How and when they got away


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Dan Cherry

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Erik,
yes, I am pretty much convinced that boat 7 was in the water before the first rocket was launched. The timeline seems to be as follows:

1. Boat 7 was launched
2. Quartermaster Rowe rings the bridge from the docking bridge at the stern, reporting a lifeboat in the water. The officer (Boxhall?) tells Rowe to bring rockets forward to the bridge.
3. Rowe goes to a locker on C deck (I presume under the docking bridge - there's a staircase under the stairs to the aft bridge) and retrieves rockets.
4. Rowe takes the rockets to the bridge, sets them up and fires the first off, my guess, about 5 to 15 minutes after boat 7 was launched. It takes a few minutes to do below deck and then traipse some 750-800 feet forward with a box of rockets.

Any thoughts?
 

Erik Wood

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Dan,

Quartermaster Rowes testimony says he launched the rockets at 20 minutes after one. That is what he said. So if that his true then Boat 7 could have left at 1245.

Your Thoughts,

Erik
 

George Behe

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Dan Cherry wrote:

>1. Boat 7 was launched
>2. Quartermaster Rowe rings the bridge from the >docking bridge at the
>stern, reporting a lifeboat in the water. The >officer (Boxhall?) tells
>Rowe to bring rockets forward to the bridge.
>4. Rowe takes the rockets to the bridge, sets >them up and fires the
>first off, my guess, about 5 to 15 minutes after >boat 7 was launched.

Hi, Dan!

I believe Rowe testified that rockets were stored on the bridge as well as in the locker aft. Indeed, Boxhall was just returning the firing lanyard to the bridge (apparently after firing a rocket) when Rowe phoned him at 12:48 a.m.

Rowe seems to have set his watch back the prescribed 23 minutes at midnight, which means that his phone call apparently took place at 12:48 a.m. "unadjusted ship's time" instead of at 12:25 a.m. (as Rowe testified.) That means that Boxhall's rocket was fired at approximately 12:47 a.m. and that the first lifeboat (#7) had been launched a few minutes before that time.

Rowe was ordered to stop firing rockets at about 1:48 a.m. "unadjusted ship's time" (instead of 1:25 a.m. as he testified) and get into Collapsible C, which left the ship at around 2 a.m.

All my best,

George
 
Jul 9, 2000
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My, but hasn't this been a busy thread today? ;-)

I think Georges point about Rowe setting his watch back help's explain some of the ambiguity concerning the times of Boat 7 being launched and the firing of the rockets. An interesting question...and one probably impossible to answer with any certainty is who else adjusted their watches and who didn't?

Erik, I have Titanic, Legacy Of The World's Greatest ocean Liner which I beleive is the book you described. I think you'll find it to be an excellant resource, especially in regards to the exploration of the wreck site. On pages 192-201 are deck plans of the ship, including photos of revised plans printed 11 days befor she set sail on her maiden voyage.

Oh and thanks for the information on the davits. I wasn't aware of them still being in use to this day. As to the loading scheme on the Titanic backfiring, I think it partly bears out what I said on a different strand about communications being one of the first casualties of the disaster, that and the general unfamiliarity of the crew with their own ship coming back to haunt them. The word just didn't get out when it needed to, and when it did, nobody knew how to open those bloody windows.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Erik Wood

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Michael,

I do agree and I strongly dislike those davits. I think that Lightoller sent someone or someones to find a key to the windows. He also began to tell passengers to go down there to get into the boat. That might explain why the first boat lowered by Lightoller left so empty. I have a correction to make to my comment in the Capt Smith board. I wrote that his decision making was limited and although he told Rowe and Boxhall to go the boats after telling Wilde, and Lightoller to uncover them those where really his only decisions that he made. Other then the one with Bride.

Others,

I forgot about the watch thing and you are right Rowe and him stopping the fireing a 0125. Not starting at that time.

Erik

Erik
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hi Erik, from what I've seen in the transcripts, a reason Lightoller stated for lowering boats only partly filled was his beleif that loading them fully was dangerous. Threat of buckling and all that. Later on, when he realised the gravity of the situation, he started to "take more chances"(His words)

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Erik Wood

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Michael,

Didn't Lightoller tell the boats to stand by the after doors to take on more passengers later. I believe that Pitman may have said something along those lines but I will look. I can see loading boat to fifty and not 65 because of weight but I don't know about 30 or 40. I would like to think that I would have packed them to capacity. But still Lightoller wasn't privy to what Smith, Andrews, Ismay and I believe Murdoch already knew. Certainly Boxhall had a good bit of knowledge.

