Herbert Stone's Disappearance and George Stewart's Obituary from Archive Newspapers.

Seumas

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And if Groves tells 'tall stories' about his internment 1916-1918, then what else did he tell that were 'tall stories'? Schools of porpoises, an empty collapsible A lifeboat, that actually had 3 bodies in it, and seals who might have been survivors on the ice!
There was a book published a few years ago - "Lost Voices of the Titanic" by Nick Barratt - that actually claimed that as a fact ! Very sloppy research on Mr Barratt's part.

How on earth these "survivors" found the strength to haul themselves up onto the slippery ice, survive for several hours with their clothing completely drenched in freezing cold water and have the energy to jump about and wave their arms for help was of course not explained by the author.
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Sam and Jim,

My main point was that until Harland posted his newspaper findings, no one previously seems to have ascertained exactly what happened to Stone in June 1937, and Leslie Reade's subjective appraisal and gushing treatment of Groves.

Sort of linking into the 'Interrogation of Stone' thread, there are obviously problems with Stone's actions or inactions. The failure to report to Captain Lord, by Gibson's own account, 3 white rockets fired from Carpathia, is a massive problem in itself.

As for 1.15am we simply don't know for sure (though we can make an educated guess, or apply a legal assessment of the evidence) what Stone reported to Captain Lord of the rockets seen because Stone's evidence at the British Inquiry was contradicted in one vital material respect by Captain Lord.

Captain Lord said he was only told of one white rocket by Stone at 1.15am via Stone's report.

Stone said he reported to Captain Lord plural white rockets (and why no one specifically asked him how many is one of the puzzles of the British Inquiry, except the line of questioning was clear about multiple rockets seen), and the inference I arrive at is that because Stone had then seen first one as a flash but which he also added to the further 4 as 5 white rockets seen by 1.15am, at 1.15am he reported 5 white rockets seen by then (as the line of questioning proposed). Any other conclusion seems to me to be perverse.

The problem is Gibson's evidence, which contradicts Stone as to when Gibson returned to the flying bridge, and what Stone told him he had reported to Captain Lord and when.

Leslie Harrison found out all about Gibson's appalling subsequent career in the MN, but omitted to include it in any of his books, only to be re-discovered by Paul Lee. If you take into account Gibson's subsequent MN career, one cannot but help look at Gibson's evidence in 1912 in a different light, even if Gibson was more observant that watch than Stone. You will have to ask Paul Lee what he based his synopsis on, but I am quite clear in my own mind it was notes made by Leslie Harrison in the Liverpool Maritime Museum when Harrison was shown Gibson's MN book by his widow.

Cheers,

Julian

(Edited for typos and to make more sense re Stone's questioning at the British inquiry)
 
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Jim Currie

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According to what Lord said at both inquiries, is that the he was told that steamer was steaming away toward the SW when Stone called down to him the first time.
That ties-in with Stone's claim that the bearings began to change almost immediately after or at the same time the first rocket was seen. If that had been the case, then what purpose would there have been in Lord going aloft to the upper bridge?
 

Seumas

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For some reason, Leslie Harrison found out all about Gibson's appalling subsequent career in the MN, but omitted to include it in any of his books, only to be re-discovered by Paul Lee. If you take into account Gibson's subsequent MN career, one cannot but help look at Gibson's evidence in 1912 in a different light, even if Gibson was more observant that watch than Stone. You will have to ask Paul Lee what he based his synopsis on, but I am quite clear in my own mind it was notes made by Leslie Harrison in the Liverpool Maritime Museum when Harrison was shown Gibson's MN book by his widow.
Just out of interest, what misadventures happened to James Gibson in his subsequent career ?
 

Julian Atkins

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There was a book published a few years ago - "Lost Voices of the Titanic" by Nick Barratt - that actually claimed that as a fact ! Very sloppy research on Mr Barratt's part.

How on earth these "survivors" found the strength to haul themselves up onto the slippery ice, survive for several hours with their clothing completely drenched in freezing cold water and have the energy to jump about and wave their arms for help was of course not explained by the author.
Hi Seumas,

It isn't actually "very sloppy" research (though I haven't read Barratt's book) because it was exactly what Groves wrote to Walter Lord in Groves' 'Middle Watch' essay of 1958. Senan Moloney did a 'hatchet job' on the 'Middle Watch' essay by Groves on here some many years ago as a research article


Well worth reading or re-reading, though typical Senan! The 'Middle Watch' essay is also quoted by Dave Billnitzer on his website now archived on the wayback site, and was known to some researchers before Senan coped a 'scoop'. And it was known by the recipient Walter Lord since 1958, but he made no use of it.

