. #54
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    All,

    I'm glad that the debate is continuing. I like hearing more from Senan - and am always ready to read what George has to say. (And dear valiant, wise Capt. Cook, alas you've been unsuccessful again in trying to referee - but you're still much loved and respected, don't forget that.)

    I have missed earlier ET debates on the issue of the Californian (though I have read George's great book) which is why I'm not eager for the current discussion to close. I'm sure everyone is now behaving themselves and hopefully this will not change.

    I agree with some of the others above that, though Lord ought certainly to have tried to come to the Titanic's aid, it is possible that very little could have been accomplished once he arrived. Even if Californian had responded promptly to the rockets as it should have, the ship was well into the ice and would, as has been noted, have had to proceed cautiously and so might not have arrived at the scene until about the time Titanic sank. The men on Californian would then have had to lower their lifeboats and attempt the harrowing and I think extremely dangerous task of trying to row into those awful throngs of people - something none of Titanic's boats except for Officer Lowe's, had made a concerted effort to do.

    Still, if only a few more lives could have been saved Californian's rescue effort would have been of value.

    In fairness, I'd like to add here that, if the Californian's boats would have been expected to head perilously into the crowd of thrashing people, the Titanic's boats ought to have gone back - and not just embattled boat 1 - but ALL of them. Still fear and inertia gripped almost everyone that night which is unfortunate. The fact of the cries that went on and on has always been the worst thing for me to accept about the Titanic. Those people were crying out no doubt for the boats to come back. It is so heartbreaking to know they were calling in vain.

    Randy

  55. #55
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    Senan Molony says:
    ...
    John M. Feeney correctly points out that I left out a line in quoting Hitchens, the line being:
    ”I did not take no particular notice of the colour, Sir.” He says this was a “significant omission.” I will leave others to judge that since the entirety of his quote is still there, including the bit where he discards his earlier speculation about red and green and decides that they were blue. I must have run out that earlier line with my cursor. I plead the court's mercy.
    He then goes on to quote Ernest Gill, a “witness” in whom even the virulently Anti-Lordite author Leslie Reade places no reliance. This is because Gill’s evidence is full of contradictions which it would be too time-consuming to list..."

    ------------------------------------------------

    It would appear that here, once again, Mr. Molony has misrepresented his source -- not that he has actually supplied one.

    Having spotted this intriguing allegation concerning Mr. Gill's veracity, I decided to investigate further. (Note, incidentally that I was not originally citing Mr. Reade's work. Rather, I had reproduced Mr. Gill's testimony directly from the transcripts, as I have done in all cited instances.)

    Assuming that by "Leslie Reade", Mr. Molony refers to "The Ship that Stood Still" (1993. ed. Edward P. De Groot. W.W Norton, NY), his assertion, as relevant to my submission, is entirely without basis. Mr. Reade therein does indeed find fault with various aspects of Gill's testimony -- a tribute, in fact, to Reade's essential fairness to Captain Lord -- which he obviously regards as a case of a profitable story subsequently embellished. But he makes no bones about the veracity of Gill's sighting of the rockets (p. 211):
    "At first glance, it seems his (Gill's) story of the rockets was very probably true. A closer examination leaves that opinion unaltered."
    In fact, Reade immediately precedes this conclusion with the observation that Gill's timings of the rockets agree remarkably well with both Rowe's (aboard Titanic) and Stone's (aboard Californian). In this respect at least, then, Gill's account has direct corroboration!

    Nowhere, insofar as I could see, does Reade ever question Gill's sighting or description of the rockets -- a point I raised merely to emphasize the problems immediately inherent in any "colored rockets" argument. Now I may have missed something. Perhaps someone could point me to another portion of Reade's book. Or perhaps Mr. Molony could provide me with a direct reference.

    I have no objections to being enlightened, and in fact owe Mr. Molony an indirect debt of gratitude here for further expanding my knowledge in this area.

    Cheers!

  56. #56
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    Ya know ...

    I thought there was something else remotely "fishy" in that response that I might be overlooking. Mr. Molony most recently wrote:
    John M. Feeney correctly points out that I left out a line in quoting Hitchens, the line being:”I did not take no particular notice of the colour, Sir.” He says this was a “significant omission.” I will leave others to judge that since the entirety of his quote is still there, including the bit where he discards his earlier speculation about red and green and decides that they were blue. I must have run out that earlier line with my cursor. I plead the court's mercy.
    But I fail to understand how a learned man who apparently fully appreciates (and freely admits) that Hichens "discards his earlier speculation about red and green and decides that they were blue" can then in good faith construct an argument such as the following
    (from Senan's prior post, verbatim):
    A number of Titanic witnesses talk of their firing coloured rockets, besides the whites:
    Pitman: Various colours. (pace Mr Feeney)
    Hitchens: Some were green, some were red, and some were blue - all kinds of colours - and some white, Sir. I think, if I remember rightly, they were blue. (1198)
    Lookout Lee (asked whether coloured rockets, or only white ones ?):- No, coloured rockets. (2584)
    Passenger Peuchen: different colours flying down. (US p. 352)
    So how many green, red, and blue rockets did the Titanic fire, *besides* the eight white ones that Stone and Gibson specifically say they saw, as pointed out by Randy? They saw only white.
    Oh wait a minute, she couldn't have fired any green, red and blue rockets, could she? Her crew may say what they like, but Anti-Lordites don't want to hear it. ...
    (emphasis mine)
    It takes just a little more than a slip of the cursor to explain that one! Doesn't it? I mean, if Mr. Molony himself -- without the benefit of that one line -- could temporarily *forget* that Hichens discarded his speculations of red and green, then it must be a significant omission indeed!

