Mount Temple

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I suspect those of you who have looked into the Mount Temple will be groaning at the sight of yet another thread on her, especially in this section of the forum (which I am visiting for the first time in ages at the risk of neglecting my usual haunts in the Technical, Olympic-Britannic and Other ship sections). My e-mail account is also closed for today so that's another reason for me to be here. You would be quite right to groan, in my opinion. Yet having effectively discounted Quitzrau's statement, there still seems much left to discuss. I am not aware of some of these issues being discussed elsewhere, but I am sure one of our knowledgeable 'Mystery Ship Members' will soon put me right if that is not the case.

For those who have not recently read Quitzrau's account, I put it here for posterity:

Dr. F. C. Quitzrau; being first duly sworn, deposes and says that he was a passenger, traveling second class, on steamer Mount Temple, which left Antwerp April 3, 1912; that about midnight Sunday, April 14, New York time, he was awakened by the sudden stopping of the engines; that he immediately went to the cabin, where were already gathered several of the stewards and passengers, who informed him that word had been received by wireless from the Titanic that the Titanic had struck an iceberg and was calling for help.
"Orders were immediately given and the Mount Temple course changed, heading straight for the Titanic. About 8 o'clock [sic: 3 o'clock?] New York time, 2 o'clock ship's time, the Titanic was sighted by some of the officers and crew; that as soon as the Titanic was seen all lights on the Mount Temple were put out and the engines stopped and the boat lay dead for about two hours; that as soon as day broke the engines were started and the Mount Temple circled the Titanic's position, the officers insisting that this be done, although the captain had given orders that the boat proceed on its journey. While encircling the Titanic's position we sighted the Frankfurt to the northwest of us, the Birma to the south, speaking to both of these by wireless, the latter asking if we were in distress; that about 6 o'clock we saw the Carpathia, from which we had previously received a message that the Titanic had gone down; that about 8.30 the Carpathia wirelessed that it had picked up 20 lifeboats and about 720 passengers all told, and that there was no need for the Mount Temple to stand by, as the remainder of those on board were drowned.

-- Source: American Enquiry, Day 15.

I believe that in this extract from the net enquiry project, the 'eight o'clock' should read 'three o'clock' as per the original record.

Essentially, through discussions with Michael Tennaro and George Behe on another forum, a number of issues cropped up.


Quitzrau's timing appears incorrect. If the 'true time' was the MT's time, then it would equate roughly to 2.04 a.m. Titanic time; at this stage, the ship was still afloat and although the power was failing the lights had not gone out yet. So on that basis the account retains a limited credibility. However, the citation of New York time is more revealing. At 3 a.m. New York time, Titanic was sunk; it would be approaching 5 a.m. in the area where she sank.

Trying to resolve the time problem, George Behe pointed out that the MT's wireless log appeared to back up the New York time; it was a document written at the time as a record of transmissions, from what I understand. Thus Quitzrau's account apparently loses its credibility at a stroke.


Mount Temple's position was alledged by the Quitzrau account to be much closer to the sinking vessel than the one accepted, which was some fifty miles away; from the accepted position, Mount Temple could not possibly have got to Titanic in time to see the finale, which again appears to render the story that of a sensation seeker. At 12.30 a.m. ship's time on April 15th 1912 the ship was in, according to Captain Moore: 'The 15th, sir. I was in latitude 41º 25' and longitude 51º 15', sir. I believe that is correct.'
Elsewhere, variations have included 'longitude 51°14'' and 'longitude 51°41'.' It is probably fair to assume that the second and third positions are typos, and that the third should read the same as the second; and the second is not much different to the first.

The question for any mariners would be for us to plot how far away the MT would be on the third longitude given; not that it would matter much anyway since it is a typo. Yet if I was seeking to lend credence to Quitzrau (which I am not) then it would be a tactic to employ. It is still interesting that the position was given, then amended, and another typo cropped up.

