Almerian The ship that wasn't there


Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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I have just added an item to my website and have probably put the pussycat among the pigeons. Got to


I don't know if I could satisfy a jury, but I don't think Almerian was on the scene of the disaster.

Before getting excited, read my material and consider the evidence. Ask yourself why Almerian does not turn up by name in the 1912 documents. Ask why Leslie Harrison gives no names or dates for the 'report' supposedly from Almerian. Ask why Captain Lord never produced the supposedly helpful evidence from Almerian.

If George Behe is lurking, did you ever ask Harrison about the 'report' and its origins?

Al intelligent comments considered. All dumb one will be consigned to my big white friends, along with the senders. (See elsewhere on my site)
 
Sep 12, 2000
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Great addition to your site Dave!

Question: others responded via marconi messages to the CQD and SOS calls, at 80 miles, could a ship have arrived to the point by like 8am or whatever the time was that they "gathered" near Carpathia on 4/15th?

Wait....am I your big dumb white friend....oh no wait.....not Great White Pointers!?! I think I will behave on this one.

Thanks for having such a great site Dave.

Maureen.
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Dave: Well done! Another red herring laid to rest. (You might want to check that "edge of ice field" line, though -- did you mean "western"?)

"Few appear to have even noticed the discrepancy in the evidence." [from the web page]

Well, I know I did. But then we did discuss that previously. ;^)

Kudos,
John
 
T

Timothy Brandsoy

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Dave,

You have a great site! I bookmarked it immediately.

Thanks,
Tim B
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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I received an interesting item from the Liverpool Maritime Museum today, which was in the bequeathed papers of Captain Lord. Its the document containing information from the Almerian. The Museum provided a copy of the pencilled original from the ship(VERY hard to read, and although it doesn't have a date on it, the Museum says it is dated 21st May 1912). There is a typewritten transcript, which seems to be correct, except for the footnote of the asterisked ship being the Californian, and "M.M.S.A" and "12.70" underneath.

Click on the link below:
btinternet.com/~dr_paul_lee/almerian.jpeg


Comments welcome of course. I have a few: if the Almerian was indeed on the screne, and she was the "schooner" seen by Captain Moore of the Mount Temple - although how could he say what type of ship it was in dark conditions? - then it seems that the MT was signalling the Almerian presumably with a morse lamp, which were partially successful ("...ount...").

Secondly, the MT saw the other ship's green light, which then disappeared: this was shortly after 3.00am. At about this time, the Almerian spotted the Mount Temple on her port quarter - so she would have been showing red, unless the light was shut in. The Almerian then proceeded North some time later, so would have been showing the MT her red light again. This lack of correspondence in the red and green lights seems odd.

The Almerian also doesn't mention using her foghorn which the MT heard.

I am a bit wary of the co-ordinates given that night by any ship due to the currents in the area. But if true, by 3am, the MT had to steam north, shadowing the MT, to see the Carpathia on the eastern side of the icefield, meaning that she had stopped well south of the distress position.

At least the Almerian and the MT agree on being in the ice by about 3.00am. If they did see each other at this time, then this gives some idea as to how far the fringes of the ice, not necessarily the ice field, extended on the western side.

The Almerian did not notice the black funnelled ship, or any other vessel in the area.
 

Paul Slish

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Jan 18, 2006
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Paul, Thanks for the information from the Liverpool Museum. Captain Lord testified in London on May 14, 1912. According to the museum the original report is dated May 21, 1912. If that date is correct of course Captain Lord did not have this material available to him when he testified. That would explain why he didn't mention the Almerian by name. We cannot know definitely if this document is indeed from the Almerian as none of the crew members testified at the British Inquiry.

If this document is authentic then it is very interesting.

1. Why do you associate the Almerian (if it was indeed there) with the schooner Moore saw? Moore called it a schooner or a small craft (US). He called it a sailing vessel (B. 9245) The Almerian was a ship, a steamer. It was not a large ship, but still it was over 300 feet long and almost 3000 tons. That does not fit the description of a schooner or small craft.

2. Lord testified to seeing the Carpathia, the Mount Temple and a two masted steamer, pink funnel (B. 7400). If he was correct, this could have been the Almerian. Lord did not testify about seeing a black funnel steamer near the Mount Temple.

3. Groves said the thought the small steamer had a black funnel. Moore testified he saw a steamer with a black funnel also. He estimated it at daylight at 4000 to 5000 tons.

4. Stone said he saw three steamers that morning, but was not asked to specify them.

5. Summing it up nobody saw 4 steamers early that morning. Moore first spotted the Birma he say around 8.00 am, but that was later. Also the Birma had a yellow funnel.

6. Since nobody saw 4 steamers that leaves us in a quandary. Was the small steamer black funnelled and foreign (non British)? Or was it pink funnelled and the Leyland Line Almerian?

7. Now this part is controversial. In the US Moore testified the steamer he saw might have been the mystery ship. That would place it close to the Titanic from whenever it was sighted (12.30 am?)to around 2.00am at least.

Yet in Britain Moore testified he saw this steamer shortly after he turned around between 1.00 am and 1.30 am. He says he saw this steamer the whole time until 9.00 am (US) and said she was going east ahead of him. He saw her stern light. (B.9253-9260). If Moore saw this ship heading east shortly after he turned around (he testified he was 49 miles off from the SOS position), and then he states she may have been the mystery ship seen by the Titanic, WE HAVE A HUGE CONTRADICTION HERE.

