Boxhall's Shenanigans


Kevin Tischer

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I would like to raise an interesting topic, if I may. In regards to Boxhall's, shall we say shenanigan's, the few minutes prior to the fateful collision with the iceberg.

First, I will quickly disprove a few of the theories that are commonly put out there.

First, he was not in the crapper because he was sick that night. While he may have been sick he would not have gone on duty if he felt that he would not have been able to do it to the best of his ability. Also, for him to go inside during his watch would have greatly compromised his night vision. Only the junior officer was to be inside since he was to supervise the quartermaster and monitor the telephones and what not.

Second theory is the one Boxhall himself states in an interview later in life, that he was grabbing some tea in his room. Again, Boxhall was a very competent officer and sailor and I just can't believe that he would take a break during his watch to do this. Especially when they were approaching a large ice field. Now I will explain later why he had said this in an interview and told something even different in the inquiry a little later.

The actual truth of the matter is that Boxhall had just finished up making a minor course correction with Quartermaster Oliver at the compass tower and was returning to the bridge when Titanic made the fatal strike with the iceberg. Allow me to explain:

Both lookouts agreed that there was a haze or fog that appeared just before the spotted the berg. Most people dismiss this as they are trying to cover there own asses for not seeing it in time. When in reality the haze was the huge ice field that lay directly in front of Titanic. That is, directly in front until she made a very slight course adjustment to port that swung her bow straight into the famous iceberg. This explains the reason the lookouts did not see it until they were literally on top of it.

Lightoller even testified that the "ship's head was moving under the helm" just before he heard the warning bells from the crow's nest.

Fleet reported that "she started to go round to port while I was on the telephone"

So why wouldn't Boxhall, Oliver, or Hitchens all testify that they had made a course adjustment and steered into the berg? Who would want to? They all knew there careers were going to have dampers put on them because they were involved in the accident not to mention on duty when it happened. They inadvertently steered Titanic into the very iceberg that they were actually trying to avoid by making the adjustment. According to the testimonies of Lee and Fleet of having seen a haze suddenly and then not proves that they did successful steer away from the majority of the ice field. But fate would not let them get away that easy.

So at the inquiry Boxhall tells his story correctly as to where he was at the moment of impact. That is, he was walking forward on the boat deck just abreast of the Captains quarters. He later states in the interview that he was not even on or near the bridge. His way of avoiding the subject completely. It is also important to note that he most certainly would have had some kind of PTSD from all this. Lightoller was known to have gone into shock once and perhaps other times too. Boxhall would have been carrying a lot of survivors guilt knowing that he had steered the great ship into its doom.

Anyway, that's enough ranting for one night. Please let me know what you think about all of this. Thanks.
 
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Congratulations, Kevin, you have figured out Boxhall's role in the accident. He actually conned the ship in a turn that ultimately caused the ship to run over the iceberg. But, there's more to the story...

Obviously, Boxhall did not do it deliberately. In fact, from the compass platform it would have been impossible for him to see the iceberg even on a clear, sunny day. The two forward funnels totally blocked his forward vision. The course alteration must have been under orders of Captain Smith. It was not done on a whim by either Boxhall or First Officer Murdoch. And, from the testimony of quartermaster Hichens we are relatively safe in assuming Boxhall's turn was two points (22.5 deg.) to the left which required starboard helm.

I believe that when Lightoller wrote about applying “whitewash” during the inquiries, he was not speaking of his own testimony. He was referring primarily to Boxhall who was the one who needed to kick litter around in the catbox to cover what he did. We know that the second officer was caught in a lie to the British inquiry about an ice warning posted in the officer's chartroom. He first said he never saw it, but later was forced to admit that not only did he see it, he actually posted the note after writing it by his own hand. This admission of perjury causes me to question everything Boxhall said unless we have corroborating evidence.

Titanic appears to have made two ice-evasion course changes that night, both involving course alterations to go south of the ice field. The first is obvious in the surviving navigational data. The ship's two sets of CQD coordinates lie on a line of 255 deg. Captain Smith gave the first set (41 44 N; 50 24 W) to the radio operators. Simple time/speed/distance calculation from when the ship turned “The Corner” shows the longitude is when Titanic should have experienced midnight marking the transition from Sunday, April 14 to Monday, April 15.