    As for "blue", well ... I think I've covered that ground already. As for the other sources (Peuchen, Lee, et al.) I would refer the reader to the FULL transcripts available in print and online. These witnesses' testimonies, too, have a larger context than immediately apparent here.

    Regards,
    John M. Feeney

  57. #57
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    George M. Behe wrote:

    "Californian's officers could not afford to concentrate on observing the so-called 'mystery ship' at the expense of ignoring the rest of the surrounding ocean. Stone and Gibson already *knew* that the nearby ship was firing rockets, so there was no real need for them to ignore their other duties and spend all of their time counting every single rocket that went up."

    Yeah but they did count. And they were tasked with waching that particular ship and making sure she didn't get closer. With an icefield barring the way, they had little else to look for.

    "Californian wasn't...nineteen miles from the disaster site, but she wasn't; she was seen by a number of eyewitnesses *in broad daylight* just half a dozen miles north of the disaster site."

    That is absolute bunkum and you know it, George. Ghosted 1950s recollections by James Bisset don't cut it. That ship they saw was the Mount Temple, which the Californian would pass by on its way to the disaster site (unlike the MT). It is unsurprising to me that after the blackwash of the 1912 Inquiries that people would say they saw the Californian anywhere.

    All that is reliable is the evidence given in 1912. Rostron said he *first* saw Californian coming up to 8am when she was steaming east having come through
    the icefield.

    Geo: "Titanic was far too close to the Californian that night for any of her rockets to have been below Californian's horizon."

    Your sweeping statements proceed from a false premise. How do you know where the Californian was? You don't. You're making assumptions.

    Geo:
    "QM Rowe was very specific about his observations re: the direction Titanic was pointed, and he was absolutely certain she was pointed northward (toward the Californian.) Beesley confirms this fact in his book, and these observations seem to be corroborated by the present-day orientation of Titanic's bow on the ocean bottom -- she's pointed northward."

    I can quote you people with the Titanic pointing south. The evidence as to heading is completely contradictory. But you need Titanic to shape one way and one way only to avoid here looking like the city of Las Vegas in the night to any ship as close as the one on which the T was able to see sidelights. Out of all the compass points, getting the magical one to support the theory of a "small-looking" Titanic is a massive stretch of the imagination for me. The odds are against it. The T went to port to avoid the berg, not starboard. Why does she turn to starboard again and head north when there engine room evidence has the Titanic going backwards and forwards in check mode after the impact?

    ("Although Hole was “certain” the vessel had foundered, no vessel at all was ever reported missing, let alone sunk, and no wreckage was found.
    What is your source for saying that no vessel was ever reported missing?"

    Lloyd's List and the Times Shipping Register Jan-Jun 1912. You know there was no weeping for a "sinking ship" seen by the Romsdell. Because she didn't sink. She may have been firing rockets for distress or she may have been firing for some other reason, we don't know. And there were NS boats in that vicinity that regularly fired rockets at night.)

    Ends part one!

  58. #58
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    Geo:
    "Californian (as reported by the Mt. Temple's Captain Moore and various eyewitnesses on the Carpathia) was just half-a-dozen miles north of the disaster site when she began her 6 a.m. crossing of the icefield, that would seem to settle the matter regarding the true identity of Californian's rocket-firing 'mystery ship.'"

    Wrong. Show me Moore's testimony!

    You say that I say: Stone, in one part of his evidence, seems to think this ship close to
    the Californian could have been signalling to some other ship over the horizon.

    You counter: "Which means that Californian's nearby 'mystery ship' was firing rockets."

    No it doesn't mean that. How can you say that? It means simply what it says. That Stone thought she could have been signalling. That's what Stone says. Stone was clearly puzzled by illuminations in the direction of that other ship.

    Geo: "Boxhall, Rowe and Bright (who were specifically detailed to communicate with the ship visible to their north) would have seen such rockets if there was truly a rocket-firing ship situated between the Titanic and the Californian. (They didn't -- because there wasn't.)"

    You're not listening to me George when I try to answer your questions.

    You're running to assumptions like they ran in 1912. The situation is not amenable to your TA-DAH!! brand of instant either-or solutions.
    But I'll give you either/or.

    * If the ship Stone and Gibson was looking at fired any rockets - this is an IF, George - you say the Titanic "would have seen" such rockets.

