Morning After: Where were the bodies?

Dec 12, 1999
Jan, I'm not going to continue to beat what is in my view a dead horse.

Michael, I think you should practice what you preach.
Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
Since this discussion continued, it was fair game. With so much theory being banmdied about, I posted the above articles so that interested parties could get a sense of some very ugly realities out at sea.

All these things that armchair quarterbacks would tend to say "stand to reason" often do not. Especially when you're dealing with the North Atlantic. When the sea passes it's judgement, there is no appeal. It stinks, but that's just the way it is.

Dec 12, 1999
All these things that armchair quarterbacks would tend to say "stand to reason" often do not. Especially when you're dealing with the North Atlantic. When the sea passes it's judgement, there is no appeal. It stinks, but that's just the way it is.

That's true, Michael, I'm just not the seafaring, salty old droll that you are. But I've been out on the sea, too, and your thesis that the bodies couldn't be seen is purely speculative. Obviously, ordinary folk aboard the Bremen saw the bodies. A lot of people saw the bodies. The "ugly reality" is that from April 15th on, everything was covered up to minimize the impact of the disaster in the public's mind.
Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
>>But I've been out on the sea, too, and your thesis that the bodies couldn't be seen is purely speculative. <<

It's also not what I said, Jan, and by now you should know better then to try strawhorse arguements Or any other logical fallacies with me. I'm not a jurist that you or an opposing counsel are trying to bamboozel into thinking that your respective clients are somehow "right." I never said that "the bodies *couldn't* be seen." What I have pointed to is the extreme difficulty of seeing individual bodies or even clusters of them at sea. You've never refuted that point and you never will. It's simple strieghtforward reality. While I agree that there were cover ups, it simply was not over the existance of bodies. There was no need and no point to any such effort since the event itself which caused those bodies to be dead in the first place was too well known. White Star had bigger concerns then the existance of corpses which they went to quite a bit of trouble to recover, chartering no less then three different ships to do the job.

You're covering old ground now and you've been very effectively refuted and your persistance in repeating discredited assertions won't make them so. Not that this won't stop you from trying. (((shrug)))
May 9, 2001
Michael is a man of high intelligence, sound judgement and polite tone toward others. He may be 'salty', but he is most decidedly NOT droll. While I know Michael can defend himself skillfully; I am not the only one who will bristle indignantly when I hear anyone demean his name and immediately rally to his defence against such comments.
Dec 6, 2000
Only because Jan Nielson snuck back on ET for a short time, and chose to bring it up. The rest of us left this subject behind a long time ago.


Jul 20, 2013
Carpathia, Californian and Victims


I was wondering why the Californian and Carpathia failed to find many bodies. Were they in the wrong position? How is that possible if they were able to find the lifeboats, some of which state they were amongst the bodies for some time.

Bill Baird

Mar 16, 2017
Respectfully, guys, you are missing my point. I have no disagreement with anyone about whether Carpathia (or Californian, for that matter) should have stayed to pick up bodies. If you may recall, the Bremen's Captain Wilhelm said the same thing, i.e., that he didn't have the facilities to recover the bodies. I wouldn't have expected these rescue ships to pick up bodies.

P. Franklin, had ordered Leyland's Californian to stay on the scene, but Stanley Lord left anyway. That's when they sent out Mackay-Bennett. Notably, Franklin was to send a train to Halifax with a 700 person capacity on Monday, April 15, 1912. Thus, there were communications here that are not of record, in my opinion. The official communications that we are aware of, don't tell the full story. You pick up hints of things here and there, that suggest that some unknown communications were taking place.

Regarding the disclosure of bodies left floating out in the North Atlantic. I agree that this would be distressful for families of victims to learn. However, the Germans had already managed to get the word out, via Wilhelm and Bremen's passengers. Ismay even officially announced that Mackay-Bennett was sent out to pick up bodies, on April 21, 1912. So why did Rostron keep quiet about the bodies when he testified, much later on? Believe me, Rostron aligned himself with management to hush the bad stuff up. Leaving the bodies might have maligned his image as a hero, too. Maybe Rostron did not personally care about that, but the Steamship Companies certainly would have wanted to foster the image of a hero, just as they did that of an anti-hero, Captain Lord.

