Deficiencies in A Captain Accused

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I want to first of all salute the spirit of this article, which rightly establishes that Captain Lord did not have anything like the required level of knowledge to make any decision - or even to consider that a decision was needed - during the time Titanic was sinking.

There it is - Captain Lord did not "knowingly ignore a vessel in distress." That has always been utter balderdash.

However this article is marred in many ways, usually by assumptions. These assumptions are contradicted by the evidence.

People should know all the evidence before they make up their minds.


Inaccurate statements by Samuel Halpern in the ET Research Article “A Captain Accused.”

Line 2: “At 12:08 AM, 15 April 1912, Californian’s 24 year old Second Officer, Herbert Stone, came on the bridge to relieve Third Officer Charles Victor Groves.”

It is only Stone’s written affidavit that contains this mention. The two references in evidence are as follows:

8250. How long did you stay on the bridge? – I stayed on the bridge till something between 12.10 and 12.15.
8251. And were you then relieved by Mr. Stone? – I was.
8252. The Commissioner: 12.15? – I could not be sure of the exact time

6763. Did you give any directions to your second officer with reference to this ship? – After the second officer relieved the deck.
6764. At what time did he relieve the deck? – Ten minutes past 12.
6767. Then at 12 o’clock the second officer relieved the third officer? – Ten minutes past 12.
6768. You were still on deck? – Yes.

Not important? Maybe not.
But let's not open with a precise time of 12.08 when the evidence actually supports 12.10.

Line 6: “Both Capt. Lord and 3rd Officer Groves had seen the lights of this steamer come up from the east and then stop for the night.”

Not true.

Fact: Captain Lord said she came up from the East.

Groves actually had her coming up from the SOUTH:

The Californian was pointing her head NE, with her starboard beam, or midpoint, offering a 90 degree angle to the SE. Groves said so at questions 8150 and 8157.

Therefore her stern, the limit of her starboard side, was backing SW. Head NE.

Groves said the visitor first appeared “a little abaft our starboard beam” (8135 & 8149), or a little more to the south of southeast.

He then changed her origin to three points and then “three and a half points abaft the beam” (8156&8157), which puts her from south-by-east to virtually due south.

He next said the visitor was “south by west” (8159), then “coming up on the starboard quarter” (anywhere from SE to SW), finally telling his Captain she was “coming up astern.”

At 8166 Groves agreed the ship was coming round “more on our beam, yes, more to the south and west, but very little.”

Everyone knows, except Sam, that Groves said that steamer was coming up obliquely. She cannot come up obliquely if she emanates from the east.

Fact: NOWHERE does Groves say the steamer was approaching from the East.

Second par:

>>For almost the next two hours, Stone and Gibson would watch this visitor until it disappeared about 2 AM.<<

From Stone’s original statement for the Captain, April 18, 1912:
“At 2.45 I again whistled down again and told you we had seen no more lights and that the steamer had steamed away to the SW and was now out of sight…

Stone in evidence:
7972. Did you say to Gibson [at 2am] “Tell the Captain she is disappearing,” or did
you say “Tell the Captain she has disappeared,” which did you say? – I could not have said that
she had disappeared, because I could still see her stern light. I saw this light for 20 minutes after that.

So Stone saw the light until at least 2.20am.
This is not “about 2am.”

Samuel writes:
>>Notice that in both written accounts, the observed steamer had gone out of sight by that time.”

Which leaves out the above material evidence.

>>”The only strange thing is that this steamer, which everyone estimated to be about 5 miles off by the look of her lights,”

A generalisation. The corpus of Californian observations puts her cloers to four miles away, although Gibson estimated four to seven.

Captain Lord had seen the Olympic at five miles. He saw this ship when it stopped. It could not by any means have been the Titanic, he said.

Of more importance than mileage is assessment. Groves made no comment as to size. Stone and Gibson both thought she was a tramp. A small steamer and "small to medium."

Lord thought she swas "something like ourselves."

>>Why would a ship in distress first send off a distress signal over an hour after it had stopped for the night?<<

Assumption that the light is a distress signal.
Stone made no such assumption.

He said it was a white flash. 7837: “It might have been anything.”

