How Far South did the Titanic Reach?

Jim Currie

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It is a fact...not a wish to make it so...but a fact that the crew time was retarded approximately 24 minutes from unaltered April 14th ship's time. It is also a fact that Titanic maintained that unaltered time for the management of routine duties like the compass evolutions Boxhall performed just a minute or so prior to impact on the iceberg. So, both references were in use at the moment Titanic met the iceberg. It baffles me as to why this simple arrangement is so difficult for some people to understand.

The extra time that evening amounted to 47 minutes, split more-or-less evenly between the on-duty Starboard Watch and the Port Watch below. What we know for a fact is that the day/date of April 14th did not end at 12:00 o'clock, but continued on for another 47 minutes to 12:47 o'clock. Halfway between 12:00 and 12:47 had to come the crew's midnight change of watch. As I have said before, I divide that with 24 minutes to the Starboard and 23 minutes of extra duty to the Port. Others reverse the big and little halves, but it's of no consequence. Here's how it worked out in unaltered April 14th hours:

11:54 Seven Bells of Starboard Watch
12:00 Boxhall assisted by Olliver perform 48th compass evolution of April 14
12:04 Impact on iceberg (11:40 crew)
12:09 Wakeup call for Port watch below (1 bell sounded in forecastle)
12:24 Eight bells -- Crew Change of Watch (Bells probably not sounded due to emergency)
12:27 First CQD sent (10:25 NYT)
12:30 Compass evolution by Port Watch
12:47 Becomes 0:00 April 15th -- Change of Day and date
12:30 One Bell of Port Watch

If you note above the ship's bells by which the crew accounted for their Watch and by which they changed Watches was not in synchronization with unaltered April 14th hours at the moment of impact on the iceberg. No matter when it was done, the crew clocks had been adjusted to reflect the need for 8 bells to sound at 12:24 in unaltered time thus signifying the end of the Starboard Watch tour on deck and the beginning of the Port Watch. Let's look at the above chronology, but this time add in crew clock time.

11:54 Unaltered = 11:30 crew time (seven bells)
12:00 " = 11:36 " " Boxhall assisted by Olliver perform 48th compass evolution of April 14
12:04 " = 11:40 " " (Impact on iceberg)
12:09 " = 11:45 " " (wakeup bell in forecastle)
12:24 " = 12:00 " " Change of Watch ("Midnight" for crew)
12:27 " = 12:03 " " First CQD
12:30 " = 12:06 " " Compass evolution by Port Watch (49th of April 14th)
12:47 " = 12:24 " " Change of Watch all clocks reset to April 15th hours
00:00 " = 00:00 " " Beginning day/date/hours April 15th
00:30 " = 00:30 " " Compass evolution by Port Watch

As to time kept by the off-duty junior officers, they had no need of observing crew hours. What they had to do was nip to their cabins for as much sleep as they could get. Don't forget, they worked watch-and-watch. The resetting of clocks on a westward passage robbed them of valuable bunk time. The call to come on duty would come no matter what time they kept on any personal timepiece. And, they had need to keep unaltered April 14th time for their duties during their early minutes on deck. Note the 12:30 compass check (12:06 crew time) was still required under the still-existing unaltered April 14th ship's time. Remember, routinely scheduled ship's business such as those compass comparison evolutions, reading of the log, taking of the air and water temperatures, etc. all took place every half hour.

-- David G. Brown

Hello David,

The WSL Log books were, as were ours, divided horizontally. Each line represented an hour..from 1 o 12 Noon and from 1 to 12 Midnight. The middle of the page was reserved for the Noon up date and included Noon DR and Fix position, Patent Log reading and Course and distance made good. Total clock alteration were noted at Midnight. However that did not mean that the total clock adjustment was made at that time. It simply indicated that a total clock adjustment had been made during the 24 hours covered from Noon on the date of the page on the Log Book until Noon the next day. it did not necessarily mean that for instance that April 14 was 24 hours,47 minutes long. In fact, that calendar day was 24 hours, 24 minutes long. It included one 1 Midnight to 4 am Watch 22 minutes long and one 8 to 12 Watch 8 to 12 Watch which was 4 hours 24 minutes long.
By the same token, if Titanic's course and speed was to be kept the same during April 15 . that Log Book Day would include one Midnight to 4 am which was 4 hours 23 minutes long and one 8 am to Midnight Watch which would have been 4 hours 24 minutes long.
 
