Port side lifeboat policy: WHO enforced it?

Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

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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.
There simply were not enough deck hands to send away in the boats and still have enough on deck to lower the boats. It is far easier to handle an oar than to handle a rope of a fall. Some of the victualling staff and firemen allowed into the boats were asked if they could handle an oar. I would not want to speculate as to how many who answered affirmatively were being truthful.
 
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Seumas

Seumas

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There simply were not enough deck hands to send away in the boats and still have enough on deck to lower the boats. It is far easier to handle an oar than to handle a rope of a fall. Some of the victualling staff and firemen allowed into the boats were asked if they could handle an oar. I would not want to speculate as to how many who answered affirmatively were being truthful.
Did Smith even try to make sure that there was an even split of deck ratings on both sides ?

The reason I ask that is because it looks to me like over on the starboard side, Murdoch had just enough deck men to help get away his first four or five boats before he began to feel the shortage of trained personnel. On the port side it seems they were struggling for ratings right from the start. Not stating it as fact, just wondering.

The firemen and trimmers who manned the boats and who were ex Royal Navy would have been good choices to man the boats. All hands (including stewards and stokers) in the RN back then did boat handling in basic training, and occasionally their captains would exercise them in their ships boats. It seems like the lads from the boiler rooms who manned Boats No. 13 and 15 acquitted themselves well.
 
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George Jacub

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Re Post 240
Is it just me? Samuel Halpern

I don't know, but Peuchen's account is very clear to me. the full exchange at the Senate Inquiry is short:

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.

Senator Smith asks Peuchen if he saw any rockets from the Titanic 15-30 minutes before the sinking.
Peuchen answers he doesn't know anything about rockets in that time-frame.
But, he adds, he did see rockets--- "while we were lowering."
In his newspaper interview he specifies he saw "the first rockets". He volunteered that information, obviously because he was as shocked to see any rocket fired as was Mr Beesley and Officer Lowe. Obviously there couldn't be rockets ahead of the "first rocket" and he had no reason to talk about other rockets.

Isn't it funny how people who reject Major Peuchen's newspaper account that mentions rockets have no objection to his observations in newspapers regarding Mrs. Allison.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

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Did Smith even try to make sure that there was an even split of deck ratings on both sides ?
The reason I ask that is because it looks to me like over on the starboard side, Murdoch had just enough deck men to help get away his first four or five boats before he began to feel the shortage of trained personnel. On the port side it seems they were struggling for ratings right from the start. Not stating it as fact, just wondering.

I believe that there are two sides to this apparent shortage of deckhands on the port side forward in the earlier stages.

I think Captain Smith was in a state of shock after realization came to him that the Titanic was slowly sinking. That would have affected his organizational ability. Also, many of the off-duty Able Seamen were berthed in the lower decks and likely came up in stages, which would have made it difficult to organise an even split.

I believe another and perhaps more important factor was that on the starboard side Murdoch was largely on his own as the man in charge and as he was intrinsically better organized than anyone else, he used the men he had cleverly so that sudden shortages did not arise. There Murdoch issued the orders and that was that. I am not saying that they were disorganized on the port side, but with Captain Smith, Chief Officer Wilde and Lightoller involved, there might have been unitended and unmentioned differences of opinion, which in times of urgency like the one they were facing, can cause difficulties. For example, when Wilde sent Hart's group of Third Class passengers aft from the vicinity of Lifeboat 8, did he also order some crewmen to go there? We also have to remember that Moody and a bit later Lowe were able to work with 3 lifeboats simultaneously - #16, #14 and #12, and they could only have done that if they had a surplus of deckhands in the vicinity. I have always wondered whether that meant a lot of crew were gathered on the port aft side for whatever reason, creating a shortage with the forward boats. Scullion John Collins arrived near Lifeboat #16 and saw several crewmen, whom he described as "firemen and stokers" gathered there; he helped with the loading of Lifeboat #16 for a few minutes and hoped to be allowed as one of the boat crew but Wilde, who arrived in the latter stages of that lifeboat's loading, did not allow it. Collins testified about the crew crowd near Lifeboat #16 during the American Inquiry and during my research into his experiences in the 1990s, I learnt more about that scenario.
 
Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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Peuchen answers he doesn't know anything about rockets in that time-frame.
But, he adds, he did see rockets--- "while we were lowering."
In his newspaper interview he specifies he saw "the first rockets". He volunteered that information, obviously because he was as shocked to see any rocket fired as was Mr Beesley and Officer Lowe. Obviously there couldn't be rockets ahead of the "first rocket" and he had no reason to talk about other rockets.
As already stated, Peuchen may have figured that he was witnessing the first rockets being fired when in reality, it more than likely was the third or fourth rocket. The evidence points to the fact that the first rocket was being sent up between 12:45 - 12:47 a.m. (the latter has been estimated by BW, et al). At about that time, Peuchen came out on deck so if the timeline for firing the first rocket is correct (which I believe it is), then Peuchen would not have seen the first one. Also at this time, he witnessed about 100 stokers come up with their dunnage bags still dirty from shoveling coal, where they began to crowd around the boats. Chief Officer Wilde "came along and drove these men right off that deck".

Peuchen then witnessed Captain Smith and Second Officer Lightoller standing beside four lifeboats with their covers removed. He overhead Lights remark "We will have to get these masts out of these boats and also the sail. You might give us a hand." Peuchen then took it upon himself and jumped into one of the boats to cut the lashings, so as to remove the mast and sail. I won't give anymore away, as these excerpts are taken straight from my book. I think we should bear in mind, (if it hasn't already) however that while the first rockets would have been of course seen, they may have not been heard by everyone due to the steam noise venting, which was described as 'deafening'. The steam noise did not stop until 1:05, according to the authors of OASOG.

Isn't it funny how people who reject Major Peuchen's newspaper account that mentions rockets have no objection to his observations in newspapers regarding Mrs. Allison.
That is actually incorrect. Some people (including myself) have questioned as to whether Peuchen actually saw Bess Allison at boat #6, or if in fact it was made up by the reporter to round out the story and make it more interesting. Although Archibald Gracie did see it as well. However it only appeared in the Montreal Daily Star. But if we are to believe it happened and I say that cautiously then that fits with the 1:10 time, as opposed to 12:55.
 
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Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

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When people talk about "crew" they need to be more specific. There were three departments of "crew" on board the ship:
the deck crew, which included the officers and the commander, the ABs, the QMs, etc.;
the engine crew, which included the engineers, firemen, trimmers, etc.;
and victualling crew, which included the stewards, cooks and bakers, pursers, etc.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

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Agreed Sam. As a scullion, John Collins was a member of the Victualling Crew, but he was just 17 years old at the time and the Titanic was his first ship. So, I wonder if he correctly identified the crewmen who were gathered around the aft port lifeboats around 01:15 am? If I remember right, he referred to them as 'firemen and stokers' but there could have been Able Seamen among them. In the darkness and crowds, identification might have been difficult.

But the one thing that I have found difficult to understand is why they developed Able Seamen shortage so early on the port side? If Lifeboat #6 was the first or second lifeboat launched on that side and they still had to ask for an additional crew member on the way down, where had they all gone? ABs must have been present earlier there when to uncover and swing out the lifeboats. That is the reason I wondered if Wilde had sent some of them aft with Hart's group of Third Class passengers, thus creating a shortage forward. That is also the reason I felt there might have been an unintentional clash of organization on the port side when Seumas mentioned the apparent lack of an even split.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

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Some people (including myself) have questioned as to whether Peuchen actually saw Bess Allison at boat #6, or if in fact it was made up by the reporter to round out the story and make it more interesting. Although Archibald Gracie did see it as well. However it only appeared in the Montreal Daily Star. But if we are to believe it happened and I say that cautiously then that fits with the 1:10 time, as opposed to 12:55
Agreed and with newspapers of the day anything was possible. But with so many deaths including many high profile ones involved, why would MDS specifically correlate Bess & Loraine Allison with Peuchen and Lifeboat #6? They were all Canadians to be sure, but at that stage nobody would yet have known about the significance involved, including the blatantly unfair Alice Cleaver controversy.