7844. What do you think they meant? – I thought that perhaps the ship was in communication with some other ship, or possibly she was signalling to us to tell us she had big icebergs around her.

He testified that at no point did he think that near tramp was in distress, especially since she actively moved of her own volition after the first rocket was fired...

A rocket that went only halfway up to the masthead light (2/3 way up the mast) of that near tramp he say.

Samuel does not mention this unpalatable fact.

His rocket picture shows the stars spangling out ABOVE the mast.

But Gibson testified to seeing a flash on deck, consistent with Stone's low rockets, another salient fact Samuel omits.

Meanwhile, read his certainty again about "a distress signal"... Rockets in 1912 DID NOT MEAN DISTRESS. They generally meant communication and self-identification.

Distress at night was indicated by 1) guns, minute guns, and 2) flame effects, a flaming barrel of pitch or tar. 3) Rockets came a poor third, and had to be fired at short intervals to imitate guns (1).

By far the most common use of rockets in 1912 was by, ahem, nearby ships identifying themselves to one another.

The evidence supports the contention that these were indeed distress rockets (although not perceived so at the time because they were "too low",) that they were from the Titanic, and that they were seen low in the direction of this tramp steamer because of the extreme mileage away of the Titanic.

>>If, however, he was told by Stone that 5 rockets were fired at intervals of 4 to 5 minutes apart, then that would be a very different story, indeed.<<

Stone never specifies a number as to what he told his Captain about at 1.15am.

Elsewhere he says he “immediately” rang down, which suggests strongly that it was after seeing only the second flash, which he thought was a rocket.

Just one rocket, as Sam speculates, and as the Captain testified.

“Gibson came down and woke him up”

This is not exactly true, because there is a nuance here. Gibson does not testify to waking him up. Gibson did not lay a finger on Lord. He testifies to talking to him only, and Lord replying.

Lord was conversing, but was not actively woken up.

quote{>>I believe that when Stone said “I observed the steamer to be steaming away to the S.W. and altering her bearing fast,” what he saw was the relative bearing change as Californian’s head was swinging back the other way.<<}

Absolutely not true, because Stone testifies and Gibson corroborates that Stone noticed the other steamer steaming from very early:

7511. What happened after that? – About twenty minutes past one the Second Officer remarked to me that she was slowly steaming away towards the south-west.

8045 Was she moving? – She started to move as soon as I saw the first rocket. She was
stationary up to that time. She was stationary by our compass, at least so far as I could tell.

8049. (The Commissioner.) It is 2 o’clock? – At 10 minutes past 1. I reported to the Master
that she was altering her bearings, which was the same thing.

There is absolutely NO evidence that the “Californian’s head was swinging back the other way.”

Gibson and Stone are united in a clockwise wing from about 2 on a clockface to about 8. There was no swinging back to 6.

Let Sam produce the evidence for this claim. The evidence is literally all the other way.

>>At the time he assumed that his ship was still pointing to the WSW when it may have been swinging back toward the South. This may also explain some of Gibson’s confusion regarding the direction that his ship was swinging<<

What Sam Halpern is confused about is the other ship’s active steaming, which he cannot bring himself to acknowledge.

It is the active steaming across the bows of the Californian which they testified to (not thier own ship “dropping back” against the current) and which explains the difference between the rate of change in Gibson’s relative bearings and Stone’s compass points.

>>it is entirely possible to get the wrong result and form an erroneous conclusion.<<

Exactly, Samuel.

I will pause here because I have to go to bed.
IT is totally unacceptable for "Research Articles" to contain misstatements of fact.

When are these going to be corrected?

What confidence can we have in the claims of someone who cannot or does not transcribe the evidence correctly - a simple task?

We can have NONE.
Samuel quotes Gibson:

The Second Officer remarked to me, “Look at her now; she looks very queer out of the water; her lights look queer.”

But he does not quote Stone, who was asked about this. Nor was this claim in Gibson’s original statement, and nor was it ever said to Captain Lord.

