2nd Officer Stone's Interrogation.

Jim Currie

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Base solely on Stone's account, the diagram below is what he said he saw. (ship sizes are enlarged)
The problem with his story is that if the rockets came from Titanic, then the bearing to the rockets could not change. If, as Gibson said, the sidelight disappeared after the 7th rocket was seen, then the steamer had to remain close to the bearing of the rockets, to the SSE, until after the 8th rocket was seen. This means that this steamer could not have crossed the icefield until after the 8th and last rocket was seen, and then it had to cover a large distance of about 15 nautical miles (B to D) as shown for her to reach that position (D) shown SW 1/2 W by 2am. If that last rocket was seen at about 1:40pm, as Stone estimated, then for the steamer to reach the position in the SW 1/2 W at 2am as shown without exposing her green sidelight (as shown in the diagram), then she had to cover those 15 miles in 20 minutes (1:40 to 2:00am) which would mean a speed of 45 knots. That's pure nonsense.

View attachment 44730
No, and the bearings of the rockets did not change, they appeared to change. Only the bearing of the nearby vessel changed.

You live in a world of theory, Sam.

For start-off, a rocket was not seen at 00-45 am... just a flash.

An Officer using the standard Compass may well have mentally applied the error as a matter of form. Such bearings were usually converted before use. However, you cannot rely on the evidence regarding ships heading and consequently, bearings being True or Compass.
Gibson said he was told afterward that the ship's head was ENE at 12-20 am when the other vessel was abeam to starboard. That is no proof at all. Apart from it being nonsense, he does not say whether it was ENE Compass or True. If it was True, then contrary to sworn evidence, Californian's bow did not swing an inch from 10-21pm until 12-20 am, and here's why:
Stones said the ship was heading ENE...NE True by Standard Compass at 12-10am
Groves said the ship was heading ENE...NE True an hour before that, at 11-10 am.
Captain Lord said they were heading ENE...NE True at 10-21am when Californian finally stopped.
In fact, whether you like it or not, the only clear indications of how that nearby ship and the rockets were bearing from the stopped Californian was the true distress position of Titanic relative to the Log Book stopped position of the Californian, regardless of who worked it out.

I suggest to you that if Lord read in the Official Log Book a heading of ENE by Compass for the 10-30 pm stopped position, then the Scrap Log was incorrectly filled out by Groves when he went below after being relieved. Because Stewart would have copied that information into the Official Log Book on the morning of April 15 and subsequently, Lord was reading from the Official Log at the US Inquiry.

You show the nearby vessel heading North by compass. That is based on conjecture on your part, not on any evidence by Stone or anyone else and designed to fit the ENE Compass heading given by Stone.

Your map shows a compass rose. The sketch I posted simply shows a circle graduated in degrees.

OK! I made a mistake when laying off Stone's bearing of SW1/2 W.

SW 1/2 W on any Compass or a 360-degree north-up plotting circle is actually just over 230 1/2 degrees around from O - North. If that is indicated on the card of a Standard Compass and the error of that compass was 20 West, then the true bearing was 210 1/2 degrees.(SW xS 1/4S) on that same card.

The last rocket was not seen at the same time as the red light vanished. It was seen to have vanished between the 1st and 2nd rockets seen by Gibson. If that vessel was turning away from Californian, then at the moment the red light disappeared, she was heading due East. Therefore she did not, and could not have been changing her bearing to the right before that red light disappeared. In addition, to suggest it dipped below the horizon without anyone seeing a morse light blinking away right above it is ridiculous nonsense.

As I have pointed out to you numerous times - unless the vessel in question turned short-round, she would have changed her bearing initially to the left. Consequently, the bearing of that red light (if taken) must have been seen to alter to the left (not the right) sometime before rocket 6 was seen. Gibson would not have been on the bridge when the nearby vessel started to move at first. The bearing would have changed very slowly left, stop, then start to change equally slowly right. Imagine that, if you can. By the way, if the nearby vessel had been initially pointing NW as you believe, then her lights would most certainly have appeared very strange as she transited that right-hand slow turn away from observers on Californian.
Instead of theorising, I suggest you do as Aaron does... take a trip down to the lake shore on a very dark night and do some practical observations of ships lights. I think you might begin to "see the light". Start with 500 feet long vessel, 5 miles away, beam-on to you.

