The position of Stone's first "Flash" relative to the nearby vessel.


Jim Currie

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In his answers to the British Inquiry, Stone stated " I was walking up and down the bridge and I saw one white flash in the sky, immediately above this other steamer. I did not know what it was; I thought it might be a shooting star. "

If that nearby vessel had been the sinking Titanic with the Californian ahead bearing North West and eventually 2 points on the port bow, then that nearby vessel could not have been the SS Californian.

Stone was observing that other nearby vessel using his binoculars and the compass bearing pelorus. If that vessel had been Titanic, he would have clearly seen the rocket bursts to the left of and way above her white steaming light. The former were 600 feet above Titanic's boat deck therefore they exploded 670 feet above the sea and about 250 feet out from her starboard side. Titanic's white masthead light was a mere 115 or so feet above the sea. This is roughly what he should have been describing.
Titanic sinking in the distance.jpg
 
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Still looking for that magic bullet by trying to analyze every single word spoken?

Titanic was not broadside to Californian, and her masthead light was about 146 ft above load waterline, not a mere 115 ft. Her length was foreshortened to less than 40% of her broadside length because she presented an angle on the bow of 2 points or less.

These are all statements from Stone:


"I observed another [flash of light in the sky] distinctly over the steamer which I made out to be a white rocket though I observed no flash on the deck or any indication that it had come from that steamer, in fact, it appeared to come from a good distance beyond her."

"She started to move as soon as I saw the first rocket. She was stationary up to that time. She was stationary by our compass, at least so far as I could tell."

"At 10 minutes past 1. I reported to the Master that she was altering her bearings ..."

"I have remarked at different times that these rockets did not appear to go very high; they were very low lying; they were only about half the height of the steamer’s masthead light and I thought rockets would go higher than that...But that I could not understand why if the rockets came from a steamer beyond this one, when the steamer altered her bearing the rockets should also alter their bearings."

It's a good thing there was another eyewitness to some of these events.
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Jim,

I don't know what this is all about, and why you have started a new thread, which could have been better added to the 'Stanley Lord Guilty as charged' thread.

All we can surmise from Stone's evidence namely his 18th April Statement and his British Inquiry testimony is that the first rocket he saw was a surprise to him and seen as a 'flash', but yet he included it as one of his '8 white rockets seen' throughout much of his evidence. The clear implication is that Stone subsequently considered it a white rocket he had seen, otherwise he would not have included it as one of the 8 white rockets seen. You know the 18th April statements and the British Inquiry testimony of himself and Gibson.

As Sam has pointed out, if we accept Titanic ended up pointing northwards or slightly west of northwards then if The Californian was stopped heading at 12.15am or thereabouts as Sam describes - as Groves, Stone, and Gibson all describe, then little could be made out of Titanic, and little could be made out of The Californian from Titanic. Titanic had subsequently turned to starboard, pointing/facing northwards, and would just be showing her red port light to The Californian, and although Groves failed to explain it well (badly IMHO) it just about explains what Stone claimed he saw as well.

Then Stone fails to notice The Californian is still swinging around erratically clockwise, same as Captain Lord fails to take this into account the following morning despite it must have been obvious to both what had happened, but they both ignore the obvious. By then, other matters had become far more important, and the error went unnoticed; indeed the 1961 tape recorded interview transcripts between Harrison and Captain Lord make it abundantly clear that Captain Lord was still oblivious to this error a year before he died. (At this point in time 1958-1961 I don't think Harrison had a full copy of the transcript of the British Inquiry - he had Grove's copy loaned to him, and Captain Lord's papers included just a few days if but one day).

I must go to bed - I've spent all my free time since Saturday reading Sam's new book... And in Sam's new book you do get a mention, Jim!

Cheers,
Julian
 
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Jim Currie

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Still looking for that magic bullet by trying to analyze every single word spoken?

Titanic was not broadside to Californian, and her masthead light was about 146 ft above load waterline, not a mere 115 ft. Her length was foreshortened to less than 40% of her broadside length because she presented an angle on the bow of 2 points or less.

