A Matter of Perspective - What Did They See?



Has anyone mapped out roughly where each lifeboat was when their occupants witnessed the Titanic sink? A number of them had a very limited view as they rowed towards a ship off Titanic's bow. e.g.

Quartermaster Rowe - "I was looking at her practically stem on. What we call stem on.....When we reached the water we steered for a light in sight, roughly 5 miles."

Albert Pearcey was in the same collapsible lifeboat and yet he did not even notice the Titanic was sinking head down.

Q - Did you see the vessel go down?
A - Yes.
Q - Were you facing her when she went down?
A - Yes.
Q - Did you notice when you rowed away whether the ship had any list?
A - Yes, the ship had a list on her port side.
Q - Did you notice whether she was down by the head?
A - No, I did not notice.
Q - Did you notice whether she appeared to be going deeper into the water forward? Did you notice that?
A - No.

The lifeboats that were the furthest away would have a limited view owing to their distance, especially when the lights went out, but remarkably the closest lifeboats also had a limited view as Mr. Woolner described:

"I could not really see a thing when the lights went out. It was all brilliantly lighted at the stem end, and suddenly the lights went out, and your eyes were so unaccustomed to the darkness, you could see nothing, and you could only hear sounds."

With so many limitations it is understandable why some believed the ship did not break in two. Curious to know which lifeboat or lifeboats (as morbidly as it sounds) had the best view of the ship sinking. According to Lady Duff Gordon and others, the screams stopped after the stern went down and how "there was absolute silence". Is it possible that the stern was still afloat for a considerable time in the dark and only the lifeboats who were close enough to see it could tell that the screams stopped when the stern went down? Trying to map out which lifeboats were close enough to tell, and which boats were in the water long enough so that their eyes were accustomed to the dark night, and when the lights went out they could still see her.

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