Boxhall's 1959 Christchurch talk and Nautical Magazine article - now available to read


Aly Jones

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Mr. Boxhall was In his cabin at the time of the collision - either just looking inside or having a cup of tea, right? Was he on watch at the time of the collision? If so, what watch station was he standing? Would it have been unusual for an officer, while on watch, to be in his cabin?
Yes he was on duty along with moody and Murdoch when the collision happened. When she hit berg, boxhall was having his tea in his room. He ran out to the bridge to see what happening when he heard the bells, even hearing Murdoch calling out the orders to manuvere around the berg so I have read.

British love thier cup of teas.
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi yla,

To put it bluntly, there are huge question marks over Boxhall's testimony, and I am well known on here as not being a fan of Boxhall.

You will find other threads on here where this is gone into considerable detail. Dan, in his website, I think takes quite a measured objective approach. Personally, I think Boxhall was an idiot, who made a multitude of errors on the fateful night and in his evidence (and he was unwell at the time of the USA Inquiry with pleurisy, and may have been already unwell the night of the sinking).

The only good thing that can be said of him, as Jim comments on, was that he had a box of green flares put into his lifeboat that he then used.

Cheers,

Julian
 

Jim Currie

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Mr. Boxhall was In his cabin at the time of the collision - either just looking inside or having a cup of tea, right? Was he on watch at the time of the collision? If so, what watch station was he standing? Would it have been unusual for an officer, while on watch, to be in his cabin?
No Doug, it would not be unusual. In fact in a 3 Mate Wayc
Mr. Boxhall was In his cabin at the time of the collision - either just looking inside or having a cup of tea, right? Was he on watch at the time of the collision? If so, what watch station was he standing? Would it have been unusual for an officer, while on watch, to be in his cabin?
Yes, Doug. It would have been perfectly normal for him to do so. He was the senior of the 2 Navigators. The normal practice on such a ship was to carry out all the major navigation work and liaise with the Officers o/f the Watch... first Lightoller then Murdoch.
He and Moody would have had 2 ours on duty with each of these senior Officers..
At 8pm, 9pm,10pm and 11 pm (work-in-hand permitting), Moody would be instructed by Boxhall to "Make the Rounds". Both men were on the 4-on...4-off system.
Half an hour before the change of Watches, when 3/O Pitman and 5/O Lowe would take over, Boxhall would make a final round then go to the Chart-Room in make things ready for the changeover at the end of his Watch. During this time, 6/O Moody would be in the Chart room, bringing the "records"
i.e. Scrap Log etc up to date... entering weather readings etc.
With such a short rest period of 4 hours to come, it would be perfectly normal and acceptable by Murdoch for Boxhall to have a quick cuppa before all the action took place and be ready to "crash" the minute he came off Watch. Moody probably had a similar break earlier. These men did not play any part in the on-going safety of the ship relative to the minute by minute dangers which might confront her.
 

Jim Currie

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Hi yla,

To put it bluntly, there are huge question marks over Boxhall's testimony, and I am well known on here as not being a fan of Boxhall.

You will find other threads on here where this is gone into considerable detail. Dan, in his website, I think takes quite a measured objective approach. Personally, I think Boxhall was an idiot, who made a multitude of errors on the fateful night and in his evidence (and he was unwell at the time of the USA Inquiry with pleurisy, and may have been already unwell the night of the sinking).

The only good thing that can be said of him, as Jim comments on, was that he had a box of green flares put into his lifeboat that he then used.

Cheers,

Julian
Just one comment, Julian. an "Idiot" would have a hard time passing a 1st Year Cadet Exam. Boxhall was an Extra Master. I thin it was Dave Gittings or, member, who onces asked how many on this site could pass for Extra Master
 

Aly Jones

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Hi yla,

. Personally, I think Boxhall was an idiot, who made a multitude of errors on the fateful night and in his evidence (and he was unwell at the time of the USA Inquiry with pleurisy, and may have been already unwell the night of the sinking).

The only good thing that can be said of him, as Jim comments on, was that he had a box of green flares put into his lifeboat that he then used.

Cheers,

Julian
Hello Julian,

What kind of errors may I asked? I didn't think junior officers made any errors because they had to follow thier senior officers orders.?

Personalty, I think the most idiot move that night was from lightoller for the "no man policy" Although, I don't hate him for that or any other officers for that matter.
 

