Crow's nest to the bridge


Aly Jones

I had look things up on the net and came across some information pior about the phone call that James Moody took from the crowsnest.

This may have made the impact alot less therefore Tianic may have survived this whole disarter.

All this happend before the officer's even taken any action.

Iceberg was spotted.
Three warning bells were sent out.
Then a phone call to the Bridge.
Two or three rings go by.
Then an officer(Moody)answers the phone.
Words exchange(Fleet)Iceberg right ahead)-(Moody) Thankyou.
Finally the rest of the officer's knows what's going on.
Action takes place.
Ship takes to altor course.

By then alot of valible seconds went by that could have gave more time to turn,causing less damage to the ship, therefore Titanic would stay afloat.

Would it be better to ring the Bridge first,the officer's could have taken action alot sooner,Titanic would have been altering course alot sooner than later.After that then ring the crowsnest bell.

This may have save some inches of Titanic's damage?
The lookout's role is to alert the officers on the Bridge that there is a potential hazard in sight and in which direction, not to specifically identify what's out there. So Fleet did the right thing - "ring the bell, and ring like hell." Three bells indicated a hazard right ahead. No other information was required from the lookouts and the telephone call wasn't necessary.
Hi Alyson.

Many people do not know this, but according to lookout Fleet, he noticed the ship was turning as he struck the bell, which is slightly different from the story told by the guy at the wheel, Hichens. This came up during the inquiry that followed when 2/O Lightoller explained what Fleet had told him while they were on heading to NY on the Carpathia. Lightoller believed that Murdoch had ordered the turn before that phone call came down from the nest, maybe spotting the berg before those guys in the nest did. When they told Lightoller what Hichens said about the phone call coming first, Lightoller remarked:

"I am only giving what Fleet told me, you understand...If Hichens is right, then Fleet must be wrong."
Hi Samuel.

Well,anything is possible.This causes more questions and answers lol.

Robert. Why 3 bell rings for a protentail hazard that can cause damage and founder? why not just one bell ring for a protenail hazard ,so there no time lost?
>>Why 3 bell rings for a protentail hazard that can cause damage and founder?<<

The bells only speak to the general location. One for something seen to starboard, two bells for something seen to port, and three for something seen ahead. The only signifigence here is that the system communicates information.

Since Fleet noted that the ship was turning even as he struck the bell, that would indicate that somebody on the bridge had seen the iceberg and was acting on that before Fleet and Lee saw the 'berg.
>>Since Fleet noted that the ship was turning even as he struck the bell...<<

I should have been a bit more careful in what I posted about that above. It was Lightoller who said that Fleet told him that the ship was turning when he went for the bell. Fleet's direct testimony mentioned: "Well, she started to go to port while I was at the telephone...My mate saw it and told me. He told me he could see the bow coming around...He was looking ahead while I was at the phone and he seen the ship go port."

But in either case, as Lightoller said, "If Hichens is right, then Fleet must be wrong."
And that also means that if Fleet was right, then Hichens was wrong.
There is another point of view gentlemen - Lee, the other lookout.
At the BOT Enquiry he states:
Q2425: 'Did you notice what the ship did?'
- 'as soon as the reply came back(to Fleets phone call to the bridge)"Thank you", the helm had been put either hard-a starboard or close to it, because she veered to port and it seemed almost as if she might clear it but I suppose there was ice under water'.
I suggest that in fact Lee is the best witness in this case. After all, he apparently did not take his eye off the 'target' during the time Fleet was at the phone. It follows; Lee would be the first to notice any relative movement of the ships bow to port. When Moody shouted the ice warning to Murdoch, he would already have his glasses trained ahead as a result of the initial 3 bell warning. He would probably see the ice at the instant or shortly before Moody shouted and,having made his decision as to turn direction relative to target; would immediately give the emergency helm order... how long are we talking about here? Remember, Fleet was pretty vague about timing!
I don't think there is any mystery here. As near as damn-it, everything fits fairly neatly with the evidence. Remember these lads did not have clip-boards and stop-watches.

Alyson, as I have shown above, the 3 bell warning would do it's job and have Mr. Murdoch looking in the right direction at the right time. Where would he have looked if he heard 1 bell?

Jim, I tend to agree with you on this one. What's interesting is what Fleet told Lightoller on the Carpathia which suggested Murdoch gave the order before the phone call came down from the nest. Lee's testimony is consistent with Hichens' version.

