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


Julian Atkins

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I am only saying that all evidence should be give equal consideration
Hello AlexP/Mila, and Steven, and Jim.

You do not give all the evidence "equal consideration".

You evaluate the veracity of the evidence and test it against other evidence. And weigh it up, just as any good Solicitor does when advising a client whether to spend thousands of pounds in a Court case, or advising the Legal Aid Board as to the 'reasonableness' test whether they should fund a case as happened quite a few years ago in the UK, and in a Solicitor drafting a frank 'Brief' to Counsel 'to advise' in a Court case.

A clear example of this is whether Captain Lord was 'awake' when Gibson reported to him at 2.05am by the wheelhouse clock in his chart room. Gibson said in his testimony and 18th April Statement that Captain Lord was "awake"; Captain Lord denied this. Another clear example of this is Stone reporting to Captain Lord 5 white rockets seen at 1.10/1.15, which Captain Lord denies; claiming been only told of "one rocket".

Yet a further example is Stone reporting to Captain Lord by the speaking tube whistling down to Captain Lord's cabin at 2.40am to provide a further report, which Stone says Captain Lord answered - but Captain Lord says he was asleep/ has no recollection of. But to answer Stones' 'whistling down' the speaking tube, Captain Lord had to get up from the adjoining chart room and go into his own cabin where the speaking tube was located, to answer Stone. Gibson saw Stone 'whistle down' and speak, but did not hear what Stone said down the speaking tube. Why would Stone have a fictitious conversation down the 'speaking tube' into Captain Lord's cabin, knowing that Captain Lord would have to get up and answer it and move from one room to another?

There was a lot at stake here; Captain Lord did not know that the Board of Trade would subsequently, after the British Inquiry veto further proceedings against him that could have resulted in the removal of his Master's certificate, and fines and potential imprisonment, if a subsequent Court decided he had failed to assist another vessel in distress.

I would suggest that by 14th May, this likelihood was considered a real possibility when Captain Lord took the stand as a witness at the British Inquiry.

Cheers,
Julian
 

Julian Atkins

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Off topic really Jim but why would Pitman or Lowe supply Smith with an 8pm Dead Reckoning position which would have nowhere near the accuracy of a fix applied to Smith's chart and taken only 30 minutes before?

Would you prefer to work up your position from a known point calculated with a degree of certainty in both time and position or from a DR which in fact is a best guess?

To be that far out I presume the DR was based on a run up from the point of turn to the new course which occured 3 hours before? That in itself is a screw up. Be it Smith, Lowe or Pitman, they still managed to work out a distress position with a significant margin or error.
As might Captain Lord have "screwed up" with his own stopped position on the edge of the icefield at 10.21pm on the 14th!

Cheers,
Julian
 
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Rob Lawes

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Indeed so Julian.

Two extremely experienced navigators independently calculated a position of the utmost importance with an error of around 20 and 13 miles respectively from their true position approximately 4 hours after an accurate star sighting was taken.

The Titanic's requirement for an accurate position attached to her signals was far more important than Lord's marking his overnight hove to position.
 
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Below is an extract from Mila's not yet published book reproduced here with her permission
None of what you shared from Mila has anything to do with any reported quantifiable information such as the reported changing bearings of Stone, or for that matter, the descriptive movements of what Boxhall said vs. what was seen from Californian. For example, Boxhall was under the impression that this steamer was approaching during the time between first sighting and when he started to fire rockets and use the Morse lamp. Yet, up until the time of the first rocket, the steamer seen from Californian was in the same place, never getting any closer nor going further away. At least the mystery ship advocates have an easily explanation for that one. And there were others who said the that ship seen from Titanic was stationary all night. One said it was stationary for at least 3 hours before making tracks, so I guess your strange currents must have acted very strangely indeed. Maybe there was some form of a warp in space-time in the area on the night of Apr 14/15? Hey, that's even more appealing to me than having to conjure up 3 or 4 different mystery vessels to explain everything that people said they saw.
 

