Port side lifeboat policy: WHO enforced it?

Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
Is this your own speculation about Moody taking them aft?
Just that and no more (hence the question mark) but not without reason. I recall reading somewhere that when Colonel Gracie first met Edith Evans and the 3 Lamson sisters on the boat deck, he took them to the port side to the vicinity of Lifeboat #6 and left them supposedly in charge of Moody, who was there at the time. But I have not come across anything which suggests that any of the 3 sisters, all of whom survived, interacted with Moody at that time and so presumed that he had left them to their own devices and gone about other duties. Someone must have ordered the Sixth Officer to go and take charge of getting the port side aft lifeboats ready and it could have been either Captain Smith or Wilde. If that was the case, it explains Wilde's order to send all those women and children from Hart's group aft, where he knew the boats were being prepared for loading.

Lowe testified (as you know) that after Lifeboat #1 was lowered (01:05 am), he went across to the port side aft, where Moody was already at work with those port aft boats.

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.
I am not surprised at Hart's statement. He had led a group of over 30 women and children to the forward part of the boat deck and by his own testimony, left them in the vicinity of Lifeboat #8 and left. They would have mingled with the crowd already present there and with that and the darkness, I doubt if he could have seen any of the lifeboats through the crowd of passengers and crew.
We know it was very dark, and many had difficulty even recognizing people that were close by.
Yes, and Hart had come through well lit corridors into the darkness of the boat deck. He would not have been able to see much detail before he left.

I think QAs 9977 and 9980 are significant:
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.
Hart stated earlier that he left his charges there and went back. So, if they had arrived up the main companionway directly opposite Lifeboat #8, most likely he left them there and left the scene....like he said. He admits himself, truthfully I believe, that he "did not look further" and so we cannot use his testimony to consider which lifeboat was there or not there at that time. :)
 
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George Jacub

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Someone must have ordered the Sixth Officer to go and take charge of getting the port side aft lifeboats ready and it could have been either Captain Smith or Wilde. Arun Vajpey

Lightoller gave the order for Third Officer Pitman to be in charge of the aft boats.

13817. And was each of the boat covers stripped in order all the way round?
- All the boats, as far as I can remember, were under way. I remember directing one of the Junior Officers to look after the after section of boats.
13818. What length of time would this operation of uncovering all these boats take?
- You mean, given the crew?
13819. You were engaged on this work. I want to realise how long you were engaged on it?
- Well, I really could not say what time the after boats were finished uncovering. Knowing that the third Officer was there in charge I did not bother so much about that as the forward ones, and about the time I had finished seeing the men distributed round the deck, and the boat covers well under way and everything going smoothly, I then enquired of the Chief Officer whether we should carry on and swing out
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
Lightoller gave the order for Third Officer Pitman to be in charge of the aft boats.
I don't see how Lightoller could have done that when Pitman left in Lifeboat #5 between 12:45 and 12:48 am on the starboard side? Before that, Pitman had helped Murdoch with Lifeboat #7.

Pitman might have been in charge of uncovering and positioning the aft lifeboats earlier but by the time the order came to start actually loading them, he was on the starboard side forward with Murdoch.

I remember directing one of the Junior Officers to look after the after section of boats.
That is possible and if so the Junior Officer was almost certainly Moody. With Pitman already off the ship and Boxhall sorting out the rockets and not involved with lifeboats at the time, the only junior officers left were Lowe and Moody. Lowe was with Murdoch on the starboard side for the loading and launching of all 4 forward lifeboats and by the time he went to the port side aft, Moody was already at work with 3 of the 4 boats there (Lowe's own testimony)
 
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Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
PITMAN:
So I put a coat on and went on deck, and saw the men uncovering the boats and clearing them away. I walked along to the after end of the boat deck, and met Mr. Moody, the sixth officer. I asked him if he had seen the iceberg. He said no; but he said, "There is some ice on the forward well deck." So, to satisfy my curiosity, I went down there myself.

I remember directing one of the Junior Officers to look after the after section of boats.
Probably Moody, but it could have been Pitman, as the both them, Pitman and Lightoller, were called out by Boxhall about the same time, shortly after all hands were called on deck to uncover the boats.

