El Capitain

Jim Currie

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Hi Sam!

The reason why there was no mention in the Official Log Book of the goings-on in the middle watch is very simple.

Stone would write-up his scrap log before Stewart came on the bridge around 0400. He obviously did not include them in his scrap log notes.

It would seem that Stewart found out about the rockets during the chin-wag hand-over of the watch shortly after 0400hrs.
I can well imagine Stone remarking something like: " had a bit of excitement earlier on. A ship came alongside us and fired off some white rockets". Stewart would ask if he, Stone, had advised the 'old man'. Stone would reply that he had but there couldn't have been much wrong as the vessel steamed off. However, Stone probably further remarked he had seen another rocket just half an hour previously. Stewart would ask Stone if he had reported that one and receive a negative answer. Alarm bells would ring for Stewart the "oh shit" signals would go up. The rest is as they say, history.
As for Official Log Book entries being corrected or added to after the event to include the middle watch happenings - that would be Taboo. To make it acceptable, Stone would have had to write and sign a statement retrospectively. Having done so the fact could be recorded in the Log and a the original statement annexed thereto.
After breakfast at the earliest on the morning of the 15th., Stewart would sit down at his desk with the Scrap log notes from the previous 24 hours and copy the relevant entries into his Official Log. He would not include trivialities. This operation was called 'doing the abstracts'.
In later years, this chore was relegated to the 2/O. Additionally, Scrap Logs became the prime evidence in court hearings and it became an offence to destroy or alter any entries.

Cheers!


Jim.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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In other words Jim, it would not have been in Californian's interest to have anything written in the scrap log or anywhere else about the events during the middle watch. If Stone had wrote something in the scrap log, then or later in the morning, we have no way of knowing it because Stewart testified that it was Leyland Line's policy that the scrap log be destroyed, which it was.

Your take on the conversation between Stewart and Stone is probably spot on. It's too bad that Stone was OOW during the middle watch. I think Stewart would have handled things very differently from the start.

As far Californian being able to make a difference assuming more proactive actions were taken, I agree that no more lives would have been saved as she would have arrived too late. But Lord with have been viewed as one of the heroes of the night instead of the other way around.
 

Jim Currie

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Hi Sam!

As you point out: Stewart would have handled things differently. That's one of the main reasons I suggested there would have been an entry in the Official Log Book concerning the middle watch goings-on if Stone had noted it in his scrap log notes. It was probably part of the reason that Lord had the 'terrible two' write and sign statements. Perhaps, apart from standard practice following an incident; he expected (correctly)that the Enquiry people would zero-in on this?

As for not being in Californian's interest - I wonder?
It all depends on what was normal log-book entry practice of the day. If it was not the practice to write 'normal' happenings then an entry would suggest the abnormal. The only way scrap log notes concerning an abnormal happening would escape inclusion in the Official Log Book would be if all persons involved agreed to have it excluded. However Lord's insistence on individual statements suggests otherwise.

At the end of the day, it might have been better for all concerned if Stone had made an official note for inclusion in the Official Log Book.

On the other hand, perhaps the person responsible for noting it (Stone)did not think it warranted noting or for that matter; required the master to be urgently advised?
Lord's subsequent grilling of him and Gibson as well as the Lookout and the QM. point directly to this.

To know what he had to defend himself against; Lord would need to know what to expect. He would therefore know the full extent of what Stone and Gibson were prepared to state under examination -there was no escape from it.
The crucial evidence is that of Gibson's alleged verbal report - the only part of the evidence that could not be corroborated.

I think what sticks in most Lord defenders throats is the fact that the summing-up and final verdict of the BOT Enquiry relative to 'Californian' has subsequently been proved to be fatally flawed. Unfortunately that summing-up branded a man as a coward in the eyes of many. Even to this day, we have people using emotive and irrational adjectives to describe Lord.

As for the man himself: despite all that was directed at him; Lord put his career first and did not wallow in sef-pity. He got on with his life, all the while protesting his innocence up until the day he died. These were not the actions of a remote, unapproachable person. Rather, I suggest. he was a man who, if he knew he was guilty, would have got his 'head down' and avoided all situations which would bring his alleged 'guilt' back into the lime-light. Quite the opposite happened.
Other 'players' such as Rostron and Bisset and all the others who made money out of the parts they played were the opposite to Lord - the very people who would have taken the easy way out.

