Due 16th 4 PM


John M. Feeney

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Sep 20, 2000
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While not precisely an Aftermath issue, the topic of this thread could easily have become one. Certainly various wireless messages reported in April, 1912 received intensive scrutiny at the U.S. Hearings, due to the massive confusion about Titanic's fate that resulted initially. This is one I think they may have missed.

David Brown actually inspired this research with a comment he made in "Crew Research: Blame on Captain Smith":

"Ismay appears to have told a bald-faced lie to the U.S. hearings when he claimed that the ship was not due in port until the morning of Wednesday, April 17. Proof is the Monday, April 15, 1912 edition of the New York Times where a one-line shipping announcement placed by White Star Lines announces Titanic's arrival at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16."

While I don't doubt that Ismay (and perhaps others) put on a huge facade to avert any possible perception of White Star wrong-doing, it's the shipping announcement itself that got my attention. I'd also heard this one described in the past (not by David) as 'an Ad placed in the New York Times by White Star (or Ismay)'. But since I'd never actually *seen* it myself -- Have library card, will travel! -- I just got downright curious, so I paid a visit to the local microfilm monster.

The announcement actually does NOT appear to be a direct product of White Star corporate efforts at all, but a bona fide news item -- an official communique from the Titanic herself to the Marconi Company. It was received by the marine operator at Sandy Hook (New Jersey), and actually *contradicts* White Star's own official arrival anticipations, as posted in that same shipping news section.

Here are the pertinent excerpts from the New York Times for April 15, 1912:

NEW LINER TITANIC HITS AN ICEBERG;
SINKING BY THE BOW AT MIDNIGHT; ...

...
[page 2]
...
"The last report received in New York from the Titanic was at 2:15 A.M. yesterday. She was then 1,284 miles east of Sandy Hook, and in that message her commander said that he expected to reach New York in time to dock late to-morrow afternoon."
...

[page 11]

SHIPPING AND MAILS
...
Incoming Steamships.
...
DUE WEDNESDAY.

Titanic ..... Southampton ..... April 10
...

By Wireless.
SANDY HOOK, APRIL 14 (MARCONI.)
...
SS Titanic, Southampton to New York, 1284 [? -- heavily blurred] miles E. at 2:15 A.M.; due 16th, 4 P.M. White Star Line.
...

[to be continued]
 

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
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[continued]
By way of explanation for the underlying context of the above, I offer two excerpts from the U.S. Inquiry:

[U.S. Day 3]:
Mr. FRANKLIN. As a rule the steamers do not report except as they are arriving. After they have left the port, as a rule, they do not make any further reports. It is only with a view of being able to advise the friends of passengers, and so forth, regarding the meeting of the ship that that is done.
Senator FLETCHER. Do you know why the communication that was sent in to Cape Race was sent there rather than direct to your office in New York?
Mr. FRANKLIN. For a long time these communications have been sent to the telegraph companies themselves with a view of that being the quickest way to send that information throughout to those who are interested, and report it to the papers and the maritime exchanges, and so forth. A little later on frequently we get information; when the ship approaches Nantucket, for the sake of argument, or Siasconsett. We might then get a telegram ourselves from the captain saying he is in such and such position and expects to arrive at Sandy Hook at such and such a time, so that we can make arrangements for receiving them at the dock and notify the friends of passengers. It is a pure matter of form; it is a routine business.

[Maurice Farrell, U.S. Day 15]:
At 12.12 p.m., or thereabouts, on. April 15, we published the following:
The Sandy Hook marine operator received the following wireless on his machine at 11.36 o'clock this morning:

"Wireless says Titanic is under way and proceeding to New York."​
From these it can be intuited that the "White Star Line" suffix on that Wireless notice merely identifies the ship's company, not the source of the notice. That *should* rightly have been Captain Smith himself (or so it would seem). In any case, it would have been relayed to the Times by the Sandy Hook station, either directly or indirectly (via news service).

But the message itself is inherently questionable, at least as to its accuracy.

Sandy Hook Lighthouse (currently) is about 8 nautical miles due west of Ambrose Light, which is itself 1082 miles from the actual wreck site.

April 14, 2:15 a.m. (NY Time) to April 16, 4:00 p.m. (NY Time) = 61-3/4 hours.

1284 Nmi. / 61.75 hrs. = 20.8 knots average E/W displacement. (Titanic wasn't "aiming" directly for New York yet, still heading towards the "Corner" at 42N, 47W.)

Now, about 21 knots was certainly quite do-able, ...

*BUT*

-- Titanic was about 1082 miles from Ambrose Light around 9:50 p.m. NYT (11:40 p.m. TT) April 14, thus 1090 miles from Sandy Hook Light.

