An interview with Capt Rostron


Jul 9, 2000
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>>Simon Senegal. He described some 24 bodies on a raft, half of which were dead, and that lots of bodies were floating in the sea.<<

And yet, hundreds of passengers and crew do not, and then there are the photos taken of the recovery which show not even one body anywhere near the Carpathia.
 
Dec 12, 1999
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Oh c'mon, Michael, there you go again with that tired, old "if it had happened, there would be some (or more) documentation of it." That's not persuasive, and it's just not the way evidence works. Not everyone was asked the question, and not everyone saw the same things. Further, as a matter of law, a jury can believe one witness, and not believe dozens of others. I personally would believe John Collins and Simon Senegal, before I'd believe Captain Rostron.

I'll reiterate, the interesting thing here is that Captain Rostron must have been well aware when he testified on April 19, 1912, that there was a negative perception out there of his having sold out to the bosses. As such, he would have been careful in his testimony not to say anything that would embellish such a view of him . . . that's probably why he got so seemingly defensive when Senator Smith asked him the questions about what prompted him to go back to New York, as opposed to Halifax. The interview also reveals that he was very close-lipped about the bodies. I think that I've got Rostron pegged right, as a "company man."
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Oh c'mon, Michael, there you go again with that tired, old "if it had happened, there would be some (or more) documentation of it."<<

Strawman arguement, Jan. That's not what I said.

>>Not everyone was asked the question, and not everyone saw the same things.<<

Quite right. They weren't. There were over a thousand people there on the scene who saw a wide veriety of things, and not only is the presence of masses of bodies not corroberated by them, the photos taken at the scene don't back it up other! A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, the silence is a screamer.

>>Further, as a matter of law, a jury can believe one witness, and not believe dozens of others.<<

Which is a highly subjective matter of choice on the part of the juror. That doesn't mean it has anything to do with what actually is.

>>I personally would believe John Collins and Simon Senegal, before I'd believe Captain Rostron.<<

Well, that's your call to make, but that doesn't mean it's right. It may however speak to an all too transparant Confirmation Bias on your part.

>>I'll reiterate, the interesting thing here is that Captain Rostron must have been well aware when he testified on April 19, 1912, that there was a negative perception out there of his having sold out to the bosses.<<

Which doesn't make it so, and which is inconsistant with the overall public perception that he was the Hero of the Day.

>>As such, he would have been careful in his testimony not to say anything that would embellish such a view of him . . <<

Why would he embellish a view that didn't exist?

>>that's probably why he got so seemingly defensive when Senator Smith asked him the questions about what prompted him to go back to New York, as opposed to Halifax.<<

This testimony? ;
Senator SMITH. You say the captain of a ship is vested ordinarily with absolute control and discretion over the movements of his vessel?

Mr. ROSTRON. Absolutely. I wish to qualify that, however. By law, the captain of the vessel has absolute control, but suppose we get orders from the owners of the vessel to do a certain thing and we do not carry it out. The only thing is then that we are liable to dismissal. I shall give you an illustration of what I mean by that, as regards receiving orders, and so on. When I turned back to New York, I sent my message to the Cunard Co. telling them that I was proceeding to New York unless otherwise ordered. You see what I mean there? I said, "For many considerations, consider New York most advisable."

Senator SMITH. And you immediately reversed your course?

Mr. ROSTRON. I came right around for New York immediately, and returned to New York. Would you like to know my reasons for coming back to New York?

Senator SMITH. Yes.

Mr. ROSTRON. The first and principal reason was that we had all these women aboard, and I knew they were hysterical and in a bad state. I knew very well, also, that you would want all the news possible. I knew very well, further, that if I went to Halifax, we could get them there all right, but I did not know how many of these people were half dead, how many were injured, or how many were really sick, or anything like that. I knew, also, that if we went to Halifax, we would have the possibility of coming across more ice, and I knew very well what the effect of that would be on people who had had the experience these people had had. I knew what that would be the whole time we were in the vicinity of ice. I took that into consideration. I knew very well that if we went to Halifax it would be a case of railway journey for these passengers, as I knew they would have to go to New York, and there would be all the miseries of that.

Furthermore, I did not know what the condition of the weather might be, or what accommodation I could give them in Halifax, and that was a great consideration - one of the greatest considerations that made me turn back.

