Saving more lives


Bags

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Mar 20, 2012
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Was my pleasure Mr. Brown, I had the pleasure of exchanging a few silly newbie ideas with you about '06, so I remembered the doc, and I'm somewhat ashamed to admit I actually had it here on my playbook, I just didn't want to appear to step on your toes.

Humbly,

Derek G.
 

Scott Mills

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Jul 10, 2008
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Jude,

I do try and read people's entire posts! I don't always succeed, but I try. If I don't mention, or obmit referencing the entirety of someone's comments it is usually because I don't want to spend hours addressing every point--which surely I could do.

This is particularly true when I start digging through sources.

As to the content of your post, yes I have yet to read Lightoller's book even though I own it.

I have already, however, addressed the misgivings I have, particularly given my own work on memory, and the trustworthiness of recollections 30 years after an event in regards to them being a good reflection on reality. For a purely practical perspective, ask a detective how important getting eye witness statements immediately after an incident is, and how useful statements taken just weeks, let alone years, after an event are.

Getting the information within the first 48 hours of a crime is usually what makes or breaks cases. Statements made then reflect reality better (not perfectly) and inconsistencies in stories are more important because it often shows that something is being hidden, obfuscated or plain lied about. Give that same person 25 years to think about it (not that I'm calling Lightoller a liar) inconsistencies tend to vanish.

edit

The more I think about it, the more I question the sacrosanct nature that is often attributed to Titanic's crew, and in particular her officers, when it comes to their stories about the wreck. For example, it is perfectly natural for people researching the Californian or the Mount Temple to accuse one set of officers--including captains--of being liars. We will do the same with the testimony of crew claiming one or the other ship was right on Titanic that night.

Yet with the officers of Titanic, we seem totally incapable of believing that the officers in charge of the ship that was the center piece for one of the greatest maritime disasters of the time (and indeed ever), despite obvious heroism, there is nothing special about these men in terms of their ability and desire to lie about an accident that they were in part responsible for.

For example, pretty clearly Titanic resumed her course, be that two minutes or 10--it doesn't matter. Pretty clearly none of the surviving officers knew anything about that. Indeed, they would have every incentive to lie given the fact that one of them ordered resumed forward progress on the vessel. Just as Lightoller had every incentive to lie about knowing about ice, which he indeed tried to do.

This isn't to say I believe the officers are terrible people, or didn't do their best given their situation, but for the gods sakes... they were human beings not saints. Perhaps it isn't best to always take them at their word. Most of the surviving passengers have less of a reason to be dishonest than they did.
 

Jude

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Apr 8, 2012
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Afternoon folks, just would like to add to the mess here, ;). Actually, I'd like to make an appeal to Mr. Dave Brown to re-post the link to his Adobe document; "Chronology - Sinking of the S.S. Titanic" from '06 I believe it was, in which he very comprehensively listed the events, including the various clock times (Ships Bells, New York, and GMT) chronologically.

I believe it would shed some illumination on the discussion, or, at the very least provide an easy referent from which to begin any further speculation.

Yes Bags, I agree it is a messy speculation! :rolleyes:

Hopefully when this is posted, Scott will understand the chronology and see that most of his allegations about Lightoller are unfounded and no, I have never claimed that any of the officers were "saints". They were trying to protect the reputation of the White Star Line and all the employees' jobs. I also feel Scott that you have an agenda to promote - your dissertation - and it seems to me in this case, that you are trying to fit your speculation to it and making loose allegations without first checking the available information.
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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Hello everyone! I thought I had replied to this ... obviously not.

It seems there is a little confusion as to the times of events on board Titanic at the time. As a supplement to David's earlier effort, here is something I prepared for a book I am writing:

times 001.jpg

The 'ship time' is the time that people like Col. Gracie and those who had not set their watches back would show.
The Minus 24 minutes time is the time that would be seen on the watches of shift workers who had set their watches for the time they were due on duty.
The minus 47 minute time would be the time showing on watches that had been set back the full amount by those who would waken up to the new time on April 15.
If you carefully trawl the witness evidence you can make lists of those who would have a particular time on their clocks and watches.


One interesting fact is that in his message to Captain Hadock of Olympic, Captain Rostron said Titanic sunk at 02-20am ship...5-47am GMT. As you can see from the table above, the GMT of sinking should have been 5:18am not 5:47am. He simply used an unadjusted time of 02-20am and applied adjusted time difference to it.

Scott, you wrote:

"We can speculate all we want about the origins of the testimony about engine orders. What I think we can be sure of is two things:

1. The full astern order was never given--another example of how officer testimony can be shown to be inaccurate.

2. Titanic did make way for some amount of time after the collision".


The answer to both these statements is 'Not True'

As I have said before, neither of the two witnesses saw the actual order on the engine room telegraphs. They just heard them ring and, in the case of one..saw the engines stop. While the other saw the engines turning ahead and in reverse. However, in the case of the latter, the sight of the engines turning is not an indication of the exact order given. Only Boxhall claims to have seen the engine telegraph at 'Full Astern'.

Of course Titanic made way through the water after the collision but we do not know exactly how long after it she was still making way. Did she come to a complete halt? Did she actaully make stern-way?

Scott, a ship is not like an automobile.. it never comes to a complete standstill unless it's in drydock!

Again as I have pointed out ad nauseum.. if Captain Smith just wanted to turn the ship's head, he would have needed a quick burst of 'ahead' on his engines or go astern on one and ahead on the other. The first option is easiest and reduces the work load at the control platform.

Jude:You wrote:

"there is nothing special about these men in terms of their ability and desire to lie about an accident that they were in part responsible for.

For example, pretty clearly Titanic resumed her course, be that two minutes or 10--it doesn't matter."


No she did not resume her course, Jude! As I pointed out to Scott, the evidence of his namesake Scott is pure fantasy!

As you can see from the time table above, the second distress call was sent 23 minutes after impact. The first one would have been sent about 2 minutes earlier. It would have been worked out 2 minutes before that so Captain Smith probably made his mind up to call for help at least 5 minutes before the first real distress signal was sent out. That would be about 18 minutes after impact. He would not do so until his ship came to as near to stop as was possible. The reason being that he would want to stay as close to the given distress position as that is where potential recue ships would head for.
If you read the evidence of Boxhall, you will find that he useed a time of 11-46pm to work out the ship's distress position. This means she was to all intents and purposes stopped by that time..6 minutes after impact.

So, there was a mere 18 minutes between impact and Captain Smith making his mind up to call for help.
During that time, all the engine room WT doors were shut. One boiler room was flooding rapidly and another filling. Fires were being drawn or dampened down. During that time, there was simply no way Titanic could have manoeuvered or gone a head for 3 minures let alone 10.

The officers on Titanic were very special indeed! They were hand -picked and more than half(4) of them had the highest marine qualification available in the entire world at that time. This, coupled with a combined service record of well over 100 years gave them an edge on any other crew on the ocean.
Sure, there was nothing different from these men as far as the ability of a human being to lie was concerned, but they were also reserve naval officers. Off all the men on the sea at that time, these guys had probably the most to loose by being discovered lying. Their employment with the White Star Line was the least of their concerns. For a start-off, there were potentially 700 survivors who could throw a spanner in their combined lying teeth. To suggest that they did lie for the reason you outline is a non starter!