-- The Corner (42N, 47W), passed at 3:40 p.m. NYT ("about 5:30 p.m." [BR]) is approximately *1213* Nmi. from Ambrose Light -- 1221 miles from Sandy Hook.

-- 1284 miles east of Sandy Hook is only 63 miles further east of the Corner! Only 63 miles of E/W displacement traversed in 13-1/2 hours (from 2:15 AM)??? (Not very likely!)

-- Assuming that should have said 2:15 *P.M.* (NYT) on the 14th, it would make a bit (though not much) more sense, distance-wise, but the required average speed for that arrival would then be be about 26 knots!! (1284 miles / 49-3/4 hours = 25.8 kts.) Again, not very likely; nor is Titanic traversing 63 miles in about an hour and a half.

-- Assuming that should instead have been *12:15 P.M.* -- approximately reasonable for the distance from the "Corner" -- the required average speed for the remainder of the voyage would still have been about 25 knots (24.8)! And that's "on average" from the position 1284 miles east of Sandy Hook! (There's no evidence to suggest that Titanic *ever* exceeded 22-1/2 knots between there and the collision locale.)


Either this message was an outright hoax, or it's been hopelessly garbled en route.

Regards,
John
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Bravo John!

I was going to expose this old fairy tale on my web site when I got round to it. There is something wrong with the 1,284 miles. Titanic simply was not that distance away at 2-15 am NYT. The time of the message might be right. Phillips sent other messages at around the same time, after fixing the radio during the night.

If Titanic were 1,284 miles off, the time of arrival would be OK. It seems to me that the message originally included only the distance and somebody in NY worked out the arrival time from Titanic's known speed.

One of the silliest claims made about this message is that it was authorised by Bruce Ismay and is proof of his plans for an early arrival. If you look at the other radio messages, you'll see that that they all show the name of the ship's line. That doesn't mean that Lord Inverclyde, Albert Ballin and the rest were on their ships, authorising radio messages.

My guess is that the message has been mangled, perhaps on the telephone. You only have to look at the way the passengers names were mangled between Carpathia and New York. Who the hell was Leonch Eldegrek?
 

John M. Feeney

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Sep 20, 2000
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Dave Gittins wrote: "If you look at the other radio messages, you'll see that that they all show the name of the ship's line."

Dave: Exactly! Looks like mere adherence to a standard "formula" there; hardly a corporate "signature".

In the interest of illustrating for anyone who hasn't seen that section -- just part of the regular shipping news column in the Times -- I thought I'd expand it slightly.

[New York Times, April 15, 1912, p. 11]:
...
By Wireless.
SANDY HOOK, APRIL 14 (MARCONI.)

SS Hellig Olav, Copenhagen to New York, 755 miles E. at 8:25 P.M.; due 17th, 8 A.M. Scadinavian American Line.

SS Chicago, Havre to New York, 713 miles E. at 5:20 A.M.; due 16th, 8 A.M. French Line.

SS Titanic, Southampton to New York, 1284[?] miles E. at 2:15 A.M.; due 16th, 4 P.M. White Star Line.

SS George Washington, Bremen to New York, 193 miles E. at 10:20 A.M.; due 15th, 8 A.M. North German Lloyd.

SS Lapland, Antwerp to New York, 148 miles E. at 8 P.M., due 15th, 8 A.M. Red Star Line.
...
[I couldn't resist leaving the Lapland in, for obvious historical reasons. Two additional ships in that Sandy Hook Marconi listing were left out.]

In comparison to that muddled Titanic message, three of the other four ships shown were advising *late* arrivals. According to the preceding "Incoming Steamships" sub-section -- covering scheduled arrivals for April 15 to 18 -- The Hellig Olav had been due on the 16th, and the Chicago that day (the 15th). The George Washington was apparently already overdue by the 15th, since it doesn't show up in the preceding list at all. The Lapland was apparently either on time or a bit early, listed under "Due To-Day".

As you said, there's really no specific evidence there that Bruce Ismay had any direct part in the issuance of that notice. Even if he did have a hand in prodding additional speed out of the ship -- I don't doubt it -- those wireless schedule updates were just standard protocol.

But any way you slice it, there's no way Titanic was going to arrive Tuesday at 4:00 P.M.! (The message, from what we already know, is self-demolishing.)

Cheers,
John
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Yes, John, Dave is right. If you went through as much as we did and we struggled with this for quite sometime I think it has been about a year now since we discovered this stuff. Oh yes, April 26 to May 4, 2001, how could I forget. But that is another whole story.