By the way, there is nothing "funny-peculiar" about me using 4 Miles, I used the evidence of Captain Lord, the most experienced observer and pointed out why, above.

Stone said the bearing changed from just after he saw the first signal. He indicated two directional changes and variable speeds up until 2 am when he said the bearing was changing fast at 2 am. Here is exactly what he said:
" I was watching the steamer by the compass with my binoculars... [The steamer altering her bearing] from the time I saw the first rocket.
- She bore first S.S.E. and she was altering her bearing towards the south [then] towards west. "
To alter toward the South is the first directional change and in this case, indicates a turn to the right. To alter towards the West is a subsequent alteration of direction. Even her Interrogator understood exactly what was being described:
"I lost sight of her red sidelight.
7944a. That would be consistent with her altering her heading? A: - Yes.
7961. (The Commissioner.) Can you give me an idea of the speed at which she was steaming away when these lights gradually disappeared? A: - No, it would be very difficult to express an opinion...- I should say that at different times she was going at different speeds.


Gibson said: "About twenty minutes past one the Second Officer remarked to me that she was slowly steaming away towards the south-west. Only in his April 18 statement to Captain Lord, does Stone use the expression "steaming away fast," and that was 40 minutes later.

If you use a 360-degree North-up plot circle, lay off True bearings of 157 degrees and 210 degrees and use Lord's 4-mile distance off, you will find that the nearby vessel made good a distance of about 12 miles from when she completed her turn until she finally vanished.

Here's something else which backs up Stone's evidence to a certain extent.:

You believe that Titanic's signals were fired over a period of 1 hour 3 minutes and that 8 were fired. That's an average firing rate of 9 minutes, Boxhall said about 5 minutes...a little over half your firing rate. Of course, Boxhall, like all the rest, was lying. Just the same as he was lying when he said he saw a moving vessel.

QM Rowe fired his signals over a period of 40 minutes, that's exactly 23 minutes less than your 63 minute firing period. To once again use your own expression...it's funny how the difference in firing periods is exactly 23 minutes..a share of Titanic's planned clock change.

It's funny that on an unaltered Californian clock, Row's first signal would have been fired at 00-57am Californian time. Yet on a Californian Clock altered to LMT, it would have been 00-47 am...exactly 10 minutes difference and about the time Stone saw his first "rocket". Don't you find it strange that if Rowe had fired 7 signals, the average firing rate would have been a little under 6 minutes very close to Boxhall's 5 minutes?

Now here's another thing. If Rowe had fired the first of 7 signals at 00-47am Californian time, and at Boxhall's 5-minute intervals, then the last signal...No.7 would have been seen at 1-22 am on the same altered clock. Shortly after that, Stone told Gibson the other vessel was steaming slowly away. Not only that, but the mystery vessel would have been seen changing her bearing to the right at or near to 01-21 am... an hour before that vessel finally disappeared. It would not have needed to make much more than the normal speed to disappear.

Finally, "Lord the liar" who was actually on the bridge of a ship that actually transited the pack ice at a very narrow diagonal angle ( S16W), told his questioners that the ice barrier was "I suppose about 26 miles long and from 1 to 2 miles wide." Not the 5 miles wide shown on your map.
I suspect you got that from the evidence of Captain Moore of the Mount Temple who was stopped on the west side and gauging the distance diagonally across the barrier toward the Carpathia.
Incidentally, Captain Rostron saw Californian to the WSW of the survivor pick up site. His ship was them about 3 or 4 miles east of the barrier. If Lord turned to cross the ice at 8 am and arrives at Carpathia at 8-30 am, then the barrier was about 2 miles wide at that point.

No doubt you'll tear this to bits... enjoy!

Edited to correct (I hope) some confusing quotation references. Jim, if this is not what you intended, feel free to let me know. MAB
 
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Jim Currie

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I am very grateful for Sam and Jim discussing Stone's bearings in detail and with diagrams.

