Port side lifeboat policy: WHO enforced it?

Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
Any further explanation would be inappropriate in these open forums but I am available privately any time you wish to discuss it.
I'll respect that Arun. It's just the way you stated things here in the open forum, or the way it came across to me, that made me say what I said. We're good.
 
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George Jacub

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A slightly longer version of Mrs. Cavendish's story is here at the Washington Evening Star, April 19, 1912

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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
A slightly longer version of Mrs. Cavendish's story is here at the Washington Evening Star, April 19, 1912
Thanks for clearing that up George. So, the "Star" in which Julia Cavendish's account appeared was the Washington Evening Star and not the Toronto Daily Star like I had assumed.

But more importantly, Julia Cavendish is yet another Lifeboat#6 survivor who thought that she was in the second (port side) lifeboat.

It's just the way you stated things here in the open forum, or the way it came across to me, that made me say what I said
Perhaps that was because I as struggling (as I always have done) with my obsessive need to cross all the 't's and dot all the 'i's in my posts. There have been times when I have got off bed to double check that I had remembered to italicize the word Titanic even though I was aware that it did not matter a fig to anyone except myself.

In using that kind of approach while trying to be deliberately vague about the identity of the author of that other list might have resulted in a wrong subliminal message. If it did, I am sorry about that.

We're good.
Thank you very much. THAT is very important to me. You know how much I value both the presentation and content of your Titanic related work.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
Arun has repeatedly stated on here that he has not been able to access various books he has on other threads, and he dislikes Lightoller's testimony as to my way of thinking it is self serving (which those of us with a legal bent will understand), yet Peuchen's testimony which is clearly self serving (and mutually self serving with that of Lightoller as I have already pointed out) is considered acceptable to Arun.
I am not sure what you are implying here, Julian.

As for being unable to access some of my Titanic related books, that is completely true. We live 6 months of the year in India and as that is a larger house where I have my own home office, 2/3 of my books are there. I cannot access them while I am in the UK during the warmer 6 months but have other books like Sam's Strangers On The Horizon and Prelude To An Allison here, to which I will lose access when we return to India at the end of October. The only 2 books which I can access all 12 months of the year are Sam's ......Centennial Reappraisal which I carry back & forth in my hand luggage and have 2 copies - one in each country - of OASOG.

As for my 'dislike' of Lightoller's testimony, it is not so much the content but the manner in which it was presented. It might be just me, but whenever I read his statements I get the impression that he sat on the proverbial fence and carefully measured what he was going to say. He came across to me as a good "company man".

As for Peuchen, I was alluding to his testimony only about the lifeboats and felt that there was no need for him to have made-up any cover story. It would not have made the slightest difference to Peuchen if his Lifeboat #6 was the second or first to be lowered on the port side, especially because by the time he testified Peuchen would have found out that several starboard side boats had left the sinking ship before his Lifeboat #6 on the port side. Also, by the time he testified on 23rd April 1912, a few positive stories about him (like Julia Cavendish's statements above) had already appeared in the papers. So, I do not believe that he had any need to be 'self-serving' in his testimony but you are free to think so if you wish.
 
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George Jacub

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Actually, Arun, the same story appeared in both Star newspapers. The Washington Evening Star carried a few more paragraphs than the story reprinted on Encyclopedia Titanica.
 
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George Jacub

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I hope this puts that little issue to bed once and for all. Samuel Halpern

Hardly.
As I've said, there can only be one "first" rocket. I provided the evidence linking port and starboard launches of lifeboats using the first rocket as the linchpin. Lowe saw it while launching starboard lifeboat No. 5 and Peuchen saw it while being lowered in port lifeboat No. 6. Each man clearly recalled when they saw it and where they were at the time.

Fleet and Hichens could give only vague guesses as to when they saw a rocket and where they were.