Nothing defensive about that. Far from it, he volunteered the information from the start and without being prompted.

>>The interview also reveals that he was very close-lipped about the bodies. I think that I've got Rostron pegged right, as a "company man." <<

The interview you've cited as per the Newark Star article is a polemic from a reporter who went too far and decided to grind an axe when they didn't let him get away with it. It is corroberated by nobody.
 
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>>Oh c'mon, Michael, there you go again with that tired, old "if it had happened, there would be some (or more) documentation of it."<<

Strawman arguement, Jan. That's not what I said.

Michael, that is what you are saying, boiled down to its essence.

>>Not everyone was asked the question, and not everyone saw the same things.<<

Quite right. They weren't. There were over a thousand people there on the scene who saw a wide veriety of things, and not only is the presence of masses of bodies not corroberated by them, the photos taken at the scene don't back it up other! A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, the silence is a screamer.

. . . and you think that's a persuasive argument, full of merit and all. Come on, that's not persuasive at all. Silence is definitely NOT a screamer. The only time it's relevant is when you state something directly to a person's face, so that they should respond, and they don't say anything back . . . in effect, acknowledging the correctness of what you said . . . beyond that, silence means nothing.

>>Further, as a matter of law, a jury can believe one witness, and not believe dozens of others.<<

Which is a highly subjective matter of choice on the part of the juror. That doesn't mean it has anything to do with what actually is.

What? Next your going to come up with your "smoking gun" evidence standard . . . we've been through that before, ho, humm.

>>I personally would believe John Collins and Simon Senegal, before I'd believe Captain Rostron.<<

Well, that's your call to make, but that doesn't mean it's right. It may however speak to an all too transparant Confirmation Bias on your part.

No, I backed up my reasons in a lengthy and detailed analysis of Rostron's testimony. I didn't find him to be a credible witness, and I know witnesses . . . having done trials, and hundreds of depositions.

>>I'll reiterate, the interesting thing here is that Captain Rostron must have been well aware when he testified on April 19, 1912, that there was a negative perception out there of his having sold out to the bosses.<<

Which doesn't make it so, and which is inconsistant with the overall public perception that he was the Hero of the Day.

That's what I thought, "he was the Hero of the Day," but now, I realize that's in accurate.

>>As such, he would have been careful in his testimony not to say anything that would embellish such a view of him . . <<

Why would he embellish a view that didn't exist?

Michael, the view did exist. One minute you claim "silence is a screamer," the next minute, you argue that blatantly-obvious, documented facts don't "exist" . . . therefore, silence isn't a screamer anymore. What is your position on silence and documented facts? Do you pick and choose what you want to accept as fact, and spin the rest with silence? Get real . . .

>>that's probably why he got so seemingly defensive when Senator Smith asked him the questions about what prompted him to go back to New York, as opposed to Halifax.<<

This testimony? ;

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
quote:
Senator SMITH. You say the captain of a ship is vested ordinarily with absolute control and discretion over the movements of his vessel?

Mr. ROSTRON. Absolutely. I wish to qualify that, however. By law, the captain of the vessel has absolute control, but suppose we get orders from the owners of the vessel to do a certain thing and we do not carry it out. The only thing is then that we are liable to dismissal. I shall give you an illustration of what I mean by that, as regards receiving orders, and so on. When I turned back to New York, I sent my message to the Cunard Co. telling them that I was proceeding to New York unless otherwise ordered. You see what I mean there? I said, "For many considerations, consider New York most advisable."

Senator SMITH. And you immediately reversed your course?

Mr. ROSTRON. I came right around for New York immediately, and returned to New York. Would you like to know my reasons for coming back to New York?

Senator SMITH. Yes.

Mr. ROSTRON. The first and principal reason was that we had all these women aboard, and I knew they were hysterical and in a bad state. I knew very well, also, that you would want all the news possible. I knew very well, further, that if I went to Halifax, we could get them there all right, but I did not know how many of these people were half dead, how many were injured, or how many were really sick, or anything like that. I knew, also, that if we went to Halifax, we would have the possibility of coming across more ice, and I knew very well what the effect of that would be on people who had had the experience these people had had. I knew what that would be the whole time we were in the vicinity of ice. I took that into consideration. I knew very well that if we went to Halifax it would be a case of railway journey for these passengers, as I knew they would have to go to New York, and there would be all the miseries of that.