AlexP

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It is all a matter of perception and it is really easy to explain. Mr. Boxhall could not see the Californian’s navigational lights earlier. They were gradually appearing. That is why his understanding was that the steamer was approaching. On the other hand, from Mr. Stone’s vantage point nothing much appeared to be changing in the appearance of the Titanic’s lights. That is why Mr. Stone did not notice a slow approach. Besides it is very hard to notice any approach if one could only see some distant lights that do not change much. I tried it with fast moving ships and even with the airplanes. Sometimes they appear to be standing in place. Interestingly enough young and sharped eyed Mr. Gibson testified that he first saw the Titanic’s sidelight only with the aid of the glasses. Isn’t it strange that Mr. Boxhall and other survivors eventually saw Californian’s sidelights with unaided eye. Maybe Mr. Gibson did too. Nobody asked. About being 3 hours stationary... it is one of unreliable testimonies, and Mila did explain in her book why it is. So your argument against different set of currents does not work as usually. Try better.
 

Jim Currie

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For Steven and Jim, and AlexP/Mila...

Let us consider one bit of the drama...

Stone said "We saw nothing further until about 3.20 when we thought we observed two faint lights in the sky about S.S.W" (18th April Statement).

Gibson sees from about 3.20 am 3 rockets 2 points before the beam (Port) for the first one, right on the beam for the second one, and the third 2 points before the beam. (Gibson's 18th April Statement).

Stone misses the first of what Gibson sees at this time, and does not describe them as rockets.

At 4am Stone had to have pointed out to him by Stewart what was Carpathia, when Stone describes "a four masted steamer, with two masthead lights a little abaft our port beam, and bearing about S. We were heading about W.N.W." (Stone's 18th April Statement).

The point about this 'mess' of evidence, is that if you analyse it properly and add in ALL the evidence, the Carpathia was the only ship firing rockets at 3.20am, and was SE of The Californian. (You can extrapolate a lot more, but I won't confuse matters at this juncture).

If anyone would like to suggest the Carpathia came up from the SSW ploughing directly through an ice field, then please do!

This little bit of the drama proves Stone got his bearings wrong (or lied), and was both less observant than Stewart and Gibson.

You can also clearly see how by 4am The Californian had swung right round during the night, yet Stone makes no allowance for this, and in the 1959 Affidafit and 1961 taped recorded interview transcripts, Captain Lord makes no allowance for this either.

When I say ALL the evidence, you have to consider the Marconi wireless messages relating to all this none of which are in the British Inquiry testimony and evidence submitted, and much else besides.

Cheers,

Julian
1

You wrote: "Let us consider one bit of the drama..."

Absolutely, Julian lets do exactly that. But lets do it without a clouded mind or any preconceived ideas.
However, before we do so, let's establish a common factor. I take it we all agree that the lights, rockets or however you like to describe them seen by Gibson and Stone at the time under discussion were form the RMS Carpathia? Also, that both Gibson and Stone saw the signals from that vessel right on their visible horizon some time between 3-20 am and 3-40 am
That being the case, then regardless of Sam's speculative calisthenics regarding horizon visibility at 3-30 am, - if these rockets were even standard distress rockets of the day, or similar, and they were seen by Stone and Gibson on their visible horizon, then the source was a minimum of 30 miles away from the Californian.
Contrary to Sam's ideas, there would not have been any haze on the horizon. The reason being that by then, the wind was starting to rise. In the direction in question, there would , at 3-30 am, there may even have been a faint lightening of the sky to the south east and in any case, since the stars were seen setting and rising on the horizon, the actual visible horizon would have been seen through binoculars as a "runway" of little star lights with a very pale airglow behind it.

As for the three or two sighting according to the versions given by Gibson or Stone? As I pointed out, the wind had risen by that time and one reason for the alternate directions might have been that the bow swing was becoming erratic. This would be so if the wind was acting on the ship's starboard quarter. So no big deal and no human fault indicated. In reality, I am surprised that Gibson could determine such a minor change in direction without use of the Pelorus on the compass.