    Let's pause here a moment to consider the complete double-standard you operate whereby the Californian naturally "wouldn't have seen" extra rockets fired by the Titanic over the eight they did see, yet the Titanic "would" have seen such rockets fired by another ship.

    * Secondly, the Carpathia was firing rockets as she raced to the scene. She fired them when she saw the first lifeboat through Boxhall's green flare. Titanic survivors overwhelmingly don't mention seeing the Carpathia's rockets however, even when they're right on the scene. These rockets, like Titanic's, also make noise, but only Beesley in his book makes reference to hearing these "booms." Other survivors simply see the ship coming up. In the overwhelming experience they have pased through, they don't mention these other rockets AT ALL. Yet considerable numbers must have seen them - and been reassured.

    There is meanwhile separate evidence on the Titanic of seeing lights on the starboard side. "imaginary lights." I wasn't there, I couldn't tell you what those are. Perhaps they were imaginary, I don't know. Perhaps they weren't. However there are possibilities here too.

    * Thirdly, if the Californian's close ship had fired some signals, they do not seem to have been high signals. Stone could see them because he was close and said they were low-lying. There was no other ship in view. IF the Titanic lay over the horizon, how would she see low rockets? They went less than half the height of the supposedly firing ship's masthead light and Stone says he thinks rockets would go higher than that.

    * Thirdly, there is a line in Gibson's orignal statement (not in his evience as you seem to think) where he says he thinks he sees a flash of light at deck level on the near ship. Now this is - in one light - undoubtedly capable of supporting the idea that the Cal's near ship was firing signals.

    3 (1) - I find this very hard to judge, because I wasn't there and don't know what Gibson saw. But IF a signal was seen being "detonated" at deck level, then I feel damn sure that the proximity thus indicated would tell Stone and Gibson immediately that they were looking at a humungous mammoth of a ship. They both say repeatedly that they thought she was a small to medium tramp. Nothing about her at all, says Gibson, to indicate a passenger ship. And he's the one seeing this one flash.

    3 (2) - Gibson's setting-off flash is puzzling. He doesn't mention it at the Inquiry hearings however, only in a statement for Captain Lord. He links it to a subsequent explosion in the sky in his statement, but will not testify to this. Stone saw no flash. Gibson doesn't mention any height for the burst as there avowedly would be at a distance of 5-6 miles. Gibson will depart entirely from his description of this one rocket of eight when he gets into the box.

    3 (3) - In light of everything else they say, and because this is just one strange deck-level flash, I am inclined to the view that this flash is that of a high rocket showing up low in the sky because the ship that fired it is over the horizon and a considerable distance away.
    Now I cannot completely exclude whether the Cal's nearby ship fired rockets. I will not completely close down that possibility because I can't on what the Cal observers say. I'm not in any rush to my conclusive destination, George - I quite like looking down a few sidestreets.

    I will agree however that, on the balance of probability, again solely in my view, we cannot rely on any contention that the Cal's nearby ship was firing any number of rockets that night.

    She could possibly have fired one... I don't know. But she does not seem to me, from their evidence, to be the one firing the eight rockets they saw.

    Geo - "Gibson (who *did* use binoculars) did not corroborate Stone's impression of low-flying rockets. (BR7505-10)"

    In the indicated Qs and all others, Gibson does not say those rockets went high into the sky George. He does not contradict Stone, whose evidence he must have heard.

    You say "doesn't coroborate" - I say "doesn't contradict."

    Geo: "Gibson clearly saw a flash of light on the 'mystery ship's' deck as the rocket was fired, a faint streak of light that followed the ascending rocket into the sky (a streak which Stone was unable to see), followed by the rocket bursting into white stars"

    Dealt with this.
    He said this in his original statement. He did not repeat it at the Inquiry although effectively invited to do so by counsel. He also suddenly surprised us with a previously unmentioned and unwritten list to starboard... while the Titanic listed to port.

    You say:

    "They (Titanic' rockets) rose high into the sky just like the rockets fired by Californian's so-called 'mystery ship' seem to have done."

    You say Cal's mystery ship fired rockets. Plural. You're ridiculously sure on a paucity of evidence. I can't see it to call it like that.

    Senan

  59. #59
    John M. Feeney
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    Hello, all!

    As an addendum to my prior post (regarding sources of information), I might also recommend -- to anyone not already familiar with the Californian and its role in the Titanic disaster -- Dave Billnitzer's excellent web site, "The Californian and the Titanic": http://home.earthlink.net/~hiker1217/Frameset.html

    Dave has assembled a very thorough compendium which includes full inquiry transcripts (relating to this aspect of the disaster), press releases, and other eyewitness accounts.

    Cheers!
    John M. Feeney

  60. #60
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    What is it John M. Feeney doesn't understand about Pitman - the Titanic Third Officer - specifying various colours in the rockets?

    ... about Major Peuchen specifiying different colours... and of Hitchens listing a series of colours before "deciding" (if that is reliable) on blue?

    The Californian saw eight white rockets from the Titanic.

    They missed any coloured ones that were sent up.

