3 gongs not directly before collision?


Nov 13, 2014
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On the timeline here on ET, the moment of the 3 bells by Fleet are set a whole 5 minutes before the collision. This seems just wrong.
That time is inputed from the testimony of Joseph Scarrott:
335. Shortly before the ship struck the iceberg did you hear the bell strike in the crow's nest?
- Yes.

336. What did you hear?
- Three bells.

337. Do you know what time that was?
- Not to be exact I do not, but it was round about half-past eleven.
[...]
343. How soon did you feel this vibration after you heard the three strikes on the gong?
- As I did not take much notice of the three strikes on the gong, I could hardly recollect the time; but I should think it was - well, we will say about five or eight minutes; it seemed to me about that time.
Pretty much everyone appears to agree that the bell was rung to alert for the iceberg itself, not just "ice now discernable ahead". And why would Fleet wait this long to take the telephone and call the bridge?
 

Jim Currie

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The best way to answer this question is to read the evidence. Fleet emphatically stated that he rang three bells then went immediately to the phone and that while he was at the phone, Titanic's bow began to swing left.
AB Scarrot clearly stated that he did not pay much attention to the time when he heard the bells. He thought it was 10 minutes before impact but simply did not remember. He had a guess at the interval when he said "well, we will say about five or eight minutes;" That part of the transcript ends with a semi-colon. I suggest it should have been a question mark. i.e. "well, we will say about 5 to 8 minutes? I can almost hear the man's tone in my mind. The collective pronoun 'we' is used instead of the personal one 'I'.

Jim C.
 

B-rad

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I'm not an advocate of the idea that Titanic started to swing before Fleet got off the phone. The main reason for this, is the fact that, in order for this to have happened, Hichens would have had to turn the wheel prior to Fleet's call, something that the evidence doesn't support. Fleet, never heard the order over the phone, therefore we know that it wasn't made while he was on the phone, and even if it was, Titanic would not have reacted fast enough (the phone call being on 30 seconds), for Lee to have noticed.

Though I am familiar with Fleet's testimony of what Lee says, it seems Fleet, himself, did not see the ship going port until:

Fleet: Yes, sir; after I got up from the phone



Senator Fletcher: Did she turn immediately and suddenly, or gradually, to port?

Fleet: Just started to go as I looked up.

The use of the words 'after' and 'from', suggests this was after the phone call was made, as its in past tense. So Fleet did not notice it himself, until he got up, and looked up. (The 'got up' part is odd, as he would not have to go anywhere to use the phone. Perhaps he was kneeling out of the wind -made by the ship's forward movement?)

Lee himself would never state to seeing the ship turn while Fleet was on the phone. Instead Lee would state:

As soon as the reply came back, ‘Thank you,’ the helm must have been put either hard-a-starboard or very close to it, because she veered to port, and it seemed almost as if she might clear it, but I suppose there was ice underwater.

We know the 'thank you', was the last words Moody said before hanging up the phone, and relaying the lookout's message to Murdoch, who may or may not have already identified the berg. Therefore Lee, himself, states that he did not see the ship start swinging until after the phone call, and Lee never supports Fleet's claim of Lee noticing an early swing to port.
 
Nov 13, 2014
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Hichens also heard the three gongs, he said "immediately afterwards" came "a report on the telephone, "Iceberg right ahead."". Only then, he received the "hard-a-starboard order. There is simply no way he could have turned the wheel prior to the telephone call. It also indicates again that the gongs came less than a minute before the collision, not the five minutes the timeline gives.
 

Bruce Harwood

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I agree with Christophe on this. I would like to approach the problem from a different angle if I may. When a ship turns, it heels over; in a hard turn, she heels a lot. But no one has said something like "I felt the deck tilt and then felt the vibration caused by striking the berg". I am not a professional seaman, and only have experience of a few cruises on ships of various sizes. But I can tell you that, as a passenger, an awareness of ship's motion is a survival skill, and one needs to be exquisitely sensitive to any sudden change in deck angle. Having run all evening in glassy calm conditions, even seasoned crew members ought to have remarked on something so out of the ordinary. To my mind, the timing of interactions between lookouts, officers, and helmsman must have been very short and the turn had only just begun when the collision occurred. The bells, phone call, turn order, and collision happened in the shortest possible amount of time.
 

Jim Currie

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Good thinking, Brad.

Hichens would not change his use of the wheel unless ordered to do so. From his evidence, the wheel order came after Moody had reported "iceberg right ahead". It is possible that all those involved were telling the truth as they remembered it.
When the three bells were sounded, First Officer Murdoch would immediately look ahead... first with his eyes only. Then he would check with the aid of his night glasses which would be slung round his neck. It is inconceivable that he would not, at that moment have clearly seen the iceberg and it's orientation to the ship's course. Otherwise, he choice of going left instead of right was arbitrary. It is also conceivable that he gave the helm order at the same second that Moody ended his warning. This would mean that he gave it while Fleet was still at the phone. At the speed she was making, Titanic would start her turn seconds after the wheel. She would start turning before Fleet got back to his place in the Crow's nest. What we do know for almost certain is that Titanic had been turning for a mere 6 seconds before she hit the ice.
In my opinion, the matter as to when she started turning relative to the evidence of Lookout Fleet is of academic interest only. What we do know, if we accept the main thrust of the evidence from Fleet and Hichens (who were there) is that the tgree bells, helm order and crash followed each other in very quick succession.

Jim C.
 

B-rad

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Agreed Jim. Everything would have happened very quickly. On top of that, no one knew that they would be apart of 'The Titanic Disaster', so no one knew that they should try their best to mentally catalogue everything. Though even if they had known (which obviously they wouldn't) trying to remember everything that occurred in quick succession X amount of days later would be even harder.
 

Jim Currie

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Forgive me for not responding to your post, Bruce. Obviously you have put a bit of thought int this too. A different approach which produces the same conclusion.

You are correct in your observation that a ship turning at such a high speed would tend to heel over. You are also correct in your observations about sensations when contacting the ice. However, these occurred after impact. In fact, several crew members and passengers did report hearing and/or feeling bumps,grinds and all that jazz. There was also another sensation felt by one of the crew...that of the engines going full astern. I can assure you, such a sensation is unique.

Jim C.
 