Anyway, there are many things about the little blurb that I feel are interesting here.

"SS President Lincoln, Hamburg to New York, 819 miles E. at noon: due 15th, 1 P.M. Hamburg-American Line."

This is message is also marked SANDY HOOK, APRIL 14th (MARCONI) and is a message also sent on same date as the Titanic message.

The SS President Lincoln is the ship of the message and did arrive on the 15th. For the Titanic message it is of course the SS Titanic.

It was sailing from Hamburg to New York. The Titanic was sailing from Southampton to New York.

It was 819 miles at noon. [A noon position is a normal thing right?] But the Titanic states that its position was 1284 (also could be 1204 or 1294 as it is blurred) miles E. at 2:15A.M. in its message! Did the Titanic take a special 2:15am position to send to Sandy Hook? I thought that the positions were taken at certain times. When was Titanic's last official position taken prior to this message being sent? Would a special position been sent for this or is this position based on a midnight position early (2:15am) on the 14th or is it the 7:30pm or noon position that are routinely performed on the 13th?

It is due to arrive in New York on the 15th. The Titanic message clearly states that it is due on the 16th.

The next line for the SS President Lincoln states "1 p.m., Hamburg-American Line". This message was sent at 1pm by the authority of the Hamburg-American Line. The Titanic message says 4 A.M., White Star Line. I believe that this means that 4 pm is the time of the message and that White Star Line is authority behind the message.

But what is rather interesting is that under Incoming Steamships Titanic is listed as due Wednesday(April 17). But the President Lincoln is listed as being due a day later as well being on Tuesday the 16th.

But in the NYT President Lincoln arrived on April 15th in the April 16th paper.

So it is curious. President Lincoln would have traveled through the same muck as Titanic and it was planning on being a whole day earlier than what is on the Marconi charts or what was published in the papers.

But in regards to Leonch Eldegrek, he is a direct descendent of Yamsi the Great of the 3rd dynasty. I am so disappointed that Gittins does not know of him.I had thought I heard tales of Gittins and Eldegrek as classmates.
 

John M. Feeney

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Sep 20, 2000
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Hi, Maureen: From the Marconi Company's practice of standardizing transmission times via either New York Time or Greenwich Mean Time, and also utilizing that cover story as a "Rosetta Stone" of sorts, I have to believe that all those times printed were in fact New York Time. (The readership would never be able to make any sense of it, otherwise.)

And note: Though it's difficult to pick out, the distance specified for the President Lincoln is actually *313* miles, not 818. ("818" would yield a whopping super-speed of about 32-1/2 knots for that projected arrival!)

Although the President Lincoln's distance is specified as "at noon", I doubt that's a precise *local* noon "fix" (their exact location obtained by celestial navigation). I'm much more inclined to believe it's a dead reckoning position from "their" after-noon converted to New York Time. (Of course, since *local* time at the ship's position, if DUE east, was only about 28 minutes ahead of New York Time, it makes very little difference for that particular case.)

It was certainly possible to send a dead-reckoning position and/or a distance estimate based on same at any time it was convenient. Plus, keep in mind who that news was directed towards -- the New Yorkers, according to their own geographic perspective.

'The next line for the SS President Lincoln states "1 p.m., Hamburg-American Line". This message was sent at 1pm by the authority of the Hamburg-American Line. The Titanic message says 4 A.M., White Star Line. I believe that this means that 4 pm is the time of the message and that White Star Line is authority behind the message.'

I don't see this at all, Mo. The exact text of the message, as formatted in the Times, is:
SS President Lincoln, Hamburg to New York,
313 miles E. at noon; due 15th, 1 P.M.
Hamburg-American Line.​
"Authority" seems by no means clearly implied, though *ownership* is. (As a side note, that *would* help people know where to go, pier-wise, to meet their friends or relations.) Nor does the time appear to me to indicate "when transmitted". Why say "; due 16th, 4 P.M." when you really mean "; due 16th. [rec'd 4 P.M.]"? That just seems way too vague, in my mind, for the New York Times' standards -- inherently confusing. Plus, by the time most of these wireless messages came in to Sandy Hook, the ships were close enough to reasonably predict their time of arrival. So why wouldn't they do exactly that? (Besides, the public wouldn't really care what time the message was received; they'd just want to know what time to meet the ship.)

Titanic's message is just "squirreled" beyond recognition, from what I can see. There doesn't appear to be any real way to rectify the distance and time specified there. No matter how you play it, they just weren't that close at 2:15 A.M. What's worse, considering *either* of the two numbers as a possible typo (and adjusting accordingly) yields only further chaos, since the distance, speed, and time are initimately linked; at best guess, you wind up with a speed Titanic couldn't possibly achieve.