The second set (41 46 N; 50 14 W) was prepared by Boxhall. Using the speed of 22 knots as Boxhall claimed he did that night, his coordinates lie exactly 20 minutes distance from the captain's coordinates. If the first set was for midnight, then it is obvious that Boxhall's are for twenty minutes earlier, or 11:40 o'clock. The true direction between these two positions is 255 deg. which is 11 deg. left of the ship's intended track of 266 deg. from “The Corner.” Eleven degrees is equivalent to one compass point on the compass cards installed in Titanic. In 1912 steering orders were still commonly given in points and not degrees as they are today.

If we take the reciprocal of 255 (opposite direction = 075 deg.) back from Smith's CQD it runs through Boxhall's before crossing the ship's intended track at the ship's dead reckoning position for 11:30 o'clock using time based on April 14 noon. To my eye, this is pretty solid evidence that Titanic turned left one point (11 deg.) at 11:30 that evening — just when Boxhall should have been visiting the standard compass for the required half-hourly compass checks.

Because of the need to set back the ship's clocks, Titanic did not strike the iceberg ten minutes after the 11:30 o'clock course alteration. Rather, it struck 24 minutes later. These 24 minutes were half of the 47 extra minutes “tacked on” to April 14 by the ship's westerly movement. The on-duty Starboard Watch got half, which I reckon as 24 minutes, and the off-duty Port Watch was to work the other 23 minutes.

At the 11:30 o'clock course alteration the crew clocks displayed 11:06 o'clock to allow for the Starboard Watch to serve its extra 24 minutes. Thirty minutes later, at 11:36 crew time, Boxhall and Olliver climbed to the compass platform with instructions from Captain Smith to make another course alteration. This time they were to turn left two points, or 22.5 deg. By the time they finished and Boxhall walked forward to the vicinity of the bridge, it was 11:40 o'clock in crew time and First Officer Murdoch was facing the decision of his life.

The time of the accident in April 14 hours was 2404, which would have been displayed on a clock dial as 12:04 o'clock.

Boxhall lied about going onto the bridge. As fourth officer, he was in charge of the Starboard Watch. IMM/White Star regulations required him to “go the rounds” of his men every hour. Instead of going back to the bridge, Boxhal would have walked forward from the compass platform on the starboard side to descend the crew-only stairs located opposite the Captain's cabin. That's where he was when Murdoch rang down an engine order on the telegraphs.

Boxhall testified that he didn't see the ship strike the iceberg, then apparently contradicted himself by describing the berg at the “bluff of the bow.” While this looks like another case of perjury, Boxhall told the truth and his words prove he was on his rounds.

Because he had to go to the forecastle, Boxhall was in the stair enclosure when he felt the bow roll over the berg. He came out on B deck just in time to see the ice bumping the “bluff of the bow.” Seconds later he was recognized by crew members in the general confusion of the well deck where people were picking up chunks of ice.

Second Officer Boxhall was in the well deck when Captain Smith confronted Murdoch. All of Boxhall's testimony about the words those two men spoke is fiction. He may have based some of it on what other survivors said, but he did not hear that famous exchange. Boxhall's words about the alleged “port around” must be discarded as pure flight of fancy.

— David G. Brown
 

Jim Currie

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First of all...No offense intended. However, I'm sorry to burst your bubbles lads!

Then again: No that's a downright lie! ( the bubble bit!) I am very pleased to have the opportunity to point you in the right direction.

Let's examine carefully what both of you wrote. First Kevin:

"Also, for him to go inside during his watch would have greatly compromised his night vision."

Wrong! Boxhall was senior of the two navigation officers of the Watch. He had no place on the open bridge except if he had been instructed by Murdoch to stand bridge Watch with him. This would only have been done during periods of low visibility. i.e. fog! Read Lowe's account of the duties of junior officers.

As For him grabbing a cup of tea... why not?

There was a messroom directly opposite Boxhall's cabin. It would have a hot water boiler and a supper-tray laid out by the officer's steward. If Murdoch wanted a hot drink, he would have got Moody or Boxhall to get it for him. Both Moody and Boxhall would take turns going round the decks throughout the Watch. That too was normal. If either of them fancied a cuppa they would go and get it. They would leave doors open incase the senior officer blew his Watch whistle... perfectly normal!

