How Far Apart were Titanic and Californian?

Rob Lawes

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Oh yes, in their defense, we are also told that it was Captain Smith's fault for not sending these rockets up at shorter intervals, as if that would have made a difference.
Great Post all round Sam.

On the point about rockets, it amuses me that Titanic allegedly contributed to Californian's in action by not firing their socket signals at the appropriate definition of short intervals for Distress Signals however, Captain Rostron is cast as Satan's first mate for firing rockets 15 minutes apart because other ships may confuse those as..... Distress Signals.
 
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Mila

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What really puzzles me the most is that some people who defend Lord appear to despise Rostron at the same time strength.
Here was a man who until the Titanic disaster, was heading for obscurity...a man who early promotion had passed by.
Here was a man who, despite knowing Titanic had hit an iceberg and needed help, drove his ship full of crew and passengers at full speed on a dark, moonless night toward the ship in distress. Not only that, but while doing so, broke the regulations and was letting of distress rockets and Company signals while keeping virtual wireless silence.
Here was a man who, had it not been for the quick thinking of Titanic's 4th Officer, Joseph Boxhall, would have piled his ship up against a solid barrier of floating ice.
If the word SALVAGE did not enter that man's mind, then he was even more stupid than his actions suggest.
 

Thomas Balck

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This is likely to be my one and only post on this site, so I'll keep the introduction and formalities short and brief.

My name is Tom Balck and I've recently developed an interest in the Californian/Stanley Lord aspect of the Titanic story.

Naturally, I went looking for information on the internet and I ran across the thread "Stanley Lord guilty as charged."

After having sifted through the 147 pages of that thread and subsequent discussions, I've come to some conclusions that I feel might be of value to those of you who have taken, are taking now, and will, in the future, take part in this debate:

(**Disclaimer** I'm perfectly aware that my conclusions will be sure to ruffle some feathers among those of who regularly engage in this discussion, but I judge the truth about this whole affair to be of more value than any potential offense I may cause to any of the participants in this debate.)

1.) First and foremost, the pro-Lord crowd (or Lordites) have once again and unfortunately failed to mount an effective argument in defense of Captain Lord. Their latest attempt (to admit that while the officers of the Californian were in fact seeing the rockets being fired from the deck of the sinking Titanic, they were not actually observing the Titanic but a "mystery ship" and that they and Lord were not in any way negligent in their handling of the situation) is among the least robust Lordite arguments ever made.

The moment at which Lord's defenders state that Stone and Co. were observing the Titanic's rockets the debate is over. There is no question, at that point, that appropriate action that the circumstances demanded should have been taken (wake Evans, have him check the wireless, and then proceed to Titanic's position.)

When one comes to think of it, it actually doesn't matter if Stone was observing the Titanic's rockets or the rockets of some other passing vessel; nor does it matter if he did not recognize them as being distress signals. Stone should have acted in such a way to protect both himself, his shipmates, and his boss from any potential liability in the matter. (I hold nothing against Stone as he was a man of his time and was placed in a difficult situation. It must also be noted that we make pronouncements about what Stone should have done with a century-long temporal advantage that Stone did not have in those sleepy early hours of April 15th, 1912.)

This latest argument, in my mind, is indicative of a dearth of strategic awareness on the part of the pro-Lord crowd and represents a sort of intellectual Hail-Mary i.e., "Throw it up and hope to hell something good happens!"

2.) Secondly, and for a similar reason to number one, the issue of the "mystery ship(s)" is ultimately irrelevant. Even if there were four mystery ships in the area at the time, that still does't change the fact that the Californian failed, for one reason or another, to respond to Titanic's distress signals.

The only purpose the mystery ship(s) serve is to alleviate some, if not all, of the blame from Californian's officers for their failure to engage in proper response measures that night and place on some other, closer vessel and her crew. This issue of the mystery ship(s) is painted as being of some tremendous import when it is really only an increasingly desperate attempt to shift blame on to a stranger just passing by.

(Given that they lack the evidentiary forces necessary to clear Lord of the charge of negligence, it should be expected that the pro-Lord side will continue to focus more and more on the issue of "mystery ship(s)" while engaging in increasingly absurd mental gymnastics to explain away that which does not mesh with their beliefs in this matter.)

3.) While Lord and his underlings may have made mistakes that night, there is no disputing that Lord, in particular, was made to be something of a scapegoat for the disaster that befell the Titanic. While Lord (and Stone) may have made some errors in judgment, to claim that Lord, if properly informed, would have sat idly by and done nothing while a stricken ocean liner with only half the lifeboats necessary for her complement of passengers sank in the middle of the frigid North Atlantic and thereby leaving 1,500 people to die, is simply absurd.

The primary responsibility for the Titanic disaster has always rested with Captain Smith, Thomas Andrews, and J. Bruce Ismay; yet (at least in my experience) Smith, Andrews, and Ismay are treated as more tragic characters.

