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New Information on Titanic: What's there left to say?

Discussion in 'General Titanica' started by Harland Duzen, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. Julian Atkins

    Julian Atkins Member

    Hi Mike,

    I will think you will find Harland and myself are a step ahead of you here! Both Harrison and Reade have sketches of the layout of the chart room and captains cabin in their books 'Titanic Myth' and 'The Ship that stood still' respectively.

    At the USA Inquiry Captain Lord states (of Evans' room and the Marconi apparatus)

    "I went past his room at about a quarter to 12, and there was no light in there."

    This was quite a critical time on The Californian, as according to Groves, Captain Lord had just come up to the flying bridge for a few minutes just after Groves' passenger liner' had put it's lights out/shut out it's lights.

    So where exactly was Captain Lord walking about to go passed Evans' cabin?! According to all the other evidence he went straight to the chart room immediately below the flying bridge.

    Both Harland and myself have surmised that Evans' cabin and Marconi apparatus was on the deck below on the starboard side of the promenade deck - I myself think it was to the rear on this deck - and so some considerable distance from the chart room and adjoining captains cabin!

    Hence why examining the wreck of The Californian would be interesting.


  2. Harland Duzen

    Harland Duzen Member

    Mike, Just to give a bit of detail before I stop (this threads going off course), When Californian was originally built, she never had a Marconi Room fitted and didn't get one added until some point between late 1911 - early 1912. Because of this, They refitted a cabin or room somewhere into the Marconi Room.

    On terms of where it was, I got a theory it was installed directly underneath the Bridge / Chart Room in a room which used to be a Mail Room*. But this is unconfirmed.

    I would recommend checking out this thread for more info on the Wireless Room: CYRIL EVANS AND HIS WIRELESS

    Back to Topic!

    *I don't know why they included a Mail Room on a 13-knot ship.
  3. Julian Atkins

    Julian Atkins Member

    Hi Harland,

    I have posted something today on the 'Cyril Evans and his wireless' thread which is relevant to Captain Lord passing Evans' room at 11.45pm, and relevant to this thread also, and which might be of interest.


  4. Mike Spooner

    Mike Spooner Member

    Hi Julian,
    I am glad you have done your investigation better than the inquiries ever did. But as I have say in another thread is this new technology of adding a wireless to a ship that was never built with one in the first place, and is it been taken up as serious matter? After all it not the Board of Trade requirements and does Lord rather see this as a new gimmick toy! Been sailing for years without one. Only one crew member knows how the dam thing works. If it was that vital importance why are there not more been trained up to use it?
    Too much of the wireless conversation is been used in the inquires for political reason!
    In fact knowing you are a Solicitor and a far better understanding of the general law than myself I would like to ask you a few questions on how the UK inquiry was conducted. As the way I see it was a huge advantage to the benefit of the Government outcome.
    If you like for role acting play you can be the prosecution and I am the defence with a barrister! Game on?
  5. According to what I've read White Stars 1899 agreement stipulated that their RMS designated ships could go no slower than 17 knots to get mail contracts. I don't know if that applied to all the shipping lines or if it was for certain routes only.
  6. Mike Spooner

    Mike Spooner Member

    Interesting note on White Star ships could go no slower than 17 knots to get mail contracts? I guest that 17 knots is minimum average speed. So were did the Titanic stand carry Royal Mail that never arrived? Penalties for late delivery!
    Steven Christian likes this.
  7. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Mr. Ismay was asked about the penalties and the maximum / minimum speed to transport the mail. e.g.

    US Inquiry

    "Of course, we simply get paid by the weight of the mail we carry from here. We have absolutely no contract with the United States Post Office Department. We are paid by weight."

    Q - Has the question of the speed of your ships entered into this postal arrangement in any way?
    A - From England?
    Q - From England.
    A - It must have done so; because, naturally, they would not give a contract to any ships which were slow ships.
    Q - Is this item of $350,000 a year regarded as a desirable part of your income?
    A - Yes.
    Q - For that alone you would not be able to operate these big ships?
    A - No.

