Question At what point did they know that no ship would make it to them in time?

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Mike D726

Member
I've seen nothing in the record regarding "final" acknowledgment that no ships near enough were answering the wireless distress signals, or if the lack of potential rescue changed anything.
For example, I could envision the captain and senior officers checking at the wireless room every few minutes.
By 1:00 a.m., the rate of sinking was obvious and the calls had been going out for some time. They had only a little over an hour more.
One may wonder why the captain did not order every lifeboat to be filled to capacity as quickly as possible -- at least once it became obvious that no ship would reach them in time. Thoughts? Has anyone seen this topic mentioned in testimony at all?
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
While it is indeed true that captain Smith ordered the lifeboats to be prepared before he even knew that the Titanic couldn't stay afloat or how long she could stay afloat it isn't true that he ordered a distress call to be send in the first 20 minutes. The first distress call was send at 12:27, however a short shile before he ordered the distress call to be send however captain Smith briefly went to the Marconi wireless room and told senior wireless operator Phillips and junior wireless operator Bride: “We’ve struck an iceberg and I’m having an inspection made to tell what it has done to us. You better get ready to send out a call for assistance. But don’t send it until I tell you.”. It is believed this happened between 11:50 and 12:00.
Thomas, you have illustrated the point where I differ from popular opinion and that concerns timing of events.
I know where the "wait until I tell you" evidence came from; it came from a New York Times Cub reporter - a man named Isaac Russel, who in company with Guglielmo Marconi himself, concocted the story about waiting for more evidence. That was simply not the case. Here is exactly what Bride told his questioners under oath at the US inquiry:
"Mr. BRIDE.
That is exactly what he said. He [Captain Smith] said, "You had better get assistance." When Mr. Phillips heard him he came out and asked him if he wanted him to use a distress call. He said, "Yes; at once."

I truly believe that the man Marconi, was responsible for tampering with the wireless message evidence. However, that's another story.

Phillips had just been relieved by Bride and the latter would have done so as planned - at Midnight not twenty minutes past. In fact, if Bride had followed normal shipboard practice, he would have relieved a few minutes early for the Watch handover procedures to take place.

We know from Boxhall that he met the Carpenter and Mail Room Clerk shortly after he returned to the bridge to make his "no damage seen" report to Captain Smith, and that was about 10 minutes after hitting the iceberg. and most certainly before midnight. Consequently, Captain Smith knew how serious it was no more that 15 minutes after impact. It is therefore ludicrous to suggest that the man then waited another 30 to 37 minutes before alerting the world to his problem. A ship can be in trouble and need help. Sinking is the end-game.

Apart from the foregoing; the evidence from the Mount Temple shows that two distress calls were made within a very short space of each other.
We know that the second one was calculated and delivered to the wireless room by Boxhall and that he did that after calling the officers just before midnight and about the time the crew were uncovering the boats. The evidence tells us that all that happened about 25 minutes after hitting the iceberg. Incidentally, the 3rd Officer said he was called a few minutes before he was due on Watch. Consider that in the light of the evidence of Boxhall and Bride.
 
Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

Member
Although it isn't fully related to the subject this thread is written for I want to go a bit deeper further into somethings that do not end up with the statement This mostly has to due that the first distress message was sent out at 10:25/22:25 in the New York timezone, which was 2 hours and 2 minutes behind of the timezone the Titanic was in. Junior wireless operator Harold Bride also mentioned the following in the American inquiry under oath:
Senator SMITH.
Were you working with Cape Race, or was Phillips, to your knowledge, just before the collision with the iceberg?

Mr. BRIDE.
As far as I recollect Phillips had finished working with Cape Race about 10 minutes before the collision with the iceberg. He made no mention of the fact when I turned out.

Senator SMITH.
I think you told me the other day in New York the time that elapsed after the collision or impact before you sent the C.Q.D. call out. I want to be sure I have it, so I am asking it again.

Mr. BRIDE.
I could not call it to mind now, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What is your best recollection?

Mr. BRIDE.
My best recollection would be somewhere in the vicinity of 10 minutes, sir, because Mr. Phillips and I were discussing one or two things before the captain came and told us to call for assistance.