Furthermore, I did not know what the condition of the weather might be, or what accommodation I could give them in Halifax, and that was a great consideration - one of the greatest considerations that made me turn back.


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Nothing defensive about that. Far from it, he volunteered the information from the start and without being prompted.

Well, Michael, I just disagree. I think Rostron is being very defensive on this. If you can't see that, then just don't argue with me about it. You need to take some coursework, or something.

>>The interview also reveals that he was very close-lipped about the bodies. I think that I've got Rostron pegged right, as a "company man." <<

The interview you've cited as per the Newark Star article is a polemic from a reporter who went too far and decided to grind an axe when they didn't let him get away with it. It is corroberated by nobody.

in some respects, it's corroborated, see my article, "The Morning After . . . Where Were The Bodies?" Have you ever read my article, word for work, page to page? I recommend it. It's a good article.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon

And Michael, for the last time quit making fun of "Equal Opportunity" . . . it's a very important matter for persons to have "equal opportunity" in all aspects of their lives.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Michael, that is what you are saying, boiled down to its essence<<

No it isn't and constantly repeating that as well as your other ideas which have been very firmly rebutted won't make it so.

>>. . . and you think that's a persuasive argument, full of merit and all. Come on, that's not persuasive at all. Silence is definitely NOT a screamer. The only time it's relevant is when you state something directly to a person's face, so that they should respond, and they don't say anything back . . . in effect, acknowledging the correctness of what you said . . . beyond that, silence means nothing.<<

What were talking about is a lack of corroberation from any credible source and a series of photographs that positively disproves your claims about the presence of bodies. Sorry, but this doesn't go away no matter what blinders one chooses to put on.

>>No, I backed up my reasons in a lengthy and detailed analysis of Rostron's testimony. I didn't find him to be a credible witness, and I know witnesses . . . having done trials, and hundreds of depositions.<<

See my link about confirmation bias. Captain Rostron was a man who found himself caught up in extrodinary events and pulled off a rescue when everybody else was too far away, roadblocked by ice, and/or unwilling or unable to do anything. I've read his testimony and I saw nothing defensive about it and no dishonesty. He told like he saw it, and so far, you have offered not one scrap of credible evidence to demonstrate otherwise.

>>That's what I thought, "he was the Hero of the Day," but now, I realize that's in accurate.<<

No, that's what you concluded, apparently to push some sort of agenda which is full of reductive stereotypes and what I can only describe as deconstructive nihilism.

>>Michael, the view did exist. One minute you claim "silence is a screamer," the next minute, you argue that blatantly-obvious, documented facts don't "exist" . . . therefore, silence isn't a screamer anymore. What is your position on silence and documented facts? Do you pick and choose what you want to accept as fact, and spin the rest with silence? Get real . . .<<

I'm being plenty realistic. Save for one aggrieved legend-in-his-own-mind reporter with delusions of being some sort of crusader who jumped onto the ship illegally, you haven't presented anything which shows that Captain Rostron was veiwed as the heel of the day.

>>Well, Michael, I just disagree. I think Rostron is being very defensive on this. If you can't see that, then just don't argue with me about it. You need to take some coursework, or something.<<

Jan, conterary to what you might believe, I can read and an ability to think critically is not one of my problems. I also have a good understanding of human nature. People who are being defensive seldom if ever volunteer information in this fashion.

>>in some respects, it's corroborated,<<

By who? The press who lionised him as a hero and the passengers who subscribed a gold cup and medals for him and his crew?

>>Have you ever read my article, word for work, page to page? I recommend it. It's a good article.<<

Yes. Can't say as I'm impressed. All you did was repeat all of the same assertions you made in a thread under the same name, and most all of which were either refuted or shown to be irrelevant.

>>And Michael, for the last time quit making fun of "Equal Opportunity" . . . it's a very important matter for persons to have "equal opportunity" in all aspects of their lives.<<

I'll make fun of what I like. If you don't like that, dial 1-800-TOO-BAAD. By the way, the full moniker is Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon. I embrace that title with pride. Got a problem with that? Dial 1-800-WHO-CARES.
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Michael has already dealt with these arguments well, but I'll go through them as well.
Oh c'mon, Michael, there you go again with that tired, old "if it had happened, there would be some (or more) documentation of it." That's not persuasive, and it's just not the way evidence works.
I disagree strongly. Given the depth and breadth of both photographic documentation and eyewitness accounts of the scene the morning after, we would expect to find evidence of the scenario you propose. Not only is such evidence lacking, but such that we have runs contrary to your scenario - photographs, for example, show an empty sea.

