The Middle Watch

Paul Lee

Member
Aug 11, 2003
2,239
2
108
An interesting read by Senan, but of course I don't follow his view. I did notice one blinding mistake: he said that the Mount Temple saw the Carpathia and the Californian at 8am.

Lets take a look at Capt.Moore's testimony in the US:


Senator SMITH. How near the Carpathia did you get that morning?

Mr. MOORE. This pack of ice between us and the Carpathia, it was between 5 and 6 miles. She did not communicate with me at all. When we sighted her she must have sighted us.

Senator SMITH. On which side of the ice pack was the Californian?

Mr. MOORE. The Californian was to the north, sir. She was to the north of the Carpathia and steaming to the westward, because, after I had come away and after giving up my attempt to get through that pack, I came back again and steered back, thinking I might pick up some soft place to the north. As I was going to the north the Californian was passing from east to west.

Senator SMITH. And you were also cut off from the Carpathia by this ice pack?

Mr. MOORE. Yes, sir; by this ice pack. He was then north of the Carpathia, and he must have been, I suppose, about the same distance to the north of the Carpathia as I was to the westward of her.

--
So Capt.Moore sees the Californian crossing from east to west. This puts it at between 6 and 6.30am (Californian Time) - NOT 8am!

---

Cheers

Paul
--
http://www.paullee.com
 

Paul Rogers

Member
Nov 30, 2000
1,244
2
168
56
West Sussex, UK
An interesting read indeed. However I've never really understood the whole "Mystery Ship" concept as, IMHO there seems to be no mystery at all. Perhaps I am overly cynical but it appears to me that, once one dispenses with the disputed facts, then one is left with the undisputed ones, which are as follows:

1. Californian Officers saw rockets being launched. It matters not a sausage whether they actually saw Titanic's rockets or merely a firework party taking place on a passing ice floe. They saw rockets and, according to the rules of the sea, should have assumed that they were signals of distress.

2. Californian Officers did not investigate the rockets sighted with due diligence. The alleged attempts to morse the ship visible from Californian were insufficient and irrelevant. Evans should have been woken and/or Californian should have commenced steaming on the bearing of the rockets sighted. Alternatively, Captain Lord could have made a conscious - and documented - decision not to go to Titanic's assistance in view of the risk to his own ship that he would have been running. The problem was that nothing was done.

3. One must put the blame for the above inactivity on Captain Lord as he was Master of the vessel, although he appears to some to have been badly served by his Officers. The latter is a debatable point, but one that doesn't change Lord's responsibilities. Captain Lord must take responsibility for the inactivity of his Officers and himself.

4. Even if Californian had steamed immediately towards Titanic, very few (if any) of the victims would have been saved. This fact is valid notwithstanding how far apart the two ships were actually apart: 5 miles or 25 miles.

So, in a nutshell, the question of whether the "Mystery Ship" seen from Titanic was indeed Californian and/or vice-versa is irrelevant. Californian saw rockets, did nothing and Captain Lord must be blamed for the inactivity, even though the outcome of the disaster couldn't have been changed in any event. Where's the "Mystery"?
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,952
204
193
A very good summary, Paul. I only skimmed through the article, but it's the sort of thing we expect from Lord's apologists. Sure, Groves pitched a bit of a yarn, Mersey got in a muddle and Captain Knapp drew a weird chart. People on Californian and Titanic made weird observations. Timings are all over the shop. So what? All the king's horses and all the king's spin doctors can't remove those "rockets". (Socket signals, actually) Near, far, wherever they were, they should have been recognised as distress signals and acted upon.

Funnily enough, I've had a virtually identical copy of The Middle Watch for years. It's been available since at least 1998.
 

Senan Molony

Member
Jan 30, 2004
1,688
1
106
Dublin
Paul Lee does me a disservice in claiming to have detected a "blinding error" on my part
in my article cataloguing the myriad discrepancies of Groves.

