Navigational Confirmation of CQD Position

Mar 22, 2003
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Still having fun Jim?

A few points with regard to what you wrote above.

>>Both men came on watch at 6:00pm.<<

Lightoller came on at 6:00pm but Moody went off duty at the time. He didn't come back on until the end of the 2nd dog watch at 8:00pm, the same time Boxhall came back on. Lightoller's watch was from 6 to 10 as you know.

>>He once again, reckoned his second bit of mental maths agreed closely with his (Lighthollers) original estimate of 9-30pm for Titanic being at the eastern edge of the ice<<

Not really. What Lightoller said was, "It works out somewhere about half-past 9." He never did the mental math. If he did he would have seen that 49° 00' W to 50° 14' W is 74 minutes of arc, or about 55 miles at their lat. At 22 knots, it takes just over 2.5 hours to run that distance. But 2.5 hours back from 11:40 is 9:10, not 9:30. Even if you assume 21.5 knots, which is what Lightoller also said he thought the ship was making, it pushes the time back even more.
 

Jim Currie

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Exactly! that's the point Sam.

We don't know if he actually did the maths in his head when referring back but I can't see why he would confirm anything to to his inquisitors if he didn't have a go. There were quite a few present at the time who were very capable of doing the same mental exercise.
I did the actual work and agree with your findings. However, how could Lightholler use the
expression 'exactly' so often in such company and not be sure of a contradiction? As I pointed-out; it would be very easy for him to make such a mental calculation.

As far as Moody is concerned; Lightholler must have been lying when at Q13551:

"I do not know what time it was that Moody told you you would reach the ice at 11?". Lightholler replied "It was some time shortly after that I came on deck". I cannot remember the exact time". He would come on deck at 6 pm so was Moody there as well? I don't think so.
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Moody would need a reference DR to work from there was no fix since the sights had still to be worked-up. I am aware of the difference between the DR used for the 'fix' that seemed to place the ship 20 miles ahead. If they ran that particular DR up to 8:00pm watch change it would still have that difference in it. However, even that's less than an hour steaming so does not account for Moody's hour and a half or 30 mile difference between his and Lightholler' ETA at the easternmost edge of the ice. That's why I became suspicious. I could well imagine that to check his (Lightholler's)mental ETA would be the first order given to Moody. Since Boxhall would more than likely be working the sights, Moody would get that lesser task. Is it possible that Moody was on the bridge at evening meal time as a bridge relief?
 

Jim Currie

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Sam,

As for Lightholler's work-back:

He knew the time of impact was 11:40 pm
He previously estimated the time of being at the ice to be 0930. That's 2 hour's 10 minutes steaming between these times. At 21.5 or 22 knots this gives a distance of 46.6 and 47.7 miles respectively which on a course of 266T in latitude 42 gives D. Longs of 1 degree 03' and 1 degree 04' eastward. Subtracting these from Boxhall's CQD longitude of 50.14. gives a DR positions at 9:30pm of 49 degrees 11'W. or 49 degrees 10'W. Obviously too far west. However if you run another 23 minutes back at 22 knots that's another 11.5 minutes of longitude which puts Titanic right on the money for Lightholler's DR at 9:30 pm 14th. time.
 

Jim Currie

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Sam,

Obviously our approach to the problem is different. You worked out the problem from the perspective of difference of longitude and ignored time. I approached it from the time factor in the first instance as I believe, Lighholler would have done. As I said before; he was supremely confident that Titanic would arrive at 49 W at 9:30 on the evening of the 14th. He also knew the popular time of impact was 11:30. Perhaps he knew Boxhall had made a mistake and, as he did with the other junior navigating officer -put up a smoke screen to protect him.

As far as D. Long is concerned; we need to match 49.00W. with 50.14W as you rightly say...
1 degree and 14 minutes of longitude -74 minutes. At 21.5 knots that would take 2.55 hours - correct as you say again but that would place the ship at the impact point at 0930 + 2hrs,33 minutes = midnight + 3minutes but we know it happened 23 minutes earlier at 11:40pm.

I think the main thing that would concern Lightholler was his 9:30 v ice calculation.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Lightoller's prediction of ice is most curious because it was apparently not one prediction, but two. On his testimony during the British inquiry has been under discussion so far. At that time he alleged that Sixth Officer Moody predicted they would be up to the ice after 11 p.m. while he claimed to have thought it would be closer to half-past nine. (BOT questions 13486 through 13556.)

However, this was not Lightoller's first story. During the U.S. Senate inquiry he said something quite different. In that version only First Officer Murdoch is mentioned and Moody is nowhere to be found. "When I ended the watch we (Murdoch & Lightoller) roughly judged that we should be getting toward the vicinity of the ice...somewhere about 11 o'clock," Lightoller said. "I remarked on the general condition of the weather, and so on, etc., and then I just mentioned as I had done previously, 'We will be up around the ice somewhere about 11 o'clock, I suppose.'"

Which version was correct? Lightoller was never asked to resolve the matter so it will probably remain a mystery. We can only speculate on why he claimed to have predicted the ship would reach ice at two different times: 9:30 p.m. or after 11 p.m.

The most substantive clue lies in the longitudes quoted by Lightoller for ice reports. He said it was reported between 49º and 51º West. Assuming a 22 knot speed and an 11:40 p.m. time for 50º14' West longitude (both per Boxhall), it is possible to work backwards to approximate what Lightoller might have been thinking.