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Any research based on “everybody knows” isn’t research at all. Nowhere is the danger of accepting conventional wisdom better illustrated than the in the story of Titanic and the iceberg. The conventional story is exciting, but it packs too many events into just 37 seconds while at the same time ignoring the way ships actually steer. It also ignores the sworn testimony of the crew. Sorry to offend anyone here, but the conventional wisdom about Titanic’s accident is pure bunk. Let’s look at some of the facts and they questions they raise which must be ignored to believe “what everybody knows.”

1. Quartermaster Olliver must have had a reason for being on the compass platform and Fourth Officer Boxhall the same for exiting the bridge via the officer’s quarters door.

2. Lookout Fleet made a fool out of himself saying he couldn’t recognize the difference in duration between virtually an hour from a minute.

3. Seaman Joseph Scarrott testified that shortly after 7 bells he heard the lookout’s ring three strokes on the crow’s nest bell. Those strokes came – in his words – “five to eight minutes” before impact on the iceberg.

4. Quartermaster Hichens said the ship turned two points to its port (left) before impact. An exact two-point turn is made only as a course change. In an emergency maneuver nobody cares or checks the degree of turn. The only important detail is whether or not the ship will miss the danger.

5. If Titanic turned left for an iceberg “dead ahead;” and, as a result it struck on its starboard bow; then, it’s pretty darned obvious Murdoch must have pulled the bone-headed stunt of turning left for an object already passing clear to port. Why would Murdoch have turned left for a berg on his left side?

6. Why did Boxhall report that he heard warning bells when he was in two different locations on the boat deck nearly 40 feet apart?
7. What eyewitness evidence other that his own testimony is there that Fleet actually telephoned the bridge? Is that evidence corroborated by anyone in the wheelhouse?

8. Even assuming Fleet did make the telephone call, it was unwritten policy that lookouts never telephoned the bridge. All signals from the crow’s nest were to be via coded bell strokes. The telephone was for officers to call the lookouts. Why did lookout Fleet break this time-honored policy?

9. In a turn, a ship’s bow swings inside the maneuvering circle, while the stern swings outside. If Titanic was making a left turn at impact, how did the forpeak tank and hold #1 receive damage? They should have been swung into safe water away from the iceberg.

10. Why did the berg not continue bumping and grinding down Titanic’s starboard side? In conventional wisdom the ship was turning left and the starboard side should have been swinging outward – directly against the berg.

11. Why does conventional wisdom ignore Murdochs “hard a-port” helm order which in 1912 meant to put the wheel hard over to the right, making a right turn.

12. Why did quartermaster Rowe on the poop recognize that the ship must have been on right rudder as the berg passed his location and not under left rudder as conventional wisdom demands?


Quite simply, what “everybody knows” about the accident – especially as depicted in the movies – is totally wrong excepting that the ship did meet up with an iceberg. But, the idea that the iceberg suddenly popped out of the darkness and couldn’t be avoided despite a heroic attempt is little more than a myth perpetuated to make the story seem all the more tragic. But, in truth...

Quartermaster Olliver was trimming the binnacle oil lamps in preparation for one of the half-hourly compass checks required by IMM/WSL regulations and good seamanship. These checks were made on the hour and half hour per ship’s time based on noon. They continued every 30 minutes despite retarding of the crew’s clock (as Jim and I have demonstrated elsewhere on this forum) to accommodate the midnight change of watch. On the night in question, the crew clocks were set back 24 minutes. This meant that the 11:40 pm time of impact measured on crew clocks actually occurred 4 minutes after 2400 hours in April 14th ship’s time.

2400 April 14th (11:36 pm crew time) – Completion of Compass Check required.

2404 April 14th (11:40 pm crew time) – Impact on iceberg.

Olliver would have gone to the platform a few minutes in advance of the officer (in this case Boxhall) to uncover the instrument and trim the wicks. He was doing this when the lookouts rang three strokes on their bell indicating an object dead ahead. Scarrott said the bell sounded “five to eight minutes” before impact. Rounding off his estimate to 6 minutes allows easy math as 6 minutes equals 1/10th of an hour. That puts the first warning from the lookouts at 2358 April 14th time, or 11:24 pm on the crew clocks – just the right moment for Olliver to have been on the platform performing his duties which had to be completed before Boxhall got there.

Fourth Officer Boxhall was already on his way. He came out of the officers quarters by the after door on the starboard side. He was there when he heard the lookouts’ bell. In cold night air Boxhall would not have sauntered aft to the platform. He would have moved quickly. So, by 2359 April 14th time, or 11:25 on the crew clocks he would have begun comparing the steering compass with the standard. He did this 16 times per watch four times a day, so would have been proficient at the task.

Before going to the platform Boxhall had been assisting Captain Smith plot ice on the captain’s chart. We know the lookouts talked about “haze” on a night when there could have been no such meteorological phenomenon. So, their “haze” must have been something else and the logical “something” in this case was the field of ice across Titanic’s path. Proof of this comes from the way the lookouts described their first sight of the fatal berg – as a “black mass.” You can’t see something black on a dark night against a black horizon and a black sea. But, catching the silhouette of something that blocks light from behind that object it as easy for a seaman as spotting a pretty girl on the beach. The lookouts would have known that silhouettes are made by hard objects which meant they had to be reported to the bridge. It didn’t matter what the object was, only that it was there. The job of the officers was to identify that object (if necessary) and avoid it. Fleet rang three strokes on the bell.

Captain Smith knew his ship was getting close to the ice reported by wireless. Now would have been the time to change course slightly to the south to go around the ice field. To do so, Boxhall would have had to make the course change per standard compass after the routine comparison. Did the captain order such a course change? Quartermaster Hichens spoke of a two-point turn to the left (port), or to Titanic’s south just before the accident. He was specific about the size of the turn being two points. And, Boxhall also spoke of a left turn even though he was less specific about the two points. The existing evidence supports a two–point left turn completed within a minute of impact on the iceberg. That would have been at 2403 April 14th time, or 11:39 pm on crew clocks.

Boxhall would have stepped lively on his way back from the platform. Olliver would have recovered the standard compass and been right behind him. The officer would have gone forward on the starboard side while the rating would more likely have chosen the port in keeping with the rank division of the day. As Boxhall came abreast of the captain’s quarters he heard bells again. These would have been from the engine order telegraph operated by Murdoch just before he moved to the switch used to close the watertight doors. That’s when Olliver stepped on the bridge. He saw Murdoch at the switch and then heard or felt the rumble of steel on ice. Murdoch immediately shouted “hard a-port” and moments later Olliver saw the tip of the berg glide past the starboard bridge wing.

