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The mystery of the collision

Discussion in 'Collision / Sinking Theories' started by Thomas C., Feb 3, 2018.

  1. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    Hi, i am new here and i want to know, what did you think about my collision theory.

    - Murdoch sees a black object ahead of the ship. Orders quartermaster Hichens turn a little to starboard.

    - Fleet rings bell 3 times and phones to the bridge. He sees that the ship is already turning to port.
    - Moody does not pick up telephone immediately, because he doesn't have to.

    - Moody picks up telephone, because Fleet is still phoning.

    - Murdoch gets information about iceberg right ahead. He understands that the ship is turning to slowly. Orders hard to starboard and all stop.

    - Fleet sees that the ship is gonna hit, until this very last moment, when takes a sharp turn to port.

    11:40:00 - Impact
    - Hichens takes the wheel hard over and heres that the ship is already crushing ice. The Titanic is now 2 points out of his main course.

    - Olliver sees Murdoch closing waterthight doors.

    - Murdoch orders hard to port and full astern
    - Boxhall sees full astern on the engine telegraph.

    -Quartermaster Rowe wathes iceberg passing by.

    - Rowe feels that the engines are going full speed astern.
  2. B-rad

    B-rad Member

    Before I assess your theory may I ask what evidence/s led you to this time line?
    Ioannis Georgiou likes this.
  3. No, Mr.Murdoch get command hard to starboard all stop and at same time full astern.
  4. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    I was just thinking, why some evidence did't fit each other. For example Hichens said on the inquiry in America:

    Senator SMITH.
    Who gave the first order?

    Mr. HICHENS.
    Mr. Murdoch, the first officer, sir; the officer in charge. The sixth officer repeated the order, "The helm is hard astarboard, sir." But, during the time, she was crushing the ice, or we could hear the grinding noise along the ship's bottom.

    British inquiry:

    947. What was it?
    - Twenty minutes to twelve.

    948. Had you had any instructions before she struck? Had you been told to do anything with your helm before she struck?
    - Just as she struck I had the order "Hard-a-starboard" when she struck.

    949. Just as she struck, is that what you said?
    - Not immediately as she struck; the ship was swinging. We had the order, "Hard-a-starboard," and she just swung about two points when she struck.

    Turn about 2 points take from 20 to 30 seconds.
    Turn the helm hard over not more than 10 seconds.
    Why Hichens said ''during the time, she was crushing the ice''
    And why fleet saw a ship slowly turning to port before his report


  5. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    If it was true, Frederick Barret would have to see a blue light in the boiler room, what's mean full speed, ahead or astern. He saw red, what's mean stop.

    Frederick Scott said this:

    5522. We know it was about 11.40?
    - Yes, about 20 minutes to 12.

    5523. Did you notice the two telegraphs in the engine room?
    - Yes; four telegraphs rang.


    5538. What did they ring?
    - "Stop."
  6. B-rad

    B-rad Member

    If a full astern order was given, then the men in the boiler rooms would know nothing of it, as full steam would still be wanted they would not manipulate the boilers. The steam during reversal was regulated from the starting platform so that cylinder heads would not pop and such. What we do know is that Boxhall heard 1 telegraph order before impact and says that it was full astern and the engines stayed such for a while. Dillion claims 1 telegraph order before 'shock' and one shortly after 'shock'. Scott claims 1 telegraph order but his was after 'shock'. Hichens claims 1 telegraph order before 'shock' and one afterwards. Olliver knew nothing of the telegraphs until Captain Smith was on the bridge.
  7. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

  8. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    I'm sceptical about the telephone being answered. Fleet said in the lifeboat that he did not get a reply on the telephone. He told the Inquiry he was still waiting at the telephone (facing away from the iceberg) and his mate Lee told him the ship was turning away - "He told me he could see the bow coming around......My mate saw it and told me." This tells us that Fleet was at the phone for some considerable time as he waited to get a reply. If the ship was already turning away before the phone was answered then Boxhall (who claimed he heard the order hard a-starboard) would have heard the phone ring and being answered and heard Moody yell out "Iceberg ahead, sir!" Yet Boxhall heard none of that and had absolutely no idea what they had struck until after the collision. e.g.