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How many QM's were there who stood watch at the wheel ?
Did they stand watch and watch in the same manner as the officers ?
 

Rob Lawes

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There were 6 QM's. Three per watch.

They would work about a spell on the wheel, a spell as standby QM who ran messages and assisted the officers in carrying out compass checks etc, the third would keep watch on the quarter deck passing log readings to the bridge among other duties.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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David, the date on board ship changed when 8 bells were struck at the midnight change of watch and a new logbook page was started.

How many QM's were there who stood watch at the wheel ?
Did they stand watch and watch in the same manner as the officers ?
The ship carried 6 QMs divided into two groups of three each. Each group served the same watch schedule as the deck crew and the junior officers, 4 hours on followed by 4 hours off. On Titanic, the two groups were: Hichens, Olliver and Rowe; and in the other group it was Perkis, Wynn and Bright.
During a 4 hour watch, the QM who was at the wheel the last time they were on watch would be stationed out on the poop. The other two QMs would then take turns at the wheel each taking a two hour trick. While one was at the wheel, the other would be at standby to take messages and perform other duties such as recording the log reading from the QM out on poop at the end of the two hours, striking ship's bells every 1/2 hour, taking water and air temp readings, calling the off duty officers 15 minutes before they are due on watch, etc.
 
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Hello David,

The WSL Log books were, as were ours, divided horizontally. Each line represented an hour..from 1 o 12 Noon and from 1 to 12 Midnight. The middle of the page was reserved for the Noon up date and included Noon DR and Fix position, Patent Log reading and Course and distance made good. Total clock alteration were noted at Midnight. However that did not mean that the total clock adjustment was made at that time. It simply indicated that a total clock adjustment had been made during the 24 hours covered from Noon on the date of the page on the Log Book until Noon the next day. it did not necessarily mean that for instance that April 14 was 24 hours,47 minutes long. In fact, that calendar day was 24 hours, 24 minutes long. It included one 1 Midnight to 4 am Watch 22 minutes long and one 8 to 12 Watch 8 to 12 Watch which was 4 hours 24 minutes long.
By the same token, if Titanic's course and speed was to be kept the same during April 15 . that Log Book Day would include one Midnight to 4 am which was 4 hours 23 minutes long and one 8 am to Midnight Watch which would have been 4 hours 24 minutes long.
Hello Jim, nice to read this.
When I started my occupation with Titanic somewhat 15 years ago, I assumed as a matter of course, based on Hichens evidence (23 minutes in one watch, 24 minutes in the other), the evening watch lasted from 8 pm. til 12.23 am,
and the midnight watch lasted from 12.00 am. (partly altered time!) til 4.24 am. The 4 am to 8 am watch would start at 4 am (full altered time).
This would assure that the people during one watch use the same time only once and not twice. If I where the one to arrange this I would do so and nothing else.
If some extraordinary event occures at 12.10 unaltered time it would be reported in the line which represents 11 to 12 midnight.
If some other Event occures at 12.14 altered time during the 12 to 4 watch it would be reported in the line which represents the hour from 12 to one.
Please correct me if I got something wrong until now.

Now we have to deal with Lightoller, who said: The clocks are set at midnight, but that is for the approximate noon position of the following day. Therefore Sunday noon the clocks will be accurate.

Do we have to take this literally, i.e. the full adjustment was made around midnight, be it split or not,
or can we take it with a grain of salt, that means, the first part of the alteration was made midnight 12.23 back to 12.00.
The further details of second adjustment at 4 am did not matter for Senator Smith's question about ships time.

So far my ideas and questions.
(BTW, I did my national Service in the navy (Bundesmarine), we had the 4 hour watches and the dog watches.
The clocks however were only changed once to GMT when we were at sea, what we called NATO-time.)
 