4.) Regarding the attempt by Lord to cover-up the malfeasance that took place aboard the Californian that night, the politically incorrect truth is that Lord did what many other people would do in that situation: He engaged in a nautical form of CYA. It's not the right thing to do, but this is what people have tendency to do when faced with situations similar to the one Lord found himself in, in the days after the sinking of the Titanic. As another member said in another thread: At some point it becomes about self-preservation and Lord chose to try to save himself.

Those involved in this debate, especially the indignant, self righteous moral crusaders of the anti-Lord crowd, must be very careful about their denunciation of Lord on this point; for they really have no idea what they would do if faced with similar circumstances. One can say, "I would do this/that," but one really must experience this kind of situation to really know how they would respond.

5.) Both sides of this debate possess something of an aversion to nuance (though it must be said that the pro-Lord crowd possesses a greater aversion than does the anti-Lord.) Depending on who you ask, Lord is either an angel who could do no wrong, or someone who is deserving of only censure and certainly not compassion or empathy.

A final note: I find that both sides of this debate also have a tendency to engage in the sanctimonious, self-righteous behavior that I mentioned earlier. It must, however, be said that the anti-Lord side seems to delve into this more frequently. (This, no doubt, owes to their superior position in this discussion; a position that, at the current time, is unassailable for the Lordites and is likely to continue as such for the indefinite future.)

There are other things I could point out, but I do not wish for this piece to be longer than it is already.

Best of luck to all of you in resolving this matter!

Tom E. Balck
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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The problem here is this naming nonsense i.e. "Pro" and "Anti" Lord. The very use of such descriptive terms creates a different approach to the question i.e "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." This subject has several other, more serious problems which prevent any serious conclusions. Among these are:

1. Accusations of failure and/or inefficiency and of lying without production of proof.
2. Inability to provide proof of an accusation due to an inability to understand the technical evidence,
3. Accusation based on the opinions of another. (This one is very prevalent).
4. Reluctance to respond to an argumentative challenge to an accusation which might prove to be unfounded.
5. The use of diversionary tactics when the limit of knowledge or unwanted conclusion may be in sight. (Another one frequently used).
6. The fill-in syndrome whereby in the absence of evidence or knowledge, assumption is used to give the illusion of joined-up thinking.

I suggest to all of you that this thread has now been taken over by all of the above. Allow me to remind you all what the thread is about and suggest an answer which all of you can contribute to...regardless of the level of individual knowledge.

First: The name of this thread is in the form of a question..."How far apart were Titanic and Californian?"

To arrive at an unbiased answer, I suggest that each of you separately and without conferring, find an unbiased knowledgeable source such as an Academy or College or University or some other place of learning and pose the following hypothetical question to them.

On a dark, calm night at midnight, a person stands on top of a 55 feet ( 16.8 meters) high rock (A) in mid-ocean. That person is 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 metres) tall. The air temperature is 32F (0C) and the barometer is 31.2. inches.
At some distance away, a second person, of similar height, standing on top of a similar rock (B) fires a rocket into the sky. His rocket reaches a height of 650 feet above his head and bursts.
At the same moment, a third person is standing on yet another similar rock (C) situated at a distance from A, also fires a rocket. However, that rocket only rises to 400 feet above his head before bursting.

At the moment these two rockets burst, the person on rock A sees them right on his natural horizon

Q1 What is the distance between Rock A and Rock B?
Q2 What is the distance between Rock A and Rock C?

The answer to these questions will give you a minimum and maximum unbiased answer to the question posed in this thread.

As usual, I won't hold my breath. However, I will without reservation, accept proper answers.
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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This is likely to be my one and only post on this site, so I'll keep the introduction and formalities short and brief.

My name is Tom Balck and I've recently developed an interest in the Californian/Stanley Lord aspect of the Titanic story.

Naturally, I went looking for information on the internet and I ran across the thread "Stanley Lord guilty as charged."

After having sifted through the 147 pages of that thread and subsequent discussions, I've come to some conclusions that I feel might be of value to those of you who have taken, are taking now, and will, in the future, take part in this debate:

(**Disclaimer** I'm perfectly aware that my conclusions will be sure to ruffle some feathers among those of who regularly engage in this discussion, but I judge the truth about this whole affair to be of more value than any potential offense I may cause to any of the participants in this debate.)

1.) First and foremost, the pro-Lord crowd (or Lordites) have once again and unfortunately failed to mount an effective argument in defense of Captain Lord. Their latest attempt (to admit that while the officers of the Californian were in fact seeing the rockets being fired from the deck of the sinking Titanic, they were not actually observing the Titanic but a "mystery ship" and that they and Lord were not in any way negligent in their handling of the situation) is among the least robust Lordite arguments ever made.

The moment at which Lord's defenders state that Stone and Co. were observing the Titanic's rockets the debate is over. There is no question, at that point, that appropriate action that the circumstances demanded should have been taken (wake Evans, have him check the wireless, and then proceed to Titanic's position.)

When one comes to think of it, it actually doesn't matter if Stone was observing the Titanic's rockets or the rockets of some other passing vessel; nor does it matter if he did not recognize them as being distress signals. Stone should have acted in such a way to protect both himself, his shipmates, and his boss from any potential liability in the matter. (I hold nothing against Stone as he was a man of his time and was placed in a difficult situation. It must also be noted that we make pronouncements about what Stone should have done with a century-long temporal advantage that Stone did not have in those sleepy early hours of April 15th, 1912.)