But regardless of the public's sensitivities, I think that when people testify under oath, they should always tell the truth. Viewing the transcripts of the British and American inquiries, it appears that there is a lot of lying going on. Frankly, hero or no hero, in my estimation Rostron appears to have been part of it, with his "one body" story.

Regarding Michael's point, I readily accept that spotting bodies at sea is very difficult. But you need to read Rostron's testimony. He admits he manuevered around so that no one would see the one body. He sent everyone inside for a chapel service. He saw the overturned collapsible. Then he and Ismay sent some really vague communications to the shore. Further, in this instance, the bodies were wearing lifejackets. According to at least one source, these lifejackets were visible from a considerable distance -- according to eyewitnesses aboard the Bremen.

I'll make it very clear: I'm not very sympathetic to the management of these steamship companies. The worst part of all this is that Oceanic Steamship Navigation Company walked away from an incredibly horrendous disaster, by hushing things up, utilizing favorable maritime liability laws, and focusing blame on Stanley Lord, and to some degree on Captain Smith and fate.

What do I think? I think the company should have gone out of business, its steamships sold, the proceeds paid to victims' relatives, and J. Bruce Ismay should have been indicted. The perpetrators of a disaster of this magnitude simply shouldn't go unpunished. And they did.

I don't expect anyone on this Board to agree with me, and it doesn't matter anyway. But frankly, there is very little that's redeeming about this story.

It's worth pointing out that so many of the survivors didn't want to talk about the Titanic disaster. These people must have felt oppressed. There were many suicides, and ensuing psychoses among them. Think about it, we have no idea what that experience was like. If we truly felt the disasster, we probably wouldn't have much to say, other than to look at it from an overall perspective, cry out loud, and express complete and unequivocal disgust for the robber barons that perpetrated it.

The issue with the bodies has puzzled me since I started research for my book on Carpathia. I have seen some data suggesting that Titanic's position may have been off from what they reported and that meant the Carpathia's was as well when she started the pickup. However, against that are the reports of the deck chairs, cork etc floating in the pickup area. It seems to me that there must have been bodies there but almost nobody reported any. I know I am not adding clarity but am genuinely puzzled and not sure how I will handle in the book.

Jim Currie

Apr 16, 2008
Funchal. Madeira
I have never believed Henry Rostron to be any kind of hero but simply a rather non descript has-been who life had passed by until the Titanic disaster. Then he showed his real colours. By that I do not mean the highly publicised "To do" list he produced at the US Inquiry. There is a great many unanswered questions concerning how the Carpathia was managed that morning.

As for bodies? They would be initially be concentrated at the initial sinking position. However, contrary to popular folk lore, there is absolutely no evidence of there having been a south-setting current of any magnitude at that time. If there had been, it would have en-trained all floating objects and they would maintain their relative positions. Another red herring which makes analysis difficult is the claim that Titanic turned north and was heading in that direction when she finally went down. I prefer to make an analysis based on what we know from the evidence of survivors and a personal conviction that Titanic sank with her bow pointing in the direction it was pointing when she hit the iceberg. Here are some of the pertinent facts.

A. Number of lifeboats boats headed West South West in the direction of a mysterious vessel which approached then turned away.
B. Another group of boats headed out from each side then stopped about 500 or so feet away and watched the ship sink.
C. Boat No. 2 headed North East from the starboard side of the sinking Titanic and stopped half a mile away.
D. The solid pack ice was about 4 miles west of Boat No.2.
E. All the lifeboats were within a radius of 4 miles from Carpathia when she arrived.
F. A northerly breeze started before dawn and increased in strength to become moderate at day light.

Now paint a picture from the foregoing 'palette'

The Carpathia approached the scene of the disaster from the South East and aimed for No.2 Emergency Boat manned by 4th Officer Boxhall. He had been setting off green flares at regular intervals from a position which he claimed was about half a mile North east of where Titanic went down and near to an ice berg which might just have been the one Titanic hit.
As Carpathia approached, she had to swerve at the last moment to avoid the ice berg. Captain Rostron had intended to provide a lee for those in boat 2. This means that there was a slight sea running which would make recovery difficult.

