2nd Officer Stone's Interrogation.

Jim Currie

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I have one thing to say about this supposed flash at 12:15. Stone himself wrote that he was not sure what it was that caught his attention at 12:45 but he initially thought it may have been a shooting star. But after seeing the 2nd one over that steamer he recognized that it was a white rocket. The same for all the rest of them. He told Lord that he had seen a total of 8 rockets, which included that so called flash that he wasn't sure about to begin with. Clearly, he realized what that first signal was after seeing the others. So lets get off this business of him seeing some unknown flash plus 7 rockets. He saw a total of 8. He said so. Also keep in mind, he may not have actually seen the very first signal sent up by Boxhall, who was sending signals up before Rowe arrived on the bridge. Boxhall even said as much when he answered the phone call from Rowe who reported seeing a boat in the water. After Gibson arrived we were told that they saw the last 3 of their total of 8 seen. We don't know if they may have missed one or even two while they were chatting. Nobody on Titanic was really counting and we have estimates ranging from 1/2 dozen to more than a dozen going up.
If a signal is sent up, it is meant to attract attention. It did so in 2 ways...with a bang and a flash. These were the first attention-getters. Once the attention was obtained, it was maintained by the falling stars which were displayed immediately and for some time after the flash. If within audible range, the bang would be heard about 9 seconds after the flash. To suggest that Stone saw the aerial flash of detonation without the stars is nonsense. These would have lingered above the sea for a considerable time.
According to you, Stone saw a flash over the nearby vessel, noted it then promptly ignored it. If so, what drew his attention to the rocket/signal he did positively identify How could he "after seeing the 2nd one over that steamer "...recognize that the first flash was a white rocket?
Stone either saw a rocket or saw a flash. He simply did as you and others do... assumed the flash must have been a rocket after he actually saw a rocket. If he, you or others had stopped to think about it, you, he and others would ask the simple question... So if the first one was a rocket...what happened to the stars? Oh! - and by the way - what happened to the morse signals?

You declare "So let's get off this business of him seeing some unknown flash plus 7 rockets. He saw a total of 8."
Get your facts right! Not a single person on Californian saw 8 rockets...only 7 were positively identified as such.

You suggest: "Also keep in mind, he may not have actually seen the very first signal sent up by Boxhall, who was sending signals up before Rowe arrived on the bridge. Boxhall even said as much when he answered the phone call from Rowe who reported seeing a boat in the water."

QM Rowe said he called the bridge after seeing the first lifeboat...No.7 ...abeam to starboard. It was a white painted boat and would have been illuminated by the lights of Titanic. It could never have been illuminated by the burst of a socket signal high overhead (which would easily have been seen by Stone). Because the very first signal was sent up after the second lifeboat...No.5...was launched. Therefore, there was plenty of time for QM Rowe and his mate to bring the detonators for the socket signals to Boxhall on the bridge. Seems that Boxhall was getting his phone call memories mixed-up.
 

Jim Currie

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You cannot use an average event rate for writing down an event timeline no matter what is being talked about especially since nobody was timing these events at either end. In getting an average rate based solely on what was seen, you need to use the total seen, N, and the start and stop times T1 and T2 respectively taken from the same timing source. In this case it has to be Stone who gave estimates for T1 and T2 and N. The average rate is then:
t = (T2 -T1)/(N-1). Using Stone's estimates, N=8, T1 = 0:45, and T2 = 1:40. The resulting average period between is t = 7 min 51 sec. Given he also said he saw 5 between 0:45 and 1:15, the earlier average period was 7 min 30 sec. If the 5 were seen from 0:45 to 1:10, the period works out to 6 min 15 sec for the first 5. All this is based on the times and numbers given. As I said above, nobody was really looking at clock, and we really don't know if Californian saw all the signals sent up from Titanic.
Well, it seems that some of us are exempt from using an average event rate for writing down an event timeline. You included. I quote from an article you wrote:
"Of the 36 socket signals supplied to Titanic, 17 signals were obviously not fired since they were found in this box. That does not mean that 19 signals were actually fired. Of the remaining 19 signals supplied, we know that 8 were definitely fired because eight of them were seen from the bridge of the SS Californian. It is also clear from eyewitness reports that nobody on Titanic actually counted how many distress signals were fired off that night. Titanic’s Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall, who was in charge of firing these signals, thought “between half a dozen and a dozen” were fired. Third Officer Herbert Pitman thought “it may have been a dozen or it may have been more.” And Second Officer Charles Lightoller thought “somewhere about eight.” What they did agree with is that these signals were being sent up one at a time at intervals of about 5 or 6 minutes in compliance with the regulations then in effect."
 