Aly Jones

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Just one comment, Julian. an "Idiot" would have a hard time passing a 1st Year Cadet Exam. Boxhall was an Extra Master. I thin it was Dave Gittings or, member, who onces asked how many on this site could pass for Extra Master
Wasnt there a higher ranked officer (higher than boxhall) without an extra masters certificate?

I couldn't pass one, even if I tried too.
 

Jim Currie

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Wasnt there a higher ranked officer (higher than boxhall) without an extra masters certificate?

I couldn't pass one, even if I tried too.
All of Titanic's Officers had the unlimited command Certificate of Master Mariner (FG) Sail. That included 3rd Officer Pitman.
Boxhall, Lightoller, Murdoch, Wild and Smith all had the additional qualification of Extra Master (Steam). Indeed my own Master's Certificate of Competency bears the legend "Steam" and it was issued well after WW2.

You are correct that Pitman had a lesser qualification. However, the difference had little or nothing to do with competence. Pitman had more practical experience than had Boxhall and was senior in service time with the WSL.

As to you ability to pass one? All you needed to do so, was to spend the minimum practical sea time which was 6.5 years constantly at sea plus sufficient formal training ashore which sharpened the necessary academic disciplines. The time off at college and on leave did not count.
I could be sarcastic and add the alternative might just be sufficient, efficient training in the use of the Google or similar search engines......but I won't.
No offence intended by that last bit...just the way I'm feeling at the moment.:mad:
 
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I think the most interesting aspect of the BOT certificates is section D - about past failures. Based on this we know that all of Titanic's officers, except for one, failed one examination at least once. The only officer to have never failed a certificate was First Officer Murdoch, who also skipped his Masters and went straight to Extra Masters! Lowe and Moody are a tie for the most failures (three each).

Captain Smith failed once - in navigation for his Extra Masters, as did Chief Officer Wilde, also for his Extra Masters.

Lightoller failed once for his Masters - in Navigation.

Pitman failed twice in Navigation when applying for his second mate certificate (!) but passed the rest on first attempt (but never applied for Extra Masters).

Lowe actually failed on ALL of his examinations including First Mate (Navigation), Masters (Navigation).

Moody failed once on his First mate certificate - in Navigation. And then failed twice on his Masters for "Navigation" and "Laws of storms".

And Boxhall.... well perhaps we would assume that Boxhall's failure on his Extra Masters would have been navigation (?!) however, it is actually worse. According to his certificate, he failed due to a "general deficiency of marks"....!
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Dan.
At a glance, your observations regarding failure statistics seem outrageous until you factor-in a few things.

The standards set for every examination for Competency in all three main Certificates issues by the UK BoT were in extremis.

Each exam had three main section which in turn, had several sub sections and an Oral section.
The total marks for the written section was 1000. There were a couple of what were termed "non failing" papers where a pass was granted if the mark was between 40% and 50% All other papers had a pass mark minimum of 70%. However, there was a catch. A Candidate with less than 700 marks total out of the maximum was an automatic fail.
In addition, there was a limited number of allowed wrong answers...(usually 10%) to the Oral questions. Exceeding these was an automatic fail and even extra sea time in certain sever cases. Orals could last up to 3 hours.
Signals an Communications was a minimum 95% pass.

The largest number of failures took place among young bachelor lads who had just been away from home for as much as 4 years and this was there first taste of extended shore leave. Many failures were deliberate at that age. many were due to sheer nerves.
What you and everyone else can be sure is that if any Certificate was finally issued by a BoT Examiner of Master's and Mates, it was done with absolute certainty that the attainer of that Certificate had reached an extremely high level of Competency to that particular level in his chosen career and had satisfied the most stringent of requirements. Now, personalities were outwith the control of The Examiner.
 
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Do you want the modern version or the original one, Sam?
I was asking yla what he thought a hero was to him since he said he admired Boxhall so much. I do think Boxhall deserves a lot of credit for the forethought of putting that box of flares into his boat, otherwise things may have worked out far worse than they actually did. Was that heroic? Did that take an act of courage or bravery? I don't think so. Was it a smart thing to do. Absolutely!

As far as the criticism of being in his room having a cup of tea while on duty, we don't know all the facts. As Julian indicated, Boxhall may not have been feeling well that night, and I believe he may have asked Murdoch if it was all right to go and have some hot tea. From his 1912 testimony at the British inquiry, Boxhall at least admitted that he was coming out of the officer's quarters at the critical time. I would like to think that the OOW knew where he could be found if he was actually needed.
 

