The officers meeting on bridge after collision NEVER HAPPENED


Status
Not open for further replies.
Jan 7, 2002
2,446
39
243
I am 100% convinced that the scene shown in ANTR and the Cameron Titanic film how all the senior officers were assembled together on the bridge after the collision and briefed on the situation in fact NEVER HAPPENED. Likewise I dont believe there was a meeting between Capt Smith,Thomas Andrews and Ismay discussing the grim situation. Ismay doesnt even bring Andrews up in his testimony. By the time the Capt. saw Andrews that night (if he did at all), the Capt. had already been informed the ship was taking on water in the mail room. Can anyone offer proof from the inquiry testomonies that the officers were assembled on thre bridge and told the ship was sinking? I suspect youll look till your eyes strain, as the meeting never happened. Perhaps such is why there was such miscommunication...

regards

tarn Stephanos
 
Mar 18, 2000
1,384
21
313
Without checking, I think you are right re: the officer's meeting.

Lowe, Pitman and Lightoller all came out from their quarters, a bit after the collision. As I recall, Pitman does not mention seeing Lights - nor does Lights mention seeing Pitman, Lowe or even Murdoch this early in the disaster.

However, it does make a nice bit of story for a movie!
 
Jan 5, 2001
2,304
142
338
If you check 'Mr Andrews info.' in 'Crew Research' you'll find an already detailed discussion.

Best regards,

Mark.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Feb 9, 1999
5,343
67
398
Lightoller stated at the British inquiry that he didn't recall seeing Moody at all during the evacuation.

Pitman mentioned running into Moody when he was busy uncovering the boats - Moody told him much the same thing that he (Moody) had told Boxhall when he arrived on the bridge, that he hadn't seen the iceberg, but that there was ice on the well deck.

Lowe said only that he saw the Captain briefly after he awoke - he doesn't mention any instructions he received. After leaving his cabin, he joined in the work already in progress in loading and lowering the boats.

There were a few officers who were on the bridge following the collision, but I don't recall any evidence suggesting that they were formally assembled and officially detailed to specific duties (a la ANTR). If they had been assembled, they might have noticed that Lowe wasn't among them.

Lightoller has some interesting comments in his memoirs about the difference in chain of command between the merchant service and the RN. In the merchant service, one was (according to him) expected to show initiative, whereas in the RN the emphasis was on discipline and rigid adherence to procedure. In other words, you didn't wait to be told what to do - you saw a task that needed to be done and you did it. Of course, according to his biographer, Stenson, Lightoller wasn't overly fond of the RNR. One of the most entertaining passages in 'Titanic and Other Ships' is his description of the men of the Oceanic adapting to Naval discipline.

~ Inger
 
Jan 7, 2002
2,446
39
243
Is it possible that because there was no meeting of the senior officers, that resulted in Lightoller's not feeling it neccesary to fill the boats to capcity? Is it possible that the officers were not as aware as the Captain or Andrews that the ship was sinking fast?

I just find it extrordinary that with the ship foundering, the captain would not have a meeting with the officers to amke them aware of the situation. Perhaps the captain's sensibilities did snap, and it did not occour to him to assemble the officers...

Perhaps also Thomas Andrews has been painted in a more heroic light than warrented...

The meeting of Andrews with the Captain and Ismay, pouring over the deck plans was likly fiction, as Ismay made no mention of it in his testimonies.

Do we really know what he did during the sinking?
Perhaps Andrews was in shock like Capt Smith-lost in a daze in the smoking room.. if anyone had reason to be lost in shock during the sinking, it was Andrews.

Regards

Tarn Stephanos
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,639
802
563
Easley South Carolina
I'm not sure that I would say that Captain Smith was in a daze. He seems to have done what any decent skipper would do; call the shots and get his officers and crew to make it happen.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
259
358
According to what I read here, there seems to be a lot of people walking around in a daze. In my experience, people for the most part don't walk around in a daze during a maritime casualty. Sure, there are some who work quite intently at the wrong purpose and there's always a certain amount of confusion, but ship's crew usually turns to in some manner.

