Mount Temple's involvement

C

Chalkie

Member
THE DEVIL AND THE DETAIL

Captain James Henry Moore was Master of the Canadian Pacific vessel SS Mount Temple, which learned of Titanic’s emergency messages for help and reached what she believed was the scene of the disaster around 04.30am on 15th April 1912. Moore was one of many witnesses called before the US Senate Committee Inquiry and the subsequent British Inquiry held following the sinking of Titanic. According to Moore’s original testimony Mount Temple found herself on the western side of a great ice barrier, and concluded that Titanic had collided with the iceberg on the eastern side, perhaps as many as eight miles further east. Moore then claimed that it was a few hours later before he saw any ship and that ship was SS Californian under the command of Captain Stanley Lord. At the British Inquiry Lord was asked at what time he passed Mount Temple. Lord replied to Question 7,260 as follows: “I passed her somewhere about half-past seven — somewhere in the vicinity of half-past seven.” Both vessels were in close proximity to the exact area where Titanic sent her SOS from but could find nothing there (the wreckage of Titanic was found in 1985 in excess of 13 nautical miles to the east and a little to the south of the ship’s distress co-ordinates). Lord said that his vessel was 19½ miles from the SOS position when he ordered her engines to be stopped for the night, while the ship commenced her engines again at 06:00 am. As the Californian had a top speed of 13 knots (nautical miles per hour) then his claim that he passed Mount Temple “somewhere about half-past seven” was consistent given the 19½ miles Lord claimed he was away from Titanic coupled with overnight drift, Californian starting her engines again at 06:00am and her speed.

However, there were claims that the Mount Temple could be seen by the Californianas early as 06:00 am on 15th April 1912 which cast serious doubt over Lord’s testimony. But, Moore did not categorically inform the US Inquiry that he could see Californian at 06:00 am, he said:”I suppose about 6 o'clock in the morning… I sighted the (Cunarder) Carpathia on the other side of this great ice pack, and there is where I understand she picked up the boats. So this great pack of ice was between us and the Titanic's position.” He then went on to add: “I saw the Californianmyself cruising around there, sir. She was there shortly after me.” Senator Smith then asked Moore: “On which side of the ice pack was the Californian?” Moore responded: “The Californian was to the north, sir. She was to the north of the Carpathia and steaming to the westward, because, after I had come away and after giving up my attempt to get through that pack, I came back again and steered back, thinking I might pick up some soft place to the north. As I was going to the north the Californian was passing from east to west.” Despite Moore not once actually confirming that he positively saw the Californian, Senator Smith continued: “And you were also cut off from the Carpathia by this ice pack?” In reply Moore said: “Yes, sir; by this ice pack. She (Californian) was then north of the Carpathia, and she must have been, I suppose, about the same distance to the north of the Carpathia as I was to the westward of her.” Yet again Moore appeared to be merely making guesses as to the location of the Californian. However, we learned a somewhat different account of events when Moore faced the British Inquiry. Question 9,244: “And I think shortly before 08:00 am you came in sight of the Carpathia and the Californian?” Moore replied: “Yes.” Therefore, the assumption that the Californian was visible to Mount Temple at 06:00 am remains unsubstantiated and purely based on assumptions. However, it was Captain Stanley Lord who was vilified by the press and public alike for not responding to Titanic’sdistress signals, a serious lack of prudent judgment when you take into consideration that Titanic fired 8 distress rockets, all of which were seen by the Californian.

Cyril Evans, the Radio Operator onboard the Californian, was asked to give evidence to the US Senate Inquiry. Evans said that on the evening of Sunday 14th April 1912 (around 9:00 pm New York time) Captain Lord informed him that he was stopping the ship for the night because there was just too much ice in close proximity to them. Evans said that Lord asked him if he was aware of any other ships close by and when Evans said that Titanic was not far away from their position, Lord instructed him to inform Titanic that Californian was surrounded by ice and stopped for the night. Evans immediately returned to his station and at 9:05 pm (New York time) and said he called Jack Phillips, Titanic’s Senior Wireless Operator, and said: "Say, old man, we are stopped and surrounded by ice." When asked what Phillips reply was, Evans said: "Shut up, shut up, I am busy; I am working Cape Race." Upon receiving this somewhat terse reply, Evans said he decided to retire and switched his radio off for the night.