    Q - Did you know what had occurred?
    A - No, not at all. I heard the sixth officer say what it was.
    Q - What did he say that it was?
    A - He said we had struck an iceberg.

    He used the past tense meaning that Boxhall heard it was an iceberg after the collision.

    Another conundrum. Fleet said his mate Lee told him the ship was turning away. Lee told the Inquiry - "The ship seemed to heel slightly over to port as she struck the berg.....Very slightly over to port, as she struck along the starboard side." Is it possible that the Titanic was striking the ice underneath and the prow of the ship was being pushed over to the left, and that is what Lee was telling Fleet while Fleet was at the telephone? Fleet was asked:

    Q - Did it seem that the blow came beneath the surface of the water and caused her to shift?
    A - Yes, sir.

    Perhaps this could explain the 'port turn' immediately before the bulk of the iceberg had passed the bridge, and could also be the reason why Hichen's compass had turned 2 points to port. Perhaps the collision caused the ship to turn, and Hichen's felt the ship being pushed off course and he instinctively turned the ship right to keep her on course, and then he heard Murdoch yell only one helm order "hard a-port" and he swung the wheel hard a-port (witnessed by Olliver) and when the Titanic had gone down Hichens debated what happened with Fleet in the lifeboat and Hichens tried to remember what happened in a state of panic and exhaustion. He was well aware his actions would make headlines in the press and at the Inquiry, and all he could remember prior to the collision was possibly just the shaking of the ship and the compass turning 2 points to port and turning the wheel, and after an intense grilling by the surviving officers and White Star officials he was pressured into saying the order 'hard a-starboard' was given. A relative of Lightoller's claimed that Hichens had turned the wheel the wrong way. Perhaps they meant 'the other way'. Boxhall also later claimed that he heard Murdoch tell the Captain - "I'm going full speed astern, sir, on the port engine." It is all quite a mystery.

    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  9. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    5610. (The Commissioner.) The orders were "Stop," "Slow ahead," and then "Astern"?
    - No, it was "Stop," and then "Astern." She went astern for five minutes. Then they rang down "Stop."

    5611. "Stop," "Slow ahead" - 10 minutes, you say?
    - Yes, about 10 minutes.

    5612. Then "Stop" again?
    - Yes, "Stop"; then she went astern for about five minutes.

    5613. (The Attorney-General.) Did you hear the order about "Astern"?
    - Well, it was on the telegraph.

    5614. What was the order?
    - "Go astern" - "Slow astern." Then they rang down "Stop," and I do not think the telegraph went after that.

    3715. Did you feel the shock when the ship struck?
    - Slightly.

    3716. And shortly before that had the telegraph rung?
    - Yes.

    3717. Can you say at all how long before she struck that was?
    - Two seconds.

    3718. What was the order given by the telegraph?
    - I could not tell you.

    3719. You just heard it ring. Then a few seconds after that you felt a slight shock?
    - Yes.

    3720. Was anything done to the engines? Did they stop or did they go on?
    - They stopped.

    3721. Was that immediately after you felt the shock or some little time after?
    - About a minute and a half.

    3722. Did they continue stopped or did they go on again after that?
    - They went slow astern.

    3723. How long were they stopped for before they began to go slow astern?
    - About half a minute.

    3724. For how long did they go slow astern?
    - About two minutes.

    3725. Two or three did you say?
    - Two minutes.

    3726. And then did they stop again?
    - Yes.

    3727. And did they go on again after that?
    - They went ahead again.

    3728. For how long?
    - For about two minutes.

    3729. Then did they stop the boat after that?
    - Yes.

    This proves that there were a lot of orders to the engines after impact, but we don't know in which order. I never heard about any fireman who said that he saw any order in boiler room after impact.
    I think Murdoch gave an order to stop the ship to reduce the power of impact, and then after collision, stop the ship as fast as it possible. If the firemans didn't see any order after impact, they could also didn't see a full speed astern order, because, the were escaping from the icy water.
  10. The stokers could not see anything about if it was going ahead or astern. The boiler room transmitter had only "Stop" "Slow" "Half" "Full".
    The manoeuvrers after the collision did not need any additional firing of the boilers.
  11. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    You are right. The telephone could be answered or not. The bigger mystery is why, Fleet, Hichens and Lee lied on the inquires about it. In 1964 researcher Leslie Reade met Fleet who said:

    "It was the beautifulest night I ever seen. The stars were like lamps. I saw this black thing looming up; I didn't know what it was. I asked Lee if he knew what it was. He couldn't say. I thought I better ring the bell. I rang it three times. We watched the thing. It had a pointed top. We didn't like the look of this thing. I said to Lee, 'You'd better go down, there's no sense the two of us being up here if we strike.' He didn't want to go. 'I can't do that,' he said. But I made him and he went down the ladder."