Stone said:
7995. The Commissioner: You are being asked about what you thought yourself. Do you mean to tell us that neither you nor Gibson expressed an opinion that there was something wrong with that ship?
Stone – No, not wrong with the ship, but merely with this changing of her lights.
7996. Well, about this changing of her lights? – That is when I remarked that the lights looked
queer. The lights, I said, not the ship.

This is all in the evidence, which Samuel ignores. Omits.

Stone clarifies elsewhere what his thoughts were:

7945. What was there funny about it?
Stone – Merely that some lights were being shut in and others exposed and I remarked to Gibson that the lights looked peculiar, unnatural, but when I took the glasses and brought her under close observation I took it to be due to the fact that very likely she was porting for some iceberg close at hand and was coming back on her course again, showing her other lights, the original lights.

Again, in Stone’s view the “unnatural” or “peculiar” changes of lights are consistent with the steamer steaming away.

He says repeatedly — and yet Sam Halpern repeatedly overlooks, how odd — that this nearby tramp was steaming away. A sinking ship cannot steam away. Cannot change her bearings.

8037 Then you had seen them from this steamer?
Stone – A steamer that is in distress does not steam away from you, my Lord.
8038 You saw these before this steamer steamed away from you? – I saw them at the same time the ship started to alter her bearings.
8039 But for a long time while this ship was stationary like your own, you noticed at frequent intervals that she was sending up rocket after rocket? – No.
8042 What do you mean by saying that you did not see them coming in quick succession one after another? – I said that the ship was altering her bearing from the time she showed her first rocket, she commenced altering her bearing by the compass.
8045 Was she moving? – She started to move as soon as I saw the first rocket. She was stationary up to that time. She was stationary by our compass, at least so far as I could tell.
8046 Do you mean to say she was swinging about? –She was not swinging so far as I could tell, she was steaming away.
8048. When did you send word to the Captain that you noticed her steaming away?
8049. (The Commissioner.) It is 2 o’clock? – At 10 minutes past 1. I reported to the Master that she was altering her bearings, which was the same thing.
8050. Altering her bearings did not mean steaming away? –I do not see how two ships can alter their bearings when stopped.

Here, finally, is Stone’s clear impression once more stitched into the record: –

7938. Was the steamer altering her bearing to your vessel during that period of time? – Yes, from the time I saw the first rocket.
7939. The first of the eight that you have told us of? – The second – excepting the first flash, which I was not sure about.
7940. You say you saw the steamer altering her bearing with regard to you? – She bore first SSE and she was altering her bearing towards the south towards west.
7941. Under way apparently? – Yes.

The steaming away explains the queer shutting in of the lights, as Stone has already explained.
Samuel says he "believes" the Titanic was within 11 or 12 miles of Californian.

And I believe there are people who live in Jello houses and drive peanut-butter cars.

Saying something does not make it true.

He can say there were weapons of mass destruction on the Californian.

We know what those sort of claims are worth, especially when they can't be bothered with the evidence.

Samuel does not explain how ships on separate New York and Boston tracks were so close to each other.

Tell us how, Sam, and I'll disprove it.

THe facts are that you are ignoring and denying the testimony of all Titanic witnesses as to their mystery ship.

Even when Lord Mersey did the same, claiming 8-10 miles separate, the surviving Titanic officers clung to tne NEARNESS they knew they had seen when testifying in Ryuan v. OSNC in 1913.

Samuel's unexplained claims contradicts both Officer Boxhall, the prime witness, and Captain Smith.

It also contradicts the other officers:

Estimates by Titanic officers:

Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller:
14140- Certainly not over 5 miles away.

Third Officer Herbert Pitman
15062.- I thought it was about five miles.
(in Ryan v OSNC, 1913, offered 2 miles)

Fifth Officer Harold Lowe: 15825 …I glanced over in that direction casually and I saw a steamer there.
15826. What did you see of her? –I saw her two masthead and her red side lights.
(implying closeness because sidelights had to be seen a regulation two miles)

And not only all the surviving Titanic officers, above, but crew members thought the same. A representative sample:

Four Quartermasters!

QM Walter Wynn: 13340. - About seven or eight miles.
QM Arthur John Bright (US p.836): possibly four or five miles away.
QM George Rowe: 17659. - Four or five miles.
QM Robert Hichens: 1162 - about five miles away.