Not everyone was asked the question, and not everyone saw the same things. Further, as a matter of law, a jury can believe one witness, and not believe dozens of others. I personally would believe John Collins and Simon Senegal, before I'd believe Captain Rostron.
Again, you are trying to minimise the evidence *against* your argument. Rostron was not the sole witness - there were both crew and passengers who agreed with his version of events. You also know that Senegal's evidence would be discounted as hearsay in a court of law - he did not see bodies. What he gave, as has already been rather firmly established, was a garbled version of the events at one of the collapsible boats, probably A.

I'll reiterate, the interesting thing here is that Captain Rostron must have been well aware when he testified on April 19, 1912, that there was a negative perception out there of his having sold out to the bosses.
Oh, hardly. One reporter complaining to him about marconi silence does not constitute a 'negative perception' of him having 'sold out to the bosses'. That emotive mischaracterisation of how the public saw Rostron is a distortion of historical sources. Rostron was widely acclaimed as a hero, by both the public and survivors.
As such, he would have been careful in his testimony not to say anything that would embellish such a view of him . . . that's probably why he got so seemingly defensive when Senator Smith asked him the questions about what prompted him to go back to New York, as opposed to Halifax.
Subjective interpretation - not quantifiable fact. My interpretation differs - although it should be noted that any 'defensiveness' would be entirely understandable and attributable to reasons other than a guilty conscience.
The interview also reveals that he was very close-lipped about the bodies. I think that I've got Rostron pegged right, as a "company man."
The interview 'reveals' only that Rostron did not want to give out information in general to a belligerant, pushy reporter who had boarded his ship without permission at a critical time when Rostron was an extraordinarily busy man.
. . . and you think that's a persuasive argument, full of merit and all. Come on, that's not persuasive at all. Silence is definitely NOT a screamer. The only time it's relevant is when you state something directly to a person's face, so that they should respond, and they don't say anything back . . . in effect, acknowledging the correctness of what you said . . . beyond that, silence means nothing.
So, silence only is 'relevant' when you can twist an individual's silence to suit your own agenda? Rostron's refusal to bandy words and subject himself to an inquisition is not a concession on his part - it's a refusal to subject himself to the agenda of the reporter.

When different sources - both visual and in the form of eyewitness testimony - agree, then it is a willful distortion of historical methodology to ignore these sources in favour of an interpretation that you find more appealing. The photos and the bulk of the eyewitnesses agree on the lack of bodies around the Carpathia.
What? Next your going to come up with your "smoking gun" evidence standard . . . we've been through that before, ho, humm.
Been through it before, and you've yet to satisfactorily answer questions as to why the crew and passengers on the Carpathia, not to mention the photographs, fail to reveal any masses of floating bodies around the ship. Why do you find it so boring to be pressed for an answer on this point? Ignoring this gaping flaw in your theory will not make it go away.
No, I backed up my reasons in a lengthy and detailed analysis of Rostron's testimony. I didn't find him to be a credible witness, and I know witnesses . . . having done trials, and hundreds of depositions.
Subjective interpretation. However, I will point out - again - that Rostron does not stand alone in his testimony...he is supported by other witnesses. Nor is Senegal a witness to anything other than hearsay. I find Rostron by far the most credible witness out of the three cited - his evidence stands the test of corroboration. Why, if Collins claimed boats were in the process of being lowered for bodies, were they not brought aboard?
That's what I thought, "he was the Hero of the Day," but now, I realize that's in accurate.
Oh, I think he's standing up to the mudslinging very well.
Michael, the view did exist. One minute you claim "silence is a screamer," the next minute, you argue that blatantly-obvious, documented facts don't "exist" . . . therefore, silence isn't a screamer anymore. What is your position on silence and documented facts? Do you pick and choose what you want to accept as fact, and spin the rest with silence? Get real . . .
Which 'blatantly obvious' facts are you referring to? I'd direct your attention to the 'blatantly obvious' lack of bodies in the photographic evidence and in eyewitness accounts. One disgruntled reporter suggesting that Rostron might have been influenced to maintain marconi silence does not support your exagerated characterisation of the exchange.
Well, Michael, I just disagree. I think Rostron is being very defensive on this. If you can't see that, then just don't argue with me about it. You need to take some coursework, or something.
I agree with Michael - I don't believe Rostron was being defensive. Michael is perfectly entitled to disagree with you, and admonishing him not to debate with you is no way to engage in academic discourse - nor is telling him to 'take some coursework or something'. Perhaps you could do some brushing up on how to interact in a forum debate.
in some respects, it's corroborated, see my article, "The Morning After . . . Where Were The Bodies?" Have you ever read my article, word for work, page to page? I recommend it. It's a good article.
As with so much else you've written, Jan, I have to disagree with this self-review. I found the article used sources highly selectively, lacked balance and was poorly researched. Your arguments have been comprehensively rebutted on the ET Board.
 