But unless MT was very much nearer than was admitted (which she was not according to her wireless log), Quitzrau's account again fails.


Quizrau's account may be dismissed more easily if it was on its own, but it isn't. Apparently he is backed up by Baker, who contacted Captain Lord on Merseyside in autumn 1912; and another man who was willing to give information regarding the Canadian Pacific Line.


Unlike Gill, who was paid for his story (though not as much as some people have suggested), Quitzrau just passed on an affidavit. Yet Gill struck Senator Smith as an honest man when he met him in person. If Quitzrau was seeking fame or notoriety, then he failed miserably. But why would he put in such a story? We could conclude that he was mistaken and passed it on 'in good faith' -- or that he made it all up. But it is remarkable that he could make such a detailed, and at first glance believable story. It is also remarkable that Baker apparently backed him up. Who was Quitzrau? (Age: Occupation: Life Story) We know nothing of him, nor Baker (at least *not* me personally). Did they meet? Did they collaborate on making up some cock and bull story because they did not like Moore or wanted publicity? Or did they speak of events in good faith which they believed to be true?

It is all very well to dismiss Quitzrau's account, but wouldn't it be interesting to find out more about these accusers? And are all the debunking points really as cut and dried as they appear? What happened to Captain Moore -- did he have an uneventful career, both before and after?What was the story behind the 'story'?

Best regards,


P.S. Please bear with me for making a fool of myself.
Mark - I checked the online American Inquiry, and my own personal copy, and both say 3 o'clock. It's possible you may have seen an old, uncorrected copy, but it's fixed now.
Hi Mark:

Here's a little more information to fill in the blanks above.

Baker was the Fourth Officer on the Mt Temple - but not for the voyage in question. His letter to Capt Lord, written mid summer 1912, was based on hearsay:

"I came home from in the Mount Temple from Halifax (following) that voyage, having been taken out of the Empress at ten minutes notice to fill up a vacancy…. The officers and others told me what they had seen on the eventful night when the Titanic went down, and from what they said, they were from ten to fourteen miles from her when they saw her signals. I gather from what was told me that the captain seemed afraid to go through the ice, although it was not so very thick. They told me that they not only saw her deck lights but several green lights between them and what they thought was the Titanic. There were two loud reports heard which they said must have been the "finale" of the Titanic; this was some time after sighting her, I gathered. The captain said at the Washington Inquiry that he was forty-nine miles away but the officers state he was not more than fourteen miles off. I must tell you these men were fearfully indignant that they were not called up to give evidence at the time, for they were greatly incensed at the captain’s behavior in the matter. The doctor had made all the preparations and rooms were turned into hospitals, etc. and the crew were standing by ready to help, on deck, watching her lights and what they said were the green lights burnt in the boats… These fellows must feel sorry for you, knowing that you could not, in the face of this, have been the mystery ship…"

When you compare his hearsay story with that of Quitzrau's, the discrepancy in times, the distance travelled, etc., the only believable explanation is that they saw the Carpathia's lights and rockets, along with Boxhall's green flares from the boats. Certainly not the 'finale' of the Titanic.

Prior to Baker joining the Mt Temple, a fellow named Notley served as Fourth Officer. He and Baker met with Lord over lunch, and (according to Leslie Harrison) Notley was willing to share whatever he could tell about that voyage with Capt. Lord, but it evidently was not enough to make a difference. In any case, whatever Notley knew or did not know, he did not share it with the BR Board of Trade either.

Finally, Baker and Lord attempted to get help from the Mt Temple's Dr. Bailey, who was even less help:

"… what value would an unprofessional and worthless expression of details as to what occurred on the Mount Temple be in the face of what has been found? It is clearly in Captain Lord’s best plan to seek his evidence from Notley at Montreal and the officers who were on the ship at the time who saw certain things and freely discussed matters together; why come to ask me, who doesn’t know the blunt from the sharp end of a ship?"