Erik
 

Dan Cherry

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The other source I read about the rocket/boat 7 discussion was in Lord's The Night Lives On, pages 248-249 (1st edition). At about 12:25 a.m., accordin to testimony, Rowe was ordered to bring detonators to the bridge for firing distress signals (Rowe, US 519). Rowe assisted in firing of rockets from 12:45 to about 1:25 (Rowe, Br 17684) At that time he was ordered by Smith to help man boat C (Rowe, US 519).
According to Pitman, Boats 7 & 5 were launched before the first rocket was fired (US 289, 293, 307). George, you say that Boxhall fired a rocket before Rowe made it to the bridge? Were the rockets stored in the box or trunk fixture on the aft side of the starboard wing cab bulkhead? If Boxhall had a box of rockets at the bridge, he must have thought they had enough time to fire off a his and Rowe's rockets to gain the attention of the mystery ship...it seems strange because at the time they thought the ship they could see was just several miles away and, wouldn't 2 or 3 rockets, at most, have grabbed their attention. Of course, as they fired them it became apparent the ship wasn't coming to their aid. What a let-down...
 
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Erik, I beleive the answer to your question in regard to Lightollers orders is "Yes", but like so meny plans that were hatched, nothing came of it. The doors never got opened, nobody got the A deck windows open, none of the lifeboats came back when Captain Smith tried to recall them for fear of the suction which never in fact materialised...a nice high seas Chinese Fire Drill which the Marx brothers would have loved! My impression of Lightoller was that he was not, as you suspect, in-the-know as to how much trouble the ship was in. He figured it out on his own.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Erik Wood

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Dan,

Also in Rowes testimony he says that he was told to come to the fore bridge to assist in the firing of rockets and bring more. Which leads me to believe that Boxhall had already started the process. I still think boats or boat first and then rockets. Even if Rowe had called just after Smith ordered the boats uncovered and swung out it would be a good 15 to 20 minutes one would think before he left his post got what he needed set up what he had and then fired rockets. Just a thought.

Michael,

I think Lightoller is my Titanic hero as far a officers are concerned. Between him Moody, and Wilde. But mostly Lightoller. I think whether Smith called for the boats to come back and whether they heard him or not is matter for me to investigate. What are your thoughts.

Erik
 

George Behe

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Dan Cherry wrote:

>The other source I read about the rocket/boat 7 discussion was in Lord's
>The Night Lives On, pages 248-249 (1st edition). At about 12:25 a.m.,
>accordin to testimony, Rowe was ordered to bring detonators to the
>bridge for firing distress signals (Rowe, US 519). Rowe assisted in
>firing of rockets from 12:45 to about 1:25 (Rowe, Br 17684) At that time
>he was ordered by Smith to help man boat C (Rowe, US 519).

Hi, Dan!

Your last sentence is another indicator that Rowe had set his watch back 23 minutes at midnight, since Collapsible C was not being readied for lowering at 1:25 a.m. (much less ready to be manned by Rowe or anyone else.) Rowe seems to have reached the bridge and *begun* firing rockets at about 1:08 a.m. "unadjusted ship's time," (which was 12:45 a.m. "adjusted ship's time.") Smith ordered Boxhall to stop firing rockets and get into boat #2 at about 1:45 a.m., and it's probable that he ordered Rowe to stop firing rockets and get into Collapsible C at about the same time (1:25 a.m. "adjusted ship's time" being 1:48 a.m. "unadjusted ship's time" -- three minutes after Boxhall entered #2.) As I mentioned elsewhere, we know that Collapsible C was still being loaded with passengers while Collapsible D was being hooked up to the falls (after 1:50 a.m.), and all evidence points to a launch time of about 2 a.m. for Collapsible C.

>According to Pitman, Boats 7 & 5 were launched before the first rocket
>was fired (US 289, 293, 307). George, you say that Boxhall fired a
>rocket before Rowe made it to the bridge?

That seems to have been the case, since Boxhall specifically said that he was in the process of returning the firing lanyard to the bridge when Rowe phoned the bridge and reported a lifeboat in the water.

>Were the rockets stored in the
>box or trunk fixture on the aft side of the starboard wing cab bulkhead?

