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Stanley Lord guilty as charged

Discussion in 'Accusations against Captain Lord and Subsequent Di' started by schuylervanjohnson, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie Member

    Hello Georges,
    Other than stating ice was at 42 North on April 12, 2 days earlier, what vital information regarding ice in that message did Smith ignore?

    A drop in air or sea temperature, Georges? The average surface temperature of the Labrador Current right down to The Tail at this moment in time is about 37F. Sea surface temperature taken in the way it was taken in 1912 was no indicator of anything, other than in the case of Californian, a ship is stopped in a pool of fresh ice melt.

    As I pointed out to Sam, the idea of a 1+ knot current running south at that point is nonsense. Heavens! If that were true, it was running faster than the North Atlantic Current extension of the Gulf Stream and would have set Carpathia to the south-west [not northeast] of her target - Titanic's CQD position. As a result, Rostron would never have found Boxhall.
    As I also pointed out to Sam: if you plot the ice reports for the entire month of April, you will discover that the ice was moving eastward to the south of the tail of the Grand Bank, immediately south of the 42nd parallel. Take particular note of the difference between the tracks followed by the Mesaba during April 14 and the tracks followed by the Prinz Adalbert on April 16.

    Lookouts were warned to look out for small ice from 9 pm onward. Smith had the luxury of 2 lookouts and three deck officers on his bridge. That's ten young eyes to his two old ones.

    Don't you think that Smith knew all these facts about the ability to see ice under varying conditions? Of course he did! He was probably better at it than you or me.

    Your remark about binoculars tells me that your experience with lookouts is modern and that you have not spent many hours up in the nest or at the stem head... exhausted or otherwise.

    The evidence tells us that Smith was not in the least "well informed" about the immediate situation. It tells us that if he applied his experience to the information he did have, he would have concluded that the danger from ice would be well away to the northeastward from where it was located 2 days earlier.

    The capacity of the lifeboats has absolutely nothing to do with Smith's actions.

    In my day, all masters lay down in the day-bed (or settee) fully clothed during a time where there might be even the smallest risk to their ship. The presence of the Master on the bridge outside normal times indicated several things:

    1. Lack of confidence in those to whom he delegated authority.
    2. Lack of ability to delegate.
    3. Lack of belief in personal ability.
    4, An affection for the Officer of the Watch.

    Can't see Smith and lightoller or Murdoch as an item...can you?:eek:
    Tracy Smith58 likes this.
  2. Tracy Smith58

    Tracy Smith58 Member

    Hello all. I've not posted here since 2007 (I think) and was unable to log into my old account, so had to create a new one. Have taken several weeks to read this entire thread carefully, making notes of things I wanted to comment on. It may take a few posts to cover it. Please bear with me.

    1. Someone, Aaron2016, I think, had commented about Captain Lord's handwriting, asking if it had ever been analyzed. It has - there is a 1989 book, Hands Off the Titanic (and Californian) by Monica Harding O'Hara which analyzes the handwriting of several people associated with the Titanic disaster, including all the officers of the Californian. The author also interviewed Captain Lord's son and the book also includes biographical info about the captain.

    2. Someone had asked about Captain Lord's papers in reference to what he saved, and wondered if his home had been bombed during WWII. It was bombed in 1942 and the Lords had to move to a temporary address, 29 Salisbury Ave, W Kirby, while the damage was fixed. A.M. Foweraker had died at this time and his papers had been offered to Captain Lord, but he was unable to take them because of his current living circumstances. Not sure what eventually happened to those papers.

    3. Mention was made of Captain Rostron initially being sympathetic to Captain Lord's predicament. Rostron came from the same town as Lord and had gone to school with Lord's much older brother, James, before going to sea. I have to wonder if Rostron made the connection and recognized Lord as being the brother of his old schoolmate

    Enough for one post. More coming.
  3. Tracy Smith58

    Tracy Smith58 Member


    1. Someone had questioned why 62 year old Captain Lord had not volunteered to serve in WWII. He'd already served his country in the First World War. He did some convoy duty, but mostly ferried horses from the United States for the war effort, for which he was commended for delivering them in such good condition. One notable incident was when his ship, the Anglo Chilean, on 13 May 1917 encountered the U38, commanded by the well-known Max Valentiner and engaged in battle with it, before eventually escaping. Source: The Nitrate Boats by David Burrell, 1995.