As for Gracie, I seem to recall that there was another mention about the incident somewhere. Was it in his account The Truth About the Titanic?

Then there was that clumsy letter from Sarah Daniels who was saved on Lifeboat #8. She said something about seeing Bess, Hudson and Loraine on the deck of the ship just as her lifeboat was being lowered.
 
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Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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But with so many deaths including many high profile ones involved, why would MDS specifically correlate Bess & Loraine Allison with Peuchen and Lifeboat #6? They were all Canadians to be sure, but at that stage nobody would yet have known about the significance involved, including the blatantly unfair Alice Cleaver controversy.
A good question and you're right, it was still too early for any to be aware of the significance of it. I'm at a loss as to this one.

As for Gracie, I seem to recall that there was another mention about the incident somewhere. Was it in his account The Truth About the Titanic?
Yes it is. Gracie referring to boat #6 wrote "Mrs Allison and Miss Allison could have been saved had they chosen not to remain on board the ship. They refused to enter the lifeboat unless Mr. Allison was allowed to go with them. This statement was made in my presence by Mr. H. A. Cassobeer [sic] of New York, who related it to Mr. Allison's brother, Mr. G. F. Johnston, and myself." FWIW and just as an observation, Gracie states that boat #6 was the last boat to be lowered on the port side and that the information was "obtained personally from Lightoller", as Gracie questioned him on board the Carpathia. Make of that what you will.
 
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George Jacub

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re post 245

The evidence points to the fact that the first rocket was being sent up between 12:45 - 12:47 a.m. (the latter has been estimated by BW, et al).

Let me repeat my previous post regarding the time of the first rocket, using evidence provided by Sam Halpern

Rockets, Lifeboats, and Time Changes

Rockets, Lifeboats and Time Changes by Samuel Halpern

Time on Californian for April 14, 1912, was based on her noontime longitude which was given in evidence at 47° 25’ W. This meant that Californian time was 1 hour and 50 minutes ahead of NY time, or 3 hours 10 minutes behind GMT.


Time on the Titanic was 1 hour and 33 minutes ahead of New York time based on the testimony of 3 surviving officers on the Titanic, including the ship's navigator.

That means there was a difference of 17 minutes between time on the Titanic and time on the Californian. You add 17 minutes to Titanic time to get time on the Californian. You subtract 17 minutes from Californian time to get time on the Titanic.

Herbert Stone, the Californian's second officer, testified at the British Inquiry that he saw a rocket fired from the Titanic at 12:45 a.m. (April 15, 1912) Subtract 17 minutes and you get the rocket launched at 12:28 a.m. Titanic time, just as lifeboat No. 5 is being lowered.

Coincidence?

Stone also said that he saw the last rocket fired at 1:40 a.m. That would be 1:23 Titanic time. The man firing the rockets off the deck of the Titanic, Quartermaster George Rowe, said he stopped firing rockets at about 1:25 a.m.

A double coincidence?
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

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Gracie states that boat #6 was the last boat to be lowered on the port side and that the information was "obtained personally from Lightoller", as Gracie questioned him on board the Carpathia. Make of that what you will.

If Gracie in his book and Peuchen to Montreal Daily Star independently mentioned the Allison drama with Lifeboat #6, then it must be true.

But Gracie was obviously confused about what actually Lightoller had told him. The simplest explanation to that is that on board the Carpathia Lightoller talked to him about Collapsible D, the actual last port boat, and Lifeboat #6 and the physically & mentally exhausted Colonel misunderstood what the Second Officer had said. Understandable under those circumstances. Neither of the two men not anyone else at the time could guess that in over 100 years time people like us would be arguing over the lifeboat launching sequence of the Titanic.
 