Jim C.

times 001.jpg
 

Jude

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Apr 8, 2012
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Thanks so much Jim for posting all this. However, having been trying to defend Lightoller, I now find that I have to protest MY innocence! :eek:

Jude:You wrote:

"there is nothing special about these men in terms of their ability and desire to lie about an accident that they were in part responsible for.

For example, pretty clearly Titanic resumed her course, be that two minutes or 10--it doesn't matter."

I don't know who wrote that Jim - but it weren't me! :(


The officers on Titanic were very special indeed! They were hand -picked and more than half(4) of them had the highest marine qualification available in the entire world at that time. This, coupled with a combined service record of well over 100 years gave them an edge on any other crew on the ocean.
Sure, there was nothing different from these men as far as the ability of a human being to lie was concerned, but they were also reserve naval officers. Off all the men on the sea at that time, these guys had probably the most to loose by being discovered lying. Their employment with the White Star Line was the least of their concerns. For a start-off, there were potentially 700 survivors who could throw a spanner in their combined lying teeth. To suggest that they did lie for the reason you outline is a non starter!



I totally agree Jim that they were very special indeed. I doubt whether the upturned Collapsible B would have survived intact had it not been for Lightoller's seamanship skills at keeping her level with making everyone lean one way and then the other even as the icy water was rising up their legs, and then, when they eventually boarded that last lifeboat, he had quite a struggle with the rising wind and sea to keep her from sinking!

As I said to Scott while discussing some of his allegations against Lightoller (and suggesting that he reads Titanic and other ships first):

...you will see that he was simply trying to make sure that all eventualities had been covered and an important part of that is to keep everyone calm — that is the way to save lives. He was simply doing what he thought at the time was right. As I've said before, it's so easy for "armchair experts" to sit here passing judgment, when we have no idea what it must have been like to have been sinking in mid-Atlantic, in the dark and freezing cold.

I also don't think there was any deliberate lying to cover up their own responsibility for the accident, but certainly Lightoller admits to "whitewashing" in his book. He was scathing about the American inquiry, with its lack of knowledge of seamanship and of how the remaining crew were treated (for instance, being put up in a second-rate boarding house), but respected the British inquiry, where he felt there was some understanding of the rudiments of the sea. He wrote:
"...in London, it was very necessary to keep one's hand on the whitewash brush. Sharp questions that needed careful answers if one was to avoid a pitfall, carefully and subtly dug, leading to a pinning down of blame on someone's luckless shoulders."(Titanic and other Ships p 179)

A washing of dirty linen would help no one. The B.O.T. had passed the ship as in all respects fit for sea, in every sense of the word, with sufficient margin of safety for everyone on board.... Personally, I had no desire that blame should be attributed either to the B.O.T. or to the White Star Line, though in all conscience, it was a difficult task, when handled by some of the cleverest minds in England, striving tooth and nail to prove the inadequacy here, the lack there, when one had known, full well, and for many years, the ever-present possibility of just such a disaster...
The very point, namely the utter inadequacy of the life-saving equipment then prevailing.....has since been wholly, frankly, and fully admitted by the stringent rules now governing British ships, "going foreign."

No longer is the boat-deck almost wholly set aside as a recreation ground for passengers with the smallest number of boats relegated to the least possible space.

In fact, the pendulum has swung to the other extreme... (page 180)

That book was withdrawn shortly after publication as the publisher's lawyers were afraid of prosecution. Wiki says it is because of what he said about the Marconi operators and their failure under pressure of work, to get the Masada message to the bridge, (which he felt was a major contributing cause of the accident), which I discussed somewhere else on this site, but that seemed very mild to me, compared to what he says here!
 

Scott Mills

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I was just thumbing through my copy of the Report of the Sinking of SS Titanic: A Centennial Reappraisal today and it made me think of the spirited debate we had in here earlier as to whether or not the ship new the crew was doomed within 20 minutes of the disaster.

I didn't think so, and thought it more likely to be closer to 40 minutes before the full gravity of the situation was known to Titanic's officers. I have my own reasons to believe this, but not the time it takes to cobble together all of the individual pieces of evidence which led me to that conclusion. Thankfully our resident Tad Finch and Bill Wormstedt (does he post here?) did it for me.

I will direct you to the portion of said book authored by them titled "An Account of Saving Those On Board," or the 7th chapter which starts on page 131.

Specifically they repeat what I have said before, information we can all agree on, immediately after the collision Boxhall goes down as far as steerage quarters on F deck and returns to the bridge to report no damage. They estimate that this took until about 11:50pm, a time I think could be argued as being to early, but for the sake of the argument I accept it (131).

Immediately after the collision at 11:40 (this provides clear support for Smith being on the bridge almost immediately) QM Oliver claims that Smith ordered him to go below and find carpenter to "sound" the ship (their words not mine) and to 'take the draft of water' (131)

When Boxhall reaches the bridge returning from his inspection, it is pretty clear Oliver hasn't returned yet, as Boxhall claims Smith orders him to go find the carpenter as well. This is the point where Boxhall runs into a carpenter on his way up to the bridge, who tells him that water is up to F deck in the mail room. Boxhall directs him on to the bridge, and decides to go down to the mail room to look himself.

Sometime shortly after Boxhall leaves the bridge for a second time, QM Oliver says he arrived back on the bridge, where captain Smith orders him to deliver a note to engineer Bell, which he does (wish he had read that note!)

Now, according to Tad and Bill sometime after this Smith himself heads below to have a look. He's seen by a few crew members headed towards the mail room. A few minutes later crew members say they see Andrews headed the same way. For some strange reason Boxhall does not report seeing either Smith or Andrews when they should have been in the mail room at the same time (131).

At this point, the authors claim that Smith and Andrews know that the ship is seriously damaged--which is surely the case. The question is, do they know how seriously? The authors also argue that the lifeboats are ordered uncovered at this point as a precaution. This is probably the case, but I have some reservations about the time the lifeboats were first ordered uncovered based on passenger testimony. For now though, I'll drop that line of argument (131).

So we have a pretty clear timeline. The collision happens at 11:40 and Boxhall arrives on the bridge shortly afterwards. Smith is most likely on the bridge already, and orders QM Oliver to find the carpenter to look for any damage. Boxhall runs down to 3rd class areas on forward F deck. He makes the trip down, and makes it back up in about 10 minutes. When Boxhall gets to the bridge at 11:50 (I think it was probably later, but hey) he tells Smith he saw no damage. Smith then orders Boxhall to find one of the ships carpenter also, so clearly Oliver hadn't returned yet.

As Boxhall is head down to find the carpenter he runs into one headed up to the bridge who informs him of water in the mail room. Boxhall directs him up to the bridge, and heads to the mail room himself.

Around this time Oliver returns to the bridge, where he finds Smith who orders him to deliver a note to the other end of the ship in the engine room. Incidentally, Oliver gets told by Bell in the engine room Bell asks Oliver to tell Smith that he'd "get it done as soon as possible." It seems that there is not yet any real understanding of seriousness of the situation in the engine room. In addition, Oliver claims to have not read the note (do people really not read notes in these situations?) so we have no idea what Smith and Bell were really saying to each other.