Jim Currie

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The boxes supplied by the Cotton Powder Co. contained 24, 12 or 6 signals. In addition to the signals, each box contained the friction tubes, cleaning hook and firing lanyard. The box containing 24 signals is described below:

View attachment 44701
The friction tubes (detonators) could not have been supplied to Titanic in the same box. If that had been the case (no pun intended), then why were QM Rowe and his mate each ordered to bring a box of detonators from the poop locker?
 

Jim Currie

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Hi Julian.

In my opinion, you are spot on about the importance of this particular discussion.

At the end of the day, compass bearings, distances, mystery ships and queer lights are all smoke and mirrors to the real conversation which is what we are having here.

There can be no doubt whatsoever that Stone, and Gibson observed the Titanic's distress rockets.

What did he (Stone) think he was seeing? What did he report? When did he report it and why was nothing more done than to continue attempting to establish comms by flashing light, something that had completely failed for almost an hour subsequent to the first rocket being seen?

The very fact, as I have said a few times in this, and other threads, that Stone can not answer the simple question at the inquiry of why did he think that ship was firing rockets tells us all we need to know.
I cannot understand the problem, Rob. Stone very clearly stated that he did not know what he was seeing. Those questioning him simply tried to get him to say that he saw distress rockets. End of story. Any of us in the same situation would have answered in the same way.
"I saw a flash."...just a flash. End of story. To suggest that he or anyone else thought that flash was a distress rocket is pure nonsense.

Stone had never seen a distress rocket fired. However, he was taught that a distress rocket was to be fired at short intervals. So when asked about firing intervals of the rockets he did see, he came up with " 3 or 4 minutes".
Stone was not challenged on that answer by his questioners. Despite him telling his questioners that he saw 7 fired between about 00-50 am and 1-40 am. That's. an average firing rate of 1 every 8+ minutes - twice what he told them. Might that have been that they liked his first answer better since it confirmed what The Commissioner had already decided and the first answer "pleased" him?

Let me ask you a question: What do you think Captain Rostron was firing distress signals for?

Stone, like anyone else seeing a rocket or a series of rockets fired at sea, would have known they were not being fired for nothing,. That was a stupid suggestion. Rostron had a reason for firing his distress signals but it was not because he was in distress.
Distress signals are not fired from a moving vessel. If Stone believed at least one came from that nearby vessel and it started to move shortly after he saw the signals in its direction, then he was perfectly correct in believing the vessel was not in distress, even if it fired one or all the signals he saw.

You do not awaken your captain just because you see a flash. You wait until the flash is repeated or you have something more positive to report. That is exactly what Stone did.

Incidentally; neither he or Gibson would ever have seen the muzzle flash of a 50mm cannon fired on the blind side. That is what the flash of a socket signal would have looked like. They would most certainly not have seen it had the separation distance been more than 12 miles.

All this talk about signals and who saw what - here are another two questions.

Since Sam won't answer, perhaps you or Julian might like to offer a solution?
(1) Why on earth was it that during all the time Titanic and Californian were signalling with the lamp, not once, did anyone on eother ship state that such signals were seen?
(2) If a ship is in distress and a nearby ship is signalling her, don't you think that all the anxious eyes on the distressed vessel would have seen such signals?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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"I saw a flash."...just a flash. End of story. To suggest that he or anyone else thought that flash was a distress rocket is pure nonsense.
Stone saw more than one isolated flash. But you know that. Stone wasn't as stupid as what he made himself appear to be when questioned. This is what he said saw:

"First of all, I was walking up and down the bridge and I saw one white flash in the sky, immediately above this other steamer. I did not know what it was; I thought it might be a shooting star...It was just a white flash in the sky; it might have been anything...I thought nothing until I brought the ship under observation with the binoculars and saw the others...I saw four more then...They had the appearance of white rockets bursting in the sky."

