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Poingdestre and time

Discussion in 'Collision / Sinking Theories' started by Thomas C., Jul 16, 2018.

  1. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    I have noticed something, when i was reading evidence of seaman John Poingdestre. He said he heard the order for the boats to be loaded with women and children, about 45 minutes after collison. In the altered time it was at 12:25, but in the same time quartermaster Rowe saw a boat in the water. Someone must be wrong.

    At first I thought that Poingdestre was wrong about the time, but it not so easy. If the Rowe was right, then the order must have been given at least 15 minutes before 12:25. Before Poingdestre heard the order, he was on E deck, where a wooden bulkhead collapse on him. I assumed that the water was then about 3/4 height of E deck. If we place that order at 12:10, 30 minutes after collsion, then the water level do not agree with the testimony of Annie Robinson, which saw the water within six steps from E deck, about 30 minutes after collision.

    Maybe I don't see something, but I think it clearly speaks, that the time could not have been altered before collision.

    What do you think?
     
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  2. Actually Poingdestre fits well with the testimony of Hichens who was relieved at the wheel at 12:23 a.m. (unaltered time). He then went to take the cover off from the collapsible boat D and then send to boat No. 6 by Lightoller where he hear the captain giving the order to fill the boat with women and children (British Inquiry question 1098 following).
    Poingdestre & Hichens were on the port side. On the starboard side they were faster. The boat Rowe saw was boat No. 7 on the starboard side which had been already lowered.
    Hichens gives the time of the collision as 11:40 and he remained for 43 minutes after it at his station (at the wheel) so in other words there was no clock change.
     
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  3. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    This is what I think happened. I was only curious how this problem could have been solved by people who belive in clock change.
     
  4. Sorry, but there was most definitely a setback of crew clocks that night.

    We know from a number of crew survivors that the accident took place about five minutes before sounding of the call out bell in the forecastle. This one-bell signal was to tell the oncoming starboard watch to prepare to go on deck. That places the 11:40 o’clock in crew time which I count as setback 24 minutes. This means that impact came, as the crew survivors testified 20 minutes prior to change of watch which took place when Hichens said he was relieved.

    Sunday, April 14th was not 24 hours long. It had 47 extra minutes tacked on due to the ship’s westward travel. Those extra 47 minutes were neither “A.M.” meaning before noon, not “P.M.” which applies to time from noon to 12 o’clock. This is why the time change can only be explained by using the so-called “hundred hour system” (or, in the US, “military time). It does not recognize A.M. or P.M., just hours and minutes. Under this system, April 14th was last until 2447 hours. At that point the clocks would have been reset to 0000 hours and April 15th begun.

    If the crew clocks had not been set back prior to 7 bells as conventional mythology claims, the all of the 47 extra minutes, and change of watch occurred 20 minutes after impact – then all of the extra time would have fallen on the shoulders of the starboard watch;

    Wrong Way (No Setback)
    2330 Seven Bells
    2340 Impact on Berg
    2345 Wake up bell in crew’s quarters
    2400 Change of watch – Port watch goes below having served no extra time.
    2424 Port watch has completed half of extra 47 minutes while starboard watch sleeps
    Hichens is relieved even though he works in the starboard watch
    2447 Starboard watch completes all 47 extra minutes
    0000 Start of April 15th. Port watch has 4 hours remaining on watch

    To share the 47 extra minutes evenly it became necessary to set back the crew clocks by 24 minutes (or 23 if you prefer). Give or take a minute and that’s precisely when Hichens was relieved at the wheel – crew change of watch. Note that in the wrong way of reckoning time Hichens would have been the sole member of his starboard watch to serve any extra minutes. And that all of the port watch would have served 4 hours 47 minutes on duty, working off the whole of the extra minutes with no help from the starboard watch. (Poppycock!)

    It is now as obvious as a bald man’s head at high noon that crew clocks must have been set back by 24 minutes to equally share the extra time. And, that by doing so Hichens served only his proper watch of 4 hours and 24 extra minutes The table below explains how the crew clocks were related to April 14th hours.