You haven't made a fool of yourself at all; these are good questions. But the end result was that even IF the Mt Temple had been there, not one officer made a statement to any useful effect. And as John Feeney pointed out on a separate thread, even IF the Mt Temple had been there too, it does not subtract the Californian, where there is much stronger documentation. That documentation from the Californian's own officers - Stone's and Gibson's statements, eg - seriously undermines Baker's sentence that "[Lord's] could not, in the face of this, have been the mystery ship."

Dave Billnitzer
Hi Bill!

Thanks for your clarification -- it probably was an old copy that I printed for my own convinience, but from other source notes I had three o'clock so I went with that. I am pleased that this has been corrected as the team have done an excellent job of transcribing.

Hi Dave!

Thanks for your detailed reply. It's good to see you here as a man that's studied the Californian saga in some detail. Personally I am wandering a bit out of my main field of interest, but nonetheless the mystery ship saga is fascinating.

In putting forward the Mount Temple's movements, I certainly *agree* with yourself and John Feeney that they *would not excuse* Californian's inaction even if the MT had been 'another' mystery ship; I didn't mean to *imply* that, so please accept my apologies for inadvertently doing so.

Hearsay seems to describe much of the accounts, both from Baker and Quitzrau. Personally, I'd like to believe in the sincerity of human nature and conclude that they were relating events that they believed in good faith to be true, but were not, rather than believing that they were publicity seekers (or Quitzrau anyway).

I'd say that the 'fourteen mile' figure cited by Baker is similar to Quitzrau's, but as you no doubt have noticed, there is no time given and so the figure is meaningless. Carpathia's could certainly be an explanation for the signals apparently sighted.

I hadn't seen that quote from Doctor Bailey, so many thanks for supplying it. Personally I would want to put the Mount Temple's story forward, for two reasons. If there is no mention of it, or no exploration of its truthfullness, then people may continue to believe that the MT was likewise 'guilty'; but the second reason is that if MT was not, it is incredible that she has received such attention and attracted such stories from several people, untrue or not.

As an aside from this thread, which hopefully will stay 'on topic,' it might sound strange to say that I am still 'sitting on the fence' as regards to Lord. Certainly I accept that he failed to do what was required in the circumstances that he was faced with; but I also believe that Stone's actions were short of the mark; and that he was too quickly condemned by some people who were not in the same situation before Titanic was the most famous ship in the world. (Though I won't go further because it *is* a can of worms.

You agreed with me that these were 'good questions' as regards the Mount Temple. It is truly fascinating that there are so many questions unanswered as to why these story(s) cropped up, even if we conclude that they were not accurate. Has anyone ever researched some of the points about Moore, or Quitzrau? I heard that Diana Bristow researched the story in one of her works, though I have not had what would have surely been the undoubted pleasure of reading that. But knowing her thoroughness in other areas of research, did she come up with any reasons as to why these stories might have been put forward?

Best regards,

Hi, Mark!

>Personally, I'd like to believe in the sincerity >of human nature and conclude that they were >relating events that they believed in good faith >to be true, but were not, rather than believing >that they were publicity seekers (or Quitzrau >anyway).

When I get a spare moment I'll try to dig up the other 'dicey' Mt. Temple passenger accounts that I mentioned to you the other day. (Although I tend to share your faith in human nature, these accounts can only be described as being 'highly original.') :)

Take care, old chap -- I enjoyed our recent joint conversation with Mike Tennaro re: the Mt. Temple's timing of events.

All my best,

Mark wrote: "Hearsay seems to describe much of the accounts, both from Baker and Quitzrau. Personally, I'd like to believe in the sincerity of human nature and conclude that they were relating events that they believed in good faith to be true ..."

Mark: For what it's worth, I concur with you entirely there. Based especially on Quitzrau's adamance -- he was said at one point to have been outraged at not being invited to testify personally in Washington -- I suspect that he at least (and possibly Baker, as well) really *believed* what he'd heard.