4+1=5 Jim. Then 3 more were seen after Gibson arrived. 5+3=8. So did Stone think he saw a total of 7 rockets or did he think he saw a total of 8?

"I told Gibson to go down to the Master and be sure and wake him up and tell him that altogether we had seen eight of these white lights like white rockets in the direction of this other steamer; that this steamer was disappearing in the S.W., that we had called her up repeatedly on the Morse lamp and received no information whatsoever."

But I understand that you believe he really saw only 7 because the first flash, seen with the naked eye, only looked like a flash of white light to him? And furthermore, there were 17 unused signals left in the box built for 24 so therefore only 7 seven could have been sent up from Titanic. Right?

So what was this first flash if not a socket signal? Was it somebody using a flash camera from some perch halfway up one of the masts taking a picture of the loading of the lifeboats to sell as a souvenir?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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If a ship is in distress and a nearby ship is signalling her, don't you think that all the anxious eyes on the distressed vessel would have seen such signals?
"There were a lot of stewards and men standing around the bridge and around the boat deck. Of course, there were quite a lot of them quite interested in this ship, looking from the bridge, and some said she had shown a light in reply, but I never saw it. I even got the quartermaster who was working around with me - I do not know who he was - to fire off the distress signal, and I got him to also signal with the Morse lamp - that is just a series of dots with short intervals of light - whilst I watched with a pair of glasses to see whether this man did answer, as some people said he had replied."
"I can not say I saw any reply. Some people say she replied to our rockets and our signals, but I did not see them."
 

Rob Lawes

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(1) Why on earth was it that during all the time Titanic and Californian were signalling with the lamp, not once, did anyone on eother ship state that such signals were seen?
(2) If a ship is in distress and a nearby ship is signalling her, don't you think that all the anxious eyes on the distressed vessel would have seen such signals?
Yes, you would certainly imagine someone would have been asked to keep a sharp lookout for signals, lights etc. Of course we need to keep in mind those on the Titanic looking out would have had no one worrying about protecting their night vision.

That being said, the simple answer is that the two ships were too far apart to see each others Morse signals due to luminescence of the equipment in use at the time.

Before you say ah-ha, bingo, we have a winner however, it still doesn't excuse the fact that the Californian was close enough to see Titanic's rockets.

As we know, Californian had been trying to raise the so called "Mystery" ship for some time, even before the rockets began. If the ship under observation hadn't responded but began firing rockets how long would you continue to attempt to respond before realising you weren't going to get a reply?

What would you think if you were told the ship that had so far not responded had started firing rockets? Especially when you have another tried and tested means of finding out what's going on.

So we have a number of attempts to call her up and nothing back. Then she starts firing rockets and they are told to try contacting her again. How long would you go on without a response before you reported back to the Captain to let him know the rockets were still coming but no response had been received?

As you know Jim, I am well versed in sending signals by flashing light by both day and night. We used 15 inch, 10 inch, 5 inch and a 2 1/2 inch projector. Their day ranges under normal visual conditions were handily remembered as (in order of size, biggest to smallest) the visual horizon, 10 miles, 5 miles and 2 miles. By night we used the 5 inch projector with a red filter and could expect a range of around 10 miles. We also used a Mast head morse lamp and key arrangement however these were no more powerful than a 100w house bulb and were removed as obsolete by the end of the 90's.

Regards Captain Rostron, he was firing rockets to let the Titanic's survivors know he was on his way. Was this in direct contravention to the use of rockets at sea? Yes. However as we have discussed before, if it is your contention that Rostron was wrong (he was) to do this because any observers may confuse those rockets for distress signals, they fall foul of your argument that they were too far apart to be considered distress signals and moving ships don't fire distress rockets.