This steamer Moore saw could not possibly have been the mystery ship if he saw it heading east when he was still over 30 miles from the SOS position let alone the wreck site. Or was Moore not where he said he was???

Either Moore made a foolish remark about this steamer possibly being the mystery ship seen by the Titanic or he contradicted himself. This ship could not be in two places at once many miles apart. It certainly does not cast Moore in a favorable light.

Paul Slish
 

Dave Gittins

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I too thank Dr Paul for finding this. It no doubt cost time, trouble and money. I've been working on this document at my leisure and I'll soon post a revised account of Almerian on my site.

I'll just say that there is a good deal of evidence of it being a tall story. The clues are in the navigational details. They fit the assumptions of 1912 but not the facts found recently.

Note that Captain Lord made no use of the story in his dealings with the Board of Trade and the MMSA. While it offered some small support to his version of events, he would have understood that the navigation was too dodgy. Note also that Leslie left it out of The Californian Incident and judiciously omitted the navigation from A Titanic Myth, pages 132-133. Harrison also hides the fact that the unsigned report purported to come from Almerian's master.
 

Paul Lee

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Thanks for your kind comments Dave. Maybe the document is a tall story - .... here's a cheeky thought: what would a comparison between the handwriting of the document and Captain Lord's writing reveal? Maybe written by the same person?
happy.gif


There are quite a few more documents relating to Lord and his communication with the Leyland Line in the Liverpool MM. Unfortunately, theres too much for the staff to go through and photocopy, so when I'm next up in Liverpool (maybe for the International Beatles Week Festival in August?) I may pay them a visit....
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Another thing to bear in mind is why did it take so long for the report to surface. I can imagine Lord going into Leyland's office and saying "Look, I'm on the stand in a few days time. I saw a ship which could be one of ours and whose navigational details could help. Could you identify her for me?"

If so, it was a little too late to help Lord out in London.

Does anyone know when the Almerian left Liverpool on its next trip after 25th April? I think the crew muster sheets still exist in Kew, so they may tell us if the officers on that voyage were the same as the ones on April 15th. What is going through my mind is this: April 4th 1912: Almerian leaves for Liverpool April 25th: arrives in Liverpool A few days after this, Almerian leaves again. A one way trip to her port takes 21 days. Strange that a report surfaces while the Captain and crew may be away. The report seems too long to be transmitted via Marconi!
 

John Flood

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Mar 4, 2002
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Hi Folks,

Just wondering where did the story about the 'Almerian' being on, or near the scene, start?

Did a crewman onboard the 'Almerian' witness the '...ount..' morse signal from the other ship (presumably, the Mount Temple)? Did they morse back a response? Or to put it more simply, was their a firsthand witness to this event

All the Best,
John.
 

Dave Gittins

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On Sunday, I'll see if I can find the date of Almerian's next voyage. I may be able to get the name of her master. No promises!

I'll also try to check the day on which Californian reached Liverpool. It was probably 9 May. There was plenty of time for Lord to get the story before he went to testify in London.

By the way Paul, Almerian had no radio. She may have been in port as of 9 May. Turn rounds were slow in those days. We'll see!
 

Dave Gittins

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It occurred to me that the Almerian story was probably not public knowledge until her captain and officers had joined the great majority.

I don't have all the books. Does anybody know if it is mentioned as early as The Titanic and the Californian or in The Maiden Voyage?

I know it was told in Lord's 1959 affidavit, which was published in 1962 in The Californian Incident, but that was not a widely published book. I've never seen any earlier mention of it.
 

Paul Lee

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Hi Dave, Almerian's story isn't mentioned in The Maiden Voyage. It isn't in Reade's book either!

One other point: on the second page of the pencilled, handwritten account, it says "This is the Exhbit marked B referred to in the affidavit of Walter Leslie Stringer Harrison sworn before me this 26th day of Oct. 1964"

- I can't make out the signatory's name, but it does say "Notary Public".
 

Dave Gittins

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Lester, thanks for that! That appears to be the first mention of Almerian in a widely known book. I assume Padford was working only from Lord's 1959 affidavit, as others seem to have done later.

I've just put up a revised version of my web page.


It's subject to one or two date checks.

I'm still inclined to think Almerian wasn't around. For me, the dodgy navigational details make it look like a tall tale.
 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hello Dave,

Pages 284 and 286 are part of Appendix A which is the 1959 Affidavit. Page 108 has no specific reference.

The only difference being page 108 says: "...a four-masted, pink funnel steamer, the Almerian, bound North." Page 284 says: "....passing a ship having a pink funnel and two masts, bound North, which turned out to be the Almerian."
 

Dave Gittins

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I just fixed a couple of typos. Thanks Martin P!

Captain Lord seems to have had a dilemma. The report gives some support to his own story, but in the absence of positions and times it only tells what everybody already knew. Californian steamed south down the western edge of the ice, then steamed through it to Carpathia. That's a help, but the dodgy navigation suggests it's a con job. Neither Lord nor Harrison seems to have trusted it. Note how Harrison leaves the navigation out of his book, as well as the fact that the report was allegedly written by Almerian's master.

I'd love to see the original report!
 

Paul Lee

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Hi Dave, I'll scan in the pencilled original this weekend. It is quite hard to read in places.

By the way, do we have any idea as to when the Mount Temple's longitude was taken on the morning of 15/4/12? I recall that the sun was due East- from this can we infer that it was taken at, or shortly after sunrise?
 

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