'But in the NYT President Lincoln arrived on April 15th in the April 16th paper.'

Well, as promised in their wireless message of the 14th, I would say.

'So it is curious. President Lincoln would have traveled through the same muck as Titanic and it was planning on being a whole day earlier than what is on the Marconi charts or what was published in the papers.'

Well, without knowing the President Lincoln's exact course and speed, I doubt we know much at all. "313 miles east of Sandy Hook" was well past the ice clog that Titanic encountered. Titanic was about 1090 miles east of Sandy Hook when it hit the berg at about 9:50 PM NYT on the 14th. So, the President Lincoln was already 777 miles west of that at Noon NYT on the 14th. She might conceivably have missed the ice floe entirely.

But let's see:

313 miles / 25 hours = 12-1/2 knots (cruising speed to New York).
777 miles back / 12.5 kts = 62.16 hours = about 2 days, 14 hours.

So ... The President Lincoln would have been in the approximate longitude of Titanic's wreck at about 10:00 P.M, April 11. That's three days earlier than Titanic got there. And a lot can (and did) happen in 3 days.

Cheers,
John
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Assumptions are always dangerous, even when they seem oh so logical. Logic says that an arrival time for a ship would be the hour when it docks. But that's not always the case.

Here's a dirty little secret of arrival times. Shipping companies have known at least as far back as Titanic that the ship "arrives" when it appears on the horizon. If the dock and the ship are in sight at the published time, nobody gets upset.

(Personal Anecdote: At one time we were having trouble attracting passengers on a multi-island route because we were honest. We told potential ticket buyers that the first leg of the trip took "about an hour." Then, we changed our schedule to show the first leg to be just 55 minutes. Ticket sales doubled. We knew the boat would not be tied up in 55 minutes...but we also knew that in 55 minutes our passengers would be looking at their destination. Nobody complained, especially our cash register.)

And, where was Titanic's "arrival" as defined by Ismay to actually have taken place? Everyone is assuming that it would be the White Star pier. However, Ismay was smarter than that. He would have wanted all of lower Manhattan looking for his new ship. So, Ismay's "arrival" time may have been considerably in advance of the first mooring line going ashore. He may have been intending to have people looking seaward to catch a glimpse of the new liner as it came over the horizon. Ismay could well have set a published arrival time for hours before the ship got to the pier.

Also, the Tuesday arrival time may have been an "artifact" by the time it was published. It may have indicated what Ismay intended to do at some earlier point in the voyage. That particular line of type may have become a lost intention by Sunday afternoon. If so, Ismay may have been totally honest to the U.S. Senate inquiry.

Arrival times are the key to understanding ferry boat schedules. And, Titanic was nothing more than a very big, very luxurious ferry. Bruce Ismay was attempting to manipulate Titanic's arrival to White Star's best advantage..as he saw it. You can bet that not one dot or dash of Morse code regarding the ship's arrival time left Titanic without his knowledge and most likely his approval.

--David G. Brown
 

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
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David Brown wrote: "And, where was Titanic's "arrival" as defined by Ismay to actually have taken place? Everyone is assuming that it would be the White Star pier."

David: Well, I'm not assuming much of anything here, certainly not an arrival time pegged to the pier itself. If you'll carefully note my datum above, all of those calculations use Sandy Hook as the basis -- still a ways removed from actual berthing. But Titanic wasn't going to make Ambrose Light (about 8 miles further east) by 4 P.M. either!

I too believe, from *other* evidence, that Bruce Ismay exerted a fairly heavy influence on that maiden voyage. But this particular wireless, as reported, is too nonsensical to suggest much of anything. It's massively internally inconsistent, and truly offers "no way out" in terms of resolving its befuddled contents. (Not that I can see.)

I could be wrong, but I think the format of that notice, especially as accompanied by the cover story "translation", largely precludes any possibility of "artifacts" or delayed transmission of prior intentions:

"SS Titanic, Southampton to New York, 1284 [?] miles E. at 2:15 A.M. [April 14]; due 16th, 4 P.M. White Star Line."

"The last report received in New York from the Titanic was at 2:15 A.M. yesterday. She was then 1,284 miles east of Sandy Hook, and in that message her commander said that he expected to reach New York in time to dock late to-morrow afternoon."

Seriously, how many ways are there to read that? It's certainly not an ambiguous statement in my mind. Nevertheless it's logically incomprehensible, based on our current knowledge. Something was clearly mangled along the way there.