What remains inconsistent is Hichens' testimony as to when the ship struck ice. We know he said the ship turned 2 point when she struck, but at the Wreck Commission inquiry he first said he didn't have time to get the helm over before ship struck, then he said she struck just as the he got the helm over, then it was just as Moody confirmed that the helm was was hard over. So how long would it take take to turn the wheel hard over?

[Moderator's Note: Three extraneous messages which once followed this one have been removed. MAB]
I have actually carried-ot an enactment of the sequence of events using a stop watch and a home-made bridge mock-up. Unfortunately, I can't find the actual timing sheet among the mass of paper I have accumulated. It was part of an experiment I carried-out to try and determine how far Titanic had travelled before she became 'dead' in the water. Unlike you, I'm not the most organised of people. However, If I remember correctly, I reckoned the ship's wheel to be about standard size for the time - 36" diameter and that hard over to hard over took 8 turns (again fairly standard with the kind of telemotor arrangement Titanic had). From this and the simulation it would have taken about 4.5 seconds for the mid-ship spoke to be turned to the hard left (or right position). There would, of course be a delay before full rudder effect came into play so I would guess her head would start to swing left almost immediately but that maximum acceleration of turn would not be reached until at least 7 seconds after the emergency turn order. If I remember rightly you worked-out how long it would have taken for the ship to turn 22 and half degrees.
Incidentally, I have noticed a few historians playing with the words used by Hitchins, Fleet and Lee. 'She had turned 2 points'. 'She had reached 2 points', the wheel was 'barely' over etc. The questioners at the enquiry had the same problem with understanding the answers they were getting. I believe there was a problem with educated, sophisticated lawyers questioning simple sailormen. The latter used expressions in an uneducated way while we all know how the former used (and still use) words. This is very evident in the difficulty that the Commissioner had in getting his head round some of the answers.

Interesting Jim. I thought I read somewhere that a full turn of the wheel shifted the rudder about 5 degrees. I could be wrong of course. I do know that full rudder on the Olympic class vessels was 40 degrees. Today I believe it no more than 35 on most vessels. After that, it becomes less effective due to the stall angle being exceeded.

In any event, Hichens should have had that wheel over hard within a few seconds of the order being received. Tests on Olympic showed 37 seconds from the time the order is received for the ship's head to turn 2 points. What is inconsistent here is Hichens saying she struck just as Moody confirmed that the wheel was over hard, and that the ship had turned about 2 points when she struck.

948. Had you had any instructions before she struck? Had you been told to do anything with your helm before she struck? - Just as she struck I had the order "Hard-a-starboard" when she struck.
949. Just as she struck, is that what you said? - Not immediately as she struck; the ship was swinging. We had the order, "Hard-a-starboard," and she just swung about two points when she struck.

1014. Then you had put the helm hard-a-starboard and Mr. Moody had reported it hard-a-starboard to Mr. Murdoch? - Yes.
1015. (The Attorney-General.) ...So that he had reported, and then it was after that that she strikes, is that right? - She struck almost at the same time.
Hi Sam,

My text books which were written as manuals for Noah state that most vessels had 8 turns from hard over one side to hard over the other.That was probably based on the 80 degrees movement of the rudder plate 40 to port +40 to starboard.
We were taught from the beginning that 35 was the maximum angel for the reasons you point-out.
My experiment was to determine how far off the ice was when the order was given. If I remember correctly it was about 800 feet. That ties in nicely with the 37 seconds you referred to and the ship's speed.
If you work out the distance that way, it conjures-up a picture of the ship almost missing the target. However it was the underwater bit that did the damage. In that case, we can't even say she 'nearly' made it!
>>Where would he have looked if he heard 1 bell?

Jim sir.I was suggesting that the lookout men should telephone the bridge first ,the officer's would be expecting a bell ring. Instead oh ringing three bells than calling.That's what i was getting at sir.

Put your self in Murdoch's place for a moment. What would be the fasted way for someone to call your attention to something seen ahead, by striking a bell or calling you up on a phone? When the lookout struck 3 bells (ding-ding-ding) it meant that they spotted something ahead. It would have immediately caused Murdoch to look ahead to see what it was even before the phone even rang. The bell strikes were coded: 1 bell (ding) meant something seen to port (on the left side), 2 bells (ding-ding) meant something seen to starboard (on the right side), and 3 bells meant something seen ahead. It just doesn't get any quicker than that.