I accurately reflected what Captain Moore said to the British Inquiry:

9243. And were you as you were proceeding to get there getting messages from various
steamers as to this disaster? Moore – Yes.
9244. And I think shortly before 8 a.m. you came in sight of the Carpathia and the
Californian? Moore – Yes.

Because it was in the context of the British Inquiry that I was pointing to Groves' contradiction by three Captains - Lord, Rostron and Moore - as to when these ships were in sight of each other.

Moore changed his evidence in London. Anyone who knows the evidence satisfactorily or well would
appreciate this point. He did not cling to a claim to have sighted the Californian "shortly after I was there" which was recorded at the US Inquiry. Nor does he specifically link a time to sighting Lord's vessel in his
Washington evidence, in point of fact.

If Paul carefully re-reads the evidence he himself has posted, he will see that Moore does not say that he *saw* Californian passing from east to west, but merely that she did so. She would have been in the icefield and obstructed to sight, but of course these ships were in wireless contact, and Lord reported what he was doing or had done.

It may be that Moore realised in London how "blinding error" had been made of his remarks, but I doubt it.

More pertinently the impression Paul takes from his US evidence is contradicted by his own
ship's wireless log, which at 5.20 New York time (which is 7.06am Mount Temple time) shows a signal to the Californian in which Lord "wants my (Mount Temple) position." The entry notes the ships are "very close," but implies they are not yet in sight of each other. Why else would Lord want his position?

All of this is dealt with in Chapter 37 of "A Ship Accused," pages 138-146. I have neither the time nor the incliination to debate Captain Moore (I assess his evidence as a whole in a separate Mount Temple paper).

Moore's answer to Q. 9244 informs my commentary on Groves' evidence in Britain in 1912 and his
many contradictions and self-serving inventions of 1957. If Paul wants to look for glaring errors, they are amply set forth
in 'The Middle Watch.' I dislike it when people make errors myself, and this whole debate has been dogged by an alacrity to jump to conclusions.

Might I suggest that it is also dogged by a willingness on the part of some to engage in name-calling.

Regards and best wishes

Senan Molony
 
Jan 28, 2003
2,524
5
168
Has there been any name-calling? I can't see any, not in this thread at any rate, but if Senan only means generally between the pro- and antis, then he is right.
I have to say, I agree with Paul Rogers and Dave. And Senan seems to have been a bit selective too. I have always had the impression from the Inquiries and more temperate commentators (than Reade e.g.)that both Stone and Gibson were worried about the ship they were watching all night. Whether or not it was the Titanic is irrelevant. They were worried and preoccupied by it, and more determined action should have been taken by Stone to prise Lord off the couch and onto the bridge, no matter how taciturn and chilly a Master he happened to be. And the fact that Stone didn't go to Stewart is both damning and, I would have thought, shows a singular lack of awareness of how to watch one's own back. All Stone had to do was go to Stewart and say he felt a situation was developing which needed senior attention, that he couldn't get the Old Man on the bridge, and they could have concocted an excuse between them to explain Stewart's appearance on the bridge (couldn't sleep, perhaps?) which would have mollified Lord and maybe resulted in some different action. Might not have saved anyone, it's true, but it would have been better. And that's not just the wisdom of hindsight - I can't count the number of times I've had to conspire to get things done in the face of senior management indifference. We all have.
PS. I've always thought the Mount Temple got away with it.
 

Paul Lee

Member
Aug 11, 2003
2,239
2
108
But surely, Senan, by only selecting those bits of evidence that suit yourself, you are doing YOURSELF a great disservce.

I find your research articles second to none, but when it comes to the Californian, the whole case revolves around rockets, which were seen. And ignored. While the OOW thought there was something wrong with her.

Cheers

Paul
--
http://www.paullee.com
 

Senan Molony

Member
Jan 30, 2004
1,688
1
106
Dublin
Familiarity with the evidence is essential. You have ignored the one salient point and mention of time that Moore mentioned at either Inquiry in order to attribute error to me. Paul. There is no error of fact in the article.
The error is yours.

