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


May 3, 2005
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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 ?

Stephen-
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".
 
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May 3, 2005
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I was reminded of a toy I had many years ago in my childhood days.
It was a set for learning the Morse Code.
You could "send" Morse Code by three ways :
(1) By clicks on and off for dots and dashes. This would be how it sounded to the old telegraph operators, such as those at railroad stations.
(2) By a buzzer. This would be something like it would have sounded to a Marconi Operator in his earphones.
(3) By a flashlight bulb. This would be something like a miniature Morse Lamp

BTW....Happy Birthday, Stephen !


Cheers !
Robert

PS - I must confess I didn't try to learn Morse Code with the toy. I didn't learn Morse Code until years later , as a teenager, I learned the code in a class that prepared you take an exam to get your Amateur Radio License. At that time, part of the exam was a requirement to send and receive Morse Code at. least 13 Words Per Minute. (This is no longer required in the exam, incidentally.... :) ) Those old Marconi Operators, such as Phillips and Bride, could send and receive at much higher speeds than that !

Which asks a question:
How fast did those old Marconi Operators send ?
How many Words Per Minute ?
 
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May 3, 2005
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Question about the Morse Lamp on Titanic :
Where was the lamp mounted ?
I think it might have been mounted just on top of the bridge.....or was it much higher ?
My thought on this is - If Titanic had a list , maybe the light would have been shielded and Californian would have not been able to see Titanic's Morse Lamp ?
 

Dave Gittins

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Titanic had two Morse lamps. Each was mounted on a little pole on top of the little cabs on the bridge wings. The lenses worked best with the ship on an even keel. If the ship listed they would be less efficient, even if not actually hidden.

The lamps were rather clever. Each had a cluster of little globes. When in use, the filaments were pre-heated so that when extra current was applied they lit up without delay. According to Captain Lord, they were visible at up to ten miles.

According to an operator at Cape Race, John Phillips normally sent at 30 wpm, which was pretty good at the time. During the sinking he slowed to 15 wpm, so even mediocre operators could read him.
 
May 3, 2005
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Thanks Dave -
I did a little searching and found the record was 75.2 words per minute for receiving code which is a long standing record set by Ted McElroy in 1939.
However I found some information about sending at 140 words per minute.
However, Phillips speed of 30 words per minute seems about the normal " fast speed ".

More Trivia-:
The "rule of thumb" in Morse Code was said to be that a ",dash" is 3 " dots " long .
Example :
ditditdit dahdahdah ditditdit didit dit dahdah dahdahditdit dahdahditditdahdah
Spacing between characters and spacing between words is another subject of which I would have to do some more research.
I can read some of that code heard on the ''phones in the scene in ANTR where Groves goes into the Marconi Room while Evans is sleeping.......If I play it over several times. :)
The sound is fairly accurate and the code is the Titanic's "CQD SOS DE MGY" message being sent and received on Californian .
However there seems to be some question of Groves hearing anything depending on whether the detector motor was wound up or not.
 
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Rob Lawes

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Royal Navy standard to pass out of basic Comms training was to be able to read at 12 words per minute.

We usually sent at around 10 depending on the competence of the operator. There was nothing worse than spending extra time in rough weather repeatedly sending a word until the operator on the other ship read it and acknowledged it.
 

TitanicStoker

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Reminds me of something funny I saw on Jay Leno's Tonight Show one night, years ago. At the advent of texting, Leno had two young adults with cell phones and two old geezers, in bib overalls, with Morse code equipment at a distance from each other on stage. Gave them the same message to send their partner and the geezers won. Of course, it was meant to be fun but it left me with the impression that the code is pretty fast. (today, I'm sure texting would be much.... must faster) It's all about skill.
 
May 3, 2005
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Royal Navy standard to pass out of basic Comms training was to be able to read at 12 words per minute.

We usually sent at around 10 depending on the competence of the operator. There was nothing worse than spending extra time in rough weather repeatedly sending a word until the operator on the other ship read it and acknowledged it.

Thanks Rob -
My experience was in the U.S.Navy but I wasn't involved in that type of operation was the reason for the question.
When sending and receiving Morse Code was part of the examination for the Amateur Radio General Class License in the U.S., the requirement was 13 words per minute. Incidentally , code is no longer part of the exam.
 
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Mike Spooner

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The threads or topic. What's there left to say?
Two subjects I would like to cover.
1. The financial mess Mr JP Morgan got into in his attempt to dominant the north Atlantic shipping routes. He paid far too much for business and like all hard headed business men wanted his money back in forming IMMC. Even some of the shipping companies were making a good profits, but not enough to recover the initial investment. This in turn would have an impact on White Star to increase shipping schedules which only adds pressure to all concerned. Morgan failing fully to understand the business and the fierce competition on hand. He was just too over confidence that Cunard would join the fleet. Cunard was a real sock in the eye for Morgan when Lusitania and Mauritania arrived on the seen with British Government money. Any hard headed business man should of been a wear of this beforehand. Ones wanders if the two Atlantic greyhounds ships were never built. Would the Olympic class ships of been built in the first place?
The financial arrangement of forming IMMC was certainly a complicated mess behind the scenes were it was Morgan been taken for a ride and stich up. Was Morgan just to old for the job and taking on far too many other costly projects on at the same time? Any company with finance problems whether a hundred years ago or today. Its the employers will suffer the pain and anxiety whether you have a job to morrow!
2. There seem to be a lacking of understanding the human race and all too easy treat them as ROBOTS. The human are complexes as followers: Feelings, sensitivity, moods, memory losses, tempers, health problems, aging problems, tiredness followed by fatigue setting in dew to lack of sleep. Robots do not have this problems! Has Captain Smith fallen into this trap?
He may of well been schedule for Titanic but that does not make you fit for the job come the day?
Is there a myth that Smith was the only captain for Titanic? Should Smith been unfortunate and died on the second day of the crossing, would the crossing been canceled? Nope. I am quite sure officers Henry Wide and William Murdoch would of done the job just as well if not better! As they might of well taken the good advice of icefields and bergs ahead and taken a further south route. Or even what captain Stanley Lord of Californian did by stopped the night and waiting for clear visibility before proceeding any further!
I am a strong believer that Smith should of never been the captain, as looking into his background the pressure and stress been placed on him beforehand. The for him to become captain is not just his decision but the final say must comes from White Star management! Was Mr B Ismay the right person for the job too?
 