Knowing that the third Officer was there in charge
Lightoller could very well have seen Pitman go aft and assume that he was taking charge of the clearing of the boats there as Pitman was a 3/O and Moody a 6/O. But the time of all this was well before passengers were ordered up. They didn't get any of the boats swung out yet. Boxhall was floating all around the deck as well at this time, and Lowe was still in his cabin.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
Lightoller could very well have seen Pitman go aft and assume that he was taking charge of the clearing of the boats there as Pitman was a 3/O and Moody a 6/O. But the time of all this was well before passengers were ordered up. They didn't get any of the boats swung out yet. Boxhall was floating all around the deck as well at this time, and Lowe was still in his cabin.
I agree. I was thinking on the same lines.

Going back to Steward John Hart and his group of 30 or so women and children that he left in the vicinity of Lifeboat #8, I wonder if the lifeboat was already loaded....or almost loaded....to what the Chief Officer believed was the safe limit? Only that would explain why they were not allowed to board either Lifeboat #8 or #6 even though there were spaces in both. There were no Third Class passengers in Lifeboat #8 and only the interloper Fahim al-Zainni in Lifeboat #6. In fact, it was quite a feat from Zainni to manage to get into an early port side lifeboat; I wonder if he had sneaked behind Hart's group, hidden somewhere and sneaked into Lifeboat #6 just as it was being lowered. Unless I have missed it, Peuchen did not mention seeing Zainni jump in but only of seeing him discovered hiding under a seat.
 
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Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
When Beesley was going down the 2nd class staircase for the second time, he noticed an officer starting to uncover boat #16. That very well could have been Moody. Not sure if this was before Lightoller and Pitman came out, or shortly prior to. Either way, Moody, like Boxhall, was already on duty when all hands were called out just before 12:00am.
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
Going back to Steward John Hard and his group of 30 or so women and children that he left in the vicinity of Lifeboat #8, I wonder if the lifeboat was already loaded....or almost loaded....to what the Chief Officer believed was the safe limit? Only that would explain why they were not allowed to board either Lifeboat #8 or #6 even though there were spaces in both.
Hart said that #8 was being lowered at the time he arrived. He left his charge of women there to go back down and round up more. His orders were only to take them to boat deck, not to see that they were loaded into a boat.

Anyway, we know from Crawford that Wilde told them to go aft to #10 boat. If there was still a boat being loaded next to #8 at that time, I would think that he would not have told them to go aft, but would himself gone forward to see how far along the loading of #6 was at. Crawford also believed that they were going to load the aft boats next as his own boat was being lowered.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
f there was still a boat being loaded next to #8 at that time, I would think that he would not have told them to go aft, but would himself gone forward to see how far along the loading of #6 was at
Yes, but Wilde and Lightoller were both loading Lifeboats #8 and #6 "semi-respectively" before Hart brought his group up to the boat deck. Since it would have been the deck crew doing the actual physical part of the loading, the two officers were very likely aware of what was going on in both lifeboats. If Wilde felt that there were already enough people on Lifeboat #8 and decided to lower it, he might have felt the same about Lifeboat #6, especially if there were people still waiting to enter it on the boat deck. If Lifeboat #6 was short of seamen after the order to lower it was given, there were probably not many hands loading it in the first place and so it might have fallen behind Lifeboat #8. Then there were delays with Lifeboat #6 while loading and lowering of Lifeboat #8 were relatively uneventful. :) ;)
 
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George Jacub

Member
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.

Surely you're not suggesting Arthur Peuchen was not in lifeboat No. 6? Because, otherwise, his account IS first-hand evidence. He gave his first-hand evidence at the Senate Inquiry on April 23, 1912, the same day Fleet was a witness and the day before Hichens.

Senator SMITH.
Did you see any rockets fired on the Titanic during the 15 or 20 or 30 minutes before her sinking?

Maj. PEUCHEN.
I do not know as to that time before sinking, but while we were lowering the boat they were sending up rockets.


Peuchen has more credibility than the other pair because he first gave his first-hand account five days earlier to a newspaper reporter and he repeated the vital detail regarding rockets to the Senators. Compare that to Hichens who didn't know when he saw a rocket but surmised it had to be before he got in the lifeboat.

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.
Are you disowning your own witness whose first-hand account at the Senate Inquiry flatly said No.6 was the first port lifeboat launched?

Senator FLETCHER. Was No. 8 loaded after No. 6?

Mr. FLEET. It was.

Senator FLETCHER. It was lowered after No. 6, was it?

Mr. FLEET. Yes.

Senator FLETCHER. Did you see any lowered before No. 6?

