Mystery ship candidates

Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
With the Californian, he should have left no stone unturned, but he left a number unturned
Which in turn made it easier for others to exonerate Captain Lord and the crew of the Californian, even writing books about it.
 
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Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
Which in turn made it easier for others to exonerate Captain Lord and the crew of the Californian, even writing books about it.

Keeping this fair. we've all been studying this for going on 112 years now...pretty much overthinking the problem...and about the only thing I can say which has been proven beyond question or doubt was that in 1912, they didn't have GPS. Captain Dave made that point here something like 15 years ago.

That's why you see a lot of fighting where people throw navigation data at each other, even when some of it is...to put it mildly...dubious. But yeah, I think you have a fair point. Not being as thorough as he needed to be, Senator Smith missed an opportunity to get to the bottom of things.
 
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Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Yes he was, but I think you're missing the point. With the Californian, he should have left no stone unturned, but he left a number unturned. You don't hear from Stone or Gibson until Lord Mersey ropes them in, and as the guys on watch, they should have been called from the start.

They weren't.
Spot-on, Michael.
Everyone should be asking why it was, that the man who could have helped settle the argument was never called - the man in Californian's Crow's nest. - and the lookouts on Titanic were ignored when they stated quite clearly that there was nothing but the iceberg in sight, before and immediately after hitting the iceberg.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
Not being as thorough as he needed to be, Senator Smith missed an opportunity to get to the bottom of things.
Am I right in thinking that in your opinion if there had been a more thorough investigation involving the Captain and crew of the Californian on both sides of the Atlantic and the information obtained from those testimonies collated and compared with related ones from other sources, we would have had a clearer picture about what happened between the Titanic and the Californian?
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Hi Jim,

We know for sure that Evans misjudged how close the Birma was, but Evans was in very regular contact with the Birma as evidenced by the Baltic PV.

Sam's conclusions are sound, and I would suggest unable to be criticised.

Evans cannot have been referring to the Almerian. It was too far way. As Evans was never asked about the exchange in the Baltic's PV, there is obviously a degree of supposition, but I agree with Sam on the matter of the Almerian.
Hello Julian.
I'm sure Sam can answer for himself if he chooses to do so.

First:
Evans would not make pink funnel inquiries without knowing such a funnel had been seen. He could not have seen one himself, so Lord must have done so, and told Evans to inquire.

As I pointed out to you earlier - Sam places Almerian less than 10 miles west of Californian, so the vessels were in sight of each other at one time.

According to Birma's pv, she only communicated with Californian twice before the latter turned toward Carpathia at 8 pm; and that was at 6 am and 6-30 am Birma time. Then; Californian was 15 and 9 miles respectively, north of the distress position - that had to have been between 6-20 am and 6-50 am Californian time, and there was no mention of a pink funnel.
Baltic's pv records the pink funnel conversations at 5-05am and 5-30 am. which was around 7-10 am - 7-20 am that morning - when Californian was just north of the Mount Temple on her way south.
Obviously there is a problem with times, but not subject matter. We are considering different communications:
1 - Californian - Birma
2.- Californian - pink funnel vessel.

At 7-30 am Californian passed the Mount Temple. At that time, Birma was around 22 miles to the SSW of the distress position. See here:
Birma's nearest approach to the Californian would have been at 8 am. Then , the separation distance would have been about 15 miles.
Birmas approach

Cheers!
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Am I right in thinking that in your opinion if there had been a more thorough investigation involving the Captain and crew of the Californian on both sides of the Atlantic and the information obtained from those testimonies collated and compared with related ones from other sources, we would have had a clearer picture about what happened between the Titanic and the Californian?
Hello Arun.
I can't answer for Michael, but for absolute sure...if three particular bits of evidence had been properly analysed back then - then the men of the Californian would not now be villified by those who cannot see the wood for the trees.

Heavens! the US Hydrographic Office had exactly the same ice report information as we have today, yet produced those ridiculous charts at the US Inquiry. I do not believe they were so incompetent. They either 'bent' the evidence to fit, or were ordered to do so.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
we would have had a clearer picture about what happened between the Titanic and the Californian?

