Boxhall's reworking of the CQD position

Mike Spooner

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Jim,
no knowledge of the north-south ice barrier ahead of him.
So why did Lord put on extra lookout men?
 

Jim Currie

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When it comes down to it all, it is all pure speculation. What is certain is that Smith and Boxhall got it wrong that night, and luckily for the survivors, Carpathia found them while headed for the wrong place.
So why did Carpathia find them in the right place if she was heading for the wrong one despite having to battle a south-setting current acting on her starboard side?
Ideas on the Boxhal dilemma may be speculation on your part or on the part of those who jump to conclusions and fail to properly and fully evaluate the available evidence, Sam. However, consider the following:

When Captain Smith worked his Noon position, he also worked out the number of minutes the ship's clocks were to be adjusted that night of April 14/15....47minutes.
This number of minutes of clock change would tell Boxhall where his captain expected the ship to be at Noon the following day- April 15. They would tell Boxhall that his captain expected his ship to cover a distance of 415 miles between The Corner and Noon, April 15 ... to average a speed of about 22 knots during that time and to be at 50-11'W at Log Book Midnight. April 14. Four minutes after that, at 12-04am, she would be at 50-13'West. Drifting on for a mile would put her at 5-14'West.
Where was she according to Boxhall? Is there any wonder that he thought his work was perfect?
Jim,
no knowledge of the north-south ice barrier ahead of him.
So why did Lord put on extra lookout men?
For at least 3 reasons, Mike,
1: That the ice warnings he got were for ice at latitude 42 North and Californian was following a westerly of latitude course which was 5 miles to the north of latitude 42 North
2. He knew that sea ice normally moved eastward and slightly northward in that area.
3. That he had never been so far north at that time of year...the ice season.
 

Mike Spooner

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Jim,
We had 3 captains to take on the same icefield. Smith, Rostron and Lord. Smith the most experience Lord had no experience. Yet it was Lord and Rostron who took all the correct action to protection their ship becoming damage from the ice by putting on extra lookouts.
Smith should of done the same and reduce the speed. It is not been wise after the event. I am sorry to say it was down to common sense like the other two captains with less experience of ice condition did like wise. Smith knew he was approaching ice. The only possible defence I have for Smith was first officer Murdoch when came on duty at 10.00pm. Smith last word with second officer Lightoller before leaving the bridge about 9.30pm. If it becomes at all doubtful, let me know at once. I will be just inside. Further talk with lookout men Fleet and Lee keep your eyes skinned for growlers. To me this a clear evident they knew coming into an ice patch area. Now whether Lightroller had past on that message to Murdoch. If it becomes at all doubtful, let me know at once. Could be questionable and if hadn't knowing that Murdoch died, I would certainty defend myself by saying I did so! But there is a change in the weather were a mist or haze has came up. Murdoch been a very experience officer should still informed Smith at once.
Now Jim seeing you were a captain yourself. I have a question for you? If you have given an order of a ship speed like the Titanic of 22 knots. Is it a wise thing for an officer on duty to override a captain order and reduce the speed to what he thinks is a more safer speed?
 

Jim Currie

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You miss the point, Mike.

The ice warning was for ships who were on a westerly course 10 miles to the north of the track being followed by the Titanic. The three ships I mentioned were on that track. Not one of them slowed down.

Rostron was a lucky fool. He headed at full speed toward a ship sinking because she had hit an iceberg. He saw ice an hour before he arrived on the scene, some of it he did not see, despite his extra lookouts. He did not slow down, despite the fact that he had passengers on board. He fired off distress rockets, which, if seen by other ships, would have drawn them away from the scene of the disaster.
 

Mike Spooner

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You miss the point, Mike.

The ice warning was for ships who were on a westerly course 10 miles to the north of the track being followed by the Titanic. The three ships I mentioned were on that track. Not one of them slowed down.

Rostron was a lucky fool. He headed at full speed toward a ship sinking because she had hit an iceberg. He saw ice an hour before he arrived on the scene, some of it he did not see, despite his extra lookouts. He did not slow down, despite the fact that he had passengers on board. He fired off distress rockets, which, if seen by other ships, would have drawn them away from the scene of the disaster.
The three ships I mentioned were on that track. Not one of them slowed down.

Jim can you tell what route Mount Temple, Lusitania and Olympic took with the same icefield?


Rostron was a lucky fool? Jim aren't you been a bit harsh on the man? I see it he was the captain in the shiny armour coming to the rescue and did every thing that a true captain should of done and awarded for his services.

He did not slow down? There is enough talk of him dodging the icebergs. Surly you have to slow down them to avoided them!

He fired off distress rockets, which, if seen by other ships, would have drawn them away from the scene of the disaster?
I don't quite follow you there? As I would of thought of the opposite drawing in more ships to the rescue!