    Correct Method (With Crew Setback)
    Seven Bells 11:30 Crew 2336 Hrs April 14
    Impact on Berg 11:40 2404
    Forecastle Wake Up Bell 11:45 2409
    Change of Watch 12:00 2423 Hichens Relieved at Wheel; turns to lifeboats
    All Hands Remain on Deck
    Uncovering Boats Begins
    Boat #7 Launched Stbd 00:26 2450 First Boat Away (#7 Stbd)

    If we subtract 2404 hrs (impact) from 2450 hrs in unaltered April 14th time, the result is 46 minutes – close enough to Thomas C.’s reckoning of 45 minutes (above) for boat #7 to be in the water.

    – David G. Brown
     
  5. Well, Haines mentioned at the American Inquiry:
    The right time, without putting the clock back, was 20 minutes to 12.

    At any rate, it seems the lookout men just kept their normal watches of 2 hours on 4 hours off. This is supported by Hogg's testimony: he and Evans relieved the other lookout -Fleet and Lee- at 12 o'clock; there they stood about 20 minutes and after realizing there was something going on and not having the phone on the bridge answered, they went on deck where they "assisted in starting to uncover the boats".
    By that time, if they had indeed gone to the crowsnest at 12 o'clock (altered time), it'd have been around the time No. 7 left the ship when they went up on deck. And we must remember there Hogg helped clearing lifeboats (most likely No. 5), was then sent for the Jacob's ladder, went back again and was ordered into No.7 as he passed by, just prior to being lowered away.
     
  6. That's absolutely correct. Like so many others who were awakened by the collision, there was great confusion in the forecastle. Once the ship came to a stop, it negated the need to put the clocks back as the ship was obviously not going to reach her expected noontime position on Monday.

    That's fallacious David. April 14th was to end at 8 bells Sunday night, when the First watch was to end, and the Middle watch was to begin. That's when a new logbook page would begin as we have seen in the logbooks of a number of other WSL vessels. The extra time of 47 minutes, which was based solely on the longitude of where the ship was expected to be at local apparent noon Monday, was to be evenly split between the last 1/2 hour of April 14, and the first 1/2 hour of April 15. Ideally, each watch on deck during those hours (the First and Middle watches, respectively) would get 23.5 minutes each, but the clocks would only show whole minutes, thus one watch was to get 23 minutes while the other 24 minutes. That fact that ship's clocks showed a time close to 11:40 when the ship struck, twenty minutes before the smoking rooms and the Cafe Parisien were to close that night, essentially proves that they were had not been put back that night.
     
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  7. Over the years I've been slandered and belittled by a small clique of people bent on defending their Titanic fiefdom against anyone who goes against their self-aggrandizing ways. So be it. I do not plan on changing my ways. Those 47 extra minutes created by 24 hours of steaming during April 14th were not some sort of ethereal phantasmagoria. They represented 11.75 degrees of longitude measured westabout. I said they were "tacked on" to April 14th as simple way of expressing how they came to be and where they were applied. We are not writing a chapter of "Bowditch" here, just discussing history.

    I do not understand how a rational man of learning can claim that those extra minutes earned by westward travel on April 14th could be spread into a different day. Time in one day is time in that day. You can't save up 23 minutes today and use them up partying next Saturday night.

    Worse, the argument that time can be used at the observer's convenience (moved into the next day, for instance) indicates that the writer knows nothing about the reckoning of time. On land we all know a day starts exactly 12 hours...exactly...at the stroke of midnight prior to the next noon. And we know that on land 24 hours is a day for practical purposes. At sea, however, "noon" is taken as the ship's local longitude when the sun is at its zenith. That's why until the mid-1920s days at sea and time was measured noon to noon. These days the land procedure of stating a new day at midnight is followed at sea. This is called the "civil day."

