Removing the Ice on the Forward Well Deck


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Aaron_2016

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Soon after the collision a number of survivors saw a large volume of ice on the forward well deck which they estimated was several tons in volume. Yet Boxhall did not notice this from the boat deck, and after he inspected the decks for damage he found a white powdering of ice just within the rail later on. Is it possible that the lights shining on the forward well deck were turned off before the collision occurred and the crew were instructed to remove the ice and throw it overboard, and when the lights were turned on Boxhall walked along the well deck and could only see a thin powdering of ice - without realizing it had been removed when the lights were off? Lookout Lee was asked if the ice had broken and fallen on the deck. He said - "I knew there was some there, because I saw it when I went on to the boat deck." Does that mean he did not (or could not) see the ice on the deck during the collision because the well deck was in total darkness at that time?


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Harland Duzen

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Jan 14, 2017
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For the lights, weren't they all turned off so not to dispute the bridge's view ahead of them from light pollution?

Also it could be the ice either melted or the passengers "cleared it up" for them!
 
Dec 4, 2000
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A single British (i.e. "long") ton of water -- 2,240 pounds -- represents an ice cube a bit more than 3 feet 4 inches on a side. Not a large cube. Break it into chunks, lumps, bits and pieces and you would get quite a display along the starboard rail. But, it was dark in the well deck, so the distribution of that ice would vary from witness to witness. The volume of ice on deck might have been reduced slightly...no, very slightly...by people tossing it around or carrying it to their cabins. The bulk would have remained. There is no evidence that any of the ice was "cleaned up" by the crew or passengers. Rather, the evidence is some sailors joined in the general astonishment of passengers who found ice in the well deck.

Without wishing to prolong this post, If Boxhall was following IMM/White Star Line rules at the time of the accident he was not on the boat deck. He was in the starboard companionway on his way down to B Deck and then to the ladder down to the well deck. His assigned task was to perform his hourly rounds of the Starboard Watch. Note in his testimony he says he did not see the collision, but felt it beneath his feet. After saying he was blind to what happened, Boxhall went on to describe in detail the bluff of the bow striking on the berg and ice in the well deck. The only way the Fourth Officer's story of not seeing what he observed could be true is as I have described above.


-- David G. Brown
 
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Aaron_2016

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I was also thinking about the stewards closing up the public rooms and turning the lights off. Edith Rosenbaum heard a member of the crew announcing to the passengers in the reading and writing room - "Lights out. 11:30."


A single British (i.e. "long") ton of water -- 2,240 pounds -- represents an ice cube a bit more than 3 feet 4 inches on a side. Not a large cube. Break it into chunks, lumps, bits and pieces and you would get quite a display along the starboard rail. But, it was dark in the well deck, so the distribution of that ice would vary from witness to witness. The volume of ice on deck might have been reduced slightly...no, very slightly...by people tossing it around or carrying it to their cabins. The bulk would have remained. There is no evidence that any of the ice was "cleaned up" by the crew or passengers. Rather, the evidence is some sailors joined in the general astonishment of passengers who found ice in the well deck.

Without wishing to prolong this post, If Boxhall was following IMM/White Star Line rules at the time of the accident he was not on the boat deck. He was in the starboard companionway on his way down to B Deck and then to the ladder down to the well deck. His assigned task was to perform his hourly rounds of the Starboard Watch. Note in his testimony he says he did not see the collision, but felt it beneath his feet. After saying he was blind to what happened, Boxhall went on to describe in detail the bluff of the bow striking on the berg and ice in the well deck. The only way the Fourth Officer's story of not seeing what he observed could be true is as I have described above.


-- David G. Brown

A little contribution. Boxhall actually slipped up really easily in his testimony. He said he did not have a clue what they had struck and that he overheard Moody say afterwards what it was. Yet Boxhall said he arrived on the bridge at the same time as the captain and heard Murdoch informing the captain they had struck an iceberg. How could he still not know what they had struck after hearing Murdoch say what it was? He should have been cross-examined about that obvious contradiction. Perhaps he overheard Moody informing Olliver to record the accident in the ship's log and that was the moment Boxhall 'overheard' Moody say what had occurred?


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Harland Duzen

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No offence to Boxhall, but given the 4 different versions of his movements prior to the collision and only experiencing the immediate aftermath (leading to the mis-conception of "Full-Astern" being given as an avoidance tactic) I personally feel he can't be trusted or relied on too much for info before or after the collision since he was more a secondary witness.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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If you lay out Boxhall's duties against the unadjusted April 14th clock, you find he should have just completed a compass check and been going down to the forecastle to check on his watch at the moment the accident took place. Despite the obvious obfuscation in his words Boxhall really did tell the truth. He just left out critical details. He did, however, lie twice under oath. Once when he claimed not to have seen an ice warning posted in the officer's chart room -- even though it was in his own hand and he put it up. The other time was when he described the meeting between Captain Smith and Murdoch -- the young Fourth Officer by his own admission was not there, but down in the well deck looking at ice and heading for the forecastle.

-- David G. Brown
 
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>>the young Fourth Officer by his own admission was not there, but down in the well deck looking at ice and heading for the forecastle.<<

Interesting how the story always changed, first by "his own words" now by "his own admission". Boxhall was stating clear where he was and that was on the boat deck.
 
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Aaron_2016

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If you lay out Boxhall's duties against the unadjusted April 14th clock, you find he should have just completed a compass check and been going down to the forecastle to check on his watch at the moment the accident took place. Despite the obvious obfuscation in his words Boxhall really did tell the truth. He just left out critical details. He did, however, lie twice under oath. Once when he claimed not to have seen an ice warning posted in the officer's chart room -- even though it was in his own hand and he put it up. The other time was when he described the meeting between Captain Smith and Murdoch -- the young Fourth Officer by his own admission was not there, but down in the well deck looking at ice and heading for the forecastle.

-- David G. Brown
Hichens explained the duties that would have taken place between the quartermaster and officer.

"The course in the standard compass and steering compass vary two or three degrees, I think, sir; but the course we get and the course the officers get is different. We repeat our course to the officers, at sea, every quarter hour, and every so often that we are always on our course. The captain comes around three or four times, every five minutes say."

Does the above statement also apply to Olliver and Boxhall on Sunday night? Does it also mean that Hichens' original statement is true - That the captain rushed out of the chartroom and not from his own quarters?


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