It sort of links in with my comment about Groves in the late 1950s refusing to discuss the details of his own testimony with Walter Lord and Leslie Harrison, to my own peculiar way of thinking... in the sense that to me a lot of Groves' and Stone's testimony just doesn't make sense.

When you analyse what Stone claimed he could recall in the detail that Sam has done, then it certainly doesn't make any sense.

Perhaps there is an apt quote from Captain Quick of the Board of Trade in a document dated 14th April 1961 (p192-3, Paul Lee)...

"I do not attempt to explain how the 'strange ship' suddenly changed her bearings from SSE to SW. But I feel that an officer who would see eight rockets go up and not insist on the Master or other senior officer coming to the bridge, might neglect to notice that his own ship was swinging"

Cheers,

Julian
Hello Julian.

"Quick" by name but slow on the uptake. Any 3rd-year deck Apprentice. let alone a Master Mariner could work that out in a New York minute.

The same captain should have cast his mind back to bridge standard practice at the time of Watch handover or should have read the evidence in full. However, he probably did not know about this bit from Stone:
"Mr. Groves, who also pointed out ice and steamer and said our head was E.N.E. and we were swinging. On looking at the compass I saw this was correct."

When Groves handed over to Stone, he would have given him a full verbal report. This would have included the fact that the ship's bow was swinging. Stone would automatically have checked that by the compass.
It depends on whom Captain Quick declined to explain to. After all, what's the point in trying to explain something to a closed mind? ;)
 

Jim Currie

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A few days ago, I was speculating on when Stone would have given up attempting to call the mystery vessel. In my experience, having done this many times, you know within at most 5 minutes that a ship isn't going to reply to you and that you would then inform the officer of the watch that the ship isn't responding. Jim said that Stone would have continued to signal the ship unless he was ordered to stop.

I wondered when Groves gave up on his attempt and how this was communiated to Lord. It was while reading Groves testimony I noticed something else odd. It may be something and nothing but in 22 years in the Royal Navy I've never ever heard of this.

In order to tell Lord about the approaching vessel Groves left the bridge and went below to tell the Captain.

8168. You went down to him?
- I went down to the lower bridge, which is part of the saloon deck.

8169. (The Commissioner.) Would this be something after 11 o'clock?
- Yes, my Lord, when I went down to him it would be as near as I could judge about 11.30.

8170. (Mr. Rowlatt.) What did you say to him?
- I knocked at his door and told him there was a steamer approaching us coming up on the starboard quarter.

8171. (The Commissioner.) The door of what?
- The door of the chart room. It is a Venetian door.

I have never heard of an officer of the watch, who has a duty to be on the bridge, leave that position to go and find the Captain. That is essentially leaving his place of duty which, in the navy, would be considered a court matial offence. Before anyone says anything, I am well aware that merchant navy rules are different, however, the questions that this raises are as interesting.

Why didn't Groves call Lord up on the voice pipe? When Lord was in the chartroom on the sofa we know that he could hear his voice pipe because that's how Stone called down.

Why wasn't the quartermaster sent down to find the CO and pass on the message leaving Groves to remain at his place of duty on the Bridge?

Was Groves alone on the bridge?

It is normal practice for the CO to let his watch officers know where he is going to be in order that if they do have any messages to pass on he can be found quickly. Smith does this in his conversation with Lightoller on Titanic. The "if it becomes doubtful" chat that they had.

Like I said, it may be nothing but it strikes me as extremely unusual and definately not normal practice for an officer to leave his post and go looking for the CO to pass on a message.
Ah! Well now, Rob me lad. You were spoiled in the RN.

Not a fan of Groves but in this instance, you and others need to understand how the Californian was manned.

A 3-Mate Merchant vessel such as Californian had 4 men to each Watch. These would include the Officer of the Watch and 3 Deck Hands or 2 Deck Hands and an Apprentice or Cadet (Midshipman in the RN).
While at sea and underweigh at night, the Hands would rotate as follows Sailor 1: 2 hours wheel, 1 hour Standby and final hour Lookout. Sailor 2: 1st hour Standby, middle 2 hours Lookout, last hour standby (Known as the "farmer".Sailor 3: 1st hour lookout, 2ndhour Standby and last 2 hours wheel. The three hands would progressively rotate during the voyage.
When at anchor they would rotate on standby for Officer Call. the bridge would be maned by the OOW only.
In the case of Groves on the Californian... the ship was stopped and not likely to be going anywhere. His Watch were rotating in the Crow's nest with a Standby man on call if needed. He had the choice of blowing down for the Old Man or going down the side ladder from the upper bridge and knocking on the wheelhouse door. Whatever he did, he would not have left the bridge... just changed his location while technically still on it.

