Defending Ernest Gill


Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>How on earth can the indefensible be defended?<<

Be defending is whether it's defensible or not. Politicians and lawyers have had that much down to an artform for centuries. Guess what sort of people were asking the questions!
wink.gif
 
Nov 30, 2000
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I would like to add that Mr. Kamuda would be more than welcome to reply to my article if he feels inclined to. And that he has done much good for the cause of the Titanic such as corresponding with none other than lookout Frederick Fleet himself, and founding the fabled THS. A repository of information even for non-members thanks to how they have their Commutator for sale to all.
 
Apr 16, 2001
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Hi Richard,

I agree with everything you state - Ed Kamuda has done much good in preserving the memory and history of the Titanic.

Just one clarification - Ed Kamuda was a Co-founder of the THS, along with Bob Gibbons, Jack Eaton and others.

Kind regards,

Mike
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
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I've been reading Paul Lee's book and it draws attention to a passage about Gill in Wyn Craig Wade's book Titanic: The Death of a Dream.

According to Wade, Senator Smith interviewed Gill in private before he testified to the Committee.

Gill told Smith that he had received $500 for his story. He said he needed money, as he expected to lose his job.

Wade had access to Smith's private papers and these may support the story. It seems the evidence for the $500 is better than I thought.

It's on page 249 of the paperback edition.
 
Nov 30, 2000
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Yeah Dave. I missed that fact too because my copy of Wade's book has been in storage for eight years and I clean forgot that fact.
So that makes one pro-Lord and one anti-Lord viewpoint that both say 500$.
Should I ever do a print version of this piece, I will refine it some to reflect that.
 

DonJ

Member
Apr 17, 2012
16
1
31
I too enjoyed your article but forgive me for saying: I think the reason why Gill was branded a charlatan was because his story had too many holes in it. I'm absolutely sure Paul will not be the least surprised at me of all people saying that!


To illustrate, I make a few basic points:

It is patently obvious that Gill's story was a mixture of hearsay and Bravado. here we have the man - Gill dodging in and out of lit engine rooms and accommodation onto a pitch black deck being able to see the pack ice at 5 miles when those on the bridge with night vision adjusted nearly ran into it. (Gill had super vision - he had perfect night vision after 5 minutes on deck while puffing away at a fag!)
All his observations are on the starboard side yet he knows the ice is 'all round'.

He states that his'compass' was a steam valve and suggests he is not a deck-hand yet pontificates about distances (about 10 miles) and directions etc. Just like and old sea dog.
In his signed statement, Gill says his mystery ship was charging along at midnight. Yet later cannot be sure if it was moving or not. He must have known that if it was moving it could not have been Titanic because he also knew the accident happened 20 minutes earlier. It could not even have been Lord's mystery ship because his had been stopped abeam, about 4 miles away since 1130 p.m. He even made a stab at identifying the vessel's nationality - a 'big german'!-had he heard something in connection with 'Frankfurt'? I suggest such a man would have been a god-send on the bridge of a ship. Just think what he could have done with a bit of training?

You mention McGregor the Carpenter. His printed story was at least third hand so surely has no value except that it does prove all hands were discussing what had transpired during the night.
Equally, the Radio Operator Evans got his information in the same way. I suggest that because he could reliably place himself on the deck at midnight, Gill's story was the only one that might be credible. Hence, the Lordites would target it.
As to who the 'ship's officer' was - perhaps Evans might just fit the bill?
Perhaps he was the 'officer' who was part of the fouresome?

I have a mind myself to write a book about this some day. I even have a working title - how about "The Donkeyman & The Carpenter"?

Don't pay any mind to my ravings - keep up the good work. Dig - dig- dig.

Jim
Why did Gill chose to give his evidence as an afidavit? BECAUSE HE COULD NOT BE QUESTIONED OR CALLED BEFORE THE COURT OF ENQUIRY! OR POSSIBLY BECAUE A NEWSPAPER OFFERED HIM MORE THAN A MONTHS PAY TO DO SO.
All Lookouts were required to spend 15-20 minutes in a darked area before going on watch and Crow's nest lookouts supplimented this by a climb up the inside of the mast in pitch darkness.
Gill appears to be uniquue in that he has perfect night vision even when coming from Engine room/ Accommodation or smiking a fag.
If we want to look at the CALIFORNIAN's bridge. The ship has stopped because of the ice field. This means that her LATITUDE is beyond question since it is the edge of the ice field. What has been questioned is her LATITUDE - WAS SHE NORTH OR SOUTH OF THE POSITION RECORDED?
From My understanding of Capt. Lord he was an opportunist. The ship was stopped. The night was still and going no where with no wind, waves or cloud and, according to Charles Lightoller the stars were the brightest he had ever seen them. What an opportunity for Lord to check his officer and cadets on Astral navigation.
Astral navigation would provide their LATITUDE but Lord was also the sort of Officer who would politely check on Juniors so, when preparing the message to pass up to Evans on the wireless, he would have comfirmed the position, after all, it was going out on his signature. Therefore, if Lord said that his ship was at this position, you can bet you life - it was!
Unfortunately Capt Smith did not do the same. Who checked TitaniC's position? BOXHALL. Am I imagining things? Capt Smith; Chief Wilde; First Murdoch; Second Lightholler; Third Pitman; FOURTH BOXHALL. forheaven's sake there were only two junior to him.
He calculated that Titanic dad made the turn at the 'corner' and then made 22.5 knots so he made out position now known as CQD 1.
Later, on the bridge he realised that there had been a 1 knot SE current so that Titanic's speed had not been 22.5 but 21.5 so he calculated the new position CQD/SOS 2, about 11 miles EAST of his previous position. The ice field came down between the two. But he was still wrong because the turn was not made at Mid-day, which he apparently assumed, but 20 minutes later: somebody did not tell him or mark it on the chart. But 21.5 knots would have brought him to a position about 9 miles SE of CQD 2 - the very position where capt Bob Ballard found the wreck.
As a point of interest this placed Californian 26 miles to the NW of Titanic and at this distance there is no way in which she could have seen Titanic or vice versa.
 

