How Far South did the Titanic Reach?

May 3, 2005
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Hi Markus-
Thanks for the info on watches. That is how it was in the USN, as explained in Boot Camp , but our unit of radar and radio technicians did not stand watches as such. At least on the ship on which I served.One man was just assigned duties to be on duty in the HQ office from Taps until reveille. During regular work hours all were available.
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 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.

Hello Ioannis

How you know that Oliver was kept back with the rest in the well deck?
When I said his evidence did not fit, I meant he could not have been getting ready for going on Watch, be ordered to put o on a life jacket then go to the boat deck and find that all the boats had gone. That is how the newspaper report reads. I can only go by what was reported in the newspapers at the time and what you published on this site plus extra information contained in a letter to author Walter Lord casting doubt on Oliver's true identity. I quote from the pages of Encyclopedia Titanica:

Your quote from the press on 29th April, 1912:

"Then a leading firemen said, "Put on your stokehold gear, and get ready for watch."

From the letter to Walter Lord on 5 th July, 1955...43 years later:

"5th July, 1955,

Dear Mr. Lord, In reply to your letter of June 19th, 1955, I hope the following particulars will be of some help to you in completing your book about the "Titanic" disaster.

I was a fireman on the ship at the time, getting ready to go on the 12 P.M. to 4 A.M. watch, when I heard a scraping sound at about 11 P.M. Our leading hand told us to proceed to the boat deck. There did not seem to be any sign of damage or water in the ship just then. On arriving at the boat deck, I noticed that all the Port lifeboats had been lowered full of passengers. My duties lay in getting the passengers into the lifeboats."

The foregoing words may or may not be from the same man but they emphatically state the same thing... that the person who said or wrote them was getting ready to go on watch at some time shortly after the impact. If there was no clock change, there would not be any crew member getting ready to go to work. No one would be getting ready to go to work more than 20 minutes before the proper time to do so.

As for the writings of Lawrence Beesley? I agree that he took some poetic license during the writing of his book but he was very specific about who it was who told him the story about the soup. In addition his evidence fits well with the man in his boat with the knife...leadiong Stoker Barratt.
"
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Sorry you’re tired of learning the truth, Sam. So unlike you in the old days.

Let’s start with where we agree...

Your discussion of what tasks Hichens performed is correct except that you don’t appear to understand why IMM/White Star rules could force those half-hourly events to be out of synch with the clock being used by the crew. You try to force everything onto one clock when, in fact, there were two different clocks with different readings in use on Titanic’s bridge when the ship struck the iceberg.

One of those clocks was familiar ship’s time based on the longitude attained at noon, April 14th. The recording of the log reading, air and water temperatures, etc. had to be done every half hour based on this clock. Also done on the unaltered April 14th clock were the compass comparisons and steadying of the ship by standard compass.

Sam, you are correct...100% correct...no argument correct...that all of the log readings were done on the hour per unaltered time. This means the duration from the 8 to 10 p.m. readings was near enough to two hours to make no difference. That’s what I wrote in my post immediately above. So, we are not arguing over the 45 miles in two hours – more or less – based on the inaccuracies of a patent log and the possibility that the duration was slightly more or less than exactly two hours.

And, we are not arguing that at “ten”(o’clock) Hichens was given the course to steer by Olliver before taking the wheel. You are correct on this detail. I Never said any different. All I’m saying is that this 10:00 o’clock was taken from the second clock in use – crew time retarded by 23 minutes.

As far as Fleet and the extra time in the nest, correct again. In his case, it didn’t matter when during the watch, just that he would spend extra time. And, your discussion of Perkis waiting ‘till midnight is correct. Bottom line, we agree on almost everything except how the crew time was adjusted and after that adjustment which “time” – unadjusted April 14th or Crew Time – was used for a particular reference.

There is no possible argument that crew midnight – 8 bells or 12:00 o’clock in crew time – had to come at 12:23 in unadjusted April 14th time. This is the only way the total 47 extra minutes of Sunday could be served prior to true Midnight when April 15th day/date would have begun. So, we have an iron-clad equivalency of the two timekeeping systems:

Crew Midnight = 12:23 o’clock unaltered April 14th time.