This latest argument, in my mind, is indicative of a dearth of strategic awareness on the part of the pro-Lord crowd and represents a sort of intellectual Hail-Mary i.e., "Throw it up and hope to hell something good happens!"

2.) Secondly, and for a similar reason to number one, the issue of the "mystery ship(s)" is ultimately irrelevant. Even if there were four mystery ships in the area at the time, that still does't change the fact that the Californian failed, for one reason or another, to respond to Titanic's distress signals.

The only purpose the mystery ship(s) serve is to alleviate some, if not all, of the blame from Californian's officers for their failure to engage in proper response measures that night and place on some other, closer vessel and her crew. This issue of the mystery ship(s) is painted as being of some tremendous import when it is really only an increasingly desperate attempt to shift blame on to a stranger just passing by.

(Given that they lack the evidentiary forces necessary to clear Lord of the charge of negligence, it should be expected that the pro-Lord side will continue to focus more and more on the issue of "mystery ship(s)" while engaging in increasingly absurd mental gymnastics to explain away that which does not mesh with their beliefs in this matter.)

3.) While Lord and his underlings may have made mistakes that night, there is no disputing that Lord, in particular, was made to be something of a scapegoat for the disaster that befell the Titanic. While Lord (and Stone) may have made some errors in judgment, to claim that Lord, if properly informed, would have sat idly by and done nothing while a stricken ocean liner with only half the lifeboats necessary for her complement of passengers sank in the middle of the frigid North Atlantic and thereby leaving 1,500 people to die, is simply absurd.

The primary responsibility for the Titanic disaster has always rested with Captain Smith, Thomas Andrews, and J. Bruce Ismay; yet (at least in my experience) Smith, Andrews, and Ismay are treated as more tragic characters.

4.) Regarding the attempt by Lord to cover-up the malfeasance that took place aboard the Californian that night, the politically incorrect truth is that Lord did what many other people would do in that situation: He engaged in a nautical form of CYA. It's not the right thing to do, but this is what people have tendency to do when faced with situations similar to the one Lord found himself in, in the days after the sinking of the Titanic. As another member said in another thread: At some point it becomes about self-preservation and Lord chose to try to save himself.

Those involved in this debate, especially the indignant, self righteous moral crusaders of the anti-Lord crowd, must be very careful about their denunciation of Lord on this point; for they really have no idea what they would do if faced with similar circumstances. One can say, "I would do this/that," but one really must experience this kind of situation to really know how they would respond.

5.) Both sides of this debate possess something of an aversion to nuance (though it must be said that the pro-Lord crowd possesses a greater aversion than does the anti-Lord.) Depending on who you ask, Lord is either an angel who could do no wrong, or someone who is deserving of only censure and certainly not compassion or empathy.

A final note: I find that both sides of this debate also have a tendency to engage in the sanctimonious, self-righteous behavior that I mentioned earlier. It must, however, be said that the anti-Lord side seems to delve into this more frequently. (This, no doubt, owes to their superior position in this discussion; a position that, at the current time, is unassailable for the Lordites and is likely to continue as such for the indefinite future.)

There are other things I could point out, but I do not wish for this piece to be longer than it is already.

Best of luck to all of you in resolving this matter!

Tom E. Balck
Hello there, Tom.
First and foremost: This is about the distance separating Californian and the sinking Titanic...not Captain Lord's part in the affair and I am very well aware of the strategy being employed to detract from that fact. As such, I invite you to take the test to determine an undeniable answer.

However, I don't have feathers, in fact, I am a little short on hair. Additionally, I don't take offense easily but I am less than glad when attacked by fools. Having said that, let me hasten to add that I do not consider you to be in any way, foolish. In fact, I enjoyed your well written, scholarly-structured opinion. So much so, that despite its inappropriateness, I make a few observations and ask questions where I think clarification is needed.

No serious investigator has ever doubted that the pyrotechnics seen from Californian came from the Titanic. I would be pleased to learn what your observation " among the least robust Lordite arguments ever made." is based on. You should understand that to make such a statement, it is not simply sufficient to make it but in order to be credible, you must explain what made you make it.

You wrote: "The moment at which Lord's defenders state that Stone and Co. were observing the Titanic's rockets the debate is over." That is certainly true if that moment was about 1 am local time, April, 15, 1912, but it wasn't. Lord et al did not learn of Titanic's plight until it was all over and certainly long after the last signal was seen and ln the wrong (1912) direction. in fact, Lord and his men knew less than we do today.
Let us say that Lord had followed your advice re Evans; in your considered opinion, what direction should Lord have taken? While you mull that over: here's another question for you and others: Why do you think Titanic did not answer Californian's continuous signals for almost 2 and a half hours? After all, there were at least 5 pairs of eyes that we know of and at least 2 sets of binoculars trained on the ship seen from the Titanic throughout (at least) the first hour after she hit the iceberg.