As for signaling the other vessel?

What was the reason for signaling?
At first, there was no reason other than curiosity and to relieve the boredom of a long uneventful Watch. However, there soon was a reason.

"I reported seeing these lights in the sky in the direction of the other steamer which appeared to me to be white rockets. You then gave me orders to call her up with the Morse lamp and try and get some information from her."

Since Lord did not rescind that order and the aim of the order had not been achieved, then the order would stand until it did - something else happened to change it, or the other vessel steamed away. As it was, the last was the case.
Think of this too.
Although Stone did not say as much, he would know that Lord could hear the morse key being operated. I suspect that was one of the reasons why he called Lord at 2-45 pm...to up-date him on the situation and to prevent the possibility that Lored would be wondering why he hadn't heard the morse key for over an hour.
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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No, it was Stone.
Here's what he wrote:
....
When you read that April 18th report you see that Stone was explaining about the rockets that he saw from the very first at 12:45, to when he called down the tube after seeing the 5th, and then seeing three more after Gibson arrived back on deck. His, "The other steamer meanwhile had shut in ..." did not specify when during that entire period the sidelight was shut in." It certainly is too vague to pin down exactly between what rockets that sidelight disappeared. On the other hand, Gibson's report leaves no doubt the the sidelight disappeared after the 2nd of the three rockets that he witnessed was seen. That would have been after the 7th of the 8 rockets seen.

During Stone's testimony, he stated that the steamer began to alter her bearings after the 2nd rocket was seen, as the first he was not sure about (the one that Jim likes to refer to as just a flash). If that steamer was actually changing her bearings toward the south and SW beginning at that time, and the red sidelight didn't disappear until after the 7th rocket was seen, then you can be sure that this steamer was steaming across the icefield in reverse as Julian has pointed out more than once.

The fact of the matter is this. If those rockets came from Titanic, the bearing to those rockets would not change. Soon after it became apparent that the steamer was altering her bearings while the bearing to the rockets remained the same, it would have been obvious that those rockets were coming from some other vessel and not this allegedly nearby steamer that was moving southwestward. But what did Stone say about that? "But that I could not understand why if the rockets came from a steamer beyond this one, when the steamer altered her bearing the rockets should also alter their bearings."

Of course he could understand that because the steamer was NOT altering her bearings as he claimed.

Quoting again from his report to Lord, "We saw nothing further until about 3.20 when we thought we observed two faint lights in the sky about S.S.W. and a little distance apart." Those signals at 3:20am were rockets fired from Carpathia coming up from the southeast, not from the SSW. Stone got his bearings screwed up. I'll leave it to others to come up with how that may have happened.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>>Finally, "Lord the liar" who was actually on the bridge of a ship that actually transited the pack ice at a very narrow diagonal angle ( S16W), told his questioners that the ice barrier was "I suppose about 26 miles long and from 1 to 2 miles wide." Not the 5 miles wide shown on your map. <<

Which report from Lord do you like?

Copy. File No. 62908-2995. British S. S. Californian. Master, Lord. Received in branch hydrographic office, Boston Mass., April 22. Received in Hydrographic Office April 23.

April 14, 6:30 P.M., latitude 42.05 N., longitude 49.10 W., sighted two large icebergs 5 miles south of the above position. At 7:15 P.M., latitude 42.05 N., longitude 49.20 W., two bergs, and 7:30 P.M. two bergs. At 10:20 P.M., latitude 42.05 N., longitude 50.07 W., encountered heavy packed field ice, extending north and south as far as the eye could see and about 5 miles wide; also numerous bergs could be seen. From above position until April 15, 2:30 P.M., latitude 41.33 N., longitude 50.42 W., almost continuously in field ice. At the last position sighted two bergs and cleared the field ice.
 