Georges Guay

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On one hand, Stone should have gone down himself to the Master when there was no proper response from him, but the impression one gets of Captain Lord is that, far from being slack as has sometimes been suggested, he was in fact something of a martinet, and the young officer may have feared to leave the Bridge, normally a grave dereliction of duty, even though under the circumstances it would have been safe and right to do so.

On the other, Boxhall was about to finish a cup a lemon tea in his cabin whilst on duty when the bell stroke. He did not fear to leave the Bridge, normally a grave dereliction of duty, knowing that even if he would embarrassed the senior officer with such a request, the latter could’ve been blame for giving similar dispensation.

On passenger vessels during emergency fire & boat drills, I never saw one master keeping the third mate with him on the bridge. They always keep the Staff Captain (second in command) to assist. In case of real emergency, if something wrong happen to the master, the second in command is therefore well train to take over. But on Titanic, Smith kept junior fourth officer Boxhall with him while Chief Officer Wilde was fiddling around lifeboats. Was Boxhall define hero Smith’s dearest that never fear to leave the Bridge while on duty but got a lifeboat pass?
 

Julian Atkins

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What kind of errors may I asked? I didn't think junior officers made any errors because they had to follow thier senior officers orders.?
Hi yla,

This is very briefly, and no doubt far from complete, and also not detailed...

1. He initially denied knowledge of any other than one ice warning message, then had to backtrack.

2. He 'cocked up' the CQD position he worked up, putting it on the wrong side of the icefield.

3. He couldn't remember how many rockets were fired.

4. He went back to the officers quarters, when he was on duty, at the time the ice berg was struck.

5. He claims he went to the bridge in a time scale and distance that do not make sense.

6. He claims he heard the orders from the bridge including a full astern order (reversing the ship).

7. He goes down below to inspect damage on his own 'initiative', and finds nothing on his first inspection.

8. He thinks Titanic ended up heading westwards, and his lifeboat went northwards, but it actually was the most southward of the lifeboats to be recovered.

9. He seems to have had a very 'cushy' shift/watch that night, and after the ice berg was struck.

I could go on and on, but you will get my point.

After the British Inquiry, Boxhall exhibited his parsimonious penny pinching aspect of his character writing to the Board of Trade as to why his expenses in attending had not yet been paid. In later life he objected to correspondence because of the cost of postage.

Like Captain Lord, who never questioned his own navigational skills, Boxhall ironically had his ashes scattered in The Atlantic at his own CQD position, which we now know to be 13 miles out!

Cheers,

Julian
 

Aly Jones

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I was asking yla what he thought a hero was to him since he said he admired Boxhall so much. I do think Boxhall deserves a lot of credit for the forethought of putting that box of flares into his boat, otherwise things may have worked out far worse than they actually did. Was that heroic? Did that take an act of courage or bravery? I don't think so. Was it a smart thing to do. Absolutely!

As far as the criticism of being in his room having a cup of tea while on duty, we don't know all the facts. As Julian indicated, Boxhall may not have been feeling well that night, and I believe he may have asked Murdoch if it was all right to go and have some hot tea. From his 1912 testimony at the British inquiry, Boxhall at least admitted that he was coming out of the officer's quarters at the critical time. I would like to think that the OOW knew where he could be found if he was actually needed.
Thanks for clearly things up.

I think I may have jumped the gun on boxhall with critizing him in being in his cabin whilst on duty. I've never thought about that- that Boxhall can't leave unless he asked or was given permission to leave. And quiet possible, asked permission to get a tea due to not feeling well, which you had allready pointed out.
 

Aly Jones

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Hi yla,

This is very briefly, and no doubt far from complete, and also not detailed...

1. He initially denied knowledge of any other than one ice warning message, then had to backtrack.

2. He 'cocked up' the CQD position he worked up, putting it on the wrong side of the icefield.

3. He couldn't remember how many rockets were fired.

4. He went back to the officers quarters, when he was on duty, at the time the ice berg was struck.

5. He claims he went to the bridge in a time scale and distance that do not make sense.

6. He claims he heard the orders from the bridge including a full astern order (reversing the ship).

7. He goes down below to inspect damage on his own 'initiative', and finds nothing on his first inspection.

8. He thinks Titanic ended up heading westwards, and his lifeboat went northwards, but it actually was the most southward of the lifeboats to be recovered.

9. He seems to have had a very 'cushy' shift/watch that night, and after the ice berg was struck.

I could go on and on, but you will get my point.

After the British Inquiry, Boxhall exhibited his parsimonious penny pinching aspect of his character writing to the Board of Trade as to why his expenses in attending had not yet been paid. In later life he objected to correspondence because of the cost of postage.

