It's going to be disputed

Dec 2, 2000
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Well, she might have made it there but assuming the 10-13 mile distance of seperation was correct, it would have taken a bit more then an hour to get there. Just in time to watch the Titanic sink and try and fish the swimmers out before they froze to death.

Two articles have discussed this very scenerio. One which I co-authored with Tracy Smith and Erik Wood is at https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/item/1509/

Dave Gittins take on this is at http://users.senet.com.au/~gittins/californian.html
 
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Matt Pereira

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Michael, wouldnt the alittle bit more than an hour theory is including the possibility of encountering ice and having to slow down to steer around the ice? Not sure if the houre figure is including that or if thats a best case situation
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Michael, wouldnt the alittle bit more than an hour theory is including the possibility of encountering ice and having to slow down to steer around the ice?<<

Ahhhhh...you're learning Grasshopper! Yeah, it would have taken longer if they had to dodge ice. It's been stated in pure hindsight that the area between the two ships was clear, but the catch is that Captain Lord had absolutely no way of knowing that. What he did know was that his progress westward had been stopped by the ice which he damned near ran right over.

While responding to a distressed vessel might have motivated him to go faster, in light of what he knew to be the situation, I don't think he would have put the pedal to the metal. I sure as hell wouldn't.
 
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Matt Pereira

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I remember hearing that the officers on the bridge of the Californian saw lights turn out and back on, on the ship steaming from the west before the ship stopped. If thats the case, that would mean that there could be ice and they were just not seeing it.

I agree I sure wouldnt risk my own ship and crew and or passengers aboard to reach a sinking ship. It does no good for a rescue ship to get damaged and cant proceed or sink herself.
 

Dave Gittins

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Somebody raised the question of what shape Californian was in. According to Captain Lord, she hit 13½ knots on the morning of 15 April, so she was in quite good shape. That's about her top speed.

The company signals should never have entered into the discussion. Very few company signals included even one rocket. They generally consisted of flares and/or Roman candles. One or two had a single rocket to get attention. None lasted longer than two of three minutes. They were mostly used inshore, to let lighthouses know that a ship of a certain line was passing.

Captain Lord and his officers failed to do an obvious and seaman-like thing during the night, but I think David Brown and I are the only ones who've noticed it. Can anybody suggest what they failed to do? Hint: it has nothing to do with radio.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I remember hearing that the officers on the bridge of the Californian saw lights turn out and back on, on the ship steaming from the west before the ship stopped.<<

Well, that was what they claimed their perception was and perceptions can be confusing. Assuming their testimony isn't so much bovine excrement (A dangerous assumption!) the sense I have of it was that they weren't overly impressed with what they saw in the first place. Just a steamer mucking around in the night which eventually just went away. No big deal.

>>According to Captain Lord, she hit 13½ knots on the morning of 15 April, so she was in quite good shape.<<

For a ten year old tramp steamer, that's pretty damned good. The Layland Line must have made a special effort to keep their ships up in top form. Some lines today should do as well. (They don't!)

>>Can anybody suggest what they failed to do?<<

You'll have to help me out with that one Dave. I don't have a clue.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Let's not forget that the SOS position being sent out by wireless would have been a position toward the south and west of where Lord thought he was at, not in the direction where the rockets were seen. Now that would certainly have caused some confusion. Which way to go? Toward the SE where signals were seen, or toward the SSW to the SOS position? First get back on the wireless and get confirmation that the distress signals that were seen from the Californian were those of the Titanic no matter what coordinates were being reported. I would guess that at least a half hour would be wasted just trying to sort it all out between the two ships.

Rostron on the other hand was lucky. He was coming up from the SE and was heading more or less in the right direction.
 
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Matt Pereira

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Michael, I understand that with the testimony that each statements is their personal experance and it will differ from others. They probably didnt notice it. I think if they noticed lights in big groups going out then coming back on then rockets being fired at close intervals I think that would have raised their curiousity. Atleast for me it would cause it would be hard to get a group of lights from water line up to the heigth of the boatdeck to take and turn off at come back on. I kinda always doubted that they could see that. If they could pick that out I would suspect they could have picked up the moreslamps some, might not understand what they were saying due to the distance but they should have noticed that they were using morse lamps. Then again I feel that since the morse lamps were used with Titanic sinking lower and lower in the water I feel that the closer to the surface of the water the morse lamps got, the shoter and shorter its effective viewing distance would be.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Now that would certainly have caused some confusion. Which way to go? <<

I posed that very question several years ago and as Sam points out, it would be quite the conundrum. So-called common sense would dictate that you go for the rockets but is it really as simple as that?