Jim Currie

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Hi Jim,
Seeing the copy of Reguation for Preventing Collisions At Sea page 187. Would that come under the Rules of the Road in 1912? If so were can one find this article?
No, Mike. That page is from the Nicholls's Seamanship Manual, the then "bible" of those aspiring to be Deck Officers. The direction there is from the Board of Trade Examiners advice to Candidates for the Examinations for Master's & Mates. It was not a RULE but woe betide ant candidate who ignored it. 3 hours of constant questioning during the Oral part of the Exams was not uncommon. Too many wrong answers could see a Candidate getting 6 months extra sea-time.

Edited to correct some incorrect formatting of quotation directions. MAB
 
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Jim Currie

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The thing that I have never understood about this discussion is that so much time is spent arguing the facts. You can argue what facts mean but not the facts themselves. Is it that hard to determine who said what? I don’t get it.
You are correct, Bob. Determining what someone actually said from the written word should be easy for a literate person. However, the difficulty comes when what someone said or wrote is interpreted. For sure, to interpret properly results in the facts. However, to interpret to satisfy a pre-conceived belief often has the effect of causing confusion.
The current discussion about a turning ship is, to my mind, a classic example of Cart-before-the-horse syndrome. By that, I mean that some participants have concluded before analysing and then analysing to fit said conclusion.:oops:
 

Jim Currie

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>>Finally, "Lord the liar" who was actually on the bridge of a ship that actually transited the pack ice at a very narrow diagonal angle ( S16W), told his questioners that the ice barrier was "I suppose about 26 miles long and from 1 to 2 miles wide." Not the 5 miles wide shown on your map. <<

Which report from Lord do you like?

Copy. File No. 62908-2995. British S. S. Californian. Master, Lord. Received in branch hydrographic office, Boston Mass., April 22. Received in Hydrographic Office April 23.

April 14, 6:30 P.M., latitude 42.05 N., longitude 49.10 W., sighted two large icebergs 5 miles south of the above position. At 7:15 P.M., latitude 42.05 N., longitude 49.20 W., two bergs, and 7:30 P.M. two bergs. At 10:20 P.M., latitude 42.05 N., longitude 50.07 W., encountered heavy packed field ice, extending north and south as far as the eye could see and about 5 miles wide; also numerous bergs could be seen. From above position until April 15, 2:30 P.M., latitude 41.33 N., longitude 50.42 W., almost continuously in field ice. At the last position sighted two bergs and cleared the field ice.
You've done it again, Sam- jumped in with both feet.

That report describes the field, not the barrier itself. It was a mere 1 to 2 miles wide and extending for about 26 miles south of the stopped location, not "as far as the eye could see". That's the same Field you said was running NW - SE...remember?

Funny how, to back your argument, you are quite willing to use this evidence containing a position you do not accept - evidence re-produced from the evidence of a group who actually moved the ice field to suit the wrong position for Titanic.:rolleyes:
 

Bob_Read

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Jim: You said: “For sure, to interpret properly results in the facts.” Facts are interpreted resulting in an interpretation of those facts. “Properly” is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes there are too few facts to make an inescapable conclusion. So we are left to decide which conclusion the facts support by a preponderance of the evidence. That’s a judgment that people on both sides of an issue will make. We have all the facts we probably ever will have. Now we just continue to argue for whichever conclusion both sides believe is borne out by the facts. I don’t see how this debate can progress to any more clarity. It seems the best that can be hoped for is a greater consensus for one conclusion or the other. We may already be there. But hey, don’t let me stop the fun. Argue on!
 
Mar 22, 2003
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That report describes the field, not the barrier itself.
So now we have an ice barrier which is different from what he called a field. Hmmm? You love to muddy the waters Jim. Not surprising when it comes to Lord and the Californian. The problem is that Lord was not very consistent. He did not call it an ice barrier. He called it field ice that stretched 26 miles and was 1 to 2 miles wide when was questioned about it by Sen. Smith.
At the British inquiry his 1 to 2 miles became 2 to 3 miles and it was in the shape of a T that separated him from the SOS position.
Yet, in the report he filed with the hydrographic office he wrote:
"encountered heavy packed field ice, extending north and south as far as the eye could see and about 5 miles wide.
So there you have it, 1 to 2 miles for 26 miles, then 2 to 3 miles in the shape of a T, and in the report he filed on Apr 22, it was 5 miles wide extending as far as the eye could see.