By way of a footnote it is worth remembering that although shipboard wireless operators carried junior officer rank, this was a nominal title only and they drew their principle pay from the Marconi Company. As such they were not required to give any priority to messages to the Bridge, nor had any regulations been put in place up to that point to require them to do so. Therefore, it is true to say that “the system” was just as much at fault here as Lord or Phillips. Indeed, in the famous photograph of Jack Phillips which appears in many books about Titanic, his cap badge is that of the Marconi Company, and not the badge of the White Star Line.


Did You Know That?

Mount Temple was used in November 1901 as a Boer War transport ship and saw action in the First World War when she had a 75 mm gun mounted on her stern.

John White
Author: THE RMS TITANIC MISCELLANY published by The Irish Academic Press, Dublin, Ireland
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
And we know for a fact that the Mount Temple was not the ship sighted from the Titanic - http://www.paullee.com/titanic/mounttemple.php
Precisely. As you say, the OP is rather"enthusiastic" about the Mount Temple angle, but it has been discussed to the death several times before and there is nothing in it except yet another conspiracy theory.

Also IMO, melodramatic thread titles like "The Devil & the Detail" are completely inappropriate for the subject and should be avoided.

Paul Lee's article is very well researched and presented and the excerpt below sums it all up very nicely.
The red herring of the Mount Temple's supposed malfeasance is a spectre that simply needs to be exorcised once and for all from the Titanic story, and her captain and crew exonerated.
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
“And I think shortly before 08:00 am you came in sight of the Carpathia and the Californian?” Moore replied: “Yes.” Therefore, the assumption that the Californian was visible to Mount Temple at 06:00 am remains unsubstantiated and purely based on assumptions.
There were a few things that Moore didn't get quite right when he was called before the British inquiry. At the American inquiry he had a set of notes with him and corrected several things he said by referring back to those notes. Memory well after an event tends to be quite fallible, and it is too easy to agree to a leading question where the questioner presents a number as if it were fact. The sighting on Californian crossing the ice going east to west was indeed around 6am, a time confirmed by Lord himself who said they reached the western side of the ice field around 6:30 and then opened up to full speed going down the western side of the field. Then there is Durrant's PV entry that says that "5.20 Sigs. M. W. L.; wants my position; send it. We're very close." MWL is Californian. 5:20am NYT corresponded to 7:10am Californian time. It was soon after that that two ships passed each other. Around 8am Californian was seen crossing the icefield heading eastward, this time for Carpathia. This was confirmed by Rostron who said she was 5 or 6 miles away then. By 8:30 Californian stopped close to Carpathia. So in a sense, Moore agreeing that Californian and Carpathia were in sight at 8am makes perfect sense. They were.
 
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Then there is Durrant's PV entry that says that "5.20 Sigs. M. W. L.; wants my position; send it. We're very close."

The "We are very close" is NOT part of Durrant's PV, and therefore must be an additional comment by Captain Moore at the USA Inquiry, and ought to be amended in the Titanic Inquiry project transcript.

"3.25. Californian calls C.Q. I answer him and advise of Titanic and send him Titanic's position.
3.40. Californian working Frankfurt. Frankfurt sends him the same.
4.00. Californian working Virginian.
4.25. Californian working Birma.
5.20. Signals Californian. Wants my position. Send it. We are very close.

This is my ship and Californian, sir. When I get him to confirm my position, I ask him if he can give me his position. I understand he is cruising, because after we go up toward him he goes to the south and misses us, passes about a mile off, and then he gets where we came from. Then we go over the ground, and we have not seen anything of the ship, and we think we must cruise on farther."

(The above latter section in quotes ought to be shown as Captain Moore's USA Inquiry testimony. Apologies that this is not clear and the link not apparent. The "We are very close" ought not to be part of his reading of Durrant's PV, but, as I have explained, is an additional comment which of itself is most important in it's importance and context).
 
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Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
Julian, have you actually seen the handwritten PV of Durrant? I've noticed the absence of 'We are very close' or 'We're very close' in the transcript in the book by Hughes and Bosworth. They showed photos of two pages from the handwritten PV, but they did not show the part for the entry for 5.20 on the 15th.

I also notice the Paul Lee has what the American inquiry had, and so too does Senan Molony in App. B of his Titanic Scandal book. By the way, Molony showed a partial copy of the Durrant's handwritten PV on p.60 of his book, but that showed only the early part of the PV for the 14th.