Obviously, while possibly over-long, that article would be a lot longer if diversionary material is to be adduced and addressed.

The case, to me, do not necessarily revolve around the Californian. It revolves around the Titanic's mystery ship. Showing the navigational, wireless and wrecksite information to be indisputable anchoring points - and that Groves is a fantasist - should help dispel the perennial, and lazy, link made between the Titanic and the Californian.

Groves ship, out of his own mouth, could not have been the Titanic.

Again, on a point of fact, your views on what the OOW thought are contradicted by the OOW himself:

l7995. (The Commissioner.) You are being asked about what you thought yourself. Do you mean to tell us that neither you nor Gibson expressed an opinion that there was something wrong with that ship?
Stone - No, not wrong with the ship, but merely with this changing of her lights.

7996. Well, about this changing of her lights? - That is when I remarked that the lights looked queer. The lights, I said, not the ship.

7997. The lights are what I call part of the ship. The whole thing, lights and all, make up the ship. You want me to believe, do you, that, notwithstanding these rockets, neither you nor Gibson thought there was anything wrong on board that ship; you want me to understand that? - Yes.

Rgds etc
S
 

Paul Rogers

Member
Nov 30, 2000
1,244
2
168
56
West Sussex, UK
Senan said: "Showing the navigational, wireless and wrecksite information to be indisputable anchoring points - and that Groves is a fantasist - should help dispel the perennial, and lazy, link made between the Titanic and the Californian."

The link between the two ships is the sighting of rockets (socket signals) by Californian - even if they were not Titanic's rockets. This link is not lazy although it must, by its very nature, be perennial (even permanent?) as it raises the question: "Why did they [Californian's Officers] do nothing?"

Senan said also: "The case, to me, do not necessarily revolve around the Californian. It revolves around the Titanic's mystery ship."

I am confused. What is the "case" exactly? If the case is proving Californian's "innocence" then the case must by its very nature revolve around Californian. If however one is to accept Californian's "guilt" (for want of a better word) and the case is therefore an attempt to find yet another guilty party who has yet to be unmasked, then I can understand why Californian is not relevant. Or is there another definition of "case" that I've missed?
 
Jan 28, 2003
2,524
5
168
"I've always thought the Mount Temple got away with it."
Lest I be misunderstood, and I didn't exactly explain myself... I only meant that the Mount Temple could just as well have been subjected to exactly the same scrutiny and opprobrium as the Californian - only it wasn't.
 
Dec 31, 2003
272
1
148
Hampstead, London
Agreeing with Monica, 'Mount Temple' "could just as well have been" - would that it had been! - "subjected to exactly the same scrutiny and opprobrium as the 'Californian'". But, we are all be forced to agree, "it wasn't".
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,587
376
283
Easley South Carolina
>>I only meant that the Mount Temple could just as well have been subjected to exactly the same scrutiny and opprobrium as the Californian - only it wasn't.<<

Except that there was no really good reason to do so. The Mount Temple did what she could, but didn't even arrive on the western edge of the icefield until around 3:30 in the morning. A good hour after the Titanic sank, and there was no question raised about her ignoring distress signals. She heard them, she came, what more could they do, especially an hour after the Titanic had gone down?

Not much.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
34
208
On a side note - Sen, great to see you back here. And why am I not surprised that it's the Californian discussion that first caught your eye
happy.gif


You've been much missed - I hope we see you participating in some of the other discussions here as well, where your insight, data and your fresh approach would be welcome.
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,952
204
193
"9244. And I think shortly before 8 a.m. you came in sight of the Carpathia and the
Californian? Moore – Yes."

Firstly, Captain Moore was being led by Butler Aspinall. And what is "shortly before"?

Secondly, the transcript of the British inquiry contains quite a number of printing errors. This may be one of them.

Thirdly, on Lord's own admission he passed close to Mount Temple at around 7-30 a.m.