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May 3, 2005
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To Jim , Samuel , Marcus, Rob and the other Titanic experts on this website,

I must confess that the subject of watches is about out of my understanding.
My Naval experience is very limited. I only served in the U.S. Navy for 4 years, and only 3 years of that sea duty, but never stood a watch. So I am totally ignorant of the mechanisms of watches and watch standing. Please accept my apologies for my ignorance.

I shall revert to my observation mode and enjoy !
 
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Nov 26, 2016
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To Jim , Samuel , Marcus, Rob and the other Titanic experts on this website,

I must confess that the subject of watches is about out of my understanding.
My Naval experience is very limited. I only served in the U.S. Navy for 4 years, and only 3 years of that sea duty, but never stood a watch. So I am totally ignorant of the mechanisms of watches and watch standing. Please accept my apologies for my ignorance.

I shall revert to my observation mode and enjoy !
Hi Robert, from the principle it is not so difficult.
The staff of a ship is divided in two groups, called port and starbord watch. That does not mean that these peope have to stay at port or starboard side. These are only names to call them out, "starbord watch get ready for duty." I don't know the wording in US, on german ships they say: "die Steuerbordwache sich klarmachen" (get ready) or "Steuerbordwache auf Station" (get on duty)

The watches take normally 4 hours, but there are 2 dog watches with 2 hours only.
The sequence is:
midnight-4am, 4-8am, 8am-noon, noon-4pm,
4-6pm, 6-8pm (the two dogwatches), 8pm-midnight, that's it.
The dog watches have the purpose to switch the groups daily on alternative watch times.
Otherwise the same group is always on duty from 8pm-midnight and from 4-8am.

About the time setting:
When a ship is going west or east the ships time is changed every day according to the progress of longitude.
Steaming at 22 knots the Titanic crossed every day 11 to 12 degrees of longitude, therefore the ships time need to be changed every day by about 44 to 48 minutes.
In the times of Captain Bligh this was done at noon, the 8am-noon watch ended when the sun was to be seen in the Zenith, the highest position.
On passanger ships it is not convenient to change ships time at noon by odd number of minutes.
The clock alteration was done in the night and distributed on two watches to allow each watch a lenghtening or shortening of their duty times.

Because the collision on Titanic occured near the time of first (or second?) clock change, there is some confusion.
Members of watch to be relieved use old time before change, members of relieving watch use partly old time before change or new time after change.

Titanologists want to get events in proper chronologie, therefore they "urgently" need to find out who is telling in which time.
Each testimony has to be checked about what time the witness is using.

and..not to forget... two titanologists come up with three theories ...
 
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Also , I would guess that service on a ship such as Titanic would be quite different from that in the military, on a Navy vessel.
 
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The IMM/White Star rules allowed captains to begin making time changes at 10 p.m. and required these changes be finished by 6 a.m. While not mentioned, there is a logical reason for setting these limits. They allowed captains to avoid giving any extra on-duty time to the chief officer. This is the logic I see behind Paragraph 259 which governed “Ship’s Time.”

On a westbound trip, the crew clocks could be set back at 10 p.m. This setback would be half the total amount. When the crew clocks came round to 10 p.m. four bells would sound. The second officer would then have served his half of the extra time from 10:00 to 10:24 in unaltered April 14th hours. He would then be relieved by the first officer who would serve his half of the extra time after the crew's midnight change of watch with the oncoming Watch. The most senior of the deck officers, the chief officer, escaped any extra duty.

Eastbound, the rules allowed captains to move the change so that the first and second officers served less duty than the second officer. Going east those two senior deck officers served less than a full four hour shift while the lower ranking second officer took a full watch.

It is not conjecture to say that rank has its privileges in a military or quasi-military organization. Senior officers just don’t serve extra duty when there is a qualified junior officer available. Mike Standart probably knows a more inelegant way of describing what rolls downhill. Anyway, most of the officers were Royal Navy trained and/or Reservists. The company even patterned its officer uniforms off the Royal Navy. And many of the ratings and seamen were ex-Royal Navy men.