We know that Titanic didn't move while she was firing her rockets.

Stone knew that rockets wouldn't be fired for fun. He can't provide any other explanation for them. I keep saying this, if he could provide an alternative explanation fine. He simply can't. He told Gibson a ship doesn't fire rockets without reason, he told Lord they were all white and he didn't think they were signals. Why else would a ship fire at least 7 rockets at regular intervals? These are not parachute flares. The illuminated stars would be visible for several seconds as they fell but not the 30 or 40 seconds you see these days from a modern para flare. They would be no use for illuminating an area in front of the ship and also, if you were looking to illuminate an area you would need to fire the next almost as soon as the first went up. You wouldn't wait until your eyes readjusted to the dark before firing another and having to readjust to the bright light.

To put it simply, Stone could provide no clear explanation or any reason for rockets being fired that makes any sense. And the book only had two reasons. Distress or Company Signal.
 
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Jim Currie

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Not sure what the audible range was for a socket signal but 9 seconds between flash and bang would indicate the observer was less than 2 miles from the detonation.
Mia culpa! The velocity of sound in air of 8 C is 1100 ft/sec. therefore it travels a nautical mile in 5.52 seconds. So if the nearby vessel was 5 nautical miles away, the sound of detonation of the socket signal would have been heard 27.6 seconds later. Actually, it would have been heard a little later due to the cold. I should try feet instead of yards.:eek:
 
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That being said, the simple answer is that the two ships were too far apart to see each others Morse signals due to luminescence of the equipment in use at the time.
According to one source:
Each marine Morse lamp furnished for Titanic contained six miniature lamps, each rated at 5 c.p. The lamp actually flashed fairly rapidly, as a small amount of current heated the filaments at all times, and a resistance lamp was used in series to raise or lower the current flowing through the filaments. It should not be surprising that the Morse lamp was not rated for extended distances, as it was not conceived for communication to the visual horizon.

A total of 30 c.p. (candle power) is not very bright. That's why they were mounted inside a fresnel type glass lens, similar to the navigation lamp lenses but smaller. Californian's lamp may have been more powerful. Lord claimed it could be seen about 10 miles. The ship's were more than that apart, otherwise Boxhall's green flares would have been seen from Californian. As I posted above, some people near Boxhall thought they saw what looked like signaling from the vessel under observation.
 
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Jim Currie

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"There were a lot of stewards and men standing around the bridge and around the boat deck. Of course, there were quite a lot of them quite interested in this ship, looking from the bridge, and some said she had shown a light in reply, but I never saw it. I even got the quartermaster who was working around with me - I do not know who he was - to fire off the distress signal, and I got him to also signal with the Morse lamp - that is just a series of dots with short intervals of light - whilst I watched with a pair of glasses to see whether this man did answer, as some people said he had replied."
"I can not say I saw any reply. Some people say she replied to our rockets and our signals, but I did not see them."
Boxhall was talking to the uninitiated. The call sign was a ._._......_._......_._ etc. A series of dots was Error...Error...Error. The answering sight was "T" a long flash. However, it was a "2-way-street". It has been claimed that Captain Smith told Boxhall to "call him up (the other ship) and tell him to come at once, we are sinking."
If Boxhall did do that, then it would have been impossible for an observer in the nearby ship to miss it.

There was no way these signals could be mistaken for anything else. If Boxhall could see the nearby ship's red light with the naked eye. then those on that ship could have likewise seen the red light of Titanic.
The signal lights of both ships were so placed as to be seen above the normal ship's accommodation lights. The one carried by Californian was what was known, in subsequent years as "The BoT signal lamp" due to the fact that every UK merchant vessel was required to have one located as it was located on Californian. Titanic would also carry the very latest versions.
They both were calling their respective nearby vessel at regular intervals from about 11-30 pm until 2 pm the next morning. On Californian, the frequency of calls would increase after the signal sighting. Titanic was also calling from before the first signal was fired until the last one...probably at least an hour.
Given the intensity of observation on both vessels, what do you honestly think were the chances of more than two such signals being missed?o_O
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Jim,

Stone mentioned the lack of a 'report' (bang) at the British Inquiry, but it is not in his 18th April statement, which suggests to me it was not a factor in his decision making process during the Middle Watch, but was something suggested to him subsequently, as an 'excuse' for not considering them distress rockets.