Good Grief!
 

AlexP

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I suggest to you and others, that the above bits of evidence paint the following picture:
Gibson's testimony and affidavit are unreliable. He alleged he came back to the bridge at 12:55 a.m., and that Stone told him he saw 5 rockets and spoke to the Captain. But Stone talked to Lord at 1:45 a.m. or so. At 12:55 a.m. he could not have told Gibson he talked to Lord. If Gibson was mistaking about the time he came back to the bridge he probably was mistaking about the bearings he took also. So I don't think any evidence paints any picture. No evidence could be trusted.
 

Jim Currie

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So now we have an ice barrier which is different from what he called a field. Hmmm? You love to muddy the waters Jim. Not surprising when it comes to Lord and the Californian. The problem is that Lord was not very consistent. He did not call it an ice barrier. He called it field ice that stretched 26 miles and was 1 to 2 miles wide when was questioned about it by Sen. Smith.
At the British inquiry his 1 to 2 miles became 2 to 3 miles and it was in the shape of a T that separated him from the SOS position.
Yet, in the report he filed with the hydrographic office he wrote:
"encountered heavy packed field ice, extending north and south as far as the eye could see and about 5 miles wide.
So there you have it, 1 to 2 miles for 26 miles, then 2 to 3 miles in the shape of a T, and in the report he filed on Apr 22, it was 5 miles wide extending as far as the eye could see.

Good Grief!
Nothing "good" about grief, Sam. Here is some more for you.

"TITANIC" - ICE BARRIER - NEARBY SHIPS.
The chart bearing the above heading shows the ice barrier into which the Titanic undoubtedly steamed. The ice as shown on this chart, it will be noted, is grouped in one barrier, and not shown scattered as on the chart headed "Ice as reported near Titanic."


That was written by your compatriot, Captain John J. Knapp, USN.

Once again, you completely ignore the points for which you have absolutely no wish to discuss. Instead, you play with semantics.

Here's something else for you to consider.
If, as you claim, the ice barrier (there's that dreaded word again)was 5 miles wide and Californian transited it on a course of S16W, she would have had to have moved through heavy ice for about 7.5 miles.
Here is an extract from the Log Book of the Californian as read out by Captain Lord at the US Inquiry:

"Six o'clock, proceeded slow, pushing through the thick ice.
6.20, clear of thickest of ice; proceeded full speed, pushing the ice.
8.30, stopped close to steamship Carpathia."


Here is an extract from the evidence of 3rd officer Groves given to the UK Inquiry which corroborates the Log Book entry.

"8290. (Mr. Rowlatt.) What time did you turn out again in the morning? A: - About 6.40; I did not notice the time particularly.
8313. And go up on the bridge? A: - Yes, I went straight up on the bridge as soon as I was dressed.
8314. What did you find when you got there? A: - Ice all round us and icebergs.
8315. Was your ship under way? A: - The ship was under way then, and I could feel her bumping the ice, and I knew she had got a good speed on by that."