Possibly. I would think almost probably.

At the very least, we would have had statements from everybody who was or should have been involved at a time when those memories were freshest. Beyond that, I expect the lawyers would have muddied the waters afterwards, but at least we would have a the information.
 
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Gosh, a lot to catch up with!

In respect of Michael's posts, for which I am grateful, and always read carefully, I am not too sure that if Stone, Gibson, Stewart, Groves etc had been called to give evidence to the USA Inquiry that we would know anything more about 'mystery ships' or anything else.

Gill's affidavit provides details of disquiet amongst the Engine Room Officers as to what had happened. One of these Officers was a witness to his affidavit. The disquiet on board is confirmed by Evans in his USA Inquiry testimony - reluctantly extracted from him by Senator Smith.

I think myself that Senator Smith extracted enough damning evidence from Captain Lord and Evans that was arguably enough.

It is arguable that no more would have been forthcoming from Stone, Gibson, Groves, and Stewart at the time in the USA. They all had to steam back to the UK with Captain Lord! Groves then decided to partially 'spill the beans' as far as he did with quite a few 'ifs and buts' and didn't go to sea again with Captain Lord and the Leyland Line.

You all should bear in mind that Captain Lord witheld at the very least 2 vitally important statements to both Inquiries - those of Stone and Gibson of 18th April.

In that context, I think that Senator Smith did the best he could in the circumstances.
 
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Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
In respect of Michael's posts, for which I am grateful, and always read carefully, I am not too sure that if Stone, Gibson, Stewart, Groves etc had been called to give evidence to the USA Inquiry that we would know anything more about 'mystery ships' or anything else

Perhaps not, but we would have had it from the principals involved what happened on the Californians bridge and perhaps even how they understood it.

Assuming they were truthful. (And beware the first three letters in the word 'assume.')

Would we still be overthinking it 112 years later?

Probably, but we would have had some more information to over think about while it was freshest on their minds and before anybody had a chance to compare notes and work out a sea story.
 
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Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Gosh, a lot to catch up with!

In respect of Michael's posts, for which I am grateful, and always read carefully, I am not too sure that if Stone, Gibson, Stewart, Groves etc had been called to give evidence to the USA Inquiry that we would know anything more about 'mystery ships' or anything else.

Gill's affidavit provides details of disquiet amongst the Engine Room Officers as to what had happened. One of these Officers was a witness to his affidavit. The disquiet on board is confirmed by Evans in his USA Inquiry testimony - reluctantly extracted from him by Senator Smith.

I think myself that Senator Smith extracted enough damning evidence from Captain Lord and Evans that was arguably enough.

It is arguable that no more would have been forthcoming from Stone, Gibson, Groves, and Stewart at the time in the USA. They all had to steam back to the UK with Captain Lord! Groves then decided to partially 'spill the beans' as far as he did with quite a few 'ifs and buts' and didn't go to sea again with Captain Lord and the Leyland Line.

You all should bear in mind that Captain Lord witheld at the very least 2 vitally important statements to both Inquiries - those of Stone and Gibson of 18th April.

In that context, I think that Senator Smith did the best he could in the circumstances.
Hello Julian.
Here are a few points of fact you might like to consider.

1. Gill was a liar, to say the least, and got paid for lying.
2. Groves had a grudge against Lord because the latter demoted him in favour of Stone at the beginning of the voyage.
3. Groves saw a ship with two white masthead lights which turned away and put its light out.
4. Lord, Stone, and Gibson saw a ship with one masthead light - it did not turn away, but around.
5. If the affidavits of Stone and Gibson, signed on April 18 had been submitted in evidence, they would have more or less, corroborated Lord's evidence. Either that, or individuals would have claimed they were obtained under duress.

