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


Julian Atkins

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Oh dear!

Poor old Herbert Stone. He hasn't a clue what he is seeing or from what bearing, as The Californian swings round that night. Except he tells Gibson to report to Captain Lord at 2.05am 8 white rockets seen, and according to Gibson that this other ship has now disappeared.

He misses the first rocket he sees, just seeing a flash in the sky, and he probably missed the first rocket fired from Titanic because at the time he was on the speaking tube to Captain Lord when Captain Lord whistled up.

Then later on both Stone and Gibson together observe 3 further white rockets, none of which, according to Gibson, went low, and Gibson never saw the stern light of the ship being observed. Gibson's evidence of this other ship bearing so many points and altering these points from The Californian is entirely consistent with The Californian swinging around; only Stone claimed he took compass bearings of these observations.

If nothing was written down at the time in the scrap log, I have suggested some time ago that Stone's recollection of these compass bearings would be very unreliable and inaccurate. This is proved to be the case later on with the rockets seen from the Carpathia and their direction/bearing as seen by compass by Stone. And again Stone misses the first rocket (as described by Gibson) sent up from the Carpathia, and only describes 3 flashes just on the horizon (the first of which he didn't see!), whereas Gibson describes seeing 3 white rockets, and Gibson's description of the bearing of these rockets by points of the ship actually matches where The Californian was swinging round at the time. Stone, however, is wildly out on his 'compass' bearings.

It is generally accepted that Stone was not as observant as Gibson, which is a bit of a killer for the 2nd Officer in charge of that Middle Watch!

Stone had a rotten subsequent career in the British Merchant Navy that ended with a mental breakdown, of which substantial evidence has been provided on this forum by Harland.

You also have only to read Stone's testimony to the British Inquiry that he was also a rotten witness. There is also evidence that Captain Lord tried to suggest in Boston to the newspapers in interviews that Stewart was the officer during the Middle Watch, so avoiding Stone as a witness, and instead the more pliable and 'reliable' Stewart.

I have no doubt whatsoever that there were heated exchanges between Captain Lord and Stone later the morning of 15th April 1912, (and there is some evidence of these conversations whether heated or not), and earlier Stone was sent up into the crows nest in the freezing cold having been sleep deprived and woken up after only a few hours sleep, whereas Groves would have perhaps been the ideal candidate for this crows nest duty.

We also have the evidence from Brian Mainwaring in a letter to Walter Lord of 29th March 1956...

"I met Stone on one occasion during World War 1. It was a well known fact and quoted by him to his friends that Captain Lord of the 'California' [sic] was an insufferable S.O.B. That after Stone tried to get him to come up on the bridge he turned to the apprentice and said 'Well, let the bastard sleep.' "

(It should be noted that Stone was still alive at the time of the above letter to Walter Lord, and suddenly died 3 and a half years later).

Stones' eldest son John eventually met up with Leslie Reade and subsequently provided a letter that his mother, now Stone's widow (still alive but not interviewed by Reade) was sure that his father told her that he had seen distress rockets fired that night.

Cheers,
Julian
 
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Julian Atkins

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" I was walking up and down the bridge and I saw one white flash in the sky,
Jim quotes part of Stone's evidence at the British Inquiry, and the actual reference is 7832.

Stone had been ordered to keep this other ship under observation by Captain Lord. The Californian had swung around from his initial observation of this other ship being SEE by compass when he started his watch, which direction was confirmed by both Groves and Gibson.

If Stone was, as he claimed, walking up and down the bridge - which was the flying bridge - he really ought not to have been doing this - as the best view of this other ship was from the starboard extremity of the flying bridge. " Up and down" is very vague - was he going forward and aft or from port to starboard, and if forward and aft, which side of the flying bridge?

One can easily imagine Stone pacing about due to the freezing cold that night on the exposed flying bridge to try and keep warm, but he should have been on the starboard wing of the flying bridge observing this other ship. He could not take proper bearings from the compass on the flying bridge of this other ship due to the distance from the compass to the starboard wing which also had a weather cloth added, plus a canopy added over the flying bridge.

It is therefore no wonder he saw 'just a flash', depending on where he was on the flying bridge at the time, for the first of his 8 white rockets that he later told Gibson to report to Captain Lord at 2.05am.

Cheers,

Julian
 

Jim Currie

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Apr 16, 2008
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Oh dear!

Poor old Herbert Stone. He hasn't a clue what he is seeing or from what bearing, as The Californian swings round that night. Except he tells Gibson to report to Captain Lord at 2.05am 8 white rockets seen, and according to Gibson that this other ship has now disappeared.

He misses the first rocket he sees, just seeing a flash in the sky, and he probably missed the first rocket fired from Titanic because at the time he was on the speaking tube to Captain Lord when Captain Lord whistled up.
I don't understand your point, Julian.

