Californian...a question.

Mike Spooner

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Julian,
I guess we view the word 'coaching' differently. You seem to view coaching as telling a witness what to say or not to say. I believe that is strictly not allowed in US courts as well. However, I view coaching as preparing a witness by going through the evidence and pointing out what pitfalls they should avoid.

As was written in my book 'The Sting of the Hawke':

>>What is troubling to us is the number of officers and others who testified for Olympic and said they saw Hawke come up from 2 to 3 points on Olympic’s starboard quarter from ¼ mile back on a parallel course separated about 300 yards from that of Olympic. This was immediately after Olympic had steadied on her S59E courseline after turning the West Bramble buoy. It was as if all these eyewitnesses on board Olympic, who last took notice of Hawke just before Olympic commenced turning around West Bramble buoy, suddenly decided to look aft at the same time to get a glimpse of where the cruiser was after Olympic’s 11 point turn was completed. As noted in the court findings by the court president, Samuel Evans, “There was an extraordinary similarity, amounting almost to complete identity, about their [Olympic’s] evidence.”<<

The Right Honourable Sir Samuel Evans, president of the court trial in 1911, seemed to summarize it best in his final judgment statement:

'But general observation as to the distances, bearings, and speeds of two vessels turning at different points, at a considerable distance away, about the same time, and then angling towards each other is difficult and liable to great errors. Evidence of that kind requires to be submitted to a careful test; and tests are available in this case. None of the observers at the time were thinking of any collision, and none of them made observations with reference to any fixed objects or the land or otherwise. They may have made mistakes, and harbored inaccurate impressions.'

It appears that the witnesses for Olympic were well prepared to avoid certain pitfalls when being questioned, and if possible, to see to it that they were all in accord as to estimates of distances, bearings, positions and times of their observations, and in accord as to orders given and the sequence of events that took place. The hard evidence proved that Hawke could not have been where the witnesses for Olympic put her when Olympic completed her turn around the buoy. As you can imagine, witnesses for Hawke told a completely different story that held up well to analytical testing.

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In addition to Captain Smith and Pilot George Bowyer making such claim, we also have Chief Officer Wilde who was stationed out on the forecastle deck, First Officer William Murdoch who was stationed out on the poop deck, Second Officer Robert Hume who was stationed up in the crow’s nest, Fourth Officer David Alexander who was on the forebridge working the engine telegraphs, Fifth Officer Adolphus Tulloch who was stationed on the amidships compass platform, and Sixth Officer Harold Holehouse who was on the forebridge recording events and taking the time from the wheelhouse clock.
Hi Sam,
I question if this is right for a second officer duty? Second Officer Robert Hume who was stationed up in the crow’s nest,?
 

Andrew

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In answer to Jim's examination question:
1. I've seen rockets. That's enough to arouse in me a certain level of concern, so I will awaken my wireless operator to check the traffic
2. Having caught the Titanic's distress message, my operator asks "Are you throwing rockets? Because we can see some".
3. Titanic operator confirms his ship is throwing rockets
4. To confirm the rockets are Titanic's, I throw a few rockets from my ship; my wireless operator tells the Titanic to look out for them
5. Titanic confirms it can see my rockets.
6. Cautiously, I head in the direction of the rockets
7. I eventually reach the Titanic, although the atmospherics made her appear much closer than she really was.
8. I have passed no other vessels on the way.
9. On arrival, the scene is chaotic but I manage to save about a hundred people.
10. The experience has been highly distressing, but at least I know I did my best.
 
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Mark Baber

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Hi Mark,
I am intrigued were did you get that information from of Ballin's Hapag paid IMM 1.5 million marks? As mention Morgan and Ballin deal was in total secret on Morgan private luxury yacht in New York?
That the Morgan interests---IMM had not yet been created---had come to an agreement with Hapag and NDL was widely reported in the early months of 1902, when Ballin and representatives of NDL and Holland America visited New York. I don't think I've seen any reference of a meeting between Ballin and Morgan on Corsair, though. Do you have a reference for that? (Both Morgan and Ballin were well-known in New York and the papers regularly reported on even mundane activities of the two. It would have been a major accomplishment for them to meet in secret, especially out in the open on Corsair.) The 1.5 million figure I got from Bonsor, I think. I'll have to check.
The receivership was a "friendly" court?
I said a friendly court proceeding, not a friendly court.
 
