Loading the rear boats


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A very interesting paper, but I have difficulty with:
"It was the better part of an hour between the time No.1 left the ship and the time Lowe appeared at No. 14."
For No 1 I have seen times of 1:05 or 1:10 and for No 14 I have seen times between 1:15 and 1:30. The generally accepted time difference being about 10-15 minutes.

I am also puzzled by: "and by the time Lowe showed up on the port side of the ship, Murdoch had loaded and lowered Nos. 9, 11 and 13." - I understand that those 3 boats are generally accepted as leaving between 1:20 and 1:30 or 1:35.

Lester
 

Inger Sheil

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I agree, Lester - the timing of the loading/lowering of boats is always going to be a point of controversy, but the gap between the lowering of Boat 1 and Boat 14 is, I strongly suspect, not the better part of an hour.

I don't see Lowe at the aft starboard boats at all. I believe that he was in error when he stated at the NY inquiry that the first boat he assisted at was Boat 5 - an error he corrected first in his sworn affidavit before he left NY, then at the British Inquiry evidence, then in his last known sworn affidavit.

The written affidivats give a clearer picture of Lowe's movements, as the narrative flow is not interupted. In both these statements Lowe says that he began assisting at Lifeboat 7. In the 1913 statement he mentions that, after coming on deck, he walked aftward down the port side to "about amidships" and, concluding that those forward port lifeboats were being attended to, he crossed about amidships to where Boat 7 was being loaded (this is consisted with his British Inquiry testimony that he came abaft the second funnel).

At no point in any of the four occasions on which he gave sworn evidence did he ever mention attending to the aft-starboard boats, nor did any witness name him there.

Which "five boats" he had seen go away without an officer he never specified - he does not, however, state that they were actually boats he had assisted in loading. Pitman left in 5, of course, but this may have slipped his mind when he was speaking to Moody. Assuming his "five boats" was correct (and he may have been in error), we can count 7, 3 and 1. 5 is possibly one he was mistaken about, or he may have been referring to one of the port boats. I see no motivation for him to deliberately obscure his presence at the aft starboard boats if he had been there.

I also question the idea that Murdoch directly loaded and lowered Boat 13. While he was in charge of that quarter of the deck, there is a lack of specific evidence that places him at this boat. I believe it more likely, as per Lee's evidence, that it was Moody who oversaw this boat.

Matters might be clarified if George could give us the specific times he's working from to construct his narrative - i.e. exactly when he thinks each boat was launched.
 

George Jacub

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Dear Inger and Lester:

Let me address some of your points...

1. I deliberately avoided the debate of specific launch times to concentrate, instead, on the order of launch. The many discussions on ET and elsewhere about launch times include a serious misunderstanding of the order in which the rear boats were lowered.

2. There is no possible way that Lowe went directly from Boat No. 1 to Boat No. 14. It defies logic and the evidence.

Lowe and Murdoch worked together to launch Boat No. 1. The distance from No. 1 to No. 9 is the same for both men and would take the same time to transit. Are we to assume that as Murdoch stopped to load No. 9, Lowe passed by No. 11, passed by No. 13, crossed over to port and arrived at No. 14 just as it was almost fully loaded? And the first person he spoke with was Moody, who obviously hadn't launched No. 13 yet?

That scenario only works if Boats No. 12 and 14, at least, were loaded well before No. 9. And the only argument for that possibility is that Lightoller abandoned his efforts at No. 4, before Murdoch started loading No. 1, and went to No. 12. But that still doesn't give him enough time, unless you accept that it took Lightoller and Wilde less time to load two regular-sized lifeboats with 30 or more people each than it took Murdoch and Lowe to load emergency boat No. 1 with 13.

As for the estimate of "the better part of an hour", that comes from Lightoller's testimony before the U.S. Senate. He said he estimated it took 15 to 20 minutes to load and lower a lifeboat. Taking the lower estimate I used 15 minutes for No. 9, 15 minutes for No. 11 and at least 10 minutes to load No. 13. That's 40 minutes to which you must add the time to walk from No. 1 to No. 9 and to cross from No. 13 to No. 14. Say, a minimum of 45 minutes. Given that No. 11 was delayed by the crush to get in and No. 13 by a search for more women, the better part of an hour becomes plausible.

The time link between port and starboard boats is Murdoch. Beesley sees him leave No. 13 to go to port, and Frederick Crowe sees him at No. 14, which is, coincidentally, directly across from No. 13. Each man made his observation independently of the other. No. 13 has just been ordered down and No. 14 was obviously still being loaded since Murdoch ordered Crowe to get in.
 
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Hello George,

Thank you for your detailed reply. Re point No 1 see here: http://home.comcast.net/~bwormst/titanic/lifeboats/lifeboats.htm Specifically: http://home.comcast.net/~bwormst/titanic/lifeboats/lifeboattable2.htm

"And the only argument for that possibility is that Lightoller abandoned his efforts at No. 4, before Murdoch started loading No. 1." Surely he did. He moved on to boats 8 and 6, with 8 leaving before 1.