Stone did not know what he was seeing because he did not recognise what he was seeing as anything he had ever seen before and that included distress rockets.
As would any normal individual, he dredged his memory for things he knew about and had not yet seen or had seen e.g. he had previously to learn about distress rockets but had never seen any, However, "shooting stars were as common as muck at sea.
He knew that if a ship fired a conventional distress rocket, it would, as Lightoller said, rise many hundreds of feet into the air before bursting in a shower of stars "of any colour" and giving off an ear-splitting BANG. The first "light" in the sky only met a single criteria...a flash, there was no following BANG nor was there the tell-tale lingering shower of stars of any colour to be seen for many seconds thereafter.
If as you say, he missed the first rocket while talking to Lord, that will not fly because
A: The call was about the nearby vessel regarding her situation and Stone would glance in her direction as he talked on the blower.

B: The call time was noted by Stone to be at 00-35 am He did not see his first "flash" for another 10 minutes.

What I find odd is that we have three men questioning a relative expert about rockets who themselves, unable to determine whether the witness is telling the truth or otherwise. Consider the following little exchange:


"The Commissioner: Would there be any significance in the lights if they were coloured as distinct from white, Mr. Aspinall?
Mr. Butler Aspinall: As I understand it, white lights are distress signals; company's lights are very often coloured.
The Commissioner: Would distress signals be coloured?
Mr. Butler Aspinall: I have not got the exact wording of the regulation in my mind.

The Attorney-General: I do not think there is anything about that in the regulations."


These three had the fate of that young man in their hands. Sad to say, how they viewed him based on his answers to questions concerning rockets prevails to this day.

Then later on both Stone and Gibson together observe 3 further white rockets, none of which, according to Gibson, went low, and Gibson never saw the stern light of the ship being observed. Gibson's evidence of this other ship bearing so many points and altering these points from The Californian is entirely consistent with The Californian swinging around; only Stone claimed he took compass bearings of these observations.

As far as I can determine, Gibson did not describe the height of the rockets at all, To do so he would have required at least one reference point.
In fact, if you read his evidence carefully, you will discover that Gibson very clearly stated "The Second Officer was taking bearings of her all the time".
This tells us that in fact, Stone was obeying Lord's orders to the letter. I remind you that these were according to Stone "
watch the other steamer and report if she came any nearer" and according to Lord "
I told him to watch that steamer - that she was stopped...If she altered her bearings or got any closer to us - drifted towards us."

As for Gibson not seeing a stern light?

The fact that Gibson did not see the stern light of the vessel moving away is not an earth-shattering game-changer as you might imagine. In practice, it is often impossible to make a out a stern light. The reason for that being that invariably the stern light is mounted on the stern rail, on top of the ensign pole or on top of a low accommodation housing on the poop. This means that if the accommodation or alleyway lights in line with it are lit, it will merge in with these lights. A classic example of this was the Californian herself. Have a look at the row of portholes across the aft end of her accommodation and the bulkhead lights on either side of the Poop House. Now imagine what these would look like 8 or 9 miles away.
However, Stone did see the other vessel's stern light and told his questioners so.


If nothing was written down at the time in the scrap log, I have suggested some time ago that Stone's recollection of these compass bearings would be very unreliable and inaccurate. This is proved to be the case later on with the rockets seen from the Carpathia and their direction/bearing as seen by compass by Stone. And again Stone misses the first rocket (as described by Gibson) sent up from the Carpathia, and only describes 3 flashes just on the horizon (the first of which he didn't see!), whereas Gibson describes seeing 3 white rockets, and Gibson's description of the bearing of these rockets by points of the ship actually matches where The Californian was swinging round at the time. Stone, however, is wildly out on his 'compass' bearings.

The fact that a vessel was stopped nearby would not be recorded in the Scrap Log, consequently, the bearing of such a vessel would not be recorded.
Bearings to Stone and every other Navigating officer were and still are meat and drink. They lived and still live, their daily lives by them. It is absurd to suggest that the Navigating Officer (Such was Stone) of any ship would not recall a bearing he had been constantly checking for 2 hours. It is laughable to suggest that a bridge officer would be confused regarding a bearing due to the fact that the ship was swinging. He would remember such a bearing because the maintenance of that bearing, regardless of how Californian was swinging was the only way he would be able know if the nearby vessel was keeping her position relative to that of the Californian. It follows that he would need to be sure of it in order to obey the instructions of Captain Lord
.


It is generally accepted that Stone was not as observant as Gibson, which is a bit of a killer for the 2nd Officer in charge of that Middle Watch!

Who "Generally" accepts this, Julian?

Stone had a rotten subsequent career in the British Merchant Navy that ended with a mental breakdown, of which substantial evidence has been provided on this forum by Harland.

Stone, like very many millions, survived the horrors of WW1. Many, like my wife's father, did so and thereafter went on to have a stable ,productive life. Many did not. Perhaps Stone was one of the latter?
What I can tell you without fear of contradiction is, that any normal man who is confronted by extreme danger on a daily basis for a number of years is not mentally the same, normal man he was when he started out to confront that danger.
What the foregoing has to do with what he saw that night, I will never know,


You also have only to read Stone's testimony to the British Inquiry that he was also a rotten witness.

Would that be because those questioning him had decided upon a set of answers they required. Perhaps that's why Lord Mersey told Stone:
"You know, you do not make a good impression upon me at present."


There is also evidence that Captain Lord tried to suggest in Boston to the newspapers in interviews that Stewart was the officer during the Middle Watch, so avoiding Stone as a witness, and instead the more pliable and 'reliable' Stewart.