I'm afraid I don't know; I don't believe Rowe specified exactly where the bridge rockets were stored.

>If Boxhall had a box of rockets at the bridge, he must have thought they
>had enough time to fire off a his and Rowe's rockets to gain the
>attention of the mystery ship...

I agree.

>....it seems strange because at the time
>they thought the ship they could see was just several miles away and,
>wouldn't 2 or 3 rockets, at most, have grabbed their attention.

IMO, the rockets *did* grab their attention. Stone and Gibson (on board the Californian) saw the rockets clearly, but -- tragically -- they just didn't do much with that knowledge.

>Of
>course, as they fired them it became apparent the ship wasn't coming to
>their aid. What a let-down...

I had to smile when I read that, Dan -- you're a true master of understatement. What a let-down indeed! :)

Take care, old chap.

All my best,

George
 
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Hi Erik, and investigate away. Smith's attempt to recall the lifeboats isn't exactly an unknown, though I'll have to go into my own decidedly limited source material to get the lowdown when I have time.

I don't know if I'd call Lightoller a hero,(More like a man trying to figure things out on the fly in a bad spot with little hard information.) I don't know that he would have cosidered himself a hero either, but he certainly seems to have been a resourceful enough chap. I certainly don't question his courage. His conduct at Dunkirk pretty much supports that. Evacuating soldiers trapped by the Nazi Wermacht with only a small overloaded and unarmed yacht was pretty gutsy.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Erik Wood

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Michael,

I read in the Haas and Eaton book as well as Triumph and Tragedy, as well as the Illustrated History says that he did recall the boats but to they did not listen.

I don't think Lights considered himself a hero but he did do a lot couragous things that night as well keep his cool for the most part when he knew that he was facing death possibly as well as turned down an opportunity to get into a boat. Instead he froze in the water and stood stradling an over turned life boat. Then piled into another lifeboat that was then overloaded by 10 and brought her alongside Carpathia. Then as you mentioned there was Dunkirk.
 

Dan Cherry

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George,
thank you for helping me to sort out and understand the boat 7/rockets timeline. It is truly appreciated!

Regards,
Dan
 
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Bill DeSena

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Hi All!

i have been looking over the occupants of the boats and was quite surprised at how many seem to be crew. I was wondering what you think about having loaded the paying passengers before the bakes and stewards as at the least good PR move. Don't you think more of the passengers would have been saved if the company had a policy about who gets in first?

Just another one of those Titanic what ifs.

Thanks
Bill
 
Jul 9, 2000
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G"Day Bill, it might have helped if they had a policy to begin with. Oh, they had crew assignments, but few seemed to bother reading them, and the big problem was getting crewmen who were competant to man the boats in the first place. The officers doing the loading had to make do with whoever they could get their hands on.

Hmmmmmm....would have been a bigger PR plus if they had actually loaded the boats all the way too.
 

Pat Cook

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Dear Bill and 'Flash' (Ah ha, Michael, I found you on another website!)

Here I tend to wonder if the memory of the Republic came into play - the idea of loading up the boats with competent men, then passengers and then 'ferrying' them to another ship and returning for more.

Best regards,
Cook
 
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Cátia Lamy

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Hi!

I'd only like to say a thing.
It's almost sure that if there would be more lifeboats MAYBE it would be time to launch one or two more boats tops. this would give life to more 120 people right? But! even if they weren't launch with people, the simply idea of a boat floating around like Collapsible A would save some more lifes. And more boats would mean less lost of lifes, even that way probably some people would die on the boats, friezing after jump or fell down into water or even after they went down with the ship and got into the boat afterwards. But a boat floating with no one inside would be a great help for those "1523" who were on the water when Titanic sank.
Now I believe that some more boats would save much more lifes and this way maybe some more boats would come back EARLIER to get swimmers because there wouldn't be so many people on the water and the danger would be minor, and once more this would cause less deaths.

This is pretty much it,
Cátia Lamy
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hey Pat, where did you find my old nickname? It had to be on a Ranger website...Chuck's Place perhaps?

Catia: While more lifeboats would have made a difference(MAYBE) it would have been far more helpful if they had made the most of what they had available to begin with. What they didn't know, or bother reading as well as bad communications and poor organisation likely killed far more people then the lack of boats did. I'm sure 500 more could have been saved if they had filled them to capacity.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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