These are all statements from Stone:


"I observed another [flash of light in the sky] distinctly over the steamer which I made out to be a white rocket though I observed no flash on the deck or any indication that it had come from that steamer, in fact, it appeared to come from a good distance beyond her."

"She started to move as soon as I saw the first rocket. She was stationary up to that time. She was stationary by our compass, at least so far as I could tell."

"At 10 minutes past 1. I reported to the Master that she was altering her bearings ..."

"I have remarked at different times that these rockets did not appear to go very high; they were very low lying; they were only about half the height of the steamer’s masthead light and I thought rockets would go higher than that...But that I could not understand why if the rockets came from a steamer beyond this one, when the steamer altered her bearing the rockets should also alter their bearings."

It's a good thing there was another eyewitness to some of these events.
Fishing's good today;)

Whatever the niceties of height of rocket burst v. height of masthead light or distance between the two vessels: if any observer, on Californian ( not just Stone) did not see a clear vertical separation between the masthead light and the clearly identified rocket, and the higher was that of the rocket burst, then the nearby ship was not the origin of the rocket.

Where is the factual evidence that proves Californian was at any angle on the bow of the sinking Titanic?
I don't mean your eloquent scholarly ideas on the subject where you neglected to factor-in contact with the ice, ever-reducing speed, drag and turbulence etc. and instead, rely on vague statements without substance by three crew members.
I prefer to use the factual evidence given by witnesses who were actually there...most of which, contradicts any idea of a turn to the northward.

As for analysing every single word? Perhaps if you took time to do so, you would have a much clearer picture of what Stone was describing.
For instance... and I've pointed this out to, you several times before... If you saw a Flash in the sky and you immediately focused binoculars on it, [as any experienced Deck Officer would automatically do] that "flash" would only be a distress signal if, when you looked through your binoculars, you saw the resulting stars designed to hold your attention, Stone did not see any such stars in the first instance,. However he did see them after a second flash a few minutes later. Where the heck do you think he got his interval of 3 or 4 minutes? We know the signals sent up by Titanic were not sent up at such short intervals.
Additionally, you have previously written at great length concerning the colours of the socket signals used and even shown a box originally containing 24 found on the sea bed with 7 missing from it...not 8.

As for the "other witness" to these events? I presume you mean Apprentice Gibson.

He "saw three rockets."... So did Stone.
He saw " er [red] sidelight disappeared.... [I could still see her mast head white light...Just a glare of it." Stone describe seeing exactly the same thing.

Then toward the end of the Watch:

He saw a flash "It was right on the horizon"..Stone made exactly the same observation.
 

Jim Currie

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Hi Jim,

I don't know what this is all about, and why you have started a new thread, which could have been better added to the 'Stanley Lord Guilty as charged' thread.

All we can surmise from Stone's evidence namely his 18th April Statement and his British Inquiry testimony is that the first rocket he saw was a surprise to him and seen as a 'flash', but yet he included it as one of his '8 white rockets seen' throughout much of his evidence. The clear implication is that Stone subsequently considered it a white rocket he had seen, otherwise he would not have included it as one of the 8 white rockets seen. You know the 18th April statements and the British Inquiry testimony of himself and Gibson.

As Sam has pointed out, if we accept Titanic ended up pointing northwards or slightly west of northwards then if The Californian was stopped heading at 12.15am or thereabouts as Sam describes - as Groves, Stone, and Gibson all describe, then little could be made out of Titanic, and little could be made out of The Californian from Titanic. Titanic had subsequently turned to starboard, pointing/facing northwards, and would just be showing her red port light to The Californian, and although Groves failed to explain it well (badly IMHO) it just about explains what Stone claimed he saw as well.