M

Mila

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I eventually reach the Titanic, although the atmospherics made her appear much closer than she really was.
What “atmospherics” made her appear much closer, if I may ask please?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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It was clear enough for Gibson to note: "I then got the binoculars and had just got them focused on the vessel when I observed a white flash apparently on her deck, followed by a faint streak towards the sky which then burst into white stars." This was a vessel which he thought looked like a tramp steamer about 4 to 7 miles away.. The only vessel firing rockets at that time was Titanic. The rocket Gibson described was the 6th one seen by Stone.
 
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Dec 2, 2000
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Do we even know for certain if Californian could have even reached Titanic safely considering the dark night and what might lay between the two ships ?
No, we don't *know* it. I'm confident that IF they had gone full speed and not had any close encounters with some solid objects along the way, they might have arrived there just in time to see the Titanic go down. This assumes (A very dangerous pastime!) that the 10 to 12 distance of separation advanced by Lord's critics is accurate, that they would have figured things out in a reasonable amount of time or brought up the Titanic on Wireless in time to find out what was going on, and got underway as quickly as possible.

If the ships were separated by the19-20 miles as advanced by Captain Lord's critics, there's just nothing which bears discussion. They might have arrived in time to find the boats and see Carpathia's smoke and flares on the horizon.
 
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Mila

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It appears that at 3:30 am Californian was 7-8 miles from some lifeboats. If we are to assume these particular lifeboats traveled 1 or 2 miles from the wreck site towards Californian, we could say that Californian was 9-10 miles from the sinking Titanic, maybe closer at some times. I do not believe that even if Lord acted at once, he would have been able to save everybody. However, it does not matter. What matters is that not only Lord did nothing, he also tried to cover up his inaction, for example lying about rockets, or “loosing” important parts of the log.
 