DonJ

Member
Apr 17, 2012
16
1
31
I too enjoyed your article but forgive me for saying: I think the reason why Gill was branded a charlatan was because his story had too many holes in it. I'm absolutely sure Paul will not be the least surprised at me of all people saying that!


To illustrate, I make a few basic points:

It is patently obvious that Gill's story was a mixture of hearsay and Bravado. here we have the man - Gill dodging in and out of lit engine rooms and accommodation onto a pitch black deck being able to see the pack ice at 5 miles when those on the bridge with night vision adjusted nearly ran into it. (Gill had super vision - he had perfect night vision after 5 minutes on deck while puffing away at a fag!)
All his observations are on the starboard side yet he knows the ice is 'all round'.

He states that his'compass' was a steam valve and suggests he is not a deck-hand yet pontificates about distances (about 10 miles) and directions etc. Just like and old sea dog.
In his signed statement, Gill says his mystery ship was charging along at midnight. Yet later cannot be sure if it was moving or not. He must have known that if it was moving it could not have been Titanic because he also knew the accident happened 20 minutes earlier. It could not even have been Lord's mystery ship because his had been stopped abeam, about 4 miles away since 1130 p.m. He even made a stab at identifying the vessel's nationality - a 'big german'!-had he heard something in connection with 'Frankfurt'? I suggest such a man would have been a god-send on the bridge of a ship. Just think what he could have done with a bit of training?

You mention McGregor the Carpenter. His printed story was at least third hand so surely has no value except that it does prove all hands were discussing what had transpired during the night.
Equally, the Radio Operator Evans got his information in the same way. I suggest that because he could reliably place himself on the deck at midnight, Gill's story was the only one that might be credible. Hence, the Lordites would target it.
As to who the 'ship's officer' was - perhaps Evans might just fit the bill?
Perhaps he was the 'officer' who was part of the fouresome?

I have a mind myself to write a book about this some day. I even have a working title - how about "The Donkeyman & The Carpenter"?

Don't pay any mind to my ravings - keep up the good work. Dig - dig- dig.

Jim
Why did Gill chose to give his evidence as an afidavit? BECAUSE HE COULD NOT BE QUESTIONED OR CALLED BEFORE THE COURT OF ENQUIRY! OR POSSIBLY BECAUE A NEWSPAPER OFFERED HIM MORE THAN A MONTHS PAY TO DO SO.
All Lookouts were required to spend 15-20 minutes in a darked area before going on watch and Crow's nest lookouts supplimented this by a climb up the inside of the mast in pitch darkness.
Gill appears to be uniquue in that he has perfect night vision even when coming from Engine room/ Accommodation or smiking a fag.
If we want to look at the CALIFORNIAN's bridge. The ship has stopped because of the ice field. This means that her LATITUDE is beyond question since it is the edge of the ice field. What has been questioned is her LATITUDE - WAS SHE NORTH OR SOUTH OF THE POSITION RECORDED?
From My understanding of Capt. Lord he was an opportunist. The ship was stopped. The night was still and going no where with no wind, waves or cloud and, according to Charles Lightoller the stars were the brightest he had ever seen them. What an opportunity for Lord to check his officer and cadets on Astral navigation.
Astral navigation would provide their LATITUDE but Lord was also the sort of Officer who would politely check on Juniors so, when preparing the message to pass up to Evans on the wireless, he would have comfirmed the position, after all, it was going out on his signature. Therefore, if Lord said that his ship was at this position, you can bet you life - it was!
Unfortunately Capt Smith did not do the same. Who checked TitaniC's position? BOXHALL. Am I imagining things? Capt Smith; Chief Wilde; First Murdoch; Second Lightholler; Third Pitman; FOURTH BOXHALL. forheaven's sake there were only two junior to him.
He calculated that Titanic dad made the turn at the 'corner' and then made 22.5 knots so he made out position now known as CQD 1.
Later, on the bridge he realised that there had been a 1 knot SE current so that Titanic's speed had not been 22.5 but 21.5 so he calculated the new position CQD/SOS 2, about 11 miles EAST of his previous position. The ice field came down between the two. But he was still wrong because the turn was not made at Mid-day, which he apparently assumed, but 20 minutes later: somebody did not tell him or mark it on the chart. But 21.5 knots would have brought him to a position about 9 miles SE of CQD 2 - the very position where capt Bob Ballard found the wreck.
As a point of interest this placed Californian 26 miles to the NW of Titanic and at this distance there is no way in which she could have seen Titanic or vice versa.
 

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