Then Stone fails to notice The Californian is still swinging around erratically clockwise, same as Captain Lord fails to take this into account the following morning despite it must have been obvious to both what had happened, but they both ignore the obvious. By then, other matters had become far more important, and the error went unnoticed; indeed the 1961 tape recorded interview transcripts between Harrison and Captain Lord make it abundantly clear that Captain Lord was still oblivious to this error a year before he died. (At this point in time 1958-1961 I don't think Harrison had a full copy of the transcript of the British Inquiry - he had Grove's copy loaned to him, and Captain Lord's papers included just a few days if but one day).

I must go to bed - I've spent all my free time since Saturday reading Sam's new book... And in Sam's new book you do get a mention, Jim!

Cheers,
Julian
The reason I started this is because this particular bit of evidence does not meet with the requirements of factual evidence regarding what an observer should have seen had the nearby vessel been firing socket signals as supplied to the RMS Titanic. Stone was the observer in this instance, but if any observer did not see what I show in my little sketch, then he or she was not seeing the nearby ship firing a Cotton Powder Co, socket signal as supplied to RMS Titanic.

Sam has absolutely no factual evidence to support a turn to the northward. However there is such evidence and it comes from sources:
1: From.QM Hichens who, when questioned about that very thing, very clearly and emphatically stated under oath that only one helm order was given by First Officer Murdoch, during the period when Murdoch was attempting to avoid the iceberg. He also stated that the first engine order was given t the same time as that helm order.
2: From Trimmer Dillon who felt the impact and saw the engines stop about 90 seconds thereafter.
3: From Leading Stoker Barratt who felt the impact and shut off the fires to the boilers which provided steam for the engines before impact with the ice took place.
4. From Sam himself who informed us that Titanic's central propeller... the principal influence in steering stopped at 50 rpm which would have been about 25 seconds or less, after Barratt got his STOP signal. (Food for Sam).
5. From Titanic's 4th Officer Boxhall who very clearly, on both sides of the Atlantic, stated that the ship on Titanic's bow was underweigh and approaching on the port bow. And while doing so, was showing two whole masthead lights and a RED sidelight.

Where does the factual "swinging erratically" evidence come from? That is utter nonsense. A ship will only swing erratically if there are any outside influences acting upon her. In the case of Californian, she was in flat calm conditions from Midnight until about half an hour before dawn, which was to be expected in the High Pressure conditions prevailing at the time. Previous to Midnight, she had "Light airs". After 3-30 pm a northerly breeze picked up. Between midnight and the sighting of Carpathia's rockets, there was nothing to influence the swing of a ship, any ship. In fact, the relative bearing evidence of Apprentice Gibson which can be taken as factual, shows a steady swing of about 1 degree per minute. Incidentally, Californian's above water profile made it more than likely that and wind acting on it would do so evenly on each side.

What commission are you getting?o_O
 

Jim Currie

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Before you swim away to safety, Sam, how about confirming or otherwise the following:

"Whatever the niceties of height of rocket burst v. height of masthead light or distance between the two vessels: if any observer, on Californian ( not just Stone) did not see a clear vertical separation between the masthead light and the clearly identified rocket, and the higher was that of the rocket burst, then the nearby ship was not the origin of the rocket. "

I will not hold my breath for an answer.
 

AlexP

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Mr. Stone has never testified that the first rocket he observed burst into the stars. He testified that he was not sure if it was a rocket or a meteor. Meteors could produce some bright flashes, but it is doubtful that they could be mistaken with a bursting rocket. Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that Mr. Stone did not see the exploding rockets itself at least concerning the first two rockets.
 

AlexP

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Here's what Mr. Stone testified


7841. What were they, rockets?
- They had the appearance of white rockets bursting in the sky.

and later

7921. Tell me what you said to the Chief Officer?
- I have remarked at different times that these rockets did not appear to go very high; they were very low lying; they were only about half the height of the steamer's masthead light and I thought rockets would go higher than that.
7922. Well, anything else?
- But that I could not understand why if the rockets came from a steamer beyond this one, when the steamer altered her bearing the rockets should also alter their bearings.
7923. That pointed to this, that the rockets did come from this steamer?
- It does, although I saw no actual evidence of their being fired from the deck of the steamer except in one case.
7924. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) Which is the one case?
- One rocket that I saw that appeared to be much brighter than the others.
7925. Was that one of the five or one of the three?
- One of the three.
7926. That, you felt confident, came from the vessel that was showing you these navigation lights?
- I am sure of it.