The flaws in both accounts, in my mind, seem to stem not so much from the manufacture of details (though there are some squirrely details), but from their misinterpretation. When you put it all together -- the nonsensical time conversion, the green lights, etc. -- it seems pretty clear that both Quitzrau and Baker could have faithfully reported what they recalled hearing, but that those who relayed those observations to them had totally misunderstood their meaning, actually seeing *Carpathia's* rockets with the green flares from Boxhall's lifeboat. (It's a certainty they couldn't have seen *Titanic's* rockets AND Boxhall's flares at the same time!)

No, I think both men could have been relatively sincere, just misled by others who were equally convinced -- at least at the time. But since those who'd relayed the tales later *declined* to come forward, perhaps they too realized that what they initially *thought* they were witnessing wasn't necessarily what they'd seen at all. (And of course, objections to Moore's final decision *not* to proceed through the ice field are probably to be considered an expected outfall of any difficult command decision made.)

My own vague recollection [from Wade?] is that Quitzrau was a fairly respected member of his community. And he apparently had some political clout, since it was the Canadian Consul who got his deposition admitted. (Presumably the Consul was having difficulty getting Quitzrau "off his back" -- not the kind of stature you'd normally attribute to a simple "crank").

My own reading of Moore's testimony convinces me that the second longitude recorded, 51°41' [after consulting memorandum], really *was* a typo in the stenographer's notes and should have been the 51°14' stated immediately afterwards. Under that premise, Moore initially says "15" from memory, then amends it to "14" after looking it up, then re-affirms it, which seems pretty reasonable. And plotting the distance from that longitude does fits Moore's estimated mileage from the CQD.

The *printed* 51°41' longitude, on the other hand, is totally out of the question for the Mount Temple, placing it about 20 miles (and roughly 1-1/2 hours minimum travel time) further west still. Under those circumstances, Moore couldn't possibly have reached the CQD position until about 6:00 AM; his ship was only capable of around 13 knots.

(Of course, that wouldn't be the first occasion where I've seen evidence of a mild form of dyslexia in Bill McKinstry's efforts. There are a *few* juxtaposed digits in the beleaguered stenographer's work.) ;^)


Thanks for more replies. This thread is slowly generating the kind of discussion that I hoped it would. Thanks George for your offer of further accounts re: the Mount Temple. My own research into her has been limited at best, though documents on microfiche at the PRO in London are well worth a look.

When you put it all together -- the nonsensical time conversion, the green lights, etc. -- it seems pretty clear that both Quitzrau and Baker could have faithfully reported what they recalled hearing, but that those who relayed those observations to them had totally misunderstood their meaning,

You do make a good case for the point on both people's ideas/thoughts. Mundane or not, the thought of misinterpretation rather than a conspiracy theory seems refreshing, for mot things have been subjected to conspiracy theories in their time.

I haven't read Wade, although I am sure that he gives good views especially in regards the American investigation. McKinstry's mistakes may seem great, but I suppose that it is quite understandable; so much material, mild dislexia(?0, and British accents. As a Britisher watching the American version of The Weakest Link, Anne Robinson's questions are as clear as crystal to me but not to the American contestants; and it amazes me how they cannot understand her. Likewise, I can barely understand some of the contestants' accents, which would no doubt amaze them. When I visited America in 1998, everyone found my accent hard to understand.

As an aside, I am amazed that this story does not get mentioned that much. Wade's material on Quitzrau sounds refreshing, but if I recall, E&H TT, DD, and other well-known works just neglect to mention the MT entirely. I know some believe them to go out of the way with their 'Lordite' credentials, but from a neutral standpoint they would make a better case for Lord if it was baed on truth. Understand I am not accusing E&H, but the perceived methods by some researchers by others in general.

Best regards,

Hi, Mark!