Cheers,

Julian
 

Julian Atkins

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That ties-in with Stone's claim that the bearings began to change almost immediately after or at the same time the first rocket was seen. If that had been the case, then what purpose would there have been in Lord going aloft to the upper bridge?
To see the rockets for himself?! And to get a more detailed report from Stone, given the nonsense about 'company signals' etc
 
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Harland Duzen

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Just out of interest, what misadventures happened to James Gibson in his subsequent career ?
According to Paul Lee:

1) When being 3rd Officer of the SS Boniface (1928) of the Booth Line, "Gibson left the company after the master of the Boniface, Captain F.H. Good, gave him an adverse report, Gibson was described as "a positive menace on the bridge", allowing the ship's only chronometer to run down and having "no interest in cargo or stowage and was no assistance to the Chief Officer". Finally, after lying to the Captain (twice) about a miscalculation in the ship's course, which would have resulted in an imminent grounding, Gibson was ordered from the bridge and relieved."

2) When an AB/Q.M. on the Reina del Pacifico (1930), he received a double DR ("Declined to Report", indicating an adverse report), in his discharge book for two misdemeanours: being drunk on duty, and then later, going AWOL in Kingston, Jamaica.


3) When an AB on the Whaling vessel Powell (1950), he was discharged from duty after being found twice in a coma, attributed to epilepsy (which he claimed was caused by him falling on a pipe onboard a ship called the Port Huron.)

4) He was discharged from the MN Neothuma (1946) for misconduct in 1954.


In my opinion, not the best `'post Californian" track record! :oops:
 

Seumas

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According to Paul Lee:

1) When being 3rd Officer of the SS Boniface (1928) of the Booth Line, "Gibson left the company after the master of the Boniface, Captain F.H. Good, gave him an adverse report, Gibson was described as "a positive menace on the bridge", allowing the ship's only chronometer to run down and having "no interest in cargo or stowage and was no assistance to the Chief Officer". Finally, after lying to the Captain (twice) about a miscalculation in the ship's course, which would have resulted in an imminent grounding, Gibson was ordered from the bridge and relieved."

2) When an AB/Q.M. on the Reina del Pacifico (1930), he received a double DR ("Declined to Report", indicating an adverse report), in his discharge book for two misdemeanours: being drunk on duty, and then later, going AWOL in Kingston, Jamaica.


3) When an AB on the Whaling vessel Powell (1950), he was discharged from duty after being found twice in a coma, attributed to epilepsy (which he claimed was caused by him falling on a pipe onboard a ship called the Port Huron.)

4) He was discharged from the MN Neothuma (1946) for misconduct in 1954.


In my opinion, not the best `'post Californian" track record!
Thanks Harland.

From deck officer to an AB in just two years. What a humiliation !

Did he have his certificates revoked as a result of his carry on aboard the Boniface and had to resort to being an AB ?

Hi Seumas,

It isn't actually "very sloppy" research (though I haven't read Barratt's book) because it was exactly what Groves wrote to Walter Lord in Groves' 'Middle Watch' essay of 1958. Senan Moloney did a 'hatchet job' on the 'Middle Watch' essay by Groves on here some many years ago as a research article


Well worth reading or re-reading, though typical Senan! The 'Middle Watch' essay is also quoted by Dave Billnitzer on his website now archived on the wayback site, and was known to some researchers before Senan coped a 'scoop'. And it was known by the recipient Walter Lord since 1958, but he made no use of it.

Cheers,

Julian
Ah, thank you Julian. I wasn't aware of that.

I should have said that Barratt should have looked more objectively at Stone's outlandish claims rather just than accepting them without question.
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Seamus,

Did you mean to refer to 'GROVE'S' outlandish claims rather than 'Stone' in Barratt's book?

Gibson seems to have risen not very high by 1928, after 16 years, to 3rd Officer, then as you rightly note gets a rapid demotion.

... ___ .... ___ ....


There is a telling remark in one of Stanley Tutton Lord's letters to Edward Kamuda of 13th June 1964...

"My father could, when he felt like it, be very severe and intimidating"

From son about his father.

This stuff is all post 1912, as is Captain Lord's 1959 affidavit and the transcripts of the taped recorded interviews of Captain Lord in 1961.