It is also dubious in my opinion because Stone did not know during the fateful Middle Watch that the rockets he saw were composite Cotton Powder Co products that emitted a 'bang' and a display of white stars.

I think that constructing an argument that the 'flash' Stone saw around 12.45 was not one of Titanic's rockets is obtuse. He wasn't looking for rockets being fired at the time, and he might have been doing anything at the time and not looking in the right direction. He was probably filling and lighting his pipe, and if he was not on the forward extremity of the bridge, the weather cloth and canopy to the flying bridge would have restricted his vision. All we can really say is that he saw a 'flash' with the naked eye, then got the binoculars and saw the next 4 quite clearly as white rockets, and there are multiple examples of Stone describing the first 'flash' he saw as one of the five, then eight white rockets he saw, as Sam has pointed out.

I don't think any of us are suggesting that the rockets were fired as close as 5 or 6 miles away which is just about the maximum distance they would have heard a bang/report, not withstanding the delay in time between seeing a rocket then the 'bang' due to sound travelling slower.

Cheers,

Julian
 

Julian Atkins

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Regards Captain Rostron, he was firing rockets to let the Titanic's survivors know he was on his way

And Captain Rostron ordered Harold Cottam to issue a Marconi signal at 3.11am Mount Temple ship's time as recorded by Durrant in his PV to warn that Carpathia was firing rockets (3.15am Californian time) to negate any suggestion they were 'distress' rockets being fired.

A vital piece of evidence that has been overlooked, and with all due acknowledgements to Sam who referenced this.

It is a big jigsaw puzzle, and it appears that some have a lot of the pieces missing! (Hint, Jim!)

Sadly at the British Inquiry, the Carpathia rockets were either overlooked or completely misunderstood or ignored.

I personally consider them quite important, as we need to explain why Stone made no further report of them to Captain Lord, as Gibson was questioned upon and gave his own testimony before Stone at the British Inquiry.

Cheers,

Julian
 

Jim Currie

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Hi Jim,

Stone mentioned the lack of a 'report' (bang) at the British Inquiry, but it is not in his 18th April statement, which suggests to me it was not a factor in his decision making process during the Middle Watch, but was something suggested to him subsequently, as an 'excuse' for not considering them distress rockets.

It is also dubious in my opinion because Stone did not know during the fateful Middle Watch that the rockets he saw were composite Cotton Powder Co products that emitted a 'bang' and a display of white stars.

I think that constructing an argument that the 'flash' Stone saw around 12.45 was not one of Titanic's rockets is obtuse. He wasn't looking for rockets being fired at the time, and he might have been doing anything at the time and not looking in the right direction. He was probably filling and lighting his pipe, and if he was not on the forward extremity of the bridge, the weather cloth and canopy to the flying bridge would have restricted his vision. All we can really say is that he saw a 'flash' with the naked eye, then got the binoculars and saw the next 4 quite clearly as white rockets, and there are multiple examples of Stone describing the first 'flash' he saw as one of the five, then eight white rockets he saw, as Sam has pointed out.

I don't think any of us are suggesting that the rockets were fired as close as 5 or 6 miles away which is just about the maximum distance they would have heard a bang/report, not withstanding the delay in time between seeing a rocket then the 'bang' due to sound travelling slower.

Cheers,

Julian
Hello Julian.

Stone did as all 2/Os would do...7824. Did you continue to keep this vessel under observation? A: - The whole time.