    2. Someone had asked identity of Californian lookout. One was Benjamin Kirk(1890-1977), who was the man hauled up in a coal bucket above the crow's nest, as the Californian made its way to the Carpathia. He was interviewed by Leslie Harrison and made this statement:

    I was born in Liverpool on 30 September 1890. I made my first trip at sea as a deck boy on the Runic, a White Star boat, in 1905. I did a trip in the Californian to New Orleans in March 1912 and came back to London. She was a Leyland liner. I stayed by the ship and went on the next voyage from London to Boston and back to Liverpool. I was on lookout from 10 to 12 on the night she stopped surrounded by field ice. I was on the fo'c'sle head. There was a glare of light from another ship on the starboard beam. I cannot remember when I first saw it but I did not report it as an approaching ship so think it must have come up from astern. It was still there when I came off watch at twelve o'clock.

    I came on watch again at four in the morning. There were no icebergs in sight. Later, the Chief Officer asked me to go up in a coal bucket shackled to a mainmast stay and hoisted by a gantline to look for survivors or wreckage or boats from the Titanic. I could see nothing. I remember very plainly first seeing the Mount Temple on the port bow and then the Carpathia. There were no boats or wreckage in the water, which was calm, but the Carpathia had boats on her foredeck. She steamed away and I came down.

    When the Californian docked in Liverpool, no one questioned me about what had happened. I did not go down to the inquiry.

    This statement is made of my own free will and to the best of my recollection.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  4. Julian Atkins

    Julian Atkins Member

    Hi Mila and Steven,

    "It was a very deceiving night" (Captain Lord, conclusion of his USA Inquiry evidence)

    Indeed it was!

    Have a look at the PDF file attached to Sam's first post in the following thread

    Navigational Inconsistencies of the SS Californian

    As I understand things (and I apologise in advance to Sam for any errors on my part in understanding Sam's article) Sam concludes that Captain Lord did make navigational errors and there were errors in the Ships Log's recorded positions and 'dead reckoning' positions, but by carefully correcting these mistakes the data can be made to fit Captain Lord's 19 1/2 mile distance except that you need to reduce this distance by some 3 miles to 16 or 17 miles. This is to the Titanic's Boxhall CQD position rather than where the wreck sunk.

    Then you have the matter of 'drift' of the Californian, but to my mind this is only relevant for the distance Californian was from Titanic for the times the white rockets were seen, and taking into account the fact that the Californian was stopped some 1 hour 40 minutes longer than Titanic.

    (If you are considering where the Californian was at day break on the 15th April vis a vis the Mount Temple and Carpathia then the time element of 'drift' of Californian is a further period).

    I am aware that the element of 'drift' is hotly debated.

    I do not think that anything like what Groves, Captain Lord, Stone and Gibson said in evidence (or Stone and Gibsons' statements of 18th April) was what happened on the Californian or what was seen. I think that the Californian was much further away than both Inquiries suggested, but not quite as far as Captain Lord claimed and as stated in his Ships Log.

    At the relevant time I don't think Stone saw anything other than 8 white rockets exploding into stars at intervals a long way off on the horizon SSE and 'low down'. I very much doubt he saw anything else at all apart from a sky full of brightly lit stars.

    The rest of the evidence was a pure fabrication or pack of lies, with a few exceptions.

    A much closer 'mystery ship' was concocted in a half baked plan of deceit to try and hood wink the Inquiries that it could not have been Titanic that had been seen firing distress rockets. This half baked plan was then very poorly executed.

    But this played right into Mersey's hands, and allowed Mersey to state the Californian was much closer than it actually was to the sinking Titanic.


    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  5. Tracy Smith58

    Tracy Smith58 Member


    A bit of speculation. Early on in the thread, some had accepted the notion that Captain Lord was "cruel", a tyrant", a "martinet", "eccentric", easily roused to anger and/or that the officers and men were afraid of him.

    I think that rather than being any of these, he was simply an introvert and reserved in manner. He was very good at his job and expected the same of his crew, and I don't imagine he suffered fools gladly. He expected nothing from his crew that he did not expect of himself. When he was indentured as an apprentice from the age of 13 and a half on, he started at the bottom and performed the duties of a deckhand, then an AB, before being trained as a future officer.

