Mount Temple


Sep 20, 2000
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Mark: I meant to come right back to this thread, but obviously missed the boat. Apologies. Some of my conception of Quitzrau's standing I may have gotten elsewhere, but even Wade's brief description [p. 246 in The Titanic: End of a Dream, rev. ed., 1986, Penguin] seems to bear this out:

" ... After speculation mounted in the newspapers, a Toronto physician who had been a passenger on the Mount Temple that night told the press that he had seen the lights of the Titanic in the early hours of April 15, but that the Mount Temple had stopped her engines and done nothing. [Senator] Smith instantly dispatched one of the Michigan Minutemen [his home-state "deputies"] to Toronto. After interviewing Dr. Quitzrau, however, 'Ab' Carroll decided his trip had not been worthwhile. Dr. Quitzrau's evidence was hearsay -- he had seen no lights himself. Second, the Titanic was supposedly seen from the Mount Temple hours after she had foundered. (Dr. Quizrau apparently was quite upset that he hadn't been taken to Washington and complained to the vice-consul at Toronto, who appealed to Smith, who invited the doctor's useless affidavit as a matter of diplomatic tact.)"

Myself, I think the Mount Temple's valiant efforts in that rescue attempt get massively overshadowed by Captain Rostron's success and by those ultimately unsubstantiated allegations. (Of course, they're further tarnished occasionally by pointless Lordite innuendo.) But then even the U.S. hydrographer, Captain Knapp, accepting Boxhall's CQD position as gospel, summarily brushed aside Moore's more substantial claim to have arrived not only at, but *beyond* the given CQD longitude that morning. Knowing what we now do of the true wreck location, coupled with the fact that Moore's ship was perhaps the only one to take celestial observations that morning, it seems reasonably clear to me that he was where he said he was, and certainly deserved the commendation he received from Senator Smith.

Cheers,
John
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi John!

No worries about leaving this thread for a few days. I am just off to London so this will be a short posting; I was in Liverpool last weekend so it's hectic.

Thanks for providing those extracts from Wade's book, which I have not yet had the pleasure of reading. It is interesting that Quitzrau's account was so quickly discredited, yet Smith still appended his affidavit to the Senate enquiry record. If he had not, I have to wonder if this herring would have continued to crop up. What I find interesting is that even by Quitzrau's account, Mount Temple had immediately gone to the rescue, even if she spent some time stopped in the morning when there was heavy (and dangerous) ice.

Regarding the continuing Lordite allegations, I can think of Gardiner's and der Vat's Riddle of the Titanic (1995) and presumably Harrison's work. Does Harrison explicitly accuse Captain Moore of being the 'mystery ship'?

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Hi, Mark:

Well, I'm not aware that Harrison ever gravitated toward any direct implication of the Mount Temple as a potential "mystery ship". (But then, nothing I've seen written about "A Titanic Myth" has compelled me to part with the collosal asking prices I consistently find. So there I have to plead ignorance.)

I know that in the original 1962 MMSA publication, "The Californian Incident: An Echo of the Titanic Disaster", Harrison (as editor) retained Lord's exhibits of the original correspondence that had indicted the Mount Temple -- a decision that caused quite a stir in the MMSA community. But at the same time, Harrison expressed serious doubts about the plausibility of any such suggestion ["Foreword"]:
"Secondly, several references are made in the attached correspondence to the possibility that the Canadian Pacific liner Mount Temple might have been the ship which was seen to approach and recede from the sinking Titanic, ignoring her distress signals. Navigationally, this appears to be an impossibility, any suspicion which attaches to her being based upon the allegation that green lights and distress rockets were observed from the Mount Temple during the morning. I consider that the most likely explanation of such lights is that they were the signals exchanged at the last moment between the approaching Carpathia and those in the Titanic's lifeboats, but confirmation of this point will never be possible."​
(Actually I'm pretty amazed at that, since it constitutes one of those rare instances where I agree with Harrison's conclusions whole-heartedly!)

By the time of the "Petitions" proper, Harrison would seem greatly disinclined towards any accusative posture. There he embraces the Mount Temple evidence as corroborative of the error in Titanic's CQD position and employs this in support of Captain Lord's reckoning of the lifeboats' last position. So my suspicion, at least, is that Harrison would have been extremely unwise to subsequently cast aspersions on Moore's veracity. (I could be wrong.)

But I have encountered remarks that strongly insinuate the Mount Temple as a "likely" culprit. (I don't mean your own, of course.)

Plus, in a remarkable about-face from Harrison's assurances regarding Moore's credibility, Captain Collins ["An Ice Pilot's Perspective"], who does NOT ultimately find Captain Lord entirely blameless *or* propose the Mount Temple as a "mystery ship", nevertheless paints a very disparaging picture of Captain Moore in efforts to bolster his own contention that Boxhall's CQD was entirely accurate.