He was also ordered to report any change of bearing. This involved very frequent observations of the nearby vessel using the compass.
The weather cloth would not have obscured his view of the horizon... not unless Stone was under 5 feet in height.
As for lighting his pipe? A bridge officer never smoked a pipe (or a fag) while on duty. There is nothing more likely to ruin night vision than sucking on a burning pile of baccy in a pipe bowl. ( or to cause a visiting captain's nose to twitch,:eek:
 
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And Captain Rostron ordered Harold Cottam to issue a Marconi signal at 3.11am Mount Temple ship's time as recorded by Durrant in his PV to warn that Carpathia was firing rockets (3.15am Californian time) to negate any suggestion they were 'distress' rockets being fired.
The PV of Coronia was the first that I know of to pickup a message about those rockets being fired. It was logged (6:16am GMT) 9 minutes earlier than the time logged (1:25am NYT) by Mount Temple. The Coronia entry was: "we are firing rockets here lookout for rockets".

Despite sending this information out by wireless, Rostron was in clear violation of the rules by doing so, no matter how well intentioned.
 
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From the Merchant Shipping Act 1894:
Signals of distress
434
(1) Her Majesty in Council may make rules as to what signals shall be
signals of distress, and the signals fixed by those rules shall be
deemed to be signals of distress.
(2) If a master of a vessel uses or displays, or causes or permits any
person under his authority to use or display, any of those signals of
distress, except in the case of a vessel being in distress, he shall be
liable to pay compensation for any labour undertaken, risk incurred,
or loss sustained in consequence of that signal having been
supposed to be a signal of distress, and that compensation may,
without prejudice to any other remedy, be recovered in the same
manner in which salvage is recoverable.
 
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7336. Q. Do you mean that nobody on board your ship supposed that they might be distress signals? -
A. [Lord] The Second Officer, the man in charge of the watch, said most emphatically they were not distress rockets.

Anyone believe that Stone told Lord that in a most emphatic manner? What we have from Stone was that Lord asked him if they were company signals, to which Stone said that he did not know but they appeared to be white rockets. Not exactly what I would call an emphatic statement about them not being distress signals. As Stone said, he left it for Lord to decide, and Lord never came up to see what was going on. I think what we have here is a classic example of:
Lord: "It's his fault"
Stone: "No, it's his fault."
 

Jim Currie

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Yes, you would certainly imagine someone would have been asked to keep a sharp lookout for signals, lights etc. Of course we need to keep in mind those on the Titanic looking out would have had no one worrying about protecting their night vision.

That being said, the simple answer is that the two ships were too far apart to see each others Morse signals due to luminescence of the equipment in use at the time.

Before you say ah-ha, bingo, we have a winner however, it still doesn't excuse the fact that the Californian was close enough to see Titanic's rockets.

As we know, Californian had been trying to raise the so called "Mystery" ship for some time, even before the rockets began. If the ship under observation hadn't responded but began firing rockets how long would you continue to attempt to respond before realising you weren't going to get a reply?

What would you think if you were told the ship that had so far not responded had started firing rockets? Especially when you have another tried and tested means of finding out what's going on.

So we have a number of attempts to call her up and nothing back. Then she starts firing rockets and they are told to try contacting her again. How long would you go on without a response before you reported back to the Captain to let him know the rockets were still coming but no response had been received?

As you know Jim, I am well versed in sending signals by flashing light by both day and night. We used 15 inch, 10 inch, 5 inch and a 2 1/2 inch projector. Their day ranges under normal visual conditions were handily remembered as (in order of size, biggest to smallest) the visual horizon, 10 miles, 5 miles and 2 miles. By night we used the 5 inch projector with a red filter and could expect a range of around 10 miles. We also used a Mast head morse lamp and key arrangement however these were no more powerful than a 100w house bulb and were removed as obsolete by the end of the 90's.

Regards Captain Rostron, he was firing rockets to let the Titanic's survivors know he was on his way. Was this in direct contravention to the use of rockets at sea? Yes. However as we have discussed before, if it is your contention that Rostron was wrong (he was) to do this because any observers may confuse those rockets for distress signals, they fall foul of your argument that they were too far apart to be considered distress signals and moving ships don't fire distress rockets.

We know that Titanic didn't move while she was firing her rockets.