Three Able Seamen!

AB George Moore: (US p.564): -- Two or three miles away, I should judge.
AB Edward Buley: (US p.611): I should judge she was about three miles.
AB John Poingdexter: 3089 - A matter of four or five miles.
[AB Thomas Jones, former lookout, ordered by Smith to pull for the light. No distance offered.]

A lookout!

Lookout Reginald Lee: 2719- five or six miles.

Fleet offers no miles, but could see the light from the lifeboat and said she was “getting away off.”
Other lookouts were not asked.

I could go on with firemen, cooks, stewards, scullions, but there are all the main
deck personnel above who testified to the point.

I believe the Titanic evidence.

I reject lazy latecomer rubbish.
"I reject lazy latecomer rubbish."

Coming from you Senan, I must take that as a complement. Your diatribe places so much on the evidence of 2/O Stone's observations concerning when he noticed the observed ship steaming off, and his dismal attempt to explain away his remark to Gibson about the lights looking queer. But if you, like so many of us, want to selectively quote, then let's include the following:

7922. Well, anything else? - But that I could not understand why if the rockets came from a steamer beyond this one, when the steamer altered her bearing the rockets should also alter their bearings.
7923. That pointed to this, that the rockets did come from this steamer? - It does, although I saw no actual evidence of their being fired from the deck of the steamer except in one case.
7924. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) Which is the one case? - One rocket that I saw that appeared to be much brighter than the others.
7925. Was that one of the five or one of the three? - One of the three.
7926. That, you felt confident, came from the vessel that was showing you these navigation lights? - I am sure of it.
7927. That you were sure of? - Yes.
7928. And you had further confirmation in the fact as you have told my Lord, that when the navigation lights altered their bearing, the rockets altered their bearings in a corresponding manner? - Yes.
7929. That would tell you as a sailor that it was almost certain that those rockets were being fired from that steamer which was showing you those navigation lights? - Almost certain, yes.

7930. I suppose, at any rate, now you have not any doubt but that that ship which was showing you the navigation lights was the ship which was showing you these series of rockets? - Except, as I say, that they were very low; they did not appear to go high enough to me.

So Stone says, as Gibson had confirmed, that the rockets appeared to come from the steamer they were watching (although according to only Stone they did not appear to go high enough for him).

And you, Senan, also believe that they were watching a tramp steamer between themselves and the Titanic which was firing those rockets.

And you, Senan, also believe Stone when he said the steamer started to steam way after she fired the 1st or 2nd of 8 rockets (7938-7941 as you quoted).

And you also believe, as do I, that the Titanic was stopped, and the Californian was stopped.

So, Senan, if you are so sure that it was a mystery ship between the two that was steaming away, then why if the rockets came from the stopped Titanic well beyond this mysterious tramp, when the tramp altered her bearings as it was steaming away the rockets from the Titanic should also alter their bearings staying right over this mysterious tramp as it steamed to the SW into the ice field?

Oh please be careful with your answer. Stone's credibility as an observer and witness hangs on it.
Molony said:

"IT is totally unacceptable for "Research Articles" to contain misstatements of fact."

Did you ever correct the gross mistatement you made at the top of your article on "The Middle Watch", hmmm?

No, I haven't bothered to check - too many other things to do.
Hi Bill!

>>Did you ever correct the gross mistatement [sic] you made at the top of your article on "The Middle Watch", hmmm?<<

The gross misstatement that it was "available for the first time"? Yes I did.

Phil Hind was asked to do that promptly, as he can verify!

I was totally unaware that a version had been published in the BTS journal.

It remains available for ET readers right here on this site.

Thanks for directing readers to it!

They will see exactly what to make of Officer Groves.

Actually, Bill, my dearest old friend, I don't stand over errors, even a minor one. Oops, sorry, a "gross mistatement [sic]."

One hopes that Samuel will similarly correct all the foregoing errors.

And the following ones.

Have a great week Mr Wormstedt, Sir.

All my best,

What they saw rising into the air for all to see were regulation distress socket signals in a desperate cry for help from whoever was in sight.