The Californian saga and its spin-offs certainly do make for strange bedfellows at times! ;^)
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Diverting away from the above thread...

I know that the Mount Temple was sailing to St.John's, New Brunswick but where was she sailing from? Also, what was her date of departure and arrival?

Best wishes

Paul

 
D

Daniel Dieter Abt

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Also regarding the Mount Temple..does anyone know her dimensions? Thank you, DDA
 

Dave Gittins

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Here's what Lloyd's Register said.

Built Armstrong Whitworth, Newcastle on Tyne. 1901.

8,790 GRT Speed 12½ knots.

485 x 59 x 30.4 feet

694 NHP triple expansion engine 22” 33” 61”

Note that the length is between perpendiculars, beam is extreme and moulded depth is given Lloyd's style, which was different from the builder's style. Overall length was not given by Lloyd's in those days, but would have been about 500 feet.
 

Dave Gittins

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Paul, Mount Temple sailed from Antwerp via London. I've got a source that might give the dates, but it's 32km away. I'll check it when I can get to it.
 

Dave Gittins

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Paul, it turned out that the information is is in what I jokingly call my files.

Mount Temple sailed from Antwerp for London on 3 April. She left London on 4 April and was off the Lizard on the morning of 5 April. She reached St John NB on 18 April.
 
May 9, 2001
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I just read the testimony of Capt. Moore for the first time and I am struck immediately with the candor, and matter-of-factness of his responses. It seems that Sen. Smith was also impressed by Moore's sincerity and willingness to be forthcoming about his actions on Mount Temple that night.

I am now compelled to believe that there was not one, but two other unidentified vessels in close proximity to Titanic that night. One a schooner, (I don't know what a 'schooner' means. Its a small sailing ship I think??), and the other a small steamer of some type. Where before I was not inclined to believe that any ship was closer to Titanic than the Californian to the northwest.

My understanding of the size and structure of the icepack was further confirmed by Moore's testimony as being very wide, and perfectly visible at night from a safe distance.

I am impressed to find Capt. Moore testimony verified by later discoveries thus strengthening his credibility. He remarked that Boxhall's CQD position was likely several miles west of Titanic's actual position during the sinking. Indeed the wreck is over a dozen miles east of the reported position. He remarked further that the collision with the berg likely separated the hull plates on Titanic's bilge, which is now gaining acceptance as the true nature of the damage. (As opposed to a 300ft gash in the ship's side)

Moore seems expertly intelligent in his trade, being able to decipher distances and direction immediately from lat and long. coordinates. His version of events, and encounters with other ships mesh tightly with the accounts given by the other captains who were on the scene. His wireless operator's time bearing notes further bolster his sequence of actions and observations.

A very interesting read, and one of the most conversational dialoges between Sen. Smith and a witness I've read. I will have to read it again very soon to better digest the critical information contained in the transcript.

An early observation to me is the clear possibility that the light on the horizon witnessed by so many Titanic survivors was the so called, 'tramp' steamer as it sailed west or southwest through the icefield ahead of Titanic.

The next question I am hung up on is why could MT not find a path across the ice field when both Californian, and Carpathia seemed able to do so. Twice in Californian's case.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Hi Yuri: I don't feel like getting into a discussion about any mystery ship non-sense, but the answer to your question of why MT did not enter the ice field was asked during the British Inquiry. The answer from Moore is very simple:

9261. Have you instructions from your company as to what to do when you meet ice? - We are not to enter field ice under any conditions.
9262. Just tell us what your instructions are? - I have not got them here; they do not happen to be in these sailing orders although I have them. Those instructions we usually get that we are not to enter field ice, no matter how light it may appear.
9263. Not even in daylight? - At any time. We are not to enter field ice at any time, no matter how light it may appear.

As far as being able to see the icefield at night, remember Moore cut his engines at 3:25 and then proceeded to go on at a much slower speed pushing through loose ice all along, still looking for the Titanic. He thought he was about 14 miles from Boxhall's CQD position at that time. In fact he had to be much further east than he thought because at about 4:30 he was forced to stop because of the thick ice field ahead. It was in the morning at 6:52 AM ATS that he found his longitude line. Moore of course was coming from the southwest having turned his ship around when he received the CQD.

Capt. Lord almost ran into the same ice field coming from the east. He was going at 11 knots when he and Groves saw some white patches in the water ahead. Lord immediately rang down full astern. When the ship came to a stop he found himself among the loose ice about 1/4 mile from the edge of the heavy pack ice. If it weren't for them seeing that loose ice first there may have been a different kind of Californian incident to talk about.