My thoughts of the day happy new year,

Mike.
 

Jim Currie

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Unless that ship was called Californian of course. ;)
Happy New Year, Rob.

True, but between 3 am and 4 am. at least 5 vessels had responded to the wireless transmitted CQD and were heading for the erroneous distress position. All of these were to the west of the ice barrier separating Carpathia from them. Think what would have happened if they had all changed course for the Carpathia.
 
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Jim Currie

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The three ships I mentioned were on that track. Not one of them slowed down.

Jim can you tell what route Mount Temple, Lusitania and Olympic took with the same icefield?


Rostron was a lucky fool? Jim aren't you been a bit harsh on the man? I see it he was the captain in the shiny armour coming to the rescue and did every thing that a true captain should of done and awarded for his services.

He did not slow down? There is enough talk of him dodging the icebergs. Surly you have to slow down them to avoided them!

He fired off distress rockets, which, if seen by other ships, would have drawn them away from the scene of the disaster?
I don't quite follow you there? As I would of thought of the opposite drawing in more ships to the rescue!

My thoughts of the day happy new year,

Mike.
Hello Mike.

You and others should ask yourselves why it was that Rostron did not keep other vessels informed and did not keep a wireless log and did not tell anyone Titanic had sunk until long after he knew she had done so?
You should also ask why he got away with breaking regulations which stated that distress rockets were only to be used for that purpose.
If truth be known... if Boxhall had not fired his green flares, it is quite possible that Roston would have charged into the ice barrier. He would most certainly not have found the survivors in small boats because he would have gone right past them in the darkness.

He did not slow down at any time and almost hit the same iceberg as did Titanic. The only reason he did not was because he was 8 knots slower than the Titanic. A ship usuaally turns slower when she goes slower.

All rescue ships were heading for the position sent out by Titanic. We now know it was wrong, then, they, including captain Rostron did not.
Captain Rostron's navigation was way out or his ship was influenced by a current he did not know was there or did not make an allowance for. Rescue ships would have changed course toward a ship which was heading in the wrong direction. OK?
 
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Hi Jim,
So do you think it was Smith intention to cut through the icefield?
Hi Jim -
Do you think Titanic might have taken a different course and missed the iceberg if Evans on the Californian had been allowed to send information on their location where they had stopped because of the ice field ?

Hi Samuel -
You're right !
Of course we're getting into a dangerous field when we ask questions like this - the field of speculation . LOL
 
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Mike Spooner

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Jim,
You may be right of the other ships coming to rescue, but its hardly there fault that the Titanic reported the wrong position. But if hadn't been for the Carpathia finding the lifeboats by accident the Californian would never found them to. And the only ship to join Carpathia at a greater risk. Worth remembering if the ships were damaged by ice they would get no thanks from their shipping company. The captain could well be facing the sack.
I would agree with you Rostron was taking a bit of risk firing distress rockets as he was not in distress himself. But can you imagine the public out cry if any attempt was to discipline him. The man who saved 700. Who ever had the guts to discipline could of well been lynched or the most hated man on the planet.
I remember seeing an aircraft accident inquiry of an Canadian passenger plane with 300 on board hold the world longest gliding record with no fuel of over 100 mile to a strange Atlantic Island. He landing was absolute amazing and all survive. But the investigation team try to shift some the blame on to the captain.The public out cry with raged against the investigation board.They soon dropped any faults with the captain remarkable performance. I can see much the same said for Rostron to.
The other question I ask you. If the a captain has given an order like the speed of the ship, and the officer in charge does not agree with the speed and wants the reduce the speed with out informing the captain How does he stand? Is he in danger of been severely reprimanded or court martial for undermining the captain authority?
 
May 3, 2005
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The other question I ask you. If the a captain has given an order like the speed of the ship, and the officer in charge does not agree with the speed and wants the reduce the speed with out informing the captain How does he stand? Is he in danger of been severely reprimanded or court martial for undermining the captain authority?
The fictional book , "The Caine Mutiny", by Herman Wouk , is a story about the
Executive Officer relieving the Captain during a typhoon and facing a Court Martial trial for Mutiny.
 

Rob Lawes

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The other question I ask you. If the a captain has given an order like the speed of the ship, and the officer in charge does not agree with the speed and wants the reduce the speed with out informing the captain How does he stand? Is he in danger of been severely reprimanded or court martial for undermining the captain authority?
A lot of this depends on what the Captain has said (in his night order book particularly) to his Officers of the Watch. In my experience, the OOW had full authority from the Captain for the safe navigation of the ship while the responsibility for the ship remained with the Captain.

To that end, if the OOW needed to amend the course or speed to remain on the given nav track he was free to do so. Anything else would require permission from the skipper unless it was an emergency when it would be a case of act for the safety of the ship and worry about the niceties later.