Why as per the above link could Moody not have gone from 16 to 13 and Murdoch from 13 and 15 to boat 10? Although I regard it as unlikely could Murdoch [if he was in fact the officer seen by Crowe(?)] have been at 14 prior to going to 9?

You say you: ". deliberately avoided the debate of specific launch times to concentrate, instead, on the order of launch. ..........." Appreciated but with what seems to be a greatly over-extended time-frame for the launching of the after boats I believe you now need to give times for all of the boats. In order to retain your best part of an hour it seems that unless you greatly alter the times for the forward starboard boats, that if 1 left at 1:05 then you now have 16, 14 and 12 leaving at close to 2am which leaves little time for boat 10 unless it replaces D as the last boat? Also you have to get Murdoch from 10 to C or was he at C before 10 and then back to A? and Lightoller from 12 back to 4, or would you have him go from 4 to 12 to D? - Rethink your hour calculation and might it be possible to have all of the after starboard boats launched before the after port boats? Seemingly only if they all left [as with the after starboard boats] within a 10 minute timeframe in order to get Lightoller forward for boat 4 and Murdoch to boat C.

Lester
 
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When George Behe, Tad Fitch and I worked on our own lifeboat timeline, we first worked on the sequence of events, as George Jacub seems to be doing. At that point, we had to start to fit things into the existing time points we had.

That said, we do not see how it is possible for there to be an hour between 1 and 14.

As far as the 'That scenario only works if Boats No. 12 and 14, at least, were loaded well before No. 9. And the only argument for that possibility is that Lightoller abandoned his efforts at No. 4....'. No, the argument that shows that 14 was launched BEFORE 9, is the prescence of Seaman McGough at both, and leaving the Titanic in 9.

Also George - can you explain your statement that Archer came over to port later than Clench or Scarrott? Just because he lowered 3 boats on starboard vs. 1 each for Clench or Scarrott is not enough evidence to show he was later.
 

Inger Sheil

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As always, an interesting discussion gentlemen (I remember spending hours on international phone calls with Kerri Sundberg regarding questions of the launch order). As I've said before to you, Bill, the reason I find your timeline so generally persuasive is that it resolves difficulties rather than creates them (for example, explaining Moody's movements). George, I'm afraid I'm not pursuaded by your construction of Lowe's actions. Why should we assume he passed 11 and 13 before crossing to the port side? I believe Murdoch and Lowe had separated at the loading of Boat 1, with Lowe probably remaining at 1 to see it all the way to the water while Murdoch went aft to begin preparing the aft starboard quarter boats. Lowe, already at the forward end of the boat deck, could have crossed over to the forward port side to see how the launching was progressing there - he knew it was already underway, as he'd seen operations at these boats when he emerged from his cabin. We know at some point he encountered Lightoller (where along the portside is not specific), who may have ordered him aft or ordered him to assist where needed.

He himself said in an affidavit that after Boat 1 he went to the port aft quarter because that was where the boats were currently being filled: "I went there because those appeared to be the boats which at the moment were being filled and I thought that I might be able to render assistance."

In order to believe that Lowe worked at the aft starboard quarter boats we would have to believe that he either decided to deliberately ommit this action in all four of his sworn accounts, or it completely slipped his mind. Is either scenario likely? I think decidedly not - what motivation could he have? Working on these boats would be rather to his credit than otherwise. Further, we have no witnesses that place him at these boats.

Using Crowe to place Murdoch at 14 is tenuous indeed - Crowe was from the victualling department and had never served with either Wilde or Murdoch. His identification of Murdoch is tentatively worded, and I suspect has a good deal more to do with Murdoch's high profile in accounts of the disaster than in actual personal familiarity.

I think the sequence of events as related by Lowe is an essential piece of evidence in determining the sequence of loading and launching, as he relates his movements around the deck and puts the loading of the forward starboard boats and the completion of the three very aft most port boats in relation to each other.
 

