Mauretania's wartime voyages


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Ellen Grace Butland

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Could I please ask in this thread for a link to Cunard archives,as I can't seem to get a workable link to them, due to my inefficiency at working computers. I should also be grateful for a link to the satallite world maps, as I want to look up some places (such as Gareloch) My thanks to anyone who can help, and my apologies for opening this "can of worms" since I feel responsible for posting the original thread re Mauretania.
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Mike, Jim and Mike P.,

Thanks for the adding the valued input. I agree with the points raised about memory and also wonder what evidence from the I.W.M. or other sources point to the existence of dazzle in 1915.

I have something further to add as well.
I just received a most enlightening email from author and ET member Mark Chirnside regarding some comments made during a postwar lecture by Norman Wilkinson himself, along with some comments by others involved including the Zoologist Graham Kerr mentioned in my posts above. Wilkinson stated that he did not conceive the dazzle idea until 1917 while on patrol in the Channel, at which time he noted all transports were painted in dark, dusky schemes from waterline up as seen in the 1915 Moudros photographs of the Mauretania and the Aquitania. His notion was to move away from trying to attain the “invisibility” or, more accurately, the non-recognizable appearance sought by the earlier, different approaches (the “flattening” with some broken areas as by Kerr), and attempt to create confusion regarding course with these new schemes using the bold designs we now call dazzle. It should be noted here that the application of the previous attempts at camouflage described in the posts above were abandoned as useless by the summer of 1915.

The first ship to be painted in an experimental dazzle scheme was indeed the Industry in the summer of 1917. Professor Kerr also noted the appearance of these new dazzle schemes began in the summer of 1917. The newly dazzled Industry (and shortly after many more vessels in variations of the experimental scheme) was then observed by other vessels and posts, and their conclusions reported to determine the effectiveness of these new schemes. These reports bear dates starting in August 1917 on through October 1917 and were extremely favorable. The result was an Admiralty decision in October 1917 to paint all merchant vessels, armed merchant cruisers and several warships into dazzle schemes — schemes that were noted to still be in preparation at that time. This is very interesting as the earliest dazzle scheme I can find for the Mauretania, signed by Wilkinson, is dated in this period - September 1917.

Putting aside all the other data I have posted above (specifically important to me are the visual clues in the photographic record), and in light of the above information kindly provided by Mark Chirnside, I do not see how or why the Mauretania would possibly have had any dazzle scheme applied for a voyage starting August 25, 1915 as Mr. Newall contends. The earlier and very different type of camouflage was abandoned as useless by the summer of 1915 and the more advanced, bold dazzle scheme Mr. Newall dates to 1915 would not be developed until some two years later.

Best wishes,
Eric

PS - Hi Ellen, there is nothing to be sorry about - I would not say you opened any can that had not been opened before. I have learned a lot from this discussion. I just noticed your post though - sorry. I will send you an email tomorrow.
 

Peter Newall

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Aug 19, 2006
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"...your mutual friend is looking back a possible 50 years, at someone who was recalling something that took place a possible 40 years before THAT. Some would be skeptical enough to comment that.."

Guess what Jim? I can clearly remember what I was doing 40 years ago and what ships I visited 50 years ago. Maybe it is because I do not have a head cluttered with obsessional facts and trivia?

You mentioned buying my book. If you would like a copy, please visit:
http://www.nauticalbooks.co.uk/peternewall/index.asp

Hope you enjoy reading it....

Peter
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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I can clearly remember what I was doing 40 years ago and what ships I visited 50 years ago. Maybe it is because I do not have a head cluttered with obsessional facts and trivia?

Yes Peter, but if you are not publishing facts, maybe you should supplement your memory from 40 years ago with research.
 

