Quartermaster Olliver - What Exactly Was He Doing?


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Aaron_2016

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Can anyone explain what exactly Olliver was doing just prior to the collision? Hichens said - "It is the duty of the quartermaster to strike the bell every half hour, as the stand-by quartermaster, sir". - There has been some debate that the collision may have really taken place at midnight. Does this mean Olliver was approaching the bridge because it was time to ring the bell?

Olliver said he was trimming the lights in the standing compass. How long would that take? Assuming he rang the bell at 11:30pm and his next errand was to trim the lights, would that task be complete before the collision at 11:40pm?


Olliver said "I had just performed an errand and was entering the bridge when the collision occurred." - Does this suggest the errand was complete before he approached the bridge?


He said:

"When I was doing this bit of duty I heard three bells rung up in the crow's nest, which I knew that it was something ahead; so I looked, but I did not see anything. I happened to be looking at the lights in the standing compass at the time." - How could he possibly see what was ahead with the funnels blocking his view? Did he look over the side of the ship to see if there was anything ahead and then returned to his duty at the standing compass? "That was my duty, to look at the lights in the standing compass, and I was trimming them so that they would burn properly. When I heard the report, I looked, but could not see anything, and I left that and came was just entering on the bridge just as the shock came. I knew we had touched something."


That last sentence certainly is baffling. It sounds like he paused to think for a moment or possibly hesitated for a second as he spoke. e.g.

"I left that and came was just entering the bridge just as the shock came."
"I left that and came.......(pause to remember).....was just entering the bridge just as the shock came.


He previously said "I had just performed and errand" and now he said "I left that". Does this suggest he did not complete this errand, or was he doing another errand after he trimmed the lights but hesitated to say what it was and did not mention it, hence his stumble in his last sentence? Was he simply trying to recall what happened and just paused for a second as he tried to remember?


He said:

"The iceberg was about the height of the boat deck; if anything, just a little higher. It was almost alongside of the boat, sir. The top did not touch the side of the boat, but it was almost alongside of the boat." - This tells us that he was on the starboard side right behind Boxhall. Both felt it just as they were approaching the bridge. Boxhall was passing the Captain's quarters and would not see the top of the iceberg because of the lifeboats, but if Olliver would have been just behind him and would see it passing further aft. Olliver said - "It was impossible to see the length of the iceberg from where I was standing." Was he standing when he saw the iceberg pass by? Perhaps he was walking to the bridge and briefly paused his step and stood in amazement as he witnessed it go by.

Overall do you know exactly what was Olliver doing and how long it may have took to complete before the collision? Also what was his next immediate errand following the collision? He said he did not have time to witness the iceberg after it passed the bridge because he had another errand to attend to? Did Boxhall want him to do something and he was following him to the bridge to see it carried out?




TitanicOlliver.png


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Jim Currie

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Can anyone explain what exactly Olliver was doing just prior to the collision? Hichens said - "It is the duty of the quartermaster to strike the bell every half hour, as the stand-by quartermaster, sir". - There has been some debate that the collision may have really taken place at midnight. Does this mean Olliver was approaching the bridge because it was time to ring the bell?

Olliver said he was trimming the lights in the standing compass. How long would that take? Assuming he rang the bell at 11:30pm and his next errand was to trim the lights, would that task be complete before the collision at 11:40pm?


Olliver said "I had just performed an errand and was entering the bridge when the collision occurred." - Does this suggest the errand was complete before he approached the bridge?


He said:

"When I was doing this bit of duty I heard three bells rung up in the crow's nest, which I knew that it was something ahead; so I looked, but I did not see anything. I happened to be looking at the lights in the standing compass at the time." - How could he possibly see what was ahead with the funnels blocking his view? Did he look over the side of the ship to see if there was anything ahead and then returned to his duty at the standing compass? "That was my duty, to look at the lights in the standing compass, and I was trimming them so that they would burn properly. When I heard the report, I looked, but could not see anything, and I left that and came was just entering on the bridge just as the shock came. I knew we had touched something."


That last sentence certainly is baffling. It sounds like he paused to think for a moment or possibly hesitated for a second as he spoke. e.g.