    And Titanic WAS equipped with coloured rockets.

    But I've had with this.

    John M. Feeney has shown his true colours on a few occasions and in a number of senses.

    Anyone interested in the Californian Incident should in the first instance read, read and re-read the Inquiry transcripts on line.

    There is no substitute for the unfiltered evidence. Certainly the idea of resorting first to a website with an axe to grind is beyond me.

    Suggesting such a thing is partisan in the extreme. But then, there are people in this world I do not pretend to understand.

    Now I am off on a trip.
    You North Americans should take it easy sometimes. You work WAY too hard.

    I'll be at the seaside for a week. No internet... wahoo!

  61. #61
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    G'Day George, as they say, war is hell. I would not have enjoyed being in the captains chairs in the situations you described. That seat would have to have been the loneliest one on the face of the planet. I certainly wouldn't want to deal with their nightmares, but as you indicated, they had no choice.

    Michael Poirier was kind enough to share with me a link dealing with The Laconia Incident where a U-Boat actually attempted to rescue survivors and got bombed for it's trouble. Admiral Doenitz afterwards issued the order that no rescue attempts were to be made. In all fairness to the man, I think I would have been forced to do the same thing.

    Mo, I don't think that the military would be inclined to test the refraction theory. Operating funds are decidedly scarce these days and what steaming time navies have is devoted to the work-ups for deployment or for the mission itself once deployed. Some dedicated research vessels would be a far better candidate for something like that. The only trick then would be to get the weather to play ball. That is to say, a clear cold moonless night in the North Atlantic with a handy icefeild to work with. The icefeild shouldn't be that much of a problem, but a clear night and a flat calm?(As in no storms?) On the Noth Atlantic? Good luck. You'll need it.

    Cordially,
    Michael H. Standart

  62. #62
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    Oh yeah, make it an impossible order...flat calm on the north atlantic icefields...why I was think ing that they could get every one out for July 4th...and yes I figure that Great Britain celebtrates this as well,.... as the day they got rid of us... Sorry Michael, guess that one was a little impractical....
    Maureen.

  63. #63
    George Behe
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    I wrote:

    >"Californian wasn't...nineteen miles from the disaster site,......
    > she was seen by a number of eyewitnesses *in broad daylight*
    >just half a dozen miles north of the disaster site."

    Senan replied:

    >That is absolute bunkum and you know it, George.

    You're wrong, Senan. (More on this in a moment.)

    >Ghosted 1950s
    >recollections by James Bisset don't cut it.

    Not by themselves.

    >That ship they saw was the
    >Mount Temple, .......

    You're as wrong as you can possibly be, old chap.

    >All that is reliable is the evidence given in 1912.

    Oh, I absolutely agree.

    >Your sweeping statements proceed from a false premise. How do you know
    >where the Californian was? You don't. You're making assumptions.

    No, I'm reading testimony that has been available to serious researchers since 1912.

    I wrote:

    >"Californian (as reported by the Mt. Temple's Captain Moore and various
    >eyewitnesses on the Carpathia) was just half-a-dozen miles north of the
    >disaster site when she began her 6 a.m. crossing of the icefield, that
    >would seem to settle the matter regarding the true identity of
    >Californian's rocket-firing 'mystery ship.'"

    Senan replied:

    >Wrong. Show me Moore's testimony!

    I can't help but echo Sir Julian Huxley's statement re: the Bishop of Oxford:

    "Lord, thou hast delivered him into my hands." :-)

    On pages 778-779 of the Senate Inquiry the Mt. Temple's Captain Moore gave the following testimony:

    Senator Smith: How near the Carpathia did you get that morning?

    Captain Moore: This pack of ice between us and the Carpathia, it is estimated, was between five and six miles. She did not communicate anything with us at all. When we sighted her she must have sighted us.

    Senator Smith: On which side of the ice pack was the Californian?

    Moore: The Californian was to the north, sir. She was to the north of the Carpathia and steaming to the westward, because, after I had come away and after giving up my attempt to get through that pack (to the south), I came back again and steered back, thinking I might pick up some soft place to the north. As I was going to the north the Californian was passing from east to west. (Note: Californian's passage through the icefield from east to west took place between 6 a.m. and 6:20 a.m. Californian time.)

    Senator Smith: And you were also cut off from the Carpathia by this ice pack?

    Captain Moore: Yes, sir; by this ice pack. He (i.e. the Californian) was then north of the Carpathia, and he must have been, I suppose, about the same distance to the north of the Carpathia as I was to the westward of her (i.e. five or six miles.)

    Later:

    Captain Moore: ....I must have been at least five miles to the westward of where the Titanic sank. This great field of ice was five miles at least between us and the Carpathia, where she had picked up these lifeboats.

    (End of Captain Moore's 1912 testimony.)

    Mt. Temple was approximately five or six miles west of the Carpathia, and Captain Moore estimated that Californian was a similar distance -- five or six miles -- north of the disaster site between 6 a.m. and 6:20 a.m. Californian time. (Captain Lord, on the other hand, falsely claimed that Californian was far beyond the Carpathia's horizon at this time.)