No, Julian, the Boston Newspapers reported that. What makes you so sure they got it right? I have told you before, the Watches of a ship are carved in Stone (no pun intended). The Chief Officer on a 3-Mate vessel such as was Californian, ALWAYS took the morning Watch, NEVER the Middle Watch. Any conscientious reporter checking his sources would have discovered that in a New York Minute and Lord, who seemed to go by the book, would never have made such a glaring mistake.

I have no doubt whatsoever that there were heated exchanges between Captain Lord and Stone later the morning of 15th April 1912, (and there is some evidence of these conversations whether heated or not), and earlier Stone was sent up into the crows nest in the freezing cold having been sleep deprived and woken up after only a few hours sleep, whereas Groves would have perhaps been the ideal candidate for this crows nest duty.

We also have the evidence from Brian Mainwaring in a letter to Walter Lord of 29th March 1956...

"I met Stone on one occasion during World War 1. It was a well known fact and quoted by him to his friends that Captain Lord of the 'California' [sic] was an insufferable S.O.B. That after Stone tried to get him to come up on the bridge he turned to the apprentice and said 'Well, let the bastard sleep.'

Think about the above. If Mainwairing had " met Stone on one occasion during World War 1." then he could not have been one of Stone's "friends". but merely a brief acquaintance. So what we have here is hearsay at best and simple gossip at worst.

(It should be noted that Stone was still alive at the time of the above letter to Walter Lord, and suddenly died 3 and a half years later).

If Lord was the tyrant he was made out to be, Stone would have stood before him cap off and head bowed while the "Tyrant" berated him concerning the latter''s behaviour. Whether it be Captain Lord or any other MN Captain...a 2nd Officer does not enter into a heated argument with his boss.

If Stone was hoisted to the main truck.it was because Stewart, who was really the OOW was on deck engaged in directing the crew in preparations for survivor recovery. The only other Officer - Groves had taken over as OOW of the Chief Officer's Watch.


Stones' eldest son John eventually met up with Leslie Reade and subsequently provided a letter that his mother, now Stone's widow (still alive but not interviewed by Reade) was sure that his father told her that he had seen distress rockets fired that night.

Nothing mind-blasting about that, Julian. Stone did see distress signals that night. Unfortunately, he did not recognise them as such, and never claimed that he did. He only acknowledged them to be such after he heard about the Titanic.
In fact, he must have mentally wrestled with these rockets for many years thereafter since when he saw them, they were in a direction which was totally different to the the direction and bearing of the sinking Titanic from the stopped Californian.


Cheers,
Julian

Cheers,

Jim

Moderator's note: Eduted to correct formatting error. MAB
 
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Julian Atkins

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Hi Jim,

You ought to expand your reply so it can be properly seen without having to click on my post otherwise others may miss your comments on my replies.

This thread is meant to be a "seed" which hopefully will produce alternative approaches to the evidence.
The approach you have adopted in respect of my replies is quite the contrary. Seems to me to be more like "I am Jim, and I know best, and everyone who disagrees with me is wrong"

Perhaps this is a defensive stance in response to Sam's new book, which I have now finished reading, and which I hope you are also a purchaser of and are now reading.

I note you did not comment on Tracy Smith's quote from the letter from Stanley Tutton Lord to Ed Kamuda - Tracy kindly sent me a copy of this letter, and I have the whole Stanley Tutton Lord correspondence with Ed Kamuda plus all the lovely pics of Captain Lord in old age and with his lovely doggies.

(And my post 23 remains as not yet replied to, though I take no issue on this, as you were probably typing out your reply to my previous posts at the time)

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
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Funchal. Madeira
Oh dear!

Poor old Herbert Stone. He hasn't a clue what he is seeing or from what bearing, as The Californian swings round that night. Except he tells Gibson to report to Captain Lord at 2.05am 8 white rockets seen, and according to Gibson that this other ship has now disappeared.

He misses the first rocket he sees, just seeing a flash in the sky, and he probably missed the first rocket fired from Titanic because at the time he was on the speaking tube to Captain Lord when Captain Lord whistled up.

Then later on both Stone and Gibson together observe 3 further white rockets, none of which, according to Gibson, went low, and Gibson never saw the stern light of the ship being observed. Gibson's evidence of this other ship bearing so many points and altering these points from The Californian is entirely consistent with The Californian swinging around; only Stone claimed he took compass bearings of these observations.

If nothing was written down at the time in the scrap log, I have suggested some time ago that Stone's recollection of these compass bearings would be very unreliable and inaccurate. This is proved to be the case later on with the rockets seen from the Carpathia and their direction/bearing as seen by compass by Stone. And again Stone misses the first rocket (as described by Gibson) sent up from the Carpathia, and only describes 3 flashes just on the horizon (the first of which he didn't see!), whereas Gibson describes seeing 3 white rockets, and Gibson's description of the bearing of these rockets by points of the ship actually matches where The Californian was swinging round at the time. Stone, however, is wildly out on his 'compass' bearings.

It is generally accepted that Stone was not as observant as Gibson, which is a bit of a killer for the 2nd Officer in charge of that Middle Watch!