Like Captain Lord, who never questioned his own navigational skills, Boxhall ironically had his ashes scattered in The Atlantic at his own CQD position, which we now know to be 13 miles out!

Cheers,

Julian
Hi Julian,
Thank you for elaborating.

No. 4 can be explained. Possible he was not feeling well, asked Murdoch for permission to grab a lemon tea. I did accuse him of doing a sneaky which I've changed My tune on this one.

No. 9. Yes I agree. He should had done better than what he had culcalted.

No. 10. We don't know his financial position, he may will be struggling to make ends meat.

You have intruiged me with Number 9.

Boxhall was a junior officer, he had the right to leave the ship. However, moody was the youngest of them all, staying to the end and helping with assisting the lifeboats along side Murdoch, wilde and lightoller and because of these actions moody perished along side with wilde and Murdoch.

I know Boxhall fired rockets, checked the damaged, calculated titanics position, but I don't recall him helping out with the lifeboats.? The lifeboats were probably the hardest job there was for the officers, and yet I don't recall boxhall helping. I know boxhall had left the ship at 145 am so he had 2 hrs on titanic during the sinking, and nothing on helping out on the lifeboats.? I may be wrong, kindly tell me that I am.

I know officer Lowe was helping out (the conversation with moody who will take this boat etc). I don't know much on pittman though apart from ismay telling him to get women and children into the lifeboats then pitman confirming with Smith. This has put pittman manned at a lifeboat at some point.

So you had convince me officer boxhall was the lazy officer out of them all. We know there is always a lazy work mate in all work places cause I'm working with one atm. Officer Boxhall was thiers.

Does that make officer boxhall an idiot or the smart one.

Kind regards yla.
 

Aly Jones

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All of Titanic's Officers had the unlimited command Certificate of Master Mariner (FG) Sail. That included 3rd Officer Pitman.
Boxhall, Lightoller, Murdoch, Wild and Smith all had the additional qualification of Extra Master (Steam). Indeed my own Master's Certificate of Competency bears the legend "Steam" and it was issued well after WW2.



As to you ability to pass one? All you needed to do so, was to spend the minimum practical sea time which was 6.5 years constantly at sea plus sufficient formal training ashore which sharpened the necessary academic disciplines. The time off at college and on leave did not count.
I could be sarcastic and add the alternative might just be sufficient, efficient training in the use of the Google or similar search engines......but I won't.
No offence intended by that last bit...just the way I'm feeling at the moment.:mad:
Nice. I can see you know your stuff, and no way in h#ll agrue with you on that note. (I can also tell by your profile pic)


No offence taken.

I personally think one needs the passion of sailing, working on ships and putting in those big hrs on board a vessel (apprenticeship) to do well and pass, as in the old school ways. I hope they don't pass people just on scoring well in theory test online without practical work.

Cheers yla.
 

Aly Jones

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Dec 15, 2019
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Hi Julian,
Thank you for elaborating.

No. 4 can be explained. Possible he was not feeling well, asked Murdoch for permission to grab a lemon tea. I did accuse him of doing a sneaky which I've changed My tune on this one.

No. 9. Yes I agree. He should had done better than what he had culcalted.

No. 10. We don't know his financial position, he may will be struggling to make ends meat.

You have intruiged me with Number 9.

Boxhall was a junior officer, he had the right to leave the ship. However, moody was the youngest of them all, staying to the end and helping with assisting the lifeboats along side Murdoch, wilde and lightoller and because of these actions moody perished along side with wilde and Murdoch.

I know Boxhall fired rockets, checked the damaged, calculated titanics position, but I don't recall him helping out with the lifeboats.? The lifeboats were probably the hardest job there was for the officers, and yet I don't recall boxhall helping. I know boxhall had left the ship at 145 am so he had 2 hrs on titanic during the sinking, and nothing on helping out on the lifeboats.? I may be wrong, kindly tell me that I am.

I know officer Lowe was helping out (the conversation with moody who will take this boat etc). I don't know much on pittman though apart from ismay telling him to get women and children into the lifeboats then pitman confirming with Smith. This has put pittman manned at a lifeboat at some point.

So you had convince me officer boxhall was the lazy officer out of them all. We know there is always a lazy work mate in all work places cause I'm working with one atm. Officer Boxhall was thiers.

Does that make officer boxhall an idiot or the smart one.

Kind regards yla.
Another thing that just came to mind, is it possible that Boxhall wasn't well enough to preform physical duties that night? Just a thought.

yla.
 

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