Think about it. If Lord was trying to make S 16 W through the ice and he had 7.5 miles of heavy ice ahead of him, How on earth did he transit that 7,5 miles in 20 minutes at Slow Speed? On the other hand, transiting heavy ice 1 to 2 miles wide at a slow speed for 20 minutes sounds just about right.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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If, as you claim, the ice barrier (there's that dreaded word again)was 5 miles wide
I made no such claim. The 5 miles came from your champion, Capt. Lord in the report that he filed. In the diagram I drew I stated from whom the width of the ice field came from. Up where Californian was, the field was 2-3 miles wide, the distance that Lord said he had to cross at 6 in the morning. Down where Titanic was it was 5-6 miles wide based on what Capt.Moore and his officers estimated. But Jim Currie says it was only 1 to 2 miles wide because that is what Lord told Sen. Smith on April 26, 4 days after he filed his report in Boston where he said the heavy pack ice 5 miles wide.
If Lord was trying to make S 16 W through the ice ...
Why would anyone in their right mind want to take the longest path when cutting across ice by going diagonally? It was easy to see clear water on the other side. Get to the other side in shortest path possible, and then head down on your intended course to your destination. But what do I know? I fly airplanes, not steamboats.
By the way, after Californian cleared the heavy stuff she turned southward to parallel the western side of the field. (Read Stewart.) Before then, while cutting across the ice, she was seen crossing the field going from east to west, not southward if she was really heading S16W. But that observation came from Capt. Moore, so why should it be trusted? Right?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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For example?
Groves: "At the time I left the bridge we were heading E.N.E. by compass."
Stone: "I went on the bridge about 8 minutes past 12, and took over the Watch from the Third Officer, Mr. Groves, who also pointed out ice and steamer and said our head was E.N.E. and we were swinging. On looking at the compass I saw this was correct and observed the other steamer S.S.E dead abeam ..."
Gibson: [the steamer was] "Right on the starboard beam"

Three mutually supporting observations taken around 12:15am.
 

Jim Currie

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Jim: You said: “For sure, to interpret properly results in the facts.” Facts are interpreted resulting in an interpretation of those facts. “Properly” is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes there are too few facts to make an inescapable conclusion. So we are left to decide which conclusion the facts support by a preponderance of the evidence. That’s a judgment that people on both sides of an issue will make. We have all the facts we probably ever will have. Now we just continue to argue for whichever conclusion both sides believe is borne out by the facts. I don’t see how this debate can progress to any more clarity. It seems the best that can be hoped for is a greater consensus for one conclusion or the other. We may already be there. But hey, don’t let me stop the fun. Argue on!
I would agree with you up to a point, Bob, but when technical evidence is under discussion then, technical fact cannot be "in the eye of the beholder" but can only be determined by the use of universally accepted technical norms of the day. A Wreck Commissioner's Court is presided over by a legal officer. However, as with a highly technical financial case, such a legal officer requires technical assistance. Therefore, according to sub-section 3 of section 466 Part 6 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, which relates to the special shipping inquiries and such Courts, "the Court holding any such formal investigation shall hold the same with the assistance of one or more assessors of nautical, engineering, or other special skill or knowledge."
As a former Marine Accident Surveyor and Investigator for Lloyds and US Underwriters, I am of the opinion that the finding of the Wreck Commisioner regarding the SS Californian clearly indicates that the opinions of the Assessors used at the UK Inquiry must have been completely ignored - the Assessors in question were totally incompetent or they were politically nobbled.

I hasten to add that it is not necessary to possess such qualifications to have an opinion. However, surely in the case whereby it is stated or implied that a person has lied under oath, it is incumbent on the accuser to clearly demonstrate that the accused person did so?
Perhaps the following sums up the attitude of many toward the Californian case?
"The prosecution must overthrow the presumption of innocence with proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt."
Sandiganbayan acquits Ejercito in technical malversation case ".

As for 2nd Officer Stone and Apprentice Gibson? Remove the rockets from the picture for a moment and you have 2 young men who said they saw a ship stopped near to their own ship. After a while, the nearby ship turned around and sailed away. End of story.
If you want to add rockets...they saw rockets which did not look to them like distress rockets. Only one of these rockets seemed to come from the nearby ship yet they seemed to change direction as the ship changed direction. End of the second story.
 

george harris

Member
May 11, 2018
62
14
18
"As for 2nd Officer Stone and Apprentice Gibson? Remove the rockets from the picture for a moment and you have 2 young men who said they saw a ship stopped near to their own ship. After a while, the nearby ship turned around and sailed away. End of story." (Jim Currie)

Jim, Stone and Gibson repeatedly said the ship had "disappeared". The Inquiry tried to get them to state if "disappeared" meant the ship had steamed away or had sunk and gone to the bottom. Gibson, in particular, had a difficult time in answering this:

7611. (The Solicitor-General.) Yes, my Lord. (To the Witness.) You say you were told to report that the ship had disappeared. What. did you understand by "disappeared"?
- We could not see anything more of her.

