Best book on the Californian?

S

SmileyGirl

Guest
"This is the first time the steamship Californian has been in this port. Capt. Lord said it was his first trip here. The steamer was loaded with a miscellaneous cargo and berthed at the B & A docks in East Boston."
Boston Traveller, April 19, 1912, p.7. [also quoted by Leslie Reade in TSTSS]

This was what Paul Slish posted on 8th December 2006 on the following thread:-

Californian's cargo

Then further from Paul on the same thread:-

Boston Globe, April 27, 1912, p.4

"The Leyland Line steamship Californian is scheduled to leave here at 5 p m today for Liverpool, but unless Capt Stanley Lord, her commander, who was summoned to Washington to give testimony before the Senate Investigation Committee regarding the position of his vessel at the time the Titanic went down, returns the steamer's departure will have to be delayed."

"Her principal shipments will be 80,000 bushels of wheat, 25,000 bushels of corn, 1550 tons of Santo Domingo sugar, 1000 bales of cotton, 200 tons of hay, 300 tons of flour, 200 tons of lumber and a lot of general freight."

Cheers,

Julian

Thanks Julian, a very boring cargo! I can understand why they wouldn’t want any lit cigarettes around.
 
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Hi SG,

The 'switch' is a complete dead end as is 'The Samson' and much else besides.

Cheers,

Julian
 
S

SmileyGirl

Guest
I also agree that this is the most balanced book on the subject but there are still a lot of loose ends which can never be proven one way or another.

The Ship That Stood Still is not a good book in my opinion. It sets out with one purpose only - to make Capt Stanley Lord somewhere a cross between Attila the Hun and Ivan the Terrible. Ridiculously one-sided.

Likewise, Leslie Harrison's A Titanic Myth, goes completely the other way, aiming to clear him completely of all blame. It is better written but nevertheless, also too one-sided.

Thomas Williams' Titanic and the Californian comes somewhere in between.

My personal take on this is that the lights seen by the Titanic were those of the Californian and vice versa and there was no 'mystery ship' between them. But the two ships were further apart than apparent and partly below the horizon to each other. But the lights from the superstructure and the masts were at a higher level and so visible across the calm sea.

Capt Lord in all likelihood did not get enough feedback from the officers on watch in time to make a decision to investigate. But even if Cyril Evans had remained on duty and the Californian had received the very first CQD-MGY call sent out by the Titanic, I don't think that the Californian would have been able to reach the other ship in time to recue anyone else. At best, they might have picked-up a few half-dead people from the sea but I doubt even that possibility.

Thanks Arun. Yes, the Paul Lee and Sam Halpern books seem to be the favourites. I do understand (I think from an article on this site) that it would have been too late for the Californian to save people even if she had acted. I did not realise this before.
 
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Yes completely bebunked. Dead and buried. A load of hogwash. When you get Paul Lee's book all will become clear.

Cheers,

Julian
 
Rob Lawes

Rob Lawes

Member
Hi Rob,

The flour was on the journey back from Boston to Liverpool, and Gill was not on The Californian for his 'f~~' breaks' on this return journey. He was instead I think on one of the liners back to the UK at a later date, not that he would have been very well received on The Californian!

Cheers,

Julian

Hi Julian

Thanks for the correction. I misunderstood the original post re the cargo.

Having pondered it though, I think there are a number of dust issuing cargoes that would be perfectly normal for a ship like Californian to carry that would make it prudent not to smoke between decks. Who knows, the crew's mess may well have been over a loading hatch as was the case in the forward areas of Titanic?

Just for fun, here's a video of grain dust going bang:

 
Steven Christian

Steven Christian

Member
Hi Rob,

The flour was on the journey back from Boston to Liverpool, and Gill was not on The Californian for his 'f~~' breaks' on this return journey. He was instead I think on one of the liners back to the UK at a later date, not that he would have been very well received on The Californian!

Cheers,

Julian
Wasn't she designed to carry cattle? Not that she wouldn't have other cargo but I hope they had proceedures to not carry flour or grain in a hold that had cattle the trip before. I wouldn't want to buy that flour even if I'm sure they cleaned the space really well. Worked on a dairy for awhile when I was 14...cattle can be very messy if you know what I mean.
 
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