Hichens (the double negatives are his) :

1202. When you came first of all to remove the cover of the collapsible boat, did you see any then?
- No, not at that time, I didn't.
1203. It was only when you went to No. 6 lifeboat; is that right?
- Yes.
1204. You saw it then?
- Yes.
************************
Will you tell me how long it was before you left the vessel that you saw rockets sent up?
- I could not give you no estimate of time, because by the time I come from the wheel I was there working about the boat.
1200. It would be after you came from the wheel, because you could not see till then?
- Yes, Sir. I could not give you no time for that.
1201. Had it been going on any time before you left the vessel?
- No, not very long, Sir, I should not think it would be. It could not have been, in fact, because I was working there not more than a quarter of an hour or 20 minutes, I suppose, before I was sent away in the boat.

He even had trouble remembering what colour the rockets were.

1198. Can you tell us what colour rockets?
- I did not take no particular notice of the colour, Sir. Some were green, some were red, and some were blue - all kinds of colours - and some white, Sir. I think, if I remember rightly, they were blue.

Fleet said he saw rockets before he even started loading women into Lifeboat No. 6. He offered no other details.

Schoolteacher Lawrence Beesley also saw the first rocket--- from the back of the ship. He remembered it vividly in his book 'The Loss of the S.S. Titanic".
"Suddenly a rush of light from the forward deck, a hissing roar that made us all turn from watching the boats, and a rocket leapt upwards to where the stars blinked and twinkled above us. Up it went...and then an explosion that seemed to split the silent night in two, and a shower of stars sank slowly down...And with a gasping sigh one word escaped the lips of the crowd: "Rockets." Anybody knows what rockets at sea mean."

Compare that to the nonchalance of Fleet and Hichens.

If the evidence of Lowe and Peuchen was put on a credibility scale against Fleet and Hichens, the latter would be outweighed by a big margin.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
It matters to me not a jot whether lifeboat 6 was lowered/launched/got to the sea before lifeboat 8, or whether Wilde or Lightoller ordered certain things. My interest is elsewhere as it always has been.
That's your privilege Julian. But if I may respectfully point out, this thread is about port side lifeboats and so we were not exactly out of place discussing the somewhat contradicting statements from the survivors on board Lifeboats #8 and #6 as to which of the two was launched first. Like all other threads, those who are interested might feel like contributing their views; no one is under any compulsion to comment.
 
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Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

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If the evidence of Lowe and Peuchen was put on a credibility scale against Fleet and Hichens, the latter would be outweighed by a big margin.
I have no problem with Lowe's evidence as to when he saw the 1st rocket go up. I do have a problem with what was written in the paper allegedly quoting Peuchen with, “Then as we left, we let off the first rockets." Interesting words to use, "we let off", as if Peuchen had anything to do with it. Sounds like something a reporter would write. He did testify, "while we were lowering the boat they were sending up rockets," but that does not mean that was when the first rocket went up, where Lowe was very specific as to first rocket going up while #5 was being lowered.
He [Hichens] even had trouble remembering what colour the rockets were.
That he did, but what Peuchen had to say about that: "A good deal like an ordinary skyrocket, going up and breaking, and the different colors flying down." Personally, I don't think he paid that much attention to the color of the exploding signal, which would have been quite blinding, as Lowe put it. The Cotton Powder Co. really didn't play games when it came to distress socket signals and color the stars that were thrown out.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
He did testify, "while we were lowering the boat they were sending up rockets," but that does not mean that was when the first rocket went up, where Lowe was very specific as to first rocket going up while #5 was being lowered.
Yes. Lifeboat #5 was launched between 12:45 am and 12:48 am and if the first rocket was sent-up then and subsequently one every 5 or 6 minutes, one wonders how many had already been fired by the time Lifeboat #6 was lowered. We won't argue about the actual time #6 was lowered now, but the actual meaning of Peuchen's words "while we were lowering the boat" has to be considered in the right perspective. Peuchen testified that he was active doing other things on the forward part of the portside boat deck around that time - like helping with the mast of one etc - and then waiting in the crowd watching #6 being loaded and start to be lowered before getting his opportunity to join the people in the lifeboat himself. That latter part would in itself have taken a few minutes and so one has to ask at what stage did Peuchen actually see what some people believe was the first rocket? Considering the timeframes involved, he is bound to have seen at least one while he was still on the deck but if he saw one more while Lifeboat #6 was actually being lowered with him inside, IMO it would have been at least the third, possibly the fourth rocket. His choice of words above - the plural 'rockets' - suggests that even if Peuchen missed the actual first rocket, he saw more than one, possibly as many as three before Lifeboat #6 reached the water.
 