    Here's what H.O.9 "Bowditch" GPO 1926, Para 277, page 110 says -- "The civil day commences at midnight and comprises the 24 hours until the following midnight." By the early 1969s, H.O. 9 added more specifics in Chapter XIX TIME, page 482: "In modern usage every kind of solar time has its zero or starting point at Midnight, when the celestial reference point is directly over the lower branch of the terrestrial reference meridian." Put in less technical language, the zero point, or longitude of "midnight" is directly below the longitude of the next "high noon." This definition makes it impossible to add any extra time earned by the ship's westward passage between midnight and noon. However nothing precludes adding them after noon and before the next midnight.

    Most of us only experience time referenced at a fixed location like a lighthouse on shore where the logitude remains unmoving. At sea, the east or west movement changes things and clocks must be adjusted accordingly. From surviving officers and crew, we have learned that the day of April 14th was to be 47 minutes longer than the fixed land day of 24 hours. Those minutes belonged to April 14th and it was necessary to keep them where they originated, in April 14th. All we have to do is find a way of splitting the 47 minutes between the on-duty starboard watch and the off-duty port watch.

    The IMM/White Star rules, para 259, clearly state that: The Officer of the Watch will see that the ships time is changed between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., the clocks to be set for noon before 6 a.m.

    This makes possible your claim that the first setback of time was done during the first watch (8 to 12). But, what about the second setback during the middle watch? Clearly if , as my distractors claim, the first setback was made at 10 o'clock then the time of impact -- 11:40 -- must lay somewhere between April 14 and April 15 ship's time. Assuming the first setback was 24 minutes, that puts impact at 12:04 on the clock dial, or 2404 hours in April 14th time -- exactly the same as I posted above.

    10:00 Apr 14 setback : 24 min = 9:36 o'clock.
    11:40 Setback Time = 12:04 time of impact

    Apparently the opposition has become flummoxed by reality. Read what was posted above and you see they state the clock had been retarded at 10 o'clock and they accept seaman Haines' claim that the clocks had not set back at 11:40 o'clock when the ship struck. Such blarney. And, it doesn't square with many other testimonies to the U.S. inquiry of crew survivors.

    Edward Buley -- "I was in the watch on deck, the starboard watch. at 12 o'clock we were relieved by the other watch." (Clearly, Buley spoke about the 12 o'cock immediately following the 11:40 time of the accident. Both times reflected the retarding of crew clocks at 10 pm as is claimed by my opponents.)

    Frank Osman -- "I was waiting for one bell, which the strike, one bell, just before the quarter of the hour, before the four hours, when you get a call to relieve." (The "one bell" which Osman spoke about should have been struck at 11:45 to rouse out the port watch. This is an off-duty reflection of what the on-duty Buley said above. Note that the "call to relieve" would have been at the crew's midnight change of watch.)

    George Moore -- "Sunday night about a quarter to 12 I was on watch below and turned in... . About 10 minutes to 12 the boatswain came in and piped all hands on the boat deck and started to get out boats." (Note how Moore's testimony fits precisely Ossman and mirrors Buley. Not only that, but he correctly places when the crew began to prepare the boats at change of watch when Titanic's predicament became an "all hands" situation.)

    George A. Hogg -- I waked up at 20 minutes to 12. I rushed up on deck...and I went below again. I asked the time, then, of my mate Evans, and he said, 'It is a quarter to 12. We will get dressed and get ready to go on lookout. ...we and relieved (lookouts Fleet and Lee) at 12 o'clock, me and my mate Evans."

