It's going to be disputed

Aug 15, 2005
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But I think a new scapegoat is needed.

Mr. Molony (IMO) has proved Captain Lord not guilty, even though many, including myself, had always thought that he was the man to blame for such loss of life (Let's face it - it was Bride's fault that the Californian switched off [no disrespect to the man]).

But it seems apparent that many of us would like someone to blame. Ideas please.

Who to blame now?
Mount Temple?
The seal boat that was illegally hunting in the area at the time (with no wireless)?

Discuss...
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Mr. Molony (IMO) has proved Captain Lord not guilty<<

An entirely debatable point which I have no interest in taking up. Instead of relying on one article or website, pro or con, go to the inquiries, read all the evidence and decide based on what the primary sources actually say.

>>Let's face it - it was Bride's fault that the Californian switched off [no disrespect to the man]). <<

Oh really? Absent Bride's involvement, Californian would have switched off anyway. Like a lot of ships, they had only one operator. After a long shift, the man had to get some sleep sometime. The Carpathia's operator was likewise literally moments away from doing just that himself when he heard the Titanic's distress call.

>>Who to blame now? <<

In general terms, how about excruciatingly bad navigation practice leading to a close encounter with a solid object that was going nowhere no matter how hard it was shoved? That's been known to ruin more then one day, and not just with Titanic.

>>The seal boat that was illegally hunting in the area at the time (with no wireless)? <<

There was no sealer hunting *illegally* in the area as there was nothing illegal about hunting seals in international waters at the time. The Samson saga is one of those tales that doesn't survive close scrutiny. Even Leslie Harrison...who no friend of Captain Lord's critics and keen to find exculpatory evidence for his client (That was his job!)...dismissed that one, and that should tell you something!
 
Aug 15, 2005
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You fight a good fight, Michael.
I am already bruised excessively.

As for the illegal thing... I read that in a book (I cannot remember which), and it said that there was a vessel nearby that COULD see Titanic's distress signals, but never came forward for the enquiries due to illegal seal hunting activities...

Now that you mention it - me smells Gardiner or Pellegrino (two likely candidates).

Still... Who was that ship near/on the horizon?
There must have been something - too many people saw it for it to have been an oceanic mirage.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>As for the illegal thing... I read that in a book (I cannot remember which), <<

I recall reading something to the effect in A Night To Remember, which in any event is not a primary source.

>>Still... Who was that ship near/on the horizon?<<

Historical consensus...obviously not universal...is that it was the Californian.

>>There must have been something - too many people saw it for it to have been an oceanic mirage.<<

Nobody argued that it was either. The identity...yes...the presence of said vessel...no.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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(Let's face it - it was Bride's fault that the Californian switched off [no disrespect to the man]).
You're thinking of Jack Phillips who was working Cape Race, when Cyril Evans rudely interrupted him at approximately 10:55 pm with the message, "I say old man, we are stopped and surrounded by ice".

Still though, Phillips is not the man to blame for Evans choosing to shut down his radio for the night, for the reasons Michael has already stated.
 
Aug 15, 2005
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Well... like I said in the above post...

So 'twas Bride who survived? Or Am I grossly misinformed (or grossly inebriated)?
With the books I've read, you wouldn't blame me for getting confused (or with what I've drunk tonight, for that matter).
They all give a different story. I don't know which to follow these days.
Please re-direct me correctly.
 
Aug 15, 2005
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Before I forget, Michael...

"I recall reading something to the effect in A Night To Remember, which in any event is not a primary source."

I've never read ANTR, though I would like to.
Thanks.
 

Dave Gittins

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Ryan, you might start with my own e-book, Titanic: Monument and Warning. I assure you it's very complete and it covers a huge amount of ground.

Concerning Captain Lord, I'll only say that I have a huge amount of circumstantial evidence against him, including things others have missed. There is so much material that points to a man with a guilty secret.