"I left that and came was just entering the bridge just as the shock came."
"I left that and came.......(pause to remember).....was just entering the bridge just as the shock came.


He previously said "I had just performed and errand" and now he said "I left that". Does this suggest he did not complete this errand, or was he doing another errand after he trimmed the lights but hesitated to say what it was and did not mention it, hence his stumble in his last sentence? Was he simply trying to recall what happened and just paused for a second as he tried to remember?


He said:

"The iceberg was about the height of the boat deck; if anything, just a little higher. It was almost alongside of the boat, sir. The top did not touch the side of the boat, but it was almost alongside of the boat." - This tells us that he was on the starboard side right behind Boxhall. Both felt it just as they were approaching the bridge. Boxhall was passing the Captain's quarters and would not see the top of the iceberg because of the lifeboats, but if Olliver would have been just behind him and would see it passing further aft. Olliver said - "It was impossible to see the length of the iceberg from where I was standing." Was he standing when he saw the iceberg pass by? Perhaps he was walking to the bridge and briefly paused his step and stood in amazement as he witnessed it go by.

Overall do you know exactly what was Olliver doing and how long it may have took to complete before the collision? Also what was his next immediate errand following the collision? He said he did not have time to witness the iceberg after it passed the bridge because he had another errand to attend to? Did Boxhall want him to do something and he was following him to the bridge to see it carried out?




View attachment 2889

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Excellent observations, Aaron.

If it was the duty of Olliver to sound the bell outside the bridge shelter every half hour, and I have no doubt that it was, then the duty of QM Olliver would have been for him to ring 8 bells at the end of the 8 to Midnight Watch. He or Moody certainly did ring 8 bells. The proof comes from Lookout Fleet:

"17318. Then [after impact] did you remain on the crow's-nest?... A: - Yes.
17319. Until eight bells?... A: - Till eight bells went.[ i.e.sounded]
17320. At eight bells, in the ordinary course, you were relieved?... A: - Yes.

The lookouts were to be in the Crows nest for 2 hours, 24 minutes from 10 pm that evening. That was the "ordinary course" referred to by the questioner.

That evening, 8 bells would have been sounded twice. First time at 8 pm and ( including a clock chang), 4 hours 24 minutes later at "New" Midnight. If, as I believe, the clock were retarded 24 minutes before 8 bells were sounded, then impact happened 20 minutes before 8 bells were due to be sounded. That being the case, and QM Olliver was approaching the bridge at time of impact, then he had yet to perform that duty. However, he was sent below to find the Carpenter about 5 minutes after impact then sent below with a message for the Chief Engineer. When he returned from the engine room, he was told to tell the Bosun to muster the men and uncover the boats. We know this happened before midnight so it is quite possible that Olliver sounded 8 bells between returning from the Bosun and being sent for the muster lists.

I agree with you that Olliver's story about hearing the three bells and looking ahead seems a bit strange if he was at the standard Compass platform between Funnels 2 and 3. Apart form the obvious obstruction... if you look at your deck plan, you will see two enormous motors , a vent and an enguine room fidley grill at the rear of the base of funnel 2. The noise from these and the ones at funnel 1 must have been very loud. Strange that Olliver could hear three bells being rung 180 feet away above the noise of the engines and the fans and with 2 funnels in the way[/I]
 

B-rad

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Strange indeed when one also realizes that he claims events occurring that no other survivor from the bridge does. Such as a 'hard-aport' order and a 'half speed head' order. He also claims the berg was higher than Fleet or Boxhall. The only evidence he ties in with is what Captain Smith said when he came on the bridge and Jim being ordered to find the carpenter.

Strange how he heard the crows nest bell but not the order for hard-astarboard nor the engine room telegraph ringing before the collision.

Not saying that Olliver was wrong in any of these statements....just stating
 
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A seaman performing a navigational duty would not wander off to look over the side just out of curiosity. Olliver was doing something necessary for the safe conduct of the voyage. He would have stayed on the platform even though he might have looked up briefly when he heard the lookouts bell ring. Of course, he would have seen nothing dead ahead because funnel #2 directly blocked his view.

