Survivors Mistaking Gunshots for Explosions?



Survivors heard gunshots after the Titanic sank while others thought they were explosions. Here is a gun fired with a strong echo. Could survivors mistake this for an explosion?

We have survivors who did not hear any gunshots. e.g.

QM Rowe
Q - Did you hear any revolver shots?
A - No, sir.

James McGough
Q - Did you hear any guns or revolvers fired?
A - No.

We also have survivors who heard many gunshots after the Titanic sank.

Mr. Evans
"The fifth officer used one, sir.....He fired four shots when we went to this boat that was in distress. She was half full of water, and they were up to their ankles in water. There was one collapsible boat that we had in tow, and we went over to this one that was swamped, sir....."

Mr. Scarrott
Q - Did you hear any other shots fired at all?
A - Yes.
Q - Where?
A - After we came back from the wreckage where we had taken one of those rafts in tow, Mr. Lowe emptied his pistol into the water; as regards the number of rounds left in it I cannot say, but I think he emptied five rounds out of it.

Mr. Stengel
"I heard about five shots; that is while we were afloat. Four of them I can account for in this way, that when the green lights were lit on the boat they were lashed to - my wife's boat - the man shot off a revolver four times, thinking it was a vessel. The man in charge said, "You had better save all your revolver shots, you had better save all your matches, and save everything. It may be the means of saving your life." After that I heard another shot that seemed to be aboard the Titanic. It was explained to me afterwards that that was the time that one of the men shot off his revolver - that is, the mate or whoever had charge of the boat shot off his revolver - to show the men that his revolver was loaded and he would do what he said; that any man who would step into the lifeboat he would shoot."

He was in the same lifeboat with 3rd officer Pitman. Both men heard "four sharp explosions". Were they coming from Lowe's gunfire?

3rd officer Pitman
Q - Did you hear any explosions?
A - Yes; four reports.....They sounded like the reports of a big gun in the distance.
Q - How long before going down were there explosions or noises?
A - Not until she was submerged.
Q - Not until she was entirely submerged?
A - Yes.
Q - The after part of the ship as well as the forward part?
A - Yes; the whole of her.
Q - She had gone under water before these explosions were heard?
A - Yes, sir.
Q - And you are quite sure that the explosions you heard came from the ship?
A - Oh, yes; perfectly sure.

Could the sound of gunshots echoed across the water be mistaken for explosions?

The late Dennis Hale was the sole survivor of a Titanic-era ship that broke up in a storm. He told me that the snapping of rivets was like gunshots and the breaking of the steel his exact words..."an explosion." He said that sparks were visible as the plating cracked.

-- David G. Brown
Apparently, if anyone trying to help Murdoch's case or is interested, the ''Baron'' Alfred Nourney would fire his gun at radon points.

''...Nevertheless they were among the first who entered a lifeboat, No.7. They did that without any difficulties. The boat was lowered at 0.45 am and they rowed away, but Nourney just sat there smoking. Afterwards he fired off all his cartridges in his revolver, he carried with him "to defend himself in the wild west". He did this in certain intervals.''

Taken from this link: Alfred Nourney : Titanic Survivor | Mr Alfred Nourney (Baron von Drachstedt)