Now let's look at quartermaster Hichens testimony. Just before four bells Hichens would have awakened the first officer just as he said. After all, Mr. Murdoch was due on deck in 15 minutes.

Hichens correctly stated that he served 1 hour and 40 minutes prior to impact on the iceberg. Two quartermasters were assigned to each Watch. Normally, they each stood a two hour trick at the wheel. Hichens was the “runner” quartermaster from the start of the watch until four bells. He then took the wheel at 10 o’clock crew time. One hour and forty minutes later, Titanic met the iceberg at 11:40 o’clock in crew time (11:40 crew = 12:04 unaltered April 14th hours).

As I’ve said many times, unaltered April 14th time continued being observed for routine scheduled tasks such as the compass checks. This required keeping time on two separate clocks in the wheelhouse. Hichens was scheduled to be relieved at the crew’s midnight change of watch. Under my division of the 47 extra minutes, that took place at 12:24 o’clock in unaltered April 14th hours. Hichens stated 12:23, which is near enough to be the same time. Note that 12:23 or 12:24 = crew midnight change of watch. Hichens spent only two hours at the wheel that night.

As to the “the clock,” I am certain Hichens took that to mean the official ship’s time and not so much a particular instrument. Official ship's time was almost certainly not set back the full 47 minutes that night due to the iceberg accident. From Hichens statement about when he was relieved we know it did not happen prior to his quitting the wheelhouse to prepare lifeboats, etc.

-- David G. Brown
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Clocks were not changed at 10 p.m. but at midnight. This is clear from all the different WSL publications of that time period!
If there was a clock change at 10 p.m. why did Lightoller did not mentioned it???

Hichens at others were clear the set back of the clock would have been done in two part after midnight (Hichens was relieved from the wheel at 12:23 unaltered time).
 
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The IMM/White Star rules allowed captains to begin making time changes at 10 p.m. and required these changes be finished by 6 a.m. While not mentioned, there is a logical reason for setting these limits. They allowed captains to avoid giving any extra on-duty time to the chief officer.
Now let's look at quartermaster Hichens testimony. Just before four bells Hichens would have awakened the first officer just as he said. After all, Mr. Murdoch was due on deck in 15 minutes.

Hichens correctly stated that he served 1 hour and 40 minutes prior to impact on the iceberg. Two quartermasters were assigned to each Watch. Normally, they each stood a two hour trick at the wheel. Hichens was the “runner” quartermaster from the start of the watch until four bells. He then took the wheel at 10 o’clock crew time. One hour and forty minutes later, Titanic met the iceberg at 11:40 o’clock in crew time (11:40 crew = 12:04 unaltered April 14th hours).

As I’ve said many times, unaltered April 14th time continued being observed for routine scheduled tasks such as the compass checks. This required keeping time on two separate clocks in the wheelhouse. Hichens was scheduled to be relieved at the crew’s midnight change of watch. Under my division of the 47 extra minutes, that took place at 12:24 o’clock in unaltered April 14th hours. Hichens stated 12:23, which is near enough to be the same time. Note that 12:23 or 12:24 = crew midnight change of watch. Hichens spent only two hours at the wheel that night.
-- David G. Brown
Some remarks and conclusions:
Now let's look at quartermaster Hichens testimony. Just before four bells Hichens would have awakened the first officer just as he said. After all, Mr. Murdoch was due on deck in 15 minutes.
four bells, ist that 10.23 unaltered time?
As I’ve said many times, unaltered April 14th time continued being observed for routine scheduled tasks such as the compass checks. This required keeping time on two separate clocks? in the wheelhouse.
Is there a source, a photo from Olympic available? Hichens is supposed to steer and nothing else. Fore sure he will not leave the wheel for compass check, and I can not imagine that he has to observe the second clock as well to remind the standby quatermaster to the compass check. Two Junior officers and the standby quartermaster are sufficent staff for performing the compass check.
Hichens stated 12:23, which is near enough to be the same time. Note that 12:23 or 12:24 = crew midnight change of watch. Hichens spent only two hours at the wheel that night.