Which brings up a question, which I hope isn't lost in the rest of this post, "isn't there a speaking tube from the bridge to the engine room, and if so, why would Smith have needed to send engineer Bell a note?

In any event, if it takes 5 minutes for Boxhall to reach F deck just below the bridge, and 5 minutes to get back, how long does it take Oliver to transverse the entire length of the ship and make his way to the engine room? Certainly we can say at a minimum 7 or 8 minutes. If this happens sometime after 11:50--remember Oliver does not return to the bridge where he received the note until after Boxhall has already left a second time--then it seems we are already very close to midnight with, at least the engineering crew, not really being aware of the fact that Titanic was foundering.

To continue with the narrative, Boxhall testifies that he returns to the bridge from his second trip (where he never encounters Smith or Andrews despite multiple witnesses testifying to seeing them both headed there) approximately 20 to 30 minutes after the collision--this is when he gets Lightoller and the other officers. So the time is around midnight to 12:10 (again my own personal feeling is that it would be at least 12:10, but we'll just go with what Boxhall testifies to). Boxhall then claims that it was "a few minutes" after he's woken up the off duty officers that he hears an order to uncover the boats.

So assuming Boxhall's time frame of returning from below between midnight and 12:10, and assuming he takes around five minutes to get the other officers up (and talk with them) we end up with between 12:05 and 12:15. Then lets assume that a "few minutes" is around 3 minutes. This is when Boxhall claims to first hear the order to uncover the boats.

Now we are at between 12:08 and 12:18. This is 28 to 38 minutes after the collision. The only real evidence of flooding to this point, at least that was testified to, is flooding in the first 3 compartments. This is serious, to be sure, but knowing Titanic as we do, something that should have been thought of as survivable (132).

Continuing, after the boats are first ordered uncovered (remember between 12:08 and 12:18) captain Smith goes down towards the mail room again. Here he is seen by stewardess Annie Hugh McElroy walking with the chief mail clerk, and the chief purser. Here I would just like to point out that if Captain Smith had any real inkling that Titanic was foundering, it would make no sense for him to be walking with these men towards the mail room. Surely he would have told them the ship was foundering, and that the men needed to see to themselves and those under their command (132).
 

Scott Mills

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Instead he is walking with the man in charge of mail stowage and the man in charge of cargo, walking to an area to inspect the damage. This says to me that the immediate "crisis" being addressed was the status of the mail and the cargo--not evacuating the ship. Furthermore, if the Captain was aware the ship was foundering, why would he be down below near the flooding at all? In any case, I digress.

Shortly after this Andrews was seen with Smith somewhere below near the mail room. During this time a witness reports overhearing Andrews saying to Smith "three are gone already" (132). To what was Andrews referring? I think we can be safe in speculating that he is talking about water tight compartments. Making that assumption we know, for sure, that these two men knew that the first 3 compartments were compromised in a very serious way. If they knew for sure that more compartments had similar damage, it is hard to believe (though not impossible I suppose), that Andrews would only be mentioning 3 of them.

Tad and Bill give the time of this encounter as being around 12:10. If we take our timeline based on other testimony, particularly Boxhall's, then this would of had to have been sometime after 12:10. Since we worked out loosely that the first order given to uncover the boats happens between 12:08 and 12:18, and it takes around 5 minutes to descend to the mail room from the bridge, it would have been between 12:13 and 12:21 before Smith even arrived at the mail room. Then assuming the inspection of the damage where Smith, Andrews (assuming he arrives independently at the mail room exactly when Smith does), the chief mail clerk, and the chief purser are present takes just 3 or 4 minutes we can safely up that time to 12:16/17 through 12:24/25.

Or we can just stick with the time of 12:10 which Tad and Bill use. The most generous time places this event some 30 minutes after the collision. The times based on Boxhall's testimony place the event 36/37 to 46/47 minutes after the collision. Any way you look at it, it seems pretty clear that Titanic's officers were not yet aware of the absolute gravity of the situation.

In the minutes that followed Smith and Andrews separate. Smith goes up to the bridge and orders passengers woken up and the life preservers handed out. Importantly, he does not order the boats lowered, and everything appears to be precautionary. Andrews is seen around the same time headed aft below decks, most likely continuing his inspection further aft (132).
So this has to be sometime after 12:10 or as we've seen even later.

Finally, the first note of something very serious being amiss comes "approximately 45 minutes" after the collision when Andrews is seen by 3 or four passengers ascending the grand staircase. Some recall seeing the "look of terror" on his face, and others report seeing him leap 3 or four steps at a time (132-133). Now we can speculate that it is this point when Andrews is fully aware of the damage to the ship. This is the first report by anyone of any of the involved parties actually having a demeanor which betrays the seriousness of the situation.

Around 45 minutes after the collision. At face value it appears as if Andrews is seen running up the stairs making his way to tell Smith the terrible news. It also suggests, just given that Tad and Bill (and I assume the witnesses) say this was 45 minutes post collision, it is a fantasy to think that Smith, Andrews, or anyone else, knew in 20 minutes that the ship was foundering.

When put in dialogue with the rest of the narrative, it seems like it could have been as much as an hour before every officer and engineer knew the full extent of what was happening. And incidentally it was somewhere between 12:30 to 12:40 when the orders to actually load the boats was finally issued. This seems to make sense given the above.

The very last thing I will comment on is the issue of steam venting. Lightoller claims that when he gets on deck at 20 to 30 minutes after the collision, the steam is venting--so 12 to 12:10. But he also claims that the steam was venting when he had to ask for the order to load the boats, which is around 12:30. Does this process really take over 30 minutes?

Additionally you have the evidence of Lawrence Beasley (granted other passengers saw things differently) who wrote that he actually made it on deck after the stewards starting waking people and handing out life preservers before the venting actually begins. Indeed, in his book he comments on how quiet it was on deck despite all the people who were now there--until the venting of steam started.

Now most passengers (and our timeline) agree that the process of turning out the passengers did not begin to at least 12:15. When many of them got on deck they were present for the steam venting. The question is though, when did those who arrived on deck to the roar of steam actually get there? If Beasley was amongst the first group to make it to deck with their lifebelts, which would make sense given his actions, and he was there before the venting began, then said venting would have had to have been well after midnight--sometime around 35 to 45 minutes after the collision. Meaning that Titanic had more than enough time, with steam, to stop and continue her course, before stopping for good.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Scott:

Quite a disseration but I think you need to look at the evidence a little closer.

The clue to when they started uncovering the boats comes from the men in the forecastle head. They of all people would know the interval between impact and being called-out.

The Bosun turned out all hands between 15 and 20 minutes after impact.
Pitman who was due on Watch at midnight had a few minuted before he was due on deck. When he turned out on time, he found all hands aready engaged in uncovering the boats.
The Lookouts Hogg and Evans were up in the Crow's Nest from Midnight. After 20 minutes they looked aft and saw people on the boat deck with lifejackets and they could not get an answer from the bridge. None of the AB had lifejackets on at that time so these people must have been passengers.