Fourthly, Mount Temple was in sight from Californian very early on, and close enough for the colour of her funnel to be seen. From Captain Lord----

6963. Do you remember just before 5 o’clock a conversation with your chief officer? - I do.
6964. About the steamer? - About this, which he said was a yellow-funneled steamer.

Note also, from the American inquiry---

"Mr. LORD. Not the faintest. At daylight we saw a yellow-funnel steamer on the southwest of us, beyond where this man had left, about 8 miles away."

How Lord managed to take 1½ hours to cover that 8 miles is another story. That's the kind of jam an amateur liar gets himself into.
 

Paul Lee

Member
Aug 11, 2003
2,239
2
108
Comments by me in square brackets:

Senator SMITH. On which side of the ice pack was the Californian?

Mr. MOORE. The Californian was to the north, sir. She was to the north of the Carpathia and steaming to the westward, because, after I had come away and after giving up my attempt to get through that pack, I came back again and steered back, thinking I might pick up some soft place to the north. As I was going to the north the Californian was passing from east to west.

[Capt Moore states that the Californian was PASSING from east to west, and was steaming WESTWARD. Hence, this is a time of 6-6.30am)

Paul
--
http://www.paullee.com
 
Mar 22, 2003
5,347
729
273
Chicago, IL, USA
Senan, I'm not quite sure what exactly is the purpose of you paper. Is it to discredit 3/O Groves as a witness? Is it to foster support for the existence of a mystery ship between the Californian and the Titanic?
I agree that Groves was not very accurate with regard to event times, and with the passage of years there are some differences from what was presented in evidence in 1912. But so too are the times and distances reported by others who were there. (In fact, nobody on the Californian or the Titanic knew exactly where they were that night. They thought they knew, but they really did not. And except in a few instances, most time reports were guesses as opposed to one looking at a clock.) Groves in particular had said he did not look at a clock nor did he actually take bearings of the steamer he had under observation. So there are subjective uncertainties in all of these details. Did Groves adjust times of certain events to correspond more precisely with events that were later attributed as happening on the Titanic? It certainly appears to be so. But that does not mean that we should dismiss everything he said. For example, he said:

"Mr Stone knew without a shadow of doubt that there was trouble aboard the vessel from which the distress signals had been fired but he failed to convince his Captain; but did Captain Lord need any convincing?"

And I believe his description of 2/O Stone as having little self confidence is probably true.

You quote some of Stone's testimony in a post above regarding what he meant by the lights looking queer, and that he (Stone) did not think there was anything wrong the vessel that was firing distress signals all night. Yet, we have testimony from Gibson who was on the bridge that night that says otherwise:

7515. What had you noticed between one o'clock and twenty minutes past one, looking at her through your glasses? - The Second Officer remarked to me, "Look at her now; she looks very queer out of the water; her lights look queer."

7516. You are sure that is what he said - "She looks very queer out of the water"? - Yes.

7517. Did he say what he meant? - I looked at her through the glasses after that, and her lights did not seem to be natural.

7518. (The Commissioner.) What do you mean by that? - When a vessel rolls at sea her lights do not look the same.

7519. But there was no water to cause her to roll, was there; you were not rolling? - No.

7520. There was no sea to cause her to roll? - No, Sir.

7521. (The Solicitor-General.) He made this observation to you. Did you look at her then through your glasses? - Yes.

7522. What did you see? - She seemed as if she had a heavy list to starboard.

7523. She seemed to have a list., and you thought a list to starboard? - Yes.

7524. Looking at her through your glasses, what was there that you could see of her which made you think that? - Do you mean that her masthead light was not immediately over the other lights? - No, Sir.

7525. What was there to show you? - Her lights did not seem to look like as they did do before when I first saw them.

The Commissioner: What was the difference?

7526. (The Solicitor-General.) Could you describe them at all, Gibson? - No, Sir.

7527. You have told us what the Officer said to you. Did you think yourself when you looked at her through the glasses that something was wrong? - We had been talking about it together.