George Jacub

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Sorry for the delay in responding, but I had to swim through an ocean of notes to refresh my memory of the events surrounding the forward boats.
Lester, regarding when Lightoller left the forward port boats and went aft...
The best evidence for this comes from Lightoller himself, beginning with his testimony before the British Inquiry. Here are the relevant quotes:
"...if I may give it to you in the order that I was working. I swung out No. 4 with the intention of boarding all the boats from A deck. I lowered No. 4 down to A deck and gave orders for the women and children to do down to A deck to be loaded through the windows."
"But as I was going down the ladder after giving the order someone sung out and said the windows were up. I countermanded the order and told the people to come back to the Boat Deck and instructed two or three, I think they were stewards, to find the handles and lower the windows."
Lightoller estimated it took him 6-7 minutes to swing out and lower No. 4 and another 2-3 minutes to give the order for women and children to go to A deck, then countermand the order. Estimated time of the aborted effort to launch No. 4 is then at 8-10 minutes.
"That left No. 4 hanging at A deck so then I went on to No. 6." he said.
Q. What is the next one that you dealt with?
A. "Well, it was a boat further aft on the port side; it's actual number I really could not say with accuracy. I am under the impression it was No. 8."
But notice what he says next.
"I left the lowering to the Chief. He can along and, of course, being Senior Officer took charge and so I went then, I think, to No. 4 to complete the launching of No. 4."
In other words, Lightoller says he loaded No. 8, but Chief Officer Wilde was left to lower it to the ocean.
Something of great significance to the discussion happened around Boat No. 8. My read is that it happened before the loading of No. 8 started, although it's possible it happened after No. 8 was lowered. The 'when' doesn't really matter compared to the 'what'. Again, we must listen to Mr. Lightoller as he told the story in his book Titanic and Other Ships, six chapters of which were reprinted in The Story of the Titanic as told by its survivors, edited by Jack Winocour.
Lightoller writes about allowing Major Peuchen into No. 6 when the boat was halfway down.
"It was about this time that the Chief Officer came out from the starboard side and asked, did I know where the firearms were?"
"I told the Chief Officer, "Yes, I know where they are. Come along and I'll get them for you," and into the First Officer's cabin we went--the Chief, Murdoch, the Captain and myself--where I hauled them out still in all their pristine newness and grease."
When did the distribution of the guns happen? It happened after starboard boats No. 7 and No. 5 had been launched and as No. 3 was being loaded. Lowe was left alone for a time, obviously (in hindsight) during the minutes when Murdoch was getting his gun.
Newly armed, Lightoller either a) went to No. 8 and loaded the lifeboat before handing it over to Wilde to launch or b) went to No. 4. Remember, he had given orders to lower the windows. It's only common sense he would have checked that his orders were being followed. Although he testified to the Senate Inquiry that he "decided it was not worth while lowering them down", he ultimately loaded No. 4 through those very windows.
But don't overlook the importance of the timing. What's the absolute earliest Lightoller could have gone aft (even assuming he never went back to No. 4 to see what was happening)? It's after No. 7 is gone, after No. 5 is gone, and after No. 3 is half-loaded.
This takes us back to the cornerstone of my thesis.
The rear port boats--- No. 12, No. 14 and No. 16--- were loaded in an overlapping fashion. Only when all three were loaded were they lowered one by one. The rear starboard boats were loaded and lowered individually. Even granting Lightoller a head start of 1 1/2 boats, he could not fill the three rear port boats quicker than Murdoch could reach, load and launch No. 9.
*****
Bill...
The McGough hypothesis rests on a very slender reed (or two, to be exact.)
One is the testimony by Boatswain's mate A. Haines regarding Boat No. 9.
Mr. HAINES.
Yes, sir. I was in charge of that boat. That was my own boat, there being two sailors with me.
Senator SMITH.
What were their names?
Mr. HAINES.
One was named McGough , and there was one by the name of Peters. That was my boat's crew.

The other is the observation by John Scarrott at No. 14.

Scarrott: I know the man that was lowering the afterfall, it was McGough.

That's it. The sum total of the evidence. McGough is seen by two men in two different places. We have nothing from McGough himself to guide us. The most obvious answer is that one of the two witnesses is wrong. My guess is Scarrott.

Compare that to the Murdoch linkage. Beesley sees Murdoch leave No. 13 and go to port. On the port side a sailor sees Murdoch, exactly where he would wind up if he crossed the ship from No. 13 and at exactly the right time.

Was he headed for No. 10? And leave boat No. 15 empty? Not a chance. Why did he go to port anyway? Was it because he had run out of women on the starboard side? Plausible.

As for Mr. Archer...

Clench was unlacing a boat when sent to port. Boats had to be unlaced before they were lowered (by Archer).
Scarrot told the British Inquiry he was "the only sailorman" at No. 14, so he took charge.
 
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George,

You are correct regarding McGough - that is the sum total of the evidence. However, I cannot see why you say it is 'obvious' that one of the witnesses is wrong. The two sightings are *not* mutually exclusive. And, as Inger says, it resolves difficulties instead of creating them.

No argument regarding Murdoch. We published that we agree that Murdoch headed to port for 10, after working on the aft starboard boats.

I still feel your reasons for believing Archer came over later than Clench or Scarrott are weak. We cannot assume that all boats were at the same point (unlacing vs. lowered), so one boat could be further advanced in the sequence than another. You could be right in your supposition, but you could also be wrong.
 
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Hello George,

This is becoming confusing. After giving up on boat 4 Lightoller moved on to 6 and then to 8? Or was it 8 and then 6? While he generally says 6 after the failed attempt on 4, in reply to Question 13926 he agrees to 8 [not 6] after 4 was on A-deck. - No mention anywhere of boat 12. - While in reply to Question 13929 he goes from 8 back to 4, so are you saying boat 12 after boat 4?
At both Inquires Lightoller says he went from 4 to the port collapsible. - Surely 12 between 8/6 and 4?
In Winocour he lowers boat 4 and at the same time sends the Bosun's Mate and 6 hands to open the gangway door abreast of No 2 hatch. He then passed to boat 6.
Given that you agree 5 and 7 had gone [and 6 as well ?] when boat 3 was being loaded are you now arguing for very early times for those boats in order to still claim the best part of an hour between 1 and 14? Also what is the time difference between 8/6 and 4? - You need to give times.