Stone's actions were as the result of his orders and his training. It was not then, and is still not, correct for a Watch Officer to make an arbitrary decision. The Rules were laid down and he followed them. He saw signals which contradicted the rules except for one condition and that was colour. There are no such hours as sleepy ones on the Middle Watch after 8 hours off duty.

You obviously do not understand this "latest argument". If by strategy you mean avoiding giving a direct answer then that shop has a glass door and it was seen coming a long way off. An adversary using such strategy will eventually be exposed as a charlatan.

A captain will only respond to a clearly identified distress call then and now. His duty then was to respond to a cry for help. However, such a cry has to be clearly identified as such before taking a calculated risk and exposing your ship and crew to unforeseen danger. Only the US Cavalry did that in the old days and look what happened to Custer.o_O

In fact, the subjects of a mystery ship and change of bearings were raised in this thread by the so-called Anti Lord mob, not the Pro lot to deter from answering the initial question of separation distance based on the sighting of rockets seen at 3-30am. A prime example of the so-called earlier mentioned, transparent strategy.

Of course it is absurd to believe that Lord sat on his hands while knowing that a ship nearby was sinking. However, it makes a much juicier story than the facts of the case and he was most certainly a Scape Goat. Then as now. Blame was the name of the game "It weren't me Guv!"
In fact, no person was to blame... it lay with an inanimate lump of frozen water which, under normal circumstances, should not have been where it was. If there was any fault at all, it was the fact that Captain Smith assumed the normal and that then ice would move in the way it had always moved during the long years he had followed that route.

As for Lord and the CYA syndrome? If that were the case, why did he not use the sworn affidavits of his officers which would have been corroborative evidence? Why, after he discovered the real distress position, did he not use that in his defense? In fact. Lord made no such attempt to save himself. He petitioned for the right to appear in front of a Court of law and be judged by his fellow men (and women). That right was denied him. Now why do you think that was so?

This will not be liked by some members, but I have to tell you that I know exactly what I would have done confronted with the same problems as those which both Lord and Smith faced, since unlike most, if not all current active members, I have been there seen it, done it and at one time, had a drawer-full of not T-shirts, but uniforms to prove it.
None of us have any idea as to what Lord was like as an individual. I have never heard anyone refer to him as an angel. On the other hand, he has been referred to on this site and others variously as a coward, a liar and even a drunkard. One thing is for absolutely certain and that is that if he was in any way incompetent, he would never have strode the bridge again after the Titanic affair.

As they say, " It's not over until the fat lady sings". To be sanctemonious is to be morally superior. As a former Principal Marine Accident Investigator and Surveyor, I leave that approach to the self- righteous in our midst who value gossip, outrage, and fairy-tales above truth.

Thanks for your input, Tom You have obviously given this a lot of thought so it deserved a response.

Cheers!
 
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Julian Atkins

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Hi Thomas,

I think generally you should have posted your post on the 'Stanley Lord Guilty as charged' thread.

While Lord (and Stone) may have made some errors in judgment, to claim that Lord, if properly informed, would have sat idly by and done nothing while a stricken ocean liner with only half the lifeboats necessary for her complement of passengers sank in the middle of the frigid North Atlantic and thereby leaving 1,500 people to die, is simply absurd.
If I might comment on the above quote from your lengthy post, it contains faulty logic, that is anyway irrelevant to this particular thread.

As to the topic of this thread, I have always considered the evidence that early morning once it was dawn then daylight of the 15th April to be highly relevant as to the distances between The Californian and Titanic. The evidence is perhaps no less conflicting but at least it was in dawn/ daylight, and significant wireless messages were exchanged according to the PVs or other contemporaneous sources.

I have spent the last 2 days (in my spare time) going over all this and the wireless messages. I have checked and had to double check everything.

(from Mila's "screamer")

Cheers,

Julian
 
Nov 14, 2005
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There have been many Inquiry's where those named within it have not been charged. That was not the role of the wreck commissioner's inquiry anyway.

A legacy Coroner's inquiry into the Birmingham pub bombings that took place in the UK in the early 70's has just concluded and in that report it names 5 potential I. R. A. Individuals who may have been involved. It is not the job of the Coroner to charge them, investigate further and bring them to trial. That is the job of the Police and the Prosecutors.

My point is, no charge does not meen no guilt.
I agree with your last statement. But where I was coming from was that Captain Lord had been tried in the press and pilloried in the hearings. But with all of that no legal charges where brought against him. Why? In my opinion there was no there there. Also it would have opened a can of worms that would have made the authorities look bad if it went to trial. As I've said before there were things that could be considered bad judgement. Not wakeing the radio operator to have a listen...ect. But given the situation his ship was in at the time and his lack of experiance with ice covered seas I think he made the right choice to do what he did. If I'm not mistaken he told his people on watch to continue to monitor the situation. Why didn't anyone on watch go and tell the sparks to get up and have a listen? They were more responsable for that than he was. If there was any fault on the Californian I would say it was with the bridge crew on watch. Incompentance. The man had to get to some sack time at some point. It worked out that it was it was not the best time considering. But I don't believe for for a minute that Captain Lord was told "hey Captain theres a liner sinking over there...ok wake me in the morning when the coffee is ready and we'll go have a look" as some here want to suggest. Don't believe it for a minute. We all love a hero and I think Captain Rostron deserves all the credit he was given. He was coming from a different situation and experiance. I don't consider myself pro Lord or anti Lord...just pro experiance that my age has given me. And in my experiance I feel that Captain Lord was unjustley hammered. But all that aside I will admit I'm a bottom line kind of a guy. The bottom line is it wouldn't have made any differance either way. Once they went in the water they were dead. Which is sad to me.
 