Mike Spooner

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Hi Julian sorry for the late reply,
(Do you have an axe to grind here against Lawyers and a personal story you need to get off your chest?).
I most certainly do in the way the UK inquiry was conducted for the real true.
The inquiry was suppose to be the investigation into the loss of Titanic causes and resulting in the death of 1500. It should of been an independent inquiry and not arranged by the Board of Trade!
The inquiry turned into a one sided court case hearing were many more could of given evident but never ask, and landed up with a very respectable man of the land, making outrages slander statements against a Captain as follows:
When she first saw the rockets the Californian could have pushed through the ice to open water without any serious risk and so have come to the assistance of Titanic. Had she dune so she might have saved many if not of the lives were lost!
First why wasn't this brought up in the inquiry for discussion?
Why wasn't the Captain allowed to appeal against such an outrageous statement?
The discussion of ice risk and danger was well mention in the inquiry by a top line professional seaman king of the ice Sir Ernest Shackleton. He could not spelled it out any better the risk and dangers of icebergs and icefields, and clearly outrage of any ship speeding through ice area. It don't not go without notice when pushing through ice they have avoided the word of icebergs may be in the way and its pitch dark with no searchlight on the ship! Did this fall on deaf ears of Mersey?
Was the plan of how to save many lives if not all! Was this discussed? Nope.
Was the time factors whether he could there in time discussed? Nope.
Was the correct procedures of firing distress rockets by the Board of Trade discussed? Nope. Why only 8 and not 36?
Was the rockets and Californian ever mention in the submitted of the 26 questions been ask by the Board of Trade for discussion? Nope.
After 28 days into the inquiry amendment was made to question 24 to included rockets and other ships. Are they changing the goal post to suit there argument to shift the blame else were? After all the Californian and rockets were brought up in the US inquiry
and newspapers. So why were they not included in the original 26 questions?
I see the inquiry was a very intimidating and threatening place to be in as follows:
If one looks at the photos of the Scottish Drill Hall in London been turn into a temporary court room. On the raised platform is the formidable bench to represent the Board of Trade and well paid by the Government to!
Right Honourable Lord Mersey a retired Judge in charge of the inquiry, with a successful career as a lawyer and fine barrister indeed.
To assist him SIR Rufus Isaacs one of the top line barrister of the day. A very smart and intelligent man. The main driving force behind the inquiry.
SIR John Simon solicitor with barrister skills to.
SIR R. Mc Kenna.
Mr B Aspinall for B.O.T.
Mr Raylatt for B.O.T.
Mr R Asquith barrister son of Prime minster
Rear Admiral S.A. Gough-Calhorpe.
Captain A.W. Clark R.N.
Commander F.C.A. Lyon P&O Captain.
Professors J.H.Biles of Navel Architecture.
Maine Engineer Mr. E.C. Chaston R.N.R.
I see this as a formidable line up for the Government benefit.
So what has the defence got to offer?
Robert Dunlop solicitor for the Leyland Line.
Sir Robert Finlay represent for White Star Line
Thomas Scanlan behalf National sailors & fireman union
Mr Thomas Lewis union represent large crew members.
Mr W. Harbinson behalf of third class passengers
Looks like a David & Goliath battle here!
The there is witness stand on raised platform a table and chair.
The general public area of between 100-200 who will have their beady eye fixed on the witness stand!
But one thing missing in court room that there is NO public jury answer to!
Protocol from a LORD and SIRS who hold great power esteem and respect of the land and must be treated with caution and replied by SIRS and YES MY LORD, NO MY LORD. MY LORDSHIP, enough to put a cool chill down any ones back. Then the ones who be cross exam by a clever intelligence barrister were Mersey will keep cutting in a hostile manor.
Those young men who have never face a witness stand before must of been a terrified experience for them, and having to be on their guard at all time not to criticise the company in fear jeopardising their future! They must of been overwhelm and bag of nerve in this situation. How can one concentrate and think straight under such interrogation, Its not surprising they made mistakes.
Then some of those poor seamen on Titanic who have only recently been through an horrendous survival of live and seeing death around them, no doubt mental scarred for life. Quite frankly this has turn into a callus heartless brutal inquiry failing to understand they were members of the humans race and not robots.
I must of felt like the interrogation of the GESTAPO on hand!
They need a dam good barrister to stand up this cross exam, which they never got.
I see further problem with the ones who represent the two shipping companies Leyland Line and White Star Line. They may be two individual companies but come under the one company of IMMC. Cannot criticise each other much as they like to so!
I personal think Robert Dunlop did his best but overwhelmed with the situation and cut short when digging too deep in fear of criticise been made against the B.O.T. no thanks to Mersey! The poor acoustic of the hall did help matter either too.
It not surprising second officer Charles Lightroller called the inquiry as a white washing inquires and a fast.
Lawyers did not lay clever traps for Captain Lord! He created his own downfall, and he was very lucky not to have lost his Masters certificate or be tried and convicted (with a prison sentence)?
Captain Lord is not a lawyer but a fine profession seamen with an impressive track record behind him which was never brought up in the inquiry. In his situation of cross exam he needed a top line barrister for his defence which he never got and not allowed to appeal.
Failure to respond to a vessel in distress?
How many times did Lord give the orders to Morse lamp to a ship? As Mersey stated the Titanic was no more than 7-8 miles away! Morse lamp range 10-12 miles. So much for Mersey statement!
Forced resignation from the Leyland Line?
Leyland Line never wanted him to resign and certainly recognise him as a first class Captain. It was only a Leyland Director from the London office threatened to resign if he was not removed from the company. If he was such an villain why did he receive full pay and bonuses? Or was the Director a friend of Mersey?
He was very lucky not to have lost his Masters certificate or be tried and convicted (with a prison sentence)?
If any one should be tried dragged over the coals and reprimanded is Lord Mersey for making false statements without checking the facts with Lord!
As you properly gathered by now I have a poor opinion of both inquiry's for the real true in the loss of Titanic, and the1500 whom lost their lives of the majority through no fault of they own.
Sad to say the inquiry was a political game to save their necks or careers.
Thanks to ET I have learnt a lot more nearer to the true than you ever learn from the inquires.
Julian when I see the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry in progress. That's what I call a proper inquiry were months of investigation had taken place before the start of the inquiry. Something like 500-600 will give evident and freedom of speech in the event on how they saw it, without been cross exam by a intelligent barrister!!
How much time of investigation took place beforehand for the Titanic inquires?

Mike.
 
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mitfrc

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Well, the countervailing argument is that even if the Californian, proceeding with an acceptable level of risk for a rescue mission, only arrived in time to pluck twenty or so hardy men from the water over and above those rescued historically, shouldn't that have been done and wouldn't it be worth it? Captain Lord couldn't have done much, but shouldn't he have done something? But I am agnostic, because the passage of years and sheer amount of information/debate from the different sides makes it hard to decide what reasonable is.
 
