Mount Temple : The Devil is in the Detail

Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
I have a thought on that "We're very close" and "MPA +MWL in sight".

"We're very close" is in the copy PV / Memorandum submitted to the USA Inquiry. The "MPA +MWL in sight" is omitted but is in the original PV.

What time did Captain Moore state he first noticed the Carpathia and then The Californian?

6am ATS in his USA Inquiry testimony and in some of the telegrams and press interviews beforehand, but also 6.30am in some.

Durrant in his press interview (the only one he gave) said in effect that the Carpathia and The Californian were sighted around 5.51am ATS.
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
5:51 MT time was 4.05 NYT. Five minutes earlier, 4.00 NYT, Durrant wrote down the MWL working MGN. That would be 5;50am on Californian. That would be when Lord asked for MSG and apparently gave his DR position to Gambell which showed that Californian was 17 miles from SOS position. (Lord claimed at the inquiries that he was 19 1/2 away.)
 
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Hi Sam,

As you know, I consider that there is far more research required in respect of the Marconi Archive at Oxford.

I don't think that anyone has done this yet in respect of matters relating to the Mount Temple, or The Californian, or the Virginian, or for that matter the Parisian.

As you know, Oxford has the 4.0 am (NYT) Marconigram service form from the Virginian to The Californian. It is online. A lot of this primary source documentary evidence has been overlooked or missed as researchers have concentrated on matters pertaining to Titanic.

Trying to keep this centred around the Mount Temple, we know that the original PV written by John Durrant is at Oxford, and it differs from the copy PV/Memorandum submitted to the USA Inquiry.

We also know that none of Durrant's Marconigram service forms survive in the Oxford Archives.

We do have a few from Evans and Captain Lord on The Californian that survive, but not Evans' PV.

We also know that Durrant told Evans, from Durrant's testimony to the British Inquiry, that in their first exchange 5.11am 15th April (Mount Temple ATS) that Durrant told Evans that Titanic had sunk.

9579. That is it. What is it you say?
- "Californian" call C.Q. I answer him and tell him the "Titanic" has struck an iceberg and sunk, and give him her position.

9591. You said last night that at 5 minutes past 11 you got a general Inquiry from the "Californian" and in reply you said the "Titanic" had struck an iceberg and had sunk. Had you been told by anyone that she had sunk, or was it your own conclusion?
- Well, it was 11 minutes past 5, not 5 minutes past 11.

The Commissioner:
It was in the morning.

Mr. Clement Edwards:
Quite so, My Lord.

The Witness:
I came to my own conclusions. More than that I had no official notice from the "Titanic" or any one else that she had sunk.
 
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Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
In respect of my previous post, there are a number of consequences that flow from Durrant's testimony as above.

I perhaps not need spell them out

But I will attempt a few...

The meticulous Durrant, the only Marconi wireless operator other than perhaps Adams on the Mesaba and Ernest Moore on Olympic who kept a decent record (except we have no Marconigram service forms from Durrant on the Mount Temple) provided a quite different account to the British Inquiry as to what he told Evans on The Californian compared to Evans' testimony.

And also contrary to the testimony of Captain Moore and Captain Rostron and Captain Lord. As to whether they knew Titanic had sunk. My opinion is that it should have been pretty obvious to anyone from the messages from Titanic and then the radio silence that it had sunk, so I agree with Durrant's assessment, and that what he stated to Evans was an accurate recollection of the contents of that message. (Incidentally, at the British Inquiry, Durrant would have been present when Evans gave his evidence).

If we, for the present purposes, accept Durrant's testimony as true that he told Evans that Titanic had sunk and provided Evans with Titanic's position, then Evans was not correct in his testimony, and if so, we might go on to consider Captain Moore's testimony that he saw Carpathia around 6am, and then The Californian going west from east to the north of him.

We might also consider Captain Rostron's autobiography that retracted his much later sighting of The Californian.

We might also like to consider Stewart on The Californian seeing the Carpathia at or very shortly after 4am.

If one accepts Durrant's testimony, then Captain Lord's rescue dash to the CQD position was completely ridiculous and pointless. And if The Californian could make out the ice field, it would have been already uncertain that the CQD position was correct as it was on the wrong side of this ice field.

There are other possibilities and interpretations.
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
My opinion is that it should have been pretty obvious to anyone from the messages from Titanic and then the radio silence that it had sunk, so I agree with Durrant's assessment, and that what he stated to Evans was an accurate recollection of the contents of that message.
I agree. And Stewart told Lord that the first message he got was that Titanic sank.
8911. When did you first hear that the “Titanic” had sunk? - When I went to the Marconi House.
8912. How long after you had got to the Marconi House did you find out that the “Titanic” had sunk? - I could not exactly say how long it was - the time I took to get the operator out and to his machine.
 
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Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Hi Sam,

Very many thanks for that corroboration from Stewart's testimony.

At 6am (and I've referenced other sources and a slightly later time) but this is Captain Moore's timeline to the USA Inquiry, he identifies the Carpathia beyond and across a 5-6 mile pack of field ice. He has already been at the CQD position or thereabouts somewhat earlier, and obviously no Titanic or debris. And no Titanic where the Carpathia was on the other side and beyond of this ice field.

A very cautious approach. And with the Carpathia seemingly not responding to any wireless messages until after 8.30am.

The only thing that the Mount Temple could have done at that stage was to assist with the rescue of those in lifeboats if it crossed the ice field which it was not allowed to do via Canadian Pacific instructions.
 
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Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
the "MPA & MWL in Sight" entry into the handwritten PV seems to be a somewhat later addition to the 6.0 NYT line.

Hi Sam,

I have been dwelling over this. When we consider Durrant's original PV, is it possible that Durrant made an additional comment about "MWL and MPA in sight" but put it in the wrong timeline as a simple mistake? Hence why it isn't in the "memorandum"/copy PV submitted to the USA Inquiry and instead we have the earlier entry "We're very close" with the "MWL and MPA in sight" omitted as subsequently Durrant realised he had inextricably made an error?

I don't subscribe to the view that which Paul Lee canvassed in 'The Ship That Still' that Durrant 'doctored' his PV. That instead he made an error and added a contemporaneous addition that in his original PV was in the wrong place.

Cheers,
Julian
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
Anything is possible, but we have no way to confirm it was a mistake. But I do know that at that time (0600 NYT) those two ships would have been in sight since Californian would have been close to, if not already, heading for Carpathia.
 
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