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Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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You've simply repeated what you posted a few weeks ago, George in your post #48. And if you had read Julian Atkins' post #52, he pointed out where you were wrong including "the GMT and NYT of Titanic hitting the iceberg as stated by Lightoller, et al were incorrect. Sam Halpern has shown this". As well, "ATS difference between the Californian and Titanic was 12 minutes, [my emphasis] not 17 minutes."

Rockets were being sent up before boat #6 was lowered. We know this, as Frederick Fleet mentions it.

Stone also said that he saw the last rocket fired at 1:40 a.m. That would be 1:23 Titanic time. The man firing the rockets off the deck of the Titanic, Quartermaster George Rowe, said he stopped firing rockets at about 1:25 a.m.
Again, as per Julian's post #52: "By the time that Stone reported to Captain Lord at 1.15am (Californian ATS), Stone had seen 5 white rockets (the first one he saw he described as a "flash")."

Quartermaster George Rowe, said he stopped firing rockets at about 1:25 a.m.
Quartermaster Rowe's times are estimates and it is likely he set his watch back 23 minutes. He got his time wrong as to when the first boat was launched and later timings. There is evidence to state that rockets were still being fired, even after Fourth Officer Boxhall left in boat #2 from Boxhall himself, Chief Steward John Hardy and First Class passenger Mahala Douglas.

So there is no coincidence whatsoever.
 
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Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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If Gracie in his book and Peuchen to Montreal Daily Star independently mentioned the Allison drama with Lifeboat #6, then it must be true.
I'm thinking that as well. If it was only mentioned by one person then we might have to question it but the fact that it is stated by a second, that adds more weight to it actually occurring.

But Gracie was obviously confused about what actually Lightoller had told him. The simplest explanation to that is that on board the Carpathia Lightoller talked to him about Collapsible D, the actual last port boat, and Lifeboat #6 and the physically & mentally exhausted Colonel misunderstood what the Second Officer had said. Understandable under those circumstances. Neither of the two men not anyone else at the time could guess that in over 100 years time people like us would be arguing over the lifeboat launching sequence of the Titanic.
Without a doubt, Gracie was confused and I agree with your explanation, it is more than likely plausible.
 
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Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

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Let me repeat my previous post regarding the time of the first rocket, using evidence provided by Sam Halpern
My oh my, George. Very typical move by someone trying to prove their point of view by selecting a small part of the work of someone else, and dismissing the rest of the work of that person because it disproves the point they are trying to make.
You were correct about what quoted from my work regard time on board Californian being 3 hrs 10 min behind GMT, or 1 hr 50 min ahead of NY time. But then you ignore the following from that same article concerning time on Titanic.

>>> Some people have suggested that the 1 hour 33 minute difference corresponded to the longitude where the collision took place. But we have seen that this was not the case because the longitude of the SOS position corresponded to 1 hour 39 minutes ahead of NY time, not 1 hour 33 minutes ahead. Others have suggested very creative but unsupported explanations for how time changes may have been made during the westbound voyage so that the numbers would fit their liking. In so doing, they are forced to dismiss the evidence of how time changes on board Titanic were really carried out. As with other ships at sea in 1912, Titanic’s clocks were adjusted to carry apparent time such that clocks would read 12:00 when the sun was on their local meridian at noon. As Second Officer Lightoller said, “The clocks are set at midnight, but that is for the approximate noon position of the following day.” And as Third Officer Pitman pointed out, “They [the clocks] are corrected in the forenoon, perhaps half a minute or a minute; that is all.”

So how did Capt. Rostron get 5:47 a.m. GMT as the time of Titanic’s foundering? The key to the answer is in the amount of time that Titanic’s clocks were to have been set back that Sunday night.