As Jim and I have demonstrated, the 11:40 o'clock of the accident cannot have been in unaltered April 14th time. It had to be retarded by the amount of extra minutes to be served by the starboard watch. This was to allow the crew's "midnight" change of watch to take place at 12:24 o'clock in unaltered time. The port watch would have worked off its extra minutes from crew change of watch until 12:47 o'clock in unaltered April 14th time. That instant would also have been 00:00 o'clock April 15th.

IMM/White Star regulations requred a compass comparison every half hour. These 30 minute increments would have been based on noon, April 14th. So, the compass evolution scheduled for 12:00 o'clock in unaltered time would have been performed at 11:36 in crew time retarded by 24 minutes. Scarrott was specific that the warning bell sounded after seven bells, or 11:30 o'clock in crew time. Seven bells occurred at 11:56 o'clock in unaltered April 14th time.

Using Scarrott's testimony, the necessity to alter crew clocks to match the bell schedule, and the IMM/WSL regulations governing compass comparisons, we can now say with reasonable certainty that the warning bell sounded between 11:30 and 11:36 o'clock in crew time which corresponded to 11:54 to 12:00 o'clock in unaltered April 14th time. We can now see why Olliver was on the compass platform when the lookouts sounded their warning bell. It is also obvious why Boxhall was just stepping out of the officer's quarters at that moment.

Sam and others have neatly shown that a "hard a-starboard" helm order could not possibly have created the accident suffered by Titanic. My thanks to them because I've been saying this for more than a decade. Even so, Hichens was rather specific about the ship turning left two points on starboard helm. Boxhall agreed, though not as forcefully. To my eye, the fact that carrying out a "hard a-starboard" helm order is ruled out by the physical damage, something else must have happened. I don't think Hichens lied about the two point turn. Rather, I see it as an attempt by Captain Smith to take Titanic a bit farther south by changing course two point to the left. (Yes, speculation, but what else fits?)

It would have taken Boxhall about 50 seconds to walk to the compass platform. The compass evolution would have taken perhaps two minutes and the course change another two. Then, both Boxhall and Olliver had to walk 50 seconds back to the bridge. All-in-all, it adds up to a duration of just about six minutes between warning bell and impact. This, of course, is pretty near what Scarrott claimed -- "five to eight minutes."

Boxhall would have left the platform slightly prior to Olliver who had to spend a few extra seconds recovering the compass binnacle with weather protection. The officer would have gone forward on the starboard boat deck for several reasons which will be examined in a moment. My sense of Olliver's travel to the bridge is that he walked forward on the port side.. This would have been in keeping with a tradition of giving the starboard side to officers because this was the "give way" side under the Rules of the Road. Whether that was his reason or not, his description follows the logical progression of vision for a person entering the bridge from the port side. He saw Murdoch at the watertight door switch on the forward face of the wheelhouse. That's when both men felt the ship take the ice. Murdoch immediately shouted "hard a-port."

If Olliver used the port side to come to the bridge, he would have been facing to starboard at that moment. Who can blame him if he allowed his human curiosity to cause him to pause to see what was happening. He saw the top of the berg go past the port bridge wing and then went into the wheelhouse. Olliver did not hear an engine order telegraph ring or see Murdoch operate one. This is easily explained by the timing of his arrival on the bridge. But, something Sam posted a couple of days ago about what survivors of the engine room changed my mind. There were no telegraph bells because there was no engine order from the bridge during the seconds leading up to the accident of during the accident.

As the iceberg slid past Olliver's view he entered the wheelhouse. He heard Hichens sing out that the wheel was hard over and the rudder was doing its best to pull the starboard side and wing propeller out of harm's way. Everything quartermaster Olliver said fits perfectly into the transpiring events.

As to Olliver's hearing, well the clear ring of a bell cast of the proper alloy is quite unlike any other sound. Modern bells "clank" by comparison. The sonorous tone of a good bell will cut through low frequency rumble of ventilation fans and even the buffetting of wind in the human ear. I've had the privilege of ringing the bell salvaged from one of the locomotives that pulled President Abraham Lincoln's funeral train (vintage 1850). Even a light tap brings forth a huge, penetrating sound that continues to reverberate in the metal for 20 seconds or longer. By comparison, a somewhat larger modern bronze bell taken from a ship of the 1950s that I've sounded at the Toledo Maritime Academy produces a tinny sound. Personal experience leaves me little doubt that Olliver picked out the crow's nest bell from the other ambient sounds around him that night.