    Q - What mail contracts have you with the British Government or any other Government?
    A - We have a mail contract for carrying the mails from Southampton to New York, for which we receive a lump-sum payment of £70,000 a year; $350,000 a year.
    Q - £70,000?
    A - That is the maximum payment that we can receive.
    Q - For that payment, what are you supposed to do?
    A - We carry the mails from Southampton. We pick up the mails at Southampton, and then we go on to Queenstown and pick up any mails that are there, and land them in New York.
    Q - In that contract, is there any condition that you shall make any specific speed between Southampton and New York?
    A - No, sir. We are supposed to use the fastest ships we have in our fleet for the conveyance of the mails, but there is absolutely no penalty attached to our not making any special speed.
    Q - Is there a minimum?
    A - I think there is. I think there is a minimum; or we are not allowed to put the mails into ships that will go less than 16 knots, or something like that.
    Q - Is the arrangement that you have with the British postal authorities?
    A - Yes.
    Q - That arrangement provides that this mail shall be dispatched in the most direct and expeditious manner possible, and that you shall not loiter, at a minimum speed of less than 16 knots per hour?
    A - I think it is 16 knots, sir. The contract is printed. The contract is a public document.
    Q - You say that you are supposed to carry these mails on your fastest ships?
    A - Yes.

    Q - Was the Cunard Company the only competition that you had in that field?
    A - Yes. I do not know any other British company which has a contract with the British Government for carrying mails across the western ocean, at least, so far as England and the United States are concerned.
    Q - Then you have an arrangement between the Cunard Company and your own company with reference to this contract?
    A - No; I would not say that. The Cunard Company negotiated with the Government so far as they were concerned, and we negotiated with the Government so far as we were concerned.

    Would be interesting to know what the chairman for Royal Mail was planning e.g. Cunard was focused on building faster ships - a great asset for delivering the mail, but White Star were building larger ships which could carry a larger quantity of mail. Mr. Ismay said they were paid by "the weight" of mail in their cargo hold. I wonder if Mr Ismay was trying to negotiate and secure a better deal with the Royal Mail in the hopes of increasing their annual profit. Wonder if their new draft contract for transporting the mail on White Star's 'Big Three' was jeopardised by the Titanic disaster. Perhaps one of the major reasons for the 'whitewash' described by Lightoller was that they did not want any scandal of negligence to succeed as it would damage their contract with the Royal Mail and possibly future investments in the company.

    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  8. Some of that is covered in this article...also the 17 knot figure. Take it for what it is. But they do have some documents to back up their statements.
    RMS Titanic: Letters from a Lost Liner
  9. Mike Spooner

    Mike Spooner Member

    Hi Aaron,
    Thanks for that information from the inquiry.
    As from a company chairman Mr Ismay a hard headed business man, I expect him to know his contract facts and figures better than he is giving in the inquiry?
  10. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    It reminds of the Princess Victoria sinking. She ferried passengers and mail between Scotland and Ireland, but in 1953 she sailed into a heavy storm because she was under contract to deliver the mail with a twice daily service. Sadly she sank in the storm with 535 bags of mail in her hold and heavy loss of life.

    Mr. Ismay was asked:

    Q - What is the object of continuing at full speed through the night if you expect to meet ice? Why do you do it?
    Q - I presume that the man would be anxious to get through the ice region. He would not want to slow down upon the chance of a fog coming on.
    Q - So that, of course, the object of it would be to get through it as fast as you could?
    A - I presume that if a man on a perfectly clear night could see far enough to clear an iceberg he would be perfectly justified in getting through the ice region as quickly as he possibly could.

    Perhaps that same train of thought could be associated with the storm that was reported ahead of the Princess Victoria. They thought they could reach port before it got worse. Sadly they got caught in the middle of it and went down.