We also know something else. Until the crew clocks were set back, crew time was exactly the same as unaltered April 14th time. And, we know that True Midnight should have (except for an iceberg) come exactly 47 minutes late at 12:47 o’clock in unaltered April 14th time.

Crew time = unaltered April 14th time until 23 min setback.
True Midnight = 12:47 unaltered April 14th Time.

Based on the above facts about timekeeping, recording of data, compass comparisons, watch change, etc. we can put the actions of quartermaster Hichens into chronological perspective.

10:00 Unaltered April 14 = 10 O’clock crew
Compass comparison made
Water & air temperatures noted by Hichens
Log reading taken (10 hrs after noon/2 hrs after 8 o’clock)


10:00 Unaltered April 14 become 9:37 Crew Time
Crew clocks retarded 23 minutes.

10:08 Unaltered April 14 = 9:45 Crew time
Hichens knocks on Murdoch’s door giving 15 min warning.


10:23 Unaltered April 14 = 10:00 Crew Time
4 bells sounded.
Murdoch relieves Lightoller
(Lightoller has now served his extra time with men of
the Starboard Watch, including Boxhall.)
Hichens relieves Olliver at the wheel.

10:30 Unaltered April 14th = 10:07 Crew Time
Compass comparison made
Water & air temperatures noted
Log reading taken

10:53 Unaltered April 14th = 10:30 Crew Time
5 bells sounded.

10:30 Unaltered April 14 = 10:37 Crew Time
Compass Comparison made
Water & air Temperatures noted
Log reading taken

10:53 Unaltered April 14 = 11:00 Crew Time
6 bells sound

11:00 Unaltered April 14 = 11:23 Crew Time
Compass comparison made
Water & air temperatures noted
Log reading taken

11:30 Unaltered April 14 = 11:07 Crew Time
Compass comparison made
Water & air temperatures noted
Log reading taken

11:53 Unaltered April 14 = 11:30 Crew Time
7 Bells Struck
(Heard by Scarrott in forecastle area.)

12:00 unaltered April 14 = 11:37 Crew Time
Compass comparison made
Water & air temperatures noted
Log reading taken

12:03 Unaltered April 14 = 11:40 Crew Time
IMPACT on iceberg


12:08 Unaltered April 14 = 11:45 Crew Time
1 bell wake up signal to Port Watch in forecastle

12:23 Unaltered April 14 = 12:00 Crew Time
8 bells sounded
Hichens relieved at wheel.
“All hands” begin preparing lifeboats.


As to confusion, there was absolutely none among the crew who perfectly well understood that 8 bells at 12:00 o’clock was actually 12:23 and halfway through the full 47 minute setback of the ship’s official time that night. The confusion has come over the years since as historians have blithely assumed that shipboard timekeeping was exactly the same as the system they use ashore. Can’t say I blame them. The true system seems a nightmare for lubbers understand, so it was easier to believe the myth than try to sort out the truth.

Adding the truth about crew time into the Titanic story does change a few things. It allows us to do a better job of forensic navigation during the ship’s last few hours. By shortening the duration of the sinking by 23 minutes we have to come to grips with either a more heavily damaged ship than thought or one in which damage was more unsuccessful than thought. Sam should welcome the challenge of re-computing the flooding rate over the shorter duration to see what that reveals.

The log reading affected by the extra 23 minutes is not the 45 miles between 8 and 10 o’clock. It’s the reading between 10:00 and when quartermaster Rowe reeled the fish in and read the dials on the instrument. We have no way of computing the speed from 10:00 o’clock unaltered time until impact on the berg because we do not know the mileage reading at 10 o’clock. Pity. Might solve a lot of problems.

The shorter duration makes the work by the deck crew launching boats even more of a triumph of seamanship. They managed to get all 16 regular boats down without a single mishap or injury in the dark of night. That’s impressive. The shorter duration also explains why once passengers realized the truth there wasn’t enough time to properly add additional survivors to boats already in the water.

When we use the correct time for the 11:40 o’clock impact something else becomes obvious – the relationship of the accident to the half-hourly routine duties. I have stated my belief that Titanic was deliberately – but unintentionally – aimed at the iceberg during the 12:00 o’clock (unaltered April 14th hours) compass evolution. Even discounting that, it is easy to see how routine duties may have led to the bridge team losing situational awareness just when it was needed most.