"The actual truth of the matter is that Boxhall had just finished up making a minor course correction with Quartermaster Oliver at the compass tower and was returning to the bridge when Titanic made the fatal strike with the iceberg. Allow me to explain"

No Kevin, that is not 'the actual truth'. There is no proof this ever took place. Olliver, by his own admission, said he was trimming the oil lamps on the compass.. nothing more. But let's look at your explanation.

The haze:

The lookouts did not agree on that one. However, you are probably right that there would be a faint lightening of the horizon ahead of the ship due to the ice barrier.
We know that the barrier stretched NNW..SSE as far as the eye could see. This being the case, there would be less 'ice blink' to starboard than to port. See here:

239958.jpg



"Lightoller even testified that the "ship's head was moving under the helm" just before he heard the warning bells from the crow's nest."

No he didn't Kevin. Lightoller was asleep when all this was going on so forget what he 'said'.


"Fleet reported that "she started to go round to port while I was on the telephone"

She certainly did, That was about 10 seconds after the 3 warning bells had been rung and a couple of seconds after Murdoch gave the hard-a-starboard helm order.

"So why wouldn't Boxhall, Oliver, or Hitchens all testify that they had made a course adjustment and steered into the berg? Who would want to?"

Only Boxhall and Hitchens testified to the first emergency helm order. Olliver did not hear it.

Boxhall was very near the bridge at time of impact.. about 30 feet from it in fact.." half-way between the entrance to the officers's quarters and the bridge"

"Boxhall would have been carrying a lot of survivors guilt knowing that he had steered the great ship into its doom"

In fact.. real fact... Boxhall had very little to do with how the ship was steered or as to how the helm was applied. Only two officers had that power.. The Captain and the senior officer of the Watch.. Mr Murdoch in this case.

Now David!

Hello David, I trust you had a happy holiday and lots of customers (ice permitting).

You know I do not subscribe to your theory about a planned ice-avoidance course change. But just to reiterate a little:

You agree with me that there was a bridge clock change at midnight April 14th. This being so, Boxhall would make his standard compass check as part of his Watch-end duties... not at 11-30pm or slightly before 20 to midnight new time. He would do it as near to the actual end of the Watch as possible so that his relief would get the very latest information about compass error.

Here's how it used to be done (I can tell you from personal experience.

Boxhall would have gone to make that check some time after 1 bell 'new time' i.e. at 19 minutes past midnight original April 14 time. It would be one of his last chores.
During the 15 minutes run-up to change of Watch, he would be writing-up the scrap log, filling in the courses: True, Standard and Steered. The patent log readings, water temperatures, sea state, wind etc. He obviously had not done any of that before impact since he did not use the 8-10 patent log reading to work out his CQD. He would have found that out when he transcribed the QMs log to the scrap log.

"The course alteration must have been under orders of Captain Smith. It was not done on a whim by either Boxhall or First Officer Murdoch. And, from the testimony of quartermaster Hichens we are relatively safe in assuming Boxhall's turn was two points (22.5 deg.) to the left which required starboard helm."

No David..a mere six seconds passed from when Hitchens received the helm order until Titanic hit the ice.
Don't be fooled by the 2 points turn evidence! Read my article!

As you can see from my little sketch above David,the nearest approach to the ice was on Titanic's port bow. We know she was less than 5 miles from the main concentration. With his night glases, Murdoch would see this very clearly. Why on earth would he turn to the left and head straight for the greatest concentration? In reality, if as you say he was altering for the visible ice, then he would have gone the opposite way.. to starboard where he could see less ice.

Transatlantic Companies issued North Atlantic charts to their ships. These were laid-down tracks actually pre-drawn on them to be followed by all masters. Titanic was no exception. As far as I can remember, the rhumb line course to be followed from The Corner to New York was 265 T not 266T. Boxhall said the 266T course was made good from the The Corner. Since there was only one actual fix between The Corner and when Titanic hit the iceberg, this had to be a guess based on when Boxhall guessed Titanic turned The Corner. Consequently, that course has no bearing on the position of the wreck.