Senator SMITH.
What were you discussing?

Mr. BRIDE.
We were discussing what Mr. Phillips thought had happened to the ship and the working of Cape Race.

Senator SMITH.
Did the captain come personally?

Mr. BRIDE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
To the operating room?

Mr. BRIDE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And he told you or told Phillips to send this call out?

Mr. BRIDE.
He told Phillips to send the call out.

Senator SMITH.
And he came frequently to your operating room after that and urged you to send out the C.Q.D. again?

Mr. BRIDE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Do you recollect the captain of the Carpathia testifying the other day that he got your C.Q.D. call at 10.45, New York time?

Mr. BRIDE.
I did not hear that, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Assuming that you got into immediate communication with the Carpathia when you sent out your C.Q.D. call, the message would have been completed in an instant, would it not?

Mr. BRIDE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
If this collision occurred at 9.50, New York time, and the Carpathia received your C.Q.D. call at 10.25, New York time, considerable time had elapsed between the time you sent out your call and the time it was received?

Mr. BRIDE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How do you account for that?

Mr. BRIDE.
Maybe it was a difference between the clocks of the two ships.

Senator SMITH.
You mean that the time may have been set back on one and not on the other?

Mr. BRIDE.
That is New York time you are talking about?

Senator SMITH.
I am talking about New York time.

Mr. BRIDE.
You see, on these ships each operator has a clock for the purpose of keeping New York time and Greenwich time on the way across.



I honestly do not believe however that I am in the position to ague about matters like this with professionals with many years of expertise under their belt, referring to your many years as an officer, Master Mariner, Marine Surveyor and Accident Investigator.
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Although it isn't fully related to the subject this thread is written for I want to go a bit deeper further into somethings that do not end up with the statement This mostly has to due that the first distress message was sent out at 10:25/22:25 in the New York timezone, which was 2 hours and 2 minutes behind of the timezone the Titanic was in. Junior wireless operator Harold Bride also mentioned the following in the American inquiry under oath:
Senator SMITH.
Were you working with Cape Race, or was Phillips, to your knowledge, just before the collision with the iceberg?

Mr. BRIDE.
As far as I recollect Phillips had finished working with Cape Race about 10 minutes before the collision with the iceberg. He made no mention of the fact when I turned out.

Senator SMITH.
I think you told me the other day in New York the time that elapsed after the collision or impact before you sent the C.Q.D. call out. I want to be sure I have it, so I am asking it again.

Mr. BRIDE.
I could not call it to mind now, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What is your best recollection?

Mr. BRIDE.
My best recollection would be somewhere in the vicinity of 10 minutes, sir, because Mr. Phillips and I were discussing one or two things before the captain came and told us to call for assistance.

Senator SMITH.
What were you discussing?

Mr. BRIDE.
We were discussing what Mr. Phillips thought had happened to the ship and the working of Cape Race.

Senator SMITH.
Did the captain come personally?

Mr. BRIDE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
To the operating room?

Mr. BRIDE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And he told you or told Phillips to send this call out?

Mr. BRIDE.
He told Phillips to send the call out.

Senator SMITH.
And he came frequently to your operating room after that and urged you to send out the C.Q.D. again?

Mr. BRIDE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Do you recollect the captain of the Carpathia testifying the other day that he got your C.Q.D. call at 10.45, New York time?

Mr. BRIDE.
I did not hear that, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Assuming that you got into immediate communication with the Carpathia when you sent out your C.Q.D. call, the message would have been completed in an instant, would it not?

Mr. BRIDE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
If this collision occurred at 9.50, New York time, and the Carpathia received your C.Q.D. call at 10.25, New York time, considerable time had elapsed between the time you sent out your call and the time it was received?

Mr. BRIDE.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How do you account for that?

Mr. BRIDE.
Maybe it was a difference between the clocks of the two ships.

Senator SMITH.
You mean that the time may have been set back on one and not on the other?

Mr. BRIDE.
That is New York time you are talking about?