To extend Sam's contention to it's logical conclusion, where does the cut off in time occur in considering the evidence? After Captain Lord's 'Savannah Morning News' article in 1914? Or his 1959 Affidavit? Or Mrs P Gibson showing Leslie Harrison her late husband's MN discharge book in 1963? Or Reade eventually getting a letter out of Stone's son John dated 31st August 1965? Or the late 1990s when researchers became aware of Groves' correspondence with Walter Lord in 1955 to the late 1950s plus a personal interview? I could go on.

I do not accept that what 'The Californian Incident' players did after 1912 is of no relevance, as Sam contends!

Cheers,

Julian
 

Seumas

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Hi Seamus,

Did you mean to refer to 'GROVE'S' outlandish claims rather than 'Stone' in Barratt's book?
Groves, aye ;)

On the whole problem of "the ship that stood still" I find the discussions around it here on ET very interesting but I don't fall in with either side. I of course accept that there was indeed a ship seen from the Titanic which did not answer any of her distress signals or make any effort to join the rescue effort. However as I am completely ignorant of navigation, the ocean's currents, ice on the North Atlantic, the stars, ship handling and so forth I refrain from making any judgement on the identity of the ship and respect both sides of the argument on this topic.

(I think I can hear someone in the back shouting "get off the fence !")
 

Jim Currie

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Groves, aye ;)

On the whole problem of "the ship that stood still" I find the discussions around it here on ET very interesting but I don't fall in with either side. I of course accept that there was indeed a ship seen from the Titanic which did not answer any of her distress signals or make any effort to join the rescue effort. However as I am completely ignorant of navigation, the ocean's currents, ice on the North Atlantic, the stars, ship handling and so forth I refrain from making any judgement on the identity of the ship and respect both sides of the argument on this topic.

(I think I can hear someone in the back shouting "get off the fence !")
Who, me? :eek:

Seriously, Seumas, you don't need to be any of the above to put in your tuppence-worth. It hasn't been an impediment to many who are not as honest as you in admitting their shortage of first-hand knowledge. Sometimes, a fresh look at something followd by a seemingly daft question, opens -up a closed mind.
 

Jim Currie

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Hi Seamus,

Did you mean to refer to 'GROVE'S' outlandish claims rather than 'Stone' in Barratt's book?

Gibson seems to have risen not very high by 1928, after 16 years, to 3rd Officer, then as you rightly note gets a rapid demotion.

... ___ .... ___ ....


There is a telling remark in one of Stanley Tutton Lord's letters to Edward Kamuda of 13th June 1964...

"My father could, when he felt like it, be very severe and intimidating"

From son about his father.

This stuff is all post 1912, as is Captain Lord's 1959 affidavit and the transcripts of the taped recorded interviews of Captain Lord in 1961.

To extend Sam's contention to it's logical conclusion, where does the cut off in time occur in considering the evidence? After Captain Lord's 'Savannah Morning News' article in 1914? Or his 1959 Affidavit? Or Mrs P Gibson showing Leslie Harrison her late husband's MN discharge book in 1963? Or Reade eventually getting a letter out of Stone's son John dated 31st August 1965? Or the late 1990s when researchers became aware of Groves' correspondence with Walter Lord in 1955 to the late 1950s plus a personal interview? I could go on.

I do not accept that what 'The Californian Incident' players did after 1912 is of no relevance, as Sam contends!

Cheers,

Julian
Hello Julian. Why should there be anything "telling" about that remark by Lord's son?

A decent father who has his children's well-being at heart can often be intimidating... particularly when an offspring is trying it on. I would say that the depth of "intimidation" depends very much on the level of behaviour of the offspring.

You wrote: "To see the rockets for himself?! And to get a more detailed report from Stone, given the nonsense about 'company signals' etc"

Nonsense about Company signals?? How do you know that? Do you mean "nonsense!" or non- sense, in that it did not make any sense to you? There is a huge difference, as you know.

Put yourself in Lord's sea-boots.

You are the Captain of a ship. as such, you are very much aware of the Regulations concerning the nature and use of distress signals at sea.
You have left a fully certified Deck Officers in charge of your ship. These Officers are also familiar with the appearance and use of Regulation distress signals. otherwise, they would not have been certified nor would you have left them in charge. The time is twenty five to one in the morning and there has been a vessel stopped about 4 miles away from your ship for about an hour. During that hour, you have heard your bridge officers attempting to call this vessel. They have obviously been unsuccessful. You decide to call the officer currently on duty for an up-date. You are told that all is quiet and the vessel is still in the same position.
About fifteen minutes after your check-up call, the office on duty tells you he has seen a flash n the direction of the nearby vessel which was followed by what seemed to be a white rocket which, after being questioned by you, he describes not being as high as her masthead light. You are also told that the vessel in question has began to change her bearing.
Given the above information and knowing that:
A: A distress signal can be of any colour and rises to a great height above the vessel firing it.
B: A moving vessel does not normally fire a distress signal.
What would be your next thought? Before answering...set aside what you now know and the "noble thing to do".