I can't help but remember that one of the driving factors for Titanic's evacuation was the need to avoid panic. As visible a figure as Smith and Andrews both were to both crew and passengers, could it be that the supposed inactivity on their part was actually a calculated effort to appear calm? An active person can be frustrated by someone who appears to be standing calm. When remembered later, the active person will believe he was acting purposefully, and that the calm person must not have had much to do. At any rate, I refuse to accept the dazed, oh-what-have-I-done scenario that is sometimes attributed to Smith and Andrews.

Parks
 
Sep 12, 2000
1,513
6
313
Amen Parks! I love it. People are always telling me that I do great work in a disaster situation but that they never see the true level of importance in me and do not know how to take me. I can stay level headed and calm and point to things that people need to do immediately. But because I am not hysterically begging for help or running around like a chicken with my head cut off, at times, I am ignored by those who watch my "body language" and not my words.

I agree with Parks...and no he did not pay me to do so....hehehehehehehe he

And I wonder if there is a bottom to the well containing the wealth of knowledge of Inger Sheil's head....she is like the energizer bunny in the Titanic Crew department. hehehehehehehehehe

Sorry, a little emotionalism there. Carry on.
Maureen.
 
T

Trent Pheifer

Guest
How long did Lightoller stay in his cabin after the collison? I thought I read somewhere that he noticed something was wrong. But stayed awake in his bed till called on by another officer , beleiving he should be where everyone else would expect him to be on (can't think of who the officer that got him was). I was just wondering if this could effect if Lightoller was at the meeting, if there was one.

-Trent
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,639
802
563
Easley South Carolina
FWIW Parks, I agree. Captain Smith and Co. knew they had more bodies then they had boats to put them in so they had two options;

a)Act in obvious haste and urgency, thereby stirring things up to the point where...very likely...a panic would set on or,

b)Keep that legendary stiff upper lip and thereby inspire people to do the same. Looking like you know what you're doing...even if you don't...doesn't hurt either.

Which would save more people? (Hint; The smart money is on option B)

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

James Smith

Member
Dec 5, 2001
490
7
183
Wasn't it Boxhall that woke up the other officers? I think Geoffrey Marcus implies that in "The Maiden Voyage," though I don't know what his source is.

Based on Lightoller's observations in his memoirs, I would be inclined to conclude that a meeting didn't happen because it wasn't necessary. Consider the his statement:

"Discipline in a merchant ship calls for the highest display of individual intelligence and application. Each man must think for himself . . . If a man does no more than he is told, and makes that an excuse for leaving something undone, unseen or unattended to, he is quickly asked, 'what the hell are your brains for?'"

I would suspect that Boxhall gave Lightoller slightly more specific instructions as to which boats to swing out (i.e. port side, forward) when he visited Lightoller's cabin. Once he had received those instructions, there would be no need for Lightoller to report to the captain--he knew what he needed to do.

As for the junior officers, Pitman went to the bridge after he was awakened (I believe he went down to the forepeak first, though). Lowe testified that he crossed to the starboard side after leaving his port-side cabin; I should think that the bridge would be the most convenient place for him to do so. Assuming that Captain Smith was on the bridge, he could have dispatched each officer to his duties individually. Boxhall, Moody, and Murdoch could be similarly assigned as they were already on watch. That leaves only Wilde, but my memory fails me at the moment and I don't recall if Boxhall specifically mentioned passing by Wilde's cabin, but it seems to me to be a safe guess.

Holding a conference under the circumstances would have been a waste of precious time, and Captain Smith knew this.

Jim Smith
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Feb 9, 1999
5,343
67
398
Lowe described what route he took to get to the starboard side from his portside cabin at the British Inquiry:

15802. You came round behind the deck-house? - No, I came round abaft the second funnel.

In doing so he noted he passed boats on the port side that were being cleared. He said he went to No. 7 'Because the people were there.' Lowe did say that he saw the Captain 'just after I got out of bed' but did not mention any orders he received from Smith - his comments seem to suggest he was following his own initiative and working where the greater number of people had gathered.

We can conjecture that Smith gave the officers specific individual orders, but the paucity of direct evidence means that this remains highly speculative.
 