Earlier I rounded Scarrott’s “five to eight” to six minutes. In 1/10th of an hour, Titanic would have steamed 2.2 nautical miles at 22 knots (speed per Boxhall). That represents a close approximation of the distance between ship and iceberg when the lookouts first spotted the silhouette and rang their bell. Using the maneuvering data of Olympic and the same 22 knots, a little trigonometry shows that the fatal berg was actually about 800 feet to the left of the ship’s track when first reported. It was about 4 degrees to port in relative bearing, close enough to dead ahead to warrant the three strokes. At completion of the two-point turn the ship was about 1,650 feet from impact – giving Boxhall and Olliver just enough time to walk back from the platform before impact.

Note that had Smith not ordered Boxhall to alter course by two points (22.5 degrees), the iceberg would have been passed safely at a distance of roughly one ship length. It was the course change presumably to avoid going through the ice field that set up the accident. And, perhaps that’s why Fleet was right about making that telephone call to the bridge. He had reported a danger dead ahead. Then, when it appeared everything was OK, the officers turned the ship to point right at the same danger he reported earlier. Pure frustration may have motivated Fleet to use the telephone, but we’ll never know. He never said.

What we know is that at 2404 in April 14th time, or 11:40 pm on crew clocks, a great steel ship met an iceberg on an unusually calm Atlantic ocean. A great drama was about to unfold, one that still elicits debate more than a century later.

– David G. Brown
 
Nov 13, 2014
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3. Seaman Joseph Scarrott testified that shortly after 7 bells he heard the lookout’s ring three strokes on the crow’s nest bell. Those strokes came — in his words — “five to eight minutes” before impact on the iceberg.
Scarrott's 5 to 8 minutes theory does not hold water. He wasn't paying attention to the happenings on the crow's nest and only gave a rough estimate. QM Hichens also heard the three gongs, and immediately afterward he was ordered to steer the ship 'hard-a-starboard'.
5. If Titanic turned left for an iceberg “dead ahead;” and, as a result it struck on its starboard bow; then, it’s pretty darned obvious Murdoch must have pulled the bone-headed stunt of turning left for an object already passing clear to port. Why would Murdoch have turned left for a berg on his left side?
You literally contradicted yourself on this point. Was, according to you, the iceberg "dead ahead" or "already clear passing to port"? Because if it was "dead ahead", then it would make perfect sense to steer the ship to the left. If the iceberg would have been "on the left side", then Murdoch would have definitely steered the ship to the right.
7. What eyewitness evidence other that his own testimony is there that Fleet actually telephoned the bridge? Is that evidence corroborated by anyone in the wheelhouse?
It sure is. QM Hichens said that immediately after the three gongs a report on the telephone came: "Iceberg right ahead".
8. Even assuming Fleet did make the telephone call, it was unwritten policy that lookouts never telephoned the bridge. All signals from the crow’s nest were to be via coded bell strokes. The telephone was for officers to call the lookouts. Why did lookout Fleet break this time-honored policy?
What? I've never heard of that "unwritten policy" and it sounds ridiculous. The lookouts did give a signal using those "coded bell strokes" (in this case, 3 strokes for danger dead ahead) and they then telephoned the bridge to specify the "danger".
9. In a turn, a ship’s bow swings inside the maneuvering circle, while the stern swings outside. If Titanic was making a left turn at impact, how did the forpeak tank and hold #1 receive damage? They should have been swung into safe water away from the iceberg.

10. Why did the berg not continue bumping and grinding down Titanic’s starboard side? In conventional wisdom the ship was turning left and the starboard side should have been swinging outward — directly against the berg.

11. Why does conventional wisdom ignore Murdochs “hard a-port” helm order which in 1912 meant to put the wheel hard over to the right, making a right turn.

12. Why did quartermaster Rowe on the poop recognize that the ship must have been on right rudder as the berg passed his location and not under left rudder as conventional wisdom demands?
For those last points I'll let an article on ET explain: Hard a starboard.
 

Jim Currie

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David,

In order for you and others to dismiss conventional wisdom, you must dismiss the following evidence:

From Day 5 of the US Inquiry...QM Hichens on the stand:

"At 10 o'clock I went to the wheel, sir. Mr. Murdoch come up to relieve Mr. Lightoller. I had the course given me from the other quartermaster, north 71 west, which I repeated to him, and he went and reported it to the first officer or the second officer in charge, which he repeated back - the course, sir. All went along very well until 20 minutes to 12, when three gongs came from the lookout, and immediately afterwards a report on the telephone, "Iceberg right ahead." The chief officer rushed from the wing to the bridge, or I imagine so, sir. Certainly I am inclosed in the wheelhouse, and I can not see, only my compass. He rushed to the engines. I heard the telegraph bell ring; also give the order "Hard astarboard,"

The sixth officer repeated the order, "The helm is hard astarboard, sir." But, during the time, she was crushing the ice, or we could hear the grinding noise along the ship's bottom.


Also, from Day 3 of the UK Inquiry:

935. Did you relieve Quartermaster Oliver? A: - I did.

936. At what time? A: - Ten o'clock.

937. What was the course given to you? A: - N. 71º W.

943. Up to the time of the collision did she vary from her course at all? A: - Not that I am aware of, not more than a degree on either side.

948. Had you had any instructions before she struck? Had you been told to do anything with your helm before she struck? A: - Just as she struck...I had the order "Hard-a-starboard" when she struck.

949. Just as she struck, is that what you said? A: - Not immediately as she struck; the ship was swinging. We had the order, "Hard-a-starboard," and she just swung about two points when she struck.

950. You got the order, "Hard-a-starboard"? A: - Yes.

951. Had you time to get the helm hard a starboard before she struck? A: - No, she was crashing then.

952. Did you begin to get the helm over? A: - Yes, the helm was barely over when she struck. The ship had swung about two points.


David, if you accept the above evidence, then up until the moment the first helm order was given.. and it was the first one...Titanic was heading North 71 West by compass. I know that you know it takes no more than 6 seconds for the helm to be spun from the mid-ship position to hard left or right. This means that Titanic had a mere 6 seconds to alter course before she struck the ice. She could not have swung 2 points in the normal way. I'm not claiming that the compass did not indicate to Hichens that she had not swung that amount. However we know the fore-peak tank was holed. Since the ship was only 18 feet wide or less at that point, she could not have been but a few degrees off course when she did strike.

Jim C.
 