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I've been reading thru the threads on this...the fors and against. I know its been covered over and over but I have a simple question. If it took the Californian 3+ hours to reach the sinking site in the morning, why wouldnt it have taken her that long to reach Titanic the night before? Curious.
 
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Mike Spooner

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IF only Lord had acted at 1.00am and travel one mile towards Titanic.
Would of that satisfied the law for the legal men?
To say his ship stood still and did nothing is incorrect. As by 5-6 in the morning he came to the rescue and took a bigger risk than any other ship by having to navigate the icefield 3 times without damaging the ship. If he had damaged the ship he would of got NO thanks from his shipping company and probably facing dismissal as in the company policy!
If the Carpathia ship hadn't been there, Captain Lord would of been the hero of the day!
For a human-being and not a robot been held responsible for the death of 1500 must of been utterly devastating for the poor man. Just remember he never got a fair hearing to hear his side of the story and no re-appeal was allowed!
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Mike,

I actually agree with quite a bit of what you have posted above. There were lots of things seriously wrong with the British Inquiry.

I just happen to think that some of The Californian witnesses, in certain parts of their testimony, lied or were evasive and or inconsistent. You can see this quite clearly when Captain Lord and Stewart are cross examined on their own 'wreck commissioner's' statements made just a few days beforehand!

On 2 occasions both Stone and Stewart fail to answer questions and remain silent. Captain Lord at one point said that Stewart was the Officer on the bridge during the middle watch, and as a result all the other Californian witnesses are ordered out of the court room!

I don't believe that Captain Lord having a better Barrister would have made a jot to the evidence he gave, and if he had been separately represented with a well briefed QC it would not have made any difference.

It is also a double edged sword - if the Inquiry had followed the correct procedures in respect of Captain Lord - and he had been given 'defendant' status, and a right to remain silent (which in any event he would have been very foolish to remain silent), then Lord Mersey would not have been prevented in making all sorts of findings in respect of Captain Lord such as a finding on a charge that he had failed to respond to a vessel in distress, and revoking his Master's Certificate (I am a bit unclear whether Mersey could have done this at the British Inquiry, but he had the power to order further proceedings against Captain Lord).

So things could have been far more serious for Captain Lord had the British Inquiry been correctly set up.

They could also have been equally serious for Stone.

Neither Captain Lord or Stone understood the legal niceties of all this.

What is quite clear to me is that at the British Inquiry Captain Lord and Stone and Stewart lied as to what happened on The Californian in certain material respects. Gibson was also probably nobbled a bit by Stewart. As for Groves, well, it is just far too complicated to write out here this evening!

I am also not forgetting what happened in the USA. Captain Lord starts lying immediately The Californian reaches Boston via his newspaper reports, and shifts The Californian 2 miles further away that night in his hydrographic report, despite the Olympic recording his Antillian ice warning message latitude after the tragedy.

At the USA Inquiry Captain Lord states he was told of only one rocket, and makes no mention whatsoever of the Mount Temple. However, Evans describes uproar on The Californian the morning of 15th April, and Captain Lord being called 3 times and rockets seen, and having had conversations with both Gill and Gibson.

At both Inquiries Captain Lord keeps secret the statements of Stone and Gibson of 18th April. That Stone and Gibson also do not refer to these statements at the British Inquiry is yet more evidence of a concerted 'cover up' as to what actually went on.

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Harland Duzen

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One reason is that had the Californian responded and begun heading towards Titanic at night, Lord would of had to have gone slower to avoid collision with an iceberg and putting his crew and ship in danger* since he would't be able to see the ice so well in the darkness.

Another possible problem was that with Titanic sending out the wrong distress position, Californian would have been heading to the wrong position and then had to back track (this happened in the morning but with the rockets, this might not have happened).

*To summarise a captain must protect / put his crew and ship first which is why the Mount Temple stopped upon encountering ice so not to jeopardise herself.

there are several other factors but hope the above makes sense.
 
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Aaron_2016

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I've been reading thru the threads on this...the fors and against. I know its been covered over and over but I have a simple question. If it took the Californian 3+ hours to reach the sinking site in the morning, why wouldnt it have taken her that long to reach Titanic the night before? Curious.
I believe she would have reached her in time (assuming they headed for the distress rockets and ignored the false distress position).


Captain Lord was asked:

Q - Could you have navigated with any degree of safety to your vessel at night through the ice that you, in fact, encountered?
A - It would have been most dangerous.
Q - What would you have done? No doubt you would have made an attempt?
A - Most certainly I would have made every effort to go down to her.