  11. Mike Spooner

    Mike Spooner Member

    Hi Aaron,
    Looking at those Mr Ismay Q & A. That's petty damming evident that Smith was trying to cut through the icefield! Talk about dropping your highest paid Captain in the brown stuff? As the safe thing done was to sail south of icefield.
  12. Its probably the same thing as you stated but I think the term that the shipping industry used was "service speed". A minor point I know but I was recently looking up stats on different ships from the 1840's to present about mail contracts and they constantly used that term. I'm sure one of the real mariners here knows the correct term. As for penalties I also ran across that the canadian postal contracts with the shipping lines was aproximatley 1 1/2 pounds for every minute the mail was late. If that was standard I could see where ships with mail contracts would maybe push to be on time or even early.
  13. Mila

    Mila Member

    I believe that I did say something new in my Titanic's articles. Here's for example a video abstract for the part 4
  14. Mila, I agree that there may have been eddys in the area, and in fact, a cold water eddy in the general area can explain the locations of recovered bodies over a period of time following the disaster. See: http://www.titanicology.com/Californian/WeCouldNotSeeOneBody.pdf. However, I'm not at all convinced that Californian caught in an eddy can explain what Boxhall described. First let's talk about the time period.
    The light of this vessel was first noticed around 12:20-12:25, around the time the 1st CQD went out. Boxhall, who was engaged in uncovering boats, went to bridge to have a closer look. He apparently met Smith there and asked if a distress signal was sent out, and Smith informed him that he gave a position the wireless operators. Boxhall said something about the ship being ahead of her DR and was told to work out a revised position which he then did. The revised position we know was sent out 10 minutes after the initial one. The time now would be about 12:35 when Boxhall gave his revised position to the operators. He then said he sent for distress signals (socket signals) and told Smith that he done so. At the time he was able to make out 2 masthead lights on the steamer by using glasses. Same with sidelights, saying he saw first the green, then both, and later the red. The impression was that the steamer was heading toward Titanic. He later said that he was eventually able to see the masthead lights and the red sidelight with the naked eye, and when he was told to go away in the boat, he saw what he took to be a stern light. The time he was sent away in the boat was about 1:45. All in all, he had this vessel under observation, on and off, for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, give or take. Boxhall concluded that the steamer was approaching Titanic and then turned and started to go away. He also estimated that she came within about 5 miles based on the intensity of her lights, and admitted that he could not see any part of the vessel itself. Nor was the horizon visible from the bridge of a vessel that night. As Lord described it, there was a soft horizon, and you could not tell exactly where the sky and sea met, at least not from the height of eye on the bridge or from in the nest.

    If this vessel was Californian, and if it was say 12-14 miles away, how much nearer to Titanic would she have to come for someone to conclude that she was actually getting nearer? Would she have to come within 7 to 9 miles from 12 to 14 for one to conclude that? Or within 9 to 11 miles from 12 to 14 to notice that? If so this eddy, or combined eddys, would have to have been extremely fast to close the distance between these vessels within an hour's time for someone to say with confidence that the vessel in reality got closer.

    And then there is reciprocity to consider. Neither Gibson nor Stone ever suggested that the vessel they were looking at got any closer. In fact, just the opposite if you believe Stone. They were getting further apart at the time Boxhall concluded that they were getting closer.

    By the way, as far as low lying rockets are concerned, I just don't buy anything that Stone said about rockets going only as high as the mast light or 1/2 the mast light height. It would have been very obvious that they were not from this steamer if they did go only that high, and furthermore, would not stay on the same bearing to this steamer as it allegedly steamed away to the SW as Stone had claimed.
  15. Mila