If, at 23:00 that night, Murdoch had spotted small bits of ice or become doubtful about the navigational situation, the correct course of action would have been to call for the skipper, explain the problem, suggest your solution (in this case, reduce speed) and seek his advice / approval.

Captain's may delegate the authority to act but never the responsibility.

When Titanic plowed into that Berg, Captain Smith was responsible even though he wasn't on the bridge at the time.
 
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Jim Currie

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Hi Jim -
Do you think Titanic might have taken a different course and missed the iceberg if Evans on the Californian had been allowed to send information on their location where they had stopped because of the ice field ?

Hi Samuel -
You're right !
Of course we're getting into a dangerous field when we ask questions like this - the field of speculation . LOL
Hello Robert.

No, I do not think he would have done so, Robert.
Here's why. (And I don't need to speculate).

Evans sent that warning at 11 pm Californian time which, according to Captain Lord, would have been 9-10 am EST New York time. At that time, the clocks on Titanic were 2 hours 2 minutes FAST of EST New York. Therefore the time on Titanic would have been 9-10 am + 2 hours 2 minutes = 11-12. pm and she would still have about 50 minutes to go before she hit the iceberg. If captain Lord's stopped position was correct, then, when Captain Smith received the coordinates for the stopped Californian, he would have had Boxhall plot these relative to the position of the Titanic and been told that Californian was 35 miles away to the North Westward and 5 miles north of where the earlier ice warnings had placed the ice. In fact, such a warning might just have confirmed Smith's thoughts that the ice was moving in the normal way...slightly to the north of eastward.
 

Jim Currie

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Jim,
You may be right of the other ships coming to rescue, but its hardly there fault that the Titanic reported the wrong position. But if hadn't been for the Carpathia finding the lifeboats by accident the Californian would never found them to. And the only ship to join Carpathia at a greater risk. Worth remembering if the ships were damaged by ice they would get no thanks from their shipping company. The captain could well be facing the sack.
I would agree with you Rostron was taking a bit of risk firing distress rockets as he was not in distress himself. But can you imagine the public out cry if any attempt was to discipline him. The man who saved 700. Who ever had the guts to discipline could of well been lynched or the most hated man on the planet.
I remember seeing an aircraft accident inquiry of an Canadian passenger plane with 300 on board hold the world longest gliding record with no fuel of over 100 mile to a strange Atlantic Island. He landing was absolute amazing and all survive. But the investigation team try to shift some the blame on to the captain.The public out cry with raged against the investigation board.They soon dropped any faults with the captain remarkable performance. I can see much the same said for Rostron to.
The other question I ask you. If the a captain has given an order like the speed of the ship, and the officer in charge does not agree with the speed and wants the reduce the speed with out informing the captain How does he stand? Is he in danger of been severely reprimanded or court martial for undermining the captain authority?
Hello Mike.
A bridge officer is perfectly entitled to alter course and or reduce speed, However, he may only do so if ordered by the captain or, if in his opinion, by doing so, he will avoid immediate danger to the ship and those on board her. Any sane, well-trained officer would never think of touching the telegraphs except in a dire emergency. Murdoch did so but his excuse was bullet-proof,
 
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Mike Spooner

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Hi Jim.
We are now getting nearer the point. Smith has decided the Titanic to remain at 22 knots. If first officer Murdoch in charge feels uncomfortable at that speed is too high knowing there is ice ahead and would like to reduce speed, but requires Smith authorisation to so. This I see puts him in rather award position. He is not in immediate danger at present, and the case do or do not ask the captain, as asking him could well be a sign on challenging Smith seamen skill and land up with a flee in is ear! It seem to me Murdoch hasn't much choice in the matter and just press on regardless.
Or if Smith is been pushed by his boss on board Mr B Ismay the company chairman who hold a lot of clout and power within the company and you need very positive when your chairman is talking to you. Smith may be well in charge of the ship, but nerveless a chairman has that certainly amount of intermediating power to remove you from your position within the company!
 

Mike Spooner

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Hi Jim,
What is wrong speculating on Murdoch mind? After all there is lots more speculating of the Titanic last movements as the log book and chart maps are all loss with the ship, making a difficult task to sort out and trying put together what exactly happened that night and probably never ever know 100% for sure. Speculation indeed!
I am trying to understand why such an experience captain as Smith has got the navigation position wrong followed by Boxhall too?
I just get the feeling Murdoch knew (speculation if you like) there was some was just quite right by smell the ice comes to mind! But he was stuck in that position having to carry out the Captain order. Come to think about it why hasn't Murdoch work out the position too?
 
May 3, 2005
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I should know better than to address subjects about which I know nothing, but did Smith himself work out Titanic's position that night, or just Boxhall?
I think that should apply to all of we landlubbers.
One thing about these forums is that I am learning more and more things of which I have known less and less -- or of which I know nothing ..