"Boxhall lied about going onto the bridge. As fourth officer, he was in charge of the Starboard Watch. IMM/White Star regulations required him to “go the rounds” of his men every hour. Instead of going back to the bridge, Boxhal would have walked forward from the compass platform on the starboard side to descend the crew-only stairs located opposite the Captain's cabin. That's where he was when Murdoch rang down an engine order on the telegraphs."

There is no evidence this ever happened David!

It was Sunday night, the Watch on deck were standing by... not doing anything. Any other night, at this time, they would be finishing off the chores and tidying-up for their reliefs coming on. There was about 5 minutes left before 1 bell..11:45pm... time to call the next Watch. Boxhall would not be off the bridge at that time.. he had too many things to attend to before handing over to Pitman at midnight.

I have to say, having spent many years earning a living doing exactly what Boxhall did, I cannot recognise the scenario you are painting. However, I do think Boxhall did a bit of glossing-over and that he did it in the belief that an error he made would never be discovered. Unfortunately Dr, Ballard put paid to that.

I firmly believe that Boxhall knew about his erroneous CQD very shortly after the accident. He did not have to reveal it because Rostron and Carpathia unwittingly helped him to cover-up.

Given that Titanic was on an almost due west course, it is inconceivable that a man like Boxhall or any of the other highly qualified mariners connectd with this case was unable make a simple (first year Apprentice)mental calculation. Such a calculation would show that if Boxhall's CQD was correct, Titanic had changed her longitude by 3 degrees, 14 minutes since she turned The Corner.
If he thought about it later, he would just have deduced that his CQD implied that Titanic had travelled a distance of about 145 miles in either 5h 50min or 6 hours 10 minutes. That would mean she was making either 24.9 knots or 24.0 knots. That was pure unadulterated rubbish!

No David... I think that Boxhall became aware he had made an error in calculating the CQD.. had made allowance for a clock change twice and that he knew about it pretty soon after Carpathia picked him up.

He never mentioned the 20 mile DR error until many years after yet such an error fits perfectly with the position of the wreck. Albeit being applied opposite to what Boxhall led us to believe.

I would caution you when coming to deffinitive conclusions based on the two CQD position.. particularly the latitude elements.

There is another, less complecated way of finding out what hapened with the ship's course and speed that night. Infortunately it relies on accepting cetain evidence without looking for a conspiracy and giving witnesses the benefit of the doubt.

In his evidence, 3rd Officer Pitman said Titanic was 'right on the track' at the time of 7-30pm sights. Now she either came back onto the track by coincidence at that time or she actually turned exactly at The Corner. Pitman also said Titanic was making 21.5 knots.
Let's use these arguments and another assumption... that Titanic ended-up about 2 miles south of where she hit the iceberg.
If you do the sums as I have described, you 'will find out that Titanic made good a course to that point of 264T from 7-30pm sights.
If we measure from the last sight taken at say 7-40pm, we find that Titanic travelled a distance of 93 miles during that time.
If we continue to use Pitmans's speed of 21.5 knots, it means that Titanic hit the iceberg 4 hours and 20 minutes after the last sight was taken. That would give an impact time of about midnight on April 14.

In all of th foregoing, I have used actual evidence. In addition, I have made one pretty safe assumption.. that the Gulf Stream was in its' usual place and setting about ENE. In fact, The Pilot Chart of The North Atlantic 1903, compiled from ship information, shows the Gulf Steam running NE..ENE in the vicinity of The Corner. Right on Titanic's nose. But heck! What do I know?

JC
 
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In his 1959 affidavit Capt. Lord wrote that he noticed the brightening at 10:15 and took action at 10:21. At 11 knots, that suggests a distance of about 1 mile when something was first noticed. At the American inquiry he testified that his ship was only about 1.5 miles from it when he first saw it. So how on earth could an ice field be seen on a dark moonless night at a distance of 5 miles or more? There was no ice blink since the sky was cloudless, and not enough light anyway to create that effect. Like the business of a delayed turn of the corner, which was introduced by Pitman and Boxhall, this haze thing first came up at the British inquiry. After the ship came to stop, not only was the ice field not seen, but also all the bergs that surround the area as discovered only after it became light enough to see them in the morning twilight.