Mila

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Lucas went away in boat D, the boat that used the same davits that Boxhall's boat was sent away from earlier. So what was Lucas looking at?
Looks like everybody believes everything is clear and there are no more questions to ask, and yet.
No, Sam, Lucas did not go away in boat D.


1511. Then finally did you go in a boat?
- Well, I got in a boat and I got ordered out by Mr. Lightoller. That was the last boat that left.
1512. Then you were ordered out of the boat?
...............................................................................................................................................................

1515. What was the last boat you got in?
- The collapsible boat, the port side, inside the emergency boat.
1516. Is that the one you got into?
- I got into her and got ordered out.

1517. Who ordered you out?
- Mr. Lightoller.
1518. What did you do then?
- I went over to the starboard side to see if there was any more boats there. There were no more boats there so I came back and the boat was riding off the deck then. The water was up under the bridge then. The ladies sung out there was no sailor in the boat and no plugs, so I was a sailor and I jumped into the boat.

................................................................................................................................................................
Lucas eventually got to boat A on the starboard side of the Titanic, Sam. He did testify seeing red sidelight and a masthead light on his port side, but it appears he meant port side of his boat. Who knows what was his lifeboat's heading at the time. Whatever he saw probably had nothing to do with what Boxhall saw, Sam. Another possibility is that by the time Lucas did see the lights (and it was some 40 minutes , probably more, after Boxhall saw what he described as a stern light), the Californian might have turned in such a way that her red light became visible once again. And if Lucas did see a sidelight from the wreck side, you have a problem with the estimation of the distance.
BTW Dr. Paul Lee reintroduced your mistake on his website.
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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Lucas eventually got to boat A on the starboard side of the Titanic, Sam.

No he didn't. He got away in boat D from the port side. Read on:

1539. And what men? - Well, I found three men in the boat afterwards, but I never saw them in the boat when she went away.
1540. Did you go away in that boat? - I went away in that boat.
1541. Who were the other men? Were they seamen? - One-quartermaster and two foreigners in the boat.

That QM was Arthur Bright. He left in boat D.

1588. I want to go back for a moment to get one thing clear. You told us you got into a boat and were ordered out of it? - [Lucas] Yes.
1589. Which boat was that? - That was the collapsible boat.
1590. Is that the same one you went away in? - That is the same one I went away in.
1591. I see - port side? - Yes.
1592. You came back to her afterwards? - I came back to her afterwards.

That was boat D Mila.
 

Mila

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No he didn't. He got away in boat D from the port side. Read on:

1539. And what men? - Well, I found three men in the boat afterwards, but I never saw them in the boat when she went away.
1540. Did you go away in that boat? - I went away in that boat.
1541. Who were the other men? Were they seamen? - One-quartermaster and two foreigners in the boat.

That QM was Arthur Bright. He left in boat D.

1588. I want to go back for a moment to get one thing clear. You told us you got into a boat and were ordered out of it? - [Lucas] Yes.
1589. Which boat was that? - That was the collapsible boat.
1590. Is that the same one you went away in? - That is the same one I went away in.
1591. I see - port side? - Yes.
1592. You came back to her afterwards? - I came back to her afterwards.

That was boat D Mila.
You are right. A man with the same name went in boat A. Sorry.

However, we still do not know what time Lucas saw the sidelight, do we? If he saw it sometime later it still could have meant that Californian was showing her sidelight once again. This boat appears to be launched 20 minutes after Boxhal’s boat, and I assume first 20 or 30 minutes they were preoccupied with getting this boat off the sinking Titanic. So if Lucas saw that sidelight at let’s say 3 am, his testimony cannot be used to disprove Boxhal’s testimony.
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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There are all sorts of inconsistencies in what Lucas described. He claimed he saw a red sidelight and a mast light. Californian had two masthead lights both of which would have been easily visible if he also was able to see a sidelight. He also described this light on the starboard quarter of Titanic. Just the opposite direction of where Californian was. Jim would say that it was a different mystery ship out there in the NE since he believes Titanic was pointing west.

If you look at all the evidence you have many conflicting accounts, some of very questionable reliability. You also have different perceptions of what people recalled.
 

Mila

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There are all sorts of inconsistencies in what Lucas described. He claimed he saw a red sidelight and a mast light. Californian had two masthead lights both of which would have been easily visible if he also was able to see a sidelight. He also described this light on the starboard quarter of Titanic. Just the opposite direction of where Californian was. Jim would say that it was a different mystery ship out there in the NE since he believes Titanic was pointing west.

If you look at all the evidence you have many conflicting accounts, some of very questionable reliability. You also have different perceptions of what people recalled.
The same with Buley. He said the lights were stationary for 3 hours, but the maximum time he saw them were less than 2 hours, and it appears that at first the lights were approaching.
Anyway it is exactly why testimony of Boxhall stands out because it is consistent and he repeated the story in both inquiries. That is why the testimony of Boxhall should not be dismissed based on very inconsistent testimonies of others.
 

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