Dec 12, 1999
997
5
313
Some time ago, there was some discussion (in another thread) about whether Captain Smith was on the bridge at the time of the collision. According to Second Officer Lightoller, as reported in the New York Times, he was.
 
Mar 18, 2000
1,384
21
313
But Lightoller himself was not on the bridge at the time, by his own admission. Therefore, any statement from Lightoller regarding Smith's whereabouts at the moment of collision is only heresay.

Unless, of course, Smith himself told Lightoller that he was on the bridge, but I'm fairly sure Lightoller never claimed this.
 

Erik Wood

Member
Aug 24, 2000
3,519
15
313
I would agree that I have no other evidence other then what I think (which doesn't mean jack)that Smith was on the bridge. But that is where any competent Captain would have been. I have no reason to believe that Smith isn't competent.

As for a meeting. I would agree that there was no formal assembly of the officers. Most likely Smith, Murdoch and Wilde had a very brief discussion. Orders went from Smith to Wilde to Murdoch. Chain of command. Just another example of the era.

Erik
 
Jan 7, 2002
2,446
39
243
What was Thomas Andrews doing ? Did he and Capt Smith tour some of the damage below decks?


regards

Tarn Stephanos
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,639
802
563
Easley South Carolina
Andrews was in his cabin as far as I know at the time of the collision, and yes, he did tour the ship. He was the one who gave the Captain the bad news afterwards too. I think he went on his own though when he made his tour.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Hugh McKinney

Member
Nov 23, 2005
1
0
131
Lightoller, in his evidence to the British enquiry was adamant that no such meeting took place. He went further and said it was not his place to attend the Bridge because it was not his watch.

He merely looked towards the Bridge and maintained that he could make out the outlines of Murdoch and Smith from about 50 feet away.

Ismay in his evidence to both inquiries states that he spoke with the Captain and the chief engineer but no other officers.

Also, Lightoller dealt with the loading of the lifeboats in some detail at the British inquiry and stated that, in his judgement, the boats could not be filled while on the davits - they had to be partially loaded on deck and filled from the water - for this reason he ordered the boatswain and some men to go down and open the gangway doors to allow other passengers to fill the boats when they were down.

He also maintained that when he sent some boats down with over (about) 30 people in them he was taking a risk that the davits or gear would not buckle.
 

Pat Winship

Member
May 14, 1999
441
6
263
Here's the sequence of events from Lightoller's point of view.

"I was just about ready for the land of nod, when I felt a sudden vibrating jar run through the ship. Up to this moment she had been steaming with such a pronounced lack of vibration that this sudden break in the steady running was all the more noticeable. Not that it was by any means a violent concussion, but just a distinct and unpleasant break in the monotony of her motion.

I instantly leapt out of my bunk and ran out on deck in my pyjamas; peered over the port side, but could see nothing there; ran across to the starboard side, but neither was there anything there, and as the cold was cutting like a knife, I hopped back into my bunk.

In any case, to go dashing up to the Bridge in night rig, or even properly clothed, when not on duty, was bound to ensure anything but a hearty welcome. Another thing, to be elsewhere than were you are expected to be found, in a ship like that, would result in the man who is sent to call you, being utterly unable to find you. So I just waited.

The time we struck was 12:00 p.m., April 14th of tragic memory, and it was about ten minutes later that the Fourth Officer, Boxall (sic) opened my door, and , seeing me awake, quietly said, “We’ve hit an iceberg.”

I replied, “I know you’ve hit something.” He then said, “The water is up to F Deck in the Mail Room.”

That was quite sufficient. Not another word passed. He went out, closing the door, whilst I slipped into some clothes as quickly as possible, and went out on deck."

Lightoller. Titanic and Other Ships
 
Jan 7, 2002
2,446
39
243
In most Titanic movies, after the collision with the iceberg, Capt. Smith assembled the officers on the bridge, to brief them on the details that Titanic struck a berg, was sinking, and needed to be evacuated. I do not believe this meeting ever took place- had it occoured, I suspect there would have been a greater effort on both the port and starboard sides to fill the boats to capacity. Plus I cannot find any references to such a meeting in either the American or British Titanic inquiry testimonies. Did Capt. Smith hold such a meeting on the bridge?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads

Similar threads