Mount Temple

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Hi, Arne!

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your consistently excellent postings here on ET. Your messages always contain terrific historical information that everyone here finds extremely interesting and useful, and I thought it was time I expressed my own gratitude to you for sharing your research material with us.

Thank you, my friend!


Hi Arne!

Thanks very much for that article -- it is appreciated. I find the headline interesting -- 'Three Ships...' and it is interesting as to the fact that such a story was published as early as it was. As George said, it is very much appreciated, and interesting; a hearty thanks for posting here.

Hi David!

Thanks for your link -- and analysis of the Mount Temple. Leslie Harrison presumably gives a full analysis of the Mount Temple, then, but does he say that she was the other mystery ship? (I've never read his books or anything.)

Best regards,

Hi, Mark!

>Leslie Harrison presumably gives a full analysis >of the Mount Temple,

"Presumably" being the operative word. . . :)

Among many other things, Harrison never breathes a word about the Mt. Temple's sighting of the Californian half-a-dozen miles north of the disaster site just after the Californian had begun her first westward traverse of the icefield.

>(I've never read his books or anything.)

Be sure to read the two inquiries before you read Harrison -- that way you'll be fully aware of the information that Harrison doesn't want you to know.

All my best,

Hi George!

I think Harrison has missed a rather important piece of evidence there! Seriously, I doubt if I ever will read Harrison -- whilst Reade (anti-), Harrison (pro-) and Padfield (pro-) all wrote comprehensive books, I get the impression that each set out to prove a point. That is not what is needed. With regard to the Californian incident, although it is hard to be neutral, we need an objective historical analysis. Evidence (all of it) followed by sound reasoning and interpretation.

Best regards.

Harrison is worth reading. He was close to Captain Lord in his last years and his impressions are worth considering. He gives a lot of detail about his attempts to get Lord's case reconsidered.

Just remember that he was not trying to write history. He was effectively a union official trying to prove that a member didn't get caught with his fingers in the till. Counsel for the defence doesn't set out the case for the prosecution.

I suppose I might read his information on Captain Lord and his later life, then. But I still doubt that I will be reading the chapters concentrating on the sinking itself and Californian's actions. From what I have read elsewhere, there is so much dismissal (or no mention of) key evidence. I barely understand Californian's role based on the sometimes conflicting evidence at the British enquiry, so I would get really confused if I started reading that the ship Californian sighted came from the SW.

Although this started off as a Mount Temple thread, which we can hopefully maintain, I think that Californian's Officers at the enquiries gave evidence which appears completely self destructive. If I remember rightly, Stone didn't answer two questions at all; and Mersey announced during Stewart's questioning that ' do not make a good impression upon me, at present.' It was even suggested to Captain Lord: 'do try to do yourself justice.' Considering their performance at the enquiries, I really don't think that they did make an effort 'to get their stories straight' -- if they did, they certainly did a terrible job of it. Yet there is no evidence in this regard of any 'story sttaightening.'

Best regards,

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.

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,

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

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


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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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