Hichens said in the US-enquiry:
At 10 o'clock I went to the wheel, sir. Mr. Murdoch come up to relieve Mr. Lightoller. I had the course given me from the other quartermaster, north 71 west, ...
All went along very well until 20 minutes to 12, when three gongs came from the lookout, ...
...
Mr. HICHENS. Capt. Smith, sir, to Mr. Murdoch; "Close the emergency doors." Mr. Murdoch replied, "The doors are already closed." The captain sent then for the carpenter to sound the ship. He also came back to the wheelhouse and looked at the commutator in front of the compass, which is a little instrument like a clock to tell you how the ship is listing. The ship had a list of 5' to the starboard.
Senator SMITH. How long after the impact, or collision?
Mr. HICHENS. I could hardly tell you, sir. Judging roughly, about 5 minutes; about 5 to 10 minutes. I stayed to the wheel, then, sir, until 23 minutes past 12. I do not know whether they put the clock back or not.

Are you sure that he refered to different times when saying "20 minutes to 12" and "23 minute past 12."?
Let's go case by case:
He got the time from his own watch: 43 minutes between collision and beeing relieved
He got the time from clock, which he did'nt know whether it was set back:
Clock not set back or set back before 11.40: again 43 minutes between collision and beeing relieved
Clock set back after collision, before 12:23:
In that case 12.23 altered equals 12.46 unaltered: 20+23+23 = 66 minutes between collision and beeing releived

I am afraid I have to say, there is no way to squeeze Hichens testimony in that way that he was releived before 12.23 unaltered time.
Hichens spent 2 hours 23 minutes at the wheel.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Markus -- think about it logically. The Port Watch came on deck at "midnight" change of watch to find their ship dead stopped and in distress. The Starboard Watch was kept on deck and working together the crew began getting lifeboats ready for launching. The crew's "midnight" change of watch took place at 12:23/12:24 per unaltered April 14th time. Hichens spoke the truth about when he was relieved at the wheel.

The fact that he was relieved at 12:23 per unaltered time does not prove how long he was on duty. It only proves that the "midnight" change of watch -- 8 bells for the crew -- came at the predicted time halfway between 12:00 and 12:47 o'clock in unaltered April 14th hours. That's when the crew had to change in order for the Starboard and Port Watches to each serve half of the extra 47 minutes.

To determine how long Hichens was at the wheel we have to look at both the times he quoted and the events surrounding those times. Hichens would have worked as the "runner" from the start of the Starboard Watch until four bells. That was 10:00 o'clock for the crew. He participated in several activities such as obtaining the log reading and air/water temperatures which took place on the hour in unaltered time. These duties would have been done prior to 10:00 in April 14th time. And, we know from his testimony that he was still on duty at quarter to ten in crew time when he alerted Murdoch to prepare for coming on duty. Logically, Murdoch took over after Lightoller had worked off his half of the 47 extra minutes. That puts Murdoch on deck at 10 o'clock plus 23/24 minutes and this establishes that four bells sounded at about 10:23 or 10:24 o'clock per crew time.

10:00 Unaltered April 14th time + 23 minutes = 10:23 unaltered, or 10:00 crew time.

Backing up from 10:00 o'clock crew time, Hichens was knocking on Murdoch's cabin door about 10:08 o'clock in unaltered time -- or 9:45 in crew hours. Either way, Hichens was not at the wheel when he was standing outside the first officer's door. This means that he had not switched with quartermaster Olliver who was at the wheel.

Back to the crew change of watch. Since Hichens was relieved at the proper time (12:23 o'clock) in unaltered April 14th time, we know for certain the following equivalency:

12:23/12:24 = Crew Midnight (8 bells)

The accident took place twenty minutes prior, allegedly at 11:40 o'clock. This was confirmed by virtually all of the crew testimonies, particularly with regard to the moment of impact being five minutes prior to the wakeup bell which sounded 15 minutes before change of watch. Note: I will use my familiar 24 minutes of extra duty for the Starboard Watch in keeping with my chronology. If you want, subtract a minute and use 23 minutes. It makes no historical difference to what took place.