In you reply to Bill you again have Murdoch crossing over from 13 to 14 because that is "exactly where he would wind up if he crossed the ship from No. 13 and at exactly the right time." Surely unless Murdoch crossed over via the raised roof of the 1st Class Smoke Room he would have ended up at 16 or 10 or 12, but not 14?

Lester
 

Inger Sheil

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Thanks for that response, George -

Compare that to the Murdoch linkage. Beesley sees Murdoch leave No. 13 and go to port. On the port side a sailor sees Murdoch, exactly where he would wind up if he crossed the ship from No. 13 and at exactly the right time.
I don't think the Murdoch linkage you've used to have him make a transition from 13 to 14 is strong at all. One passenger (who could not even be certain it was Murdoch he saw) observed an officer cross to port, and at 14 a steward (who, again, could not be certain) thought the officer he saw there was Murdoch. I doubt Crowe's identification of the senior officer at the initial loading of 14 for the reasons I've outlined above - I think that the identifications of Wilde as the officer involved are more viable.

I'm still not clear on your thoughts for what motivation Lowe might have had for concealing his presence at the aft starboard quarter. I think any attempt at reconstructing a timeline should take into account the consistent narrative sequence he puts forward of progressing from the forward starboard boats to the aft port boats, because that is where loading was taking place.
 
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If I may add an observation here. The aft starboard boats were the last to be uncovered and swung out. There is evidence that the uncovering processes started on the port side about midnight after Boxhall returned from his second inspection forward. The first boats that were worked on were boats 4 and 16, and those involved in uncovering suggested a sequence of 4,6,8 forward, and 16,14,12,10 aft. As these were being worked on, others coming up started to uncovered and swing out the starboard forward boats. Uncovering the aft starboard boats first began after boat 7 was already loaded and about to be lowered (see Ward). That work began at no. 9 and worked its way aft to 15 by boatswain's mate Haines and company. It also seems they were underhanded as Scarrott tells of crossing over to work on 13 after finishing with 4, 6, and 8 at the request of the boatswain if I recall correctly. He was later sent back to the port side by Wilde I believe.

Meanwhile, while these aft starboard boats were still being uncovered and swung out, we find that loading had started at boats 12, 14, and 16 over on the port side. I believe 10 at that time was uncovered but not swung out yet when the loading of 12, 14, and 16 began. It makes sense to find Lowe going to the port side as the aft starboard boats were not yet ready to be loaded. We also have from Lowe that these last three port boats were sent down about the same time. The apparent sequence from others was 16,14,12. The only boat on the aft starboard side that was loaded when those 3 were being lowered was no. 9, which apparently was sent down just after 14 if Haines and Scarrott were both right about McGough. Boat 9 was pulling away from the ship when 11 was still loading from A deck. As 11 reached the water, 13 was seen coming down with 15 about a minute or two behind. It would take about 1 minute to lower a boat 10 feet assuming that the falls can be played out at an average of 1 foot per second from the deck. From A deck, that is about 5 minutes to lower.
 

George Jacub

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Bill...
As for Archer, the existing evidence is circumstantial but its all there is. You can't prove a negative. I can't prove, say, that Archer was at No. 14 before Scarrott but left before Scarrot arrived. Scarrott says he was the only sailor there so he took charge. Archer doesn't contradict him. Clench says he was the first at No. 12. Archer doesn't contradict him, either. Working with what evidence there is, I looked for anything that might confirm or challenge what they said. What they were doing when they were sent to port is slim confirmation indeed, but its all there is. Don't accept it, you're left with the uncontradicted statements of Scarrott and Clench.

Lester...
You've answered your own challenge. Titanic research is confusing. That's why I prefer to work with broad strokes, like the order lifeboats left the ship, rather than try to claim I know what happened with each boat within 5 minutes 96 years ago. Discretion is the better part of valour.

Lightoller did indeed go from No.8 aft to No. 12 and, as I showed, to the other aft port boats. He does give the impression in his answers to the Senate committee that he went from No. 8 to No. 4.
Why he was so reluctant to discuss what he saw and what he did at the aft boats is a mystery.


Re: the best part of an hour between 1 and 14?

I re-read Lightoller's Senate testimony. He said he estimated it took him 15-20 minutes to clear and lower No. 4, not each boat. Again, taking broad strokes, the crew lowered 9 boats on the starboard side of the ship in roughly 90 minutes. That works out to an average of 10 minutes a boat. Using that rough rule of thumb, it would be slightly more than half an hour between the lowering of No. 1 and the launch of No. 14.

As for finding Murdoch were he would be expected to be...an officer entering a fresh battlefield goes to the most senior officer he can find to be briefed. . In this case Murdoch went to First Officer Wilde--- at No. 14.

re: the indentifications of Murdoch.
When a witness says he thought he saw Murdoch, he's not saying he doesn't know who he saw but he'll take a wild guess and say it was Murdoch. He's saying he saw Murdoch, but if you say it wasn't Murdoch, he won't argue the point. What a coincidence then that two men independently picked Murdoch as the man they saw. I'm not a believer in coincidence.

Inger...

I'm keeping Lowe's likely motivation under my hat for the time being.

