The Californian Incident A Reality Check


Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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oohhh,

Well on second thought maybe I will take the Gittens and Mo in a to go box .

Good fishy fishy. Stay there fishy. Be good fishy fishy.

Erik
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Keel hauling for me actually so I can study more the affects of "sounding" and depth finding....

or being taken in a to go box for Erik medium well sounds even better....and would actually be preferred. hehehehehehehehehe But if I;ve been in the box with Gittins for too long and have a huge smile on my face.....just ignore that....I am always true to you Erik.....hehehehehehehehehehe

....and Randy.

uh,.....and George....

and......Geoff...... hmmmmm, let me see,...uh

oh yes, and Michael Standart of course.

Dave Gittins......I think that these people may be a tad bit upset with us. hehehehehehehehehe

Maureen.
 
Dec 12, 1999
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The "Reality Check" article mentions that after Lord resigned on August 13, 1912 from Leyland Line, he wrote various letters to people. I'm intrigued by the November 17, 1912 letter, written by Captain Rostron, and shown on the THS website, which states that Stanley Lord wrote to him asking about the two steamers Rostron saw -- on the morning of April 15, 1912. It then says that Lord wrote a second time and sent a copy of a "custom" letter? I can't figure out what that says. If indeed, it is "custom", then does anyone know what he is referring to?
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Hi, Jan:

Rostron would have been referring -- I believe that may actually say "curious" -- to the letter Lord received from W.H. Baker, which putatively fingered the Mount Temple as the actual "mystery ship" seen by the Titanic. (Tracy Smith had transcribed the letter here on the Message Board at one point.) Baker's evidence was largely hearsay obtained on the *return* voyage of the Mount Temple, to which he was transferred at the last moment, and nothing much ever came of it.

Lord had forwarded Rostron a copy of this letter, which Rostron acknowledged receipt of in his response to Lord of November 6th, 1912. The Baker letter as well as Rostron's correspondence with Lord were attached as exhibits to Lord's 1959 Affidavit, and are, I believe, also reproduced in Leslie Reade's book.

But that THS Rostron letter and its revelation of Rostron's further forward to Cunard of that Baker letter are certainly news to me. Good find! (Both Rostron and Lightoller were initially quite sympathetic to Lord's apparent "plight".)

Cheers,
John
 
Dec 12, 1999
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Thanks, John. I believe that the forwarding of the materials to Cunard gives us a rare glimpse into what is really going on here. Behind the scenes, the steamship companies have everyone on a short chain, including the illustrious Captain Rostron. I've seen this so many times before it's not funny. Thanks again.
 

Arne Mjåland

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Oct 21, 2001
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Have you read http://www.cableregi na.com/users/doukhob or.genealogy/Shipsli sts.htm?
It is about immigration to Doukhobor, Canada from 1898. I read this about the Californian: "It carried mixed cargo and 6 Doukhobor passengers from the Caucasus. The intended destination of all Doukhobor passengers is listed as Yorkton, Saskatchevan. Note there is no actual ship passenger list for this voyange, the passengers appears as "minscellaneous Boston arrivals" (National Archives of Canada - Microfilm Reel#T-4692. Some of you may perhaps already seen that microfilm?
 
Sep 20, 2000
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[From the web site]:
S.S. CALIFORNIAN
This Leyland line steamship departed April 5, 1912, under Captain S. Lord, from the port of Liverpool, England. It carried mixed cargo and 6 Doukhobor passengers from the Caucasus. On April 14, 1912 crew members observed distress signals sent up by the nearby sinking S.S. Titanic but ignored them. The Californian and her crew became notorious for their failure to respond to this incident. After 15 days at sea, the vessel arrived at the port of Boston, Massachusetts on April 19, 1912. The intended destination of all Doukhobor passengers is listed as Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Note there is no actual ship passenger list for this voyage; the passengers appear as "miscellaneous Boston arrivals". [National Archives of Canada - Microfilm Reel #T-4692]
Arne: I'm not sure what to make of that one myself, but I am sceptical. There is that obvious error in the departure point -- according to Reade, the Californian's home port was indeed Liverpool, but this particular voyage was embarked upon from London! (And you would think the passengers should know where they got on, at least.) Otherwise the voyage details seem reasonably accurate, though that's really a separate issue. Of course, the rockets weren't sent up or observed until April 15, though common parlance would allow for "the night of the 14th" as a substitution.

