Hi its not a theory it is fact well according to Walter Lord and he really is the only person I rely on for facts about the Titanic. She saw the flares for absolute sure but, here's the thing, various members of her crew saw them throughout the night including her officers on the bridge and - trying to remember here - one of the engine room staff maybe on a night shift who went on to the decks for a smoke - but the captain of the Californian - cant remember his name but I dont like him anyway ! - who had retired to sleep but couldnt sleep, ignored the warnings not just once but repeatedly. The crew thought variously the ship was sailing away as she sank because the lights appeared to be indicating - not sure of the term here - receding maybe - an optical illusion - dont forget Californian was 10 miles distant - so nothing to worry about; wondered why she was setting off flares, entertainment for her passengers perhaps, although it is maritime international practice at the time that flares set off indicate a ship in distress; they saw the flares from Carpathia but remember that was after Titanic had sunk. This is what I cant understand, Californian had come to a complete stop as was stuck in the ice field, but could have come to Titanics rescue by forcing her way slowly through the ice field - she was only some 10 miles distant. Cant remember it - its all in 'the night lives on' : something along those lines anyway. Somewhere in this is attempts to contact the Titanic using morse code - cant remember does anyone know about this ?
Possibly someone else will answer this but I hope this answers your question in your last sentence from your post ?
There were unsuccessful attempts from both Titanic and Californian to make contacts by using a. Morse Lamp by visual means. Morse Code could be sent by flashing the light on and off for dots and dashes.
I think this was done by Officer Groves on Californian and Quartermaster Rowe on Titanic.
The question that we landlubbers are always asking is "If the two ships were that close and the Morse Code on the Morse Lamp didn't work , why didn't they just wake up Cyril Evans , the Marconi Operator on Californian , and see if he could make contact by wireless ? " There seem to be several opinions why this was not done ?
There are scenes of this, both on Californian and Titanic in the movie "A Night To Remember".