Samuel...
You wrote: "It makes sense to find Lowe going to the port side as the aft starboard boats were not yet ready to be loaded."

This is directly contradicted by schoolteacher Lawrence Beesley in his book The Loss of the S.S. Titanic. I quote from the book as reprinted in The Story of the Titanic as told by its survivors, edited by Jack Winocour

"The crew was now in the boats, the sailors standing by the pulley ropes let them slip through the cleats in jerks, and down the boats went till level with B deck; women and children climbed over the rail into the boats and filled them; when full, they were lowered one by one, beginning with No. 9, the first on the second-class deck, and working backwards toward 15. All this we could see by peering over the edge of the boat-deck, which was now quite open to the sea, the four boats which formed a natural barrier being lowered from the deck and leaving it exposed."

He writes of two women refused entry to the first-class deck. Then picks up the story.

"Almost immediately after this incident, a report went around among men on the top deck--the starboard side that men were to be taken off on the port side; how it originated, I am quite unable to say, but can only suppose that as the port boats, numnbers 10 to 16, were not lowered from the top deck quite so soon as the starboard boats (they could still be seen on deck), it might be assumed that women were being taken off on one side and men on the other..."

While there are some timeframe problems with Beesley's account that still need to be straighened out, his observation is clear.
 

Inger Sheil

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re: the indentifications of Murdoch.
When a witness says he thought he saw Murdoch, he's not saying he doesn't know who he saw but he'll take a wild guess and say it was Murdoch. He's saying he saw Murdoch, but if you say it wasn't Murdoch, he won't argue the point. What a coincidence then that two men independently picked Murdoch as the man they saw. I'm not a believer in coincidence.
Hallo George -

I still find it very problematical that you're assuming that because one man thought he saw Murdoch go in one direction and another man thought he saw him elsewhere in that general direction that the two men *must* be correct, and base on this a time frame that you use to try to discredit the evidence of a man about his own movements. That doesn't work for me. Crowe said he wasn't sure "whether it was the Chief Officer or the First Officer", but it was his "belief" the man's name was Murdoch. Crowe, as I have already pointed out, was a member of the victualling crew and had never served with either Murdoch or Wilde before. However, in the wake of the disaster the name "Murdoch" had a higher profile than that of Wilde. Had Crowe known who he was with any degree of certainty I would have expected the same sort of unqualified response that Scarrott gave when he identified Wilde at the boat. His account is not without problems - he claims that "Murdoch" ordered him into the boat after loading women and children, and yet other witnesses such as Scarrott and Cameron have a senior officer, if present at all, only during the preliminary loading - indeed, Cameron emphasised the fact that there was no senior officer present, only two juniors (Moody and Lowe) overseeing the loading and lowering.

I'm willing to listen to any theory you might have on why Lowe would choose to conceal any involvement he had in the loading of the aft starboard quarter boats - I have to say that in ten years of researching the man I've never come across a hint of any motivation for doing so, but one should always be open to new information. However, until you can produce supporting data for your contention, I'll continue to argue that any motivation Lowe might have had would be to emphasise, not hide, a role in loading those boats as well.
 
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Hello George,

So the "best part of an hour" is now "just over half an hour"? - That gives back about 20 minutes.

Your order for the boats: 7+5, 6, 3, 8+1, then 9, 11, 13+15, followed by 16, 14, 12, with 2+10 at about the sametime followed by 4, C & D ? - Is that correct? Your main conclusion being the after starboard boats before any of the after port boats?

Lester
 
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George. If you look at the plans of the boat deck, you can easily see that the location on the starboard side from which you can see what was going on over on the port side somewhat was just ahead of the raised roof of the 1st class smoke room, near the forward part boat 11. It is also a crossover point from one side to the other where the aft boats were. The port side boats that would be partially visible from that location are the forward end of No. 12 and the aft end of No. 10. And we know that No. 10 was still "on deck" in its chocks until after 12, 14, and 16 had all left the ship. Beesley was making a few assumptions about what was going on over at the port side.

The description he gave of how the aft starboard boats were being handled was a general description, not an account from which you can develop a time line from. It doesn't mean that the incident with the two women who came over from the port side and were blocked entry to the first class space forward took place while the aft boats were being loaded. In fact, since these women apparently were trying to get to the boats on the starboard side forward, the time that this took place must have been while the forward starboard boats were still being loaded and launched.

The problem with all the evidence we have available is that little of it is very reliable. There is much contradiction with many highly unreliable subjective estimates of time or intervals of time. What people remembered weeks after the event cannot be trusted unless it can be supported by many. Beesley, for example, said all the aft starboard boats were lowered to the deck below before being loaded. Yet, boatswain's mate Haines, who was in charge of No. 9 was very clear about it being loaded and lowered from the boat deck. Ward back him up about that, and notice 11 being loaded from A deck after 9 reached the reached the water.
 

George Jacub

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Lester...

I want to stress that I am not getting entangled in a time debate just yet. I am working on the order of events first.
I used the average of 10 minutes to load and lower a boat as one example of how time can be used as a research tool. If using simple averages suggests at least half an hour between the launching of Boat No. 1 and the final stages of loading Boat No. 14, that alone casts doubt on Lowe's story.