Rostron on the Carpathia never saw the ice pack until the sun came up in morning. He was about 4-5 miles from it at the time.

No skipper in his right mind would try to cross an ice field at night.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Bill: I believe the Carpathia did cut across the icefield when then left the area in the morning. They went SE which was perpendicular to the edge of the field on the western side. They probably cut through the same path the Californian took when it arrived on the scene. Do you have any information that suggests differently?
 

Senan Molony

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Tad G. Fitch

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Hello everyone,
Without starting a whole new debate regarding "mystery ships" (which, as we have seen in the past, quickly degrades into either personal attacks or people talking in circles, with neither side changing their opinion in the slightest), I do have a question for Yuri:

Could you name either of the two mystery ships that you believe were in the vicinity, or at least who you suspect them to be?

Senan, if you believe the Mount Temple to be one of these ships, you then have the Californian, the Mount Temple (if you believe her to be one of the two ships Yuri mentioned) and another as-yet unidentified steamer or schooner all either seeing the Titanic's distress signals, and/or the ship itself. That means that there had to have been three ships now instead of one that ignored the rockets and did not take further action. It seems to be stretching things quite a bit. Regardless of whether there was one ship, three ships or one-hundred ships, it doesn't change the perceived culpability of each individual ship, if they did not take action in response to the signals. Their own inaction would be independent of each other and doesn't change the reason for criticism (rightly or wrongly) against Captain Lord. Now, I do keep an open mind on this topic so if there is any evidence that proves the above to be true, I am sure we would all be interested to see it.

I would also like someone to explain how *both* of these mystery ships, if they existed, managed to wriggle through the ice-field when Captain Moore wouldn't do it in broad daylight, and even the Californian struggled with it at dawn. Of course, Captain Lord had wisely decided to stop during the previous night because of the ice. Kind regards,
Tad
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Senan,

I don't know whether you were attempting to be cynical with your post of the Mount Temple headlines, if you are again attempting to mislead the readers, or what.

For those interested, I direct your attention to the old posts at the beginning of this thread. They point out the uselessness of Dr. Quitzrau's affidavit which quashes the suggestion that the Mt. Temple saw the Titanic's distress rockets. The whole story is a red herring.

Besides Dr. Quitzrau's affidavit being proven to be nonsense, the supposedly offended officers of
the Mt. Temple refused to come forward to help Capt. Lord's case back in 1912, or later. Don't take my word for it though, I suggest that the readers review the old posts in this thread and reach their own conclusions based on the facts.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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It is interesting how many of the same people who become irate about the treatment and accusations that Captain Lord received after the disaster will try to pass the buck so to speak on to Captain Moore and the crew of the Mt. Temple, with far less evidence to do so, in essence doing the same thing to him that they accuse "Anti-Lordites" of doing to Captain Lord. In any case, as stated earlier, adding another ship to the equation does nothing to vindicate Captain Lord or the crew of the Californian of any perceived wrong-doing, whether that perception is right or not.

Another interesting fact regarding this whole issue. There were rumors on other ships that were similar to those going around on the Mt. Temple after they learned of the Titanic's fate. At least one passenger on the Carpathia later claimed to have snuck on deck during the night and to have seen the Titanic's distress rockets as she sank, and then we have then First Officer Henrik Naess's erroneous claim that his ship, the Samson, was within visual range of the Titanic and her rockets that night, only later to learn that the Samson was in port at Isafjorthur, Iceland on April 6, 1912 and again on April 20, 1912, making it impossible that his 6 knot (with engine alone) or 7 knot (with sails set in addition to engine) ship could have been in port on those days and made it anywhere near Titanic's position and back in that period of time.

Many people have tried to implicate Captain Moore and the crew of the Mt. Temple because of the hearsay of his crew and passengers, and yet when push came to shove, not a single one would officially come forward for the inquiries, not even the officers who the rumors said were "disgruntled" at Captain Moore's supposed inaction.

Quite a contrast with Captain Lord's crew, who couldn't shut up about it and left at least three private accounts - Groves, Stone and Gibson - in addition to sworn testimony about the role their ship played.

I find it interested how the ship seen from the Californian supposedly steamed away, yet never presented anything other than a red sidelight to the Californian. That means that if this "mystery ship(s)" did steam away, it was without turning away and presenting her green sidelight to either Gibson or Stone (Lord saw the green sidelight when the ship was approaching earlier in the evening), leaving the only logical way for this to have happened to be that she steamed away to the southwest going astern for miles, right towards the icefield.

Without someone bringing up additional evidence which proves their case, or at least reveals something new, I am not going to waste my time talking in circles about a topic that has been beaten to death like a dead horse. People take this topic and differences in opinion about it way too personally, and I have yet to see a conversation on it that has not degraded into insults or mudslinging.
 