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George Jacub

Member
Thank you ,Sam. I'm sure you didn't intend to, but you just proved my point.

Peuchen said in a press interview and in testimony to the Senate Inquiry that rockets were fired from the Titanic as lifeboat No. 6 was being lowered. He specified to the newspaper that the "first "rockets were what he was talking about.

The two crewmen in No. 6 testified that rockets were fired as No. 6 was being loaded, and before it was lowered to the sea. (Peuchen helped with passing women to Fleet and Hichens into No. 6 and obviously saw no rockets.)

You accept that the first rocket was fired just as No. 5 was launched. You contest that Peuchen saw this first rocket. That means, if you believe Fleet and Hichens, that the first rocket would have been fired as No. 6 was being loaded and well before Peuchen climbed into the lifeboat.

In short, even under your scenario, the first rocket is still the linchpin joining No. 5 and No. 6 and proves that No. 8 was NOT the first port boat launched.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
Peuchen said in a press interview and in testimony to the Senate Inquiry that rockets were fired from the Titanic as lifeboat No. 6 was being lowered. He specified to the newspaper that the "first "rockets were what he was talking about.
As you said so yourself George, there could only have been one 'first rocket' and as Sam says, it was sent up around 12:47 am just as Lifeboat #5 was being launched. I do not believe that Peuchen saw that first rocket because at that time he was very likely still below decks - in his testimony he detailed the time he spent there before coming onto the boat deck. I feel that his use of the words "first rockets" in plural really meant the early ones and not just the first one. Peuchen might not have realized that the actual first rocket was fired while he was still below and so mistakenly believed that the second rocket was the first. I say that because he did a few other things before going to Lifeboat #6 and was waiting in the crowd there when his chance to enter that boat came. Then the process of him swinging down the rope into the boat would have taken a few more minutes.

The point that I am making is that after arriving on the boat deck for the final time, Peuchen spent quite some time in the vicinity of Lifeboat #6 - waiting while it was being loaded, some associated delays, starting to lower, then stopping to ask for an additional seaman and finally waiting for him to join those on board. Considering that rockets were being sent up every 5 or 6 minutes, at least 2 further rockets would have been fired which Peuchen was alluding to both in his testimony and his newspaper interview. Another rocket (the 4th overall) might have been fired just as Lifeboat #6 reached the water with Peuchen also on board.

But then Peuchen would also have later seen the other rockets fired from his position in Lifeboat #6 on the sea. Although the accepted figure for the total number of rockets fired from the Titanic was 8 for a long time, this has been questioned. Third Officer Pitman, who was in charge of Lifeboat #5 and was in it when the first rocket was fired, was in a position to have seen all the rockets sent up. This is what he testified at the American Inquiry:

Senator SMITH.
Did you see any rockets?


Mr. PITMAN.
I should say about a dozen rockets were fired.

Senator SMITH.
What did you see? What did they do?

Mr. PITMAN.
They were fired from the rail. They make a report while leaving the rail, and also an explosion in the air, and they throw stars, of course, in the air.

Senator SMITH.
Red in color?

Mr. PITMAN.
Various colors.

Senator SMITH.
You saw those signals of distress, did you, from the Titanic?

Mr. PITMAN.
Yes.

Senator SMITH.
And you saw about a dozen or so of them?


Mr. PITMAN.
It may have been a dozen or it may have been more, sir.


Fourth Officer Boxhall, who was in charge of firing the rockets for the most part, was less specific but conceded they could have sent up to a dozen rockets in his testimony.