B-rad

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For us to say that Titanic would not have been damaged in the forepeak tank with a 2 point turn is slightly presumptuous of us, considering that we have no idea of what the underwater portion of the iceberg looked like, nor the damage or movement caused by Titanic to the iceberg.

I've included a drawing of a possible scenario The drawing includes the underwater portion of the iceberg reaching out. As Titanic hits this portion, being that the weight of the iceberg drawing (underwater) is distributed to the left (facing the iceberg) due to the large spar, when Titanic strikes the berg it pushes the berg clockwise, bring the berg around also. Once this movement occurs, and this weighted side is damaged, the distribution is off, causing the iceberg to lean slightly, spilling ice into Titanic's forward well deck. Sort of like a seesaw.

It is also possible, that Titanic's stern was merely saved by the iceberg being damaged or by the iceberg moving. We don't know how far away the aft underwater portion of Titanic was saved. We do know that the bilge keel and the propeller was not damaged, but this could have been mere inches. It is also possible, that if the iceberg did turn, than the underwater portion part did not reach enough towards Titanic.

I'm not saying that the attached picture is what happened, just that its a possibility.ice.jpg

PS. I did some homework as far as the amount of force needed to move an iceberg, though I didn't find any actual figures, from what I did read, it seems reasonable that a ship Titanic's size could move an iceberg. Again, not saying it did.

ice.jpg


ice.jpg
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Brad.

Nice sketch!

I don't think anyone denies that the forepeak tank was holed. It most certainly was and the displacement of air through the goosneck vent on the forecastle is proof of that.
However, when the side of the bow of a ship hits an object at speed... even a glancing blow, as I believe this was, the bow initially yaws a away from the point of contact than swings back toward it then away from it again as the momentum caries the ship beyond that point. You can make little experiment yourself. Pretend you are a ship moving forward. Approach a doorway in your house and allow your right shoulder to contact the right door post. Observe the orientation of your left shoulder at the moment of contact. I think you will find that you are displaced left and then your left shoulder swings to the right.

We know for sue that the sounds and sensations of contact ended when the tip-top of the iceberg was just past the starboard wing of the bridge. This corresponds exactly to the bulkhead between boiler rooms 5 & 6. If she had contacted below the bilge keels and aft of the foremast, the ship would have heaved and bucked. The double bottom tanks would have been breached and the Carpenter would have discovered this almost immediately.

Jim C.
 
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Christophe is wrong when he says that Scarrott’s testimony doesn’t hold water. Unfortunately, he is not the only one has made the error of discarding inconvenient evidence when researching Titanic’s accident. A century of alleged historical accounts have ignored this eyewitness on the basis his words do not agree with conventional wisdom. Instead of looking deeper for the truth, authors and documentarians have formed conclusions about the iceberg incident and then look for bits and pieces of evidence that support those conclusions. The results are quick and simple answers to complex questions. For instance, it’s easy to say that the berg “sliced open” Titanic’s bow even though that’s not possible. Steel is stronger than ice. To explain what really happened during those critical seconds requires time consuming study of steel, ice, ship construction, mass and momentum, helm actions, engine orders, metallurgy, etc. Explaining how Titanic came to be damaged could take a book full of dull math, chemistry, and physics. It’s so much easer – if not truthful – to say “the berg sliced open the ship” than it is to learn what really happened. And, this is the real purpose of conventional wisdom – to reduce complex truths to understandable myths.

Myth is fine for a Hollywood entertainment, but it’s not valid historic research. Good forensic research is the reverse of conventional wisdom. Conclusions are formed only after consideration of all of the evidence. Scarrott’s words must be put into the context of the Titanic tragedy just as much as the words of Fourth Officer Boxhall, quartermaster Hichens, or lookout Fleet. Nobody has special standing. No testimony from any witness is exempt from careful scrutiny. And, no testimony can be discarded without hard evidence it was a deliberate falsehood.

Scarrott was sailor with full knowledge of what the lookouts’ bell code meant. Forehandedness is the mark of a true seaman and this requires being aware of his surroundings at all times. He didn’t have to be a part of the bridge team to take notice of that signal. Scarrott even took note that the crow’s nest warning sounded shortly after 7 bells, which occurred at 11:30 pm on the crew clocks. (The actual time the lookouts rang their warning bell would have been 11:34 pm for the crew – which is only 4 minutes after 7 bells.) Every word of his testimony shows Scarrott was well aware of the time of night and what the bell sounds around him meant. He was outside the crew’s mess where he could have heard the crow’s nest bell quite clearly. (That location is pretty much where you would have expected him to be as part of the on-duty Starboard Watch on a Sunday.) Bottom line: Scarrott’s testimony holds water as well as, if not better, that many other witnesses. There are simply no holes in it. The problem is that what Scarrott said discredits conventional wisdom and, so, cannot be accepted by those supporting the popular version of the accident.

There is no contradiction in my statements about turning left to dodge an iceberg already on the port side. Please go back and read what I said. Nobody can deny that Murdoch would have been a damned fool to have made a dodge to the left for an iceberg passing a ship’s length off his port side. Just the distances required for such a turn preclude any seaman or lubber alike from making such a blunder. Murdoch was no beginner. His experience in Olympic told him the ship would have advanced some 1,500 feet in its original direction and the bow would have transferred about 120 feet to port to rotate two points. It’s the transfer that convinces me nothing of the sort happened.

But, Christophe seems to have missed that I never claimed that Murdoch turned left for an iceberg on his port side. What I said is that Captain Smith initiated the two point turn to the south (which was left) in order to stay away from the field of ice already visible ahead. Murdoch did not have the authority to make this sort of course change, so it must have come from Captain Smith. That order would have been given before Boxhall prepared for the compass comparison. The course change order also cane prior to the lookouts spotting the “black mass” of the berg against the hazy line of ice. In view of the then-extant circumstances, the captain’s order would have been viewed as a prudent action.

When the lookouts spotted that “dark mass” silhouette, it was actually about 4 degrees to port of the ship’s track. On a dark night with nothing of the ship’s rigging visible as a reference, that’s close enough to dead ahead to have require the three strokes on the crow’s nest bell. Any officer hearing that signal and looking ahead would have seen the silhouette as soon as it came over his horizon. Another myth of conventional wisdom is that the lookouts were sending a warning of impending danger. That’s not the case. Their three strikes only meant that something of interest had been spotted on the horizon. It was up to the officer of the deck (Murdoch in this case) to decide what – if any – action to take for the safety of the vessel.