-- David G. Brown
 

Rob Lawes

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Regarding engine orders, that's a bold statement considering that I can think of at least four witnesses in the engine and boiler spaces who testified to an order from the bridge prior to the collision.

Also, my question from another thread remains unanswered.

What was the procedure for lookouts following up on a sighting which they had reported via three bells? Were they expected to contact the bridge and clarify the sighting, range and type of object etc?

Further, how did the crew of a vessel who were aware of an object ahead for 6 minutes manage to steer into it?
 

Jim Currie

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Regarding engine orders, that's a bold statement considering that I can think of at least four witnesses in the engine and boiler spaces who testified to an order from the bridge prior to the collision.

Also, my question from another thread remains unanswered.

What was the procedure for lookouts following up on a sighting which they had reported via three bells? Were they expected to contact the bridge and clarify the sighting, range and type of object etc?

Further, how did the crew of a vessel who were aware of an object ahead for 6 minutes manage to steer into it?

I can no better answer your first question, Rob by quoting the words of Lookout George Hogg:

"9175. And where they had no telephone, then you hailed, with calls to the bridge?
- (Mr. Hogg) No, sir; we struck a bell. We never used the phone, only in going into harbors, or into ports, or in the case of anything serious."

However, Lookout Lee gave the game away with the following answer:

"5268. You thought there was danger? A: - Well, it was so close to us. That is why I rang them up.


An understatement?

As to your second question...If they were aware for 6 minutes that there was some thing ahead, that "something" was 3.6 miles ahead of Titanic when first seen. The second they notified the bridge of it's presence by ringing 3 bells, Murdoch would have raised his glasses and then ordered a turn left or right depending on where he judged clear water to be. There would have been no need for an emergency turn if he was sure of how far off it was. However, if, like most experienced bridge officers, he thought it was between half a mile and a mile and a half ahead, he would have erred opn the safe side and ordered a hard over turn and watched the rate of relative bearing-change.

We have talked about Olliver sounding 8 bells. Perhaps he did. However someone in the crow's nest coppied the example and here's the proof:

"11418. Before you go on telling us what happened then, can you give us any idea what time it was when you noticed this water reaching nearly to the coamings of the hatch?
- I should think, roughly estimating it, it would be about five minutes to twelve,[ when he saw the water at the hatch coaming] because, as I was on my way to the deck, so they struck eight bells in the crow's-nest."

As I have said ad nauseum, 8 bells are not sounded until the Watch is completed. A Watch is only completed when those on it have served the total number of hours and minutes allotted to them. That being the fact, and those in the Crow's Nest were relived on time, 20 minutes after impact, then the clocks were most decidedly partly altered before the moment of impact.
 

Rob Lawes

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Thanks as always for the response Jim.

Regarding taking avoiding action and David G Brown's theory concerning the turn and the sighting of the berg between 5 to 8 minutes before impact. I can't see what would cause in modern parlance, the loss of situational awareness on the bridge such that they struck an iceberg they knew was there.

Unless:

A) In avoiding one they steered into another.

Or

B) Murdoch was incompetent.

I certainly don't believe b.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Survivor Catherine Crosby said:

"We received very good treatment on the Carpathia, and finally arrived to New York. It was reported on the Carpathia by passengers, whose names I do not recollect, that the lookout who was on duty at the time the Titanic struck the iceberg had said: "I know they will blame me for it, because I was on duty, but it was not my fault; I had warned the officers three or four times before striking the iceberg that we were in the vicinity of icebergs, but the officer on the bridge paid no attention to my signals." I can not give the name of any passenger who made that statement, but it was common talk on the Carpathia that that is what the lookout said."


Survivor Thomas Whitely claimed that the lookout warned the bridge 3 times before the collision. He later tried to sue the White Star Line for negligent steering. It is believed the matter was resolved out of court (a pay off).