    For other 1912 eyewitness accounts which put the lie to Captain Lord's outlandish claims, I refer you to Dave Billnitzer's outstanding website.

    I can't see any point in continuing to debate the nighttime appearance of distant lights etc., since such observations are open to various interpretations by various people. Not so the daylight sightings made by eyewitnesses who saw the Californian close to the disaster site at 6 a.m. These eyewitnesses nail Captain Lord's coffin securely closed (although I suspect that a few Lordites of Haitian descent will continue to try to raise him from the dead.) :-)

    All my best,

    George

  64. #64
    Dave Billnitzer
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    This is hilarious, and not untypical of those who try to defend the Californian's inaction:

    Senan offered:

    >>He (Gibson) said this in his original statement. He did not repeat it at the Inquiry although effectively invited to do so by counsel. He also suddenly surprised us with a previously unmentioned and unwritten list to starboard... while the Titanic listed to port. <<

    Why then was this other ship (not the Titanic) listing to port? What was wrong with it? Why was it firing rockets? What caused it to have "a big side out of the water?" Why did Gibson say about it: "I only thought the same that he (Stone) thought - that a ship is not going to fire rockets at sea for nothing, and there must be something the matter with her."

    I think Leslie Harrison once tried to make the same argument - this non-Titanic ship was listing in the wrong direction; ergo, it could not be the Titanic.

    Really now...

  65. #65
    Dave Billnitzer
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    To George's and Senan's dialogue, I will add these:

    1. Daisy Spedden's diary entry for April 15, in which she wrote that Boat 3 had rowed toward a light on the horizon which afterwards turned out to be the Californian. She wrote that on the day it happened.

    2. Capt Lord's marconigram to the Virginian, shortly after he began steaming at 6 am, in which he told them he could see the Carpathia taking on passengers from small boats.

    3. Steward J.W. Barker's interview with the NY Times, April 19, 1912, in which he said witnesses on the Carpathia spotted the Californian at 6 am.

    S wrote:
    "All that is reliable is the evidence given in 1912. Rostron said he *first* saw Californian coming up to 8am when she was steaming east having come through the icefield."

    But along with Capt Moore, three additional accounts, two of which were from the Carpathia's perspective, and which contradict Rostron, put the Californian by name on the scene.

  66. #66
    John M. Feeney
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    Hi, Michael (Standart)!

    Just a clarification here -- maybe an unnecessary one -- but I wanted to explain myself further anyway, just in case. (And thanks for throwing the "red flag", if indeed there was one thrown.)
    (From your prior post):
    "Michael Poirier was kind enough to share with me a link dealing with The Laconia Incident where a U-Boat actually attempted to rescue survivors and got bombed for it's trouble. Admiral Doenitz afterwards issued the order that no rescue attempts were to be made. In all fairness to the man, I think I would have been forced to do the same thing."
    I got the frightening suspicion upon reading this (your above assessment is quite true, of course) that the concluding sentence in my U-boat post
    In that case, even the "enemy" had "raced to the rescue."
    *might* have been taken to imply that the Allied escort vessels George referred to were somehow negligent or culpable for doing their assigned duty in pursuing the aggressors.

    Just in case I did convey that impression (and it sincerely was *not* my intention), let me clarify that I truly included those observations soley for the sake of balance, merely to illustrate that thwarted, pained consciences were extant on *both* sides of that conflict.

    My concluding sentence in that post was actually intended as a damning idictment of the actions (or more properly, lack thereof) of the Californian -- a "friendly" ship, in peacetime no less, which simply sat there, counting: "One ... two ... three ... duh."

    My extreme apologies to anyone who may have gotten a different impression. War is indeed hell, and those were indeed "the times that try men's souls"! Souls were tried on both sides, but orders are still orders.

    Thanks, Michael, for making me aware of this -- whether intentionally or otherwise!

    Sincerely,
    John M. Feeney

  67. #67
    John M. Feeney
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    Senen Molony wrote:
    I'll be at the seaside for a week. No internet... wahoo!
    I can only hope, for his sake, that if Mr. Molony decides to take a "dip" and finds himself in trouble, that any lifeguards present don't take the same approach to his dilemma that Californian would:

    "Sir, I think I see a man flailing out there."

    "Really? Try signalling to him."

    "Sir, he's waving frantically!"

    "Maybe he's just trying to say 'hello'. See if you can find out who it is."

    "Sir, he really appears to be calling for help."

    "Well, you know how some of those swimmers make very broad strokes. Perhaps he's just having a vigorous bit of exercise."

    "Sir, that man has disappeared!"

    "See! What did I tell you? What a marvelous paddler he must be!"


    Good luck, Mr. Molony!

  68. #68
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    Ah, but Mr Feeney. What color were the rockets and how many did he send up? And were they sent from his portly side or not? Just teasing you fine fellows.

    Enjoyed your discussions guys! Mr Molony, safe trip!
    Maureen.