No matter how much you want to believe otherwise, quartermaster Hichens was not made aware of any navigational information. Navigation was proprietary to the officers. Hichens just steered whatever course he was given. He might have heard talk about ice and probably surmised that the two-point turn was to avoid “the ice.” In any event, he did put the helm down to starboard as he claimed and it was to avoid ice. The only embellishment to that part of his story was the claim of being “hard over.” The two-point turn would have been under standard rudder, the most rudder angle possible that would not cause discomfort for the passengers. The vibrations and heeling of a ship making a “hard over” emergency turn can be disquieting.

At the moment Boxhall initiated the two–point turn to avoid the ice, the fatal berg was a third of a nautical mile (roughly 2,200 feet) ahead of the ship. It actually posed no threat if nothing had been done. No one did the relative motion plotting. If they had, they would have seen that the real danger was that the berg lay roughly 24 degrees off the port bow. The turn occupied more than the 37 seconds of the test maneuver made with Olympic because it was under standard helm in Titanic and not hard over rudder as with the sistership. With advance and transfer figured in, the result was that when Titanic steadied up on its new course the berg was 45 to 55 seconds in the future – just enough time for Boxhall to reach a point abreast of the captain’s quarters when Murdoch operated the engine room telegraph.

A modern forensic investigator ignoring the myths surrounding Titanic would now recognize the real cause of the accident. It was loss of situational awareness. This is a primary cause in most air, sea, and highway accidents. The people involved all think they are doing the right thing and being safe right up until what flyboys call the “O.. S...” moment. The U.S. Air Force started investigating this phenomenon after WW-II to find out why so many well-trained pilots flew perfectly good airplanes into the ground. Since then, situational awareness has become a prime focus of training for pilots as well as members of ships’ bridge teams. The concept was totally unrecognized in 1912 so we cannot fault the men for not recognizing the condition.

When Captain Smith returned to the bridge after dinner he joined the bridge team by assuming the conn. That is, he began plotting ice in order to choose the course to steer. First Officer Murdoch still had the deck, meaning he was responsible for issuing the steering and engine orders to make good what the conn directed. Lack of situational awareness was not yet a problem, but the physical layout of the ship’s bridge was about to get in the way of good bridge team management. Due to the placement of Titanic’s standard compass any course changes had to be done from that platform.

Here’s where things got confused. Although Murdoch nominally held the deck, in actuality the job had passed to Fourth Officer Boxhall. He was the man who would issue the course change order and steady the ship on its new course. Boxhall, not Murdoch was delegated to make the captain’s course change order come true. Unfortunately, there was no official announcement of any change in the responsibilities among the officers. As a result, everyone in the bridge team thought they were acting for the ship’s safety when in reality nobody was seeing the “big picture.” Captain Smith from the blindness of his navigation room was maneuvering his ship to avoid the field of ice. Murdoch believed the course change would avoid the berg announced by the lookouts. Boxhall assumed he was just obeying orders and that Murdoch still had the deck. You might say that despite licenses and titles, despite officer or crew status, despite that every man in the bridge team was doing his duty – nobody was really in overall charge of Titanic during those last minutes before impact.

Poor Boxhall was up there in the 22-knot ship’s wind behind funnel #2. He had not seen the “black mass” reported by the lookouts. He probably did not care about it anyway because he knew the captain’s order would turn ship the ship to its left and presumably leave whatever the lookouts spotted to starboard. Hichens could see nothing inside the shuttered wheelhouse except the compass in front of the wheel. Murdoch continued on watch, but was now effectively “out of the loop” in the chain of command. The First Officer was little more than a passenger as Titanic closed on its ice nemesis.

Even so, everything seemed right. The lookouts had reported that “black mass” in plenty of time. Captain Smith had given orders everyone expected to turn Titanic away from both that danger and the ice field. In WW-II fighter pilot lingo, everyone was “fat, dumb, and happy.” Then Murdoch had that gut-wrenching moment. Everything went to Hell as he watched the bow center on that iceberg. The first officer became the first person in Titanic to be jarred into true situational reality.

Murdoch’s initial reaction was to ring down an engine order. Boxhall heard the telegraph bells and there were witnesses to the telegraph ringing in the engine room. He knew that it would take time for the engineers to switch from a mid-ocean mentality to maneuvering stations. Murdoch had to get the engineers making that transition first before closing the watertight doors. What order he rang down is a mystery. My view that it involved only the starboard engine is based on what happened a few seconds later as the ship touched on the berg. Murdoch ordered “hard a-port” which would have turned the ship to its right and driven the bow hard against the berg. The only engine orders that make sense with this helm order are either STOP or BACK on the starboard screw. Either one would make the stern swing more quickly away from the ice danger and pull the side of Titanic away from the berg.

That “hard a-port” helm order was observed by quartermaster Olliver as the ship came onto the ice. Olliver is another eyewitness deliberately overlooked by conventional wisdom. As with Scarrott, what he said goes counter the myth. But, Olliver was there and the people who discredit him were not.

Olliver’s testimony was precise about the order of the events he observed. Perhaps more important was his omission of details that he could not have observed first-hand. For instance, while Boxhall heard the engine order telegraph, Olliver was a few steps behind the officer and so did not. The sound of those bells would have been lost in the ship’s 22 knot wind around his ears. Just as Olliver entered the wind-protected captain’s bridge he heard Murdoch’s voice shout the “hard a-port” order just as he felt the ship go onto the ice. He then saw the top of the berg as it passed the bridge wing. This is logical. The forward bridge wall was too high for Olliver to see over as he approached along the port boat deck. He could see Murdoch at the watertight door switch and behind him the starboard bridge wing where the berg slid past. Finally, he stepped into the wheelhouse where Olliver also observed Hichens at the wheel sing out that the helm was hard over.

Ice contact between berg and ship started at the forepeak tank, a curios thing. That tank was as much as 15 or more feet above the depth of the keel. Had the ship been on starboard helm turning to the left, the forepeak would have been rotated inside the maneuvering circle where it would have been away from the iceberg. So, the ship was not turning to its left when contact was made. We have proof of this from the lookouts who were adamant the ship approached the berg straight-on. Consider two statements from lookout fleet:

“...we were making straight for it...” and,

“Iceberg right ahead... .”