    The story with a ladder is a detalle. That's what I'm most curious about is why Fleet didn't mentioned about a telephone. Like if he never made it.

    The fourth officer Boxhall, is a man, which i belives the least. In 1912 he was walking next to the captain's quarters, then he heard a hard a starboard order, telegraph sound, felt impact and saw full speed astern on both telegraphs. When Walter Lord met him, Boxhall said something different. He was in his cabin for a cup of tea. When he heard the 3 bells, he came out to the bridge, where he saw or heard from conversation captain with Murdoch, about full speed astern on the port engine. Honestly i belive this conversation never take place. Captain Smith came out of his chart room and ask.

    -What was that, mr Murdoch?
    -An iceberg, sir.
    -Close the emergency doors.
    -The doors are closed, sir.

    This is a conversation based on the testimony of Hichens. Very different from Boxhall. Quartermaster Olliver was on the compass platform, when he heard 3 bells, then he went to the bridge and saw there iceberg. Overcoming such a distance took at least 60 seconds. If Boxhall was saying the truth, why Murdoch take any action only 10 seconds before collision. I think Boxhall never was on the bridge with Murdoch and captain. He saw an order to reverse the engines and immediately, came down to make his inspection. Propably he puted together information about a collision later, from other officers, and made a false theory about hard a starboard and full speed astern orders.
  12. How on earth could Scott see everything he said from the turbine room after the WTD dropped? An interesting yarn if you ask me.

    Regarding Fleet, you must keep in mind that people's stories change with time, especially years after a tragic event.
    Daniel A. Soto likes this.
  13. Rob Lawes

    Rob Lawes Member

    Scott could have seen the prop shafts running through the turbine room so could presume from that if the ship was running ahead or astern and make a rough guess at slow by the shaft RPM but he states he could see the telegraph so in that respect I've no idea.
  14. B-rad

    B-rad Member

    I do not believe that Boxhall lied about the briefing between capt. And Murdoch. I can't imagine captain Smith just merely being happy with a short description. I'm sure first general inquiry was the one olliver and Hichens recall, but perhaps a more detail brief was given while walking to wing bridge. Olliver would state it was not their place to listen in on officer.
  15. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    Boxhall testimony from 1912 is full of errors.

    inq.png plan.png

    The Boxhall way is 3 times shorter than Ollivier.
    Olliver walked to the bridge at least 60 seconds.

    Simple maths proves that this part of Boxhall testimony is impossible.
    Iven, if he had his cup of tea, he had to waited 40 seconds from 3 bells, to came out on deck.
    There is one other version of event, which says that Boxhall never heard 3 bells, but simply, came out on deck in time to heard hard a starboard order.

    What do you think?
  16. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    It is all very peculiar.

    I tried to reconstruct his movements to see what happened.

    Boxhall made no mention of hearing the phone ringing or Moody telling Murdoch "Iceberg ahead, sir" and also did not hear the order "hard a-port" afterwards. He also did not realize there was an iceberg in the area until after the collision when he heard Moody say they had struck an iceberg. He also went to the bridge wing and he said Murdoch had to point at the iceberg because he could not see it. He also said he went down to look for damage and saw a man holding a piece of ice and he asked him where he got it from. He clearly had no idea that they had struck an iceberg on the starboard bow, because if he had, then he would have seen the ice all over the forward well deck.

    Boxhall also believed the ship was still facing west during the evacuation, so either he did not believe the Titanic had time to turn away before the collision, or swing her stern away after and face northwards after the collision, or quite possibly he was nowhere near the bridge at the time. He was still oddly under the impression that she was still facing west.