When Moore testified on day 9 in America, the transcript had: "5.20. Signals Californian. Wants my position. Send it. We are very close."

The copy of the PV submitted to the US Senate on day 10 had: "5.20 Sigs. M. W. L.; wants my position; send it. We're very close."

In the transcript of the PV in App. B of Molony's book, he had: "5.20 (7.06) Sigs. Californian; wants my position; send it. We're very close."

Hughes and Bosworth had: "5.20 am Sigs MWL [Californian] - wants my position - send it."
 
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Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Image


p.232 of Paul Lee's book 'Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger'
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
I should have looked at Paul's book first. Yes, it shows the handwritten entry. Funny thing is that on Paul's website page listing all the wireless messages, https://www.paullee.com/titanic/pv.html he has:
5.20am[Mount Temple] Sigs. M.W.L.; wants my position; send it. We're very close.

The we're very close seems to have been put in when they copied the PV to give to the US Senate committee. The TIP has what was given to US Senate committee and put into the record. As Paul also mentions, the 6.0 line in the handwritten PV mentioned MPA & MWL in sight, which was not in the copy given to the Senate committee. Molony tries to make a big deal of that, as Paul described in his book.
 
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
The we're very close seems to have been put in when they copied the PV to give to the US Senate committee.

Hi Sam.

I'm not so sure about that if I have understood you correctly.

The "We are very close" isn't in Durrant's PV! So it must be an additional comment by Captain Moore at the USA Inquiry. I don't doubt the truth as to what Captain Moore added as a sort of aside, but in the Titanic Inquiry project, the 'box' for this ought to exclude this from the PV quote, and add it instead as part of Captain Moore's evidence.

I hope I have made my view clear on this. When such contentious matters get debated, if we have primary source evidence that shows that Durrant's PV does not include "We are very close", then this should be corrected?

Cheers,
Julian
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
I hope I have made my view clear on this. When such contentious matters get debated, if we have primary source evidence that shows that Durrant's PV does not include "We are very close", then this should be corrected?
It is clear to me that a copy of the PV, most likely typed up, was given to the committee, which was then copied into the record for day 10, on Apr 29th.

The following is a copy of the notes of the wireless operator of the Mount Temple, introduced during the testimony of Capt. James Henry Moore, on Saturday, April 27, 1912.

Page 929

COPY OF PROCES-VERBAL BOOK, STEAMSHIP "MOUNT TEMPLE."


The PV recorded in the official Senate record should be the one that they were given, which may have been slightly different from the original handwritten PV of Durrant. There were other things said and recorded into the record that were wrong. For example, in Capt. Moore's testimony on p. 770 he said:
Mr. MOORE. This is the second message that he received - that he picked up, I should say. He was sending these messages to me. He says:
Has got Carpathia, and tells him position 41º 48' longitude, 50º 14'.


Then a little further down:
Mr. MOORE. Position, 41º 46' north; 50º 14' west. You see that that is 10 miles more to the eastward than the first position he gave, but this message came immediately after the first one.

Here Moore gives the correct second position that was given to him. So should the first one be corrected because Moore made a mistake in reading, or the stenographer copied down what he first said wrongly? I can find out if what TIP has agrees with the primary source from the senate hearings.
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
Here is another example where the handwritten PV and the PV submitted to the Senate committee differed:
10.25 Titanic sending C. Q. D. Answer him, but he replies: "Can not read you, old man, but here my position, 41.46 N., 50.14 W. Come at once. Have struck berg." Informed captain.
10.35 Carpathia answers M. G. Y. M. G. Y. says: "Struck iceberg; come to our assistance at once." Sends position.
10.40 M. G. Y. still calling C. Q. D. Our captain reverses ship and steams for M. G. Y. We are about 50 miles off.
10.48 Frankfurt answers M. G. Y. M. G. Y. gives him his position and asks "Are you coming to our assistance?" D. F. T. asks: "What is the matter with you?" M. G. Y. replies: "We have struck iceberg and sinking; please tell captain to come." "O. K.; will tell the bridge right away." "O.K.; yes; quick."
10.55 M. G. Y. calling S. O. S.
10.57 M. G. Y. calling M. K. C.
10.59 M. G. Y. working M. R. A.