    And though introverted and reserved, I don't think he was unapproachable. Perhaps because he was so close in age to his officers - same age as Stewart, only ten years older than Groves and Stone, he thought it best not to be overly familiar with his officers in order to maintain proper authority. Compare this to Captain Smith, who was old enough to be the father of every one of his officers (and Captains Lord and Rostron, for that matter) and could better afford to take a more avuncular attitude.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
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  6. Mark Baber

    Mark Baber Moderator Member

    Groundings in/near the Ambrose Channel were not uncommon occurrences.
    That was George Burton, not Smith. See E. J. Smith, Coptic Aground and Rio---Two out of three ain't bad?
    Edward McKinstry was Germanic's commander, not Smith.
    Although any fire onboard can become serious, the Majestic fire was in a linen closet, and the Baltic fire broke out in a cargo of cotton while the ship was docked at Liverpool. Both were extinguished quickly, neither caused any significant damage and neither had anything to do with Smith's navigational ability.
    See above.
    The tug was later found to be completely at fault.
    As we discussed earlier in this thread, and as Sam Halpern mentioned at The Sting of the Hawke, Olympic was under compulsory pilotage at the time.
    This also has nothing to do with Smith's navigational ability.
    Another compulsory pilotage situation.
    Well, yes...
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  7. Mila

    Mila Member

    Here's one of the best evidence to estimate the distance between the Californian and the wreck site at 3:30 a.m. Carpathia's time.
    Both people in the lifeboats and the officers on Californian saw the rockets at the same time 3:30 a.m. Both saw the rockets as very, low lying just above the horizon.
    For some reason none saw a rocket exploded they only saw a flash created by the initial firing.
    Now the Californian horizon was around 8.2 miles. For a person sitting in a lifeboat the horizon could have been at 2.7 miles. This mean that at 3:30 in a morning the Californian was less than 10 (maybe 7) miles away from the wreck site.
  8. Mila

    Mila Member

    I have to clarify the above post. The officers on Californian saw the Carpathia's rockets as a flash just above the horizon,
    and here's how Beesley describes the rockets he saw from a lifeboat:


    They saw the same rockets at the same time,with very similar appearance, but the officers on Californian's bridge were some 40 or less feet higher than Beesley was. I personally have no more doubt about the distance between the Californian and the disaster site at least at 3:30 a.m. This also explains why the survivors saw the navigational lights of the Californian as soon as they left the Titanic.
  9. Tracy, I just wanted to say that it's great to see you back here. I lurk mostly but sometimes I have something to offer.
    Jim Currie and Tracy Smith58 like this.
  10. Georges G.

    Georges G. Member

    When you had to call the Old Man for weather, traffic or in doubt «outside normal times», did you lose your confidence, your ability and your fondness on his arrival on the bridge? Did you then hide yourself in the corner of the bridge to weep and moan? Poor Jim! When the presence of the captain was not require anymore, did he also had to tuck you, pat you on the back to make a little burp or breast feeding you to regain your ability and confidence? :p
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  11. No offense to any Captain's or men of the sea, but Stanley Lord knew what was going on that night so to accept his explanation of events of the ship is only 5 miles away and too small to be the massive Titanic is bullshit.

    He knew the Titanic was the only ship within the vicinity of him and they have been watching and sitting for over a day everything around them in the Titanic was the only ship to come alongside them within a 15-mile radius. To say that the ship turned away and appeared to sail away is more hogwash. What Stanley Lord and his crew did was play on the very perception of the public that they didn't understand the sea.

    Since we all know that whenever you're brought into court it is your job to paint yourself with the brightest possible color of Innocence, just like the whitewash that Lightoller reported in the thirties, Stanley Lord and the crew of the Californian did everything they could to appear that they had no guilt.

    The fact is the Californian was nothing more than a tramp steamer of maybe 8000 tons. Captain Lord knew the Titanic could carry up to 3,500 people. If you try to stuff 3500 people on an 8000 ton freighter odds are the ship would capsize. Stanley Lord knew this and chose to ignore the Titanic because he knew if he arrived on scene to offer aid his ship would be swamped too.

    Hence the malarkey during the hearings and in the end he was treated and condemned by the public as a criminal because he lied. Had he told the truth that his ship would have capsized under the strain of so many people and that is why he did not offer Aid then the hearings probably would have exonerated him and he would have gone on to have a successful career because as it was noted before, the first priority of any Captain is to the welfare of his own ship. Stanley Lord new that offering aid to the Titanic would cause his own specials to capsize and he made sure that his ship would stay safe.