They should not have seen them rising, though, did they?

Lightoller testified that the detonation rockets did notleave a trail.

14150. You have rockets on board, have you not? Were they fired?
Lightoller – You quite understand they are termed rockets, but they are actually distress signals; they do not leave a trail of fire.
14151. Distress signals ?–Yes. I just mention that, not to confuse them with the old rockets, which leave a trail of fire.
He goes on at 14153: – A shell bursts at a great height in the air, throwing out a great number of stars.

We know that Gibson, just turned age 20 at the time of the Inquiry, was browbeaten at length (The Attorney General, Solicitor General, Counsel for the Board of Trade and Lord Mersey all being on the one side!) but Gibson’s earliest reference is to a streak[“trail of fire”?] — something Lightoller says did not happen.

Gibson wrote in his on-board account for his Captain, prepared for his Captain, that the first rocket he saw came about while he was watching their nearby tramp:

“I then got the binoculars and had just got them focussed 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 stars.”
2:05 AM Californian time would have corresponded to 2:16 AM Titanic time base on the each ship’s local apparent noon longitude of April 14th 1912.

Samuel cannot establish this assertion. He offers no workings.

The relationship between Titanic and Californian time is notoriously difficult to establish. We do not know whether the Californian put her clocks back at midnight, and if so, by how much.

That fact on its own precludes Samuel from making such confident assertions. I have consulted mathematicians on this point in three countries and half a file on the question an inch and a half thick.

Certain people will always rush in where angels fear to tread.

Capt. Lord set off at 6 AM for the reported location to search for survivors. In fact he steamed across the pack ice toward the reported SOS position only to find the Mount Temple and some other small ship there.

Incorrect statement.

He steamed across and down in an inverse L-shape dogleg. Samuel’s incorrect statement would lead an unguarded reader to suppose that Titanic and Californian had been/were in the same latitude. That is cunning, but dishonest.

Amazing how many corrections you need for such a carefully small amount of writing, Sam.

I have another dozen to go… but right now I have better things to do, namely a holiday.

See you guys later.
Hey, Bill, my man, I am {so glad you chose to climb through that 3pc pre-qualifing window for the Californian to even be a candidate for the mystery ship.

(See my post on Ships That Might Have Stood Still, folks).

Let's just exhaust this, shall we?

One point of the compass alone - Titanic necessarily heading north - excluding all others, represents a 3.125% chance exactly.

(1 compass point out of 32).

The other 96.875% obviously favours the Californian.

Now let's do some factorial mathematics.

What are the chances of the GREEN light on the Californian actually being RED, as the Titanic witnesses saw on the mystery ship.

Don't give me that swing, Bill. Won't work. All the Cal evidence is that she was swinging slowly or very slowly.

Officer Boxhall saw red "most of the time" and from the earliest the approaching ship stopped. Officer Lowe states in evidence that he saw red shortly after 1am.

So what are the chances of the wrong light being some sort of mistake? One in ten?

This reduces your percentage chance of being right, Bill, to 0.3pc.

On the other side, 99.7pc.

Next problem:

The Titanic saw their ship approach, whereas the Californian, by all agreement, was stationary all night.

What are the chances of Officer Boxhall, armed with binoculars, height and time, tasked to assessing the mystery ship by Captain Smith, being wrong about her approaching?

One in ten? (binoculars, height, time, critical focus)

Okay, maybe. Let's go over that hurdle too.

Your 0.3pc chance of being right in the overall scheme of things now moves out to .03pc.

On the other side, the sheer unlikelihood of the Californian fulfilling all these conditions, we have 99.97pc.

Are you getting any of this, Bill?

Is it sheer Lordite propaganda? We're not finished...

What are the chances of Titanic lookouts Fleet and Lee not seeing a stationary ship (supposedly the well-lit Californian) before the impact?

They didn't see any other ship prior to impact!
Captain Lord says he saw the Californian's tramp visitor at 10.30! From a low height!

Let's give you a break and say only one in two.

Your chances of being right in the overall now halve to .015pc.

On the other side, 99.985pc.