Stone knew that rockets wouldn't be fired for fun. He can't provide any other explanation for them. I keep saying this, if he could provide an alternative explanation fine. He simply can't. He told Gibson a ship doesn't fire rockets without reason, he told Lord they were all white and he didn't think they were signals. Why else would a ship fire at least 7 rockets at regular intervals? These are not parachute flares. The illuminated stars would be visible for several seconds as they fell but not the 30 or 40 seconds you see these days from a modern para flare. They would be no use for illuminating an area in front of the ship and also, if you were looking to illuminate an area you would need to fire the next almost as soon as the first went up. You wouldn't wait until your eyes readjusted to the dark before firing another and having to readjust to the bright light.

To put it simply, Stone could provide no clear explanation or any reason for rockets being fired that makes any sense. And the book only had two reasons. Distress or Company Signal.
Both sides were using binoculars, Rob. The red sidelight of the nearby vessel was visible for quite a while and eventually seen with the naked eye according to Boxhall.
Except for the very last signal seen, Californian never showed red sidelight in the direction of the nearby vessel.
Survivors in lifeboats saw Titanic's red side light and her morse signals. If they could, then those on Californian should have also been able to see them since they too saw the red sidelight and could never have missed the white flashing light directly above it.


If you are ordered to call up a nearby vessel and don't get a response, you don't stop calling, you do as ordered and keep calling her up until told to stop doing so. Stone did exactly as he was told. Had the nearby vessel remained on station and continued to seem to fire these signals, then Stone would, as any other officer would have done, called his Boss for further orders. According to Stone, that did not happen. He first saw the vessel moving. He would not report the move right away, but would wait until he had something positive to report. That is exactly what he did. Within a short time, the bearing of the other vessel obviously changed enough to confirm that she was not in any trouble but able to move away from the location. So when should he have called his Boss? The minute the vessel started to move? Or when he was convinced that she wasn't simply changing her station?

Stone certainly saw Titanic's signals but he did not recognise them for what they were. Why he did not do so, is not so difficult to understand to those with reasonable thought processes.
Stone had never seen such signals fired. However, he knew what they should look like according to the Regulations. The only reference he would have would be the picture painted in his mind's eye by The Regulations. A rocket throwing white stars to an apparent height of say 70 feet above the sea from a nearby vessel which was changing its bearings did not in any way, fit his mind's eye image.

To discount his evidence, you have to show that he lied under oath. To do that, you also have to show that Apprentice Gibson and Captain Lord also lied under oath. Because, apart from inconsistencies (which are a favorable sign) in their evidence, written and verbal, their stories corroborate that of Stone.

My point in quoting Rostron was to show that there were other reasons (right or wrong) for firing a distress signal. I'm sure that if you set your mind to it, you too could think of other reasons for a nearby ship to fire low trajectory rockets. Have a look again at the questions:

7855. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) You know they were not being sent up for fun, were they? A: - No.
7856. (The Commissioner.) You know, you do not make a good impression upon me at present.
7856a. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) Did you think that they were distress signals? A: - No.
7866. Did that fact help you at the time to come to some conclusion as to what these signals meant - danger from ice you know, I suggest, followed by distress signals? A: - I kept the ship under close observation, and I did not see any reason to suppose they were sent as distress signals from this ship.


If you cut through the intimidation and plane bullying: Stone agreed they were not sent up for fun (Although, all things being equal, there was an outside chance they were) but he also did not see any reason to believe that what he was seeing were signals of distress.
Just because Stone was unable to do so, is not sure-fire proof that reasons other than distress did not exist. I pointed one out to you. If there was no mistaking their meaning, why were distress pyrotechnics eventually changed to red?

I am perfectly aware that they were not parachute flares, Rob. However, I do know howTitanic's distress signals behaved:
"Up it went, higher and higher, with a sea of faces upturned to watch it, and then an explosion that seemed to split the silent night in two, and a shower of stars sank slowly down and went out one by one." If they had not done so, they would have been as much use as a chocolate fireguard. Stone would have seen these stars after the "flash".