12:24 Unaltered = 12:0 o'clock Crew -- change of watch
- 15 minutes to wakeup bell
12:09 Unaltered = 11:45 o'clock Crew -- wakeup bell in forecastle
12:04 Unaltered = 11:40 o'clock Crew Time -- IMPACT on iceberg]

As demonstrated above, Hichens' own testimony proves he relieved Olliver steering at 10:00 o'clock crew time. Let's take the timeline back to the retarding of the crew clocks.

11:54 unaltered = 11:30 o'clock crew -- 7 bells
11:30 " = 11:06 " " -- Compass comparison (per IMM/WSL Rules)
11:00 " = 10:36 " " -- Compass comparison
10:54 " = 10:30 " " -- 5 bells
10:30 " = 10:06 " " -- Compass comparison
10:24 " = 10:00 " " -- 4 bells. Murdoch Relieves Lightoller; Hichens takes wheel from Olliver
10:09 " = 9:45 " " -- Hichens knocks on Murdoch's cabin door
10:00 " = 9:36 " " -- Compass comparison; Hichens gets readings
Crew time set back 24 minutes to 9:56 p.m. (No Bells)
9:30 " = 9:30 " " -- All clocks read the same time

To compute the duration of Hichens' trick at the wheel it is necessary to use either unaltered or crew times. From 10:00 o'clock crew time to the midnight change of watch works out to be 2 hours even. The same is true of the duration from 10:24 to 12:24 o'clock in unaltered April 14th hours.

Why Hichens gave the start of his trick in crew hours and the change of watch in unaltered time is a mystery he took to his grave. Perhaps it was just the honest workings of a human mind under pressure. Or, it may have been part of a deliberate effort to confuse both the governmental inquiries and history. We simply cannot know because that secret is locked in Hichens' grave with him.

-- David G. Brown
 
Mar 18, 2008
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So let us see, Lightoller spend the "extra" minutes of the clock change and never mentioned it? So the lookouts Jewell & Symons had also to spend the extra minutes in the crows nest, I guess they forgot it too to mentioned it as well as everyone else.
Hichens left the wheel to call Murdoch? Where did he said that? Olliver was at the wheel until 10 o'clock unaltered time.

The port watch came on deck to find the ship dead stop? Wasn't it the case most came on deck because of the collision? From firemen H, Oliver we know the 12 to 4 watch (black gang) was called but this was several minutes after the collision (after he went on deck, got back to his bunk to sleep, was called that there was water filling the spiral staircase, took his stuff and went to the mess) and when they start to prepare got the order to help with the boats (until that time only the seaman were uncovering the boats).

By the way the crew started to uncover the boats at about midnight (by Hichens) when the order was given, about 20 minutes after the collision. He remained at the wheel until 12:23 a.m. and then was called to help with the boats (he first went to collapsible D and start to uncover it).
 
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Jim Currie

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This fun!

Robert wrote: "I shall revert to my observation mode and enjoy !"

First let me say to Robert: You were probably on Day Work when at sea. On Titanic, most of the Catering and Hotel Staff and some of the seamen were employed in exactly the same way you were. Most of the people posting on the site have never even been to sea so you are "one of the elite", a member of the Brotherhood of the Sea. (Pirates used to be known as that). Please keep making observations and asking question. All the questions about Titanic have not been asked or answered. A single seemingly innocent question can an often send us off into a frenzy of thinking then come back with re-worked ideas.

Hello Marcus/ You wrote: "Please correct me if I got something wrong until now."

You are more or less correct.
The only indication on a vessel's log book that anything had been done with the clocks would be notation on the last line before Midnight and or the first line of the first hour of the following day. Since her clocks were set from a central point and the slave units used by the crew, there might have been two notations on the log book of Titanic. The first one would have been on the last line of the page covering all events during April 14 and would have read "Clocks retarded (or put back) 24 minutes".
On the first line of the first hour of the following day, the following would appear."Clocks retarded (or put back) 23 minutes"
.
Normally, the junior of two watches bore the lion's share of an unfavourable clock change. I would be very surprised if Pitman had accepted the greater loss of sleep time. However, it is just possible that there would not have been any notation on the first line of the following day and the notation"Clocks retarded (or put back) 47 minutes" would have appeared on the last line of the April 14 page had the Log Book been completed for that day. If that was the case, then Moody would normally have made two adjustments during his Watch. The first one-24 minutes- at Midnight April 14. and the second one-23 minutes when he finished handing over to 5th Officer Lowe at 00:00 hrs on April 15.


