Lost In Translation


Paul Lee

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I've written a summary of the Californian's actions the night of April 14/15th 1912 and then run it through my patent Lord Mersey Obfuscation Parser. This is what I started with:

Shortly after stopping the Californian at 10.21pm on Sunday, April 14th, 1912, which left
his ship the Californian pointing in a NE direction, Captain Lord noticed a ship approaching
from the east; initially he had mistaken it for a rising star. As the ship approached, he noticed
its green light, indicating westward passage, but it otherwise looked like a tramp steamer.

At 11.15pm 3rd officer Groves noticed this ship, which he took to be a brightly lit passenger
steamer, coming up astern from the south west apparently, and showing a red sidelight and two
masthead lights (Titanic had but one). Despite this, Groves identified this stranger in court as the Titanic.
She stopped and put out her lights at 11.40, just like the Titanic.

Shortly after 12.00, 2nd officer Stone relieved Groves on the bridge, and he pointed out the
stopped ship to Stone. The other ship was SSE, dead abeam on the starboard side.
A few minutes later, Apprentice Gibson joined Stone and thought he saw a morse lamp
signalling. Gibson flashed a message back but was satisifed that it the other ship's masthead
light was flickering. The other ship gave the appearance of a medium sized tramp steamer,
showing few lights, one masthead lamp, and a glare of lights on her aft deck.

While Gibson was below searching for a new logline for the next morning, Stone saw 5 rockets
burst over the other ship. The Titanic was firing rockets at this point, about eight in total (the exact number
seen by Stone, in total) which reached an altitude of 800 feet; however, Stone said that the rockets
he saw went to only half the masthead light of the other ship.

By this time, Gibson had rejoined Stone, and he saw the last three rockets fired from the deck
of the other ship: also, the other ship seemed to have a heavy list to starboard as her lights looked
odd. The two men thought that the rockets must be a sign of distress and noted that a ship does not
fire rockets at sea for nothing. However, despite this, Stone had noticed that the other ship had
altered bearings and had now steamed to the SW and later admitted that "a ship in distress does
not steam away from you". Although Gibson did not see the other ship move, perhaps because
he was off the bridge for most of the time, his letter to the Captain listing the
other ship's bearings indicate that she had indeed moved.

Meanwhile, to the South, the Titanic was keeping a strange ship under observation. The relevant headings
of the two ships, plus the swinging of the Californian indicate that the two ships were somehow
in visual range of each other,
despite navigational data putting the two ships at about 20 miles apart.

Sometime after 2.00pm, the stranger as seen from the Californian was barely visible, and eventually faded
away; the Titanic had sunk at 2.20am.


-

and this is what I get!

Shortly after stopping the Californian at 10.21pm on Sunday, April 14th, 1912, which left
his ship the Californian pointing in a NE direction, Captain Lord noticed a ship approaching
from the east; initially he had mistaken it for a rising star. As the ship approached, he noticed
its green light, indicating westward passage.

At 11.15pm 3rd officer Groves noticed this ship, which he took to be a brightly lit passenger
steamer. Groves identified this stranger in court as the Titanic. She stopped and put
out her lights at 11.40, just like the Titanic.

Shortly after 12.00, 2nd officer Stone relieved Groves on the bridge, and he pointed out the
stopped ship to Stone. The other ship was SSE, dead abeam on the starboard side.
A few minutes later, Apprentice Gibson joined Stone and thought he saw a morse lamp
signalling. Gibson flashed a message back but was satisifed that it the other ship's masthead
light was flickering.

While Gibson was below searching for a new logline for the next morning, Stone saw 5 rockets
burst over the other ship.

By this time, Gibson had rejoined Stone, and he saw the last three rockets fired from the deck
of the other ship: also, the other ship seemed to have a heavy list to starboard as her lights looked
odd. The two men thought that the rockets must be a sign of distress and noted that a ship does not
fire rockets at sea for nothing.

Meanwhile, to the South, the Titanic was keeping a strange ship under observation. The relevant headings
of the two ships, plus the swinging of the Californian indicate that the two ships were in visual range of each other.

Sometime after 2.00pm, the stranger as seen from the Californian was barely visible, and eventually faded
away; the Titanic had sunk at 2.20am.


?????