Mr. FLEET. No, sir.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
True, but there remains the possibility that although Lifeboat #6 started loading before #8, the delays associated with the former (Bess/Loraine Allison, Peuchen etc) could have caused loading of Lifeboat #8 to be completed (as decided by Wilde) first. From all accounts it seems the loweing of Lifeboat #8 was smooth & uneventful and so like Caroline Bonnell's statement suggested, Lifeboat #8 could have reached the water a few minutes ahead of Lifeboat #6.

Also, some people point to QM Hichens' testimony that differs from Fleets with regard to the two lifeboats.

At the American Inquiry, Hichens said:

Senator SMITH.
Did he say anything more to you?

Mr. HICHENS.
He did not answer me, sir, but sat down; went forward on the starboard bow, alongside of Seaman Fleet, who was working very hard. He done most of the work himself; Fleet was doing most of the work.


I think Hichens' assertion that Fleet was very busy (and hence preoccupied) during the launching of Lifeboat #6 is significant.

Then Hichens at the British Inquiry:

1185. Could you tell us how many boats had got away before you?
- I think there were two on the port side, but how many on the starboard side I could not tell you.

1186. On the port side you think there were two before you?
- Yes, Sir
.

Well, we know that there were not two lifeboats launched on the port side before Lifeboat #6 but a month down the line Hichens could have retained the mental image of Lifeboat #4 lowered to the A-deck. But more importantly, his statement suggests that his Lifeboat #6, of which he was in charge, was not the first port lifeboat lowered. Some authors believe that from his vantage point at the stern of Lifeboat #6 Hichens was closer to where Lifeboat #8 had been a few minutes earlier and so in a better position to make out that it had been lowered, while Fleet at the bow end of Lifeboat #6 was hampered by the fact that he was busy and had the occupants of #6 obstructing his view of the davits of Lifeboat #8. That could especially be the case if Lifeboat #8 was still in its place when Fleet got into Lifeboat #6 and then, while loading of the latter was nearing its completion, Lifeboat #8 was lowered without the busy Fleet noticing it through the crowd of passengers in front of him. Then there were the delays caused by realization of crew shortage, Peuchen's offer and the major getting into Lifeboat #6, all of which potponed its reaching the water.
 
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Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
Are you disowning your own witness whose first-hand account at the Senate Inquiry flatly said No.6 was the first port lifeboat launched?
No, I'm not. I was just saying that the issue as to when the 1st rocket was seen (either during the loading of No. 6 as Fleet and Hichens said, or while No. 6 was being lowered as attributed to Peuchen from the newspaper article you quoted from) has nothing to do with the issue of whether No. 6 or No. 8 was lowered first. It is to do with you trying to convince people that the 1st rocket was sent up as No. 6 was being lowered.
I think Hichens' assertion that Fleet was very busy (and hence preoccupied) during the launching of Lifeboat #6 is significant.
Hichens was taking about the time after Peuchen came into the boat. Hichens was not happy about this guy, a passenger no less, coming into the boat and wanting to immediately take control over it. He'd have nothing good to say about him after that, and would diminish Peuchen's contribution (which was rowing) while painting Fleet as doing all the required work, whether keeping the boat off the hull as it was lowered down, to his rowing the boat after reaching the water.

Fleet was sitting on the starboard side of the boat, the part closest to the hull. (That is confirmed by both Fleet's and Peuchen's testimony.) Fleet was looking aft towards where Hichens was, and directly toward where No. 8 was hanging from its davits. As they started to lower No. 6, Fleet was in a very good position to see No. 8 still hanging there. I don't buy the speculative excuse that was given to discredit his evidence in the lifeboat article about his view being blocked by the other passengers in the boat. He would have easily seen it looking up as his boat was first being lowered, even before Peuchen climbed down. I find Fleets testimony quite credible, and most of all, very specific about which boats were being talked about. I also find Fleets testimony that rockets were going up while he was still on deck as well as when he was in the boat as very credible.

Peuchen on the other hand, talked about helping load and lower the first boat aft of the emergency boat, which would be No. 4. He even mentioned how the boats were numbered there. Yet we know that No. 4 was not loaded and launched at that point in time, but very late, well after No. 6 was gone. To me, this raises a red flag about all that he, Peuchen, claimed he did before being sent away in No. 6.

1185. Could you tell us how many boats had got away before you?
- I think there were two on the port side, but how many on the starboard side I could not tell you.
Interesting choice of words: "I think..." which tells me he wasn't sure. I would think if he saw No. 8 lowered before his boat was he would have said something like, 'they lowered No. 8 before us'. In fact, he mentioned the boat that master-at-arms Bailey was in as one of the boats that may have been lowered before his. Bailey was in No. 16.