Stone had a rotten subsequent career in the British Merchant Navy that ended with a mental breakdown, of which substantial evidence has been provided on this forum by Harland.

You also have only to read Stone's testimony to the British Inquiry that he was also a rotten witness. There is also evidence that Captain Lord tried to suggest in Boston to the newspapers in interviews that Stewart was the officer during the Middle Watch, so avoiding Stone as a witness, and instead the more pliable and 'reliable' Stewart.

I have no doubt whatsoever that there were heated exchanges between Captain Lord and Stone later the morning of 15th April 1912, (and there is some evidence of these conversations whether heated or not), and earlier Stone was sent up into the crows nest in the freezing cold having been sleep deprived and woken up after only a few hours sleep, whereas Groves would have perhaps been the ideal candidate for this crows nest duty.

We also have the evidence from Brian Mainwaring in a letter to Walter Lord of 29th March 1956...

"I met Stone on one occasion during World War 1. It was a well known fact and quoted by him to his friends that Captain Lord of the 'California' [sic] was an insufferable S.O.B. That after Stone tried to get him to come up on the bridge he turned to the apprentice and said 'Well, let the bastard sleep.' "

(It should be noted that Stone was still alive at the time of the above letter to Walter Lord, and suddenly died 3 and a half years later).

Stones' eldest son John eventually met up with Leslie Reade and subsequently provided a letter that his mother, now Stone's widow (still alive but not interviewed by Reade) was sure that his father told her that he had seen distress rockets fired that night.

Cheers,
Julian
I will answer the above post once again. This time in the simplest of terms.

Stone's rocket story

(1)..Stone did not know what he was seeing because he did not recognise what he was seeing as anything he had ever seen before and that included distress rockets.
As would any normal individual, he dredged his memory for things he knew about and had not yet seen or had seen e.g. he had previously to learn about distress rockets but had never seen any, However, "shooting stars were as common as muck at sea.
He knew that if a ship fired a conventional distress rocket, it would, as Lightoller said, rise many hundreds of feet into the air before bursting in a shower of stars "of any colour" and giving off an ear-splitting BANG. The first "light" in the sky only met a single criteria...a flash, there was no following BANG nor was there the tell-tale lingering shower of stars of any colour to be seen for many seconds thereafter.
If as you say, he missed the first rocket while talking to Lord, that will not fly because
A: The call was about the nearby vessel regarding her situation and Stone would glance in her direction as he talked on the blower.
B: The call time was noted by Stone to be at 00-35 am He did not see his first "flash" for another 10 minutes.


The ability of Stones Interrogators and by extension, anyone's ability to determine the veracity of Stone's rocket evidence

(2)..What I find odd is that we have three men questioning a relative expert about rockets who themselves, unable to determine whether the witness is telling the truth or otherwise. Consider the following little exchange:

"The Commissioner: Would there be any significance in the lights if they were coloured as distinct from white, Mr. Aspinall?
Mr. Butler Aspinall: As I understand it, white lights are distress signals; company's lights are very often coloured.
The Commissioner: Would distress signals be coloured?
Mr. Butler Aspinall: I have not got the exact wording of the regulation in my mind.
The Attorney-General: I do not think there is anything about that in the regulations."


These three had the fate of that young man in their hands. Sad to say, how they viewed him based on his answers to questions concerning rockets prevails to this day.


Gibson's description of what he saw vis a vis rockets

(3)..As far as I can determine, Gibson did not describe the height of the rockets at all, To do so he would have required at least one reference point.
In fact, if you read his evidence carefully, you will discover that Gibson very clearly stated "The Second Officer was taking bearings of her all the time".
This tells us that in fact, Stone was obeying Lord's orders to the letter. I remind you that these were according to Stone " watch the other steamer and report if she came any nearer" and according to Lord "
I told him to watch that steamer - that she was stopped...If she altered her bearings or got any closer to us - drifted towards us."

(4)..Gibson's stern light evidence

The fact that Gibson did not see the stern light of the vessel moving away is not an earth-shattering game-changer as you might imagine. In practice, it is often impossible to make a out a stern light. The reason for that being that invariably the stern light is mounted on the stern rail, on top of the ensign pole or on top of a low accommodation housing on the poop. This means that if the accommodation or alleyway lights in line with it are lit, it will merge in with these lights. A classic example of this was the Californian herself. Have a look at the row of portholes across the aft end of her accommodation and the bulkhead lights on either side of the Poop House. Now imagine what these would look like 8 or 9 miles away.
However, Stone did see the other vessel's stern light and told his questioners so.


Matters concerning Scrap Log entries

(5)..The fact that a vessel was stopped nearby would not be recorded in the Scrap Log, consequently, the bearing of such a vessel would not be recorded.
Bearings to Stone and every other Navigating officer were and still are meat and drink. They lived and still live, their daily lives by them. It is absurd to suggest that the Navigating Officer (Such was Stone) of any ship would not recall a bearing he had been constantly checking for 2 hours. It is laughable to suggest that a bridge officer would be confused regarding a bearing due to the fact that the ship was swinging. He would remember such a bearing because the maintenance of that bearing, regardless of how Californian was swinging was the only way he would be able know if the nearby vessel was keeping her position relative to that of the Californian. It follows that he would need to be sure of it in order to obey the instructions of Captain Lord
.