Eric Longo

Member
Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Mike, All,

Could it be that what some loosely term "cluttered facts and obsessional trivia" is precisely what enables one to accurately distinguish a gun mount from a boom crutch? Just my .02 cents.
Peter, we have already seen one admonishment from a moderator for personal criticism - can we please limit ourselves the facts and information presented here and in the numerous posts above as instructed by Mr. Baber?
You have no opinion of the dazzle information given or the Wilkinson/Kerr lecture data presented? Or any of the photographic observations regarding the dating of your photograph page 33 top? Or any of the many visual details which serve to date these images - the bow bulwarks, the bow railings, the built-up stern, the "second observation nest" in your page 33 photo dated 1915, the guns, the schemes, the dates...nothing?

Eric
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
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>I can clearly remember what I was doing 40 years ago and what ships I visited 50 years ago. Maybe it is because I do not have a head cluttered with obsessional facts and trivia?

Peter Peter Peter....

As an author, you really ought to be careful about making such statements in public.

I COULD be cruel, and point out the salient fact that to the vast majority of the world the study of ocean liner history might seem to be the epitome of obsessive trivia. One man's fascination is another man's what-the-hell-is-the-point-of-this-and-who-cares nonsense. So, if what I enjoy in this vast sweeping panorama we call life does not dovetail to what you enjoy, let us not resort to insult.

I could ALSO be cruel and point out that if one wants to succeed in history, journalism....liner research trivia...one must study FAR beyond the scope of what one wants to write about. As such, when I decided I wanted to document shipwrecks and NYC history, I made it a point to take classes in The Science of Memory...The Mechanics of Memory...Theory of Memory....to better learn exactly WHAT it was that I was transcribing.

Pair that with obsessive study of C.S.I. before it was trendy, and from that came my refusal to use anything written, testified to, or recorded much more than a month after an event, as first rate stand-on-its-own evidence. Because, it isn't. It's a reconstruction and incredibly flawed.

And when you add a ghostwriter and an eye on publication to the mix, you have something that for historical research purposes matches what Jacqueline Susann was to fine literature.

>Maybe it is because I do not have a head cluttered with obsessional facts and trivia?

Okay. Now I WILL be cruel. Your interaction with Mr. Longo earlier on this thread was woefully lacking in substance. You did not rebut his points so much as you attempted to get him to back down through insult. NOT a good idea for an author. If you have the facts at hand...if you have, as you say, talked with the various sources in the U.K., why not quote from them...or paraphrase them? If your head is as 'uncluttered' as you claim it to be, surely you can summon forth a few facts at will.

In that spirit, would it be cruel to cut and paste Mr. Longo's comment:

>You have no opinion of the dazzle information given or the Wilkinson/Kerr lecture data presented? Or any of the photographic observations regarding the dating of your photograph page 33 top? Or any of the many visual details which serve to date these images - the bow bulwarks, the bow railings, the built-up stern, the "second observation nest" in your page 33 photo dated 1915, the guns, the schemes, the dates...nothing?


and ask you to address it as an author, researcher, and adult? Is Mr. Longo wrong? Prove him so. Is Mr. Longo correct? Have the integrity to admit it.

>Hope you enjoy reading it....

Don't be antagonistic.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>Guess what Jim? I can clearly remember what I was doing 40 years ago and what ships I visited 50 years ago. Maybe it is because I do not have a head cluttered with obsessional facts and trivia?<<

Peter, I can remember with crystal clearity what I was doing from around 9:30am to around 1:00pm Local time on board the USS Ranger on 01 November 1983. I was involved in a support role in my repair locker backing up firefighters who were fighting a fuel oil fed fire which was cooking down in 4 main machinary room, and when I wasn't hunting up long sleeved jerseys for hose team members to wear, I was busy heaving expended OBA canisters over the side.

I can't tell you what I had for lunch last week or even where exactly I went grocery shopping. Some things burn themselves in your memory forever, but most of it just fades away after an astonishingly short period of time.

I have every confidence that Commodore Bissett was quite honest in his recollections but that doesn't mean that what he remembered can always be trusted. If it could be, we wouldn't need to put everything which mattered down in writing so that we could refer to it as needed, when needed.
 

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