I have to doubt that Captain Smith would have been pressed into transmitting a blatant, easily uncovered *lie* in this official Marconigram. Moreover, I doubt that Ismay would have had the abysmal business sense to request it. The potential backlash when the spurious claim failed to materialize would be intensely counter-productive to White Star's interests.

Remember, we're not talking 5 minutes or a half-hour here, but multiple hours of delay! At Titanic's *final* speed, she couldn't make Ambrose Light until about 10:00 PM New York Time. Even if they'd cranked up the revolutions to achieve a full 24 knots (if possible) at the time of the disaster (9:50 P.M. NY Time), and maintained that average speed for the duration, she wouldn't have reached Ambrose Light until almost 7:00 P.M. Tuesday.

According to the U.S. National Park Service, *that* type of scenario -- an evening arrival at Ambrose Light -- would actually imply a small kernel of truth in Bruce Ismay's claim of a Wednesday morning "arrival". The Immigration Service closed shop at 5:00 P.M., and didn't resume business hours until 7:00 A.M. That being the case, Titanic truly couldn't arrive -- at the *pier* -- until Wednesday morning. (Though she could have spent most of the night "parked" in the Lower Harbor, awaiting the next day's Medical Inspection.)

I'm certainly willing to reconsider, if you can suggest a way to impart sensible meaning to that communication. But barring that (or discovery of the original, presumably ungarbled transmission), I don't see how any definite conclusions can be drawn from that Sandy Hook message.

Cheers,
John
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Sorry John, I think I missed my own point in my message above.

All I was trying to show was format of the message between a known arrival and one that didn't arrive at all.

I have no idea where the argument of ship time versus NYT came from. I never argued about NYT, I believe the information is given in NYT as it was received, which is what I hoped that I said.

And I also am a little lost at your argument over the use of the word authority. By using the word authority, all I was indicating was that the "company" had provided the information to Sandy Hook and it was based on that "authority" that they were sending the information to papers. But I am not an authority on Marconi messages, I believe that there are people who are. They wpould be best to address those things.

But if you want some real fire power, try this on for size. In doing this silly research, I found that there are many ships from April 6 through April 19 that were late or never showed up.

Some show up on the arrival today lists for several days in a row before actually arriving.

It seems the really northern traveled and the really southern traveled seem to have no problem with early arrivals! Others are no shows!


Caronia -Liverpool 3/30
Calabria - Palermo 3/23
Cevic - Liverpool 3/26
all are listed as arriving on 4/6 but do not arrive until 4/7.

Saxonia - Gibraltor 3/30 is listed as arriving on 4/6 but does not arrive until 2 days later on 4/8.

Paul Paix - Calais is a day late
Victorian is 2 or 3 days late arriving on the 12 or 13.

Venezia is a day late.

Niagra is 4 days late.

But President Lincoln and Cincinnati are a day early.

I see that many ship names are listed for days as arriving that day and then never are shown on the arrival list, the dates reviewed are April 6 to 4/24:
Philadelphia (I am not going to attempt to read the dates on this one)
Exelsior 3/30 to arrive on 4/13
Brilliant 3/30 to arrive on 4/13
Queen Amelle 3/30 to arrive on 4/7
Prinz Sigismund 4/2 to arrive on 4/10
Paula 3/23 to arrive on 4/6
Columbia 3/30 to arrive on 4/10
Oriflamme 3/26 to arrive on 4/12
Queen Eugenie 4/6 to arrive on 4/15

Some more trivia for you:
The US Battleship Michigan arrived on 4/11
As did a US Hospital Ship Solace

The US Supply Ship Culyoa arrived on 4/12.

The USS Utah and USS Florida on 4/14.
And the USS Paulding, Drayton, and North Dakota on 4/19.

Just food for thought for you guys.

Maureen.
 

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
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Hi, Maureen:

Sorry, I've lost you on much of the above. I guess I don't understand what you're getting at with that later list of ships. Also, I'm unclear occasionally as to which particular posted "arrival" you mean -- the "Arrived [date]", "Incoming Steamships", or "By Wireless" section. Since I only have recourse now to copies of the Shipping News column from the 15th (full) and 16th (partial only; no "By Wireless" section), I'm also not able to track those down much in hopes that a "light bulb" will just turn on. Can you explain further?

'I have no idea where the argument of ship time versus NYT came from. I never argued about NYT, I believe the information is given in NYT as it was received, which is what I hoped that I said.'

OK. I thought -- based on the 'normal to take a noon position' and 'special 2:15 position' comments you made -- that *you* were arguing for ship's time. (A ship's "noon fix", of course, is taken at its local noon, which may easily be different from noon New York Time.) But since we're both talking New York Time, "Never mind." :)

'And I also am a little lost at your argument over the use of the word authority. By using the word authority, all I was indicating was that the "company" had provided the information to Sandy Hook and it was based on that "authority" that they were sending the information to papers.'