Then we have Fleet and Hichens who were in the same lifeboat. Major Peuchen heard Fleet say that nobody answered the phone. Perhaps they were treating his warnings like the boy who cried wolf, and they ignored his final signal thinking it was another false report. Major Peuchen also heard Hichens and Fleet saying that they did not know which officer was on the bridge and Hichens called out to another lifeboat asking them if they knew which officer was on duty. The recent Olympic Inquiry must have rung in their minds and they knew there would be an Inquiry into the Titanic's loss. Fleet spoke to Lightoller aboard the Carpathia.


Q - Did you have any talk with Fleet, the look-out man?
A - On the Carpathia?
Q - Yes?
A - Yes.
Q - He has not been called yet, but you might tell us what he said.
A - I asked him what he knew about the accident and induced him to explain the circumstances. He went on to say that he had seen the iceberg so far ahead. I particularly wanted to know how long after he struck the bell the ship’s head moved, and he informed me that practically at the same time that he struck the bell he noticed the ship’s head moving under the helm.
Q - You gathered from him, apparently, the impression that the helm was probably put over before and not after the report from the look-out?
A - Distinctly before the report.
Q - That was the inference you drew?
A - Yes.


The trouble is, Fleet may have seen the iceberg far ahead, but if he only saw a black mass on the horizon with nothing to identify it as an iceberg instead of a cloud or anything, there would naturally have been a delay until he was convinced that it was an iceberg and strike the bell. This delay must have played on his mind. That is why I believe he convinced himself that if he had binoculars he would have realized the black mass was an iceberg much sooner.

Frederick Fleet

Q - Suppose you had had glasses such as you had on the Oceanic, or such as you had between Belfast and Southampton, could you have seen this black object a greater distance?
A - We could have seen it a bit sooner.
Q - How much sooner?
A - Well, enough to get out of the way.
Q - Did you and your mates discuss with one another the fact that you had no glasses?
A - We discussed it all together, between us.
Q - Were you disappointed that you had no glasses?
A - Yes, sir.


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Rob Lawes

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The trouble with all those statements is that they are hearsay.

After any incident the rumour and speculation starts and its very easy for falsehoods, exaggeration and misunderstanding to displace the truth.

In the case of Fleet and Lee I'm certain if there was any truth in the above speculation then they would have said something at a later stage of their lives.

It would seem that the surviving crew remained consistent in their recollections within the tolerance of fading memories at the very least.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Reginald Lee died 16 months later in August 1913. Whatever he knew, he took it to the grave. The biography of Frederick Fleet on this website is false. It states - 'From June 1912, Fleet served briefly as Seaman on the White Star liner Olympic. He found that White Star looked at the surviving officers and crew as embarassing reminders of the recent disaster and he left the company in August 1912. For the next 24 years Fleet sailed with Union-Castle and various other companies, finishing with the sea in 1936.'

According to ancestry records Frederick Fleet (same name and date of birth) appears on 'hundreds' of crew lists for the Olympic, serving aboard her for much of his career in the 1920's and 1930's until the Olympic was taken out of service. Don't know why his real service record is not on his profile page. One has to wonder why he served aboard that particular ship, and no other during that period. Was it a pay off? e.g. Choose one - cash or a career with the company. Just sign here and agree never to reveal what really took place on the night of April 14th 1912. Wonder if the financial collapse of the company in the 1930's made all commitments to Titanic survivors null and void. Perhaps this is why Lightoller published his book just as the company went under. They no longer posed a threat to his career. According to Wiki when White Star merged with Cunard, 62% of the new company was owned by Cunard's shareholders and only 38% of the company were White Star's creditors. One can easily tell that White Star were in no position to censor the survivors after that.


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However, Lookout Lee gave the game away with the following answer:
"5268. You thought there was danger? A: - Well, it was so close to us. That is why I rang them up.
It wasn't Lee, Jim, it was Fleet. And by the way, what does "close" mean to a man who also said: "I have no idea of distances or spaces?"

The 'big secret' Aaron is that action from the bridge was not taken as soon as the 3 bell warning was given. Both Fleet and Hichens gave mutually supporting estimates as to how much time elapsed between the warning bells and when Murdoch issued his famous hard-astarboard helm order.