Perhaps I'm way-off in my estimates. Are there any interested 'shrinks' out there? A mental profile of the players might prove interesting.

Cheers!

Jim.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>>At the end of the day, it might have been better for all concerned if Stone had made an official note for inclusion in the Official Log Book.<<

I tend to agree Jim. The issue of the scrap log and missing pages were raised during the questioning of Groves and Stewart. I wonder what Lord really remembered about what Stone and Gibson told him during the night? He apparently didn't remember much of what Gibson came down to tell him. I think that is why he asked for written statements from those two.

>>I think what sticks in most Lord defenders throats is the fact that the summing-up and final verdict of the BOT Enquiry relative to 'Californian' has subsequently been proved to be fatally flawed. <<

Yes, there were fatal flaws, but the bottom line conclusion was that those on Californian saw Titanic's rockets, and the ship stood still. And that part of it still stands today.

>>Rather, I suggest. he was a man who, if he knew he was guilty, would have got his 'head down' and avoided all situations which would bring his alleged 'guilt' back into the lime-light. <<

I think if he was informed about what was really going on, multiple rockets at short intervals, he would have taken appropriate action. He certainly showed his willingness to take risks once he got word over the wireless in the morning.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>He certainly showed his willingness to take risks once he got word over the wireless in the morning.<<

He did indeed, as not one but two risky transits of that icefield shows.

For whatever it may be worth, that Captain Lord was poorly served and poorly informed by his watch team is one of the few points both sides agree on in this thorny debate.
 

Jim Currie

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Hi Guys!

I agree he was poorly served and poorly informed.
There's nothing anyone can do about the latter but why does he continue to be poorly served?

I'm neither for or against Lord. I have been slowly trawling through the available evidence and now conclude that there are many people out there who can at least properly and honestly serve him in retrospect.

If Lord was poorly served and poorly informed then the man had little or no possibility of changing the course of events.
If everyone now agrees this to be so - why not draw a line under it by publicly stating so? That would at least remove the unfair stigma that in some way he was responsible for needles deaths.
Notwithstanding this - Lord, although bearing the blame as commander - never actually saw a single rocket. That's the bottom line.

Cheers!

Jim
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>>If Lord was poorly served and poorly informed then the man had little or no possibility of changing the course of events.<<

I agree with that.

For me the issue is not Lord, it is trying to understand what really happened and why. What was really seen, and why did people act or not act based on what they saw or were told about. It is more of an academic interest for me as I said elsewhere.

Anyway, I think its time for others to state their opinions on all of this.
 

Jim Currie

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I have to say the same Sam. I've cobbled-up a drawing on this infernal CAD thing. I'll try and post it on the mystery ship thread but don't hold your breath.

Cheers,

Jim
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>If Lord was poorly served and poorly informed then the man had little or no possibility of changing the course of events.
If everyone now agrees this to be so - why not draw a line under it by publicly stating so?<<

I don't know that there are a lot of really objective historians who have any issues with that. The issue is that he was at least informed, if very badly, and that he should have investigated himself, and the attempt at a cover up in Boston is what gets him in hot water.

That and the fact that in the end, he was the Commander with all the baggage that goes with the deal.
 

Jim Currie

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Michael,

I was going to leave this but have to disagree with you on one point - 'the issue was that he was at least informed'.

Bad information is worse than no information at all. I'm sure you know there are very many military commanders who would agree with that. Indeed, there are many military commanders who lost their lives and the lives of their men because of it. Is not General Custer a prime example?

All the powers that were involved with examining Lord and his men had -with the exception of the true location of the wreck site - all the information we have today. It follows they could have come to exactly the same conclusions objective researchers have done.

They chose to ignore pertinent facts such as the direction in which Stone and Gibson saw their rockets. The previous reports and messages between Californian and other vessels which were made and recorded before the collision which were at odds with Californian's position as suggested in the final damning report.