Senator SMITH.
I am talking about New York time.

Mr. BRIDE.
You see, on these ships each operator has a clock for the purpose of keeping New York time and Greenwich time on the way across.



I honestly do not believe however that I am in the position to ague about matters like this with professionals with many years of expertise under their belt, referring to your many years as an officer, Master Mariner, Marine Surveyor and Accident Investigator.
You don't need to argue, Thomas. I go into this subject very deeply in my book, but it all boils down to whether or not, a partial adjustment of the ship's clock had taken place a few minutes before hitting the iceberg.

In fact, the first CQD was not sent out at 10-25 New York (EST) time, it was sent out before that and we have. the evidence for that from the cv of the Mount Temple and the notes supplied to her captain by his R/O.
Every report you see written or talked about contains the 10-25 pm time combined with the distress position coordinates worked by Boxhall... not Captain Smith.
There is also evidence to show that the moment of impact took place at exactly 10-00 am EST. It comes from a crew member clock that was fully set back 47 minutes. So humour me and note the following:
If impact took place at 11-40 pm on a partially adjusted Crew member clock, then the equivalent time at New York would actually be 10-02 pm. and 15 minutes after that would be 11-55 pm ship - 10-17 pm New York...the time Captain Smith sent the first distress message. Think about it.
 
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Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
The sad thing about the evacuation was that every traveling family, i.e., women, child and husband, could have been saved from all classes if there was a concerted way to get them first to the boats. There was 442 women (of which 419 were passengers) and 103 children on board. That's only 545 out of a total complement of 2207 traveling on the ship.
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Just imagine how crammed collapsible Engelhardt lifeboat C was that night, in there were between 39 to 45 people in it instead of the 35 people in the picture of collapsible Engelhardt lifeboat D.
I am struggling to count 30 in that boat. Where the other 17 fit into the boat I can't quite see it. Then there is the problem if 47 are in the boat, is there enough room to row the boat?
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
The sad thing about the evacuation was that every traveling family, i.e., women, child and husband, could have been saved from all classes if there was a concerted way to get them first to the boats. There was 442 women (of which 419 were passengers) and 103 children on board. That's only 545 out of a total complement of 2207 traveling on the ship.
If there are 2207 on board life boat capacity is1178. That still leaves another 1029 on board!
 
M

Mike D726

Member
You must have misunderstood me, Mike. There was nothing wrong with the boats or the davits... just the method of lowering which was standard for the times.
I've gained a better understanding of your point(s) by reading subsequent posts. Thank you.
I believe you are saying that it was unsafe (or at least risky) to lower the boats at full weight from the decks where they were swung out.
Was the plan to load them full once in the water, and if so, why did it not happen? Do we have any information on this? Was it because of how little time they had and the chaos going on?
I have read on this board and elsewhere that the gangway doors were opened for the purpose of loading additional passengers, but this obviously never happened.
On another note, I see that the first distress calls were received by the La Provence, Mount Temple and at Cape Race at approximately 12:15am Titanic time.
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
On another note, I see that the first distress calls were received by the La Provence, Mount Temple and at Cape Race at approximately 12:15am Titanic time.
That 12:15 time came about because the British Wreck Commission decided that Titanic was 1hr 50m ahead of NY time. They were wrong. Anyway, their 12:15 time corresponded to 10:25pm mean time in NY.
 
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Mike D726

Member
That 12:15 time came about because the British Wreck Commission decided that Titanic was 1hr 50m ahead of NY time. They were wrong. Anyway, their 12:15 time corresponded to 10:25pm mean time in NY.
What time do you believe the first calls were sent? Looking to learn here. I was reading the British report.
 
Steven Christian

Steven Christian

Member
What time do you believe the first calls were sent? Looking to learn here. I was reading the British report.
Since you asked Mr. Halpern I'll take the liberty to post a link that he posted in another thread here on ET. I don't think he'll mind. In my opinion its a very good article from Paul Lee's site. I like it because of the side notes. I'll post another link that I found useful but be prepared to get confused at times when dealing with the different times. One aspect of the radio traffic I have found interesting is that after Titanic struck the berg it took 35-45 minutes for them to send out the first distress call depending on what time stamp scale you use. During that time they were still sending personal messages of the paying customers aboard and chatting with other radio operators. The links will keep you busy for awhile. Good for a rainy day. Cheers.