For all that, the key questions are ultimately unanswerable. Was Lord adequately informed of Titanic's signals? If he was, did he knowingly fail to act on them? In the end, it's one man's word against another and a jury might not convict.
 

Teresa Parks

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Let me start off by clarifying for everyone who I DON'T blame:
I don't blame the quality of the ship in any form or the thousands of men who worked on her. I think for that time & the knowledge that they had - that they put all their best into building Titanic.
I don't blame the wireless operators either because as it was posted earlier: they had to sleep sometime.
I don't blame the Captain, because again for that time period I think he made all the best choices he could have.
I do have mixed feeling about Ismay: I don't blame him for getting in a lifeboat and fighting to live - but I do believe he verbally pushed the Captain into going faster than he should have given the ice. And yes, even though he is the Captain & ultimately had the final say - ( I work in a factory ) and when the money holder wants something done you do it or lose the money to keep your business running. Remember, they didn't have the hindsight that we now do with knowing of the loss of life. So for that pressure, I partly blame Ismay.
I partly blame Captain Lord too: We will never know for sure if his ship was the one everyone spotted . . . but I read in a book ( don't remember which one) how 2 of the crew on the californian seen the "strange" ship with the rockets & the strange tilt to it on the horizon - they kept going to the captain while he was trying to sleep "Sir we see . . . . blah, blah, blah" and the captain saying go back and see if this or see if that . . . .then finally they no longer seen the ship & figured she sailed away. Would it be too much trouble for the captain to get off his butt and investigate it at the first report? Have faith in your men that if they felt the need to tell you about it - that it warrents a look at least - in case it was trouble. Yes, it was BIG trouble because I do believe it was them next to Titanic.
So I really don't have a new scapegoat. It's the same ones they blamed in 1912 - because there is truth & merit to their reasons on why they believe as they do. I think it still stands today.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>but I do believe he verbally pushed the Captain into going faster than he should have given the ice.<<

And where is the direct evidence that he did anything of the kind? The one piece we have on an overheard conversation is, strictly speaking, hearsay. Despite that, the whole thing has taken on a life of it's own. Without Ismay, Titanic still would have gone ahead and increased speed. That was simply how things were done.

>>I partly blame Captain Lord too:<<

For what? if...as his critics say...the Californian was around 10 to 12 miles away, he would probably have arrived in time to watch the ship sink. It's doubtful that his people could have saved more then a couple of hundred if any at all and at that, only if everything went according to the best plan possible. A questionable prospect as even the best laid plans seldom survive first contact with reality.

If he was 20 miles away as his champions assert, then the question of whether or not he could have arrived in time to fish even the toughest souls out of the water doesn't even bear discussion.

Remember that the Californian was at best capable of 13 knots all out when brand new and under trial conditions. She was *not* new in 1912 and had a full cargo so it would have taken time to get up to speed. That's fast enough to get on scene in a bit over an hour at one proposed distance and two or more if you accept the 20 mile figure. This also assumes that she had a clean bottom unencumbered by marine growth like barnacles. (Does anyone out there know when Californian had last been drydocked up to that time?)

To make myself clear, I'm not saying it shouldn't have been tried, but realistically, the question of whether he could have accomplished much of anything is questionable at best. That's one of the reasons I tend to think of the whole Californian mess as a gigantic red herring.

That "noble effort" would have been nice, and might have made a difference for some swimmers had she been as close as Lord's critics assert, but it had nothing to do with how and why Titanic came into contact with the iceberg in the first place.
 

Dave Gittins

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There is more than enough blame to go round. What isn't realised that much of it rests with men most Titanic fans have never heard of, notably, Sydney Buxton, Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith, Sir Walter Howell and Sir Alfred Chalmers. There is more to this than a simple tale of mariners who got things wrong. The Titanic disaster was made possible by a combination of attitudes and ideology on land and sea.
 