As far as Olliver, for some reason people like to read more into what someone said. Some of the basic problem has to do with the transcriptions. Not every word was taken down correctly, and a word or two may have been left out. I can point to other examples of this, but in this case:
"I left that and came was just entering the bridge just as the shock came."
It is easy to fill in the blank with something like: "I left that and came forward and was just entering the bridge just as the shock came." but since he's no longer around, there is nobody to ask.

As for looking up when 3 bells were heard, that would be an instinctive reaction, plain and simple as that.
As for why Olliver was on the platform to begin with, the simple answer is that he was told to see to it that the lights were burning properly before a compass comparison check could be done. That comparison check, between standard and steering compasses, was required to be done once every watch period. The binnacle was lit by oil lamps, and he was sent there shortly after 7 bells to adjust the wicks to ensure the light in the binnacle was not too bright nor too dim. From what he described, it seems that he just completed that errand when he heard the 3 bells. According to Lee, those 3 bells were struck 9 or 10 minutes after 7 bells. Olliver didn't hear anything else because he was too far from the bridge to hear what came afterward. I believe it took him almost a minute to get back to the bridge from the time of those bells. He saw the peak of the berg only after it was aft of the bridge wing, probably looking back as the grinding sound ended. He did not bother to follow it further, as his place was back in the wheelhouse. It was after he saw the peak of the berg that he heard Murdoch give the order to put the helm hard-aport if his recollection was correct. He was correct in saying the berg was "away up stern" when the Moody had confirmed that the helm was hard over. It would take about 15 seconds for the helm to be shifted all the way from one extreme to the other, 8 turns of the wheel. And please don't ask if he bothered to count the time. People just don't do things like that under stressful circumstances.
 

Jim Currie

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It wasn't Lee, Jim, it was Fleet. And by the way, what does "close" mean to a man who also said: "I have no idea of distances or spaces?"
A.

Just back from a holiday in the land of my birth. So here goes:

Without an "F", the name I used short of a "T" is the name of the lookout who said that. Does it matter who said it, Sam?

Close used in this context is the same as nearly or almost immediately. Consider the following synonyms:
"adjacent - convenient - abutting - adjoining,- impending - neighbouring - nigh - at hand- hard by - imminent - in spitting distance, - proximate."
Take your pick, they all mean the same thing. In modern crude term, it was an "Aw s--t" moment". That's why Fleet rang the bell then immediately turned to the phone which was less than 2 feet behind him. As Lookout Hogg told Senator Perkins:

"9175.......We never used the phone, only in going into harbors, or into ports, or in the case of anything serious."

Hogg also said "9171. ....... I am not good at judging distances, sir."

My guess is that Fleet and Lee were not "on the ball" but contemplating the end of their Watch. Before the hearings, they probably expressed a sense of guilt to their other Lookout mates and the result was a pile of vague answers from all Lookouts which hopefully would draw attention away from perceived culpability. The story told by Lee and contradicted by Fleet concerning mist is a classic example.
If a witness wishes to deceive, he has to have a good memory. Fleet did not have one. In the US he Told Senator Smith:

"I struck three bells first. Then I went straight to the telephone and rang them up on the bridge." No delay between sighting and telephone warning.

In the UK, he told The Commissioner:

"After I rang them up on the 'phone and looked over the nest she was going to port. He did not say, "After I rang the three bells, I rang them up on the 'phone. Thereafter, I looked over the nest she was going to port

Did he turn his back on the danger, lift the phone and call the bridge? Or did he keep watching the approaching berg as he was phoning?

QM Hichens, the man on the wheel corrboratedthe evidence of Fleet:

"three gongs came from the lookout, and immediately afterwards a report on the telephone, "Iceberg right ahead." The chief officer rushed from the wing to the bridge, or I imagine so, sir. Certainly I am inclosed in the wheelhouse, and I can not see, only my compass. He rushed to the engines. I heard the telegraph bell ring; also give the order "Hard astarboard,"

I am sure that you are aware that on a vessel such as the Titanic, the normal procedure would have been for 6th Officer Moody to answer the phone and immediately yell a warning to the senior officer in charge..1st Officer Murdoch. This bit essential procedure is conspicuously absent from the evidence of QM Hichens. However, he clearly states that Moody acted his part by confirming to his boss that the helm order had been completed. I suggest to you this did not happen because in fact, Murdoch saw the iceberg between the last of the three bells and the sound of the ridge phone. If you examine the evidence of Captain Rostron and that of Captain Lord and other captains, you will discover that it was normal for those on the bridge to see the ice before the Lookouts did.