    Q - Do you know at all whether the Titanic was swinging at this time?
    A - No, I do not see how it was possible for the Titanic to be swinging after the engines were stopped. I forget when it was I noticed the engines were stopped, but I did notice it; and there was absolutely nothing to cause the Titanic to swing.

    Did he forget about the alleged hard a-starboard order which he testified about, or did he know there wasn't time to carry out that order, and he went below decks before the hard a-port order was given and did not realize the ship was turning northwards towards the Californian?

    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  17. B-rad

    B-rad Member

    Why does Boxhall have to be the one not telling the truth. There is a lot of unexplainable things in Hichens olliver boxhall's Scott's and dillons testimony.
  18. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    I know this, and this is why his testimony(in my opinion) is the most unreliable.
  19. Thomas C.

    Thomas C. Member

    Another very interesting thing is why Murdoch waited so long to take any action. If we accept Olliver's 60 seconds, and Hichens testimony, Murdoch waited 50 seconds to gave a helm order. Is it normal to wait so long? Did he considered what to do such a long time? I think it was so dark that he didn't see exactly iceberg, but only a shape of black mass. He waited for the iceberg to recognise the shape and be sure he would give a safe order. Maybe this lost him, and ship.
  20. Widen your scope of inquiry into Boxhall's events. You will find he was the officer of the starboard watch. As such, he had to "go the rounds" of his men every hour. Since the watch started on the hour, then to comply with IMM/White Star Regulations Boxhall would have been required to be OFF THE BRIDGE to go his rounds. In the moments after the accident an officer was seen making his way forward to the forecastle by seaman Scarrott and probably others. As the junior officers did not carry identifying stripes, he was not identified by name, but Boxhall was the only officer both free from other duties and required to be on rounds of the crew. It being Sunday with light duty, he expected to find his men performing routine maintenance on the coffee maker in the crew galley.

    Boxhall's own words put him into the third class quarters located beneath the well deck minutes after the accident. This corresponds to the actions of a dutifuly officer on his rounds when either a real or perceived emergency develops. He later reported that he found no problems in the third class berthing areas.

    The testimonies of all of the men known to have been on the bridge produce a curious bit of overlooked evidence. Each of the others was identified by at least one other of the bridge team. There is only one man who was not seen and reported on the bridge after impact. That was Boxhall -- who should not have been there.

    If the fourth officer was doing his duties as assigned, he would have been returning from the compass platform where he performed the 12:00 o'clock compass check as required by nautical custom; IMM/White Star regulations; and some regulations. From there he would have walked forward along the officers side (starboard) boat deck to the ladder down to A and B decks. That's where he felt the ship give a little nudge under his feet. Boxhall gave an apparently contradictory story about the accident. He claimed not to have seen the ship strike on the berg, before going onto explain in detail how the berg was bumping along the "bluff of the bow." This seems an impossibility, as it would be for someone standing still watching an event. But, the Fourth Officer was in motion going down that ladder. His vision was blocked until he came out on B deck where he had clear view of the "bluff of the bow" and saw the iceberg against the ship and ice tumble into the well deck.

    Note the location of the ladder down to A and B decks. It is entered via the companionway located abreast of the captain's quarters. Again the physical location explains more of Boxhall's testimony. Even inside the ladder structure Boxhall would have been "abreast" of the captain's quarters even if he were on different decks (admittedly an odd way to express things, but none-the-less not a lie).

    Boxhall's own testimonies when compared to those of other members of the bridge team, the IMM/WSL regulations, and the physical layout of the ship all prove the Fourth Officer all show he was not on the bridge after the accident. Boxhall did not over hear a single word that may have passed between Murdoch and Captain Smith. His testimony about what Murdoch said is at best a concoction and at worst a downright lie. I'm rather inclined to believe the latter, but that's an opinion. The facts show that Boxhall's story about what Murdoch said was nothing but a sea story writ large.

    -- David G. Brown

    PS -- for the chronologically uninformed, ship's time of the accident was 12:04 o'clock April 14th. However, the crew clocks had already been set back the 24 minutes reflecting half of the extra 47 minutes earned that day by Titanic's westward passage. Call that half 24 minutes and subtract it from ship's time to get 11:40 crew time.
    Harland Duzen likes this.