Well, I was refuting "authority" as you seem to mean it above, as well -- that the message was sent by, or subject to approval by, "the company" per se, meaning White Star at the *corporate* level. (Though I agree that the ship and its officers are part of that company.) Personally, I think the company name shown in those notices may just indicate the Line for the benefit of the readers.

But those other excerpts from the Inquiries -- Franklin's and Farrell's -- seemingly identify these "By Wireless" updates as merely ship-to-shore communications, by authority of the ship's captain alone. Make sense?

It's a fine distinction, perhaps, but what I'm really getting at here is that neither Bruce Ismay nor White Star *corporate* had to play any part in the transmission of those "By Wireless" news updates. (Though obviously the various lines supplied the basic "Incoming Steamships" due dates from their own tentative schedules.) Farrell's and Franklin's testimonies assert a direct communication from the ship's captain to the Marconi Company, with no White Star *corporate* go-between at all.

I'm not exactly splitting hairs here. I'm just trying to illustrate that Ismay and other White Star "corporate officers" were really unnecessary to that particular transmission.

Cheers,
John
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Poor John, thanks for your patience and I will deal with your post one thing at a time.

"Well, I was refuting "authority" as you seem to mean it above, as well -- that the message was sent by, or subject to approval by, "the company" per se, meaning White Star at the *corporate* level."

No. By placing the word in quotes, what I am saying is the all encompassing meaning of the word authority or company, which in my mind means that the ship's captain represents the word of the company and has the authority to send messages speaking in the company name. Therefore making it that Ismay nor Franklin had to be present for a message with company authority to be sent. Like when a person has the right to sign for someone to accept packages...but a little bigger responsibility.

So, I thin that I am in agreement with you actually regarding that fact.

"(Though I agree that the ship and its officers are part of that company.) Personally, I think the company name shown in those notices may just indicate the Line for the benefit of the readers." Yes, it could be.

"But those other excerpts from the Inquiries -- Franklin's and Farrell's -- seemingly identify these "By Wireless" updates as merely ship-to-shore communications, by authority of the ship's captain alone. Make sense?"

Yes.

"It's a fine distinction, perhaps, but what I'm really getting at here is that neither Bruce Ismay nor White Star *corporate* had to play any part in the transmission of those "By Wireless" news updates. (Though obviously the various lines supplied the basic "Incoming Steamships" due dates from their own tentative schedules.) Farrell's and Franklin's testimonies assert a direct communication from the ship's captain to the Marconi Company, with no White Star *corporate* go-between at all."

It makes sense that it could be that way.

"I'm not exactly splitting hairs here. I'm just trying to illustrate that Ismay and other White Star "corporate officers" were really unnecessary to that particular transmission."

I guess I did not make myself clear John. And I apologize for that. I did not ever think that you were "splitting hairs", I honestly had lost you on what you were saying.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Maureen.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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John, the next part of my message is quite complex but very interesting when taken with the issues here. What I am posting is "arrived" section which is located above the "Incoming Steamships Due Today" section and comparing the two.

I believe that the SS Paula spends nearly 2 weeks being posted as "Incoming Steamship Due Today" until she simply disappears from the list as Titanic does. But there is no posting in the Sunday paper for Saturday and only Sunday is posted on Monday. So Saturday arrivals are harder to track.

But my reason for doing this is that some of the ships arrived a day earlier than they were listed in the paper and some were 2,3 and 4 days late and some seem to have never arrived. Was this due to some hitting or confronting ice and some not? Was it due to quarantine? Was this an unspoken pressure for Titanic to compete with these other ships and arrive early? Cincinnati traveling from Genoa was due in NY on the 17th with Titanic and arrived a day early. Was this an unspoken pressure?

But also, how secure was the announced arrival even in the marconi section?

The marconi message for the Cincinnati.

SANDY HOOK message for april 15 as listed in the 16th paper:

"SANDY HOOK, APRIL15, (MARCONI)
SS Cincinnati, Hamburg to New York, ??? miles E. at 11:30pm 14th: due 17th, 8A.M. Hamburg-American Line."

Even though they wrote the 17th in the message, the Cincinnati arrives on the 16th. But they were arriving from Genoa.

I am not arguing with you John. I am showing you something that I think is rather interesting!

When I did this research last year, I found that there are many ships from April 6 through April 19 that were late or never showed up. But that also there were some that showed up early!