You have to get other all these hurdles, Bill and Sam. You're the guys sadly still identifying the Californian as the mystery ship!

Another one:

What are the chances of Officer Boxhall next seeing the mystery ship going away being wrong?

And not just Boxhall, but everyone else?

The Californian was stationary until 6am, by common case.

If you row to a stopped ship you see as close (as Titanic witnesses did} she will appear larger and brighter after a few hours. Doh!

Crawford estimated he rowed three or four miles in Boat 8 towards a ship that most people on the Titanic said was five miles away.

But he couldn't see it when the dawn came up. Because it had moved off, he said, as did many others.

It wasn't there in the daylight after three or four miles of progress, and yet you and Sam say it was the Californian...

What are the chances of the, ahem, Titanic lifeboat witnesses that night being wrong about that ship's departure?

One in ten.

What are you down to now?


Your chance of being right in the overall. And you have got to get over all these hurdles.

On the other side, 99.9985pc.

You have one and a half chances of being right, in this fun-'n-games exercise, out of TEN THOUSAND.

Not content with betting on a horse that is several thousand to on against, your knackered nag still has to get over more fences!

What are the chances of a nearby ship not hearing distress rockets that were *primarily about audibility*, not visibility?

They were detonation rockets - designed to replicate the "guns" to be fired at short intervals, which was the first recommendation for demonstrating distress at sea, at night, in 1912.

Titanic, as the record shows, carried such detonators in lieu of guns.

Officer Pitman thought the noise of the Titanic's steam escaping ought to have carried ten miles... Steam, Bill, steam.

The mystery ship is a corpus of five...

A one-in-ten chance, Bill.

Where are you now?

You have .00015pc chance of being right in the overall.

On the other side, the unlikelihood of what you have insisted is the case has mounted to staggering proportions.

Still in the saddle, Bill? Try this next fence:

The Californian stopped at 10.21 on her passage on the Boston track. Because there was ice in front. Common case, all agreed.

The Titanic wreck is SOUTH of the New York track. When we put back in the drift (All the testimony is of half a knot that night, lads) the Titanic is exactly back on her NY track.

The NY track to the Boston track is 19 nautical miles by Titanic SOS latitude, leaving aside where she is now.

What are the chances of a stopped ship and a ship 19nm miles away on the N-S axis being within "11 or 12 miles" of each other?

The Titanic cannot steam north, because she has to reverse and steam south again and even further south again to be where the wreck is today.

Californian can't steam anywhere. She's been stopped on the Boston track since 10.21pm.

Another 1 in 10 chance, boys, and that's being mighty generous to you.

Oh dear, Bill, your chance of being right in the overall has gone out to .000015pc.

On the other side - 99.999985pc.

Just experimental fun and games, but the point is real. Factorial mathematics finds you out.

I'll leave it there, boys. I have to go pack.

Otherwise I could put up twenty more fences for your knackered nag, and I'm not joking!

Senan, are you saying that I said Gibson saw "a trail of fire?" I said they saw socket signals rising into the air which is exactly what Gibson describes. As you quoted, “I then got the binoculars and had just got them focussed 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 stars.” Guess what? Gibson said he saw a flash apparently from the deck. The socket signal shell is launched from a detonator fired from the socket. He saw a "faint streak" go up towards the sky. Guess what? The fuse of the shell is burning as the shell rises up, something we all can see even in today's mortar launched aerial fireworks, especially if you are following this with binoculars. He was not describing a trail of fire, nor did I ever claim he was. And guess what happens when the fuse finally detonates the explosive charge within the shell? The shell explodes into a stream of white stars. And by the way, the Titanic had these regulation socket signals made by The Cotton Powder Co. Ltd which typically reached a height of 600 to 800 feet.

So if the flash came from the Titanic, then seeing the flash of the detonator on the deck means that the two ships, the Titanic and the Californian, had to be less than 16 miles apart, not 19 or 22 miles as you like to claim. Why? Because if you take height of eye on Californian as 40 ft, and height of flash on Titanic's boat deck at 60 ft, you get a maximum range distance of 16.4 miles. I know you know how to work that out. We've been through that before, haven't we? And if you can see the flash on the boat deck of the Titanic from the Californian, then you can also easily see her mast light and her red side light too at 16 miles. Oh, I'm not saying that 16 miles is the separation between the two, I'm only saying that we just established a maximum range.