Both of those statements could only have been true if Titanic were steaming on a straight course – neither turning left or right – straight at the iceberg. Yet conventional wisdom requires that the ship be in a hard left turn (“hard a-starboard” helm in 1912 parlance) during the final approach to the iceberg. The problem comes from the testimony of quartermaster Hichens who claimed he had the helm hard a-starboard at the time of impact. Here are his words digested from BOT Questions 948 to 952:

“...Just as she struck I had the order ‘Hard a-starboard.’ When she struck. Not immediately as she struck, the ship was swinging. We had the order, ‘hard a-starboard,’ and she just swing about two points when she struck. The helm was barely over when she struck. The ship had swung about two points...” – Quartermaster Robert Hichens.

As Jim pointed out above Hichens' words are quite interesting. From the lookouts we have the ship steaming straight for the iceberg. And from quartermaster Olliver we learned that Murdoch’s helm order as the ship struck was “hard a-port.” Both of these testimonies are in direct contradiction to what Hichens claimed in the above quotes. I choose not to believe that the quartermaster steering Titanic was a deliberate liar. Rather, he was an ordinary man knowing the full weight of the British government could come down on his head if he said the wrong thing. It was easy enough for him to confuse Captain Smith’s course change made to avoid ice with any emergency orders from Murdoch to dodge the iceberg.

It was my attempt to make the quartermaster into an honest man that revealed the two-point course change. With one minor quibble, Hichens’ words make perfect sense within the context of the other witnesses. If such a maneuver had been ordered, Captain Smith would have combined it with the half-hourly compass comparison. This would have maximized the work output of his junior officers, Boxhall and Sixth Officer Moody. Chronologically, the two-point course change – which Hichens was adamant he made – would have been completed within a minute of impact on the iceberg. This timing of the course change was corroborated by Boxhall who discussed it, but who could not have known about it because he would have been walking on the boat deck out of earshot of any orders given to Hichens. If Boxhall knew, he must have participated in the maneuver while on the compass platform.

Fleet and Olliver confirm each other even though the men saw the same events from quite different viewpoints. With the course change completed, Titanic began steaming straight ahead. As Fleet said, it aimed at the iceberg and never wavered as the distance between the two reduced by 37 feet every second. Just as the ship struck Olliver heard Murdoch shout an emergency helm order to Hichens and seconds later as the ship was on the ice the wheel came hard over. Olliver heard Hichens sing out that the helm was hard over. All of what Fleet and Olliver reported confirms the testimony of Hichens with the exception of his confusion over port and starboard helm. The ship’s head was swinging during the accident and the helm was barely over (or, not at all) when Titanic struck, just as Hichens said.

Fortunately, we do not have to parse Hichens testimony. We have physical evidence as to which direction Hichens really did steer. Without being told to center up, Hichens would have held the wheel hard over. If he kept starboard helm, the ship would have continued to swing its head around to the south. Instead, Titanic shot forward even after the engines were stopped. It did so curving off to its starboard, which required port helm in 1912 parlance. We know this to be true because of where the on-duty officers gathered to witness the berg – on the starboard bridge wing. Because of the officers quarters deckhouse it was impossible to see directly astern. Nor was it possible to see the port side from the starboard (or vice versa) bridge wing. If the berg were off to port after the accident, it could only have been seen off the port bridge wing. But, the men went to the starboard side – which gave them a good view astern. This shows that Titanic’s final ice maneuver was “hard a-port” just as Olliver testified.

Then there’s the evidence of the iron on the bottom. Titanic’s bow section lies facing a bit west of north. The hard a-starboard helm order of conventional wisdom would have pointed the bow more to the south. But, it faces more northerly exactly as would be expected of a westbound ship that made an emergency right turn prior to foundering.

The physical damage to the hull also supports Olliver’s claim that Murdoch ordered “hard a-port” to turn the ship to its right. The head-on approach described by Fleet virtually requires damage to the peak tank. Then, as the bow caromed to its left Hichens began applying the right rudder called for by Murdoch. This brought about a hard topside impact in way of the well deck as evidenced by ice chunks which tumbled to the deck there from the berg. There was a rebound and then another softer hard impact in way of boiler room #4. After that, the stern began swinging away from the iceberg and the two parted company. On the poop, quartermaster Rowe noted the ship’s stern swinging away from the berg as if under “hard a-port” helm. All of this was in keeping with the expected results of the helm and engine orders I proposed above.

A couple of things to clear up regarding the lookouts. One is that they said the bow went slightly to port as the ship slid onto the ice. Given their position relative to the flare of the bow and that they were seeing events in relative motion, I believe them. Beyond that, Isaac Newton pretty much demands that during the initial moments the bow did rebound to port. That was the old “equal and opposite reaction” coupled with “objects at rest tend to stay at rest” laws. The ship would have rebounded off the iceberg until the slowing starboard screw and right rudder began to take control of the situation.

As to Fleet’s use of the phone to call the bridge, lookout Hogg testified, “No, sir, we struck a bell. We never used the phone... .” I have another quote lost in my files from a lookout who said that calling the bridge would have been viewed as insubordination. The call would have been seen as the lookout being critical of his superior, something not done in 1912. In his testimony lookout Hogg qualified his use of “never” by saying that the telephone was used, “...only in going into harbors, or into ports, or in the case of anything serious.” Without doubt an iceberg dead ahead was something serious.

It should be obvious that I do not subscribe to the theory that Murdoch’s engine order was ASTERN FULL as conventional wisdom claims. Only 1,650 feet separated ship and berg. That was simply not enough room for reversing engines to have done any good whatsoever. In testimony Second Officer Lightoller testified that a “crash back” stop using the engines would have taken at least 1,200 feet. Add to that the time necessary for engineers to run from odd corners of the engine room to the controls on the operating platform. If that took 20 seconds, Titanic would have covered another 740 feet. That’s a total stopping distance needed of at least 2,300 feet. Murdoch didn’t have that much room. “Crashing back” the engines was not an option to avoid the iceberg and the First Officer would have been aware of that slight problem. He would also have known that reverse thrust would have reduced the rudder’s effectiveness in steering the ship.

Distance being too short to stop, and there being an open ocean in every direction the best option to avoid disaster was to steer around the berg. That would have required full effectiveness of the rudder. And, because Titanic was a triple-screw ship, Murdoch even had a way of increasing the rudder’s ability to turn the ship. That was to combine a helm order with reversing one of the two outboard screws. I believe Murdoch sent down an order involving only the starboard reciprocating engine. Slowing, stopping or reversing that engine would have aided the right turn (hard a-port) that evidence shows he chose to mitigate damage during impact. This is also why stewards Crowe, Ward and watchman Johnson all thought the ship had lost a propeller blade in an incident similar to one that sistership Olympic suffered. They noted the steady beat of the engines change on only one shaft much as a lost blade would have caused.