    It is perfectly obvious that to the crew a one stroke wakeup bell was to sound at 11:45, just 5 minutes after the 11:40 o'clock time of the accident. And all of these men indicated that the port watch came on deck to relieve the starboard at the crew's change of watch at "12 o'clock." As I pointed out earlier, even my detractors agree that the first setback of the clocks took place at 10:00 o'clock well before the accident took place. So, based on the agreed first setback and the testimonies we get this chronology:

    10:00(2200 hrs) April 14 n/a Crew Time
    becomes 9:36 First Setback
    11:00(2300 hrs) 10:36
    11:30(2330 hrs) 11:06
    11:54(2354 hrs) 11:30 Seven Bells
    12:04(2404 hrs) 11:40 Impact on Berg
    12:09(2409 hrs) 11:45 One bell wakeup Port Watch
    12:24(2424 hrs) 12:00 Change of watch/hands to boats
    12:47(2447 hrs) becomes
    00:00(0000 hrs) April 15h 12:23

    Bottom line, the first setback mentioned in Sam's posting at 10:00 o'clock sets up the necessity for using crew time from that point until the crew change of watch. The accident took place at 11:40 o'clock in crew time, which was 1204 hrs in unaltered April 14th time.

    -- David G. Brown
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018
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  8. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    I will post something from myself. Frederick Fleet said this:

    5218. How long a watch did you have?
    - Two hours; but the time was going to be put back - that watch.

    5219. The time was to be set back?
    - Yes, sir.

    5220. Did that alter your time?
    - We were to get about 2 hours and 20 minutes.

    It means, that about 20 minutes after midnight, the time was to be set back to 12 o'clock.
    Later Fleet said:

    5257. How long did you stay there?
    - About a quarter of an hour to 20 minutes after.

    5258. After what?
    - After the accident.

    These two testimonies exclude each other. Fleet agreed, that accident happened 9 or 10 minutes after seven bells. From 11:40 to 12:20 is not 20, but 40 minutes.

    If we agree, that the time was altered before collision, then this makes sense, in my personal opinion. At 11:40 partly altered time, it is 12:04 unaltered time. From 12:04 to 12:20 is 16 minutes. The period of time, wich fit perfectly with Fleet's testimony. Of course Fleet lost 3 or 4 minutes, wich should be added to his watch.

    I think I do it well.

    watch.png
     
  9. Then you said:

    This clearly shows that you don't understand what is being said. The 'celestial reference' for vessels carrying apparent time is the true sun. A meridian is an imaginary great circle on the celestial sphere that passes through the north and south celestial poles and the observer's zenith. Celestial meridians are divided into two parts: the upper and the lower branch. The upper branch is the half of the celestial meridian, divided at the poles, containing the observer's zenith, the point directly above the observer. The lower branch is the remaining part of the great circle that contains the nadir, the point directly below the observer on the other side of the earth.

    The 'reference meridian' is the meridian that the ship is currently on, sometimes called the ship's local meridian, which changes as the vessel moves eastward or westward.

    Local apparent noon (LAN) is when the true sun reaches its highest point in the sky and is crossing the upper branch of the ship's local meridian. The time on board is precisely 12:00 Apparent time Ship (ATS).

    Midnight is the time when the true sun passes directly above the lower branch of the celestial meridian, which of course cannot be seen by the observer since it is then on the other side of the earth. If a vessel was is changing its longitude at a constant rate, then midnight would technically occur when the vessel reaches half way between LAN one day and LAN the next day.

    To put it in simple terms, if LAN [12:00 ATS] came at 15:00 GMT day-1, and then the next LAN [12:00 ATS] came at 15:30 GMT on day-2, then Midnight [00:00 ATS] for that westward moving vessel would have come at 03:15 GMT day-2.

    Other than you, I know of nobody who is claiming that clocks were changed at 10pm. Who else made such a claim?
     
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  10. I'm afraid Thomas that your interpretation is not right. There is nothing in what Fleet said that tells you when the clocks were to be put back, only that they were to be put back about 20 minutes at some point during the time when he and Lee were up in the nest that night.
     
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  11. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie Member

    Hello Thomas!

    First, let's enumerate Poindestre's evidence.