As far as Fleet's "Well, she started to go to port while I was at the telephone," you need to examine that a little closer. When asked how did he know that, he said his mate [Lee] told him. Specifically, "My mate saw it and told me. He told me he could see the bow coming around." Looking at Lee's testimony, it is clear that her started swinging after Fleet left the phone to go back to his place on the port side of the nest. Fleet also admitted that he first saw the ship veering to port after he got off the phone and went back to his place (17292-17295). He also said that the ship had veered about "A little over a point, or two points" which would take a lot more than 6 seconds after the helm order was given. And we all know what Hichens said.

As far as the 266T course being steered, that came after Boxhall took star bearing to check the compass error that found out that ship was making 266T. The intended course was 265T.
 

Jim Currie

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Since this is about Boxhall I'll first address the remarks concerning compass error and course steered versus Course made good.

Pitman or Lowe would have taken an azimuth before 8pm and the compass error would have been established for the on-coming Watch at 8pm. Boxhall was in the chartroom working sights up until 10pm then he did his rounds after giving the 7-30pm position.
Titanic would have a perfect Deviation Card. The only thing affecting the compass on that course would have been Magnetic Variation. This would decrease by about 25 minutes of arc during the run from The Corner to the place of impact. Thus the compass error would reduce by that amount. The official true course from The Corner was S84.75W . This meant that an uncorrected steering compass would be make S85.1W true at best. But that would not necessary be the Course Made Good.

Boxhall's 266T course was either a concoction or the course made good from where he thought Titanic was when she turned and the 7-30pm fix position.

The knowledge of standard compass error in itself would not allow Boxhall to calculate a course made good.
Compass error has only a little to do with 'Course made Good'
The first indication of the 266True course came when Boxhall said that was the course set after turning The Corner.
" The course was altered at 5.50.

15316. Do you remember what it was altered to?
- I do not remember the compass course, but I remember the true course was S. 86 W.

15317. I think you worked that out yourself?
- Yes, I had stellar observations afterwards.

Now That is confusing to say the least because he goes on to say:

.
15669. Then when she is put on her new course, her new course you tell me was S. 86 W.?
- S. 86. W.

15670. Though your impression is that as it is marked on the chart the course there marked is S. 86 W.?
- I think it is about S. 84 3/4 W. as a matter of fact.
15671. The effect would be she would have run a little bit further on the old course and then on the new course she is gradually making back to the line?
- That is my impression of the idea which Captain Smith had in altering that course and setting it to that time.

That is a bit of twisting if ever I saw it!

What he's is asking the court to believe is:

Captain Smith decided to run past The Corner when he should have turned onto 264.75T then to alter course to 266T which would bring him back onto 264.75T.

No! I think he was confused and meant that when he worked out the cellestial observations for 7-30pm, and compared then to where he thought Titanic had turned at 5-50pm, he found that she would have made good a course of 266T.

The deffinition of 'Course made good', is the rhumb line course obtained by measurement or calculation between two fixed positions on the chart.
These positions may be obtained from two consecutive cellestial obstervations. A Cellestial observations and a position obtained by bearings of the known position(s) of fixed object(s). Or any two consecutive positions obtained from bearing(s) of the known position(s) of fixed object(s.

Boxhall had but one qualifying position.. the 7-30pm sights. He did not have enough information to obtain an accurate course made good.


We must be careful not to tie things down to the second according to evidence. Many witnesses used the term 'about'when refering to time or the expresions 'minute' and 'second' to indicate a very short period of time. Hence 'a New York minute' or as they say in Scotland in a 'wee minute' or a 'wee second'.

We must also be careful not to give too much credence to evidence given many years after the event.

Californian stopped at 10-21pm and was, according to Lord, about half a mile from hard edge of the pack ice the next morning.
Having said that, there is quite a lot of evidence from diferent sources relative to how far the ice could be seen that night.
Ice blink is light reflected from the underside of clouds(I realy did know that!),
However, light also illuminates therefore a large expanse of surface ice will be illuminated by moonlight or in this case; intense starlight. More than likely, that is what Lord and the Titanic lookouts saw.