Titanic’s center screw was not powered by reciprocating steam engine. It was driven by a turbine with no reversing mechanism. At 22 knots there was no provision to cause the center propeller to stop rotating in an instant. The best the engineers could have done was to close the steam to the turbine and let it free wheel. A large automatic valve was provided for this purpose. It may have closed with enough of a “bang” to cause some people to think the berg struck in the stern. Whether it continued under power, or it free wheeled, the center propeller would have only slightly reduced the effectiveness of the center-mounted single rudder.

A decade ago I had a chance to talk to a former U.S. Navy seaman who was aboard an aircraft carrier that did a crash stop in the Mediterranean to avoid another vessel. He talked of the stern jumping up and down six feet or more. There were many injuries caused by sleeping sailors being thrown from their bunks. The carrier had four screws and far more power than Titanic. A crash back in 1912 would not have been quite that dramatic by half. But, it would have been the most remarkable event of the evening for steerage passengers short of the ship sinking. Nobody recalled the rumblings, vibrations, or even vertical motion of the stern resulting from a sudden reversing of the two outboard engines. This is why I discount conventional wisdom that the “engines were reversed.” The facts only support one engine being slowed or stopped before impact.

-- David G. Brown
 
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It is somehow amusing to see the always changing theories spread out by Mr. Brown. Interesting how a junior Officer in this case Boxhall was "responsible" about a course change. Even Mr. Brown never show any bit of evidence for anything he has claimed over the years one must admit he has a lively fantasy...
 
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When I said that Scarrott's testimony "doesn't hold water", I meant that there are reasons for it to be discarded. Scarrott was standing "just about the forecastle head" "to stand by for a call in case he was wanted for anything whatever." When he heard the three strikes, he must have thought "Hm, three gongs on the bell, so there is danger dead ahead. Oh well, we have very experienced officers to take care of that." And he didn't pay more attention to it.
In his testimony, Scarrott made it very clear he didn't note any exact times or even tried to memorize the events when he was there.
336. What did you hear?
- Three bells.

337. Do you know what time that was?
- Not to be exact I do not, but it was round about half-past eleven.
Also:
343. How soon did you feel this vibration after you heard the three strikes on the gong?
- As I did not take much notice of the three strikes on the gong, I could hardly recollect the time;
Scarrott probably never looked at his watch when the three strikes or the vibration came.
Standing on the same spot of a ship, waiting until you're needed is a drudgery. Time appears to go slower than it does. Combine that with a lack of attention to things that weren't any of his business. Now the 5 to 8 minutes he gave as a rough estimate are explained.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Should Scarrott's 5 to 8 minutes be ruled out? I believe there is very good reason to do so.

Evidence from eyewitnesses are notoriously known to be unreliable, especially when asked about details that occurred weeks after an event happened, and when those details involve something as subjective as an interval of time to which the witness had no reason to think about until questioned about it. Unfortunately, the difficulty here is that other than these eyewitness accounts, we really have little to work with. For example, there was no course recorder recording the ship's movements over time for us to go by as there were in later accidents involving ocean going vessels. So what we have is what people tried to remember when they were questioned weeks later, and the only way to validate anything is to look for mutually supporting accounts, and even then, to use other data, if available, to check if what was reported could indeed have merit.

That said, the testimony by AB Joseph Scarrott, that has been referred to with regard to when he heard those three bells being struck is, by his own admission, highly unreliable. Furthermore, there is not a shred of any other evidence to back up his estimate. Quite the opposite. The implication of 5 to 8 minutes before collision implies that the iceberg, being approached at about 22 knots, was anywhere from about 2 to 3 nautical miles ahead the vessel when the lookouts first spotted it. Lt. Commander Fred Zeusler of the USCG who was the Ice Observation Officer for IIP in 1925, documented data on iceberg visibility distances under various visibility conditions. In that data he listed 1/2 mile as the distance for sighting medium sized bergs (such as encountered by Titanic) on clear, moonless nights. A distance of 1/2 mile at 22 knots would close in about 80 seconds, not 5 to 8 minutes if we accept Scarrott's admittedly uncertain testimony. It should also be noted that when lookout Reginald Lee was questioned before the British inquiry, he said that "It might have been half a mile or more; it might have been less" when the berg was first sighted, an estimate that happens to be somewhat consistent with Zeusler's measured data about nightime sighting distances under moonless nights.

Furthermore, another way of getting at the distance when those 3 bells were struck comes from the information of QM Alfred Olliver who was attending to the oil lamps on standard compass platform amidships when those bells were struck. According Olliver, he left the platform after hearing the bells and was just entering the forebridge when the ship struck the berg. Knowing the distance between the platform and the bridge, and allowing for some reaction time as well, we can form a pretty good estimate of how long it would have taken Olliver to get to the bridge that does not rely on anyone's subjective estimate of time duration. If you do this you will find a duration from 3 bells to collision of about 45 to 50 seconds, give or take. In that period Titanic would have closed a distance of about 0.28 to 0.31 miles, or roughly just under 1/3 mile; again nothing like the 5 to 8 miles coming from Scarrott.

Then we have independent, subjective estimates from QM Hichens and lookout Fleet as to time between the three bell warning and when the helm order was given by 1/O Murdoch. Hichens said it was about 1/2 a minute. Fleet said he was at the phone for about 1/2 minute. These of course are purely subjective and given weeks after the events took place, but non the less, they are mutually supporting and show that 5 to 8 minutes between 3 bells and the collision can easily be ruled out.

And by the way, we have Fleet, Hichens and Lee all claiming that a phone call from the nest to the bridge did indeed take place before the ship started to swing away from the berg. The phone in the nest could be used to call the bridge or receive calls from the bridge. There were no restrictions that said a lookout could not call down after the bells were struck. In fact, according to Fleet, the first words that came from 6/O Moody when he answered Fleet's call was: "Yes, what did you see?"

My own opinion is that Scarrott's recollection of "5 to 8 minutes" was after hearing 7 bells that were struck at 11:30. According to Lee, the 3 bell warning was given about "nine or ten minutes" after seven bells were struck.
 