If we work with a dozen, then Peuchen could have seen as many as 8 of them from his lifeboat drifting within seeing distance of the sinking Titanic. Therefore, he could easily have referred to those that he saw while still on board the Titanic around Lifeboat #6 and as it was being lowered (I believe there were 3 of them, the second, third and fourth) as the "first rockets".

In short, even under your scenario, the first rocket is still the linchpin joining No. 5 and No. 6 and proves that No. 8 was NOT the first port boat launched.
No, it does not prove that at all for the reasons mentioned above. While at present I believe the Re-Examined Lifeboat Launching Timeline from Wormstedt et al - and hence Lifeboat #8 to be the first port lifeboat - I am willing to reconsider my position if there is further rethink among the expert researchers including Sam Halpern and relevant new points emerged. But George, trying to use the first rocket or what Peuchen saw as evidence to prove which of Lifeboats #8 and #6 was lowered first is not going to work.

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Below is an excerpt from Steward John Hart's testimony at the British Inquiry. I apologize for quoting myself from another post but a thought occurred to me last night and I wanted to bounce it off others and see what they think.
9954. And having got them to the boat deck, do you remember whereabouts on the boat deck you took them to?
- Yes. I took them to boat No. 8, which was at that time being lowered.

9955. That is the fourth boat on the port side?
- Yes.

9956. Practically opposite the second funnel, or a little more forward than the second funnel?
- Yes.

9957. Did you leave them there?
- I left them there and went back again
.

What happened to the group of passengers that Hart left on the boat deck in the vicinity of Lifeboat #8 before going back down? Hart did not say that his passengers were loaded into Lifeboat #8 and so they must have just been milling around uncertainly among the First Class passengers. As far as I know, there were no Third Class passengers on board Lifeboat #8.

At one stage, Lifeboats #8 an #6 were being loaded almost simultaneously with Wilde and Lightoller in charge. Wilde is supposed to have noticed the increasing crowd of women and children in the vicinity and at some point ordered (Moody?) for them to be taken aft towards Lifboat #10, assuming that it was going to be the first port aft boat to be loaded. As it turned out, Moody and then Lowe started with Lifeboat #16, then #14 and #12 and there were quite a few Third Class women and children distributed among them.

So, could Hart's first batch of around 30 or more Third Class women and children have formed the bulk of the crowd that Wilde sent aft with that order? A few might have returned belowdecks as it was too cold, but others could have been in that group.
 
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George Jacub

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So, could Hart's first batch of around 30 or more Third Class women and children have formed the bulk of the crowd that Wilde sent aft with that order? Arun Vajpey

Bingo. I've always felt that to be the case.

Re: Major Peuchen. He was on deck almost the entire time. He helped clear at least one lifeboat of its mast. And he helped women into Lifeboat No. 6, passing them to Fleet and Hichens. If there had been a rocket before he climbed down into No. 6 he would have seen and heard it. There wasn't, he didn't.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
Major Peuchen. He was on deck almost the entire time. He helped clear at least one lifeboat of its mast. And he helped women into Lifeboat No. 6, passing them to Fleet and Hichens. If there had been a rocket before he climbed down into No. 6 he would have seen and heard it. There wasn't, he didn't.
Well, he wasn't sleeping on the boat deck next to Lifeboat #6 and so he had to come up from his cabin at some stage. The following excerpt from his testimony makes it clear that after Peuchen first came on to the boat deck to check things out, he went down again, spoke to a few people, spent some time waiting with others, briefly returned to his cabin, changed clothes, pondered about the bonds etc.

I afterwards saw Mr. Molson on deck and we chatted over the matter, and I suppose 15 minutes after that I met Mr. Hays, his son-in-law, and I said to him, "Mr. Hays, have you seen the ice?" He said, "No." I said, "If you care to see it I will take you up on the deck and show it to you." So we proceeded from probably C deck to A deck and along forward, and I showed Mr. Hays the ice forward. I happened to look and noticed the boat was listing, probably half an hour after my first visit to the upper deck.