Stone's ability as an observer

(6)...Who "Generally" accepts this, Julian?

Stone's subsequent career

(7)...Stone, like very many millions, survived the horrors of WW1. Many, like my wife's father, did so and thereafter went on to have a stable ,productive life. Many did not. Perhaps Stone was one of the latter?
What I can tell you without fear of contradiction is, that any normal man who is confronted by extreme danger on a daily basis for a number of years is not mentally the same, normal man he was when he started out to confront that danger.
What the foregoing has to do with what he saw that night, I will never know,


Proposed reason for evaluating Stone as a Witness

(8)...Would that be because those questioning him had decided upon a set of answers they required? Perhaps that's why Lord Mersey told Stone:
"You know, you do not make a good impression upon me at present."


The Boston Newspaper reports.

(10)...No, Julian, the Boston Newspapers reported that. What makes you so sure they got it right?
I have told you before, the Watches of a ship are carved in Stone (no pun intended). The Chief Officer on a 3-Mate vessel such as was Californian, ALWAYS took the morning Watch, NEVER the Middle Watch. Any conscientious reporter checking his sources would have discovered that in a New York Minute and Captain Lord, who seemed to go by the book, would never have made such a glaring mistake.


The Mainwairing letter

(11)...Think about it. If Mainwairing had " met Stone on one occasion during World War 1." then he could not have been one of Stone's "friends". but merely a brief acquaintance. So what we have here is hearsay at best and simple gossip at worst.

Lord and Stone confrontation

(12)...If Lord was the tyrant he was made out to be, Stone would have stood before him cap off and head bowed while the "Tyrant" berated him concerning the latter''s behaviour. Whether it be Captain Lord or any other MN Captain...a 2nd Officer does not enter into a heated argument with his boss.

Stone hoisted to the Main Truck in a basket as punishment

(13)...If Stone was hoisted to the main truck.it was not as a punishment, but because Stewart, who was really the OOW was on deck engaged in directing the crew in preparations for survivor recovery. The only other Officer - Groves had taken over as OOW of the Chief Officer's Watch. Lord did not have another Officer to act as a lookout. In addition, it was normal practice on all ships when crossing pack ice.to hoist an officer up the mast in a bosun's chair or something similar to look out for what were termed "leads" through the ice.

Stone's son and his mother's recollections of what his father said in later years

(14)...Nothing mind-blasting about that, Julian. Stone did see distress signals that night. Unfortunately, he did not recognise them as such, and never claimed that he did. He only acknowledged them to be such after he heard about the Titanic.
In fact, he must have mentally wrestled with these rockets for many years thereafter since when he saw them, they were in a direction which was totally different to the the direction and bearing of the sinking Titanic from the stopped Californian.

Addendum:


I have just read your last effort (I do go to sleep and have other interests besides Titanic and Californian)

You wrote: "The approach you have adopted in respect of my replies is quite the contrary. Seems to me to be more like "I am Jim, and I know best, and everyone who disagrees with me is wrong" That could have been a direct quote from Sam.

In fact, if you honestly read the foregoing you will see that not one single reply is according to " the all knowing Jim". Here are the facts which have nothing to do with my opinions, and you can easily verify them if you truly wish to do so.

A: What Stone described seeing is all in his evidence. I had nothing to do with that and it is a true account of what he said.
B: Stones; Interrogators displayed their rocket knowledge (or lack of it) for all to see. Not my fault, but true nevertheless.
C: The description of what Stone should have seen and heard is a Regulation description. Not Gospel according to "all-knowing Jim".
D: The relative height of a rocket or any light can only be determined by an observer at sea by use of a reference point. A fact which has nothing to do with me.
E: The ability to recognise a ship's stern light at night reduces as the number of lights surrounding it increases. A fact which is again, nothing to do with me. Nor, incidentally, was the arrangement of portholes and lights on the Californian.
F: The entries to be written into the Log Book are laid down by Regulation. That is a fact and I didn't write said Regulations. The practice of a Deck Officer regarding the use of bearings is also standard. I did not write the Standard for that either.
G: The expression "generally accepts" is used as if it is in some way a fact. To generally accept something is not proof of fact. That fact stands by itself.
E: Stone's subsequent career has nothing to do with me...simply ask a qualified Psychologist... I did.
F: I asked a question regarding Lord Mersey's opinion of the answers given by Stone. I would be delighted to have an answer from you or from anyone else who generally accept evidence to the contrary
G: The location of Watches on a British Merchant ship which has 3 mates and a Master is and was standard practice. I did not instigate that practice.
E: The servitude of an Officer to his Captain is regulation. As an officer and a Captain, I have been in both "seats". In that, I am most emphatically correct. If I am branded a "smarty pants" for that, I make no apology.

Your post No,22 ... the letter to Ed Kamuna from Captain Lord's son. Are you kidding?

What does that prove? I was born long after young Lord, and I do not know of any responsible father in my day who, if he had the future interest of their offspring at heart, failed to be, when he felt like it, [or deemed it warranted] be very severe and intimidating. It's called keeping them on the right lines. At least he didn't beat the hell out of the boy.