So it appears that eventually Mr. Stone saw the rockets bursting in the sky and they still were low-lying.
However, he also testified that he saw one rocket that he was sure came from the same steamer he was watching.
He also testified that the rockets were changing bearing together with the steamer.

So, in order, to come to some reasonable conclusion in regards the conflicting testimony Jim has to explain the testimony of a bright rocket that Mr. Stone was sure came from the steamer, and Sam has to explain why Mr. Stone testified the rockets appeared to be low-lying. The explanation that Mr. Stone was not telling the truth is not good enough IMO because Mr. Gibson did not say anything about the height of the rockets and because Mr. Stone volunteered the info about the rockets and the steamer changing bearing in the same manner.
 

Jim Currie

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Mr. Stone has never testified that the first rocket he observed burst into the stars. He testified that he was not sure if it was a rocket or a meteor. Meteors could produce some bright flashes, but it is doubtful that they could be mistaken with a bursting rocket. Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that Mr. Stone did not see the exploding rockets itself at least concerning the first two rockets.
That is true. He positively identified the second sighting as that of a rocket and simply assumed that what he saw the first time was also a rocket. However, if the first one he saw had been a rocket, he would have seen the stars falling to the sea.

But what about these "rockets"? In fact, as we all know, they were not rockets but projectiles. However that fact would not be known by those on the Californian. All 1912 Deck Officers knew that distress rockets rose to a great height above the ship sending them up. That includes 4th year Apprentice Gibson who, although he had never actually seen a Company Signal, knew what it should look like and thought what he was seeing may have been one in the absence of any other obvious explanation. Now why should he so think?

As you remind us in your latest post, Stone did not see what he should have seen had the nearby ship been in distress. It is therefore not (dare I say it?) rocket science. Never the less, it is completely shoved aside by Sam and those who much prefer the juicy "conspiracy to deceive and mis-lead" approach to the evidence.

This thread is meant to be a "seed" which hopefully will produce alternative approaches to the evidence. Here are other seeds:
If the Officers of the Californian wished to obfuscate and distort the evidence in their favour, why would they not have emphasised the fact that the given position for the sinking Titanic bore no relation whatsoever to the position indicated by the rockets seen by both Stone and Gibson?
Why, as you point out, would they bring a single "deck flash" to the attention of their questioners? After all, that would have condemned them by reinforcing the pre-determined conclusions of the questioners.
The obvious question should be "why did not Stone or Gibson see ALL of the deck flashes?

I suggest to you the mess that is the Californian question has been caused by pre-judgement.
 

AlexP

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The obvious question should be "why did not Stone or Gibson see ALL of the deck flashes?
I’ve just asked Mila about this and she directed me to this site http://www.charlespellegrino.com/californian_incident.htm

“Before he was ordered away in command of Boat C, Rowe had hauled his crate of distress rockets to the Bridge and had assisted Boxhall in firing at least eight of them. One of his last three rockets misfired and flared out much lower and brighter than the others, lighting up the Titanic's decks so brightly that the finer details of her profile and her foremast could doubtless be distinguished up to ten miles away — so brightly that the quartermaster thought, for a moment, that he was about to be burned by his own rocket.”

So it appears that both Mr. Stone and Mr. Gibson saw the deck’s flash of the rocket that was misfired.
 

Seumas

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Charles Pellegrino ? Really ? A pseudo-historian.

You may want to check some of the peer reviews done on his publications. He's not someone you want to cite in support of an argument.

He's a joke. For years he lied about holding a PhD. Nobody takes him seriously.
 