What apparently took place is that Capt. Rostron obtained the foundering time of 2:20 a.m. from Titanic’s surviving officers. They also must have discussed that clocks on Titanic were keeping April 14th time, and were to have been set back 47 minutes to get to April 15th time if it were not for the accident. Now if you simply subtract 47 minutes from an unadjusted clock showing 2:20 a.m., you get 1:33 a.m. That is 1 hour 33 minutes past midnight in April 15th hours. But confusion about all of this was just waiting to happen. Someone must have mistook the 1 hour 33 minutes past midnight time in April 15th hours as the difference between Titanic time and NY time when the ship foundered. What then happened was that Rostron, or whoever worked it all out, subtracted 1 hour 33 minutes from 5 hours (the difference between GMT and NY time) to get what he thought was the difference between Titanic time and GMT. This difference comes out to be 3 hours and 27 minutes. He then added this 3 hours and 27 minute difference to 2:20 a.m. Titanic time to get 5:47 a.m. GMT. And it was that time that was put down as the foundering time in the wireless message sent to Capt. Haddock on the Olympic that Monday afternoon. Clearly a major misunderstanding resulting in a major mistake. Unfortunately, it was not recognized by anyone at the time, including Titanic’s surviving officers. Thus we see how confusion, and maybe some hasty calculations, easily leads to erroneous results. It should also be noted that this 1 hour 33 minute time difference never came up at the Wreck Commission Inquiry a few weeks later. Apparently, someone had recognized that a mistake was made.

Can we find any direct reference for a 2 hour 2 minute difference between Titanic and NY time which we obtained from navigational considerations? During the American Inquiry there was much evidence taken from witnesses, such as captains and wireless operators, that came from other vessels, as well as those who survived from Titanic. This created great confusion because different ships carried different times as we have seen. But most of the wireless messages presented in evidence were recorded in NY time, and the senators were trying to correlate those times to shipboard time, and vise versa. At one point Titanic’s surviving junior wireless operator, Harold Bride, was asked:

Senator SMITH. Did you have a watch or clock in your room?

Mr. BRIDE. We had two clocks, sir.
Senator SMITH. Were they both running?
Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir; one was keeping New York time and the other was keeping ship's time.
Senator FLETCHER. The difference was about 1 hour and 55 minutes?
Mr. BRIDE. There was about 2 hours difference between the two.

Although Senator Fletcher suggested to him that the difference between clock times was 1 hour and 55 minutes, Harold Bride corrected him and said it was about a 2 hour difference. Although Bride could not remember specific times of many events, and was uncertain of many time intervals as well, the difference in time between the two clocks in the Marconi cabin is something he would have remembered since that difference was carried on both clocks from midnight Saturday night up to the time that he and Phillips abandoned the cabin just minutes before the ship sank in the early hours of Monday morning. <<<


If there was 1 hr 33 min time difference, Bride would not told Fletcher that there was about 2 hours difference, but an hour and half difference.
In my book, Titanic - An Enigma in Time, I actually was able to show how that the 1 hr 33 min difference was tied to the erroneous distress position worked out by Boxhall, which we know was 13 miles off from where the ship actually sank.

As to QM Rowe's times, it was easily shown that he was using altered time on his watch, not knowing that they never got around to changing the clocks at midnight because of the accident.
 
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Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

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I am very pleased to see Jason reference my post 52, and Sam clarify matters, not that was perhaps necessary. But good to see nevertheless.

We don't need to resort to The Californian times of the rockets seen 12 minutes before they were sent off/seen in ATS time The Californian -v- Titanic. Sam has pretty much conclusively shown that Groves' time for Titanic putting out her lights corresponds with Titanic ending up sort of nearly facing The Californian bow end facing The Californian, and then much later Gibson being sent down to report that the ship they had been watching had disappeared "2.05 by the wheel house clock" so 2.17 Titanic ATS.

It is quite possible that Stone might have missed a rocket or two. As Sam mentions as a possibility. He was on the speaking tube to Captain Lord at either 12.35 or 12.40am depending on the accuracy of the accounts. He was later on the speaking tube with Captain Lord around 1.10 or 1.15am.

I don't have any problems with Sam's timings. And how The Californian timings (ATS) relate to Titanic ATS.
 
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