Hi Jim,Confusing indeed, George. Boxhall's account of the sighting of the light is twisted three ways.
First Boxhall stated that he went to calculate the CQD position after the light was reported, then he said he went before the light was sighted. In his 1962 radio interview, he said the lookout warned of a light ahead. However, while giving evidence in the UK, he stated:
"15386. Someone reported a light ahead? A: - Yes; I do not know who reported it. There were quite a lot of men on the bridge at the time. I like his last answer.
From the evidence given by passenger Colonel Gracie, we can get a very good idea of when Boxhall first saw the lights of the approaching vessel.
In his evidence, Gracie stated that he saw the vessel about 6 miles ahead of Titanic when the passengers started to muster on the boat deck wearing life jackets. If this was true, then if he saw that at 20 minutes after midnight, that vessel must have been seen at or around midnight. More to the point, it must have been seen by Lookouts Hogg and Evans. So Aaron, I guess it must have been one of these two and not Fleet or Lee.
Aaron, you ask : "My understand is that Boxhall believed the other ship was approaching them when in fact the Titanic was approaching her. Was it either case or both? e.g. The sea currents pushing the Californian closer to the Titanic, or the Titanic's forward momentum taking her further north, or was it simply the Californian rotating and the sight of her beam and port hole lights gave the impression that she was closer because she was showing more light?"
The answer to all your questions is NO. The reasons are very simple.
When those on Californian first saw that approaching vessel around 11 pm ship time that night. At that time, Californian was showing either here green sidelight or her white stern light. The former if we consider the evidence of Captain Lord and the latter if we are considering the evidence of 3rd Officer Groves. Their evidence suggests 2 approaching vessels from different directions.
However, at no time did Californian... between the firing of the first and second last rocket... show her red light to the nearby vessel. On the other hand, the vessel which approached Titanic was showing her red port light most of the time and most certainly was doing so before she eventually turned away and showed her white stern stern light. Those on Californian never saw a white stern light until the nearby vessel turned away. Titanic never turned away from the vessel on her port bow.
Boxhall did say he saw the green siselight before he saw both sidelights. Btw how many swings per hour Californian was making in your opinion?