So what do you say Mr. Molony, Gibson did or did not see a socket signal being launched? Or are you saying that Gibson saw a signal launched from a mysterious tramp about 5 miles off? I guess you can claim that if you like. But if that is what they were looking at, then explain why they didn't see Titanic's socket signals that went up over 600 ft. Oh, let me remind you that even if these signals only went up 1/2 their usual height, say 300 ft, they would have been seen as far away as 27 miles. And that is a good 5 miles further away than the distance from Lord's reported stopping point and the wreck site.

So they had to have seen Titanic's distress signals, didn't they? And if what they saw was Titanic's distress signals, then how could Gibson say he saw that signal, which was number 6, come from the deck of a ship that according to Stone was already steaming off to the SW since firing its 2nd rocket? We know the Titanic was not moving when Boxhall was firing those signals, nor was the Californian.

Oh, one more thing. If you believe that Stone didn't see the rockets change their bearing as the mystery ship was steaming away, then you have to say he was not truthful under oath. If he lied about that, why should we believe anything he said? If you believe he was telling the truth as he saw it, and the signals came from the Titanic, then your mystery ship did not move at all, it was a perception probably caused by the Californian's swinging around. At least I tried to lay out a possible explanation for this in my paper. If you can think of something else, by all means let's hear about it. I'm willing to listen to some other rational explanation. I just put forth one possibility that you chose to viciously attack.

What's your choice, Sir.

Paul Rogers



I couldn't resist - this takes me back to my days of playing Dungeons and Dragons! Anyway, before anyone decides to play the above card...

I'm hoping that this post will act as a pre-emptive strike. May I please request that all Members remember to attack the arguments and not the individuals. Personal invective is not allowed and will not be tolerated. So far, this debate has been conducted relatively politely when compared to previous Californian threads. Let's all please keep it that way.

Thanks to you all, in anticipation.
Humour, of course, is always best when grounded in truth. For instance:

An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
No it isn't.
Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.
Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
Yes, but that's not just saying 'No it isn't.'
Yes it is!
No it isn't!
Yes it is!
Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.
(short pause)
No it isn't.

Many thanks for your article. It is the first I have read that truly helped me see the situation from snoozing Capt. Lord's point of view, in that the message from Stone probably wasn't delivered with the proper sense of urgency. (And that's after studying Leslie Harrison, Peter Padfield, anything in the THS Commutator, and a host of others.) None of those writers brought Capt. Lord's possible state of mind into focus for me as clearly and succinctly as your article did.

I am not ready to go so far as saying that it lets Capt. Lord completely off the hook for me. He *did* ask if there were colors in the rockets, and was told they were all white. I have to compare that to Stewart's initial reaction:

8590. (The Solicitor General.) Let me follow. Did it not enter your head when you heard this, that those might be distress signals? -Yes.
8591. It did? -Yes.
8592. What made you think they might be distress signals? -Because they were rockets.
8593. They were, from the description, just what you would expect if they were distress signals? - They were white rockets.

To Stewart white rockets meant distress.

There is also that finger pointing back and forth between Lord and Stone, as to who first introduced the concept of "company signals." Lord at first (and twice) told the BR inquiry that he asked Stone if they might be company's signals, but later changed tactics and said Stone had asked *him* if they might be company's signals. (Stone under oath said he did not think they were company signals.)

Small wonder the attorney general asked to have the other Californian officers out of court while Lord was giving testimony.

But back to your article. Your scenario also lends credence to the later correspondence between Rostron and Lord, the latter asking Rostron for any help in clearing Lord's name. Rostron's reply was to extend his sympathy to Lord, and writing at one point that he understood more than he could say, particularly about "the calling business." Those who knew Rostron say that Rostron was referring to Lord's claim in one of his letters that the entire incident "would not have happened if I had been called properly."

Thanks Sam. I thought it was a good article; you got me to re-examine my personal thoughts about Lord and his state of mind.

Dave Billnitzer
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