11:40 p.m. 50º14' West
11:30 p.m. 50º09' West
11:00 p.m. 49º55' West
10:00 p.m. 49º21' West
9:30 p.m. 49º06' West

If Moody used a mid-longitude of the ice reports, he would have estimated the time for when the ship passed 50º West. The table above shows that should have occurred a few minutes past 11 p.m. as Lightoller claimed during his U.S. testimony. However, there is a problem with this. Lightoller indicated he used the nearest longitude to the ship, 49º West, for his prediction. That crossing should have taken place just before 9:30 p.m. which was, conveniently enough, the second officer's second "prediction."

Neither Moody nor Murdoch survived to corroborate either of Lightoller's claimed predictions. Even worse, Moody's death prevented him from confirming his prediction, if it were made at all. Lacking any proof one way or the other, Lightoller's conflicting statements must be considered as suspect when it comes to the truth.

Lightoller's earlier American testimony indicates no special attention was paid to ice between 49º and 50º West longitude. In view of the disaster, this was hardly prudent navigation given the reports of other ships. It raises the spectre of criminal liability on the part of the navigating officers for having ignored ice warnings they had on hand.

Later, in London, Lightoller produced a more prudent story of being on the alert for ice right from the moment the ship crossed the 49th meridian. This story supports the "everything was against us" view of the disaster that Lightoller espoused.

It is possible that the "after 11 p.m." prediction was, as he said in America, Lightoller's work while on the bridge of Titanic. Unfortunately, Moody's alleged 9:30 p.m. prediction makes no such sense. Remember, Moody's must be created using an 11:40 p.m. time for longitude 50º14' West — the incorrect CQD longitude created by Boxhall. No matter how you compute the navigation, that longitude is too far west for the ship's accident which took place closer to 50º00' West.

The only way to make sense out of the alleged Moody prediction is to assume it was really a post-prediction by Lightoller based on the erroneous CQD longitude. By doing so, the second officer gave his performance on the doomed ship's bridge a more prudent appearance for the benefit of the London inquiry. Lightoller made it seem he was looking for ice two hours and more before the accident —- quite a different story from his "somewhere about 11 p.m." U.S. testimony.

-- David G. Brown
 

Jim Currie

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Hi David!

I see no problem with Lightholler's conversation with Murdoch at the end of the watch. You could quite easily fill-in possible missing words like:
" I figured we would be up at the ice by 9:30pm. I got young Moody to calculate it and he thought it would be nearer 11 o' clock. He must have been right and I must have been wrong - haven't seen a bit so far. Ah well! we will be up around the ice somewhere about 11 o' clock I suppose" The emphasis would be on the word 'will'.
There is also a great deal of circumstantial evidence that Lightholler thought he would be at the ice around 9:30. Capt. Smith came on the bridge just before 9 and stayed there for 30 minutes. The two men talked ice and how to spot it for the entire time. The lookouts Symonds and Jewell both confirm they were given special warning at 9:30 to keep a sharp lookout for ice. From 9:00pm the vigilance was increased significantly.
Lightholler states that when he came on deck at 6pm, he told Moody to work out when the ship would reach the ice. He got that information about 7:35 when he came back from dinner. Boxhall states that Moody was on the bridge between 4 and six so that works out as well.
I think you're getting a wee bit mixed up - it was Moody who calculated the 11 o'clock arrival and Lightholler who worked it out in his head.

Jim.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>>There is also a great deal of circumstantial evidence that Lightholler thought he would be at the ice around 9:30. <<

I agree. He thought they may be up to the ice around 9:30. But I don't believe it was because he mentally calculated that they would be passing 49°W at that time. The ice message he was shown was from the Caronia. It was concerned about reports of ice at 42N from 49W to 51W received from several westbound steamers on Apr 12. That information was two days old when Smith received it from Barr.

When Lightoller came on at 6 pm, the ship had just turned the corner near 47°W. The distance between 47W and 49W is about 90 miles. At 21 or 22 knots, it would take about 4 hours or little more to cover that distance. The earliest would be closer to 10 pm if he based his reasoning on a mental calculation for passing 49W, unless he made a mental mistake, which I don't think likely, although we shouldn't rule it out. My guess is that he was allowing for some eastward drift of the ice by expecting that they may be up to it by 9:30. He was aware that the latitude had much uncertainty in it. He said as much. But he also could have allowed for some eastward drift which would mean that ice may appear before the end of his watch. I don't think it was anything more than that.
 

Jim Currie

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Sam:

When Lightholler came on watch at 6:00pm, the ship had turned 10 minutes earlier but not at The Corner.
Lets try and determine Titanic's DR Longitude when Lightholler came on duty.

The Longitude of the wreck (rounded-up) is 49.58W. The impact time was 11:40pm. Five hours 40 minutes at an average speed of 22.0 knots and the reciprocal course of 086T. gives a difference of Longitude of 2 degrees, 46 minutes. This subtracted from the Longitude of the wreck, places Titanic at a DR Longitude of 47.12W at 6:00pm and at DR 49.07 W at 5:50pm when Titanic made the turn.

If the above calculations are near enough then if Lightholler made his mental guess just after he went on watch, he might have used the 6 pm DR for it or an actual DR when he worked it out.
If at the 6pm DR: 3.5 at 22 =77 miles converts to 1 degree,44 minutes of D.Long + 47.12 which means arriving at 48.56W. at 9:30pm. - 4 minutes of longitude short of the 49th. meridian. At 22 knots this is just over 8 minutes. Did he make his guess at 6:10pm after Moody worked it out before going below?

As I see it, it's all in the difference between actual and estimated speeds and recollection of times when discussions took place.. no real mystery at all. The only strange bits, seems to me, was Lightholler's deliberate attempt to cover-up for both Moody and Boxhall. I cannot for the world believe that a man of his obvious intelligence and experience did not very quickly spot Boxhall's error if indeed he made one. It is a matter of record that he waffled round the 11:00pm prediction Moody made.