7612. (The Commissioner.) Did it convey to you, and did the man who was speaking to you, in your opinion, intend to convey that the ship had gone down? That is what I understand by disappearing. Did you understand him to mean that?
- No, my Lord.

7613. What did you understand him to mean that she had steamed away through the ice?
- That she had gone out of sight.

7614. Oh, yes. A ship goes out of sight when she goes down to the bottom. What did you understand by the word "disappeared"?
- That is all I could understand about it.

7615. A ship that had been sending up rockets; then you are told to go to the Captain and say, "That ship which has been sending up rockets has disappeared." What did you understand the Second Officer to mean? Did not you understand him to mean that she had gone to the bottom?
- No.

7616. Then what did you understand, that she had steamed away through the ice?
- [No Answer.]

That is very strange. "No answer." Gibson sat there and said nothing? How would you (Jim Currie) have answered question 7616?
 

Bob_Read

Member
May 9, 2019
305
115
43
USA
I would agree with you up to a point, Bob, but when technical evidence is under discussion then, technical fact cannot be "in the eye of the beholder" but can only be determined by the use of universally accepted technical norms of the day. A Wreck Commissioner's Court is presided over by a legal officer. However, as with a highly technical financial case, such a legal officer requires technical assistance. Therefore, according to sub-section 3 of section 466 Part 6 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, which relates to the special shipping inquiries and such Courts, "the Court holding any such formal investigation shall hold the same with the assistance of one or more assessors of nautical, engineering, or other special skill or knowledge."
As a former Marine Accident Surveyor and Investigator for Lloyds and US Underwriters, I am of the opinion that the finding of the Wreck Commisioner regarding the SS Californian clearly indicates that the opinions of the Assessors used at the UK Inquiry must have been completely ignored - the Assessors in question were totally incompetent or they were politically nobbled.

I hasten to add that it is not necessary to possess such qualifications to have an opinion. However, surely in the case whereby it is stated or implied that a person has lied under oath, it is incumbent on the accuser to clearly demonstrate that the accused person did so?
Perhaps the following sums up the attitude of many toward the Californian case?
"The prosecution must overthrow the presumption of innocence with proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt."
Sandiganbayan acquits Ejercito in technical malversation case ".

As for 2nd Officer Stone and Apprentice Gibson? Remove the rockets from the picture for a moment and you have 2 young men who said they saw a ship stopped near to their own ship. After a while, the nearby ship turned around and sailed away. End of story.

If you want to add rockets...they saw rockets which did not look to them like distress rockets. Only one of these rockets seemed to come from the nearby ship yet they seemed to change direction as the ship changed direction. End of the second story.
Jim: It was the Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry. It was not a trial so the criminal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt did not apply. There are many who don’t hold your opinion of the Assessors or of the Commissioner’s Report. As far as who lied or not, that judgment is not a legal one. There is another court which renders its judgments according to its own standards: The Court of Public Opinion. In that court Captain Stanley Lord was tried and found guilty. Is the Court of Public Opinion necessarily unjust? I would just point you to the case of O.J. Simpson. He was found not guilty in a court of law but in the Court of Public Opinion he was found guilty. You have and continue to make your case regarding the Californian incident. I would ask why if your arguments are so compelling, do we not see people being persuaded by your arguments? You can blame your audience all you want but at some point you have to consider the possibility that your arguments are just weak.
 

AlexP

Member
May 23, 2019
250
14
18
Usa
Groves: "At the time I left the bridge we were heading E.N.E. by compass."
Stone: "I went on the bridge about 8 minutes past 12, and took over the Watch from the Third Officer, Mr. Groves, who also pointed out ice and steamer and said our head was E.N.E. and we were swinging. On looking at the compass I saw this was correct and observed the other steamer S.S.E dead abeam ..."
Gibson: [the steamer was] "Right on the starboard beam"

Three mutually supporting observations taken around 12:15am.
If you believe that Stone was correct and that Californian was heading E.N.E. at 12 a.m. what reasons do you have
to believe that Stone was incorrect about Californian’s heading for 2:05?
If you believe Gibson’s relative bearing was correct for 12:15 a.m. what reasons do you have not to believe that they were also correct for 2:05?
Now try to plot these bearings.
Still believe them?
And if not, why not?