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Jim Currie

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I agree with your last statement. But where I was coming from was that Captain Lord had been tried in the press and pilloried in the hearings. But with all of that no legal charges where brought against him. Why? In my opinion there was no there there. Also it would have opened a can of worms that would have made the authorities look bad if it went to trial. As I've said before there were things that could be considered bad judgement. Not wakeing the radio operator to have a listen...ect. But given the situation his ship was in at the time and his lack of experiance with ice covered seas I think he made the right choice to do what he did. If I'm not mistaken he told his people on watch to continue to monitor the situation. Why didn't anyone on watch go and tell the sparks to get up and have a listen? They were more responsable for that than he was. If there was any fault on the Californian I would say it was with the bridge crew on watch. Incompentance. The man had to get to some sack time at some point. It worked out that it was it was not the best time considering. But I don't believe for for a minute that Captain Lord was told "hey Captain theres a liner sinking over there...ok wake me in the morning when the coffee is ready and we'll go have a look" as some here want to suggest. Don't believe it for a minute. We all love a hero and I think Captain Rostron deserves all the credit he was given. He was coming from a different situation and experiance. I don't consider myself pro Lord or anti Lord...just pro experiance that my age has given me. And in my experiance I feel that Captain Lord was unjustley hammered. But all that aside I will admit I'm a bottom line kind of a guy. The bottom line is it wouldn't have made any differance either way. Once they went in the water they were dead. Which is sad to me.
You and others might be interested to know that Lord Mersey had total legal power over all crew members of British Merchant vessels examined by him. These powers involved, including having them incarcerated if necessary. A small example:
"My Lord, there are a number of sub-sections and also of sections and dealing with Part V [ Merchant Shipping Act of 1894 ] which deal with charges against Officers and with their certificates. I do not know whether your Lordship has yet seen the questions, but I may say that there is no charge made in those questions which would involve the cancelling or suspension of certificates of the Officers. The Officers who would be involved in any answers which your Lordship might make, as it occurs to us at the moment, in reply to these questions are Officers who have succumbed in this disaster, and whose certificates cannot be in question." The foregoing was with reference to the Certificates of the officers of the "Titanic" but illustrates the powers available to Lord Mersey under an Act of Parliament. He had these same powers when examining the crew of the Californian but chose not to use them. You and others should ask: given the vilification poured on captain Lord and his Officers. why was not this power used?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>>On a dark, calm night at midnight, a person stands on top of ...<<
Games that some people like to play. Buts lets put some reality into this little game.
To see a flash of light on the horizon, and also to be able to state that it was a rocket that you saw, means that the burst could not have been precisely on the visible horizon line, which is a few minutes of arc below the true horizontal of the observer due to the height of eye of the observer above sea level. The burst would have been at least a few minutes of arc above the observed horizon if that horizon were even visible to the observer on a dark moonless night. If one could measure the angular height of the burst above the horizon line using a sextant, then correct that reading for the dip of the horizon due to the observer's height above sea level, which is always required when taking celestial sights, then you could determine the distance from observer to the vessel that is firing the rocket if you know how high that rocket burst actually took place above the sea. To do that one can use Table 15 from Bowditch which is shown below and includes an explanation on the use of that table.

It should be noted that for a height of eye of about 50 ft, the dip of the visible horizon from the true horizontal is a little less than 7 minutes of arc, less than 1/4 the diameter of a full moon (See figure below), and really imperceptible to an observer, especially since we we told that there was not a clear demarcation as to where the water ended and the sky began when looking from the bridge of a ship that particular night [Lord, Groves]. A burst seen exactly horizontal from the observer, when corrected for dip, would be at an angle of 0° 0' for entry into Table 15. The other needed value to get the distance is the height of the rocket burst above the water. Assuming a burst anywhere from 400 to 500 ft high, the distance comes out to something like 21.8 to 24.7 nautical miles under normal refraction conditions.

If that rocket came from Carpathia, which was about 45 minutes before stopping near the first boat to be picked up, then that boat would have had to be about 8 to 10 miles closer to the observer, putting the distance from observer to the lifeboat between 11.8 and 16.7 miles, depending on just how high the rocket actually burst above sea level, and what was the true average speed of Carpathia during those last 45 minutes before she reached the lifeboat.
CarpathiasRockets2.jpg


Tbl15.gif
 
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Julian Atkins

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Hi Sam,

It was really all about another thread...

Why didn't Titanic see Californian's Morse Lamps

And the 'discussion' between Senan Molony and George Behe,

And the textual analysis in considerable detail by both of Captain Moore's USA Inquiry evidence,

And what Paul Lee quoted and stated at p.232 and 233 of his book 'Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger'.