At the time of impact, the Carpenter would already have begun his soundings. He would do that at the end of each Watch and the results would be entered into the Soundings Book. This was normal shipboard routine. In fact, we have a record of Boxhall sending a seaman to find the Carpenter shortly after impact:


Mr. EVANS.(Able Seaman)
"........I was sitting at the table reading a book, and all of a sudden I felt a slight jar. I did not take any notice of it for a few minutes, until one of the other able seamen came down with a big lump of ice in his hands, and he said "Look what I found on the fore-well deck," and he chucked it down on the deck; and I went up the ladder there and I met one officer. [Boxhall]

Senator SMITH.
Which officer?

Mr. EVANS.
The fifth officer, I think.Senator SMITH.
The fifth officer? Was it Lowe or Moody? [Lowe was still in bed and Moody would be on Watch on the bridge}

Mr. EVANS.
I think it was the fifth officer; the fifth or sixth officer. He told me to go down and find the carpenter and sound all the wells forward, and report to the bridge. I went down the engineer's alleyway to find him, and I met the boatswain [Alfred Nichols] there, and he said, "Who are you looking for, Evans?" I said "The carpenter." He said "He has gone up." He said "What is the matter?" I said "I do not know. I think we have struck an iceberg." The boatswain went up, then. We went up and we looked down the forward hatch, where the tarpaulin was raising up with the wind, and I seen the boatswain again, and he told me to go down and tell the seamen to come up and uncover the boats, and make them ready for going out.
I went up there with the remainder of the crew and uncovered all of the port boats. I then went over to the starboard side and lowered the boats there, with the assistance of the boatswain.
AB Archer:
"Mr. ARCHER.
I jumped out of my bed, put on a pair of trousers, and ran up on deck to find out what was the matter. I saw some small pieces of ice on the starboard side, on the forward deck.
Mr. ARCHER.
No; I never saw any larger than that. After I saw the ice I went back in the door and put on a pair of shoes, a guernsey, and a cap. While I was doing that the boatswain ordered us on deck.
Senator BOURNE.
How long after that did that occur?

Mr. ARCHER.
About 10 minutes, sir.


Hemming, Lamp Trimmer:

I was awakened by the impact, sir.
I went out and put my head through the porthole to see what we hit. I made the remark to the storekeeper [possibly J. Foley]. "It must have been ice." I said, "I do not see anything."
I went up under the forecastle head to see where the hissing noise came from.
I did not see anything. I opened the forepeak storeroom; me and the storekeeper went down as far as the top of the tank and found everything dry.
I came up to ascertain where the hissing noise was still coming from. I found it was the air escaping out of the exhaust of the tank.
At that time the chief officer, Mr. Wilde, put his head around the hawse pipe and says: "What is that, Hemming?" I said: "The air is escaping from the forepeak tank. She is making water in the forepeak tank, but the storeroom is quite dry." He said, "All right," and went away.
I went back and turned in.
We went back in our bunks a few minutes. Then the joiner [possibly J. Hutchinson] came in and he said: "If I were you, I would turn out, you fellows. She is making water, one-two-three, and the racket court is getting filled up."

Just as he went, the boatswain came, and he says, "Turn out, you fellows," he says; "you haven't half an hour to live." He said: "That is from Mr. Andrews." He said: "Keep it to yourselves, and let no one know."

Hemming told the Uk the same thing but was more explicit about the time:
"17740. I did not hear what you said about Mr. Andrews?
- The boatswain told us to turn out; the ship had only half-an-hour to live, from Mr. Andrews, but not to tell anyone. The boatswain heard it from Mr. Andrews, and he told us.

17741. (The Commissioner.) When was this; how long after the jar which you heard?
- About 10 minutes, I should say.

17742. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) After this, did you go at once up on deck?
- As I was ordered to, to go to the boats."


Jones Able Seaman:

Mr. JONES.
I was sitting in the forecastle. I heard something, just the same as a ship going through a lot of loose ice; and everybody ran on deck right away. When we went on deck we could see some ice on the deck. Then I went forward, and I could see a lot of the firemen coming up out of the forecastle; and I looked down below, and I heard a rush of water. I went down below, in No. 1, and I could see the tarpaulin of the hatch lifting up the same as if there was air coming up there; and I went on deck then, and I could see all the firemen coming up from there. As soon as I went on deck somebody gave the order, "All hands on the bridge." I went up there, and then we were given orders to get the boats ready."

I could go on with these but there is absolutely no doubt that the men wers mustered on the boat deck and began uncovering boats no more than 20 minutes after the impact.
Furthermore, if Hemming is to be believed, the deck POs knew how bad it was 15 minutes after impact.

By the way, we will never know exactly what was in that note from Smith to Bell but we do know that shortly after they started sending out the CQD, the wireless men complained to Smith about the noise of the escaping steam. It is quite possible that Olliver was sent down to see what could be done about it.
By the same token, there would be no point in Smith trying to use the engine room phone (there was such a beast) since he would have had the same problem hearing any reply from Bell. Hence the note. And ex Navy QMs did not peek!

Jim C.
 

DonJ

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Apr 6, 2012
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Carlisle himself said during the Inquiry that there was no plan showing Olympic & Titanic with 64 boats. So Ismay did tell the truth about it. There was only one plan showing one davit with 4 boats.
There was only one official plan which show all davits with 2 boats, a total of 32. As the lifeboat question took only in total 10-20 minutes in all the meetings, it is quite simple that Ismay forget about it, especially when Carlisle only show the plan of the one davit with 4 boats.
According to the rules Olympic and Titanic had to carry 16 boats, both were having 20.

.the transcript of the British Inquiry reads:
(The witness explained the plan to the Commissioner.)
21280. (The Commissioner.) What I understand Mr. Carlisle to say is this: He was of opinion, or thought it possible, that, having regard to the size of the "Titanic," the Board of Trade might require greater lifeboat accommodation; and he mentioned this to Lord Pirrie and to other people connected with Messrs. Harland and Wolff, and he was then told to prepare plans for the instalment of larger lifeboat accommodation, and he accordingly prepared this plan. Now this plan provides for, as I understand, four boats upon one set of davits. (To the witness.) Is not that so?
- Yes.
21281. Later on he prepared another plan, which is this, which provides for two boats to each set of davits, instead of one, but neither plan was utilised because the Board of Trade did not require any increased accommodation beyond that which was originally contemplated before these plans came into existence. That is right?
- That is so.
The Attorney-General:
May I see the plans?
The Commissioner:
Yes; (Handing same.) and then, Mr. Attorney, I did not tell you what he said and what has come out already; it is already in evidence. The davits on the "Titanic" were of the kind that would have been required if the larger number of boats, double the boats, had been provided.
The Attorney-General:
That is the welin's.
The Commissioner:
Yes, and they were installed when the "Titanic" went down. Of course, the boats were not there.
21282. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) Were these plans ever submitted to the White Star Company?
- Two or three times.
21283. (The Commissioner.) To whom were they submitted - the individual, I mean?
- Do you wish me to name the two directors?
21284. Yes?
- Mr. Ismay and his co-director; but Mr. Ismay was the only one who spoke or said anything about it.
21285. Who was the other director?
- Mr. Sanderson was present at one or two interviews.
21286. But did Mr. Sanderson examine them or look at them?

