Thomas B Williams Titanic and Californian


Sep 22, 2003
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I just got done reading this book. The Author seems to have been highly selective in his presentation of the facts, trying to pass trying to pass rockets seen by Stone & Gibson as flares and company signals, Samson as the Mystery ship, the list could go on & on, but i think that will do for now. overall I would recomend Senan's book: Titanic and The Mystery over this book as Senan's book is much better and makes a much more convincing case for the Californian not being the Titanic's Mystery ship.
 
Nov 21, 2006
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Hello guys! I was a bit busy lately but I kept track on the message board meanwhile. I never finished actually the Thomas B. Williams book (I read around two third of it) because it was so upsetting how selectively he saw this issue. Anyway, while I was reading I made notes where I found controversies or other errors in the book. Whenever I get the time I can make a list of them and post it if anyone is interested. I started reading Senan's book instead. I like it much better. Seems to be very thorough about every aspects and it seems more convincing.
 
Oct 28, 2000
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The definitive work on Californian has yet to be published. Sam Halpern of this forum has been working on the Californian issue for years now. He has shared some of his work here and in other Titanic forums and publications, but we still do not know the breadth and depth. My conversations with him have me believing he is neither pro nor con Captain Lord, but rather an impartial researcher trying to solve a mystery. With luck, he will be able to publish all of his research in book form and we will all be the wiser.

--David G. Brown
 

Steven Hall

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Aug 8, 2001
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Dave,
I'd say Sam is impartial as you said.
"The definitive work on Californian has yet to be published." Totally agree.
He's been turning out some great research lately.

Steve
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Fasincating as the endless debate as to what was seen and what was done (and theres only so many times that ships heading, bearings, lights, times etc. can be regurgitated), of just as much interest is the psychology of the people involved and how they let it happen.

For example:
Was Capt.Lord a bully? I'm trying to find out although its very slow work.
Also, From what I have learned, including emails with Herbert Stone's grandson, the 2nd Officer was a bit of a wimp, and its a shame that Stewart or Groves weren't on duty in the middle watch.
As for Gill, if his main motive was to get as much money as possible from his whiste-blowing story, so that he could leave the sea, then he changed his plans. He was still working as a marine fireman in 1914, for instance.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Was Capt.Lord a bully?<<

I've a sense that this is more fiction then fact. The sort of thing designed to make him look evil above and beyond the call of evil. A ship's captain is of necessity, a rather tough customer and Captain Lord may well have been a bit distant then some but I've never seen any really convincing evidence that he was a bully.

Tracy Smith has been researching Captain Lord the man for years and probably knows more about his personality then most any one of us. She'd be the one to ask.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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It'd be interesting to see what "evidence" exists, pro or con, as to Lord's personality. Alas, this is harder than it seems. Having gone through most of the Lord/Harrison material, the latter made damn sure before he died that anything that cast him or Capt.Lord in a bad light "disappeared". A few examples do survive, but theres a lot of material is gone.
 

Tracy Smith

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Nov 5, 2000
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Mike: It's been a long time since I read it -- once was enough -- but the research was dated and what Jesse said pretty much covers it.

Dave: I'll be looking forward eagerly to reading anything Sam has to say on the subject.

Paul: Was Captain Lord a bully? Well, I'd not go by Stone's opinions to make that determination. Stone had some psychological issues going on that should be taken into account when reading about his relationship with Lord.

Having said that, from my research the impression of Stanley Lord that I get is that Lord was definitely not a backslapping, one of the guys, touchy-feely kind of person. I'm guessing that his sense of humor was probably not overly developed, and that he intentionally maintained distance between him and his subordinates, though he did have a friendly relationship with his first officer on the Californian, Stewart. He was a no-nonsense, by the book commander that most would view as strict, not necessarily bullying. He was authoritative, but I'd not definitively classify him as a martinet. I'd need more evidence than that of Stone to make that determination.
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Lord can't have been all that bad. Note that Groves at one stage left the bridge to speak to him. Normally that would be strictly forbidden, but with the ship stopped there was no harm in it and Lord evidently didn't object.

Lord's looks were against him. In photos he appears stern, sour and forbidding, when he's not looking furtive. He looks more pleasant in the photo taken outside Mersey's court. Still, looks don't always mean much.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>and that he intentionally maintained distance between him and his subordinates,<<

I've know quite a few skippers who were like that and not always for the wrong reasons. A captain can ill afford to get too close to his people since it can have a negative impact on his judgement. When you hold a position of absolute authority...and a ship's captain does...having your judgement compromised is not an acceptable risk.

>>I'd need more evidence than that of Stone to make that determination.<<

As I've often said, as one of the guys on watch when things went wrong, Stone had a lot to lose if it had ever gone as far as a criminal action. That gives him quite the incentive to be creative with the facts.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Hi Tracy, you seem to be quite an authority on Lord. I was wondering if you knew anything of his application to become a US Citizen? I'm stumped!
 

Tracy Smith

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While Lord had an abiding affection for the United States and had several American friends, I've never heard of him wanting to become an American citizen. I don't think that would have flown with his wife, Mabel....and Mabel was the more dominant of the two in that marriage.

Where did you hear that he'd applied to be an American citizen?
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Hi Tracy,
Clean forgot to reply to this thread, sorry! The application is amongst the papers bequeathed to the Merseyside Maritime Musuem following Stanley T.Lord's death.

Paul
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Hi Tracy,
He mentions Mabel, but thats all. I'm still checking up on this, but he was definitely in New York at the time of his declaration, having sailed on the Anglo Chilean. However, other details are very dodgy. He lists his arrival date five years previously- when he was not in New York as far as I can determine. He also says that he arrived on the Anglo Chilean - which is rubbish as the earlier date was before the Anglo had been launched.

I'm waiting for stuff to arrive from America, but we're currently crippled by a postal strike in the UK at present.
 

Tracy Smith

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So, it was after 1917, when the Anglo Chilean was launched.

I'd be interested to know more once you get the stuff.

By any chance, for his American sponsor, was the name Endicott or Frank Strachan mentioned? These are Americans that I know were his friends.
 

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