"HM's Commissioner of Wrecks was not fooled. He is on record as stating:

Yes, I will tell you at once. My impression is this, that the man [(F)Lee(T)?] was trying to make an excuse for not seeing the iceberg, and he thought he could make it out by creating a thick haze.

As I see it, Sam:

(1) 3 bells....ding-ding-ding...3 seconds
(2) Immediately turn to the telephone...2 seconds?
(3) Receive and answer.....4 seconds?
(4) Warn - Iceberg Right ahead sir....2 seconds.

The helm would not have reacted immediately , there would have been a momentary delay but the bow would most certainly have been starting to swing 2 seconds after the hard-a-starboard order was given. This means that if Fleet saw it starting to swing left when he turned from the phone, it was initially applied about 8 seconds after the first of the three bells was sounded.
If it took 6 seconds to apply the hard-over order, and impact took place at the moment it was hard over, then QM Olliver's movements would be as follows:

Lapsed time 0 seconds.................Bell 1 of 3 bells sounded....QM Olliver at the Standard (not Standing) compass.
Lapsed time 12 seconds................Impact....QM Olliver behind Boxhall and just entering the Bridge deck
Lapsed time 18 seconds................QM Olliver sees tip of iceberg over at the bow of Lifeboat No.3.
Lapsed time 22 seconds................QM Olliver sees 1st Officer Murdoch at the WT Door handle.
Lapsed time 25 seconds................QM Olliver at his post beside the helmsman, QM Hichens hears part of the exchange between Captain Smith and 1st Officer Murdoch.
Here's how I see it:
Boatdeck.gif



As for typos in the transcript? As I have told you before, there is a glaring anomaly in the evidence of QM Olliver.

A: The expression "Way down stern" is totally alien to anyone who has ever spent any time in a British merchant-man or on an RN Man o' War. It would certainly have evoked a coloured correction from any RN "Buffer" (CPO). Olliver spent 7 years in the "Andrew" (Royal Navy). The correct wording is "Way down astern".

When a ship is under full power and the helm is set hard over (to the left in this case), the bow starts to swing almost imperceptibly then the swing gather speed and reached an optimum rate. It will only maintain that rate of turn as long as the rudder is held over, the ship speed does not drop and the pressure on the rudder is constant. When reverse helm is ordered, the rate of swing in the initial direction starts to slow down until the head is "checked". This takes quote a few seconds depending on the influencing factors. Then the reverse action is started... slow swing at first, gathering momentum. You are correct in your estimate of how long it would take to go from hard left to hard right. However it would have taken a good bit longer before the ship's head started actually moving right. Now consider the foregoing scenario with the ship rapidly slowing due to the physics of the turn and engines coming to a halt.
I am of the opinion that under the actual conditions, a reverse hard right turn to swing the stern away from the berg would have been pure fantasy and I am positive that a man of Murdoch's experience would be very aware of it.
 
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Reginald Lee died 16 months later in August 1913. Whatever he knew, he took it to the grave. The biography of Frederick Fleet on this website is false. It states - 'From June 1912, Fleet served briefly as Seaman on the White Star liner Olympic. He found that White Star looked at the surviving officers and crew as embarassing reminders of the recent disaster and he left the company in August 1912. For the next 24 years Fleet sailed with Union-Castle and various other companies, finishing with the sea in 1936.'

According to ancestry records Frederick Fleet (same name and date of birth) appears on 'hundreds' of crew lists for the Olympic, serving aboard her for much of his career in the 1920's and 1930's until the Olympic was taken out of service. Don't know why his real service record is not on his profile page. One has to wonder why he served aboard that particular ship, and no other during that period. Was it a pay off? e.g. Choose one - cash or a career with the company. Just sign here and agree never to reveal what really took place on the night of April 14th 1912. Wonder if the financial collapse of the company in the 1930's made all commitments to Titanic survivors null and void. Perhaps this is why Lightoller published his book just as the company went under. They no longer posed a threat to his career. According to Wiki when White Star merged with Cunard, 62% of the new company was owned by Cunard's shareholders and only 38% of the company were White Star's creditors. One can easily tell that White Star were in no position to censor the survivors after that.