As to the numbers seen? Unless Stone and Gibson were staring out to port at exactly the same time, it is more than likely that one or other wild miss a "flash" or rocket".
Gibson saw three, within three minute intervals. Instead of jumping to conclusions, you and everyone else should have asked the question "How was it possible for Gibson to see three instead of two if Carpathia was firing a distress rocket followed by the company night signal about 15 minute intervals yet Stone saw but 2 such signals? Perhaps the answer to the question can be found here are the regulations on Company Signals?
"CUNARD LINE.
1. A Blue light and two rockets bursting into golden stars, fired in quick succession.
Off Browhead, in the county of Cork, and off Queenstown Harbour, in the county of Cork.
2. A Blue light and two Roman candles, each throwing out six Blue balls to a height not exceeding 150 feet, and fired in quick succession.
Anywhere within British jurisdiction and on the high seas."


Rostron would not fire his rockets before he was fairly confident they would be seen by Titanic people at extreme range. There fore he would not fire them when the distance he had steamed from when he turned toward the CQD position was greater than 30 miles. Since he believed he had 58 miles to steam and he turned at say 12-40 then he would not have fired his first one before 2-40 am but probably nearer to 2-45 am. Thus he would have fired his third volley at or near to 3-15 am which was 1-29 am EST New York and 3-19 am April 14 time on the Californian.

I suggest to you that Gibson saw a distress rocket and he and Stone saw the twin gold star rockets which followed thereafter. Rostron's Roman Candle blues had a maximum visibilty range of 16 miles. He expected to arrive at the CQD position at 4-30 am, so would not have fired his Roman Candles before 3-30 am since they would be almost if not invisible to survivors in the water.
 

Jim Currie

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Off topic really Jim but why would Pitman or Lowe supply Smith with an 8pm Dead Reckoning position which would have nowhere near the accuracy of a fix applied to Smith's chart and taken only 30 minutes before?

Would you prefer to work up your position from a known point calculated with a degree of certainty in both time and position or from a DR which in fact is a best guess?

To be that far out I presume the DR was based on a run up from the point of turn to the new course which occured 3 hours before? That in itself is a screw up. Be it Smith, Lowe or Pitman, they still managed to work out a distress position with a significant margin or error.
Simply because, at 8 am, they had no idea how far west Titanic had progresses. The actual 7-30 pm fix was not calculated by Pitman but by Boxhall and that was after 9 pm that night. Only at that time, and not before then, would he would he discover that the DR supplied to him for calculation of the sights was totally in error.
3/O Pitman was the head man of the Navigation Watch from 6 pm to 8 pm. You will find that in his evidence, he believed that Titanic had turned much earlier. It follows that he believed that the ship was on her new course much longer than everyone else thought she was. Consequently, when he worked a DR to be used with Lightoller's 7-30 pm sights, it too would be too far west. His assistant 5/O Lowe was responsible for filling in the log at the end of the Watch, including working the DR for 8pm. The WSL and many Companys had a special place on the Log Book for the 8 am and 8 pm DRs Lowe would simply have used Pitman's DR for 7-30 pm and run up the last 30 minutes at 21 (not 22) knots until 8 pm. The result would be noted in the log and on a Chitty note with the figures for the 8 pm DR placed on the "Old man's" desk. That was standard practice. Thus, when Smith went to work his CQD position, he would simply take that 8 pm DR and run up on the course at the latest speed indicated by the last Patent Log reading. That too was standard practice. Do you get the picture?
Pitman stated that "she was right on the line" at 7-30 pm. The only way he would have been able to judge that would have been if he had calculated a latitude (by Pole Star?) before he handed the sights over to Boxhall at 8 pm for the latter to complete
As an old man, Boxhall stated that the 8pm DR was in error of 20 miles. he said she wa astern by that amount. However if you calculate 20 miles back from Smiths CQD DR, you arrive at longitude 49-57'West. The longitude of the wreck is at 49-56'49" west. If Smith had been given the correct DR for 8 am, his calculation would have been out by 11 seconds of Longitude which is about 780 feet or less than a ship length. Not bad for an "Old man".
 