– David G. Brown
 
Nov 26, 2016
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David, about the Timing for compass check

is it really necessary to provide two clocks to ensure that the compass check is done periodically every 30 minutes, independant of clock changes?

When a clock is set back by 23 minutes, the interval between last check of the releaved watch and the first check of the releaving watch is 23 minutes instead of 30 minutes. When they go east bound they skip one check.
This does not reduce the accuracy of the compass check. I do not see any technical or physical need to make it that excessively complicated. Therefore I have my doubts whether they did in this way.
If really they made the compass check every 30 minutes the times for compass check within the watch will be shifted every day by an odd number of minutes.
I think it is more convenient when periodical tasks within one watch are aligned with the watch times.
 
May 3, 2005
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IF there had been enough lifeboats and IF everyone on board could have gotten into the lifeboats would there have been enough time to save every person ?
 
May 3, 2005
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This question of different ship's times has been a little confusing for me ......but probably not for the others on this website...... LOL
But this made it clearer for me as to "Sun Time".
Huntsville, AL, Dallas, TX, and Amarillo, TX are all in the same Central Time Zone.
 
May 3, 2005
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Continuing due to timeout limits.
Sunrise/Meridian/Sunset Times (Sun Times)
Huntsville, AL - 6:52 AM/11:47 AM/4:42 PM
Dallas, TX- 7:28 AM/12:28 PM/5:28 PM
Amarillo, TX - 7:54 AM/12:42 PM/5:42 PM
 
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Markus -- You and I and all the members of this board are children of a later age. We view the past through the eyes of today. This makes it difficult to see things in historical context. Example: On another thread the “women and children first” ideal has been condemned as “sexist.” Perhaps it is in the 2016 moral and social climate. But, our modern view of women would be viewed as almost barbarian by many of the “fair sex” in 1912. Who is right? The Edwardians? Modern progressives? I think you see my point.

The ways of 1912 navigation were not those of 1962 or even 2002. The people of Titanic's time were just figuring out how to organize the timekeeping systems we think of as "natural." It was still common for individual villages and towns to keep their own time quite separate from the standard time zones made necessary by the growth of railroads. It's natural in human affairs to start with a complex system and to work toward simplification. We see that particularly in languages which tend to drop complexity over time.

Add to this tendency of initial complexity the very formal, rule-governed culture of the Victorians. Heck, they made the simple task of eating into a complex journey through forks, spoons and knives specific to one food or purpose. Why? A knife, fork, and spoon gets the job done just as well. True, Titanic sailed in the Edwardian era, but the importance of rules and customs was only slightly changed from that earlier period.

What you end up with is an overly-complex rigid system governing the conduct of ships. Today, we would probably write a rule saying that the compass checks, etc. had to be done at “intervals not to exceed 30 minutes.” Their rule was quite different. It required steadying the ship by standard “every half hour.” Taken literally as a regulation this means 30 minutes – not 25 or 35 minutes, but every 30 minutes (that interval being a half hour).

The tendency these days is to adjust clocks by a full hour rather than the exact number of minutes created by the ship’s speed and direction. It makes little difference to anyone familiar with time zones if 12:00 o’clock comes when the sun is directly overhead or not. Only the navigator making a traditional noon sight needs that sort of precision. An hourly setback has no impact on the performance of duties scheduled for every half hour. The little hand on the dial can be moved so long as the big hand is allowed to continue its rounds undisturbed.

But, that was not the way of 1912 or the conduct of Titanic’s voyage. Their system of change raised the real possibility of confusing the performance of half-hourly time checks. Hence, two clocks; one for the crew and another for passengers and official ship's time. But, that took place only during the period during which the time was changed from one day's noon to another.

-- David G. Brown
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Time aboard ship is a duality. That is, there is the time of day and there is Greenwich time (GMT). The time of day controls shipboard activities such as meals, and the watch rotation. GMT is used by navigators in the conduct of navigation. GMT is the same for all vessels everywhere in the world. Local ship's time is a more private affair confined to the space within a particular ship's hull.