    1. He was on the 8 to 12 watch and due to be relieved at 12 o'clock.
    2, About 10 minutes after impact carpenter told him, ship making water.
    3. Shortly after (2), Bosun piped "all hands" to boat deck.
    4. Poindestre went to the port side boat deck and started at boat No.2. Thereafter, he worked his way aft , clearing boats. He assisted at about 10 boats.
    5. About 30 minutes after impact, he heard Captain Smith give the order to load the boats?
    6. About 45 minutes after impact, when all boats were ready, he left the boat deck and went to his cabin for his sea-boots.
    7. While in his accommodation, the longitudinal bulkhead between his accommodation and the 3rd Class Cabin No.2 gave way and he was in it up to his waist. He said this happened 30 minutes after impact?

    Now let's look at the evidence of QM Rowe.
    1. He had partially adjusted time on his watch.
    2. He called the bridge at 12-25 am by his watch to tell them that he had seen a boat in the water. They did not know about that boat, but told him to bring detonators for the distress signals.

    It does not matter about a clock change. The impact was at 11-40 pm old or new time. If Poingdestre thought he left the boat deck 45 minutes after impact, then he did so at either 12-25 am old or new time.
    Keeping this in mind, consider the following.

    The anti-time change members believe that the first boat...No.7...went at 00-40 am unaltered time. ( see Table 2 Launch Times Re-Examined)
    If that had been true, then Poindestre's impact time of 45 minutes earlier would have given an impact time of 11-55 pm, not 11-40 pm.
    On the other hand, if Rowe, who had partially altered time saw boat 7 in the water at or near to 12-25 pm, altered time, then 45 before that gives an altered time of impact to be 11-40 pm.

    There is very little wrong with the evidence of Poingdestre except his hearing Captain Smith give the order to launch boats.

    Poingdestre's time of meeting the Carpenter 10 minutes after impact is corroborated by the evidence of 4th Officer Boxhall who met the carpenter just after that when on the latter's way to the bridge to report to the captain
    His time of the boats being ready about 20 minutes after Midnight. 40 minutes after impact is corroborated by the evidence of 2nd Officer Lightoller.

    However, you will note I put a question mark at Poingdestre's 30 minute evidence concerning the bulkhead collapse on E deck. He could never have seen or known about that unless he was there. However, Poingdestre was an AB and as such, would not have been allowed to leave the boat deck before all the boats were ready and that was 45 minutes after impact at 00-25 am. It is possible, though, that he heard the captain's order about 00-15 am. while he was preparing the boats. If so, then that fits perfectly with the evidence of QM Rowe seeing boat 7 at or near to 00-25 am, 10 minutes later.

    As for the evidence of Stewardess Annie Robinson:
    Annie had fully altered time on her watch. So did Baker Collins who said impact happened at 11-15 pm by his clock. This means that 30 minutes after impact, Annie's fully altered watch would have been showing 11-45 pm. On a partially altered clock, it would have been 00-08 am. On an unaltered clock it would have been 00-32 am.
     
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  12. As far as I know, Poingdestre heard the Captain say that after his return to the boat deck:

    2874. Where did you go to then?
    - I was going up on to the boat deck to go towards my own boat, and I heard the Captain pass the remark, "Start putting the women and children in the boats," and then I went to my boat, No. 12.
     
  13. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    Hello Jim

    Your theory is interesting, but as Deck Voyeurist post above, it don't fit with Poingdestre testimony. I think the problem was solved by Loannis Georgiou.

    When Captain pass the remark "Start putting the women and children in the boats" on the port side, lifeboat 7 on the starboard side, could have already be lowered into the water.

    If Hichens remained at the wheel for 43 minutes after the collision, and Fleet only 15-20, in the nest, then something went wrong with the change of the watch.
     