The order of lowering the lifeboats, as best I can determine, is something like this:

No. 7 first boat off
No. 6 and 5 off at roughly the same time
(Lightoller goes to arm the offices and Lowe begins loading No. 3)
No. 3
No. 8
No. 1
No. 9
No. 11
No. 13
Nos. 16, 14 and 12 in that order/ No. 15
No. 10
then the late forward boats

Time is the most elusive element in Titanic research. I thought I was close to finishing a research article on the first hour after the collision. Then I read an illuminating post by David G. Brown on ET (March 13, 2008, which thread I've forgotten). He explains how there were two measures of time on the Titanic (there were actually 3 but the third was theoretical and not used by anyone). Now I have to reassess half the witnesses I intended to use to confirm for myself which time they were using.

Inger...

None of the sailors, stewards, cooks and bottlewashers at No. 14 mentions seeing Second Officer Charles Lightoller either. But Lowe does.

While digging through pages of research for this discussion I came across even more evidence that Lowe's story collapses under scrutiny. It involves the first rocket. It's also the death of the McGough myth.

Everyone agrees that Boats No. 6 and No. 7 and 5 had left the Titanic when the first rocket was launched. Lowe left the impression in his Senate testimony that he had just turned to No. 3 when the deck was lit up by the detonator. Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon testified at the British Inquiry that the first rocket went up even later.

Q Were they firing rockets at that time?
A Yes, they had just begun while they were lowering No. 3 lifeboat.

Let's be conservative and accept Lowe's timing--he had just turned to No. 3. Lightoller, Murdoch, Wilde and the Capt. were on their way to get guns. He was in charge of loading.

By the time Lightoller returns to No. 8 on portside, No. 3 is partially loaded. Which boat will finish loading first? Plausibly, No. 3. But it still has to be lowered. Lightoller testified he only loaded No. 8 and left the lowering to Wilde. So, again conservatively, we can say Lightoller left No. 8 and went aft to No. 12 as No. 3 was being lowered. Then Murdoch and Lowe went to No. 1.

Which boat will load faster---the full sized No. 12 or the emergency boat No. 1? I'm betting No. 1. That frees up Murdoch --- and Lowe.

Murdoch, we know, goes to No. 9. It may be impossible to pinpoint when Scarrott started loading No. 14 and when the loading of No. 16 began. But I've shown the rear port boats, at some point, were being loaded concurrently and none of them was launched until all were as full as they could be. Is it faster to load one boat (No. 9) or three?

By the time Nos. 12, 14, and 16 were ready to lower---and Lowe showed up--- No. 9 was long gone and Murdoch was hard at work on the other starboard boats. If a sailor named McGough was handling the falls at No. 14, he wasn't crossing the deck to get into No. 9; that ship had sailed. Scarrott makes it clear that Lowe didn't show up to help in loading No. 14, he showed up when the lifeboat was all but full. Where had he been since No. 1 was launched?

I do have a strong theory why Lowe lied. But, as usual, it involves a complicated series of events and I need to check and double check every witness. But, believe me, it is worth the wait.
 

Inger Sheil

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None of the sailors, stewards, cooks and bottlewashers at No. 14 mentions seeing Second Officer Charles Lightoller either. But Lowe does.
Incorrect — Clench identifies him there as well.

I don’t see a major contradiction in Lowe’s evidence here — indeed, I think it fits in with the loading of the aft boats quite well. Lowe mentions Lightoller being there initially when he first got to 14, but then going forward (it’s not entirely clear whether by “second boat forward” he means the second boat in the aft port quarter — 12 — or possibly even 4, but in the context 12 makes sense). Clench, too, saw both Wilde and Lightoller in the vicinity of the very aft-most quarter boats, 12 — 16. I’d say that Lightoller was somewhere near 12 — 14 when Lowe encountered him, particularly if — as I suspect — Lowe was approaching the aftermost port boats after coming around the forward part of the boat deck. Lightoller might have been primarily involved with 12, but that doesn’t preclude him from at least briefly being close to 14.

Clench’s evidence fits in with those others, by the way, who did *not* see Murdoch at these three boats, but who did see Wilde working at those boats. Clench was an AB who had done six voyages on the Olympic, and would have been quite familiar with the distinction between the two men (unlike a steward doing his first crossing with either). Wilde ordering Crowe into 14 after the women and children were loaded actually makes sense. Clench was ordered into 12 because the chief officer “happened to come along” and, after asking how many men were in 12, ordered Clench into the boat. This suggests Wilde was moving between the boats as they were being launched. Clench also adds that “we had instructions when we went down that we were to keep our eye on No. 14 boat, where Mr. Lowe, the fifth officer, was, and keep all together as much as we could, so that we would not get drifted away from one another.” That suggests that one of the officers on hand was aware that Lowe was in command of 14 as it was launched. Clench doesn’t specify who he received the order from, but as Wilde ordered him into the boat, he seems the likely candidate and strengthens the idea that he was on nearby as the loading was completed, and thus in a position to order Crowe into the 14.