Senan and George both got it wrong in the above thread...

>The timing of the first visual contact between Mount Temple and
>Californian is clearly implied in an entry in the wireless record of
>Moore’s own vessel:
>5.20 New York Time. (7.06am Mount Temple time) Signal Californian. Wants
>my position. Send it. We are very close.
>(US p.782)

*First* visual contact? It doesn't imply that at all -- it merely tells us that the Mt. Temple's Marconi operator was *told* about the proximity of Cal. and Carp. at 7:06 am and that he transmitted that information at that time. In any case, the Senate Inquiry's quotation of the Mt. Temple's wireless PV is inaccurate. The exact wording for that particular entry is: "Sigs MWL -- Wants my position -- Send it. MPA (Carpathia) & MWL (Californian) in sight." In other words, Carpathia and Californian were both visible to the Mt. Temple at 7:06 am MT time.

>If they are sending each other their positions and consider each other
>close, then they can't bloody see each other at 7.06 MT time, much less
>6am MT time.

The *correct* verbatim transcript of Mt. Temple's wireless PV proves that you're mistaken, since Mt. Temple transmitted her own position to the Californian at 7:06 am MT time while both the Cal. and Carp. were within sight of the Mt. Temple.
This quote is from George's post 39 on 26th November 2000 on the above linked thread. The arrowed bits are quotes from a previous post by Senan. I have highlighted the bits that are 'wrong'.

The "We are very close" is not in Durrant's PV. Senan was wrong about this.

George is then wrong about what he quotes from Durrant's PV of the 5.20 NYT (7.06am Mount Temple ship's time) entry that at that time both The Californian and Carpathia were in sight of the Mount Temple at this time.

In fact the " MPA and MWL in sight" occurs in the next entry of the PV at 6.00 NYT (7.46am Mount Temple ships time).

We know this for sure thanks to Michael Hughes' book 'Titanic Calling', and by virtue of Paul Lee very helpfully supplying a pic of Durrant's actual PV recording all these entries on p.232 of his book.

Then we come to Paul Lee's discussion of this (you will have to refer to his book for this). This is quite interesting but tortuous to follow.

Not only does Paul provide a pic of the Mount Temple PV (which is exactly as stated by Hughes in 'Titanic Calling'), (and you will recall from the above is not what George Behe and Senan Molony stated!), Paul also then provides a 'trump hand' and quotes a newspaper interview Durrant gave reported on 26th April 1912 in the New York Times and Boston Post.

This newspaper report quoted by Paul Lee (to me) has an error in it, missing out the 5.20 NYT (7.06am Mount Temple ship's time) entry, then in effect saying that The Californian and Carpathia were seen 40 minutes after the famous 3.25 NYT (5.11am Mount Temple ship's time, and 5.15am on The Californian) when Evans had been woken up and sent his first wireless message that morning.

However, if you take the 40 minutes from the 5.20 NYT (MT ships time 7.06am) entry in Durrant's PV, then everything falls neatly into place, as 40 minutes later is the PV entry at 6.00 NYT (7.46am MT ships time) "Much jamming MPA and MWL in sight"

I don't know quite what to make of Paul Lee's suggestion that the "MPA and MWL in sight" in the 6.00 NYT entry was a latter addition.

Here is a pic from his book, with all due acknowledgment to Paul Lee

IMG_1031 (2).JPG


(The times in Durrant's PV on the Mount Temple were all in NYT. Add 1 hr 46 minutes to get ship's time Mount Temple, and add 1 hour 50 minutes to get The Californian time).

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Jim Currie

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>>On a dark, calm night at midnight, a person stands on top of ...<<
Games that some people like to play. Buts lets put some reality into this little game.
To see a flash of light on the horizon, and also to be able to state that it was a rocket that you saw, means that the burst could not have been precisely on the visible horizon line, which is a few minutes of arc below the true horizontal of the observer due to the height of eye of the observer above sea level. The burst would have been at least a few minutes of arc above the observed horizon if that horizon were even visible to the observer on a dark moonless night. If one could measure the angular height of the burst above the horizon line using a sextant, then correct that reading for the dip of the horizon due to the observer's height above sea level, which is always required when taking celestial sights, then you could determine the distance from observer to the vessel that is firing the rocket if you know how high that rocket burst actually took place above the sea. To do that one can use Table 15 from Bowditch which is shown below and includes an explanation on the use of that table.

It should be noted that for a height of eye of about 50 ft, the dip of the visible horizon from the true horizontal is a little less than 7 minutes of arc, less than 1/4 the diameter of a full moon (See figure below), and really imperceptible to an observer, especially since we we told that there was not a clear demarcation as to where the water ended and the sky began when looking from the bridge of a ship that particular night [Lord, Groves]. A burst seen exactly horizontal from the observer, when corrected for dip, would be at an angle of 0° 0' for entry into Table 15. The other needed value to get the distance is the height of the rocket burst above the water. Assuming a burst anywhere from 400 to 500 ft high, the distance comes out to something like 21.8 to 24.7 nautical miles under normal refraction conditions.