Nowadays, public and 'front-of-the house' officials are trained how to give initial response to journalists. Journalists are trained to ask questions which will produce a desired effect; resulting in answers which will sell papers.
If the press interview you refer to was Lord's first as a commander then he was a lamb among wolves. These guys must have loved him!

Cheers!

Jim.
 

Erik Wood

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If you are going to discuss Lord's in actions, you must also discuss what action he could have taken in the conditions he found himself. I am not only talking about the presence or lack of presence around his ship, but the ability of his ship to perform a safe rescue of those on a foundering ship without endangering his own.

You must also take into account in the same debate that by today's practice of maritime law and the current set of laws that govern seamanship; Captain Rostron, would be without a license, and most probably in jail.

I do not argue Lord did not act, because....well history shows he didn't. But before one condemns the man you must take into account the mans actual responsibility and contrary to academic belief it had nothing to do with Titanic. His one and only duty lay with Californian.

Having said that, had the conditions around his ship been clear, and he had no obvious hazard to his vessel he was duty bound to assist Titanic if he deemed her to be in distress.

At the least Lord had a very good argument to have sat and done nothing, instead he chose to take an alternate method of explaining his actions (or in actions) which to be honest I don't understand.

I would also agree that Lord's officers did not do a very good job of relaying information. In other threads I have posted comments to the effect that, if one of Lord's officers did not believe that he (Lord) got the picture the officer was duty bound to make sure his captain understood.

I am not taking Lord's side, but rather I am begging that some professional discretion take place in this debate.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I was going to leave this but have to disagree with you on one point - 'the issue was that he was at least informed'.<<

I'm not disagreeing that he was badly informed or that bad information is worse then none at all. However, the sticking point remains that he was informed and even asked for orders of what to do. That he was badly served by his officers is really not in dispute either.

It was everything which followed which puts the man behind the Eight Ball.

>>Good to see you back here Capt. Erik.<<

Indeed it is. Hope to see some more of you. All the best to your family.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Erik!

I agree entirely what you say about the captain of the Carpathia. 'There but for the grace of God!'

The question of professionalism also should be examined.
Professionals were part of the advisory team at both Enquiries - more so the BOT one.
Either these guys were total incompetents (which I refuse to believe) or they were chosen for their fondness of the word 'yes'. Hence the remarks I made to Michael in the third paragraph of my last posting.

As for discretion - isn't that 'the better part of valour'?

Cheers!

Jim.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Either these guys were total incompetents (which I refuse to believe) or they were chosen for their fondness of the word 'yes'.<<

They may well have been there more because they would toe whatever the investigator's line was. If they had facts to offer which tended to be a bit inconvenient, then it wasn't really much of a stretch to cherry pick information out of context in order to contrive a pretext.

I think the Senate Inquiry as a lot more objective in some respects then the Mersey Wreck Commission was, but I'm mindful of the fact that Senator Smith had an anti-Morgan/IMM agenda in mind. His "indictment" of Captain Lord was made based on pretty slim evidence. He didn't even bother examining Stone or Gibson. An oversight which is nothing short of incredible in our eyes since it's just about taken for granted that if something happens on a ship, everybody on the watch is investigated.

The Mersey Court was more thorough on technical details but didn't mind evading sensetive issues such as the breakup of the ship. Captain Lord's gaffs must have been seen as a Heaven sent gift since it gave them a scapegoat to blame whether he was blameworthy or not.

This doesn't really add to or take away from any of Captain Lord's accountability, but my point here is that in some very crucial respects, both inquiries missed the boat on this one. Here at least was an opportunity to investigate what went wrong...the whole dogs breakfast of misunderstanding and miscommunication...which are at the very core of the so-called Californian Incident.
 

Erik Wood

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I think that a strong argument could be made that although Lord was informed, the information he was given, wasn't enough for him to make a informed decision.

If Lord trusted his officers I can see why he did what he did (took no action) however if he didn't trust them....then one must wonder.

Having particapted in formal investigation (not with my license being in jepordy) I can say rather uniformly that most investigations seek to place blame, not find facts.