There is also the outside chance that a thin line of sea-smoke was generated close to the ice edge although this is usually accompanied by a light wind of the ice. This too would reflect star light and give the impression of a thin greyish band.

Lord's interval between seeing a lightening of the horizon and taking action suggests he got his first indication when the edge of the pack ice was about 2 or 3 miles away.
Fleet and Leigh must have had a similar warning. In fact, Fleet said he was aware of the 'haze' at about 7 bells...about 10 minutes before impact. That would mean Titanic was about 3.5 to 4 miles away from the edge of the pack ice at that time. However it was 10 minutes after seeing the 'haze' that the ship hit the iceberg.
If the 'haze' was the edge of the pack ice, Titanic would have,like Californian, entered the loose ice at that time. She did not. She hit an iceberg in clear water. This being so, Fleet would have needed to see the 'haze' 10 minutes before 7 bells at 11-20pm, not 11-30pm as he claimed.

I suggest that Lookouts Fleet and Leigh were not lying when they talked about the 'haze'. They saw the same thing as did Lord but foolishly tried to use it as a cover-up (sorry about that)to hide the fact that they did not see the iceberg in time. They felt guilty (unjustly so).

The UK Inquiry did not buy their story.

Fleet gave the game away at the US Inquiry:

"Senator SMITH.
You thought there was danger?
Mr. FLEET.
Well, it was so close to us. That is why I rang them up.

'So close' is: Seeing.. OMG!...ringing... crunch! Certainly not 47 seconds hanging over the Crow's Nest rail or anything like it!

As for Fleet's account of the turn.. depends on what one you want to interpret. This one doesn't need much interpretation at all:

Day 4 US Inquiry

Mr. FLEET.
He [Leigh] said nothing much. He just started looking. He was looking ahead while I was at the phone and he seen the ship go port.

Regardless of the evidence of Fleet and Lee, the most important time is when the ship starting to turn. That was when the helm order was given.
The time to apply full hard-a-starboard helm was no more than 6 seconds and we know the bow would only swing a few degrees in that time.

We have the evidence of Hitchens and Boxhall.. the man under discussion.. to the effect that the engine order was given at or near the same instant as the helm order or possibly a second or so after.

Crucially, we also have the evidence of fireman Barratt and Trimmer Dillon. Both indicate that impact happened a few seconds after the engine Stop order was given.
Their evidence fits perfectly with the events on the bridge.. helm + telegraph + impact + WT doors. Otherwise it has to be helm + 41 seconds + telegraph + impact +wt doors.

Sure we can play with seconds! But the other 41 which would give us the time for Titanic to swing off course, 2 points to port are missing.



JC.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>>Boxhall's 266T course was either a concoction or the course made good from where he thought Titanic was when she turned and the 7-30pm fix position. <<

You can state whatever you feel, Jim, but Lightoller was also asked about the course that the ship heading while he was OOW. He said it was 266° T and obvious got that from Boxhall. Boxhall said he was busy working up stellar observations that he took to get the compass error. It was an IMM rule that deviation error be checked regularly. I don't have the set of rules handy right now, but it was a requirement. And as you know, the deviation could change slightly, and we also know that we are only talking about a 1 degree difference. I don't believe that was a concoction made up by Boxhall.

As far your 6 seconds from the helm order, Hichens saw the ship turn while looking at the seering compass. He said it went south of west which matches a 2 point turn. Fleet said the ship turn about "a little over a point, or two points" when she hit. He was observing it from the nest. There is no way that the ship can turn even 1 point in 6 seconds. Also the Stop order in boiler rooms did not come down from the bridge. It came from the engine room which had to be some time after engine order telegraphs went to stop. So you cannot base timing on what Barrett said because we don't know how long it took an engineer to ring up the boiler rooms after the engine order telegraph went.

But I do agree that it was highly unlikely that the ship turned a full 2 points before the collision. I think it was closer to about 1 point for reasons I don't have time to delve into. The max swing was about 2 points, which is what Hichens saw on the compass.

Cheers,
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Sam!

We are talking of Boxhall's shennanigans!

Regardless of what he must have told Lightoller later on, he most certainly told the Inquiry people that the ship was turned onto a course of South 86 West True at 5-50pm that night when she turned the corner. That's nothing whatsoever to do with what I feel or surmise or anything else.
Whatever the intended true course was, it was not changed before 10pm that night.

