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Carpathia Rockets

Discussion in 'Rockets in the Night' started by Maureen Zottoli, Aug 23, 2002.

  1. It has been stated that Titanic fired standard issued socket rockets...not the varying colored fireworks assortment.

    What did Carpathia fire?

  2. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    Judging by the bang they made, which was heard in Titanic's boats, probably the same socket signals. She fired these at 15 minute intervals and between them she fired Roman candles. Cunard's Roman candles fired 6 blue balls up to 150 feet.
  3. Thanks so much Dave!

    Let me ask another question then. When did Carpathia first start firing the same socket signals and when did they stop firing them? And about how many did she fire? Does anyone know?

    Dave, you said that the socket signals of Titanic were standard (non-Fourth of July variety) on the other thread...so what about these Roman candles...were they also a standard issue? If the socket signals were standard issue, what did the Cunard line define as the use for these Roman Candles? What did they mean? Was this usage of them standardized from company to company and country to country or was it just Cunard's own device that they used?

    And what did the varying between the two signals mean?

  4. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    Company signals were regulated by the maritime nations and were unique to each line. Cunard's high seas signal was "A blue light and two Roman Candles, each throwing out six blue balls to a height not exceeding 150 feet and fired in quick succession."

    Rostron's signals were apparently intended to encourage Titanic survivors. They were neither distress signals nor company signals. Goodness knows what the ship that Rostron sighted made of them. That's a genuine mystery.

    My own opinion is that Rostron only fired three sets of rockets and candles. My reasoning is explained on my site at http://users.senet.com.au/~gittins/carpathia.html
  5. Joshua Gulch

    Joshua Gulch Member

  6. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie Member

    There seems to have been a great deal of debate about the mysterious rockets seen on that fateful morning. Captain Rostron remarks that at 0240 - an hour after Titanic's last rocket -he saw a flare fine on his port bow as he went towards the last position of Titanic. Unless it was a quirk of LAT time differences then that could not have been Titanic. (it might have been a lifeboat flare). He also states that he fired his own rockets at 15 minute intervals from 0245 onward. Since these rockets could attain highest trajectory points between 600 and 800 feet above sea level and it was reported to be a fine, clear night with stars visible down to the horizon - they should have been visible from a ship with a 40 height of eye up to a maximum of 60 miles away. From a ship'slifeboat they would be visible at a maximum of thirty miles. Since Carpathia was travelling at 19 knots (but weaving to avoid ice)for two hours. She was possibly between 15 -20 miles SE of the sinking site when she fired the first rocket and considerably nearer when firing the last one. I would suggest that any ships within a radius of lets say 50 to 70 miles of the site of Titanic sinking must have seen Carpathia's signals.
    Is there any reports of this? The maximum distance is around 6 hrs steaming for a 11.5 knot ship. Californian has been variously reported as being between 5 an 30 miles away and since there were a couple of ships already on site when she arrived beside Carpathia ; they too must have been close enought to see them.

    Any ideas?

    [Moderator's Note: This message, originally a separate thread in a different topic, has been moved to this pre-existing thread addressing the same subject. MAB]
  7. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie Member

    Hi guys!

    I've posted this elsewhere but there is one very puzzling aspect of the rockets stories. Why hasn't anyone mentioned Carpathia's rockets? Not even the survivors.(at least I can't find a definite reference)
    Lets assume for the moment that 'Carpathia' was the casualty -Did anyone report seeing those rockets which Capt. Rostron ordered to be fired every 15 minutes from 0245 onward as he steamed toward the assumed last position of Titanic? At that time he would be between 15 and 20 miles from the survivors. and and hour and a quarter away. There must have been at least five of them. Given a maximum height of trajectory above sea level between 600 to 800 ft. and using an observer's height of eye of say 40 feet. Surely these rockets must have been seen by someone within a maximum radius of 60 miles. By all reports, it was a clear night with stars visible to the horizon. It should be fairly simple to find out who should have seen them- either stopped or within five hours steaming of the 'Carpathia's 0400 hrs position. Obviously the area between WNW and ENE would be of interest.
    There also seems to be a lot of confusion as to timing. There is indeed, a great deal more to this than meets the eye.(no pun intended).

    [Moderator's Note: This message, originally posted to a different thread in a this subtopic, has been moved to this pre-existing thread addressing the same subject. MAB]
  8. Mila

    Mila Guest


    I am also thinking about this and find it strange that at 3:30 a.m. both Gibson and Stone on the Californian and people in the lifeboats saw the Carpathia rockets so low lying that Stone said it was just at the horizon. At 3:30 the Carpathia should have been not more than 7 miles from the wreck site, and the rockets should have been seen exploding high in the sky. The only thing I could think of is that the rockets were hard to see in the very starry sky, it was easier to see one falling at the horizon or maybe leaving a trail of light while going up. I wonder what kind of rockets they used? Did it leave a trail while going up? Was it falling down as stars?
  9. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Captain Rostron said he ordered rockets to be fired at a quarter to 3 and every 15 minutes after. He also said:

    "The first iceberg we saw was at a quarter to 3."

    Q - You saw one at a quarter to 3?
    A - We saw about half a dozen. In fact, more than that. I was moving about to get between them up to 4 o’clock.

    "At a quarter to three I saw what we knew was an iceberg by the light from a star. I saw a streak of light right on the iceberg. We saw it, I cannot say the distance off, but some distance, not very far; and from then on till four o’clock we were altering our course very often to avoid the bergs."

    A slight exaggeration on this map, but if they had to steam around and alter course "very often" then it would delay their approach to the distress position.


  10. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie Member

    When a distress rocket reached the top of its trajectory it exploded with a very loud BANG and a brilliant FLASH which was followed by the slow descent of a shower of brilliant white stars.
    The FLASH and BANG were designed to catch the attention of an observer and the stars to concentrate that attention.
    If Gibson and Stone had seen Carpathia's rockets above the horizon, they would have had time to concentrate on them., As it was, it seems they only saw the FLASh of light in the sky immediately above their horizon. We can, therefore, apply a series of "IFs".

    1. If Californian was where her Captain said she was
    2. If the rockets seen by Stone and Gibson around 3-30 pm that morning were from Carpathia
    3. If the rockets were seen on Californian's port beam.
    4, If the flash of the rockets was seen in the sky just on the horizon.
    5. If, at 3-30 pm Carpathia was 7 miles south east from Boxhall in boat 2.

    Then At 3- 30 pm we can be certain that:

    a. At 3-30 am, Californian was exactly 21.3 miles x 337 True of the spot where Titanic sank. and heading 247 True,
    b. At 3-30 am Carpathia was exactly 27 miles from Californian in the direction of 150 True.
    C Carpathia' rockets went no higher than 300 feet above the sea level.
  11. Mila

    Mila Guest

    Right only a flash, and the survivors in the lifeboat saw the same flash and at the same time.
    Here's what Beesley writes:

    As you see no "a brilliant FLASH which was followed by the slow descent of a shower of brilliant white stars" was seen. At 3:30 the Carpathia was probably around 5-6 miles from the wreck site.