May 9, 2001
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Tag, I don't know you. And I believe in a public forum like this, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on any topic. But your three posts above come across to me as being aggressive and confrontational toward others.
You write in your initial post:

Without starting a whole new debate regarding "mystery ships" (which, as we have seen in the past, quickly degrades into either personal attacks or people talking in circles, with neither side changing their opinion in the slightest), I do have a question for Yuri:

Yet you seem to have become a one man show intent on starting that exact type of flaming argument here. You state you have an open mind about the discussion then contradict yourself by verbally insulting Senan's opinions. It seems you are in fact very close minded about the discussion. Your posts are inflamatory and not respectful in tone. I'd be surprised if anyone responded to you after a rant such as that. I will respond to you this once because I'm already writing to you.

The answer to the question you asked me is that I do not know the identity of either of the 'mystery' ships. But I am inclined to say that they were neither Mount Temple, nor Californian. But rather two entirely additional vessels whose identity remain unknown. Bringing the total number of vessels 'nearest' Titanic to three. A schooner, a tramp steamer, (both relatively west of Titanic) and the Californian to the northwest.

I encourage you to tone down your rhetoric if you want to be included in future discussions. And consider posting an apology to the board if you want to be included in conversations or activities that are held beyond the public forum.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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I love those headlines from the NY Journal you posted Senan. "Watched Titanic's Signals for Hours?" I'm obviously sure you don't believe any of that. The proof of course lies in the movements of the MT on the 14th of April and the morning hours of the 15th of April. So what do know?

The MT left Antwerp on Apr. 3rd bound for St. John, New Brunswick. The normal route would have taken her to the corner at 42N, 47W, and then on a rhumb line to Cape Sable Island, and from there through the Bay of Fundy to St. John. However, because of ice reports received, Capt. Moore decided to continue southward from the corner to a point 41° 15' N, 50° W before heading for Cape Sable Island. When they received the CQD they were at 41° 25' N and 51° 14' W according to Moore. At 3:25 AM, Moore estimated he was 14 miles from Boxhall's position heading N 65° E true.

Was this DR estimate correct, or could he have been on the scene hours earlier? What we know from the MT's wireless operator John Durrant is that MT's clocks were 1:46 ahead of NY. This puts their noontime (Apr 14) longitude at 48° 30' W. The intersection of that with their course line from the corner to their new alter-course point for Cape Sable Island is at 41° 38' N. If you trace the path from that noontime position, to the alter-course point at 41° 15' N, 50° W, then to the point at 41° 25' N, 51° 14' W where they turned around to go to the CQD position, then head 065° to the CQD position, the MT would have had to travel 178 miles since noon. Even at a sustained all out speed of 11.5 knots, it would take them 15 hours and 29 minutes to cover that distance over ground from noon on the 14th. Therefore, the earliest it could have been up to the CQD position would have been at 3:30 AM, about an hour after the Titanic was gone.

What all this simply means is that it was extremely improbable for the MT to have been even close to the position where the Titanic foundered an hour earlier, a position 13 miles east of the CQD position. And certainly it could not have been close enough to see distress "signals for hours."

But hey, it does make a great headline even if it wasn't true.

Cheers.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 31, 2005
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Hello Yuri,
You're absolutely right, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I am sorry that you feel that me stating my opinion and asking legitimate questions is insulting or inflammatory. I do find it strange that you have a problem with my questions when you do not seem to have a problem with Senan's poke at Sam for making a typo or for the tone that could be interpreted from his other post. Back to the subject and discussion.

Thank you for answering my question regarding your views about who the two other "mystery ships" were. Just to clarify, you do believe that there were a total of three ships (an unidentified schooner, an unidentified tramp steamer and the Californian) in the vicinity, and that the Mt. Temple was not one of these ships? Do you believe that these three ships all saw the Titanic's rockets and failed to take any action, or do you believe they were just in the vicinity in general, not necessarily in visual range of the distress rockets or ship itself?

The disagreement that I have with that theory is that if there were two other ships to the west of the Titanic, I don't think any competent captain, much less two, would cross a dense icefield such as that in the dark. As Sam pointed out, Captain Moore would not cross the icefield in broad daylight, and the Californian had trouble picking through it at dawn as well. Anything is possible, but it seems improbable to me.

The Titanic survivors never mention seeing two ships that night, either from the ship as it was sinking, or from the lifeboats (until ships responding to the distress call reached the scene in the morning), which one would expect if the "mystery ships" were in the vicinity, and close enough to warrant mention of having been on the scene. Just my honest opinion.
 

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