Here is the information I promised re: spurious allegations by Mt. Temple passengers and crewmen:

1. W. H. Kennervorst: claimed to be a Mt. Temple passenger and said that the Mt. Temple was within five miles of the Titanic before the latter vessel went down. He claimed to have seen the lights of the Titanic, but Captain Moore hove his ship to and declined to steam toward the sinking vessel despite the pleas of his officers.

2. E. W. Zurich: claimed to be a Mt. Temple passenger and said that he and two other passengers snuck to the Mt. Temple's deck against the captain's orders. He was "almost positive" that he saw the masts of the Titanic.

3. Dr. Quitzrau: One of the Mt. Temple's officers was certain that Quitzrau was the person who originated all of the rumors concerning the Californian. He said that Quitzrau had been a steerage passenger, but due to crowded conditions he was given 2nd class accomodations. Quitzrau was found on the 'saloon deck' during the voyage and, when it was found that he had a steerage ticket, he was ordered off the deck. The officer said that Quitzrau was creating these stories for spite.

4. John Ehmig: claimed to be a Mt. Temple steward and said that Mt. Temple was only five miles from the Titanic when she received the CQD. Mt. Temple started for the Titanic, but then Captain Moore apparently lost his nerve, changed course and skirted the icefield, coming nowhere close to the scene of the sinking.

5. An unidentified engine room hand said that, when his watch was over, he went on deck and (with other crew members and passengers) watched the almost steady stream of rockets from the Titanic. He stayed on deck til almost 2 a.m., watching until the signals were lost in the distance as the Mt. Temple sailed away; the Mt. T. was between five and ten miles from the Titanic.

6. Another sailor who was on watch that Sunday night said that he heard Third Officer Notley tell Captain Moore about the distress signals, but the Mt. Temple steamed away on her own course so that the Titanic's lights soon disappeared.

7. Second Officer Heal enigmatically told reporters that if he wanted to talk he could tell a lot. He added that it was not his business to talk and, if anyone wanted information, they should see Captain Moore.

As you can see, the above accounts are pretty 'imaginative' (and that's a pretty charitable evaluation.) :)

Anyway, the above information was first published in my 1981 letter to the Commutator's Sea Poste column. (My letter contained information on several potential 'mystery ship' candidates as well.)

Hope this information will be of interest.

All my best,

a fascinating set of accounts! I had no idea that there was this much scuttlebut about Mount Temple actually seeing Titanic, beyond Quitzrau & Baker. what is the origin of all these other accounts? were they taken from newspaper stories? if so, that could account for some of the additional "flavor" therein.

taking all the above crew and passenger accounts as a whole, it begins to sound to me like a story that was almost self-generating. one person says the Mount Temple mysteriously stopped, someone else says they are sure they saw lights, another gets convinced the lights were actually Titanic, and the story running through the cabins of Mount Temple just builds and builds and builds.

I tend to agee with John F that Quitzrau, at least, believed in his own mind what he was saying, but now I wonder if he allowed himself to be convinced more by the scuttlebut making the rounds of the ship than from an event he personally saw himself.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
Hi, Michael!

>what is the origin of all these other accounts? >were they taken from newspaper stories?

Yes, they were all newspaper accounts.

>it begins to sound to me like a story that was >almost self-generating.

I agree with you 100%.

Take care, my friend.

All my best,


Thanks very much George for all of those accounts. Certainly the number might seem to lend credence to the Mount Temple as a mystery ship, but when we actually read them, let alone do any analyses, they seem so different as to defy belief.

Quiztrau's apparent annoyance with regard to his treatment might well explain partly his story. This Mount Temple material deserves a book in itself considering all of the treatment that the Californian has received.

1. W. H. Kennervorst: claimed to be a Mt. Temple passenger and said that the Mt. Temple was within five miles of the Titanic before the latter vessel went down...

Presumably she raced to the rescue, then decided to stop in solid ice while her Officers falsified her position, leaving every passenger to watch the disaster!