Now look at the page from the handwritten PV in the attached photo:
1652292905634

The handwritten PV has:
10.25 Titanic Sending CQD. Say Require Assistance
Gives Position - Cannot Hear Me Advise My
Captain - His Position 41.46 N 50.14 W. { Nobody Else Answer
10.35 M.G.Y. Gets M.P.A. and Says Struck
Iceberg Come To Our Assistance At Once
10.40 M.G.Y. still clg CQD.
10.40 Our Captain reverses Engines Ship { We are about 50 Miles Off
10.48 Frankfurt gives M.G.Y. his position
10.55 M.G.Y. clg S.O.S. (39.47. N. - 52.10. W)
10.57 " " M.K.C.
10.59 " wkg M.P.A.
 
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Hi Sam,

I am very much in favour of this sort of textual analysis.

Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to further consider these issues further until the weekend.

Cheers,
Julian
 
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Hi Sam,

I think I have got my head around this, after re-reading Captain Moore's USA testimony, and the notes for days 9 and 10 of the USA Inquiry.

As I understand it, Captain Moore referred to a number of different sources of 'information'. He starts by referring/quoting

1. Slips of paper

that Durrant wrote out for his Captain of individual messages that Durrant received/heard. These would not be the Marconigram service forms as they lack certain data. Captain Moore says he received these slips of paper whilst on the bridge and put them in his coat pocket.

Captain Moore then starts to refer to/quote

2. A Memorandum

This is clearly the exhibit referred to on day 10 of the USA Inquiry (Sunday 28th April) and as is clear from Captain Moore's testimony is in effect a 'copy' of Durrant's PV written by Durrant for Captain Moore's use when giving evidence the previous day. It is written in a more user friendly way than the original PV, and expanded in places, and without the abbreviations used in the original PV. It includes a table for the codes used for the ships - to assist Captain Moore.

"The following is a copy of the notes of the wireless operator of the Mount Temple, introduced during the testimony of Capt. James Henry Moore, on Saturday, April 27, 1912.

SUBMITTED.

Procès-verbal - ss Mount Temple.
Submitted"

3. The original PV (Proces-Verbal)

Later on, Captain Moore starts quoting from the original PV itself. Earlier entries not in the above 'Memorandum', abbreviations that confuse him and Senator Smith etc.

The 'Memorandum' incorrectly gets titled the PV when 'submitted' the following day in the transcript. This is where the confusion has arisen. As I can clearly see, and Sam has helpfully shown, these 2 documents differ.

Anyway, that is my take on the matter.

Cheers,
Julian
 
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Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
I should add that my post 9 on this thread is now inaccurate, for which I apologise.

It wasn't Captain Moore adding an additional comment; it was what he was reading out from the Memorandum that Durrant had written out for him to use at the USA Inquiry.

The "We're very close" addition to the Memorandum for the NYT 5.20 entry compared to the original PV sort of bemuses me. That is 7.06am Mount Temple time and 7.10am Californian time (ATS) on the morning of the 15th April.
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
What also confuses some people is that distress position Durrant wrote down for 10.25 NYT in his original PV (and copied into the one that he prepared for Moore and submitted to the committee).

"His Position 41.46 N 50.14 W."

According to the message given to him when he was awakened:
Mr. MOORE. It was a general message, sir. Titanic sends C. Q. D. Requires assistance. Position 41° 44' north, longitude 50° 24' west Come at once. Iceberg.

That first position never showed up in Durrant's PV, yet we know from several other sources, that the position read out loud by Moore was the first CDQ position sent out by Phillips. And from other sources, the Boxhall position, 41.46 N 50.14 W, was first sent out at 10.35 NYT and identified as a "corrected position".

The PVs were written up sometime afterwards from notes taken by these operators in real time. To me that makes sense since the PV itself usually doesn't contain everything being sent. For example, "Ex TRs" mean that time information was exchanged between ships as check on their clocks keeping NYT or GMT. Yet they don't record the values of the times being exchanged. You can also see entries in the PV that were added later than others; e.g., the items in brackets such as { Nobody Else Answer or { We are about 50 Miles Off

Also the "MPA & MWL in Sight" entry into the handwritten PV seems to be a somewhat later addition to the 6.0 NYT line. It's meaning is that the only vessels in sight from Mount Temple at that time, despite all the jamming of the airwaves taking place, where Carpathia and Californian. Californian time would have been 7:50am, and about the time that Californian was turning to go to Carpathia because we know from Rostron, that around 8am, California was only 5-6 miles bearing WSW true from Carpathia coming through the ice.
 
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