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Jim Currie

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I’ve just asked Mila about this and she directed me to this site http://www.charlespellegrino.com/californian_incident.htm

“Before he was ordered away in command of Boat C, Rowe had hauled his crate of distress rockets to the Bridge and had assisted Boxhall in firing at least eight of them. One of his last three rockets misfired and flared out much lower and brighter than the others, lighting up the Titanic's decks so brightly that the finer details of her profile and her foremast could doubtless be distinguished up to ten miles away — so brightly that the quartermaster thought, for a moment, that he was about to be burned by his own rocket.”

So it appears that both Mr. Stone and Mr. Gibson saw the deck’s flash of the rocket that was misfired.
Your reply emphasises what I have been trying to buck for a very long time.

I started this thread in an attempt to get members to put on their thinking caps and perhaps propose alternative answers to those put forward by self-styled Historians, Marine Experts or whatever they like themselves to be considered as. It might surprise you and others to learn that it is not a prerequisite to be any one of these for you or anyone else to hold an opinion and voice it on these pages.
Nor might I add, is it constructive or helpful to quote such an author... any author as being correct just because he or she wrote a book about it without explaining in detail, the reasons or reasons why you agree with any written opinion.

Just because "The moving finger writes and having writ moves on" doesn't mean that it is not permissible to question what it wrote.
 
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AlexP

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Here is the thing. Let us forget about the quote, but we know from Mr. Stone that one rocket was much brighter than all others. It is a fact. Why it was much brighter? I could only think about one reasonable explanation: it was misfired. If I understood it correctly ,In this post Rockets David Brown said that such rockets are easy to misfire. Even if we are to assume that the rockets were fired not from the Titanic, but from another steamer, we still have to explain why one was much brighter. Do you have a better or any explanation on why one rocket could have much brighter?

I know nothing about Pellegrino, but I doubt that he falsified all his research. The quote I provided does not appear to give him any personal advantages. It reminds me the situation with O.J. Simpson. Police found his blood in his murdered wife’s house. The defense alleged that it was planted there by a racist policeman. They demonstrated that the policeman made some racist comment, and one could have believed that he planted Simpson’s blood there, except Simpson had a fresh cut on his finger. In other words racist policemen not always mishandle evidence, and untrustworthy historians sometimes write the truth. In other words if Pellegrino alleged that one rocket misfired, but there was no Mr. Stone’s testimony, then I would have said that Pellegrino invented the evidence, burn there is Mr. Stone testimony that makes me to believe that Pellegrino was correct this time.
 
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AlexP

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I started this thread in an attempt to get members to put on their thinking caps and perhaps propose alternative answers to those put forward by self-styled Historians, Marine Experts or whatever they like themselves to be considered as.
With this I absolutely agree. Some well known Titanic’s authors come up with unconfirmed and often nonsense “evidence” to promote their pet theories. Such authors are even more dangerous than Pellegrino because laymen tend to believe them no matter what they allege.
 

Jim Currie

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Here is the thing. Let us forget about the quote, but we know from Mr. Stone that one rocket was much brighter than all others. It is a fact. Why it was much brighter? I could only think about one reasonable explanation: it was misfired. If I understood it correctly ,In this post Rockets David Brown said that such rockets are easy to misfire. Even if we are to assume that the rockets were fired not from the Titanic, but from another steamer, we still have to explain why one was much brighter. Do you have a better or any explanation on why one rocket could have much brighter?

I know nothing about Pellegrino, but I doubt that he falsified all his research. The quote I provided does not appear to give him any personal advantages. It reminds me the situation with O.J. Simpson. Police found his blood in his murdered wife’s house. The defense alleged that it was planted there by a racist policeman. They demonstrated that the policeman made some racist comment, and one could have believed that he planted Simpson’s blood there, except Simpson had a fresh cut on his finger. In other words racist policemen not always mishandle evidence, and untrustworthy historians sometimes write the truth. In other words if Pellegrino alleged that one rocket misfired, but there was no Mr. Stone’s testimony, then I would have said that Pellegrino invented the evidence, burn there is Mr. Stone testimony that makes me to believe that Pellegrino was correct this time.
OK! I've nothing better to do. Let's look at the evidence in question and this time, remove Stones name from the discussion.