2. E. W. Zurich: claimed to be a Mt. Temple passenger and said that he and two other passengers snuck to the Mt. Temple's deck against the captain's orders. He was "almost positive" that he saw the masts of the Titanic.

Incredible that he would see the masts (presumably as opposed to the ship's glitterring lights); and be so positive about the experience as to add the qualifier 'almost'.

4. John Ehmig: claimed to be a Mt. Temple steward and said that Mt. Temple was only five miles from the Titanic when she received the CQD. Mt. Temple started for the Titanic, but then Captain Moore apparently lost his nerve, changed course and skirted the icefield, coming nowhere close to the scene of the sinking.

Presumably the Mount Temple was so close because she had changed course before receiving the distress call -- the Captain Moore mounted a heroic rescue attempt before deciding to call it off because of nerves!

As an aside, presumably some of this material appeared prior to Smith's investigation in NY -- or more specifically, his questioning of Moore?

Many thanks George for bringing these to my attention -- and excuse the light interpretations.

Best regards,


If you're interested, my site includes a copy of a NY American article from April 25, 1912. The article doesn't include the interviewees names that George gives above, but it definitely gives you the flavor of how the story sprang to life. As you already seem to sense, it reads like so much yellow journalism: big on sensation, scant on corroborable information.

The article is under the chapter heading "Documents" with the subheading "Mt Temple Story." The URL is:

Note that on the same day this story is breaking in St. John's, Newfoundland (April 25), a much bigger scandal is breaking in Boston: Ernest Gill has gone to the Boston American, which has just published his famous affidavit that very morning, and Capt Lord is set to begin his web of lies and denials.

Hi, Mark!

>....and excuse the light interpretations.

Your "light" interpretations were perfectly appropriate for the subject matter, old chap. :)

Hi, Nefarious!

>The article doesn't include the interviewees >names that George gives above,

Please feel free to include my Mt. Temple info on your website if you'd like to, Dave. (In fact, I'd be honored if you decided to do so.)

All my best,

Here is a part of an article in The Commercial News April 27 1912 (U.S.A.) in case here is something new about the Mount Temple:

Captain of the Mount Temple Declares Two steamers and Schooner were close by.

Says he got message and turned ship to succor.
Identy of other steamers and the tramp not learned. By Assosiated Press.
"Two steamers and schooner were only a short distance away from the Titanic when she sank, according to the testimony of Capt. James H. Moore of the steamship Mount Temple, to-day before the senate commitee investigating the tragedy. Ice was the barrier that held back vessels hurrying to the rescue.
Teh Mount Temple interrupted the Titanic`s call for help. Capt. Moore said, and immediately he turned his ships course toward the crippled liner. On his way he raised the lights of a scooner within a few miles of the scene of the tragedy, and coming from that direction. When day broke to disclose a great field of ice ahead, the Mount Temple discovered a tramp steamer close by. The identity of neither scooner nor tramp was fixed.
My wireless operator J. Burrani informed me, continued Capt. Moore that from the sound of the signals he judged that the Frankfurt was nearest to the Titanic. The last message the Titanic answered was that from the Olympic, the operator told me was at 1.30 Monday morning. A few minutes after that the operator told me that the Olympic, Baltic and Frankfurt were all trying to get to the Titanic, but could not reach her. The Titanic, he said, had not spoken since 1.30. That was about an hour after I had been given the first signal from the Titanic, my ships time.
Did you send any messages from the Mount Temple? asked senator Smith.
No, I kept out.
Two messages given by Capt. Moore were those that had passed between the Titanic and the Frankfurt. He said that after the Titanic had adviced the the Frankfurt of its condition it sent out a second appeal to the Frankfurt to come quick. The messages grew weaper, said the officer, until the Titanic operator undoubtly was using his auxiliary, or storage battery. By that time the vessels dynamos hed been rendered useless by the water."
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