Senan Molony

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>>Concerning Captain Lord, I'll only say that I have a huge amount of circumstantial evidence against him, including things others have missed. There is so much material that points to a man with a guilty secret.<<

Concerning Dave Gittins website, I will say that I have seen numerous mistakes thereon.

I challenge Dave Gittins to state publicly whether he believes the Californian was the Titanic's Mystery Ship.

And can he supply a single reason why she must be so?
 

Senan Molony

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>>Historical consensus...obviously not universal...is that it was the Californian.<<

This is tripe.

The official position of the British Government, reiterated in a few Commons questions since 1992, is that the Titanic and the Californian "most probably could not see each other."

Titanic observers saw the MS at a mean five miles.

The British changed their mind in 1992 following a report by the Deputy Chief Inspector of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

The case was originally farmed out to a retired sea captain because of pressure of work but later taken back under the wing of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

It goes without saying, but perhaps it should be said because of all the idle opinion out there, that the MAIB is made up of professional marine accident investigators.

The most crucial fact to have emerged in nine decades is the actual Titanic wreck site. Since its finding it is impossible to credibly maintain that the Californian could have been the Mystery Ship.

The American Government has not looked at the issue since 1912.
 

Dave Gittins

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Senan, the matter of the "mystery ship" that you are so fond of is utterly irrelevant to 'the Californian affair'.

I'll state publicly that Californian was Californian, that Titanic's distress signals were seen from her and that no action was taken to render assistance as required by law and tradition.

Why this happened remains a mystery. In the end, it's Stone's word against Lord's.

If you want to argue for the presence of a third, unidentified ship that was in the area of Titanic on the night of 14 April 1912, go right ahead. Such a ship could not be produced in 1912, so I don't think much of your chances. If you do find her, you will then have an example of officers and crew who also ignored, or failed to act on, Titanic's signals, including the Morse lamp. They must have been particularly culpable, as they were closer to Titanic than Captain Lord was. They also had a capability that Lord's crew lacked, namely the ability to keep their mouths shut for evermore.

As to my web site, I'll leave criticism to navigators.
 

Senan Molony

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>>I'll state publicly that Californian was Californian, that Titanic's distress signals were seen from her<<

We know this Dave.

>>it's Stone's word against Lord's.<<

There is no substantial difference between the two men, actually, because Stone had determined all along that there was no question of distress in the vessel he was looking at.

Stone was Officer of the Watch and had plenipotentiary powers.

>>Such a ship could not be produced in 1912,<<

Was not looked for in 1912.

>>As to my web site, I'll leave criticism to navigators.<<

I believe you know the errors on your website. I have pointed out one on another thread, where you will not engage.

So Dave, will you please state publicly whether you believe the Californian was the Titanic's Mystery Ship, instead of avoiding the question?

As to navigators or pleasure boat sailors, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch said in its report:

“Given the amount of shipping in the area, it must be very probable that Californian was not the only ship to see the signals.”￾
As to your claim of "a guilty conscience" the opposite truth is demostrated by Lord's letters to the British national newspapers after the Mersey report was published, in July 1912.

His letters and complaints to the Board of Trade
(one line of which you may be relying on from down in Australia) continued into 1913.

When the matter arose again, nearly 50 years later, Lord contacted his professional association and agitated again.