I have seen the plan refered to and it indeed shows 16 sets of davits with 4 boats on each davit.
This was also covered in a video by the BBC entitled something like 'A question of murder'
 
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.I have seen the plan refered to and it indeed shows 16 sets of davits with 4 boats on each davit.
This was also covered in a video by the BBC entitled something like 'A question of murder'


Alexander Carlisle, Limitation of Liability Hearings, 3rd April 1914

Question: Did those plans which you submitted to them, show that as many as 64 lifeboats could have been fitted on to the "Titanic"? — Answer: No, there was no plan submitted showing 64 boats. It was only the set of davits that were shown.

This is also confirmed by Edward Wilding.


I only know the deck plan showing 2 boats on each davit a total of 32 boats.
 

Scott Mills

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Jude,

You will be happy to learn that I have begun reading Lightoller's book. I've made it all the way through his discussion of Titanic's collision with the iceberg and I have some thoughts.

The first part of the book I immediately identified as someone telling "tall tails" about their time at sea, and their life in general. In all honesty, to me this sounded just like the stories my grandfather (who spent 38 years at sea) would tell me. Like, "we ran into a shark twice as long as our destroyer! Or, "I saw a ship disappear with my own eyes of Norfolk!" Or, "I saw an apparition of your grandmother sitting on my bunk crying, so I knew to send money home."

Don't get me wrong, a lot of my grandfathers stories, particularly the wartime stories, I believed either partly or wholly, because I knew my grandfather well and could read him. The problem is, I can't with Lightoller, so it is a slight barrier when I'm reading what he has to say about Titanic.

Second, as to our discussion. In his book, the only time frame he gives us is that Boxhall retrieved him "around" midnight where the famous back and forth takes place.

"We've hit an iceberg"
"I know you've hit something."
"Water is up to F deck..."

He says he puts on his cloths and goes onto deck. He mention the noise of the steam venting, but does not say when this began, just that it did when he was on deck around the time passengers were coming up. Going back to our previous discussion, this was around 12:15? I'll have to look.

There is also a significant explanatory gap in his narrative. For instance, he tells us all about how merchant seaman don't wait for orders, etc, and that he never inquired about or discussed what had happened, nor does he do the same to ascertain the damage of the ship.

Okay, but here in lies some of the problems with this. First he discusses all of the ABs swarming onto the deck after the "All Hands on Deck!" order is given. Who gives this order? Was it Lightoller? As he claims to have had little to no contact with the bridge at this point? If it was Lightoller, how did he deliver the order? If it wasn't Lightoller, how did he know to what order the ABs are responding to? Is he assuming?

The other issue here is the orders he chooses to give. So according to Lightoller, he has not talked to the Captain or anyone else about the state of the ship, or even what is going on. To me this seems strange in and of itself. In what situation where a junior officer has told you there is flooding on the ship, do you not report to the bridge first, or at least try to learn more about what was going on and how to coordinate it?

In any event, as I've said Lightoller says he scrambles on deck, doesn't talk to any other bridge crew (okay at the risk of digressing again we just know this is false prima facie because of the other officers like Wilde who were supervising him on the port side). Given this it must be him, and him alone who orders the lifeboats uncovered on the port side.

Again, I cannot imagine an officer (who isn't captain) coming on to the boat deck of a stopped, but otherwise stable ship, who claims later to have thought that there was no danger of the ship foundering, unilaterally ordering the life boats uncovered and prepared, without first checking with the bridge which was right next to him and his cabin from which he came.

To further compound this, or maybe just to totally confound me, he says that he is the one who has to ask permission to load the lifeboats--which has just been an accepted fact. So, in his story, Lightoller gets told the ship has hit a berg and there is some flooding, he goes on deck immediately and without consulting anyone on the bridge that is literally steps away from his cabin, orders the ABs (whose appearance was ordered by someone) to uncover and prepare the boats, and even though he thinks the ship is fine, finds the captain and asks him permission to fill and lower them.

Lightoller spends a good deal of time talking about what a great captain EJ is, but his story makes him seem shocked and incapable. This is, I would guess, the origin of the horrible portrayal of captain Smith in film and elsewhere that has repeated itself for years.

One wonders, incidentally, why Captain Smith's orders to uncover and prepare the boats, and to eventually lower them (as discussed in my last post in this thread) were not communicated to Lightoller at all. Even though, as I've said, he was feet from the bridge. I suppose we could assume the orders were never passed to anyone, in which case Smith's subordinate officers were great indeed, since they would have had to unilaterally decide to prepare and lower the boats simultaneously on both sides of the ship!

Lastly I wanted to illustrate a problem of memory for you with Lightoller's words. Lightoller discusses in some detail the closing of the watertight doors at the time of collision. He doesn't communicate that he supposes this happened, but rather that he knows it does because he was there. The problem is, how does he know and why does he remember it? Either he's wrong, or lying, about not having had a detailed discussion with Murdoch that night, or the conversations between himself and the surviving officers as well as the history of the inquiry have made their way into Lightoller's head, becoming a solid memory.

In other words, outside stimuli has convinced him that he remembers something that (as long as he isn't just lying) he could not have been a party too that night.

And, as always, I'm not attacking Lightoller here. He has always been my favorite Titanic officer! Just pointing out some troubles I've had with his story thus far.
 

Scott Mills

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Also wanted to share this, guys. I ran across this looking for information on the attempt to save boiler room 4. It seems our resident David Brown, at some point, came to the same conclusions I have. And he writes better! :D

The Last Log of the Titanic by David G. Brown :: Titanic Research

The short version, there is every reason to believe Titanic's officers didn't know she would founder until after midnight, and that she began making way again headed for Halifax, and that the boiler rooms were ordered to re-stoke and make workable (steamable) steam after they had stopped and started to draw down the fires.
 
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Thank you to Scott for mentioning my book, "Last Log." Since writing that I've given quite a bit of additional thought to the time between impact and the launching of lifeboats. My current conclusions are contained in my new book, "Titanic Myths, Titanic Truths (available on Amazon).

As of now I'm not convinced that Titanic was necessarily fatally wounded by the iceberg. The damage was severe, true enough. But, I think that the ship might have been kept afloat if the engineers had the knowledge of damage control gained during World War I. They can't be faulted for not knowing what we now take as conventional wisdom any more than we can be blamed for not knowing what will take place at 3:14 p.m. tomorrow. All of us are equally blind to the future.

That said, I am now convinced that Captain Smith actually took a very "gutsy" move when he ordered boats lowered with passengers as early as he did. Even at a little past midnight the absolute certainty that Titanic would sink was clouded from his view. And, he knew that putting people into small boats on the open ocean is not an inherently safe thing to do -- and especially in the dark. But, he didn't wait for 100% proof that his ship would founder. He started the evacuation instead and by doing so may have saved a significant number of lives even though the earliest boats were not fully filled.

-- David G. Brown
 

Scott Mills

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Thank you to Scott for mentioning my book, "Last Log." Since writing that I've given quite a bit of additional thought to the time between impact and the launching of lifeboats. My current conclusions are contained in my new book, "Titanic Myths, Titanic Truths (available on Amazon).

As of now I'm not convinced that Titanic was necessarily fatally wounded by the iceberg. The damage was severe, true enough. But, I think that the ship might have been kept afloat if the engineers had the knowledge of damage control gained during World War I. They can't be faulted for not knowing what we now take as conventional wisdom any more than we can be blamed for not knowing what will take place at 3:14 p.m. tomorrow. All of us are equally blind to the future.