Your Post No.23...Stone's Upper Bridge Duties.

My advice to you Julian, for what it is worth, is that unless you have a very thick skin, you do not show that to any experienced Deck Officer.

For sure, Stone was ordered to keep a close watch on the nearby vessel and report any movement she made. To do this, he did not need to stare at her or keep her under constant observation. She was 5 miles or so away and , even under full power would take a considerable time to be any danger to his ship. The direction in which he paced up and down had absolutely no bearing on how he was able to perform all of his duties which were not confined to staring out over the starboard beam, Just imagine the outcome if poor old Stone was staring as you suggest and a small schooner rammed Californian's starboard quarter.:eek:

As for Sam's new Book? I wish him well with it. However, I will not be buying it since we fundamentally disagree on all aspects of the Californian affair. There will be nothing new in it for me, Because if Sam had changed his mind or had any new revelation to make which might have changed my mind, I am sure he would have taken the utmost pleasure in correcting me long before this.
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Jim,

Thank you for taking the time and trouble for your detailed reply. You won't expect me to agree with you, however!

Let me just suggest that Sam in his new book has 'every which way' provided conclusive proof by considering in considerable detail a multitude of all avenues that have been disputed over the years, plus quite a few more, that The Californian was at the relevant time 12- 13 miles from Titanic before it sank, and the 2 ships were in visual site of one another, and you ought to obtain a copy.

I mean this in the nicest possible way, Jim, but your arguments would then be shown to be specious.

I have the greatest respect for anyone who has served in the British Merchant Navy, as my nephew now does, and my brother served 26 years in the RN. But that is by the by.

An analysis of the evidence, which is itself confusing and contradictory, sometimes evasive, and sometimes evidence of deliberate concoction and lying, requires other skills and avenues of research to attempt to get to the nub of 'The Californian Incident'.

Not a 'closed mind' that will not consider buying Sam's new book!

Cheers,

Julian
 

AlexP

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May 23, 2019
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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?
Well, maybe you forgot about this testimony
8577. What did he tell you?
- He told me he had seen a ship four or five miles off when he went on deck at 12 o'clock, and at 1 o'clock he had seen some rockets.
8578. Did not he say how many?
- No, he did not say.
8579. Did not he say what sort of rockets?
- I asked him; he said they were white rockets.

So it appears that the witness told another witness that he saw “some rockets” before he had a long conversation with his boss.
I agree the witnesses should not have been leading by their questioners, but today’s researchers should not try to change their testimonies, they only should try to interpret them.
For example, nobody asked the witness if any rocket was brighter than the others. He volunteered that info, as well as the info that he was sure it was fired from the steamer he kept under his observation, which probably means he was watching Titanic.
The problem with mistreating evidence is present on the both side. A good example of such is a theory of retrograde swinging.
One should not make any conclusion on this because there is zero evidence it occurred after midnight, although if the witnesses were correct it did occur between the Californian was stopped and midnight.
There are some testimonies, including low-lying rockets that are hard to explain, but at least one should try, and try without alleging that witnesses were not telling the truth and without inventing new evidence.
 

Steven

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Hi Jim,

Thank you for taking the time and trouble for your detailed reply. You won't expect me to agree with you, however!

Let me just suggest that Sam in his new book has 'every which way' provided conclusive proof by considering in considerable detail a multitude of all avenues that have been disputed over the years, plus quite a few more, that The Californian was at the relevant time 12- 13 miles from Titanic before it sank, and the 2 ships were in visual site of one another
The MAIB report from 1992 finally conceded what Lord and those supportive of his case had been saying for the previous eight decades (but remained unprovable until the discovery of Titanic's wreck in 1985, which once and for all determined it's final position)... that Titanic and Californian were between 17 to 20 nautical miles apart and not only never were in each other's visible horizon, but couldn't have been.

I respect Sam's extensive knowledge on all things Titanica, but as someone once quipped; "if you strangle the data for long enough, you can make it confess to anything"... and I think that goes for his and others' attempts to ascertain Californian's 'correct' position that night... Captain Lord and bridge crew already knew where they were at the time... their calculations were correct, who is any armchair navigator long after the fact to speculate otherwise?

Ah, it's good to be back...
 
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Jim Currie

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Good to have you at my back, Steven. Good to see someone who does not sweep unhelpful evidence aside or attempt to distort it to fit, as did Captain Knapp of the USN.. not to mention a few eminent historians.

There is one single bit of evidence which is completely ignored, and it was given by 5th Officer Lowe of the Titanic. It completely exonerates the Californian and illustrates your point. I quote:

"15825. Did you look for any lights at this time at all?
A: - As I was getting the emergency boat ready, No. 1, Mr. Boxhall was firing the detonators, the distress signals, and somebody mentioned something about a ship on the port bow, and I glanced over in that direction casually and I saw a steamer there.

15826. What did you see of her? A: - I saw her two masthead and her red sidelights.

No, 1 Boat was launched 1 hour 15 minutes before Titanic sank. The last signal was fired 30 minutes before she sank and the penultimate one about 6 minutes before that. If the foregoing is true, then there is no way on God's green earth that the ship seen by 5th Officer Lowe was the SS Californian. because the Californian was showing the nearby vessel her green side light right up to and after the penultimate signal was fired.