"Guilty conscience?" Another empty assertion.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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In my opinion, as I wrote in my paper “A Captain Accused,” given the information that Capt. Lord received that night from 2/O Stone, there was no apparent need for him to get alarmed because what was reported to him by Stone at that time was not alarming. So as far as accusations regarding failure to go to the aid of a ship in distress, I believe those accusations are based off of information that came from Stone in his affidavit as well as his testimony before the British Inquiry. In that information Lord was told about 5 white rockets seen at short intervals. The information from Gibson’s affidavit and from Lord himself concerning what Lord was told in the early part of the night suggest that he was informed by Stone of only one confirmed white rocket after Stone saw first what he took for a shooting star. Upon this information Stone asked if it was company signals that were seen, and Stone replied he did not know. Now if look at the context of all this, these signals were first seen coming from the direction of a ship that stopped to the SSE (magnetic) over an hour before for what appeared to be the same reason that the Californian was forced to stop, a vast field of ice that ran north to south in their path. There was absolutely nothing to suggest that anything was wrong with that ship, and in fact the question asked by Lord of Stone concerning company signals is quite reasonable considering what was reported to him according to Gibson’s affidavit. In my opinion, Capt. Lord took the appropriate action at the time, which was to get Stone to try and contact the ship by Morse lamp and send Gibson down with any other information to report. There was no need to wake up Evans the wireless operator because there was nothing yet to suggest there was trouble. The lights of vessel, which were the only parts of the vessel that could be seen, were taken by Lord, Stone, and Gibson to be from a tramp steamer that appeared to be about 5 to 7 miles away. Stone (and Gibson later on) did try to contact the stopped vessel, but they never received a reply. But what was seen by Stone and Gibson following the initial report by Stone to Lord were multiple white rockets fired at short intervals, something that should have been recognized as signals of distress. By time Gibson arrived back on deck after searching for a new log line, Stone had seen a total of 5 white rockets. And by time Gibson was sent down to report to Lord at 2:05 AM wheelhouse clock time, there were a total of 8 white rockets seen. What Lord was told by Gibson was that 8 white rockets were seen coming from this ship, and the ship appeared to have disappeared to the SW. Not only was it too late to take action, but this information given to Lord suggested that the ship disappeared because it steamed away, something that a ship in distress would not do. Stone himself contacted Lord about 40 minutes later to confirm what Gibson reported.

There should be no guilt on the shoulder’s of Capt. Lord for what he did or didn’t do as a result of everything he was told. When you look at the actions taken in the morning after they found out by wireless that the Titanic struck an iceberg during the night and reported sinking, we find that Capt. Lord got his ship under way and took several risks by cutting across the pack ice, not once but twice, in trying to render assistance. This is something that Capt. Moore of the Mount Temple would not do because of company orders not to cut across field ice under any circumstances.

In my opinion the issue of guilt or innocence has nothing to do with whether the Californian was 10 miles away or 22 miles away from the Titanic, or if people saw lights from a mystery ship or the changing aspects of the lights from the Californian as she was swinging around while she was stopped for the night. It has all to do with what was seen by Lord himself, what was reported to him, and what did he do as a result. Based on that, and that alone, I for one believe his actions were entirely appropriate, and probably no different than any other competent master would have taken. If there are those that want to call me a Lordite for having this view, so be it. I do, however, believe Capt. Lord made some serious mistakes in judgment later on when he tried to cover up the events that took place during the middle watch having realized that those rockets that were seen by Stone and Gibson may have indeed come from the Titanic.

Having said all that, my interest in the Californian affair goes beyond the question of guilt or innocence. I am interested to see if there are rational explanations for what was seen by those that were there based on the information available, and can be subjected to analysis. Which way was the Titanic pointing after she had stopped? Where did the Californian wind up being and how did it get there? If there was a current that affected Californian what affect would it have on the Titanic and other ships that came into that area. If it were that some of the lifeboats were trying to get to a stopped Californian, how close would they have to get to see the sidelights that were seen by some? What was the actual track line of the Carpathia as it approached Boxhall’s boat, and how did it get more to the north than the course line set by Rostron? What made Stone believe that the ship he was watching was changing her bearings from SSE to SW while firing rockets all along? I don’t think it is necessary to invent mystery ships that come between two known ships, or mystery ships that were moving through ice fields only to turn away, in order to explain what was seen that night. That is the easy way out. I don’t think anybody has proved anything conclusively, especially if it is based mostly on subjective and conflicting eyewitness accounts such as distances to various lights seen, or times or intervals not taken off of a clock or watch. I think there is much good research yet to be done here, and some of us have an open enough mind to continue with it.