P.S...I'll let you look it over and decide what makes the most sense to you. I don't have enough aspirin in my cabinet to go over it all again. :p
 
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Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
The sad thing about the evacuation was that every traveling family, i.e., women, child and husband, could have been saved from all classes if there was a concerted way to get them first to the boats. There was 442 women (of which 419 were passengers) and 103 children on board. That's only 545 out of a total complement of 2207 traveling on the ship.
Sad indeed, Sam. However, I suspect that the strange, muddled mindset of the majority back in 1912, had a lot to do with it.
The world had within living memory, taken a huge leap forward out of serfdom into the Industrial Revolution. As recently as the 1940's, dregs of the Victorian class system remained. The idea of treating individuals and families as quals would have been alien to the cap-tippers as they were sometimes called. Think of the nobility in boat No.1, then think Astor. Nobility obviously trumped wealth, yet the perceived weak took precedence over the perceived strong. Two kinds of Nobility trumps wealth?
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
A great deal of speculation and 'massaging' of information has been published about the times of the first and .amended CQD positions.

In fact the very first information regarding the disaster was reported to The WSL Vice President Franklin before Titanic sank - before 2 am EST on the morning of April 15.

On receipt of the bad news, he immediately had inquiries made and within a few hours, received the following information from the Associated Press who got it direct from Cap Race. There was no mention of Captain Smith's distress position. I quote part of the communication:

"Titanic. Received from Associated Press from Cape Race 3.05 A.M. Monday, April 15. 10.25 P.M. E. S. T., Titanic called C. Q. D.; reported having struck iceberg and required immediate assistance. Half an hour afterwards, reported that they were sinking by the head. Women were being put off in boats and weather calm and clear. Gave position as 41.46 north, 50.14 west. Stop this station."

It does not require any specialised knowledge to realise that this evidence very clearly shows that the initial CQD containing Captain Smith's distress position must have been transmitted before 10-25 pm EST.

Keep in mind, this information became public during the early hours of April 15 - long before US breakifast time.
Or am I missing something?
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
I've gained a better understanding of your point(s) by reading subsequent posts. Thank you.
I believe you are saying that it was unsafe (or at least risky) to lower the boats at full weight from the decks where they were swung out.
Was the plan to load them full once in the water, and if so, why did it not happen? Do we have any information on this? Was it because of how little time they had and the chaos going on?
I have read on this board and elsewhere that the gangway doors were opened for the purpose of loading additional passengers, but this obviously never happened.
On another note, I see that the first distress calls were received by the La Provence, Mount Temple and at Cape Race at approximately 12:15am Titanic time.
It is very hard to determine a method of evacuation, Mike. The circumstances dictate, and you have mentioned time.
According to Lightoller the idea was to open side doors at sea level and complete loading from there. He said he sent men to open the doors, but we can only offer practical reasons as to why it didn't happen.
 
Seumas

Seumas

Member
It is very hard to determine a method of evacuation, Mike. The circumstances dictate, and you have mentioned time.
According to Lightoller the idea was to open side doors at sea level and complete loading from there. He said he sent men to open the doors, but we can only offer practical reasons as to why it didn't happen.
Paul Lee wrote quite an interesting theory about that.

He argued (using Occam's Razor) that Bo'sun Nichol's and his six men did go below to open one of the gangway doors at approx. 01:00-01:10. However, upon opening it they found that the sea was now too close to the door for it to be a viable option for evacuation. Their "mission" a failure, they then returned to the boat deck to help with the final few boats by approx 01:30-01:40.

The alternate explanation put forward by Walter Lord that Nichol's and his men got "trapped below" and drowned was just ridiculous. I don't believe that for a second, those men weren't daft.
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
I think the gangway door is a good point as above. Plus the fact wasn't the ship listing from side to the other side wouldn't help the matter to.
 
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