Paul

 

Dave Moran

Member
Apr 23, 2002
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Unless the ship that Lord sees at 10.21 pm is NOT the same ship that Groves sees at 11.15 pm. Now, whilst I believe that Groves, Stone and Gibson are all watching Titanic, is it possible that Lord was watching at 10.21 pm - and what became of it ?

warmest regards

dave
 

John Flood

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Hi Folks,

I figure the ship Lord saw at 10.15pm, could not be the same as the one seen by Groves at 11.15pm, given the time difference. Like Dave, I believe the ship sighted at 11.15pm was Titanic.

Is it possible that the ship scene by Lord was Mount Temple? Although I would have thought the MT would have been far to the west by this time(i.e 10.21pm). It would have been the nearest vessel to the Titanic&Californian at that time.

All the Best,
John.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Hi John,
Have a look at the other thread about Groves' sighting of the ship at 11.15pm. He indicates a ship seen coming up astern - that is, from the west!

I've done some more trigonometry, and I've found that it is impossible that the light seen to the east at about 10.20pm was the ship seen to stop at 11.40pm, unless it was travelling at a lot less than 22.5 knots (Titanic's speed).

Also, for the ship to stop at 11.40pm at a distance of 10 miles - and assuming that it was the Titanic travelling almost due west, then the mastlights would come into view at 11.00pm. Could Groves have missed the ship for a whole 15 minutes? Maybe,

Cheers

Paul

 

Dave Moran

Member
Apr 23, 2002
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Well, a thing that sometimes gets forgotten when we discuss mystery lights seen from Californian is the testimony of a great many people at various times of how clear and starlit the night was.

I'm no Lordite - far from it, but I've recently begun to wonder about some of the things that I have until now accepted as written in stone ( no pun intended ). This is one such - until now I tended to think that Lord was being disingenuous and that the ship he had seen at 10.20 was Titanic, that he knew it was Titanic by at the latest the time of the British Inquiry and he was attempting to rationalise her identity away.

Now I have more respect for Occam's Razor - that the simple suggestion that Groves and he were watching two different ships, but neither of them realised this at any time, is the likeliest.

However- what became of her ?

And why is it that so many try to place Mount Temple on the spot ?I had always thought that this suggestion was refuted several times over - yet every few months, there she is...bobbing about in the vicinity. Is there a good reason for this ?

I must check this out - but thanks for getting me thinking everyone

warmest regards



dave
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>However- what became of her ?<<

If she wasn't the Titanic, she probably missed the roadblock the Titanic found and continued on her way without incident.

>>And why is it that so many try to place Mount Temple on the spot ?<<

An attempt at misdirection. Quite a common occurance in affairs like this.

>>I had always thought that this suggestion was refuted several times over <<

It has been, and some of the refutations, IIRC, come from Lord's supporters. The reason she keeps coming up, in my opinion, is a misunderstanding of the evidence and an attempt to shift the "blame."
 

John Flood

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Hi Folks,

Err...okay, I figure it unlikely the MT was the ship seen by Lord at 10.15pm.

"And why is it that so many people try to place Mount Temple on the spot?"

I wasn't for one moment suggesting that the MT was the mystery ship seen by Titanic at the time of her sinking.

I was just suggesting the possibilty, (highly unlikely, I know, as she was something like 40 miles away a few hour later) that as she was the nearest known ship to the Titanic/Californian area, maybe she was the ship by Lord, at 10.15pm, as it steamed westward.

As I said before, it is highly unlikely that it was the Mount Temple seen by Lord at 10.15pm, but I just do not know of any other possible candidates, and that's the confusing thing!

All the Best,
John.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>but I just do not know of any other possible candidates, <<

Nither do I, but it helps to know that the "mystery ship" was seen coming out of the east. By 10:30, the Mount Temple was well west of the icefield by at least 50 miles if the chart in the U.S. Inquiry transcript is correct.
 

John Flood

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Hi Folks,

I thought the "mystery ship" seen by Lord at 10.15pm was travelling from east to west. My mistake...I should have read Paul's initial post more thoroughly!

Does this mean that this ship managed to get through the icefield? It's even more confusing now!!