I wonder what the war record of Gibson would show?

What I do know is that shortly after the Titanic affair, he would have been out of his time... finished his Apprenticeship. Under normal circumstances, he would have been ashore for about 6 months at the end of which, he should have sat for his Second Mate (FG) Certificate. Thereafter, if he passed the exams. he would have gone back to sea as a certificated Third Officer. After that, he would have been caught-up in the war. Even if he did not pass the exams, he might have been given extra sea-time and gone back as an uncertificated Third Officer. He may never have actually passed the 2nd Mate's exam and, not being able to find an uncertificated post, obtained an AB certificate and gone back to sea as such.
 
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That ties-in with Stone's claim that the bearings began to change almost immediately after or at the same time the first rocket was seen. If that had been the case, then what purpose would there have been in Lord going aloft to the upper bridge?
According to what was claimed, Lord asked Stone if what he had seen was a company signal. Stone said he did not know. Well, if not a company signal, then why would a steamer send up rockets, which is what Stone said he told him? So what does Lord do? He tells Stone to call her up via Morse lamp, which had been unsuccessful since 11:30, and when he gets a reply to have Gibson sent down to him. Stone doesn't insist he come topside to see for himself, does he? What Stone was left with was the impression that is Lord was not concerned, then why should I? He essentially admitted as such. Lord himself admitted that he was not satisfied with Stone's answer about it possibly being a company signal. But it seems that he was not really willing to find out despite his 2/O saying that he did not know, yet cause enough concern to Stone for him to call down the tube to report.

The other thing, is that there was no change of bearings until after the 7 rocket was seen by Stone. I really wonder when that story of bearing changes coming at the time of the 2nd rocket was started? After Gibson arrived and was told of 5 rockets being seen, that steamer was still showing a red sidelight. If it had been changing her bearing toward the SW since the 2nd rocket, than it was moving in reverse all that time.
 
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Regarding Gibson's subsequent carrier as a deck officer, he must have had a very good mentor in the way of Herbert Stone. Usually things that occur in later life are greatly affected by things that occurred in early life, not the other way around. I'll state my opinion once again. Stone seems to me to come across as a very passive individual, unwilling to decide for himself, lacking assertiveness in dealing with superiors, and somewhat lackadaisical in performing his duties for reasons previous cited.
 

Jim Currie

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Regarding Gibson's subsequent carrier as a deck officer, he must have had a very good mentor in the way of Herbert Stone. Usually things that occur in later life are greatly affected by things that occurred in early life, not the other way around. I'll state my opinion once again. Stone seems to me to come across as a very passive individual, unwilling to decide for himself, lacking assertiveness in dealing with superiors, and somewhat lackadaisical in performing his duties for reasons previous cited.
Gibson would have served with many 2nd officers during his Apprenticeship. As far as I can tell... at the time in question, he had known Stone for little more than 10 days.
Normally, the 2nd officer was in charge of training the Apprentices. Gibson was 20 years old, and at the end of his training. He was filling -in time as they say in the trade and Stone would simply have been the last of many... memorable only for the fact that they shared the same trauma.
However, if you ask any Deck Officer who served an Apprenticeship about who he remembered clearly during that time, he would immediately tell you..."the first Officers on my first ship during my first trip"
 

Seumas

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What I do know is that shortly after the Titanic affair, he would have been out of his time... finished his Apprenticeship. Under normal circumstances, he would have been ashore for about 6 months at the end of which, he should have sat for his Second Mate (FG) Certificate. Thereafter, if he passed the exams. he would have gone back to sea as a certificated Third Officer. After that, he would have been caught-up in the war. Even if he did not pass the exams, he might have been given extra sea-time and gone back as an uncertificated Third Officer. He may never have actually passed the 2nd Mate's exam and, not being able to find an uncertificated post, obtained an AB certificate and gone back to sea as such.
Jim, I'm intrigued by your mention of "an uncertificated Third Officer". Just out of interest, what's the limitation on the certain kinds of ships a Third Officer minus a certificate would be allowed to serve on ?
 