One reason is that had the Californian responded and begun heading towards Titanic at night, Lord would of had to have gone slower to avoid collision with an iceberg and putting his crew and ship in danger* since he would't be able to see the ice so well in the darkness.

Another possible problem was that with Titanic sending out the wrong distress position, Californian would have been heading to the wrong position and then had to back track (this happened in the morning but with the rockets, this might not have happened).

*To summarise a captain must protect / put his crew and ship first which is why the Mount Temple stopped upon encountering ice so not to jeopardise herself.

there are several other factors but hope the above makes sense.

The irony is the Carpathia went full speed ahead and dodged many icebergs, and her Captain received the highest praise for endangering the lives of his own passengers. As the popular saying goes - 'The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.' Captain Lord of the Californian testified that he was willing to take the risk and steam to the Titanic's rescue (had he known she was in distress) but, instead the press blamed him for the enormous death toll.


1912 headlines

calif1.png



Captain Rostron said - "Although I was running a risk with my own ship and my own passengers, I also had to consider what I was going for."

Q - To save the lives of others?
A - Yes; I had to consider the lives of others.
Q - You were prompted by your interest in humanity?
A - Absolutely.
Q - And you took the chance?
A - It was hardly a chance. Of course it was a chance, but at the same time I knew quite what I was doing. I considered that I was perfectly free, and that I was doing perfectly right in what I did.
Q - I suppose no criticism has been passed upon you for it?
A - No.
Q - In fact, I think I may say, for my associates, that your conduct deserves the highest praise.
A - I thank you, sir.

"I knew very well that there must be ice about. I went full speed, all we could." "We were passing icebergs on every side and making them ahead and having to alter our course several times to clear the bergs." "We saw about half a dozen. In fact, more than that. I was moving about to get between them."


.
 
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Julian Atkins

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and lots of silly messages from Evans to Durrant on the Mount Temple as a result
I should have stated with the Birma and Cannon, not Mount Temple and Durrant. See Balfour's testimony at the USA Inquiry on the Baltic who overheard these messages and recorded them on the Baltic.

Apologies for this error.

Cheers,

Julian
 

Harland Duzen

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I believe she would have reached her in time (assuming they headed for the distress rockets and ignored the false distress position).

Captain Lord was asked:
Q - Could you have navigated with any degree of safety to your vessel at night through the ice that you, in fact, encountered?
A - It would have been most dangerous.
Q - What would you have done? No doubt you would have made an attempt?
A - Most certainly I would have made every effort to go down to her.
Another issue is how close or far away she was to Titanic. Depending who / what you believe she was between 5 - 21 miles away (roughly summarising here) and as the "A Reality Check* " paper calculated, at 8 miles distance with extreme luck^ she would arrived just as Titanic was foundering. While she was probably further away, it complicates both the possible rescue attempt and where she was stopped April 14th.

*The Californian Incident, A Reality Check

^I say "extreme luck" as the paper implies a situation where the Californian sees the rockets, communicates and immediately heads for Titanic after seeing the first few rockets and then speeds though the ice field without incident.
 
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No, we don't *know* it. I'm confident that IF they had gone full speed and not had any close encounters with some solid objects along the way, they might have arrived there just in time to see the Titanic go down. This assumes (A very dangerous pastime!) that the 10 to 12 distance of separation advanced by Lord's critics is accurate, that they would have figured things out in a reasonable amount of time or brought up the Titanic on Wireless in time to find out what was going on, and got underway as quickly as possible.

If the ships were separated by the19-20 miles as advanced by Captain Lord's critics, there's just nothing which bears discussion. They might have arrived in time to find the boats and see Carpathia's smoke and flares on the horizon.
I think that's the big problem for us ''Non-sailors/Non-lawyers''....''No luck on the Morse Lamp......Let's just try the Wireless.'' The big problem for us is why didn't they do that ?
 
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Aaron_2016

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True, although if she were within 10 miles then the Californian may have been able pick up survivors in the water using cargo nets. Would have been a horrific sight if they arrived in time to see her go down.

californian1912.png
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Mar 22, 2003
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The real issue is not whether Californian could have got to the area in time to save anyone, but the fact that she never tried during the entire time distress signal were being sent up. As to the original question asked, it took Californian about 2 1/2 hours to reach Carpathia in the morning because she took a long circumferential route to get there; unnecessarily crossing miles of pack ice twice.