Having pointed this out, I have absolutely no doubt that it will be ignored by those who do not wish to face up to what this evidence suggests.

Having quoted this, I must say that in the past, I have cast doubts on the ability of Lowe to see the vessel in question. However, since the same evidence has been used by Sam to prove Titanic was turning tom the north, I see no reason not to point this out.
 

Rob Lawes

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All I can add at this stage is that if someone describes a flash of light they liken to a shooting star it suggests they are describing a streak of light falling through the sky. This would be similar to the light made from a descending socket signal observed at a distance.
 
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AlexP

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But lifeboat # 1 was being launched from the starboard side. Was it possible to see the sidelights from the starboard side?
In any case, he could have been mistaking either about the time or about seeing the sidelight.
Maybe he was hearing everybody saw the red one and then their memory became his memory, or maybe he mistook a star with a sidelight.
See, one should not take a single testimony, make his conclusion based on it while completely ignoring other testimonies.
Besides, Sam will tell you that Mt. Lowe's testimony proves the Californian was swinging retrograde.
 

AlexP

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All I can add at this stage is that if someone describes a flash of light they liken to a shooting star it suggests they are describing a streak of light falling through the sky. This would be similar to the light made from a descending socket signal observed at a distance.
And you are probably right.
 

Jim Currie

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All I can add at this stage is that if someone describes a flash of light they liken to a shooting star it suggests they are describing a streak of light falling through the sky. This would be similar to the light made from a descending socket signal observed at a distance.
a shooting star "streaks" through the sky leaving a tail behind it. A "falling star" moves much slower. You can actually see a video of one on line. I'm surprised that with your sea-time. Rob, you don't remember that.

However Stone very plainly stated " I saw one white flash in the sky," He also wrote: "I observed a flash of light", so he didn't see a "falling star". The stars of a distress rocket "fall", they do not "flash", so he did not see a distress rocket. It's not rocket science, Rob.

Stone did not say he saw a "shooting star or a star of any kind, in fact he said " I did not know what it was" As an afterthought, he added " I thought it might be a shooting star.". You don't have an "afterthought " while watching the stars of a distress rocket of any colour descending slowly seaward.
Even kids on Guy Fox night or on the Fourth of July know that.:rolleyes:
 

Jim Currie

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But lifeboat # 1 was being launched from the starboard side. Was it possible to see the sidelights from the starboard side?
In any case, he could have been mistaking either about the time or about seeing the sidelight.
Maybe he was hearing everybody saw the red one and then their memory became his memory, or maybe he mistook a star with a sidelight.
See, one should not take a single testimony, make his conclusion based on it while completely ignoring other testimonies.
Besides, Sam will tell you that Mt. Lowe's testimony proves the Californian was swinging retrograde.
You really should sift the evidence.

Boxhall: "I found it was the two masthead lights of a vessel, probably about half a point on the port bow, and in the position she would be showing her red if it were visible, but she was too far off then. "
He saw that just after he had sent his distress signal, when the time aboard the SS Californian was no more than 12-15 am. and Gibson had just arrived beside Stone.
At that same time, Titanic was showing a green light in the direction of the vessel seen by Boxhall while Gibson and Stone on the Californian had a vessel showing a red light on the starboard beam. Boxhall should have seen Californian's green light, not her red one.

5Th n)fficer Lowe you know about.as Lookut Walter Wynne who was in boat 9

" 13337. What light or lights did you see?... - I saw a red light first, and then the red light disappeared, and I saw a white one.2

If Wynne saw a red sidelight when he was in Boat 9, and he was seeing Californian, then he must have seen it after the penultimate rocket was fired nd Californian could not have been much more than 9 miles away at least 3 crew members saw a red light, 2 of them long before Californian ever showed a red light in the direction of the Titanic. .
 

AlexP

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You really should sift the evidence.

Boxhall: "I found it was the two masthead lights of a vessel, probably about half a point on the port bow, and in the position she would be showing her red if it were visible, but she was too far off then. "
This is a great example of the witness contradicting not only another witness but himself.
Here's what Mr. Boxhall said:


Senator BURTON.
Which light did you see first?

Mr. BOXHALL.
I saw the masthead lights first, the two steaming lights; and then, as she drew up closer, I saw her side lights through my glasses, and eventually I saw the red light. I had seen the green, but I saw the red most of the time. I saw the red light with my naked eye.

Clearly Mr. Boxhall was confused, when he stated: "I found it was the two masthead lights of a vessel, probably about half a point on the port bow, and in the position she would be showing her red if it were visible, but she was too far off then."

If Wynne saw a red sidelight when he was in Boat 9, and he was seeing Californian, then he must have seen it after the penultimate rocket was fired nd Californian could not have been much more than 9 miles away
With this I agree. The steamers (the Titanic and the Californian) were around 10 miles away at some point during the night. Mr. Wynne's testimony is confusing, but Mr. Boxhall testified that he saw both sidelights, and so did the survivors from the lifeboat # 8. They saw both sidelights at the same time, (the only time the Californian was showing her both sidelights in the direction of the Titanic). It was before 1:45, maybe somewhere around 1:30-1:40. The lifeboat #8 was launched at 1 a.m. She could not have traveled far away from the Titanic in 30-40 minutes.
 