Lightoller did what most of us do... assumed that his questioner understood him.
He was telling the Senator that they assumed that the ship would be at a certain Longitude at 12 o'clock ship time the following day and that the adjustment to the ship's clocks of 47 minutes was a rough one reflecting that longitude. What he did not clearly explain was that just before Noon the following day and at Noon every day, the officers would gather on the bridge and use sextant observations of the sun to establish the exact longitude. Once this was known, then a final adjustment to the clock would be made at that time.

One reason why NATO ships used GMT was that all inter-ship communications would use a common time base. British Merchant vessels acting with NATO ships did exactly the same thing. (Happy days!).

David: You wrote:
"The IMM/White Star rules allowed captains to begin making time changes at 10 p.m. and required these changes be finished by 6 a.m. While not mentioned, there is a logical reason for setting these limits."

Think about the clocks being advance instead of retarded. How would they allocate share between the 8 to Midnight and the Midnight to 4 am Watches?
By your reckoning:
10 pm....clock advanced 47 minutes... new time: 10:47 pm....Midnight. Watches relieved.

If the above were so, then the 8 to Midnight Watch would serve 47 minutes less on Watch, but the Midnight to 4 am Watch would serve 47 minutes less time in bed. That, David, would be a recipe' for mutiny or at the least, industrial action by the Seamen's Union. In fact, the WSl advanced clocks at 11



 

Jim Currie

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It would be nice if some of you lads read the evidence properly.

Both Fleet and Lee were to spend 2 hours and 24 minutes in the Crow's Nest. They did so. The following comes from US and UK Inquiries:

Senator SMITH.
Q How long a watch did you have? Fleet A: Two hours; but the time was going to be put back - that watch.
I remained in the crow's nest until I got relief.... About a quarter of an hour to 20 minutes after...After the accident.
"I was not relieved till 12 o'clock."

He would most certainly not have been relieved at Midnight April 14 time. Like Hichens he was to be relived at 12-24 am April 14 time. Other proof of clock change is as follows:

UK Inquiry:

"He [Lee] told you that he came down from the crow's-nest at 12 o'clock, the end of his watch."

"That is where water was coming in then, because the men brought their bags up from there who were going on the 12 to 4 watch, because the watch was coming in there."

Q: "After you saw that at 12 o'clock what did you do? A: - I went on the boat deck.
2488a. Did you get any orders to go on the boat deck? A: - No, but I heard the boatswain call the other watch.
2489. Did you hear what orders he gave? A: - Yes, he told everybody to get the boats ready for turning out.
2490. He told everybody? A: - That was the watch below; they were turned out, and we all went on deck.
2492. Not only those that were on deck and on duty, but those below off duty? A: - Yes, the watch that had just gone below.
2493. That would be at 12 o'clock; they had just gone below? A: - Yes.

The Bosun called all hands including the Watch that had just gone below at Midnight about 20 minutes after impact. Since Lee saw and heard all this and had been relived in due course of time, then the midnight in question was actually close to 22 minutes past 12 o'clcock, April 14 time...just about the same timne as Hichens and Perkis were relieved of wheel duties. The question should be asked: " If the engines were useless after 11-55 pm, why on earth would the captain keep a man on the wheel for another 28 minutes when every last one was needed to clear the boats. Anyway, by 12-20 am, the boats were cleared and ready for lowering and filling.

As for the evidence of Fireman H. Oliver: this is the story he gave to the Western Daily Mercury:

"On going to have a look around, Oliver realised that his previous confidence was misplaced and went back to pack his bag, which he took up to the mess-room. Then a leading firemen said, "Put on your stokehold gear, and get ready for watch." This he did and then orders were given to put on lifebelts and get to the boats. On reaching the boat-deck, he found that most of the boats had already been launched except number nine."