That said, I am now convinced that Captain Smith actually took a very "gutsy" move when he ordered boats lowered with passengers as early as he did. Even at a little past midnight the absolute certainty that Titanic would sink was clouded from his view. And, he knew that putting people into small boats on the open ocean is not an inherently safe thing to do -- and especially in the dark. But, he didn't wait for 100% proof that his ship would founder. He started the evacuation instead and by doing so may have saved a significant number of lives even though the earliest boats were not fully filled.

David,

I am quite convinced myself that the certainty of the knowledge that Titanic was fatally damaged was not known to the officers until at least 12:15. Possibly up to the last moment before the orders to actually fill the boats were given. I don't want to back track through all the stuff we've already covered, but witness testimony about when and where Smith, Andrews, the engineers and other officers were seen while inspecting the ship, plus some of the things that were overheard makes it seem highly unlikely that they knew the seriousness of what was occurring.

So yes, I agree that at the very minimum when Smith first ordered the boats uncovered, I don't think he thought Titanic was foundering. I'm almost certain of this.

What is really wracking my brain though is what you discuss in your book briefly--that Titanic made way after the collision. I'm also convinced this happened, and my own feeling based on crew testimony and Beasley's account written so soon after the disaster is that she resumed forward progress for around 10 minutes. There is some uncertainty here, of course, and what I really desire to know (and most likely never will) is why.

As such I found your speculation about this fascinating.
 

Jude

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Jude,

You will be happy to learn that I have begun reading Lightoller's book.

At last! :rolleyes:

The first part of the book I immediately identified as someone telling "tall tails" about their time at sea, and their life in general. In all honesty, to me this sounded just like the stories my grandfather (who spent 38 years at sea) would tell me. Like, "we ran into a shark twice as long as our destroyer! Or, "I saw a ship disappear with my own eyes of Norfolk!" Or, "I saw an apparition of your grandmother sitting on my bunk crying, so I knew to send money home."

OK, so maybe you should next read Patrick Stenson’s brilliant biography of Lightoller, “Titanic Voyager”. He spent years researching it, which included checking facts in the Australian newspapers describing some of the events you seem to be questioning. I think you might find that the experiences Lights describes actually did happen. You seem to have the mind-set that Lightoller was a liar, or at best, a great exaggerator, which I find rather disturbing in someone who is pursuing an academic path. You shouldn’t start out with a premise in mind and try to fit your “fact-finding” to that, but be open and willing to explore all the evidence, all the possibilities, all the probabilities and then come your conclusions; otherwise, what you are saying is simply personal opinion and that’s sloppy academics, to put it mildly! The most important thing in good academics is serious and detailed research, not speculation.

Second, as to our discussion. In his book, the only time frame he gives us is that Boxhall retrieved him "around" midnight…

He says he puts on his cloths and goes onto deck. He mention the noise of the steam venting, but does not say when this began, just that it did when he was on deck around the time passengers were coming up.

Golly, I think it’s just terrible and most remiss of him, that when Lightoller was woken out of sleep to an emergency, that he didn’t think to put his watch on and keep checking it throughout the disaster, so that armchair experts like you could be better satisfied. Oh come on Scott — get real! This was real life going on — not theory. :mad: Don’t forget too, that there had been no lifeboat drill, not even a boat muster and the ship was new to all the seamen. That they accomplished what they all did was a miracle in itself. Obviously with that wonderful thing hindsight, it could and should have all been so different. And as I’ve said before, Lightoller himself admits that he used the “whitewash brush” in the inquiries in order to protect the British Board of Trade and the White Star line and all its employees, but that doesn’t make him a habitual liar as you seem to insinuate.

Okay, but here in lies some of the problems with this. First he discusses all of the ABs swarming onto the deck after the "All Hands on Deck!" order is given. Who gives this order? Was it Lightoller? As he claims to have had little to no contact with the bridge at this point? If it was Lightoller, how did he deliver the order? If it wasn't Lightoller, how did he know to what order the ABs are responding to? Is he assuming?

I honestly would have thought you should get to know your Titanic history better before writing like that. With the internet, it is so easy to get the facts.

It was Captain Smith who gave the order (to Chief Officer Wilde) for the lifeboats to be uncovered. According to Stetson, it was the Bosun Nichols who piped “all hands on deck” and alarm bells were set off in all the crews’ quarters, so they began tumbling out on deck. I found this account:

Mr William Henry Taylor…prior to signing onto the Titanic had served on the Orotava. He was rescued in Lifeboat 15 and later testified before the US Senate Inquiry.
He was asleep when the collision occurred. The alarm bell for accidents rang outside his door. About ten minutes later he heard it reported that water was coming in #1 hatch at the bow end of the ship - the first cargo hold. "We saw it (the water) come bursting up through the hatches." He and the other firemen packed their bags and went to the mess room to wait for orders. An Officer then ordered them up on deck with their lifebelts on….
He testified that there had been no boat drill on the Sunday. Also, according to his testimony, there were 73 firemen saved that night, some picked up out of the water. In his lifeboat alone there were 6. He was also one of many who said they saw another ship's light in the distance which did not come to render aid. He added, later, that there was a lot of joking and 'skylarking' about the Titanic, even after it struck the iceberg. He simply stated it was understood among the crew that there was nothing to fear, the ship was unsinkable.
Mr William Henry Taylor - Titanic Survivor

On an aircraft, when the crew hear the evacuation alarm, they don’t stop to ask for orders, because they have already had regular training in what to do and they know that time is of the essence. You go into automatic mode and get on with your set evacuation drill. In all emergencies, speed and preparedness is of the utmost importance. We all hope that the preparations will not be needed, but they must be made — everything must be ready, whether the worse scenario happens or not. Lightoller had already experienced a shipwreck and a fire at sea, so he of all people knew this.

It sounds, from the above account, the drill for firemen was to go to the mess room to wait for orders. Obviously for officers it was different — they took charge.

I’ll continue below as otherwise this will be too long.
 

Jude

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In his BBC interview, after describing how he’d jumped out of his bunk after feeling the shudder, but not seeing anything, had gone back to his cabin to wait as that is where he would be contacted if he was needed. Lightoller says:

“You see, apart from being nearly frozen, even an officer when off watch, isn’t welcome on the bridge in pyjamas or anything else…

Boxhall…poked his head round my door and said,

“Do you know we’ve struck an iceberg?” ….. “…the water’s up to F deck in the mail room.” There was no need for him to say anything more. I was into a pair of pants, sweater and bridge coat and out on deck almost as soon as he was….

At the same time as Boxhall had called me, the order had been given “All hands on deck” and I met my watch tumbling up on the boat deck just as I got there…”

“Now in the merchant service, men are taught to think and if necessary act for themselves. They don’t wait for pipes or bugles and I can tell you that the 700 survivors of that night can thank God they don’t. Every man jack just went about his job, well as if it was an every day occurrence.”

BBC - Archive - Survivors of the Titanic - I Was There | Commander CH Lightoller

Sorry Scott, but your post is personal opinion. Neither you nor I nor anyone here was there on that night. I really don’t want to comment any more though there are many here who have a great deal of knowledge and may be able to throw light on your propositions.