  12. Georges G.

    Georges G. Member

    The compulsory pilotage excuse,

    Mark, you’re the captain of a vessel under compulsory pilotage. According to your long sea experience, the pilot go too fast, pass too close to other vessels, give too much wheel on turning, clutch the engines fore and back for nothing, give hard time to Jim that lead in losing his self-confidence and so on. As a master in a compulsory pilotage district but nevertheless in overall command, are you entitled to sit in your chair smoking a pipe and read the newspaper? Do you believe that even if the vessel is transiting into a compulsory pilotage district, it would be a good practice to keep a very close eye on the pilot while fully collaborating with him? If as a master you have any objective concern about the conduct of the vessel, do you consider that seeking clarification upon the pilot is a sign of good seamanship and team work? That’s what I meant by second effort if you whish to stay away from problems. Besides, would it be legitimate to take over the conduct and maneuver the vessel yourself on a dock approach since you know the vessel far better than the pilot?
  13. Tracy Smith58

    Tracy Smith58 Member

    Californian was 6223 tons.

    It was not five miles away from Titanic. If it was, then both ships would have easily seen and been able to respond to each other's Morsing. There were people on both ships actively looking for responses.

    Boxhall and others, such as AB Buley, also saw a moving ship approaching, when the Californian had been stopped well before the Titanic came along.

    The lookouts, who remained in the crow's nest for about 40 minutes after the ship made contact with the ice also saw no ships while up there, which they surely would have if the stopped Californian been five miles away.

    Captain Lord did not willfully "refuse" to go to the Titanic's aid. He was ill-served by the OOW, who was confused by what he saw, thus conveyed no sense of urgency to his groggy and half asleep captain, which resulted in miscommunication, but not willful actions on the part of either man. Perhaps Lord was wrong to trust that Stone was sufficiently competent, but I'm guessing that Stone had probably been perfectly competent performing his duties under mundane conditions up until this point., so Lord had no reason to second guess him that night.

    It would have been nice had Stone possessed a modicum of curiosity and awakened Evans, which would have been easy enough to do by sending Gibson over.

    And if Lord Mersey had for one moment thought that Captain Lord had actually willfully allowed 1500 people to go to their deaths, he'd have tried to have his Master's and Extra Master's certificates revoked and had him criminally prosecuted and would have, in fact, been remiss not to have done so if he'd actually been of that belief.

    No villains and no saints here. Just normal human beings.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  14. Mark Baber

    Mark Baber Moderator Member

    Which is exactly what Smith did during the Hawke collision and the New York non-collision. But, like it or not, the pilot's authority was such that the ship and her master were not responsible.
  15. Yet again no one is placing the blame on Lords who has Master of the ship holds responsibility. He knew that in the public eye he would be blamed for not helping during the sinking and that if he spouts off facts and figures it would have fallen on deaf ears. Hence the cover-up in the by the book answers he gave to try and acquit himself and his crew.

    I would not be surprised if their Wireless operator was awakened and they heard the distress signal and chose to turn off their Wireless set and pretend they had no idea well spouting off that they didn't think it was the Titanic...

    A 6000 ton freighter cannot handle 3000 + people and there was no way that Lord was to know that the Titanic was only caring 2228 Souls that night.

    Lord did not commit any crimes except for lying under oath.
  16. Steven

    Steven Member

    [Moderator's Note: A wholly-improper personal comment has been deleted from this message]

    Hi Tracy... good to see you're back; have been reading your messages here posted over the years before I joined about 18 months ago and greatly enjoyed them all; you're a beacon of sanity in the whole 'Californian incident' craziness... not that there aren't many likewise here too!

    Hope you're back here for the long-term...
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2018
    Tracy Smith58 likes this.
  17. Drunk? Hardly... Is it that hard to accept that in all plausibility that what I have said could be true? Have you ever been in a situation where you had to fib a situation to try and lessen the impact? All honest men at some point have to make a decision about what to do and what not to do and once you start down a path that is unrighteous in your heart but true all the same you follow it to the end.

    I sympathize with Lord's position, do not get me wrong but I am sure he knew more than he was letting on and his crew supported him 100%. He took the fall for them and put himself in a position he knew would doom him in the public eye. He hoped that the shipping lines would look past it but public opinion ensured the demise of his career.

    He knew what was happening and he made a choice. Do I attempt to render aid when I know my vessel cannot hope to help without possible injury to her or do I look out for my ship and my crew. He choose his ship and his crew which means he testified the rule book and an inability to recognize the ship not far away.

    He had the facts when Titanic passed him earlier in the evening and he knew it was the only other ship in the area. Regardless if the wireless operator worked for a different company, they are beholden to his orders as Master of the Ship. In any event think what you want but people lie all the time. Lightoller said it best, the inquiries were a whitewash and Lord knew what he was doing but prayed he would not pay so severely. He had hoped that the shipping lines would turn a blind eye but they could not hence he was bitter.