Lowe did not state that he was either responsible for initiating the loading or overseeing most of it — indeed, the states categorically that the reason he went to the aft port quarter is because the loading was already underway. Moody told him he was “getting these boats away”, indicating that the work was in progress when he arrived. He stated in an affidavit that
After No. 1 boat had been lowered I went aft to No. 14 boat. I went there because those appeared to be the boats which at the moment were being filled and I thought that I might be able to render assistance.

Mr Moody the 6th Officer was at No. 16.

No. 12 was also being filled.

I took charge of the lowering of No. 14.
The use of the phrase that he took “charge of the lowering” puts the emphasis on the latter part of the process.

Scarrott downplays Lowe’s presence in finishing up the loading, but Clear Cameron writes of the loading of Boat 14 that: ‘There was no Captain and no First Officer to be seen, just two young Officers shouting and giving orders for Women and Children to get into the boats as quickly as they can, all the men stand back which they did without a murmur, poor souls, helping their wives and children and saying “Goodbye”.’ This fits in with Charlotte Collyer stating that Lowe was present for at least part of the loading: “Mr. Lowe was very young and boyish-looking; but, some how, he compelled people to obey him. He rushed among the passengers and ordered the women into the boat.”

This is one reason why Bill’s revised timeline works — it fits against Lowe’s movements of finishing the loading and lowering of Boat 1, then crossing to Port, then determining where the boats were being loaded, then making his way aft, then finishing the loading at Boat 14 and overseeing its lowering. The times of 12.55 and 1.15 may not be precise (and we can’t be exact to the minute), but they provide a very viable framework without resorting to long trains of conjecture, like one which places Lowe at the aft starboard quarter boats, then “lying” about it (for no motive that has yet been produced — indeed, such a scenario would deprive him of credit for working at additional lifeboats), and with not one witness who places him at those boats.

I'm seeing various flaws in your assumptions re the timing as well - for example the timing of Boat 9 vs 12 - 16. It would be faster to load one boat than the three. However, you are assuming that the aft starboard boats were prepared for launch when Murdoch arrived at them. I doubt they were ready before the aft port quarter boats - in fact, Clench and his colleagues had just been ordered to the aft starboard quarter to work on preparing the boats for launch, and Clench had only started to unlace the covers on Boat 11, when he was ordered to the port side to get Boat 16 in the water:
I went to No. 16 on the port side - the after boat, and started getting out the boat falls to let them down; I got out the two falls and coiled them down on the deck. When I was putting the plug in the boat in readiness to be lowered they were swinging the boat out.
So they had barely started unlacing covers on at least one of the aft starboard boats when Boat 16, the aftermost of the port boats, was already being swung out and the falls prepared for lowering. Lucas also seems to indicate an earlier time frame for preparation and launch of these boats - he talks of clearing the forward port boats and swinging them out, and then going to the furthest aft port boats. It was only *here* that he saw boats begin to be loaded. This indicates that before the loading began (or at least before it was far advanced) on the forward port boats, crew had been sent aft to prepare boats there for loading. With these boats in readiness, loading could begin more swiftly than the aft starboard boats.

We also see a here more feasible explanation for Moody's movements. Having assisted at the forward port boats, he moves aft with crew (like Lucas) to prepare the after boats, and with Wilde begins the process of loading. With 16 underway, he is then in a position to move to starboard, order Wynn away in Boat 9, oversee Boat 13, then move forward to where he is last seen at working at Collapsible A. Again, The Wormstedt-Behe-Fitch timeline, as applied to his movements, resolves rather than creates difficulties.
 

George Jacub

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Hi Inger

I'm not sure why you recapped Clench's evidence about who was where since he is front and centre in my reconstruction of the loading of the rear port boats. Was it to suggest he would have seen Murdoch if Murdoch was at No. 14? At the time of Murdoch's appearance, Clench was busy at No. 16.

You wrote:
"That suggests that one of the officers on hand was aware that Lowe was in command of 14 as it was launched."

Of course. The officer was obviously Moody not Wilde. Moody discussed with Lowe which of them would get in a boat and Lowe got the nod. Moody was probably the only officer to know that Lowe was going. Lowe never mentions Wilde, and for all we know he never asked Wilde's permission to enter No. 14 or notified him he was going. Which isn't surprising because, as my account shows, Wilde was at No. 16 with Clench, which is also why it's no surprise he was ordering sailors into No. 16.

Again, I'm not sure of your point regarding Lowe's absence as the aft port boats are loaded. What's important is 'when' he arrives-- and that's late.
"We were practically full up. I was taking the women in when Mr. Lowe came," said Scarrott.
And I'm not "assuming" that the aft starboard boats were prepared for launch when Murdoch arrived at them, I'm stating it as fact based on the evidence.
Officers drafted crewmen from starboard to port, not the other way around, indicating that there were men already working on the starboard boats and more of them than on port, if there were any at the port boats. Clench says he was the first at No. 16 (and 14 and 12). And Scarrott says he was the ONLY sailor at No. 14.
The clearing of No. 9 began immediately after the launch of No. 7, giving the sailors around the aft starboard boats plenty of time to get them ready. And I believe it was Ward, one of the crew at No. 9, who said that after getting the No.9 lifeboat ready, they even stood around for several minutes before Murdoch arrived.
All it takes for the McGough myth to fail is to show No. 9 was off before No. 14. If you accept that No. 9 could be loaded faster than Nos. 12, 14 and 16 collectively, then,I believe, it's point proved.
 