Traditional shipboard timekeeping aboard ships was based on the local apparent noon each day. That's the moment when the sun is at its zenith at the longitude of the vessel. Two ships directly north or south of one another would, thus, have the same ship's time. However, ship's separated by any distance east or west would show different readings on their clocks. It was of no particular consequence in the days of sail prior to radio communication. Ships lived pretty much in their own world devoid of contact with other vessels or events on land.

Official ship's time was only accurate for the longitude of high noon. As the vessel moved east or west, it either gained or lost time. Titanic's westerly course added 47 minutes to the day of Sunday, April 14th. In theory, the clocks in Titanic should have been continuously adjusted to keep them in sync with the sun so that they would read 12:00 exactly at noon the next day. Such continuous adjustment was obviously impossible in 1912 (and highly impracticable today) so official ship's time was adjusted once each day.

Prior to Titanic, the day and date aboard ship traditionally changed at noon when the sun was at it's zenith for the ship. This is the same as what is still called the "Astronomical Day." By the time of Titanic, passenger ship's had adopted the "Civil Day" which uses midnight for the change of day/date. Be thankful we don't have to deal with this confusion factor. According to Bowditch of Titanic's era, here's how that worked:

January 9, 2:00 a.m. Civil Time is January 8, 1400 hr Astronomical Time
January 9, 2:00 p.m. Civil Time is January 9, 0200 hr Astronomical Time

Note that the day/date changes at midnight in Civil Time. “Midnight” is defined as the antipodal meridian to the ship’s predicted high noon longitude. Thus, “midnight” means 0000 hours of the new day. It does not mean 12:00 o’clock of the old day. In fact, for Titanic, 12:00 o’clock April 14th was just another tick on the clock. The change of day/date to Monday, April 15th would have taken place at 12:047 o’clock. There is only one true midnight per day. It marks the start of the day. Other uses of the word “midnight” are colloquial and have no horrological standing. Thus, the crew’s “midnight change of watch” actually took place at 12:23 o’clock some 24 minutes prior to true midnight marking the start of April 15th.

So far, this discussion has been based on a single clock showing ship’s time adjusted only once each day at midnight. That’s fine for a slow-moving ship where the adjustments are slight. But, at Titanic’s speed the change was almost an hour per day. Fairness to the crew demanded the 47 extra minutes be divided evenly between the Starboard and Port Watches. Sounds easy enough, but the routine sounding of ship’s bells gets in the way. Even in Titanic’s era sailors seldom carried personal timepieces due to their cost and fragility. The familiar striking of the ship’s bell allowed everyone to keep track of the progress of time. Most important, it told the men how long they had on duty before being able to head for their bunks and some rest. A watch is four hours. Bells ring on the hour and half hour:

Ding – one bell (3:30 remaining in watch)
Ding-ding – 2 bells (3:00 remaining)
Ding-ding Ding 3 bells (2:30 remaining)
Ding-ding Ding-ding 4 bells (2:00 remaining)
Ding-ding Ding-ding Ding – 5 bells (1:30 remaining)
Ding-Ding Ding-ding Ding-ding – 6 bells (1:00 remaining)
Ding-ding Ding-ding Ding-ding Ding – 7 bells :)30 remaining)
Ding-ding Ding-ding Ding-ding Ding-Ding – 8 bells (change of watch)

The men of the Starboard watch took over at 8 p.m. They were scheduled to work a standard 4-hour watch plus 23 minutes. Those 23 minutes were their half of the 47 extra minutes earned by the ship’s westward passage.

Here’s the problem: 23 minutes after 12:00 o’clock would also be 23 minutes after 8 bells. There is no such thing in the system of nautical bells for timekeeping. Eight bells means the end of one watch and the start of another. There is no “ninth bell” avaialable to signal 23 minutes after 8 bells. What’ do you do?

The answer is to create an artificial “crew time” adjusted (retarded) by 23 minutes so that 8 bells sounds at change of watch. In Titanic’s case this meant adding 23 minutes sometime during the middle of the watch. We can argue over when this was done, but not over the fact that crew time was created and in use at the time of the accident. There is too much crew testimony about the ship striking the iceberg some 20 minutes before change of watch to dispute this.