All the Best,
John.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I thought the "mystery ship" seen by Lord at 10.15pm was travelling from east to west...<<

She was. Tha what I meant be saying "Coming out of the east." My point is that by the time this putative "mystery ship" was observed, the Mount Temple was already well west of the icefield, by at least 50 miles, and well beyond any possible visual range.

>>Does this mean that this ship managed to get through the icefield? It's even more confusing now!!<<

Possible, and perhaps even misdirection. The issue isn't really whatever ship made it through the icefield. The issue is whether or not Californian saw that one which didn't, and how that ship was percieved.
 

Paul Lee

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Hi John,
Well, Lord said that he saw the green light, so the ship must have been travelling roughly westward. As for what Groves saw.... well, have a read for yourself, and if you can figure it out, I owe you a drink
happy.gif


Best wishes

Paul

 

Dave Moran

Member
Apr 23, 2002
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Thanks Michael

I'm beginning to see why some people are a wee bit suspicious of Groves...

8129 suggests Lord left the bridge about 10.35 or a few minutes before that but then between 8130 and 8132 he's a bit vague about when Lord gave him orders to report other ships - was it after Lord had left the bridge (8130) or before he left the bridge ( 8132). Then 8134 adds to the previous answers and makes it sound as if spotting the ship Groves saw was contemporary with Lord leaving the bridge - and so I used to think. Thus, we find ourselves asking - if Groves saw a ship, how come Lord missed it ? Is Lord being economic with the actualitee ?

But then we find Groves being obtuse about the timing of his sighting in 8136 to 8146. Given the amount of ink spilled over Lord's evasions at times in front of the inquiry, it is intereting - it could be one of those silly moments in conversations which we've all had where we find ourselves at cross purposes with the other party - but nevertheless...hmmm
 

Paul Lee

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Wait till you get to the bit about the other ship's movements - "coming up astern", "showing her red light" etc. Have fun! ;)

Cheers

Paul

 

Paul Lee

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I've trawled through Groves' testimony about the other ship that he saw. It just doesn't make any sense.

He first sees the other ship at 11.10, but first pays attention to it at 11.15. The ship is described as a litle abaft the starboard beam of the Californian, putting it roughly SE.

He didn't pay much attention to it at first, as he thought it "might be a star rising" - i.e. a ship coming from the east.

At 11.25, he makes out two white mastlights and a lot of light.

He says that the other ship is 3 1/2 points abaft the beam - this is 39.4 degrees! (a "little" abaft!?), putting the ship a little east of south.

When he first sees the other ship, it is 10-12 miles away; when she stops at 11.40, she is now 5-7 miles away.

He describes the other ship as "coming round more to the south and west, more on Californian's beam", and tells Lord that the stranger is "approaching us, coming up on our starboard quarter (right rear)". He also says that she was coming up obliquely on the Californian.

At 11.40, the light of the other ship go out, and Groves sees her red light - but NEVER her green. Groves agrees that a turn of two points to starboard would make the lights seem to go out.
In fact, Groves sees the red light as soon as the deck lights disappeared.

Groves then bewilders the court by stating that the ship was going westward even though the green light never showed itself!

Sheesh

Paul

 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I'm beginning to see why some people are a wee bit suspicious of Groves... <<

There are some other actors to be wary of as well. When you get around to checking out Ernest Gill, you'll find comparing his U.S. testimony with what he offered to the Mersey Wreck Commission most entertaining. I don't think anyone here will have any difficulties identifying problems with his testimony. Even Leslie Reade had some very strong reservations about this guy.

Personally, I don't think he saw a thing. I think he made up a lot of what he offered based on hearsay. That doesn't mean his testimony doesn't have some value. It certainly does insofar as it affirms that something happened during the night and that the crew was aware of it. I mean, how else could he get the information if he didn't see anything first hand? If he's passing on hearsay, somebody had to have mentioned something where he could hear it!
 

Paul Lee

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What I was trying to say, in a fashion that would make people think without annoying them, is those people partisan to a particular cause, pro- or against Lord are guilty or trumping up those pieces of evidence that suit their agenda and then casually ignoring the rest, which I think has been demonstrated quite ably in other threads. To say that someone is "mistaken" just because you don't like what they say, or what they saw because its troublesome with people's ideas is frustrating, naive and just not good enough IMHO! Rather than explain it away, or ignore things, lets debate it and explain it!

PS This is not directed at anyone.

Paul

 

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