AlexP

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However, before we do so, let's establish a common factor. I take it we all agree that the lights, rockets or however you like to describe them seen by Gibson and Stone at the time under discussion were form the RMS Carpathia? Also, that both Gibson and Stone saw the signals from that vessel right on their visible horizon some time between 3-20 am and 3-40 am
That being the case, then regardless of Sam's speculative calisthenics regarding horizon visibility at 3-30 am, - if these rockets were even standard distress rockets of the day, or similar, and they were seen by Stone and Gibson on their visible horizon, then the source was a minimum of 30 miles away from the Californian.
Of course before you allege 30 miles it will be nice to explain what Mr. Beesley saw and heard:

“streaming up from behind the horizon like a distant flash
of a warship's searchlight; then a faint boom like guns afar off”

So, not only Mr. Gibson an Mr. Stone, but even the survivors saw just a flash, just above the horizon, not to say that a very few people saw it all.

I doubt haze had anything to do with it, but just as with low-lying Titanic’s rockets one natural phenomena might had been responsible for both situations.
 

Jim Currie

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Jim: What missing planks and other loose items from the boat? This was either emergency boat #1 or #2. After the passengers were unloaded, the boat was hoisted aboard Carpathia and unloaded at the White Star dock in New York.
Bottom boards, Bob.

"I saw several empty boats, some floating planks, a few deck chairs, and cushions; but considering the size of the disaster, there was very little wreckage. It seemed more like an old fishing boat had sunk.
 

Jim Currie

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[
Of course before you allege 30 miles it will be nice to explain what Mr. Beesley saw and heard:

“streaming up from behind the horizon like a distant flash
of a warship's searchlight; then a faint boom like guns afar off”

So, not only Mr. Gibson an Mr. Stone, but even the survivors saw just a flash, just above the horizon, not to say that a very few people saw it all.

I doubt haze had anything to do with it, but just as with low-lying Titanic’s rockets one natural phenomena might had been responsible for both situations.
No, haze had nothing to do with it, Nor did any mysterious mirage effect.
Sound does not bend around the curve of the earth...it travels in a straight line. It is emitted at the moment when the rocket reaches it's maximum altitude. If Beesley saw a flash and heard a boom but no descending stars, then he was seeing that rocket at absolute maximum range from a lifeboat which means it originated about 20 to 23 miles from his position in the lifeboat.
Carpathia fired her first signal when she was 20 miles away from the survivors and arrived there at 4 am. So Beesley was probably reporting the first rocket seen and Stone and Co were reporting the ones fired 45 minutes later when Carpathia was a mere 9 or so miles from him.
 
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If Beesley saw a flash and heard a boom but no descending stars, then he was seeing that rocket at absolute maximum range from a lifeboat which means it originated about 20 to 23 miles from his position in the lifeboat.
Really? Did the sound of an exploding detonator signal travel close to the speed of light? If they were 20-23 miles away the sound, if it was even possible to hear at that distance, would have occurred well over a minute later even with air temperature around 0°C.
it will be nice to explain what Mr. Beesley saw and heard
Be a little careful with Beesley, Alex. He could be very accurate at times, but he also had a flare for the dramatic when he wrote.
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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While your at it, Lord testified:
>>At 20 minutes to 1 I whistled up the speaking tube and asked him if she was getting any nearer. He said, "No; she is not taking any notice of us." So, I said "I will go and lie down a bit." At a quarter past he said, "I think she has fired a rocket." He said, "She did not answer the Morse lamp and she has commenced to go away from us." I said, "Call her up and let me know at once what her name is. So, he put the whistle back, and, apparently, he was calling. I could hear him ticking over my head. Then l went to sleep.<<
Now this was all before Gibson arrived back on deck. This was all before the red sidelight disappeared.
At the British inquiry Lord was asked:
6787. Then you went to lie down in the chart room? - Yes, I told him I was going to lie down in the chart room then.
6788. A little later did he whistle down the tube and tell you she was altering her bearings? - A quarter-past 1.
6789. Did he say how she was altering her bearings? - Towards the S.W.