Not really.

You know something is going on there but what? If you're confused about what it all means in the first place, then for all you know, one of those big German ships is having a party. You end up having to weigh that agaist the word of the Navigation Officer of one of the crack trans-Atlantic mail boats in a day and age when that sort of status carried a lot of weight.

>>Michael, I understand that with the testimony that each statements is their personal experance and it will differ from others.<<

It's worse then that. Whether or bot Stone and Gibson were honestly mystified at the time is something we have only their word for. Since they were the guys on watch, they knew they would be in the hot seat along with Captain Lord id action was taken against their certificates or if criminal charges were preferred.

Think that wouldn't give both a powerful incentive to spin things a bit?
 
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Matt Pereira

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Oh I agree that Lord and the officers on watch on the Californian probably were putting their own touch of fantasy to the truth to cover themself. I just ment in general that during the sinking the survivors on Titanic would be stating their personal experance.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I just ment in general that during the sinking the survivors on Titanic would be stating their personal experance.<<

Quite right. They would, and the problem with that is that most of these people were not trained observers. I suppose that's something of an irony there in that the people with nothing to hide and no agenda couldn't be trusted any more then those who were under suspicion.
 

Tracy Smith

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>>>Captain Lord and his officers failed to do an obvious and seaman-like thing during the night, but I think David Brown and I are the only ones who've noticed it. Can anybody suggest what they failed to do? Hint: it has nothing to do with radio.<<<

I'm all ears......
 

Matthew Farr

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I have been interested in Titanic for about 10 years now and until recently I have only been interested in the construction, life and sinking. I have now started to research the Californians role as well as the the switch theory (I do not believe it but it interests me).

I response to Dave Gittins question in is post on 9/20 I have a guess.

Could they have fired their own rockets to signal the Titanic that they had sighted them firing theirs?

Again this is only a guess.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I have now started to research the Californians role<<

Hope you have a thick skin. Take any side or no side at all, dealing with this thorny issue is no game for the faint hearted! Good luck.

>>as well as the the switch theory (I do not believe it but it interests me).<<

Get Bruce Beveridge's and Steve Hall's book on the subject. Click on This Hotlink for details. A fuller exposition of this silly premise would be tough to find, and the photos make it workthwhile all on it's own. You would also find Mark Chirnside's outstanding dissertation on this at http://www.markchirnside.co.uk/DISSERTATION.htm a good read.
 

Dave Gittins

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Matthew, firing rockets would have been confusing. They overlooked something that should have been obvious and perfectly simple.
 

Matthew Farr

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Thanks for the advice Michael. I have already ordered Hall and Beveridge's book and i look forward to its arrival. I have read Robin Gardiner's books and I find his theories to be outlandish, they make no sense.

As to the Californian, can you tell me if Peter Padfields book 'The Titanic and The Californian' is worth getting? Any others you could recommend would be appreciated as well.

As to Dave Gittins question, I am stumped.
 

Dave Gittins

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Matthew, obviously I recommend my own book, which includes, among many other things, an unbiased account of 'the Californian affair'.

Peter Padfield's book is worth a look, if you can get hold of it. Naturally it has its defects, having been written long before the wreck was discovered. It is, I think, an unbiased attempt to get at the facts, which is more than can be said for other books on this vexed topic. Padfield, by the way, got close to finding the facts about Carpathia and the scene of the wreck, which was a good effort, given the facts available to him.

I can't honestly recommend any of the recent books written in support of Captain Lord. They are characterised by the selective use of evidence, endless red herrings, such as the notorious 'third ship', and limited nautical expertise.

I am privy to some very good new work that will be published as its authors see fit. You'll will have to do some exceptional research to produce anything comparable, as important material can only been seen 'on the spot' in Britain.
 

Paul Lee

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I hope I'm one of the people who produce the "good work" you allude to, Dave
happy.gif


Sadly it will have to wait. I'm getting married in November!
 

Paul Lee

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Dave, I apologise for not replying sooner. Of course I don't think the Aurora Borealis and meteors (ref: Almerian) are connected. I am just having a bad time struggling against my Seasonal Affective Disorder thats all.

Incidentally, with regard to the Almerian, it is possible she travelled along the eastern US seaboard before travelling east on a rhumb/great circle course to the north of Ireland to Liverpool?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>As to the Californian, can you tell me if Peter Padfields book 'The Titanic and The Californian' is worth getting?<<

Get all of them if you can. Agree with them or not, at least you'll know what the arguements are in their proper context. Above all, make sure you check anything they claim against the Inquiry transcripts themselves. They're both available on line at http://www.titanicinquiry.org/