The Night is debunked

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Hi Tracy:

You're welcome! That was an easy point to clarify; we can thank Stone for the careful wording of his affidavit.

"33) p. 187 Twice Capt Lord had to get up and walk to his own quarters to talk to Stone on the speaking tube. ... There is no evidence for these walks."

Other than Stone who described it specifically.

Looking back at the passage about the "willful distortion" regarding the four-ship theory, it occurred to me that perhaps Senan meant to take Foweraker to task over the mis-use of Stone's testimony. It seems to me that would have been a fair criticism (directed at Foweraker, however, not WL).

But having re-read the original post, I can see that the criticism was directed at WL after all.

One other point begs for clarification:

27) “Every officer on the Californian agreed the rockets resembled distress signals…” Rubbish. Stone and Gibson said they did NOT think the ship they were looking at was in distress. That’s their
sworn evidence."

Here is a passage from Stone's evidence:
7856. Mr.Butler Aspinall.) Did you think that they were distress signals?-No.
7857. Did not that occur to you ? -It did not occur to me at the time.
7858. When did it occur to you ? Did it occur at some later time to you ? --Yes.
7859. When ? -After I had heard about the "Titanic" going down.
7860. So throwing your mind back after that information then you thought they were distress signals?-I thought they possibly might have been distress signals.

In other words, WL's statement is justified.

From Gibson's testimony:
7754. (The Commissioner.) Did you say anything to yourself about it?--I only thought the same that he thought.
7755. What was that?--That a ship is not going to fire rockets at sea for nothing, and there must be
something the matter with her.
7756. Then you thought it was a case of some kind of distress?--Yes.

It's easy to pick and choose from the testimony and affidavits any passage favoring one side of the argument or the other. I could just as easily have chosen Stone's passage, where he said:

7897. Are you sure ? -I made no remark about that at all, about the ship being in distress, the whole time.

to "prove" the point that Stone did not think the other ship was in distress. But that takes the comment out of context, for during that whole section of questioning, Stone admits he knew they were not company signals, they were not sent up for fun, they did not spring up out of the sea, that the rockets stayed on the same bearing as that other ship even when it seemed to steam away, that the next day he thought they might have been distress signals, and so on.

The point is, as one other poster said above, you have to decide in the larger context who is telling the truth.
J. Browning takes me up on one-third of the points I listed.
We’ll deal with these in a moment.
Interesting that there is no acceptance that even were that one-third immediately excluded from consideration, there remains a monumental number of “errors” in Walter Lord’s short chapter on the Californian.

To the points nitpicked:

2) Walter Lord wrote (via Groves decades-later account) that the Californian was still moving at 10.21.
I pointed out that according to Captain Lord in 1912, the Californian was stopped at 10:21.
J Browning cited Groves’ saying the Californian stopped at 10.26, without pointing out that all Groves times in evidence were disputed by his fellow crewmembers.
Furthermore, wireless operator Evans said the Californian was stopped BEFORE Groves said she was stopped. Stewart’s evidence is also strongly supportive of Lord.

3. >Captain Lord saw the ship at 10:30
If we're going to nit pick Groves said he saw the light at 'about' 11.10. Maybe I've missed something but I can't find that Gibson gave any time for the 7th rocket at the Inquiry. He did say that Stone's remark about the other ship steaming away was 20 minutes after the 6th rocket but not whether that was before or after the 7th rocket. (The affidavit he drew up for Lord says it was afterwards) Stone said all the rockets were fired at three or four minute intervals (B.I. Q7843, 7892) although the times he gives imply the gaps were longer. Gibson described stars both at the Inquiry (Q7759-66) and in his affidavit. Stone did not mention stars specifically It's not rubbish. Stone's admission that the rockets resembled distress signals<

It is rubbish because, although agreeing at an Inquiry after the fact that the rockets they saw could have resembled distress signals, neither he nor Gibson thought so AT THE TIME.
Think about it. If they had, they would certainly have woken the Captain. Then they can’t be blamed.

Stone and Gibson repeatedly testified that they did not think at the time that the ship they were looking at was in distress.

So Walter Lord is emphatically misleading when he writes: 'They suspected she was trying to get help’…. The men were clearly not exercised enough to do anything radical about what they saw. There was ONE call around 1am. ANOTHER call at 2am, when Captain Lord says he was asleep and the Titanic was beyond help even if she were a mile away. The two observers did nothing for an hour.

I cannot fathom Walter Lord’s apparent keen desire to blame it all on an ‘austere autocrat' in his bunk.

This is my last contribution to this debate. My purpose is not to be dragged into a debate on the overall Californian controversy. I have already unpleasantly crossed swords on that front.

My point is what it has always been on this subject thread —

To point out that the much-vaunted Walter Lord, who accuses others of being “highly selective” with the evidence, is himself highly selective with the evidence, secretive in keeping contradictions from the reader lest he or she should make up their own mind, and deplorably sloppy in the colossal list of errors which litter this short chapter.

Tracy Smith

Senan, thanks for the info. I had thought I was the only one here sympathetic to Captain Lord, until reading this thread.

I've noticed a few comprehensive websites devoted to the anti-Lord position; what's needed is a pro-Lord website. Believe you'd do a fine job if you are interested in creating such a site, Senan.

Jonathon Jedd

I'm new and shiny here, but I must say reading the archive of this topic was certainly a revelation! I'm amazed that an author of some renown -- Senan Molony -- could claim with authority to be able to debunk Walter Lord's work strictly off the top of his head (without any first-hand examination, or presentation, of the evidence), and then be so thoroughly debunked himself once the actual evidence _was_ produced!

I can see I'll have to use a good deal of discretion in choosing whom to believe here. Now I mean no disrespect, but claims to extemporaneous authority should be readily borne out by the facts, lest the author is accused of making it up as he goes along.

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