If that rocket came from Carpathia, which was about 45 minutes before stopping near the first boat to be picked up, then that boat would have had to be about 8 to 10 miles closer to the observer, putting the distance from observer to the lifeboat between 11.8 and 16.7 miles, depending on just how high the rocket actually burst above sea level, and what was the true average speed of Carpathia during those last 45 minutes before she reached the lifeboat.
View attachment 44435

View attachment 44436
Sam: In your anxiety to air your knowledge, you have forgotten the reason for my post No.419. Either that, or you consider your level of understanding above the level of the sources referred to therein. However, in case I am being unfair, and you did miss it, here it is again: "I suggest that each of you separately and without conferring, find an unbiased knowledgeable source such as an Academy or College or University or some other place of learning and pose the following hypothetical question to them."

But who am I to ignore what you have taken the time to write? So let's not waste it.


Gibson very clearly said:

"7596. - It was right on the horizon. Not " Just above it" and answered Yes to 7597. What sort of a light was it? You called it a rocket? Was it a flash; did you see it go up into the sky? " But crucially: he very clearly stated " 7602. When you saw these three further lights did you get your glasses on to the place? - Yes."
You are not a seaman, Sam, if you were, you would immediately recognise what Gibson was describing.

When Gibson or any other seaman used binoculars, they would first look for a distant reference point and adjust the focus. Gibson and Stone, would have done this on several occasions before the last three "flashes" or "rockets" were seen. Under the conditions at 3-20 am that morning, Gibson would have very clearly seen the line of the horizon. He would see a flash, apparently on the horizon and raise his binoculars and look at the horizon and seen the others.
When Lord described a "soft horizon" he was referring to one seen with the naked eye long before midnight. A "soft horizon" was one of the reasons why sextants were supplied with 3 telescopes.

Your use of the Bowditch VSA Table is "cute" but totally inaccurate since A: you employ a guess factor regarding an imaginary VSA. and B: you make no allowance for abnormal refraction due to low temperature and high barometric pressure. The following table would have been used by a seafarer:
Dip table 2019-04-20 001.jpg

From the above, the obvious distances are between31.1 and 33.8 miles and would have been in reality, greater than that due to "much" refraction. In fact, corrections for 30 F and 31.5 inches of barometric pressure would have to be made since the above table is based on 50F and a Barometer of 29.6 inches of pressure. That in itself would result in an increase in refraction of 3.26 minutes of arc to an observed VSA.
 
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Julian,

When Moore was quoting from the PV at Senate investigation, he said:

5.20. Signals Californian. Wants my position. Send it. We are very close.
This is my ship and Californian, sir. When I get him to confirm my position, I ask him if he can give me his position. I understand he is cruising, because after we go up toward him he goes to the south and misses us, passes about a mile off, and then he gets where we came from.

The 'We are very close.' does not appear in the handwritten PV, but appears to be added information from Moore when he testified. The time would be 7:10 Californian time.
Then at 7:50 Californian time would correspond to the Much Jamming. MPA & MWL in sight. This was well after Californian passed Mount Temple about a mile off, and would have been about the time Californian had turned and was heading straight for Carpathia. No mystery here at all. I don't conclude what Paul concluded about the sharpness of handwriting demonstrating that it was added later on.
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Sam,

The point I was attempting to make was that variously Senan Molony and George Behe both misquoted Durrant's PV from the Mount Temple.

And when Captain Moore of the Mount Temple was supposedly quoting from Durrant's PV at the USA Inquiry he also gets it wrong!

Given the gravity of the situation, one might have expected Captain Moore to give a better explanation of what went on via the Mount Temple. Instead it is very imprecise, and quite confusing and one might say vague in the extreme.

That is just my own personal view of course.

Anyway, a Happy Easter Sunday to you all for tomorrow!

Cheers,

Julian
 

Jim Currie

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Happy Easter to everyone.

Now back to the question of the separation distance between the Titanic and the Californian.

Consider the use of morse signaling lamps. We are talking about a "two-way street". Californian was not the only vessel signaling that night...Titanic was doing exactly the same thing, and more to the point, at exactly the same time.

Titanic's
morse signaling lamps (2) were atop her bridge wing cabs...possibly 80+ feet above the sea.
Californian's signaling lamp would likely have been pillar-mounted on top of her uppermost bridge deck and close to 60 feet above the sea.
The lamps of both vessels were, by design, mounted clear of any lights which would impair there use and as far as possible, visible all around.
No one on either ship saw morse being transmitted by light that night despite the fact that there were at least 2 pairs of binocular-assisted eyes staring right at each other.
Now it is not necessary to have been to sea to come to the conclusion that if A did not see B's light signals and vice-versa, despite at least 2 observers on both vessels concentrating binocular-assisted eye directly at each other, then by simple logic, they were not in sight of each other.