At first, a number of boats rowed WSW toward a light. Others stayed near the location and others rowed toward Boxhall's green lights. However, at or near 3-30 am as the wind was getting up, the lights of Carpathia were clearly identified as a rescue vessel and nearly everyone naturally turned in that direction. rowing across the wind to ward the approaching rescue ship.
Meantime, those poor souls in the water began drifting south and slightly to the westward, being carried along by the wind. This would continue throughout the rescue process until by 8-30 pm, 5 hours after the wind started up, they would have been probably well to the south and west of the original location and possibly nearer to the edge of the pack ice.
At 9 am, the Californian made a circular sweep to the southward. There is no record of what Captain Rostron told him to look for...i.e. number of boats and or people missing.


Jun 9, 2016
Where was the dead horse, the following morning?

Oh, sorry! As for the dead humans, they probably remained in drifting clusters until the seas picked up and started separating the floating bodies. After that, they threaded out individually on the North Atlantic drift. Of the 1503 known lost, only some 300 were brought ashore? Another couple hundred were disposed of at sea. Let's say 100 went down inside the vessel. In the ocean, particularly at 2:20AM, many went in without life jackets. One could assume, without the ability to stay afloat by swimming, their weighted remains slowly pirouetted towards to bottom, following the sub-surface current. Others just were overlooked and became decomposed, battered, and broken apart over the next few weeks.


From what I gather, the Titanic was greatly affected by the Gulf Stream. The Labrador current I understand met the Gulf and together they pushed everything on the surface towards the north east. The original exploration team believed the ship may have drifted as much as 4 miles on the surface before she sank. The bodies were found many miles to the northeast of the wreck. The large debris on the seafloor is scattered half a mile to the northeast. There is a large propeller blade about 3 miles southwest of the wreck (possibly from Titanic's starboard propeller which may have dropped during the collision). There is also a large path of coal almost a mile long southwest of the stern which according to a documentary could be an important clue which tells us how long the stern may have floated after the break. Put it all together and you get a line across the map which corresponds to a steady current pushing north east.

The map below shows us that researchers believed the Titanic could have drifted inside the larger circle up to a 4 mile radius before going down. She was in fact found just outside the circle. A large propeller blade was found inside. I think if we line up the path of the blade with the discovery of the wreck and the direction of the debris field we can see a good indication as to the direction the bodies had drifted. The map below isn't large enough to show, but the third dot is meant to represent the discovery of the bodies some 35 miles or thereabouts to the north east of the wreck.



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Dec 4, 2000
Interesting theory, but promulgated on a yet-unproven fact. Things are not always what they seem. That "propeller blade" has never been proven to be any sort of debris from a ship. Nor has it been proven to have come from Titanic. Until it can be identified without doubt as a blade from Hull #401 any ideas based on it have to remain in the realm of conjecture.

-- David G. Brown


Is there a source for that?

The surveys to find the wreck were looking for a large intact ship and I think they would ignore any small signals like a half buried propeller blade and would not look closer at it because it would cost them valuable time and money which they probably did not have, and so they dismissed it as simply a 'rock'. I have seen the footage of the blade and it looks very much like a large propeller blade. Absolutely not a rock. There were many survivors who believed the Titanic had dropped a propeller blade and it is resting within the 4 mile radius of the wreck which the explorers believed the Titanic could have drifted before she sank. I think Ballard did not want to draw too much attention to the blade because it would mean Grimm had discovered part of the Titanic and would probably have demanded to be credited partly for the Titanic's discovery.




robert warren

Feb 19, 2016
I bought Jack Grimm's book back in 81 and even at the age of nine I thought that this object was not a rock.As we can clearly see in the above photo, one of the blades is missing.However, I do have couple of questions--how would the impact with the iceberg cause one of these blades to fall off ,secondly, how do we know how many people were trapped in the ship?I've got a feeling there were a lot more than 100. I tend to agree with Aaron, that if Grimm's discovery was legit, he would have shared credit for Titanic's discovery,and Ballard's star would not shine as brightly as it has.

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