Jim Currie

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Jim, I'm intrigued by your mention of "an uncertificated Third Officer". Just out of interest, what's the limitation on the certain kinds of ships a Third Officer minus a certificate would be allowed to serve on ?
Halo an sin. Seumas! Or should I say, howzitgawn?

It should be remembered that the 3rd Mate's (or 3rd Officer in posh passenger ships) Watch on a merchant ship was actually the Master's Watch. This was a follow-on from the days of sail when often as not, ships did not have a 3rd. deck Officer of any kind. It was so even in my day.
Very often a 3rd would be uncertificated. I know of at least 2 ships... a cargo ship about the size of Californian and the biggest (at that time) tanker in the world, both of whom had uncertificated 3rd mates.
At the age of 18, I was temporarily promoted to 3rd Officer when our 2nd was sent ashore with the DTs ( a result of the N,. Atlantic convoys experience he couldn't shake) and the then 3rd was promoted to 2nd. I was senior Apprentice at that time.
On the other hand. on Anchor Line passenger ships, which I served on. the minimum certificate for a Deck officer was 2nd Mate (FG) and that was the 4th Officer.
It is very possible that Gibson was uncertified.
 

Jim Currie

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According to what was claimed, Lord asked Stone if what he had seen was a company signal. Stone said he did not know. Well, if not a company signal, then why would a steamer send up rockets, which is what Stone said he told him? So what does Lord do? He tells Stone to call her up via Morse lamp, which had been unsuccessful since 11:30, and when he gets a reply to have Gibson sent down to him. Stone doesn't insist he come topside to see for himself, does he? What Stone was left with was the impression that is Lord was not concerned, then why should I? He essentially admitted as such. Lord himself admitted that he was not satisfied with Stone's answer about it possibly being a company signal. But it seems that he was not really willing to find out despite his 2/O saying that he did not know, yet cause enough concern to Stone for him to call down the tube to report.

The other thing, is that there was no change of bearings until after the 7 rocket was seen by Stone. I really wonder when that story of bearing changes coming at the time of the 2nd rocket was started? After Gibson arrived and was told of 5 rockets being seen, that steamer was still showing a red sidelight. If it had been changing her bearing toward the SW since the 2nd rocket, than it was moving in reverse all that time.
"The other thing, is that there was no change of bearings until after the 7 rocket was seen by Stone."

Not according to Stone:
"
7937. During that time were you talking this matter over with Gibson? A: - No. I was watching the steamer by the compass with my binoculars.
7938. Was the steamer altering her bearing to your vessel during that period of time? A: - Yes, from the time I saw the first rocket.


"
 

Julian Atkins

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We know that Stone did the previous voyage to down south in the USA from Liverpool, plus Groves and Stewart, with Captain Lord on The Californian, due to photographic evidence.

Inger Sheil apparently some years ago had all the crew lists for The Californian. Apparently they were costly to obtain as per Reade when they were at Cardiff, but they are not there anymore.

I would quite like to see them. To see whether ships carpenter McGregor sailed home from Boston, and whether Groves did a further voyage with The Californian. It would tie up quite a few loose ends.

I don't know where the crew records are these days.

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Jim Currie

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We know that Stone did the previous voyage to down south in the USA from Liverpool, plus Groves and Stewart, with Captain Lord on The Californian, due to photographic evidence.

Inger Sheil apparently some years ago had all the crew lists for The Californian. Apparently they were costly to obtain as per Reade when they were at Cardiff, but they are not there anymore.

I would quite like to see them. To see whether ships carpenter McGregor sailed home from Boston, and whether Groves did a further voyage with The Californian. It would tie up quite a few loose ends.

I don't know where the crew records are these days.

Cheers,

Julian
Then something is very wrong, Julian. because Groves said that at the beginning of that voyage, he was signed-on the ship's articles as Second Officer. The only time that a ship had 2 Second officers was if they were signed-on as Junior and Senior 2nd and the ship had 4 Mates. That was a very rare situation and as you know, Californian had but 3 Mates.

Where is the photograph you refer to? I have seen one with Lord seated with Stewart seated to his left and Groves standing behind Stewart. There is an officer standing beside Groves who looks like Stone but his uniform is wrong, he has twin buttons above his jacket lapel... much like a PO in the Carpathia Officers photograph and he is the same height if not slightly taller than Groves. In fact, Stone was but 5 '5" tall and Groves was probably 4 or 5 inches taller than him.