    I am taking a leap with my claims but if you were in command knowing what he should have known, what would you do? I would have done the same myself and hope like hell I could talk my way out of it later. He fell on his sword that night to protect his ship and crew. He did what the first rule of the sea demands. He protected his ship, a 6000 ton little freighter equipped to serve a small crew over 8 days or more, not 2300 people.

    If I was drunk then I could not post such a reply. Please mind yourself when you are replying to anyone you do not agree with or attempt to understand.


    And in case you were wondering I have been studying the Titanic since I was 12 years old. That was 21 years ago that this shift in the events surrounding her have captivated my imagination. I never believed Lords testimony and considering what other posters have said about him concerning his experience, how could he get things so wrong? You can blame the conditions all you want but he knew who was around him that night because he stopped in the middle of the day when he saw the ice. There was no mystery ship that was an invention. He knew the Titanic was in distress regardless if the wireless operator turned on his set or not. How does a captain with 34 years experience not recognize a super liner when he sees it? He saw it drive-by not even an hour and a half prior and yet not recognize it in the middle of the night? That sounds ludicrous to anybody with a shred of Common Sense.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  18. Steven

    Steven Member

    You indulged in wild-eyed, speculative, uninformed conjecture... publicly accused at least two people (Lord and Evans) who aren't alive to defend themselves of willfully turning a blind eye to a ship in distress... and all of it without even the merest hint of evidence, implied or otherwise.

    But seeing as you posted a comprehensive reply to my post, let me do likewise;

    * No, I do not accept what you suggest is true, because there is NOTHING to back up such supposition.

    * You say Californian was stopped by ice "in the middle of the day"... they actually stopped at 10:21 pm... not exactly the middle of the day by any metric standard of measurement, at least not on planet Earth.

    * I really don't think for a single nano-second that the crew of the Californian would have kept silent had their Captain both deliberately ignored another ship's distress calls and covered up the fact afterward... not when their own reputations, livelihoods, and freedom from prosecution/imprisonment were on the line... and the fact that not one of them let slip in the decades hence about this alleged grand conspiracy (even after retirement) speaks volumes to it's utter fiction and non-existence.

    * Lord categorically did NOT know what was happening; the full extent of what he knew of the unfolding tragedy until later that morning was an unidentified vessel 4-5 miles off Californian's starboard bow (that was not the largest man-made object afloat to date, a fact that would be hard to miss!), which didn't reply to repeated attempts to contact it by Morse lamp, and that seemed to fire a rocket before steaming away on it's own power... if you have a problem with who saw what on the Californian that night, it's 2/O Stone who should be under the spotlight; he was on the bridge at the time, Lord wasn't; both he and Apprentice Gibson saw multiple rockets being fired, Lord didn't.

    * It almost certainly was NOT the Titanic that passed Californian earlier in the night... not unless the former took a very sharp veer north and/or the latter an equally very sharp veer south, none of which happened... Lord didn't recognize a super-liner because no such vessel was ever near his (and he certainly knew what it would have looked like, having previously seen the Olympic in dock)... even the British Government now accept that both ships were NEVER in each other's visible horizon... and that's official.

    You admit yourself you're taking a leap with your claims... of that I completely and wholeheartedly agree with... it just happens to be a leap not of a mere differing or contrasting opinion, but one into the abyss of uninformed speculation, conjecture, and unsubstantiated supposition... and I make no apology for calling you on it.

    Again, said with all due respect and courtesy.

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  19. Have you read Stanley Lord's testimony at both the American and British Inquiry? I am reading them both right now and he is full of rubbish when he opens his mouth. Constsnt contradictions that the Attorney General and the Commisioner both caught on too quite quickly. The American's handled him with kid gloves but the Brits are really pressing him.

    Read it for yourself. It seems my 'leap of faith' is being verified by Stanley Lord's own cross ups under examination.

    So please, go ahead and read his testimony and then defend him. :)


    You say the Brits believed him too. Please show proof because from what I am reading from the Titanic Inquiry Project right now is very opposite of what you claim good sir.

    Happy Reading!
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  20. in fact it makes even more sense why none of them would EVER speak up. If they ever did utter a single word they would b hanged in the court of public opinion.

    If the Brits ever did "accept" Lord's testimony it was only to close the book on the disaster. In the end 1500 people died and no amount of arguing back and forth was going to ever change that.

    Read Stanley Lord's testimony again. His explantations do not add up and he even denies his own words during cross examination at the British Inquiry.

    If you cannot see that than you are an apologist.