If you look through that time period, you will see that there is a point where a ship is to show up on say Thursday, then Wednesday, then tomorrow and then incoming due today. And they saty on this list forever until they suddenly are dropped.

Or they show up on the arrival today lists for several days in a row before actually being listed in the "arrived" section.

It seems the really northern traveled and the really southern traveled seem to have no problem with early arrivals! Others are no shows!

Why do I think that this has anything to do with your thread question? Because, either there were other "mistakes" in the paper or someone affiliated with White Star felt that the Titanic could make it in earlier and communicated this with SANDY HOOK via marconi.

Was it competition with another line that caused the earlier date?

Both President Lincoln and Cincinnati were Hamburg-American Line Ships. And they were a day early in their arrivals. Was this perhaps pressure? For Smith? This was his last voyage or was it pressure for Ismay?

Hmmmmmm?

Like I said, not an argument with you, just food for thought for you guys.

Maureen.
 
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John, the last part I forgot about was the US Ships. I just thought it was interesting that the Navy chose to send the US Battleship Michigan on 4/11, along with the US Hospital Ship Solace. The US Supply Ship Culyoa arrived on 4/12. The USS Utah and USS Florida on 4/14. And the USS Paulding, USS Drayton, and USS North Dakota on 4/19.

Was this typical of the period for so many Navy ships to leave Hampton Roads to travel to New York?

Just interesting.

Maureen.
 
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For the past few days I've been "lurking" around this thread, reading and thinking. It has occurred to me that we are all going down the garden path on this subject. Everyone, and I include myself in this, has been building theory upon speculation.

What we know is that a line of type appeared in the New York Times. We know that the reports in which that line of type appeared were taken from wireless communications coming from the ships. That's all we know for fact.

We can calculate using time/speed/distance formulae that the ship was not likely to arrive on Tuesday as the line of type promised. This is a semi-fact. That is, it is probably true given what we do know.

That's all we can say based on the body of facts available. Saying who sent the message and/or what their motivations might have been is speculation, not history. The tendency for each of us is to build a case that favors our individual view of the events. In reality, however, there is no more evidence that Captain Smith sent the message than J.Bruce Ismay..or even Geroge Beauchamp. We don't know.

This sort of mystery is what makes Titanic such a fascinating study. It is also typical of the "black holes" into which otherwise serious researchers can tumble. One speculation begets another until a very solid fiction has been created that has the appearance of fact.

Sadly, it really doesn't matter whether Titanic could have made Sandy Hook or any other geographic coordinate. There was an iceberg in the way. Sometimes the facts get in the way of the best of stories.

-- David G. Brown
 
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I think that all John is saying is that some have said that Ismay sent the message and John is saying that the way the message is written that it did not have to be Ismay or Franklin who sent it. It could have been, but it did not have to be them.

It is a fact that the message was sent.

It is a fact that the message was received.

Ismay and Franklin say that they did not send it.

It is the justification people use to say that Ismay made the Captain sail at a risky speed. But there is little proof to say that he sent it.

I think it is worth looking at.

My point is that there were 2 ships that did arrive a day early. Both Hamburg American Line. Would knowing this place Titanic at an economical disadvantage if they too did not speed their way to NY? (Now that part is speculation.)

It's all just fun and I think that John has a point.
 

John M. Feeney

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Maureen: Thanks for that elucidation. I understand now, and can see that in almost all cases we either meant the same thing using different words, or different things using the same words. ;^)

The Niagara's delay, of course, is understandable -- she's the ship that was holed (twice even?) by ice just a few days before Titanic's encounter, and she basically had to limp in after a patch job. (If the Carmania was also slightly late, same basic cause: she answered Niagara's call for assistance before a second message advised that the ship would be able to proceed OK under her own steam.)

But the others you've mentioned are not nearly as explicable. (There are references in the Times of the 15th to other ships that "got caught" in the ice, but how that affected their arrival is by no means made clear there.)

Actually, this does seem a very interesting study you've brought up! I can conceive of the Lines themselves submitting revisions to the "Incoming Steamships" section, based on intervening news *they* received, but those other puzzles you've brought up are quite intriguing! (Next trip to the library, I'll have to do some additional seeking, for sure.)

Interesting, that observation about the President Lincoln and Cincinatti *both* getting in a day early. It wouldn't surprise me too much to intuit a desire on the part of HAPAG to rain on White Star's parade just a little. (Hmmm.) On the other hand, is it possible that their tentative scheduling, at least for these two ships was *always* somewhat conservative? The President Lincoln, at least, had a service speed of 14 knots, so more initial "wiggle room" might be required than for a fast ship like the Titanic. (And saying you may be late, then getting in early, is always a better marketing ploy than just showing up late. But I'm just guessing at possibilities here.)