What I know is that I was thrilled to see Sundowner close-up on Saturday night and then again on Sunday, taking part in the wonderful Thames River Pageant In celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. Lightoller saved the lives of 127 men in it, dodging shellfire from the shore and bombs and gun attacks from the German planes above.

I leave you with my favourite passage from the book 'Titanic Voyager' the odyssey of C.H.Lightoller where Patrick Stenson is describing the perilous journey under enemy attack back from Dunkirk, with 127 men lying below and on the deck (including one on the toilet and two in the bath!)

"As time, and each nerve-racking mile, went slowly and painfully by the conditions down below became appaling. With everything battened down and not so much as a porthole or a skylight open, the atmosphere was wretched, a mixture of sweat, diesel fumes and a growing stench of seasickness, the sickness not because it was a rough day, far from it, but all the swerving and lurching about that "Sundowner" was doing was too much for the unaccustomed stomachs to stand. It was no place for claustrophobics and not knowing what was going on up top made it worse. But never a moan or grumble was heard. They all did their best to grin and bear it, obeying the instructions to remain lying down and under no circumstances to move. The only time when any doubts were expressed about their safety was when one young Tommy anxiously commented, " 'Ere, some bloke told me the old skipper of this boat was on the 'Titanic'. That's all the luck we need!" The retort from an older, wiser Tommy was pointed: "Lad, if 'e was in that and came through it, 'e'll do you son, 'e'll do you."

And here is Lights’ own description of his experience at Dunkirk.

BBC - Archive - WWII: Dunkirk Evacuation - Dunkirk: A Personal Perspective | CH Lightoller

And here's a little glimpse from yesterday: Dunkirk veteran leads little ships in jubilee pageant | ITV News
 

Jude

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I just popped back to add the definition of "all hands on deck" - just in case you didn't understand it Scott. It is an emergency directive:
First he discusses all of the ABs swarming onto the deck after the "All Hands on Deck!" order is given. ....how did he know to what order the ABs are responding to? Is he assuming?

As I said above - we were not there - we are the ones assuming. Captain Smith gave the order for the lifeboats to be uncovered to Wilde. Part of carrying that out was the "all hands on deck' pipe. The emergency bells were rung outside all the crews' quarters.

I just wanted to try to explain to you Scott that "all hands on deck" means that it is an emergency situation that needs all crew to get to their stations immediately to prepare for their emergency drills. Crews were split into two rotating watches that stood for four hours at a time. This call signals the entire crew to assemble on deck, so those sleeping would have been woken. You don't put out that call unless it is very serious. You don't get all crew on deck in the middle of the night, following being hit by an iceberg and taking in water, in order to give them tea and sandwiches. Sigh. Part of the emergency drill is uncovering lifeboats in preparedness for having to evacuate the ship (don't know if that's the right term in nautical speak).

Lightoller knew that the ship had been damaged by an iceberg and he knew that water was coming in, so even though he didn't believe at that time that it would sink, he (and all the other officers) knew that the lifeboats had to be got ready as part of the emergency drill. Don't forget too that in a huge ship like the Titanic and in the days before radio and electronic communications between crew members, precious time would be lost if you tried to find everyone to assemble them for a briefing, so they would have had drills that they were ready to follow and to use their initiative.

Having already experienced a shipwreck and a fire, Lightoller was impatient to get going. According to Stetson, once he'd uncovered the lifeboats, he went in search of Wilde and shouted to ask permission to turn the boats out, but Wilde's answer was, "Wait.' So, he went in search of the Captain and was given the go-ahead. Then once the boats were swung out and ready, he asked Wilde if he should start loading women and children, but was again told to wait. So when he saw the Captain, he then got the OK.

This is confirmed by this bio on ET:
Wilde's movements between 6 pm and about 11.45 pm are not known for sure, but shortly after the Titanic collided with an iceberg Wilde was passing close to the bow, there he found the Bosun Albert Haines and Lamp Trimmer Samuel Hemmings who said they could hear air escaping from the tank and that water was getting in but that the storeroom was dry. Wilde went up to report this to the bridge. He then joined Captain Smith and Thomas Andrews on a brief inspection to see the extent of the damage.

Wilde took charge of the even numbered boats, those on the port side. Quartermaster Olliver recalled being sent by Wilde to find the boatswain and tell him to uncover the lifeboats and make them ready for lowering. He gave similar instructions to Lightoller, telling the second officer to have the boats uncovered. Lights asked if hands had been called, Wilde replied that they had. He then asked if the boats should be swung out yet, Wilde said "no, wait" but at that moment Captain Smith came past and Lightoller asked him, Smith replied "Yes, Swing out." Perhaps Wilde was trying to avert panic but he was being over-cautious, Lightoller had been shipwrecked before and may have been more realistic about the necessity to get the boats loaded and lowered. He sent men down to open the windows on A-Deck to allow loading but Wilde again delayed him. Lightoller saw the Captain and, cupping his hands to make himself heard above the steam bellowing from the funnels asked him. The Captain replied "Yes put the women and children in and lower away."
Wilde is little mentioned in survivor recollections of the sinking and his activities remain something of a mystery. What is certain is that he worked diligently to load the boats once the seriousness of the situation was clear to him. About 1.30 he ordered Lowe to take command of boat 14. Around this time, Wilde interrupted Lightoller to ask where the firearms were kept. When Lightoller had been first officer at Southampton these had been his responsibility. Lightoller did not understand why Wilde wanted the guns but he led Wilde, Captain Smith and First Officer William Murdoch to the locker in the First Officer's cabin. As Lightoller was about to leave Wilde shoved a revolver in his had with some ammunition saying "Here you are, you may need it." Wilde had been described as having a "powerful" look. According to major Peuchen he single handedly drove out a group of fireman and stokers who were trying to get into a boat. But now, even Wilde sought the extra influence a gun could provide.

As the others left the cabin Wilde said he was going to put on his lifebelt, Lightoller got his and returned to the loading.... Mr Henry Tingle Wilde - Titanic Chief Officer

I've left the bottom bit in as there was a meeting of the Captain, Wilde, Murdoch and Lightoller, but it was at an advanced stage of the sinking. So that's when Lights would have gathered some of the information and then, while on the Carpathia, he spent the time gathering all the information he could, with Boxhall. So I'm guessing that he learned that the water-tight doors were closed either during his meeting on the ship or on the Carpathia.
 

Scott Mills

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I knew it would please you, that I have actually read what I have been critiquing! Unfortunately the cold hard reality of the business of academics is that most people critique what they haven't read whenever they are engaged in any critique at all! Indeed, you can see this here, not just from me, but if you go look at the thread in which we discuss Senan Molony's book on Mount Temple! :D

And to be fair, I am much more critical of people posting critiques of Senan's book without having read it than I am of myself.

OK, so maybe you should next read Patrick Stenson’s brilliant biography of Lightoller, “Titanic Voyager”. He spent years researching it, which included checking facts in the Australian newspapers describing some of the events you seem to be questioning. I think you might find that the experiences Lights describes actually did happen.