AlexP

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a shooting star "streaks" through the sky leaving a tail behind it. A "falling star" moves much slower. You can actually see a video of one on line. I'm surprised that with your sea-time. Rob, you don't remember that.

However Stone very plainly stated " I saw one white flash in the sky," He also wrote: "I observed a flash of light", so he didn't see a "falling star". The stars of a distress rocket "fall", they do not "flash", so he did not see a distress rocket. It's not rocket science, Rob.

Stone did not say he saw a "shooting star or a star of any kind, in fact he said " I did not know what it was" As an afterthought, he added " I thought it might be a shooting star.". You don't have an "afterthought " while watching the stars of a distress rocket of any colour descending slowly seaward.
Even kids on Guy Fox night or on the Fourth of July know that.:rolleyes:
Here's a small video of firework
. The first clip Is the original, the second clip right after it shows some flashes of light, and of course in this video the camera was much closer to the source, and the firework was much more powerful.
It is very rare when a shooting star leaves any tail behind it. If you see one in real time you will see a streak if it is dark enough, but if it is not dark enough, or you've missed on it, you would see only a flash of light because it is brighter that the streak as it is shown here, This flash could stay visible a little bit longer. Look Out For ‘Fireballs’ This Halloween As Moonless Meteor Shower Peaks In The Witching Hour
Yes, the firework stars are falling slower, and that is why both Mr. Stone and Mr. Gibson eventually and correctly identified them as rockets, but the first flash, was the star falling after the explosion. He did not see the explosion itself. He saw that flash just before it disappeared.
 
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Julian Atkins

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Hi Jim,

You are really going over old ground here as all this was discussed 'ad nauseam' on the 'Captain Lord Guilty as charged' thread.

Lowe only 'glanced'. He also provided an affidavit subsequently adding more details and the Titanic was pointing north, contradicting Boxhall.

All this is expertly explained and commented upon in Sam's new book, that deals with ALL the evidence.

Incidentally, and much to my surprise, Sam does a bit of a 'hatchet job' on Boxhall's evidence over many years in his new book, with precise textual analysis and much else besides that is compelling.

(I have always been of the view Boxhall was a 'dodgy' witness, and may have been ill at the time subsequently developing a form of pleurisy. He was only interested in securing his own employment with White Star, and his Company pension, and had a penny pinching 'parsimonious' approach to his own expenses for the British Inquiry that extended into old age when arguing with correspondents over the cost of his postage when replying to them. He directly implicated Captain Lord and The Californian in 1959 and 1962).

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Julian Atkins

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The MAIB report from 1992 finally conceded what Lord and those supportive of his case had been saying for the previous eight decades (but remained unprovable until the discovery of Titanic's wreck in 1985, which once and for all determined it's final position)... that Titanic and Californian were between 17 to 20 nautical miles apart and not only never were in each other's visible horizon, but couldn't have been.

I respect Sam's extensive knowledge on all things Titanica, but as someone once quipped; "if you strangle the data for long enough, you can make it confess to anything"... and I think that goes for his and others' attempts to ascertain Californian's 'correct' position that night... Captain Lord and bridge crew already knew where they were at the time... their calculations were correct, who is any armchair navigator long after the fact to speculate otherwise?

Ah, it's good to be back...
Hi Steven.

If you would care to buy Sam's new book you will see that your assessment of the MAIB report is not accurate, and furthermore Sam conclusively proves that de Coverley's report for the MAIB is considerably flawed.

Cheers,

Julian
 

Steven

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Hi Julian, great to 'talk' with you again (so to speak),

With the greatest of respect (and I mean that sincerely), I don't get the seeming disconnect between where Titanic foundered and where Californian stopped engines that previous night... both are known beyond any reasonable doubt - Titanic foundered at 41° 43N, 49° 56W whilst Californian stopped at 42° 05N, 50° 07W - and the distance between the two is approximately 19.25 nautical miles (22 statute miles)... what's the issue?

I've read Sam's paper on the supposed discrepancies of Californian's position that evening... but I just don't buy it; granted I have zero marine or naval experience, but wouldn't the bridge crew of the Californian on the night in question have a better and more relatively closer approximation of their location than an armchair navigator a century after the fact? And isn't there a chain-of-command process on the bridge for checking and re-checking courses set? Perhaps Jim can educate me on this better. If there is, how on earth could the entire bridge crew of Californian on multiple watches get it so wrong as to take such a sharp turn south to end up in Titanic's visible horizon line? I don't understand, maybe I'm missing something here and too stupid to see it...

If it was Californian seen from Titanic, why did lookouts Fred Fleet and Reginald Lee not see her lying motionless in the water throughout the night? Californian may have swung somewhat over the course of time in the drift... but not THAT fast as to appear to be approaching the stricken White Star Liner, stop, turn around, and sail off into the distance (as described by Joseph Boxhall)... that dog just don't hunt, as the Americans would say!
 
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