  69. #69
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    Let's just hope he doesn't have "a big side out of the water."

  70. #70
    John M. Feeney
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    Senan Molony wrote:
    What is it John M. Feeney doesn't understand about Pitman - the Titanic Third Officer - specifying various colours in the rockets? ... about Major Peuchen specifiying different colours... and of Hitchens listing a series of colours before "deciding" (if that is reliable) on blue?
    I'm agape! Is this yet another reversal from the notoriously inconsistent Mr. Molony? First he suggests -- supposedly based on the evidence -- that Titanic fired "... green, red, and blue rockets ..." in addition to the white ones. Then he dismisses that claim -- albeit implicitly, in defending a very significant omission from his "supporting" testimony -- when he concedes that Hichens' only real GUESS was "blue" (and perhaps a dubious blue at that). Now, he proceeds to resurrect this same tired argument as if nothing had ever occurred! Amazing!!!

    Who, other than Hichens -- who we are already informed, by Mr. Molony, discards his prior speculations -- makes any other direct reference to hues??? Certainly not Major Peuchen, who in fact employs the phrase "different colors" to describe "ORDINARY SKYROCKETS", not Titanic's rockets! (See US353.)
    The Californian saw eight white rockets from the Titanic.
    They missed any coloured ones that were sent up. (Molony)
    Perhaps this is because no colored rockets were actually sent up! Stripping all the other unsupportive pablum from Mr. Molony's arguments, the only substantial declaration of a NON-white "color" (other than Hichens' "blue" guess) to be found in the whole of the testimony is that of Reginald Lee:
    B2584. Were they coloured rockets, or only white ones? - No, coloured rockets.
    But even here, Lee doesn't specify WHAT color ("blue" again, maybe?), and he certainly doesn't make any claim to observed differences in color. In fact, Lee doesn't think *any* of the rockets are "white"! (And since he wasn't actually firing them, this can hardly be ascribed to a "different firing position" perspective.)

    So isn't it just possible, as many people have probably already deduced, that both Lee and Hichens (and Ernest Gill of the Californian) saw what was a perfectly rational interpretation of the color white? After all, the sky is BLUE, simply because the atmosphere refracts white light! Steet lights at night often appear BLUE! And as anyone who has ever dabbled with computer graphics is aware, it doesn't take much of a shift to convert "white" to a pale shade of something else.

    As for the other snippets employed by Mr. Molony in this reincarnated color argument, I'll repeat my prior criticism: many of these have a much broader context read intact, and are far less "exact" and convincing than Mr. Molony's carefully pared down versions.
    But I've had with this.
    John M. Feeney has shown his true colours on a few occasions and in a number of senses.(Molony)
    If, by showing my "true colours", Mr. Molony means that I am unwilling to accept his constantly shifting contentions as anything other than malarky, simply because HE believes them, then he is quite right. But I have no political bones to pick here. I simply take great exception to an "author" proferring largely unsubstantiated claims in an effort to champion as shaky a cause as this.

    Mr. Molony, on the other hand, has made it quite clear that his agenda in writing this article goes far beyond the originally purported premise. He, quite evidently, has his own drum to beat, and will no doubt continue to do so whether or not the evidence and further scrutiny bear him out.

    As for his beloved thesis -- the original article, that is -- it sometimes occurs to me that he has all but forgotten about that, so zealous are his efforts now to clear the Californian of any blame. But didn't the original article concede, "Think what you will of the Californian"? Nevertheless, Mr. Molony has continuously disregarded major criticisms of his own work, preferring to digress in favor of a holistic whitewashing of the entire Californian "incident".
    (More on this to follow.)
    Anyone interested in the Californian Incident should in the first instance read, read and re-read the Inquiry transcripts on line. (Molony)
    Nothing new here. I myself made this recommendation in the post previous to my listing of Mr. Billnitzer's site. However, the Titanic Inquiry Project does not include other eyewitness accounts pertinent to the Californian. Moreover, Dave's site does include the FULL testimonies relating to this aspect of the disaster. Or are you suggesting, Mr. Molony, that your audience is somehow incapable of discerning the truth on its own?

    Sincerely,

  71. #71
    John M. Feeney
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    Randy:

    LOL at the thought of what "big side" that might be!

    Cheers!

  72. #72
    John M. Feeney
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    Maureen:

    And what will he wear "in lieu of trunks"?

    Cheers!

  73. #73
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    Hey, gang!

    He fibbed to us! He's not gone at all, he just went over to Pat Cook's thread instead. (Check the times.) And he's getting really weird ...

    (Why, I ... )

    Cheers!

  74. #74
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    Hi John, I don't remember throwing down any red flags, but if you found something I said useful, then I'm a happy camper. Sharing information is the whole idea hereabouts.

    As to Allied warships and steamers not picking up survivors, that was the "short of war" exemption I spoke of, and likely the very hardest on the captain's of the ships that had to keep on going no matter how desperately they wanted to pick up survivors. I wouldn't ever want to have to live with the nightmares they had to deal with.