Great now I have to read another book! Thanks a lot. In any case, I never claimed that some of the things he mentioned did not happen. Particularly that incident with the gun in Sydney. That would be too falsifiable to just lie about, but perhaps his involvement was a wee bit exaggerated and the whole incident rather over the top as described? This is mainly what I'm talking about with "tall tails." It makes you wonder about whether or not everything they related to you was embellished.

Incidentally, for the above reason I am not calling Lightoller a liar--and again remember that I actually think people come to remember some of these things even though they happened quite a bit differently. It is precisely the over exaggeration that makes the narration a wee bit untrustworthy.

Having said all of that I do believe that Lightoller did lie during the enquiry, and I'll stick to that. This does not lower my opinion of him one bit though, as he was only as human as the rest of us. And as we can see even in our own time, lying before congress is a quite common human attribute when it comes to saving our own skin!

he didn’t think to put his watch on

He did actually. I believe he mentions both it and his whistle while standing on the overturned boat.

and keep checking it throughout the disaster, so that armchair experts like you could be better satisfied.

That is not what I am saying at all, Jude! What I am saying is that, according to his story, he didn't ever check. Not once. And that he did his job very well, in a synchronized and timely manner, for someone who never bothered to check about what was happening.

I'm not being the Monday morning quarter back here, and I would not expect him to be running to the bridge every twenty minutes for orders, I am just pointing out that his claim to have never consulted anyone except Captain Smith and then only to request permission to load the boats, at any point after he's come on deck seem very strange to me.

That's it. And because of this, I think there is something missing from his story. Something he is leaving out, or his brain has altogether erased. And I am not the only one! His own granddaughter claims that something like what David theorizes happened, that the ship was not sinking until they made way again, and that in a brief discussion with Smith, Wilde, and Murdoch while retrieving the firearms it was agreed to not discuss it further.

Whether or not that's true, I don't know. I doubt it somewhat, but I do think that Lightoller was party to all of the information that the other senior officers were party to. That he knew about when everyone else did when the ship was sinking, that he knew about the ship making way again after the collision, and that he chose, at the very least, to keep quiet about that.

I also think that, since the boats were uncovered and the loading of them began at the same time on both sides of the ship, he probably received orders to do so from someone above him, possibly Wilde, and did not act as unilaterally as he says he does--again this would not necessarily be a lie on his part, but possibly another exaggeration.

Also, my comment about the time frame not being provided. I did not mean that as a criticism, just simply as a way to say we cannot rely on his testimony about when the steam was vented to establish that Titanic did or did not make way after the collision. I don't even think this was a topic that you and are were discussing together, so it was more a general note.

This was real life going on — not theory. :mad: Don’t forget too, that there had been no lifeboat drill, not even a boat muster and the ship was new to all the seamen. That they accomplished what they all did was a miracle in itself. Obviously with that wonderful thing hindsight, it could and should have all been so different. And as I’ve said before, Lightoller himself admits that he used the “whitewash brush” in the inquiries in order to protect the British Board of Trade and the White Star line and all its employees, but that doesn’t make him a habitual liar as you seem to insinuate.

Jude, I agree! When it comes to evacuating the ship and saving lives, I think the crew and officers did as well of a job as anyone ever could have. There are things we can nit pick, like not enough boats (that wouldn't have made much of a difference anyhow) or the boats being lowered under capacity, etc. But as you say, this was real life, and these men responded heroically. Many gave their lives doing so.

And, again, I am not saying Lights is some sort of terrible person who lies all the time, and neither did I think that of my grandfather. They were both sailors and both I believe exaggerated when it came to telling their sailors stories. No harm in this.

The only time I really accuse Lightoller of being a "liar" in the sense you mean is during the enquirers. But, alas, I do not expect the man to be a saint and I understand and accept his motivations. My feelings about Lightoller generally are that he was a good man who did his best, and lived a good life. I also feel that he was treated unfairly by White Star and lament that he was never given command of his own merchant vessel.

I honestly would have thought you should get to know your Titanic history better before writing like that. With the internet, it is so easy to get the facts.

Jude, there is no need for this at all, and I frankly don't understand the personal attack. I know my Titanic facts as well as 80% of the people who post on this board. I am obviously not a Titanic historian who has written books about the ship (like some of us here). If you don't like how I draw my connections, just say so, but do not accuse me of not knowing enough to post here. That's insulting.

It was Captain Smith who gave the order (to Chief Officer Wilde) for the lifeboats to be uncovered. According to Stetson, it was the Bosun Nichols who piped “all hands on deck” and alarm bells were set off in all the crews’ quarters, so they began tumbling out on deck. I found this account:

Which is what I said! It is also why Lightoller's account where he insinuates that he ordered the port boats uncovered and that he, as a British merchant seaman new that he had to act independently rather than wait for orders seems so strange. He says these things in his own words, in the book that you insisted I read (and which I have).

This is the heart of why I am saying that something is missing in Lightoller's narrative--at least the one he provides in his book.



On an aircraft, when the crew hear the evacuation alarm, they don’t stop to ask for orders.

No evacuation alarm in that sense was ever given on Titanic. It wasn't as if an alarm bell rang telling everyone the ship was doomed, abandon ship. If there is one thing we know for sure, is that it was done deliberately and quietly. There was a real feeling amongst the officers, attested to by all of them whom survived, that they should do everything possible to avoid panic.

So, again, yes, I agree. After he received the order to load and lower the boats, there would be no further need to talk to anyone; However, Lights makes it sound like no order was ever given him to uncover the boats, let alone lower them. Remember he claims to have to ASK Smith, who only nods his head.

My argument is:

1. Lightoller probably did see what was happening on the bridge, where he was ordered to uncover the boats by either Smith or Wilde. It is unclear which, because this all depends on when he actually makes it to the bridge and if Smith was still below with Andrews.
2. Lightoller uncovers the boats and waits. At some point around 12:15 he is informed by Wilde most likely that he should load and lower the boats, and that the ship is foundering.
3. At this point he does just this--he no longer needs further input. He knows the ship is sinking, and he knows what he has to do.
 

Scott Mills

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sloppy academics, to put it mildly! The most important thing in good academics is serious and detailed research, not speculation.

One last thing, and I will let it go. You are completely wrong here. First of all, I am not here in an official capacity as an academic. I have left my academic cap at home, if you will.

It is not as if my musings on this message board are intended by me for publication, so the insistence regarding meticulous research is not appropriate. Second of all, despite this, I have gone out of my way on more than one occasion to provide outside support for what I have been saying. Whether that is citing directly from primary sources, or linking to the publications of others (who all post here) who provide a similar analysis to my own and were actually writing academic works.

Third, all good academics starts as speculation. You make it sound as if we just have our noses stuffed in books all day absorbing minutia, then spitting something "new" out. This isn't how it works at all. We speculate about events, behaviors and outcomes--literally anything you can think of. That speculations leads to insights, and "ah ha!" moments. You then go back and do the pain staking work of research and attempt to determine whether or not there is any merit to that speculation.

So it is precisely stuff like this--musing back and forth between colleagues--that makes up most of the life of an academic, or at least the ones that I know. It isn't like when chatting about post-modern critiques of capitalism or critical race theory with my fellows we insist on peer-reviewed and impeccably sourced publications before we will take someone's point seriously.
 

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