The admission that there's no actual passenger list with which to confirm that claimed connection does tend to raise my eyebrow; and "miscellaneous Boston arrivals" isn't convincing at all. (Perhaps a bit of mere family "lore" passed along?)

But it is an interesting find. It could be worthwhile to track it down, too, though I suspect already it might be a "wild goose chase". (I don't have access to that microfilm myself.)

Cheers,
John

P.S. I've been trying to reach you by email, with no success.
Do you know what "Forste synkefrie dampere" would translate to in English?
 
Feb 13, 2002
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Well...I'm about 14 posts and two months late. It just goes to show that it doesn't have to be April to fool a body! You got me with the Natasha ! I'm reading along and thinking..wouldn't Bob or somebody have run across it while "mowing the lawn"? Would have pinged on the old sonar, No? ..then..I find it's April Foolery? You guys are the BEST ! I expect nothing less!
I have not kept up with my studies, and I'm sure it's in here somewhere (and I should know this) but were there any sonar target sites left unexplored when Titanic was found? I know you know this Michael...Whatcha think?

Steph
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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John, I'll have a guess at 'first unsinkable steamer'. If I'm wrong, Arne can have a laugh at me.
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Steph wrote: '...wouldn't Bob or somebody have run across it while "mowing the lawn"?'

Hmmm! Maybe *that* explains Jack Grimm's "propellor" after all. ;^)

Dave: Yup! That's what Arne relayed to me. (I kinda thought so, too, but German isn't quite Norwegian.)

Cheers,
John
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
I don't recall the use of sonar mapping on the Ballard expedition. I'll have to check my books to be sure. The problem with sonar mapping is that it's not as revealing as some might think. You get a fix on something but the only way to figure out what it is is to go down for a look see. It could be a natural object, or it could be some unfortunate ship that had a very bad day! The only way to be certain is to send down a camera either on a manned submersible or a robot.

In the case of the Ballard expedition, they did the latter, using that sled which they towed to get real time images of the bottom. They were near the end of their time on station when they scored.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Feb 13, 2002
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Your right! (no surprise there :eek:) Grimm used the sonar and all the targets were natural formations. Bob did say the French on the Le Suroit used the sonar with no luck. Lucky for us, they had "eyes" and what a score it was! I knew you were the man to "see" about it though! Har Har Har

Thanks Michael!
 

Arne Mjåland

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Oct 21, 2001
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I wondered if any of the crew/passengers on the Californian have argued that the ship was not stationary from evening April 14 to morning 15 April? There were lots of witnesses on the ship that claimbed that the ship stood still all that time. If 20 or say 50 witnesses said it stood still and none the opposite, are we then able to believe that this is right?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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To my knowladge, no such arguement or statement has ever been made. Had she started up again, you would think the officers on watch of all people would have noticed, and yet they made no such statement. Except to drift with the current, Californian never moved until she got underway again in the morning.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Arne: Agreed with Mike here. The only substance ever given to a moving ship argument was that of Captain Lord (and some followers). He insisted that since Boxhall (alone) thought the steamer under observation might be moving slowly towards the Titanic -- Californian was swinging clockwise in the current, which could yield this impression -- that the Californian could not possibly have been the ship under observation.

It's a pretty weak argument, and always was. But no one claimed the Californian got underway until 6:00 A.M., and there were no passengers.

I should mention that Carpenter McGregor -- in his second-hand Clinton, Massachusetts, newspaper expose -- apparently *thought* the Californain had been underway the whole time. But he was very likely asleep that night, and was just spilling the beans, as he understood them. (He wasn't a witness, just a whistle-blower.)
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Just to revisit this old thread...
I've just reread this interesting article and it stands up very well. I'm very interested to know where the quote from Leylands about "safety first, business second" comes from.
 

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