– David G. Brown
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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David, you wrote: "The ways of 1912 navigation were not those of 1962 or even 2002. The people of Titanic's time were just figuring out how to organize the timekeeping systems we think of as "natural."
Sorry David but that's simply not true. The same systems were in use right up until 1980 and beyond. I used them.
Celtic 2.jpg


The above layout is that of a WSL Scrap Log. When it was filled-in, Celtic was an AMC...an Armed Merchant Cruiser... the same as two of my old ships which were AMCs during WW2. We used exactly the same layout up to 1980.
The personnel would all be WSL employees 99% of whom would be ex RN or serving RNR ratings and officers. The crew was supplemented by weapons operators from the regular Navy. However the important part of the above is the way the Log Book was filled-in. Except for military manoeuvres, it was filled-in in exactly the same way as it was during peace-time. In the same way as I and every other Cadet and Apprentice was taught before 1939 and up until at least 1980.
Note the times of compass checks... i.e. when a compass deviation was calculated...every 4 hours by the sun during daylight hours. At dusk when evening sights were taken and by star or planet at regular intervals thereafter as conditions permitted.
I think you misinterpret the WSL Rules, David regarding compass checks. In my day, there were two types of check. The first was a cursary one whereby the OOW checked the quality of the steering. As all of us knew, even the best helmsman was not above being distracted by thoughts of home or even briefly 'nodding-off'. Consequently, every so often through the Watch, the OOW would lean in front of the helmsman and make sure he was right on course. If he did not do so at regular intervals, the ship could wander off course for quite a while before corrective action could be taken. Half an hour would be just about right. A proper Compass Check like the one you desctibe would only be necessary after the exact compass error was determined. It would only be effective after that time. It was done by establishing the deviation using the pelorus and the Standard Compass. At that moment, since magnetic Variation would be known, the total error of the standard compass was established. Thereafter comparisons would be made with the steering compass. Not long after Titanic, the standard and steering compasses were one and the same.

As for when the clocks were adjusted; the method was to note the entire change on the last line of the first half of the Navigation Day. The method of sharing would be determined by the manning of the bridge, i.e., 3 mate or Multi-Mate.
As with Titanic. the above page simply records all that happened during the 14th day of a specific month. It is the two haves of two stories: (1): How the ship was navigated for the second half of the previous Navigation
day and (2) How it was navigated for the first half of the current Navigation Day. It tells us that there was a plan to adjust the clock by 9 minutes between Navigation Day Noon 14 and Navigation Day Noon 15. However it does not explain the method, if any, as to how that change would be shared between the night Watches. The above page deals with sailing west and therefore retarding the clock. The next page shows how Celtic dealt with clock changes sailing east. Note that when notations were made about a clock change, they were made on the last line of the Calendar day.

Celtic 3.jpg
 
Mar 22, 2003
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How the time was shared on HMS Celtic by the deck crew can easily be surmised when looking at the logbook page for two consecutive days.
Since it is December 26 at the time of this posting, lets go back to December 25 and December 26 of 1914 and look what was written in the logbook for each day.

The complete logbook page for Dec 25 can be seen here:

ADM%2053-37402-004_1.jpg


At noon on Dec 25, Celtic's course was changed to S66W (246°) by standard compass. She was then carrying 62.0 revolutions on her engines all afternoon and advancing 12.7 miles each hour as can be seen in the hourly readings from the first hour of the afternoon until and including the 11th hour of the afternoon. In the 12th hour of the afternoon, from 11pm to midnight, Celtic was still carrying 62.0 revolutions but the mileage advance recorded was 14.4 miles. Why? Notice the notation in the last hour for Dec 25. It says "Clocks back 16 minutes." That is the full clock adjustment. How do we know that? Look at the logbook page for the next day, Dec 26.

The complete logbook page for Dec 26 can be seen here:

ADM%2053-37402-005_0.jpg


Notice that the course S66W and engine revolutions 62.0 are the same as before, but the mileage advance in the first hour of Dec 26, from midnight to 1am, is the same as the last hour of Dec 25th, at 14.4 miles, while the advance of the ship in the next several hours, up until and including noon, was back at 12.7 miles each hour. What this tells us is that the ship was making 12.7 knots (12.7 miles in 60 minutes time) all along. In the last hour of Dec 25th and the first hour of Dec 26th, one-half of the total 16 minute clock change (or 8 minutes each) was applied. Thus the last hour of Dec 25th was actually 68 minutes long as was the first hour of Dec 26th.