This far from decisive statement of Hichens has also been used trying to support the notion that No. 8 was launched before 6.
Then there were the delays caused by realization of crew shortage, Peuchen's offer and the major getting into Lifeboat #6, all of which potponed its reaching the water.
There was a shortage of seamen when No. 8 was being lowered. Capt. Smith himself was working at the forward falls along with a steward helping to lower No. 8. (See Crawford, Amer Inq. p.113.) Wouldn't be surprised if Wilde worked the after falls, but we don't know.
 
Seumas

Seumas

Member
There was a shortage of seamen when No. 8 was being lowered. Capt. Smith himself was working at the forward falls along with a steward helping to lower No. 8. (See Crawford, Amer Inq. p.113.) Wouldn't be surprised if Wilde worked the after falls, but we don't know.
That's a fair possibility. Wilde was a tall, broad shouldered bloke so you could imagine him mucking in like that.

I do wonder (not stating it as fact) whether the stewards and cooks that Wilde and Lightoller allowed into the port side boats were perhaps more physically developed than their mates, and that's why they were chosen to row. Just a thought.
 
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George Jacub

Member
Re Post 237

Sam, I'm puzzled why you keep referencing Major Peuchen's newspaper interview without also including his appearance at the Senate Inquiry where he confirmed that the rocket that he saw came "while we were lowering the boat". His credibility is bolstered by telling the same story days apart in two quite different platforms starting within hours of reaching New York on the Carpathia.

You wrote: the issue as to when the 1st rocket was seen ... has nothing to do with the issue of whether No. 6 or No. 8 was lowered first. It is to do with you trying to convince people that the 1st rocket was sent up as No. 6 was being lowered.

The timing of the first rocket has everything to do with whether no. 6 or. no. 8 was lowered first.

In a nutshell: No. 5 was launched about five minutes after No. 7. The first rocket was sent off as the lowering of No. 5 started. That rocket was seen by Major Peuchen as No.6 was being lowered to the ocean. If No. 8 preceeded No. 6 it had to have been launched before No. 7, something nobody believes.
Even the two witnesses you rely on to challenge Peuchen rebut the idea that no. 8 was launched before No. 6. I've already quoted what Fleet had to say. Hichens told the Senate Inquiry he saw rockets not much more than 15 minutes before No. 6 was launched. The launch times offerred up by Bill Wormstedt, Tad Fitch and George Behe say No. 6 was launched almost half an hour after No. 5. (They got the wrong order and times wrong. And I haven't even spoken gotten around to greaser Frederick Scott.)
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
In a nutshell: No. 5 was launched about five minutes after No. 7. The first rocket was sent off as the lowering of No. 5 started. That rocket was seen by Major Peuchen as No.6 was being lowered to the ocean. If No. 8 preceeded No. 6 it had to have been launched before No. 7, something nobody believes.
Even the two witnesses you rely on to challenge Peuchen rebut the idea that no. 8 was launched before No. 6. I've already quoted what Fleet had to say. Hichens told the Senate Inquiry he saw rockets not much more than 15 minutes before No. 6 was launched.
Is it just me? But I seem to be having a difficult time understanding your logic here. You are claiming Peuchen saw the first rocket go off as his boat was being lowered. You pull from his testimony and said that he confirmed that the rocket that he saw came "while we were lowering the boat". Yet, Peuchen didn't say that at all. He said: "I do not know as to that time before sinking, but while we were lowering the boat they were sending up rockets." You take that as a very narrow statement implying that the first rocket was sent up while they were lowering the boat. I could take that statement, without looking at any other evidence, to imply that they ONLY sent up rockets while they were lowering the boat, not before or after, which we know did not happen. Both Hichens and Fleet said they were firing rockets before the boat was lowered.

The launch times offerred up by Bill Wormstedt, Tad Fitch and George Behe say No. 6 was launched almost half an hour after No. 5.
So they did, and it was based on their interpretation of the evidence they offered in their article, which was last updated in 2012. At this point in time, after seeing addition passenger evidence that is in direct conflict with the ones they put forth, and strongly disagreeing with their dismissal of Fleet's evidence, and not accounting for the timing offered by Hichens as to when he went away in the boat (although they used it to support the firing time given for the first rocket), I believe #6 started down before #8 did, probably around the time they assigned for the launch of #3 on the starboard side.
 
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