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When I said that Scarrott's testimony "doesn't hold water", I meant that there are reasons for it to be discarded. Scarrott was standing "just about the forecastle head" "to stand by for a call in case he was wanted for anything whatever." When he heard the three strikes, he must have thought "Hm, three gongs on the bell, so there is danger dead ahead. Oh well, we have very experienced officers to take care of that." And he didn't pay more attention to it.
In his testimony, Scarrott made it very clear he didn't note any exact times or even tried to memorize the events when he was there.

Also:

Scarrott probably never looked at his watch when the three strikes or the vibration came.
Standing on the same spot of a ship, waiting until you're needed is a drudgery. Time appears to go slower than it does. Combine that with a lack of attention to things that weren't any of his business. Now the 5 to 8 minutes he gave as a rough estimate are explained.
Christophe --

You are correct the Scarrott did not look at his watch. On sailor's wages it's likely he didn't have one. The pocket timepieces of the day were not the sort of thing a man would wear doing sailorly duties, anyway. But for hundreds of years sailors kept track of time without the need for any sort of personal timepiece. That's what the system of ship's bells was developed to do -- provide time "hacks" for the crew so they would know how long they had been on duty and (more importan) when they could go below for rest. Of course, the bell system only gave the hours and half hours. All times between had to be estimated. And that's just what Scarrott did. He judged that the crow's nest warning came just after 7 bells, which is exactly correct. And then he made a perfectly honest estimate that the impact came some five to eight minutes later. I'm sure you've done the same sort of estimate in your lifetime and been as accurate as Scarrott.

What time is it? Oh, about ten after two.

How long will it take? Probably ten minutes, maybe a little longer.

I must take offense to your comment that the ship's business was not Scarrott's business. Nonsense. The entire crew is always responsible for the ship and that applies to the lowliest person on the articles. Even today, a member of the crew can be held legally responsible in a ship collision if he saw the situation developing and did nothing to call it to the attention of the officer in charge. Don't confuse the hedonistic attitudes of 21st century society with the discipline and individual responsibility required at sea.

Yes, standing waiting for a bus or a school bell can be drudgery and time does seem to sit still. Despite this, we are all pretty good at making useful estimates of short durations of time. But we have to do it with a margin of error. Scarrott did this by saying "five to eight" minutes after the warning bell. If he had made a specific note -- say five minutes and 37 seconds -- I would tend to say "poppycock." But the man did as men do. Sorry, but you're trying to find holes that don't exist in the man's testimony.

-- David G. Brown
 
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Sam --

Good to have you back with us. Must point out that your comments about how far an iceberg can be seen are irrelevant. The lookouts did not actually see the iceberg before they rang those three strokes on the crow's nest bell. They described what they observed as a "black mass" and gave no more details. This is exactly what the first spotting of an iceberg in front of a lighter, hazy line of ice would look like. The observation data you gave is for seeing the actual iceberg, which without the silhouette effect would be difficult even at the short ranges described. However, silhouettes are visible for millions of miles. We know this because scientists have spotted planets around distant stars by using a similar technique to that used by Fleet and Lee. What this means is that the distance between Titanic and the berg could well have been on the order of 2 to 3 miles...give or take a few light years...and still been visible from the crow's nest. Well, maybe not light years, but a silhouette would be visible until the object went below the horizon.

Eyewitness range estimates are dicey at best. For the most part human beings need a reference to make even a rough guess. For instance, I know that with my eyes I can see windows in house at just about 2.5 miles. Houses disappear at perhaps 4 miles except for large conspicuous buildings. At night, I've been fooled enough not to make guesses. If I can see something apparently across my path I act as if it's a close-quarters situation with risk of collision. Because of my experience (which is different from everyone else) I do not trust what the lookouts said about range to the iceberg other than in a general way -- near versus far. Sam interprets things differently.

While Olliver did say he heard the lookout's bells when he was on the compass platform, he didn't give any estimate of the time between those strokes and impact. The time of his walk forward sets only the shortest limit for that duration. It is entirely possible that the duration not only included his walk forward, but also other work on the compass platform as well. Even if he were not assisting in the compass comparison required by IMM/WSL regulations and the ordinary practice of seamen...even if he just covered the compass after hearing the lookouts' bell, Olliver would have taken longer to get to the bridge than the minimum number of seconds for the walk. So, there is nothing in the evidence that sets a top limit for the duration between bell warning and impact.

Conventional wisdom of the short duration between bell strokes and crunch requires ignoring the ordinary operations of the ship. Those compass comparisons had to done every 30 minutes without fail. We know that 11:40 on crew clocks corresponded to 2404 hrs in April 14th ship's time. This puts the accident in conjunction with one of the require compass checks. Quartermaster Olliver would have been detailed to go to the compass platorm to trim wicks and prepare things for the officer. Fourth Officer Boxhall would have been assigned the actual work of conducting the compass comparison. In the wheelhouse, Sixth Officer Moody would have overseen quartermaster Hichens at the wheel. How long would that compass work have taken? On a cold night not too long, we can be sure of that. But, we can get a "window of time" by subtracting the 45 seconds it would have taken Boxhall to walk from the door of the officers quarters to the platform and back to the bridge. Based on my estimate of 6 minutes between warning bell and impact (per Scarrott) that accounts for 90 seconds. Now we should account for the fact that Olliver got back to the bridge a bit behind Boxhall. As the difference between the officer and rating was probably no more than 5 seconds, I'll ignore it. Some 4:30 time remained for the compass work.

(Because of the uncertainty Scarrott built into his estimate I chose to use 6 minutes because it makes navigation math easier.)

So, given the reality of required ship's duties, Scarrott's time estimate of "five to eight" minutes is perfectly acceptable. His mental chronology started just after 7 bells, or 11:30 pm. That's absolutely true under any circumstances. Even the 11:40 pm time of impact is "after 7 bells." There are no internal conflicts in Scarrott's testimony. And, if we subtract 6 minutes from 2404 April 14th time, we get 2458 which translates into 11:34 on the crew clocks. That confirms the accuracy of the witness. Nobody can quibble that 11:34 pm is "just after 7 bells." Some eyewitnesses are better than others, but Scarrott seems at the top of the heap when it comes to his recollection of what he heard and when he heard it that night.

Oh, yes, one more thing. That phone call. If it took 30 seconds and ended just as the ship struck, then we have to reduce the amount of time allotted to the compass comparison. Boxhall and Moody did not have 4:30, but rather only 4 minutes to get their compass work done.

-- David G. Brown
 

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