QM Rowe stated that the course set at 05-50pm that evening was North 71 West by steering compass.
The same course was handed over to Hitchens 5 hours later when he took over the wheel at 10.pm. So there was no alteration made during that period.
Incidentally, since the Variation at that place was a little over 25.5 degrees West, that would make the deviation about 1 degree East. Only to be expected on a new ship which had had it's compasses adjusted less than a fortnight previously!

A Variation of 25.5 degrees West, a course of 266 True and a course to steer of N 71 West produces a deviation of 2.5 degrees East. If that were true, they should have fired the Compass Adjuster!

It is very clear that Boxhall was telling his interrogators that Titanic was turned onto 266T at 5-50pm when in fact, she should have been turned onto 265T at that time. Captain Smith wrote the turn order into the night order book.. i.e. he pre-calculated when he expected Titanic to be due at the propoer turning point. He did not guess she would run past the turning point!
If Titanic turned onto 266T at 5-50pm and she ended up at a point 2 miles north of the wreck site then there is something very seriously wrong!

Running back from that on the reciprocal course to 266T.. 086T, using your estimated average speed of 22.3 knots for your estimated run time of 5.834 hours gives us a position for Titanic at 5-50pm. when she turned. This position is 5 miles x 200T (South and slightly west)from The Corner.

If Titanic had been running at 22.1 knots since Noon, on a course of about 240T until she turned at 5-50pm then, if the distance from Noon to The Corner was 126 miles, she should have been at 3 miles x 240T from The Corner. The course to 2 miles north of the wreck from that position is in fact closer to 264T.

Assuming Titanic turned exactly at The Corner...if we plot a DR for 7-40pm sights,, we find that the course from 3 miles x 240T from The Corner to that 7-40pm DR is very close to 266T. Try it yourself!


Incidentally, while you're at it.. introduce a current of about 1 knot setting the ship south from about 7-30pm onward. I think you'll find that Titanic would have had to make good a true course of about 267 from Boxhall's estimated point of turn in order to reach a position 2 miles north of the wreck site.

As for a change in deviation:

When taking azimth bearings to determine compass error, you merely get a total error consisting of Variation and Deviation. The latter you get from the deviation card and Variation from the nearest compass rose on the chart.

As far as I know, deviation on any one heading will not change appreciably unless:

A..The ship is aligned with the earth's magnetic field in one direction for a considerable length of time or

B..Ferrous metal is added or removed from the ship or

C..Electric wiring is added or removed in the vicinity of the standard compass.

There is no record of these happened in the case of Titanic.
Deviation will most certainly change with time but this is gradual.

I know we are only talking about a degree. But the one thing you must also bear in mind is the change in Magnetic Variation. It was reducing as the ship headed westward. It was only about .4 of a degree. If it did show on an azimuth calculation. it would be too small to make an allowance on a ship steering by points and parts of a point on a magnetic compass. However, if the steering was realy good, it would accumulate a steering error over 6 hours and Titanic would have been about a mile north of where they though she was.

JC
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>>A Variation of 25.5 degrees West, a course of 266 True and a course to steer of N 71 West produces a deviation of 2.5 degrees East. <<

No it doesn't. N71°W is a compass course of 289°. Variation of 22.5° W gives 289-22.5 = 266.5°. If the actual course was 266°T, then the deviation for the steering compass on that heading was only 0.5°, not 2.5°. If the intended course was 265°T, which I believe it was, then the deviation on the compass card would have been 1.5° W, or very close to it. The course was steered by degrees on the compass, not by points or fractions thereof.
 

Jim Currie

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You used the wrong Variation Sam.

The magnetic variation for 42 North, 47 West on April 14, 1912 was 25 degrees, 34 minutes west.

Course 289 dgrees Compass minus 25.5 degreees west = 263.5 degrees Magnetic. Desired course 266 True, Difference= 2.5 dgrees East deviation. The difference between a desired course of 265 degrees is 1.5 degrees east. Yoiu used the wrong Magnetic variation!

By the way, I answered you observation re course change on tbe appropriate thread.

JC
 

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