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I am writing a book based on the life of Frederick Fleet. "An Ocean of Blame" is the title. Quite a few months ago I found all of these crew manifests on Ancestry that show that Fred was on the Olympic all of her remaining years.(Actually he did a few crossings on the Majestic in the early 20s, but I don't think that's significant.) I've also found a quote from the NYT April 1912 where he states the crew knows not to talk until the boss tells them what to say...this was when he was sequestered on the Celtic before the testimony before the US Senate. It's obvious to me he was going to be vague in his answers, and, most of all, stick to the company script, if he could remember it. He did end up with a tiny pension, but it was inadequate and he was always in debt and in financial difficulties, which is a good part of the reason he and his wife lived with her brother, who detested Fred.
 
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Aaron_2016

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According to Hichens the water temperature was checked every 2 hours and recorded in the log.

Q - When did you take it last before the collision?
A - A quarter to 10. Between a quarter and ten minutes to 10.

What time would Quartermaster Olliver have taken the temperature? Could it be that he was checking the water temperature or about to, and was walking to the bridge to write the results in the log or to get the equipment he needed? Did he really just go to the bridge out of curiosity and to standby Hichens when he was ordered to turn the wheel?


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Aaron_2016

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If not assigned a specific erand or had a specific duty to perform, his place to be was on the bridge and standby for any orders to perform. He was not free to go as he pleased.

If the collision really occurred at midnight instead of 11.40pm would Olliver have been in the process of checking the temperature? He said:

"I had just performed an errand and was entering the bridge when the collision occurred".......He said he was checking the light in the standing compass and the bell rang and then - "I left that and came was just entering the bridge just as the shock came." That stumble in his sentence makes me think he was going to mention checking the temperature or taking a cigarette break as Boxhall enjoyed his cup of tea. If Hichens had checked the temperature around 9.45pm and if the accident occurred at 11.40pm would that mean Olliver's next duty would have been to check the temperature as soon as he left the standing compass and entered the bridge? Was he in the process of doing it? Would he look over the port side or the starboard side? Could that be the moment he said he looked ahead and could not see the iceberg?


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That stumble in his sentence makes me think he was going to mention checking the temperature or taking a cigarette break as Boxhall enjoyed his cup of tea.
You have a vivid imagination Aaron. That sentence makes me think that there was nothing more than a simple transcription error with a loss of words. How about this:
"I left that and came forward and was just entering the bridge just as the shock came."
 

Jim Currie

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If the collision really occurred at midnight instead of 11.40pm would Olliver have been in the process of checking the temperature? He said:

"I had just performed an errand and was entering the bridge when the collision occurred".......He said he was checking the light in the standing compass and the bell rang and then - "I left that and came was just entering the bridge just as the shock came." That stumble in his sentence makes me think he was going to mention checking the temperature or taking a cigarette break as Boxhall enjoyed his cup of tea. If Hichens had checked the temperature around 9.45pm and if the accident occurred at 11.40pm would that mean Olliver's next duty would have been to check the temperature as soon as he left the standing compass and entered the bridge? Was he in the process of doing it? Would he look over the port side or the starboard side? Could that be the moment he said he looked ahead and could not see the iceberg? .

The water temperature was to be taken at midnight...not 2 hours after the 10 pm readings but 2 hours and 24 minutes after it, at the end of the Log Book Day which would occur at 2nd Midnight, when 8 bells would be sounded at the end of the day and the 8 to midnight Watch. Olliver would start his end of Watch duties 5 minutes after impact. His first duty would be to ring 1 bell then go and call Pitman and Lowe. Then he would go check the water temperature, air temperature and any other chores he had before being relieved. In the 5 minutes before 1 bell, he would stand behind Hichens and await any orders. As it was, he witnessed the second helm order and last two engine orders which he would enter into the movement book. When that was finished, he was sent away to find the Carpenter. Normal ship practice in these circumstances.
 
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