6790. Did he tell you whether he had seen any signal? - He said he saw a white rocket.
6791. From her? - From her.
6792. A white rocket? - Yes.
6793. (The Commissioner.) She did not change until what time? - A quarter-past 1 it was reported to me first.
6794. And then what was her bearing? - She was altering it slightly towards the S.W.

This all seems to be in keeping with what Stone said about when the steamer started to change her bearings. Were they both lying? (I'm fully aware of what Gibson wrote and said about being told about changing bearings.) So Jim, who and what are we supposed to believe?
 

Jim Currie

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Really? Did the sound of an exploding detonator signal travel close to the speed of light? If they were 20-23 miles away the sound, if it was even possible to hear at that distance, would have occurred well over a minute later even with air temperature around 0°C.

Be a little careful with Beesley, Alex. He could be very accurate at times, but he also had a flare for the dramatic when he wrote.
A standard distress rocket did not detonate at deck level, Sam. It only "whooshed! at the deck and detonated at maximum altitude which would have been around 300 feet above sea level. I have seen one of these old things go off...obviously you have not. Company rockets did not detonate at all.. they just "whooshed".;)
 

Jim Currie

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No, not if Stone was correct about them bearing about SSW, unless you have good explanation for that?
If you had read Stones' report properly, you would not need any explanation. I remind you of what he wrote:

" We saw nothing further until about 3:20 when we thought we observed two faint lights in the sky about S.S.W. and a little distance apart.
I gave him [The Chief Officer] a full report of what I had seen and my reports and replies from you, and pointed out where I thought I had observed these faint lights at 3:20 [In the SSW]. He picked up the binoculars and said after a few moments: ‘There she is then, she's all right, she is a four-master.’ I said, ‘Then that isn't the steamer I saw first,’ took up the glasses and just made out a four-masted steamer with two masthead lights a little abaft our port beam, and bearing about S.,"

The Chief Officer confirmed this conversation:
"I saw a steamer to the southward."

At no time does Stone refer to what he saw at 3-20 am as "rockets"... I quote:
012. Did you think it could have come from the steamer you had been looking at before? A: - No.
8013. It was something different, you think? A- Yes, because it was not on the same bearing, unless the steamer had turned round.
And were these lights rockets? A: - I think not.

Both Stone and Stewart confirm that what was seen by Stone were "lights" ,not rockets, to the south. Stone emphasises that what he was referring to was not on the same bearing as the rockets he had seen earlier. Both men refer to the direction SOUTH....not SOUTHEAST which is what any proper seaman would have done and the compass error was about 2 points West which means that if Stone was using Compass direction of SSW in the statement you refer to, then it was a Compass direction and the True direction would have been "about South". What was it both men said?
However, I can speculate with you and the best of them Sam. If Stone had been remembering that the steamer lights he saw were to the South and abaft the beam, and he was thinking in terms oc Compass, not True, then to him , the direction of SOUTH would have been SSE True, not SOUTH EAST
But then, Sam we are not all perfect and things that we don't have top remember tend to get mixed in with things we do have to remember.
 

AlexP

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Be a little careful with Beesley, Alex. He could be very accurate at times, but he also had a flare for the dramatic when he wrote.
We know that very few survivors saw the Carpathia’s rockets, which means that there was nothing spectacular to see. Mr. Stengel saw one rocket, Mr. Boxhall’s green flare and Carpathia’s Roman candle in a fast succession one after another, and right after this he saw the navigational lights of Carpathia. It appears that Mr. Gibson also saw Boxhall’s green flare. Yes, I know, green flares are green, and do not look like rockets, and he did not see one before, but I could think at least about two reasons why he did not see one before, and the color, well, it could be hard to tell white from green if it is right at the horizon.
 

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