  14. The only one's to change watch at 12 that night were the lookouts. If you go and read the testimonies of survivors who were on watch at the time of the collision, you will not find a single one who said they came off watch only to be called out to take to the boats. Conversely, if you go and read the testimonies of those who were below and off watch at the time of the collision, you will not find a single one who said they came on watch before the order came to take to the boats. When the collision happened, many who were off watch below came up on deck to see what happened. Some went back below again shortly after while others who stayed on deck awhile were told by the bosun to standby as they may soon be needed. All hands were called out to take to the boats about the time that Evans and Hogg went up the nest, and those who did go below again,were soon called out by the bosun.
     
  15. By the way, the 6 lookout were not part of either the so called Port or Starboard watches. They had their own watch schedule which followed a sequence of 2 hours on followed by 4 hours off, that was same every day, and did not change. The ABs were divided between the Port and Starboard watches and worked 4 hours on followed by 4 hours off except for the two Dog watches, which shifted their schedule so they worked the same schedule on alternate days.
     
  16. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie Member

    Yes, That is what Poingdestre claimed. But in fact, if he heard it 30 minutes after impact, he must have heard it being given to Lightoller while No.4 boat was in the process of being prepared because that's when it was given. here's Lightoller:
    "I commenced stripping off No. 4; then two or three turned up; I told them off to No. 4 boat and stood off then myself and directed the men as they came up on deck, passing around the boat deck, round the various boats, and seeing that the men were evenly distributed around both the port and starboard.
    It would take us from 15 minutes to 20 minutes to uncover No. 4; then to coil the falls down, then to swing out and lower it down to A deck would take another six or seven minutes at least. Then I gave an order to go down to the lower deck which I countermanded; perhaps two or three minutes might have elapsed there.
    I met him [Captain Smith] and I asked him should we put the women and children in, and the Commander said "Yes, put the women and children in and lower away." That was the last order I received on the ship.
    13873. Was that, as you understood it, a general order for the boats?
    - Yes, a general order.
    3874. Again, I should like to have the time fixed. Is that after these events you have described about boat No. 4?
    - No; previous to any swinging out, when No. 4 was almost uncovered; in fact, the canvas cover was off. They were taking the falls out and I think they were in the act of taking the strong back out, and the next movement to be executed would be swinging the boat out. So before any delay had occurred I asked the Commander, as I say, should we lower away.
    13875. That means, should you put people into the boat, I suppose?
    - Yes. We had had orders to swing out, so the boat was in the process of being swung out."


    That order to launch and load came before No. 4 was ready.
    Near to Midnight, AB Poingdestre made his way to the port side of the boat deck and started work on the first boat he came to. He must have been working on boat 4. That is when he heard that first order to load and launch. His timing of hearing Smith give that order was pretty accurate because Lightoller would have been on deck shortly after Midnight, just in time to direct the men to their duties then state work on 4 himself before delegating the chore to the arriving ABs. That would have been close to 30 minutes after impact.
     
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  17. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    You are right. We don't find anyone, because the call for the boats was given before 12 o'clock. In my timing at 11:58. This order was for everyone. If their watch was ending, and boatswain ordered all hands on deck, they had to go on deck.

    The same situation. They couldn't go on watch at 11:57, because it was not their time.
     
  18. Hichens confirmed the version of Poingdestre. Hichens hear the order to make the boats ready after 12 (no order to load them which was given later). He remained at the wheel until 12:23. Then went to uncover and make collapsible D ready and then sent over to boat No. 6 to help there.

    1017. How long did you remain at the wheel? - Until 23 minutes past 12.

    1040. Did you hear any other order? - No other order after that. That was the last order I heard with the exception of the boats.
    1041. What was that you heard about the boats? - I heard the Captain say "Get all the boats out and serve out the belts." That was after 12.