As I see it - the problem with Senator Smith and some of the questioners on the other side of the Atlantic was that he and they did not appear to know what they were looking for (or they were 'fishing'). Nor did they clearly understand the answers being given to them. In fact, Lord Mersey is quoted as saying that the answers he was getting did not please him. Perhaps like so many on this and other sites - they had made their minds up as to the answers before asking the questions?
Basically, we should all keep in mind the reasons behind such Inquiries instead of fish-wife blaming?
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
I believe Captain Lord hinted in an interview after the disaster that there was a certain amount of animosity between some of his crew and himself. He did not elaborate though; I guess he was too proud a man to let things descend into a mud-slinging match.

But if investigations on both sides of the Atlantic about the Californian affair had been as transparent and thorough as Michael Standart indicated, one cannot assume that the outcome would have been what Lord's supporters - or his detractors for that matter - expected. In contemporary times, the argument would have continued just as passionately, only on slightly different lines.
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
I believe Captain Lord hinted in an interview after the disaster that there was a certain amount of animosity between some of his crew and himself. He did not elaborate though; I guess he was too proud a man to let things descend into a mud-slinging match.

But if investigations on both sides of the Atlantic about the Californian affair had been as transparent and thorough as Michael Standart indicated, one cannot assume that the outcome would have been what Lord's supporters - or his detractors for that matter - expected. In contemporary times, the argument would have continued just as passionately, only on slightly different lines.
Hello Arun.
It was anything but thorough.

I'm sure you know about the MAIB attempts to set the record straight...two of them.
The first one was farmed-out and that simply was a rubber stamp job of the original Inquiry findings.

To give him his due - the head of the MAIB was not happy, so gave the job to his depute.
That second attempt concluded:
"1.I think it possible that she [Californian]was seen, due to abnormal refraction permitting sight beyond the ordinary visible horizon; but more likely that she was not seen.
2.
In my opinion, CALIFORNIAN was in about or a little North of that position, and between 17 and 20 miles from TITANIC - most likely about 18 miles.
3. More probably, in my view, the ship seen by CALIFORNIAN was another, unidentified, vessel."


However, the MAIB was a political creature - recently formed and was not up and running properly.

In my opinion; the MAIB report made one fatal mistake - one made by many so called 'historians' - he assumed a south setting current without considering the effect such would have had on vessels other than Californian and Titanic who were also in the area. Take away that current and you have a very different picture.
Not a single witness gave evidence pointing to such a current.
Researchers simply assumed once again - they assumed that since it brought the big ice from the Arctic - it was still running across that very narrow area.
If the MAIB had consulted modern oceanographers, he would have found this to be highly unlikely.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
It was anything but thorough.
Yes, Jim; but wasn't that lack of thoroughness that Michael commented on in his posts? I thought we were talking about a hypothetical situation IF the investigations about the Californian affair had been completely transparent and thorough. I did not claim that they actually were.
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Yes, Jim; but wasn't that lack of thoroughness that Michael commented on in his posts? I thought we were talking about a hypothetical situation IF the investigations about the Californian affair had been completely transparent and thorough. I did not claim that they actually were.
Hello Arun.
Oh but had it been so!
My belief is that the professionals back in 1912 - on both sides of the Atlantic- were perfectly capable of doing a thorough analysis of the evidence and perhaps did so. However, as you know; where politicians and the press are involved, any chance of a truth that does not sensationalise being made public, is a remote possibility.
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
Birma did not arrive on the scene until Californian was on the east side of the ice barrier and beside the Carpathia - an hour after the latter had passed the stopped Mount Temple.
That's right, but that is not the point being made.
Birma was in contact with Californian about the time when Californian was crossing the ice heading southwestward. Evans told Cannon that Californian was 15 miles from the reported CQD position at that time, and Cannon told Evans that Birma was 22 miles away. Birma was 14 knot ship. Both allegedly heading for the same place when that exchange took place. Of course, that was Birma's claim as to how far away she was. About an hour later, when the pink funnel message was sent, Birma should have been only 8 miles from the CQD if she really was 22 miles away about an hour earlier. And Californian, at 13 knots, should have been really close to CQD position by that time even heading southward rather than SSW. Quite reasonable for Evans to ask if Birma could see a pink funneled vessel based on the information received from Birma. Californian had a pink funnel.
 
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