    Mila Member

    Sam, I believe that in order for an eddy to rotate its rotation currents should be greater than the propagation currents the eddy is traveling with. If I am not mistaking, you said that the currents in the area were 1.25 knots, which means that in one hour the Californian could have gotten closer to the Titanic for around 1.5 miles. I am not sure how these 1.5 miles could have affected the brightness of her navigational lights. However Boxhall and some others testified and wrote that the ship they observed was approaching. We have to explain it somehow. Californian's swinging? Sure, but circular drifting in an eddy could help to explain the approaching and leaving of the Californian described by the eyewitnesses. Besides these 1.5 miles could explain sightings from the lifeboats. In addition, do not forget that Titanic and Californian could have actually drifted towards each other because the Titanic could have been caught in eddy currents on her own.
    Actually Gibson testified they thought the Titanic started getting away at around 1:20 am. At that time not only the Californian could have been on the leaving part of her circular drift, but the Titanic's sinking rate became stronger. Both these facts could easily account for Gibson's and Stone's observations.
    Why did not they notice they were approaching before? Well, it might be a matter of perception. They did see masthead light and sidelight and some glare of lights aft from the beginning. They did not change in the appearance as much as Californian's lights did because the effect of swinging was magnified by the approaching and then leaving.
    I also would like to stress out that I do not believe that possible circular drift of the Californian is the ultimate and only correct theory, but I do believe that this theory has the right to be considered.
  16. Mike Spooner

    Mike Spooner Member

    I have a technology question to those experience seamen. If the California is to push through a icefield. How much will it slow down the ship?
  17. Yes, any theory has the right to be considered provided it can be tested or quantified. Otherwise, its called speculation. The theory of relativity predicts that time slows down as one approaches the very high speeds. As a theory it would have been worthless except for the fact that it can, and has been, tested. You asked how much brighter would the lights of a vessel become if it came 1.5 miles closer to an observer? That depends on the distance you started from. If the source and observer were say 12 miles away, then at closest approach they would be 10.5 miles away. In terms brightness, the eyes see things logarithmically. If the lights were as bright as mag 1 star at 12 miles, then they would only be as bright as a mag 0.9 star at 10.5 miles. Hardly noticeable. .
  18. Mila

    Mila Member

    Is there any theory on the Californian incident that was tested?

    I at least presented evidence from IIP observations of unexplained drifts. Besides these 1.5 miles are desperately needed to help to account for the lights sightings from lifeboats not because of the brightness but because of the horizon.

    And as I said we have to explain somehow why a few witnesses testified the ship they were watching appeared to be approaching. Circular drift in an eddy could help to account for it, not to say that my speculation at least provides some new info on mesoscale eddies that was not considered before.
  19. First, let's be very careful. Gibson, Stone nor Lord ever said they saw Titanic. To them it looked like tramp steamer.
    What Gibson did say was: "About twenty minutes past one the Second Officer remarked to me that she was slowly steaming away towards the south-west." Gibson never said he saw the steamer moving away. We know that Stone said the steamer was changing her bearings. This was about the time that the lights didn't seem right.
    7515. What had you noticed between one o’clock and twenty minutes past one, looking at her through your glasses? - The Second Officer remarked to me, “Look at her now; she looks very queer out of the water; her lights look queer.”
    All of this is well before anyone on Titanic said the steamer they saw appeared to be going away. Some said the steamer was stationary all night. In fact, one of the ABs said she was stationary for 3 hours.

    Well let's get real specific here. Besides Boxhall, of course, who exactly said that and when? Do these observations correlate with each other as to direction and time? Boat No. 8 was rowing toward the steamer at the same time that the steamer was showing both red and green. Boxhall said the steamer was approaching. Yet, to those in the boat it seemed they were not not getting any closer. Boat 8 was one of the boats that went about 3 to 4 miles toward the lights before turning around. Rostron confirmed that the boats were scattered over an area of about 4 to 5 miles when the sun came up. What you have here is case of subject opinions as to what was going on relative to vessel movements. There was no way to take a range on the lights because there was no reference point to use such as measuring the angular height of the mast lights relative to the waterline. Also, ask yourself, what was the meteorological visibility condition that night, and was slowly changing causing the luminous range of a light to change as well as one's ability to resolve two closely spaced lights such as the masthead lights of a steamer when the steamer has an angle on the bow of about 1 compass point?
  20. Sure, how about the theory that Californian saw Titanic's distress signals at the time they were being sent up as well as the signals from Carpathia when she was sending up signals?