7528. (The Commissioner.) I should very much like you to tell me what you had been saying to the Officer? - He remarked to me -

7529. I should like you to tell me what were you saying to each other? - He remarked to me that a ship was not going to fire rockets at sea for nothing.

7530. Who said that? - The Second Officer.

7531. A ship is not going to fire rockets at sea for nothing? - Yes.

7532. I daresay you agreed with him? - Yes.

7533. What took place after that between you and him? - We were talking about it all the time, Sir, till five minutes past two, when she disappeared.

7534. (The Solicitor-General.) Till five minutes past two, when she disappeared? - Yes.

7535. (The Commissioner.) Then do I understand from you that the Second Officer came to the conclusion that this was a ship in distress? - No, Sir, not exactly.

7536. What do you mean by "not exactly"? The Second Officer said to you, "A ship does not fire up rockets for nothing"? - Yes, Sir.

7537. Did not that convey to you that the ship was, in his opinion, in distress? - Not exactly in distress, Sir.

7538. What then? - That everything was not all right with her.

7539. (The Solicitor-General.) In trouble of some sort? - Yes, Sir.


I do believe Groves was wrong when he said Stone was unimaginative. In testimony given to the BOT, Stone notices the bearings of the observed vessel as changing, and so does Gibson. He also says his own ship was swinging around, and so does Gibson. Yet Stone somehow attributes the change of bearings as a combination of his own vessel swinging and the mystery ship steaming away. In fact he said it changed magnetic bearings from SSE when he 1st came up onto the bridge to SWx1/2W when she disappeared. If the vessel was steaming away why say her lights look queer? Nothing queer about that if that is what was really happening. Why, as implied in Stone's testimony, should the bearings of the observed rockets that came from beyond the mystery ship follow the ship as she steamed away to the SW? Non of this story makes sense except when trying to come up with a rationalization for inaction. Do you not agree?

You also said: "Showing the navigational, wireless and wrecksite information to be indisputable anchoring points - and that Groves is a fantasist - should help dispel the perennial, and lazy, link made between the Titanic and the Californian."

I agree about wireless messages and the wrecksite being anchoring points, but there really has not been any good navigational evidence that proves anything so far.
 
Jan 21, 2001
144
0
146
I read Senan's recent article on Groves' account "The Middle Watch." I will leave comments on his observations to others, but I did want to point out an error in his opening paragraphs. He begins his article:

"WHAT follows is the complete text of a near-mystical document composed by the Third Officer of the Californian in April 1957, exactly 45 years after the Titanic disaster, describing the events of that night... This is the first time that “The Middle Watch”￾ by Charles Victor Groves has been published in full. It is now being provided to the Titanic community as a whole, 47 years after it was originally drawn up."

This same account was published in full by Brian Ticehurst in 1998 in the journal of the British Titanic Society. It has also been available at my site since approximately that time, with Mr. Ticehurst's permission. I am not trying to start anything tempestuous, but I do want to set the record straight, and give Mr. Ticehurst credit for making it available "to the Titanic community as a whole" several years ago.

Dave Billnitzer
 
Dec 6, 2000
1,384
1
166
I know that I've had a hard copy of "The Middle Watch" since some time in the late 90s, filed safely in my copy of Reade's book.
 
Jan 21, 2001
144
0
146
To be specific, Brian Ticehurst published it in Issue No 1, 1998 in the journal of the British Titanic Society.

Do the owners of ET ask their contributing authors to make corrections to articles that get published here, when obvious errors like Senan's are demonstrated? Or is that left to the discretion and honor of the author? It seems to me that the BTS and Mr. Ticehurst deserve recognition for their scoop.

Dave Billnitzer
 

Philip Hind

Staff member
Sep 1, 1996
1,743
9
168
48
England
I'm sure Senan is aware of the discussion and if he wishes to make an edit he'll let me know.

As regards process I certainly do request changes and corrections when they are discovered especially at the proofing stage - although I find the contributors usually to be far better proof readers than I!