The proof of this is rather simple. A speed of 12.7 miles in 60 minutes is equal to 0.21 miles per minute. Multiply 0.21 miles per minute by 68 min = 14.4 miles, the distance shown for the last hour of Dec 25 and first hour of Dec 26, thus showing the 8 minutes, one-half the full 16 minute clock change, took place in the hour just before midnight and in the hour right after midnight. Most likely, the extra time was added in the last half hour, from 11:30pm (7 bells) to midnight (8-bells) of Dec 25th, and in the first half-hour, from midnight (8 bells) to 12:30am (1 bell) of Dec 26th.
 
Nov 26, 2016
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How the time was shared on HMS Celtic by the deck crew can easily be surmised when looking at the logbook page for two consecutive days.
Since it is December 26 at the time of this posting, lets go back to December 25 and December 26 of 1914 and look what was written in the logbook for each day.

The complete logbook page for Dec 25 can be seen here:

ADM%2053-37402-004_1.jpg


The complete logbook page for Dec 26 can be seen here:

ADM%2053-37402-005_0.jpg

Notice that the course S66W and engine revolutions 62.0 are the same as before, but the mileage advance in the first hour of Dec 26, from midnight to 1am, is the same as the last hour of Dec 25th, at 14.4 miles, while the advance of the ship in the next several hours, up until and including noon, was back at 12.7 miles each hour. What this tells us is that the ship was making 12.7 knots (12.7 miles in 60 minutes time) all along. In the last hour of Dec 25th and the first hour of Dec 26th, one-half of the total 16 minute clock change (or 8 minutes each) was applied. Thus the last hour of Dec 25th was actually 68 minutes long as was the first hour of Dec 26th.

The proof of this is rather simple. A speed of 12.7 miles in 60 minutes is equal to 0.21 miles per minute. Multiply 0.21 miles per minute by 68 min = 14.4 miles, the distance shown for the last hour of Dec 25 and first hour of Dec 26, thus showing the 8 minutes, one-half the full 16 minute clock change, took place in the hour just before midnight and in the hour right after midnight. Most likely, the extra time was added in the last half hour, from 11:30pm (7 bells) to midnight (8-bells) of Dec 25th, and in the first half-hour, from midnight (8 bells) to 12:30am (1 bell) of Dec 26th.
I think I got your Point, but the logbook pages are from
Nov 25, showing "at anchor in river Mersey" and Nov 26, showing 14.5 miles for each hour from 4 pm til midnight

Did they change the clock in that way?
11.30 7 bells
12.08 8 bells, clock set back 16 minutes to
11.52
12.30 1 bell
 

Jim Currie

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Your reference The complete logbook page for Dec 26 can be seen here:

ADM%2053-37402-005_0.jpg


is actually for 25 November. Sam. Then, the ship was at Liverpool...in dock in the morning and at anchor in the afternoon. Apart from that, your observations regarding share of a planned clock change is correct.

If Titanic's Scrap Log had survived and if Moody had had time to write it up before being relieved (he would have done so during the last 20 minutes remaining of his extended duty time) then the last notation would have been "Clocks put back 47 minutes". Possibly on a WSL 3 or 4 mate ship there would have been 2 notations; one at the end of the 8 to 12 and the second at the end of the Midnight to 4 am. It was up to the Master and or common practice as to how he wanted it recorded.

By the way, the ringing of ship's time bells are for those who do not have access to a watch or clock. 7 bells...11-30 pm is sometimes omitted since it has no relevance to the Watch keepers. However 1 bell most certainly does...it means you have 15 minutes of freedom (or slavery) left. 99% of the time, the clock will be allowed to reach midnight (per chronometer) before it is set back exactly the planned amount.
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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Now to reply further to a few things that David posted.