I hardly got back in the grand staircase - I probably waited around there 10 minutes more - when I saw the ladies and gentlemen all coming in off of the deck looking very serious, and I caught up to Mr. Beatty, and I said, "What is the matter?" He said, "Why the order is for lifebelts and boats." I could not believe it at first, it seemed so sudden. I said, "Will you tell Mr. Ross?" He said, "Yes; I will go and see Mr. Ross." I then went to my cabin and changed as quickly as I could from evening dress to heavy clothes. As soon as I got my overcoat on I got my life preserver and I came out of my cabin.
As you can see, Peuchen spent quite some time below (away from the boat deck) after returning from his first visit topside. Going by known timelines, I believe that the first rocket was fired while Peuchen was finishing changing in his cabin and getting ready to leave for the final time. If so, the second rocket would have been fired a minute or two after he arrived on the boat deck again and Peuchen - who would have seen that - could have mistaken it for the first rocket. In any case, considering the time he spent on the boat deck and within the boat itself from that point till his Lifeboat #6 almost reached the sea, 2 further rockets - the 3rd and 4th - would almost certainly have been fired. If it happened that way, Peuchen could have believed that he saw the first 3 rockets and would have seen some 8 more from Lifeboat #6 itself going by Pitman's testimony. That would explain Peuchen's words of "the first rockets" to the batch of 3 that he saw before his Lifeboat #6 reached the sea.
 
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Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
You accept that the first rocket was fired just as No. 5 was launched. You contest that Peuchen saw this first rocket. That means, if you believe Fleet and Hichens, that the first rocket would have been fired as No. 6 was being loaded and well before Peuchen climbed into the lifeboat.

In short, even under your scenario, the first rocket is still the linchpin joining No. 5 and No. 6 and proves that No. 8 was NOT the first port boat launched.
Your last point is a bit twisted George. As you once said, there can be only ONE first rocket. And I tend to give more weight to those two first hand accounts, not second hand evidence out of newspapers.

We all seem to agree that the first rocket was sent up while #5 was being lowered. I believe Hichens and Fleet saw and heard the first rocket when they were in the process of loading, not launching, #6 for reasons previously stated. In fact, to repeat Fleet's exact words about when he noticed rockets first going up were: "and when we were on the deck before I went in the boat." And Fleet was in the boat when it first started to lower, well before Peuchen climbed down into it. What this says to me is simply that #6 was launched sometime after #5. I'm not going to count how many rockets were sent up before #6 started down because the exact clock times being offered here are best guesses only, and I'm well aware of how they were derived.

But how all this talk about rockets has to do with proving #8 was, or was not, the first port boat launched, that is not at all obvious to me George.
 
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Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

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So, could Hart's first batch of around 30 or more Third Class women and children have formed the bulk of the crowd that Wilde sent aft with that order?
I believe it was.
Wilde is supposed to have noticed the increasing crowd of women and children in the vicinity and at some point ordered (Moody?) for them to be taken aft towards Lifboat #10,
Is this your own speculation about Moody taking them aft? The evidence of sending these women aft to #10 came from Steward Crawford, and was done at the time that #8 was being lowered, which so happens to agree with what Hart said regarding #8.

By the way, speaking of Hart:

9977. At that time when you took your lot of passengers to boat No. 8 on the port side were there any other boats left on the port side? - It is like this. From boat No. 8 I believe there is a big square right amidships. I did not look further.
9978. You mean there is a big empty space? - Yes.
9979. Of course boat No. 8 is one of the forward lot of boats? - Yes.
9980. You would come up by the main companion way, and coming up by the main companion way would come up almost opposite boat No. 8? - Yes.
9981. And so you went straight to it? - Yes.
9982. You really cannot tell us whether at that time the after boats on the port side were still there or not? - I cannot tell you.

Here was talking about the first time he brought a group up. Strangely however, he seemed to imply from his answer to 9977, that there were no boats being loaded in front of #8, and from his position opposite of #8, he couldn't see if there were any boats in the aft group of boats on the port side from that location. We know it was very dark, and many had difficulty even recognizing people that were close by.
 
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