Part of the above story does not fit. Life boat #9 was launched just after 1 am. If this man heard the lifebelts order then he did so at least an hour before #9 was launched. Additionally; if he was ordered to "get ready for Watch", this meant he received that order somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes after impact. He must have been on the Midnight to 4 am Watch. Otherwise the order would have been "get your gear on and be ready to go below".
Leading Firemean Barratt told Lawrence Beesley that he had 15 minutes-worth of work left down in Boiler Room 6 when the impact came.

Merry Christmas everyone!
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Firemen Oliver did not said that he went immediately after the order to the boat deck and found most boats gone. In fact he was among the firemen who were kept at the forward well deck (several were send back by Chief Wilde) and were let to the boat deck later.

I do not give much about what Beesley later claimed (several stuff in his book was a little "made up" from his early version), Barrett had no clock with him in the boiler room. Barrett was talking with Hesketh when the collision happened, the person which talked with Beesley only mentioned that he was warming up a soup so it might have been actually firemen Beauchamp who was also in No. 13 close to Barrett & Beesley. Beesley might have combined the story of Beachamp & Barrett together.
 

Rob Lawes

Member
Jun 13, 2012
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There were 6 QM's. Three per watch.

They would work about a spell on the wheel, a spell as standby QM who ran messages and assisted the officers in carrying out compass checks etc, the third would keep watch on the quarter deck passing log readings to the bridge among other duties.
Please don't apologise. I served 22 years in the Royal Navy and stood many watches including time on the bridge at the helm but the depth of discussion that Sam, Jim, David and others too many to mention, have regarding the navigation of the Titanic goes far and a way above ny head.

I like to chip in when and where I can.

(Oh, and I'm nowhere near an expert in anything but thankyou for the compliment)

Regards

Rob
 
Mar 22, 2003
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This fun!
At least for some of us.

Hichens was very clear of the sequence of events he was involved with prior to the collision:
"At a quarter to 10 I called the first officer, Mr. Murdoch, to let him know it was one bell, which is part of our duty; also took the thermometer and barometer, the temperature of the water, and the log. At 10 o'clock I went to the wheel, sir. Mr. Murdoch come up to relieve Mr. Lightoller."
At 9:45 he calls upon Murdoch informing him that's he due on duty in 15 minutes, then he takes air pressure and the air and water temperatures and then takes the patent log reading, which later he said was taken about 1/2 minute to ten o'clock as best he could determine. He also said it was the duty of the standby QM to strike the bell every 1/2 half hour. Certainly, if the clock had been put back while he was standby QM he would have been very aware of it. Then at ten he is given the course to steer from Olliver and takes over the wheel while Murdoch comes on to relieve Lightoller. Let me remind you David that the log reading he took at 10pm showed an advance of 45 minutes in two hours, not 2 hours and 24 minutes. Also let me remind you that at 10 o'clock, Fleet and Lee came on to take over nest from Symons and Jewell, and know from Fleet that extra time was expected during his time in the nest that night. Also, let me remind you that Lightoller mentioned that Boxhall was to stay more than two hours on duty after his own watch was up because of the clock being put back.

From the time of collision, which he gave as 11:40, to when he was relieved by Perkis, which he gave at 12:23, is a period of 43 minutes. If the clock was put back beforehand, then the time he would have been relieved by Perkis would have been only 20 minutes later. But Perkis, who was in the QM quarters down on E deck, waited until he was due on deck at midnight in adjusted hours.

Because of the accident happening when it did, there was great confusion by those in the forecastle as to the exact time it was, especially by those who were awakened by the impact. But we have gone down this path time and time again, and I for one am starting to get tired of it all.
 

Rob Lawes

Member
Jun 13, 2012
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I accidentally quoted the wrong post.

My post above is in response to Robert T Pages post.

This 10 minute edit timeout is very annoying.
 
May 3, 2005
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There is probably a very good reason for the 10 minute tiimeout on this website, but this is the only website that I have encountered with this problem.