The witness tells of how he see a flash in the sky about 5 miles away but does not know what it is. He is asked if he knows distress signals".

The same witness focuses binoculars in the direction of the flash and sees 4 white lights which. it is suggested to him were rockets. He agrees they "had the appearance" of white rockets bursting in the sky, He is questioned if he saw them in quick succession. He estimates the interval between these signals to be 3 or 4 minutes.

Conclusion:
The witness is made to agree that he "saw five rockets go up in fairly quick succession." He did not see such a thing, he did not even positively identify 4 rockets... he said they had the appearance of 4 rockets. The signals fired by Titanic had almost double the firing interval. In fact, the witness did not associate what he saw with any ship in distress until he heard about Titanic the following morning when awakened and informed of it. This is later corroborated by another, independent witness.
The witness stated that the vessel nearby was about 5 miles away. Given the conditions and the experience of the witness, it is highly unlikely that his estimate of separation distance between the vessels was in error by more than + or - 1 mile because the guage would be the separation line between setting stars and the horizon which would be clearly visible beyond the vessel in question when viewed through binoculars.
The witness also stated : " I have remarked at different times that these rockets did not appear to go very high; they were very low lying; they were only about half the height of the steamer's masthead light and I thought rockets would go higher than that. To make such an observation he had to be able to clearly see a reference point below the masthead light which, in this case, was the red side light. He would find it difficult if not impossible to make such an accurate observation viewing a vessel 10 or more miles away.

As for Pellegrino's flash? The witness did not see a flash on the deck, he stated: "One rocket that I saw that appeared to be much brighter than the others". It was another witness beside him who saw a flash on the deck. That was when the 5th rocket burst was seen. In that instance, a faint trail was also observed by this independent witness. However, the same witness did not see any deck flash for the last 2 signals.

Incidentally, the last signal fired by Titanic's QM Rowe was fired at about 4-46 am GMT. That in turn would make the firing of No.5 about 4-31 GMT
 

AlexP

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In other words you allege that the investigator was leading the witness, but the very same witness called the rockets “rockets” in his affidavit

At about 12:45, I observed a flash of light in the sky just above that steamer. I thought nothing of it as there were several shooting stars about, the night being fine and clear with light airs and calms. Shortly after I observed another distinctly over the steamer which I made out to be a white rocket though I observed no flash on the deck or any indication that it had come from that steamer, in fact, it appeared to come from a good distance beyond her. Between then and about 1:15 I observed three more the same as before, and all white in colour.

About that bright rocket... The only way the witness could have been so sure (and he was sure) it was fired from the deck of that very steamer was actually to see it was fired from the deck.

I don’t argue with you that the rockets might have appeared low-lying. Mila addressed this situation in her yet to be finished book.
 

Jim Currie

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In other words you allege that the investigator was leading the witness, but the very same witness called the rockets “rockets” in his affidavit

At about 12:45, I observed a flash of light in the sky just above that steamer. I thought nothing of it as there were several shooting stars about, the night being fine and clear with light airs and calms. Shortly after I observed another distinctly over the steamer which I made out to be a white rocket though I observed no flash on the deck or any indication that it had come from that steamer, in fact, it appeared to come from a good distance beyond her. Between then and about 1:15 I observed three more the same as before, and all white in colour.

About that bright rocket... The only way the witness could have been so sure (and he was sure) it was fired from the deck of that very steamer was actually to see it was fired from the deck.

I don’t argue with you that the rockets might have appeared low-lying. Mila addressed this situation in her yet to be finished book.
You for get that the witness had a long conversation with his boss before writing that affidavit.

So if any witness positively identifies a rocket detonation on the deck of the nearby vessel, what do you think he is describing?
 

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