    Mo, I just want any test to be an honest one, and in order to do that, the conditions on the night the Titanic sank have to be replicated exactly. Ahhhhh....unfortunately, the North Atlantic is rarely so co-operative.

    As to the Californian and my own stand, I hope nobody has the idea that I despise Captain Lord. Far from it. All I can do personally is feel pity for a man who was in the wrong place, had a choice to make, made a bad one, and who thereafter spent a lifetime trying to explain why. Had things been a little different, it might have been Sir Stanley Lord alongside Sir Arthur Rostron the heros.

    Cordially,
    Michael H. Standart

  75. #75
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    Uh oh. Not sure if I belong here with the heavyweights, so please be kind!

    Mr Molony, you stated: "The T went to port to avoid the berg, not starboard. Why does she turn to starboard again and head north when there engine room evidence has the Titanic going backwards and forwards in check mode after the impact?"

    It was my understanding that, after turning to port, Murdoch then tried to "port around" the iceberg and swing out the stern, to avoid further damage (I think). This would involve a turn to starboard wouldn't it? And thus Titanic could indeed end up facing North?

    Regards,

    Paul.

  76. #76
    Dave Billnitzer
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    Hi Paul:

    QM Rowe testified that T's stern had swung around and was facing practically dead south, when she came to a stop after the collision.

  77. #77
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    My dear Mr Feeney. A true lady never tells about the trunks or what she saw or didn't see. Except to say that it was a mighty fine rocket indeed.
    Maureen.

  78. #78
    George Behe
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    Hi, Maureen!

    The real question, though, is "Was it a low-flying rocket?"

    (Did I say that?) :-)

    All my best,

    George

  79. #79
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    My Dearest George. Sir. My lips are sealed....I shant say that it twas a low-flying rocket sealed them....or not. Nor will I say that I did see those green and red and blue stars on high...or not, kind Sir. And this smile is not due to anything to do with trunks...or not. And that is all I have to say on that my dear George.
    Maureen.

  80. #80
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    Well, if it was Mrs. Cardeza's trunks, it WAS packing quite a rocket.

  81. #81
    John M. Feeney
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    Ooooh!

    Now this thread had taken a decidely devilish turn!
    (I'm going to stay well away from *this* rocket discussion -- it's much safer that way!)

    ;^)
    JMF

  82. #82
    John M. Feeney
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    Hello, Michael (Standart):

    Just as an afterthought - assuming you catch this - could you post that link for the Laconia Incident? I'd be facinated to have a look! (I remembered the story in general, but none of the details other than Doenitz' orders.)

    Thanks!

  83. #83
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    John, always happy to share the wealth, old man. Go tp http://uboat.net/ops/laconia.htm

    Cordially,
    Michael H. Standart

  84. #84
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    "... There was peace, and the world had an Irish tenor to its waves."

    John Be ("Jack") Feeney, Titanica Survivor

    ~~~

  85. #85
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    Michael:

    Much obliged for the link! :^)

    Cheers!
    John Feeney

  86. #86
    John M. Feeney
    Guest
    Brief OT addendum:
    ----------------------------
    Michael (and George):

    For a really shocking glimpse (if you hadn't already seen it) at the ugliness of war -- individual and "officially sanctioned" -- see "The Peleus Incident" at that same web site:
    http://uboat.net/history/peleus2.htm

    Certainly this sorry event represents the antithesis of conscience!

    Thanks again for the link, Michael.

    Regards,
    John Feeney

  87. #87
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    Thanks. I read through the laconia site but will do the peleus another time. Maureen.

  88. #88
    Pat Cook
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    Wait a minute - WHICH Laconia? I or II?

    Best regards,
    Cook

  89. #89
    John M. Feeney
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    Pat: See response in your Beesley thread. (JMF)

  90. #90
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    Hi John, and thanks for the link. Rather a nasty bedtime story, but thats war for you. I've bookmarked the homepage for further use. There are a lot of U-Boat sites out there, but this one looks to be the most comprehensive.

    Cordially,
    Michael H. Standart

  91. #91
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    Am hesitant to jump in here with such distinguished company. I was on the 1996 Recovery Expedition at the wreck site for the recreation of the firing sequence, aboard the Ocean Breeze. The night was calm and still and except for a near-full moon, conditions were similar to that night. If anything, the lack of moon would have been an improvement in visibility of rockets. White rockets were fired at 19 miles and 7 using the White Star 12 -star signal rockets and I can say with complete certitude that at both distances, color and rockets were clearly discernable and identifiable as distress rockets. My personal feeling- and don't beat me up please- am mild, tired and over middle-aged(!) is that Californian could not have gotten up steam and negotiated that pack ice in time anyway. I am an old Navy wife and I remember my husband's destroyers getting up steam from "cold iron" status and it took forever (this was in 1971!).Such sad circumstances.

  92. #92
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    Hi Shelley, and I'm not beating you up. Just adding a little point that's sometime forgotten; The Californian didn't have to raise steam, she already had her boilers up. She could have gotten underway at anytime.