It is VERY intriguing!

David: I think Maureen has summed up my thinking here quite neatly already. We all seem to agree that there was a message from the Titanic (assuming no outright hoax was involved), and that its contents are vastly irrational based on what we now know about Titanic's likely positions at various times.

But where it turns speculative, in my mind, is in any direct attribution of this news update to Bruce Ismay, specifically, or White Star corporate. The protocol of the era, according to Franklin and Farrell (and the NY Times article quoted), was simply that the ship's *commander* would relay any change in schedule direct to the Marconi Company. All of these appear to identify the source as the captain himself, with little possibility (and certainly no necessity) for any corporate-level meddling or manipulation.

(I'm reluctant to refer to this communication as an "MSG" per se, though it certainly resembles one -- an official message from the captain himself -- only because it's not a ship-to-ship communication, and may not have been a "freebie".)

I don't think it's so much opinion vs. opinion here, but rather a question of adhering strictly to the factual launch pad versus "blasting off" with an extrapolation. As far as I can see, there's no *evidential* basis for perceiving this wireless as anything more than a fairly fractured message from Smith. (But there's plenty of evidence for that notion.)

Cheers,
John
 

Dave Gittins

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Actually, John, it looks to me like a fractured message from Phillips, wearing his Marconi hat. Phillip Franklin said that he received no message from the ship during the voyage but Phillips may well have sent a routine message to Marconi. Marconi and The New York Times were in cahoots, so the message was passed on without reference to White Star.

I've also found the newspapers to be dodgy. While researching another matter, I found that a certain ship reached Liverpool twice in the same voyage from the US. It seems that what we really need is a big pile of port records when looking at these matters.
 
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By protocol, only the captain could send a message regarding the progress of the ship. This does not mean that Ismay did not "suggest" something, a favorite dodge of bosses everywhere when they want to avoid responsibility for something. Frankly, it is foolish to think that any message about Titanic's arrival on the maiden voyage did not go through Ismay first. The trip was obviously his show. But, even before the accident he was careful to preserve the image of being just a passenger...just in case. And, "just in case" is exactly what came to pass.

Reading anything into that one line of type in the New York Times is unwise. We have no second-source evidence that it is official. And, since it was highly improbable that Titanic could have made the Tuesday date, it is either somebody's mistake...or part of some sort of plan that never came to pass because of the demise of the ship.

If you want to speculate, I rather fancy Ismay suggesting that arrival time to confound the Cunard competition. They would quickly see that Titanic would have to have Mauritania's legs to make that arrival come true. It was "common knowledge" that Titanic did not have the horses, but "common knowledge" has a way of being far from the truth. So, Cunard would be left to wonder. And, when Titanic did not make the time, Ismay would blame the ice or weather and hint that "maybe next time."

You see, it could be a practical joke on Cunard. Don't believe me? Neither do I. But, then all I do believe is that the line of type appeared in the paper. I've seen the microfilm myself.

-- David G. Brown
 
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Hey Dave Gittins.

Interesting about your thoughts on Phillips. I wonder if all marconi guys sent ship arrival dates?

But wait....I thought that they were there to send paid messages by passengers and also, how in the world would the marconi dudes know the ship position and probable arrival time? Of course you are a far better ships expert than I will ever be.

Actually, I was thinking that it was the ship who communicated their position and estimated arrival as an official function of the port authority to see to it that there was docking space and room in the harbour and tugs available and they shared it with the papers. And so passenger connections would be aware of their contacts location and arrival times. I would not think that a marconi operator left to his own devices would be responsible for this. But what do I know.

But what you said about the duplicate arrivals for a single ship within days from far off lands. That is true. Venezia arrives on 4/11 and on 4/12. Forgot to mention that one.

That is why I wonder if the papers just got sloppy or if there is something here.

A lot of third...mystery ships to choose from if you ask me. I am running now.....

So, John, aren't you glad that I shared my wild thoughts with you? I thought you would find this interesting. Dave Brown would clobber me over the head if he could reach me. And Dave Gittins probably has a trusted canine hot on the track to locate me and push a custard pie in my face.

Just thought I'd give you something to think about. Enjoy yourself guys!
 

Dave Gittins

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I wouldn't waste a custard pie! The dog would only eat it, anyway.

Franklin mentions that messages were sometimes sent quite late in the voyage for the sort of reasons you mention. This message seems a bit premature. Rememember that Phillips wore two hats. He might well have obtained navigational information from an officer but used it for Marconi's purposes.