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According to Lightoller, it took about 15 to 20 minutes to uncover, swing out, and get a lifeboat ready for loading. Haines was involved with that work on the starboard side aft. As a boatswain's mate, he worked with and directed other crew members with carrying out that work. He said he began with 9 going aft to 15, in that sequence. When Haines was finished with 15 he came back to 9, which he said was just about ready to be lowered, having been loaded by Murdoch. It seems that 9 was being loaded during the time they were still clearing 15.

Now according to Scarrott, he was drafted to come over to the aft starboard side to start working there at 13 by the boatswain after having already cleared boats 4, 6, and 8. He was working to clear 13 he believed when he was ordered to 14 by Wilde. When he got to 14 it had already been uncovered, swung out and level with the rail. Scarrott said when he got there: "I jumped in, saw the plug in, and saw my dropping ladder was ready to be worked at a moment’s notice; and then Mr. Wilde, the Chief Officer, came along and said, 'All right; take the women and children,'" It seems that 14 was just about ready to start loading while 13 was still in the process of being cleared and 15 was yet to be worked on.

I think it was Lowe who said that the real time it takes to get a boat into the water was spent finding the people to put into it. Depending on how many people are around, it could easily take one boat 3 times as long to load as it does 3 boats. I would not dismiss the McGough evidence so easily. We have two people who knew him, Haines and Scarrott, since he was part of the same starboard-watch deck crew under Boxhall. When 14 got hung up by the falls, it is very well possible that McGough was ordered over to the starboard side to go away in 9. It take only a minute or so to cross over.
 

George Jacub

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Sam...

Good catch on Haines. You raise a valid question regarding the timing of No. 9. Haines didn't say in so many words that he helped clear all the aft starboard boats, but I can see it's possible to read that into his testimony.

Mr. HAINES. I worked on the boats, sir; got all the boats swung out.
Senator SMITH. The lifeboats?
Mr. HAINES. The lifeboats; yes, sir. Then I went and stood by my own boat, sir, No. 9.

Juxtaposing the movements of Haines and Scarrott we can deduce that in the same time as it took to clear two lifeboats ( no. 13 and 15), one lifeboat ( no. 9) was loaded and ready to lower.

But...I think we can assume it takes more time to load a boat than to clear one, or two, so the loading of No. 9 was either already underway when Scarrott was sent to No. 14 or began very, very shortly after he started to port.

You observed: "I think it was Lowe who said that the real time it takes to get a boat into the water was spent finding the people to put into it." And you are right.

15931. (Mr. Harbinson.) Did it take half an hour to launch these boats? - I do not know. It was not the launching of the boats that took the time. We got the whole boat out and in the water in less than ten minutes. It was getting the people together that took the time.

But Murdoch brought his own boatload with him when he arrived at No. 9 as you see in this slightly abridged portion of testimony.

Mr. HAINES. ... I went and stood by my own boat, sir, No. 9.
Senator SMITH. What happened then?
Mr. HAINES. We had the boat crew there, and Mr. Murdoch came along with a crowd of passengers, and we filled the boat with ladies, and lowered the boat...

Furthermore, there were so few women to put into No.9 that they allowed 15 men in.

Scarrott did not immediately start loading No. 14. He first went over a checklist of clearing procedures. Only then did he get the order from officer Wilde to start taking women and children into the boat.

Even in the worst case scenario, the loading of No. 9 and No. 14 was going on simultaneously, except that No. 9 was orderly and No. 14 was hectic, involving at least one interruption when Scarrott had to fight off a small group of men trying to get into the lifeboat. And, more to the point, when it came to launching, No. 9 went down smooth as could be, while No. 14 had to wait until No. 16 was ready to go.

You wrote: "When 14 got hung up by the falls, it is very well possible that McGough was ordered over to the starboard side to go away in 9. It take only a minute or so to cross over."

What's that saying about changing horses in midsteam? While this line of argument swings into pure conjecture (not that there's anything wrong with it in moderation) what possible reason would an officer have for taking a sailor off the falls of a boat halfway down a sinking ship to send him to another boat on the other side of the ship?

Let me throw another piece of the puzzle into the mix. Am I the only one who finds it incredibly suspicious that Lowe refused to answer a simple question about the lowering of the aft starboard boats?

15904. (Mr. Scanlan.) (To the Witness.) At the time that boat No. 1 was lowered there were still other boats on the starboard side? - That I am not prepared to answer; I do not know.
15905. I mean boats were lowered after No. 1? - I say I do not know.

He doesn't know if boats were lowered on the starboard side after No. 1? That's plainly impossible. He had to know there actually were aft starboard boats. Was he implying that the aft starboard boats might have been launched before No. 1? Didn't he spy a boat or two on the starboard side of the ship as he sauntered over to No. 14? It's a strange reply to a simple question, and an obvious red flag to a researcher.
 
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