And, we know that True Midnight should have (except for an iceberg) come exactly 47 minutes late at 12:47 o’clock in unaltered April 14th time.
As you can see from the logbook pages in post #216 above, what you call true midnight (when the date changes) occurs at the end of the 12th hour of the PM when 8 bells are struck. In the case of Titanic that was to happen at 12 hours 23 (or 24) minutes after local apparent noon of April 14. That's when April 15th would have begun. The next hour period, the first hour of April 15, would also be extended by 1 hour and 24 (or 23) minutes. Ideally, the total time of 47 minutes would have been split exactly in half, with 23.5 minutes added to the last hour of April 14 and to the first hour of April 15, but the master clock only recorded whole minutes of time and jumped by one minute every minute. There was no second hand.

(Lightoller has now served his extra time with men of the Starboard Watch, including Boxhall.)
Lightoller was pretty clear that Boxhall was to serve more than two hours after his, Lightoller's, watch had ended.

The true system seems a nightmare for lubbers understand, so it was easier to believe the myth than try to sort out the truth.
The true system is not that hard to understand David. Simply, the last hour of the PM for one date and the first hour of the AM for the next date are each extended by 1/2 the full setback amount on westbound vessels, or shortened by 1/2 the full advancement amount on eastbound vessels. The change of date coming when 8 bells are struck at midnight change of watch.

The log reading affected by the extra 23 minutes is not the 45 miles between 8 and 10 o’clock. It’s the reading between 10:00 and when quartermaster Rowe reeled the fish in and read the dials on the instrument. We have no way of computing the speed from 10:00 o’clock unaltered time until impact on the berg because we do not know the mileage reading at 10 o’clock. Pity. Might solve a lot of problems.
Normally, the patent log reading is taking every two hours, at 4 bells and at 8 bells. However, it should be obvious that the log reading for the last two hours of a day, between 4 bells and 8 bells (10pm and midnight) would be more than two hours going west, as would the reading at the end of the first two hours of the next day (midnight to 2am) for a westbound vessel. The opposite would be true for an eastbound ship since the period between 10pm and midnight, and midnight and 2am would both be less than 2 hours.

There is too much crew testimony about the ship striking the iceberg some 20 minutes before change of watch to dispute this.
As you know, I do dispute this assertion. I do believe many who were awakened may have thought that they were due on watch in 20 minutes time, but those who were on duty and most aware of the true time such as Hichens and Haines knew otherwise.
 

Jim Currie

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Timed out on me due to length.
I can see how the "4 on - 4 off" would work for the QM''s.
But how about the Officers ?
On the basis of "The first shall be last and the last shall be first": You first, Robert.

It ll depended on how many Watch Keeping Officers or Mates were on a ship. In my day, and before that, in the days of Titanic et al, only RN and certain passenger ship Companies called their officers by that name.
Most of the MN ships were work horses and were run by a Captain and his Mates. The basic ship had a Captain and three Mates...1st, 2nd and 3rd. Ideally, each of the Mates had a superior qualification. When it came to Watch keeping and share of clock changes, only the 3rd and 2nd Mates did so. These two were on the 8 to Midnight and Midnight to 4 am Watches respectively. The Captain did not stand a Watch an the 1st Mate stood the 4 to 8 Watch am and pm. These two either had the full amount extra in bed or when coming east, they lost the extra time in bed.
In the case of an uneven total number of planned clock change, say 47 minutes, the lowest rank i.e. the 3rd Officer who always took the 8 to midnight Watch, got the sh....y end of the stick. He served 24 minutes extra when going West or when going East, had his Watch shortened by 23 minutes. The 2nd Officer always took the Midnight to 4 am Watch.
In Titanic, she had a Captain, Chief Officer. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th Officers. Only the last 4 shared clock changes. The first 4 were in bed for the extra 47 minutes when going West, or had 47 minutes less sleep when going East.
QM Hichens said "I stayed to the wheel, then, sir, until 23 minutes past 12. I do not know whether they put the clock back or not. The clock was to go back that night 47 minutes, 23 minutes in one watch and 24 in the other."

He did not say how the extra minutes were to be allocated but I would be very surprised if, as was tradition, the senior of the 3rd and 4th Officers did not benefit from any change.

Hope thatv sort of explains things?
 
May 3, 2005
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Again, Thanks Jim-
Our operations would probably be considered "Day Work"
But I never heard the term in the USN.
The only watch as such was from Taps to Reveile when someone would be assigned to be on duty to answer any trouble calls in the electronic equipment.
 
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