    1086. Did you clear her, taking away all the coverings? - I was ordered away to one of the next lifeboats before I had time to ship the rudder, and so on.
    1087. You had the cover off? - I had the cover off and got the boat's grips off.
    1088. And then you were ordered to another boat? - Yes.
    1089. Who ordered you to another boat? - Mr. Lightoller.
    1090. And to what boat? - No. 6 boat.
    1091. Is that a lifeboat on the port side? - Yes.
    1092. It would be the third on the port side from forward, would it not? - I do not know whether it was the second or third boat. It was one of the two.
    1093. We have been told it was the third. When you got to No. 6 lifeboat was that all ready? - Yes. She was swung out then.
    1094. Did you take passengers on board? - Yes.
    1095. When you got to her were there any passengers on board? - No.
    1096. She had only been swung out ready? - That is all.
    1097. And then what happened - who was giving orders then? - Mr. Lightoller was in charge of the port side.
    1098. Did you hear any order given? - Yes, I heard the captain say, "Women and children first," and the Officer repeated the words from the captain.
    1099. "Women and children first"? - Yes.
    1100. (The Commissioner.) Where was the captain? - Just standing by the collapsible boat by the Officers' quarters between the Officers' quarters and the collapsible boat.
    1101. Will you just show us where that is on the model? - Yes, here, in the centre; the Officers' quarters were here, and the collapsible boat under the emergency boat (Pointing on the model.)
    1102. Are you speaking of the port side? - Yes.

    And this is the port side only.
     
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  19. So, when Poingdestre went back to the boat deck, if the Captain's remark he mentioned was the same Hichens heard, that would mean he was there at the latest at 12:40, why? Because Hichens left the wheel at 12:23 and was ordered to Collapsible D; now, regarding the time Hichens could have spent clearing that boat, it must be considered that the other wooden lifeboat took between 15 and 20 minutes to get ready, but these collapsibles were a little bit smaller, were in a more comfortable position to work with and had no falls to uncoil. But, it might also have been cleared by a lesser group of crewmen (we know at least Hichens and Jones took that task), so by mere guesswork, Collapsible D could have taken around 10 minutes to be ready (that is, uncovered).
    By that time (Captain's remark) it's also rather likely the first attempt to launch No. 4 had been aborted.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  20. Reading all of the above...subtracting the vitriol...and adding some common sense...it obvious that apples are being sold as oranges in this argument.

    What is in disagreement is not timekeeping, but the procedure used to alter clocks so as to make the crew change of watch home at 24 minutes (roughly half of 47) after 12:00 o’clock in unaltered April 14th time. This change entailed altering the ship’s system of timekeeping bells so as to have 8 bells mark the end of the first watch and the start of the middle watch.

    To avoid misunderstandings lets set down some arbitrary definitions:

    ATS or April 14th time – unaltered from noon April 14th. The governing time of crew and passenger events.

    Clock Setback – A total of 47 minutes; divided roughly in half with 24 minutes to the frist watch and 23 minutes to the second. See extra time.

    Crew Time – fictional time created solely to accommodate the crew’s system of bells and make 8 bells the change of watch for the crew.

    Extra Time – A total of 47 minutes created by ship’s westward motion; divided roughly in half with 24 minutes to the first watch and 23 minutes to the second. See clock setback.

    Impact (time of) – arbitrarily set at 11:40 o’clock.

    True Midnight – 00:00 o’cloc marking the start of the new day/date ( in this case April 15th.


    Midnight – used here as a colloquial term for the time of the crew’s change of watch. It was not related to True Midnight described above.
    Wake Up Bell – a single stroke of a bell in forecastle to wake the members of the relief watch; struck 15 minutes prior to change of watch.
    Let’s keep it simple. Titanic’s official time based upon noon, April 14th was never abandoned, never altered, and continued in use by some survivors until the taffrail disappeared beneath the Atlantic. It controlled the affairs of the ship as is obvious when you match Fourth Officer Boxhall’s movements to the IMM/White Star Line rule book. Also, it is obvious that true midnight marking the start of April 15th was based on the ship’s April 14th midnight. The next true midnight was calculated to occur at 24 hours and 47 minutes after the previous true midnight which marked the start of that fateful Sunday of April 14th. And, everyone agrees that by true midnight starting April 15th all clocks everywhere in the ship would be keeping April 15th time. We also do not disagree that the two crew watches were to get about half of the extra 47 minutes which were gained by the ship’s westward passage.