Mar 18, 2000
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'in some respects, it's corroborated, see my article, "The Morning After . . . Where Were The Bodies?" Have you ever read my article, word for work, page to page? I recommend it. It's a good article."

Yes, I read it, word for word. Not convincing in the least. As was rebutted to you, by a number of us, in a thread here at ET.

Inger, I agree with your last paragraph.
 
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Bill, who asked you? If you want to take me on, one on one, regarding whether there's corroboration, or not, then we'll do that. But, every time one of your posts shows up, its "Well, I agree with so-and-so," and "I think so-and-so is right." Talk about my "shadows" following me around, posting messages on this board, you're a "shadow" of a "shadow." Further, if you want to be part of the controversy, then write a controversial article, or take a controversial stance.
 
Mar 18, 2000
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"Bill, who asked you? If you want to take me on, one on one, regarding whether there's corroboration, or not, then we'll do that."

Public board, Jan. I have as much right here as you do, and just as much right to state my opinion. And you are the one who brought the subject of your old article into discussion, not me.

Take you on? Already did on this subject months ago, and your corroboration was minimal, if I recall. You didn't convince me then, you're not convincing me now.

I write articles, yes. Controversial? Maybe not. Maybe because I have more evidence to prove my points?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Bill, who asked you?<<

Jan, speaking officially as one of the moderators on this board, Bill has exactly the same right to respond to any thread he takes an interest in that you do. So long as all interested parties play by the rules, it's all fair game.
 

Patty Miller

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Jan 10, 1998
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Jan, I am curious here. What exactly is your
point of contention here? Is it the fact that
Rostron supposedly was a company man? Is it because he supposedly did not pick up the bodies or see the bodies? Or is it because Rostron prioritized what he thought was more critical in reference to his duties at the time, towards the survivors and his own passengers , in lieu of "being interviewed"? Sincerely, Patty
 

Inger Sheil

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Bill has a very solid and established background in research, and we have benefited from the results of his work (some of which has been on body recovery, I note). Some of his work has become standard reference material, e.g. the 'Shots in the Dark' page. He has no need to establish his qualifications to participate in this debate - they are well respected. However, even if he did not already have this well-established credibility, he would be perfectly entitled to provide his opinion without being subject to personal abuse. Of course, I do as well, as does everyone else here, but attacking the player and not the argument when he is displeased with what he reads seems to be a standard part of Jan's discourse.

Further, if you want to be part of the controversy, then write a controversial article, or take a controversial stance.
Generating controversy is certainly not a prerequisite for contributing to discussion. Nor is there any inherant virtue or merit in adopting a controversial position. Arguments, papers, positions stand or fall on their merits - not whether they are controversial.
If you want to take me on, one on one, regarding whether there's corroboration, or not, then we'll do that.
By all means, please do provide corroborating material. You have thus far failed to produce anything that stands up to scrutiny, and have dismissed the evidence of others who agreed with Rostron, in addition to photographic evidence.

I might add that Bill, contrary to your characterisation of him, has had many insightful contributions to make on your theory over time, as anyone looking into previous threads on the subject would note. He is one of several posters who have been able to highlight the flaws in your interpretation and selective use of evidence. I'm delighted to see that he is participating in this thread.
 

Laura Jay

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I know this is late and all, but Jan, I had to throw in my own 2 cents.
Why don't you see things from Rostron's point of view? Would you have wanted to talk about dead bodies instead of doing your job and bringing the survivors to New York? I fail to see how exactly "company man" fits into any of this.
 

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