In theory, an observer on Titanic's bridge using binoculars should have been able to see Californian's morse lamp at a distance of 19.2 miles and those on the upper bridge of the Californian also vision-assisted, should have seen Titanic's cab lamps at a distance of 18.8 miles. At 4 to 7 miles they could never have been missed by any observer. Most certainly, Gibson would not have seen a "flickering" lamp but a very distinct bright one.
Likewise, if Boxhall was able to see the red sidelight of the vessel near to Titanic with the naked eye, then he would most certainly have seen any signal lamp from that same vessel. He did not.

Think about it!
 
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Mike Spooner

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Its looks to me like what ever Lord have to say in the British inquiry. Lord Mersey has made his mind before the start of the inquiry that captain Lord will be found guilty whether you like or not! As IF ONLY Lord had a top line Barrister for his defence things would of be very different were,, Mersey would never got away with some of his outrageous statements followed by no re-hearing allowed. One can some up the inquiry as a farce for the real true. An scape goat indeed!
 

Jim Currie

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Its looks to me like what ever Lord have to say in the British inquiry. Lord Mersey has made his mind before the start of the inquiry that captain Lord will be found guilty whether you like or not! As IF ONLY Lord had a top line Barrister for his defence things would of be very different were,, Mersey would never got away with some of his outrageous statements followed by no re-hearing allowed. One can some up the inquiry as a farce for the real true. An scape goat indeed!
Hello Mike.

The problem as I see it was as you describe - to a certain extent.

The UK Titanic Inquiry was ordered by the Government of the day. They charged Lord Mersey with the task of finding the answer to twenty four questions, none of which named the SS Californian. In fact in his opening address to Lord Mersey, the Attorney General,stated: "We submit those questions now, not as containing every question which it may be necessary to put; your Lordship has power, and there is power also in the Board of Trade, to supplement those questions at the end of the case which we are presenting to the Court; but they have been carefully considered, and I think it would be convenient if we just referred to them.
My Lord, those are the questions which we submit to the Court at the present moment, and, as I have indicated and as your Lordship will see, by reference to the Rules, we are at liberty at the close of our case to supplement those questions or to modify them if we think fit. "

Concerning extra questions,
The Solicitor General also added: " My Lord, I saw the questions this morning and at present nothing occurs to me; but of course it will be very carefully considered, and if any further questions occur to me as desirable, of course we will lay them before the Court.
The foregoing was on Day 1 ... There was no mention of the SS Californian until Day 7 and that was the day that Captain Lord appeared in front of the Inquiry. At that Time, the Attorney General told Lord Mersey..."I propose therefore to ask them '[Lord and his men] a few questions. I do not propose to go into it at any length, but to ask them on such as would be essential, so that your Lordship will be enabled to form some opinion as to whether or not this story told by the donkeyman is right. At the present moment he is not in England. "
Now read the interrogation in detail. I wonder how long Lord would have been in the dock if the Attorney General had gone to "great length"?

The whole Californian thing was a farce from start to finish and I suggest, pre-judged based on hearsay and newspaper reports. Because the US Inquiry Report was not sent to the Clerk's desk until 28th May and the above took place between 2nd and 15th of May. The man who started it all, Ernest Gill, did not give evidence in the UK until June 4th...almost 3 weeks later.
 
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Julian Atkins

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I agree with Jim's post above, in response to Mike's post 437, though neither have anything to do with the title of this thread.

The only corroborated evidence of where The Californian was prior to Titanic hitting the ice berg is the 5.35pm NYT message send by Captain Lord to Captain Japha of The Antillian also of the Leyland Line of 3 bergs seen at 6.30pm ships time on the evening of the 14th April. The original Marconigram Service Form in Evan's and Captain Lord's own hand survives (somewhere) and has been photographed and is in Booth's book.

The 42 3 as opposed to 42 5 latitude is only a matter of some 2 miles, and bearing in mind Captain Lord was basing all this on noon sightings on the 14th is not particularly significant in itself. The ships log and hydrographic report gave 42 5, but The Antillian message on the evening of 14th, and a message from The Californian to the Olympic (wireless operator Ernest Moore via his USA Inquiry testimony) give 42 3.

As Sam has pointed out many times, there are lots of reasons for accepting the 42 3 latitude, but the 2 mile difference does not solve the puzzle.

I have been quite keen on working backwards from when The Californian got alongside Carpathia, and I have been equally struck by the Louis Ogden pics of The Californian alongside and how far away The Californian was in the well known pic of his that forms the header to this thread, given the limits of photography at the time, and significantly the album note being 8am, not 8.30am.

Groves and Captain Moore can see the Carpathia on the other side of the ice field - why does't Captain Lord see the Carpathia earlier across the ice field, and Captain Rostron not see The Californian earlier across the ice field ?

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Mike Spooner

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The point I am trying to make as much is been made and said of the distance between the two ships, and do a appreciate the amount of research of the ET members have contribute. But in the end of the day in the British inquiry, they are not that much interested, as Lord Mersey has decided the distance for himself and completely ignored the professional seamen statements! To the point he knowns more about sea matters than the ones hold Master or Extra Master certificates!
There is a enough evidence to show the Californian was more than 10 miles from the professional seaman point of view, and not 6-8 miles as Mersey will persist with, and nothing is going to change his mind to!

Mike.
 
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