    The crew used a bell system for marking the passage of time. Each watch was divided into 8 bells. The bell code was simple. It used two rapid strikes to indicate hours and a single for half hours. At 8 bells the watch on duty would be relieved by the watch which had been below (usually in their bunks). While the bells normally tolled in exact concert with the ship’s clocks there was no absolute requirement in the rule book that they do so.

    In order for 8 bells to mark the end of the first watch it was necessary to institute a fictitious “crew time” set back by half of the total extra time earned by the ship’s westward passage. The IMM/White Star rules required any clock changes to start after 10:00 o’clock and be completed by 6:00 o’clock the next morning. Extra minutes obviously applied to the day in which they were earned. So, the 47 minutes erned during April 14th had to be “worked off” before the next true midnight marking the start of April 15th.
    Although clock changes had to start no earlier than 10:00 o’clock, the rules did not prohibit the time resulting from applying any setback to be earlier. Thu, 24 minutes subtracted from 10:00 o’clock gives a perfectly legitimate 9:36 o’clock.
    At this point let’s change how different times are expressed. We will use the 24-hour clock for official ship’s time based upon noon. In this notation, 2200 is the same as 10 p.m. Crew time will be shown as o’clock.


    April 14th Crew April 15th
    Time Time Time
    2200 9:36 n/a 4 bells of First Watch
    2224 10:00 N/A No bells – 4 bells already struck
    2230 10:06 N/A No bells – sounding now on crew time
    2254 10:30 N/A 5 Bells of First Watch
    2200 10:36 N/A No bells
    2224 11:00 N/A 6 Bells of First Watch
    2300 11:24 N/A No Bells
    2324 11:30 N/A 7 Bells of First Watch
    2404 11:40 N/A Impact on iceberg
    2409 11:45 N/A Wake Up bell in forecastle
    2424 12:00/11:36 N/A Change of Watch – Crew clock set to 4/15 hours (next day's official ship's time)
    2447 12:00 0000 Start of day/date Monday April 15th
    N/A N/A 0030 One Bell of Middle Watch

    The rules also required the officer in charge of each crew watch to “go rounds ever hour” and to make certain compass evolutions twice an hour continuously. Note that two setbacks were used, but the crew time per se existed for only half of the first watch. Even so, this first setback added 24 minutes to the time served by the starboard watch. At change of watch the starboard watch properly relieved by the port. Simultaneously, the crew clocks as well as all other clocks on the ship would be set back 23 minutes to Monday, April 15th time. Except for the accident, the next time all clocks read “12:00 o’clock” would have been 0000 of the next day and all clocks on April 15th time.
    More importantly, every one of the 47 extra minutes would have been served during calendar day/date April 14th.

    As to the rutabaga and cumquat argument...the problem is making an assumption that the two are the same thing when they clearly are not. In terms of Titanic, this means citing an event in crew time altered by 24 minutes and then comparing it later against a second event cited in unaltered April 14th time. The result is an error of at least 24 minutes and, in a few cases, of 47 minutes.

    Lets use an example not currently being argued. How long did Titanic float after impact? Look in virtually any resource and you will find a duration of 2 hours 40 minutes. This is because the 11:40 o’clock time of the accident has been assumed to be in unaltered April 14th time. In truth, it was 11:40 crew time, or 2404 unaltered. This makes the actual duration Titanic floated 24 minutes less, or 2 hours 16 minutes. Disambiguating the turnips from the yams shows that the flooding was faster than conventional wisdom tells us, while the launching of lifeboats was accomplished in 24 minutes less time. Hichens was correct in saying he served until 23 minutes past 12:00 (2423) because he did. But, note than when that time is converted to crew hours by which the accident was timed, Hitchens was relieved at the crew’s 2424 April 14th change of watch on the dot.

    -- David G. Brown
     
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