    The point about the icefeild is true enough. Nogotiating it would have been quite a challange. The Carpathia managed it, but had a few close calls in her run north.

    The heckles get raised over the fact that the Californian didn't try snd didn't even take the trouble to switch on the wireless to see if something was being said over the radio. The rest as they say, is history...or hysteria depending on your point of veiw. (Shrug)

    Cordially,
    Michael H. Standart

  93. #93
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    I like cordial people! At my stage in life I try never to get hysterical about things I can't do anything about. Yes indeed, it is perplexing why nobody switched on the wireless. It seems to me that MANY people were too complacent that night and entirely too casual about everything from wireless messages stuffed in a pocket or buried in a pile to "putting the danger behind us" to carrying enough lifeboats!And yes, I could cheerfully throttle Lord for not demanding more than a Morse lamp effort- after all- HE could stay toasty warm in bed and send an underling. Thanks goodness for good old Cottam. What a damnable shame all around What's that old adage- a penny's worth of prevention is worth a pound of cure- so little could have done so much./shelley p.s.-Was very excited to know that Californian did have some "steam up" at the time- I had thought (since 1976)she was stopped cold for the night.

  94. #94
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    This has been a very interesting thread, even into the continuation. Shelley thanks for sharing the part about the rockets firing for the re-creation...how many rockets were fired and at what times? Is this experiment online or in some harcopy version that can be picked up...documented anywhere?
    Thanks Maureen.

  95. #95
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    Hi Shelley, with no kind of support available, a ship at sea with no steam up was basically a dead ship. Steam ran everything, including the generators. Even today, thats largely the case with any steamship no matter if the boiler is oil fired or superheated by a nuclear reactor. The difference being that ships these days have deisels to provide emergency power. Not so in 1912. (Even on the Titanic, the emergency generators were steam powered) and in port, ships would often have a boiler or two on line to run the generators.

    Then of course you have the fact of the Californian being surrounded by ice so they would have to keep the engines ready to go in case they had to get moving in one hell of a hurry.

    Of course you're right about the difficulties of negotiating an ice feild. Even with the sun rising to give them ample light, the Californian threaded her way through the feild at about six knots, and took about half an hour to get out of it. There are some places where it makes no sense to put the pedal to the metal. This was one of them.

    Cordially,
    Michael H. Standart

  96. #96
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    Hmm...Mo and Michael- I need to rummage around in my 1996 copies of VOYAGE (Titanic International periodical) and figure out the # of the expedition issue covering the rocket re-creation. I will get back to you tomorrow. To be on the VERY site, at the SAME time, and in the SAME circumstances was mindblowing to me- I believe eight rockets were fired-every consideration was given to reproduce the Night to Remember. I know my heart stood still. Re. boilers and furnaces and stuff- I had a vision of Californian "hove to" for the night, furnaces raked down, stokers on the doze, with just enough juice to keep the heat going- too much Hollywood I guess.

  97. #97
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    Shelley:
    Coincidentally I was re-reading this issue when you posted. It's #25.

  98. #98
    George Behe
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    Michael wrote:

    >Of course you're right about the difficulties of >negotiating an ice
    >feild. Even with the sun rising to give them >ample light, the
    >Californian threaded her way through the feild at >about six knots, and
    >took about half an hour to get out of it.


    Hi, Michael!

    Actually, the Californian traversed the icefield *twice* -- once westbound and once eastbound. The ironic thing, though, is that neither of these two traverses was necessary, since Californian had originally stopped on the same side of the icefield as the Titanic. All Captain Lord would have had to do is steam six miles southward to where the 'mystery ship' had been firing rockets.

    All my best,

    George

  99. #99
    John M. Feeney
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    Hi, Shelley:

    Nice seeing you out here in "The Badlands"! And I'm fascinated to see your on-hand observations regarding the rockets re-creation. All too often, all I've seen regarding this was that someone (of the "Lordite" camp) proclaimed that some or all of the rockets could not be *heard* at distance, thus the possible "confusion" aboard Californian.

    Now I am curious about one major difference, and it's admittedly based on my own personal take on the so-called "colored" rockets. I know, since you said the re-creation was done under a "near-full moon" that it's not possible to answer this one with any certainty, but ...

    Had the recreation been done under moonless conditions, do you think it's possible that a blue tinge imparted by atmospheric refraction could have led to the "blue" descriptions given by Gill and Hichens? (I mean this sincerely as just an honest question -- you were there, I was not -- not as any inroad to a debate.)

    Thanks for your thoughts on this!

    Sincerely,
    John Feeney

  100. #100
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    G'Day George, and you're point is well taken. I was merely dicussing what the Californian proposed facing in the dark.

    I thought it was rather curious that having threaded their way out in daylight that they ducked BACK into the icefeild. A decidedly pointless manuever, and one I wouldn't find especially appealing.(You might hit something that'll ruin your day.) Did any of the Californian's officers ever offer an explaination for that?

    Cordially,
    Michael H. Standart

 

 
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