Time of collision


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Michael D. Elzy (Mikee)

Guest
I know the time of the collision with the iceberg was at 11:40 pm on April 14 1912. I believe this was the ships time. Does anyone know what time this would be in the U.S. Eastern Standard Time (New York time)? I'm sure the ship change its clocks to keep up with the time changes as it traveled from west to east.
Thanks.
 
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Dean M.

Guest
Mikee,
In the Eaton and Hass book, there is a list of wireless transmissions that were made during the Titanic sinking. The list contains the time of the transmissions that were sent and recieved, in both Titanic time and New York time. The time differece between the two is 1 hour and 50 minutes, which would put the sinking at 12:30am in New York time.

hope this helps.
-Dean
 
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Todd Serna

Guest
I think of those souls who passed some 88 yrs ago. Being that the anniversary date is April 14 @ 12:30 am New York time, Does that make the anniversary of the sinking on the 13th of April on the West Coast of The US. At 8:30 pm being there is I believe a 4 hour difference?
 
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Dean M.

Guest
Todd,

Actually, Titanic hit the iceberg on April 14, but the actuall sinking did not occur, according to Eaton and Haas, untill 12:30am, April 15th, New York Time. Since there is a 3 hour time difference between New York and Los Angeles(for further information about time zones, check out CNN's time zone web site at www.cnn.com/WEATHER/worldtime/), that would actually make the sinking occur at 9:30pm on April 14th in Los Angeles.

I want to add that the position of the Titanic was only approximate, so the actuall time difference may be off by a few minutes, but in general, the hour in which it happend should be accurate.

Hope this helps. Indeed, drop me a line here if you wish to discuss this further.

-Dean
 
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Katherine Hoyson

Guest
I know it hit the iceberg at 11:40 Pm april 14 (ship time) but what time did they first start launching the lifeboats? When did the ship sink? I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
 
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Dean M.

Guest
Katherine,

Sorry I didn't elaborate on what time things happend in Titanic time. The first lifeboat launched was lifboat number 7. It was launched by First Officer Murdoch at 12:45am, with 28 people in it(it had a capacity of 65). The ship sank at 2:20am on April 15th, 1912.

-Dean
 
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Katherine H.

Guest
Dean,
Thanks a lot. One more question, please. Do you know how many total lifeboats there were on the ship? Thanks!
 

Mike Herbold

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Dec 13, 1999
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Don't feel bad. I'm looking at this site almost everyday and am still learning to use some of its better features. The keyword search is still one of the most helpful tricks to master.
 

Tim Zukas

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Jun 19, 2000
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So "Titanic time" was 3 hrs 10 minutes behind Greenwich, which corresponds to longitude 47 1/2 degrees west. What was the clock-setting custom then (or now)? Did they turn the clocks back, say, ten minutes every 2 1/2 degrees of longitude? (Guess not, since that would make them 3 hr 20 min slow on GMT when the ship sank.) Or did they reset them once a day, or what?

I realize that the chronometers used for navigation were not reset, of course.
 

Paul Rogers

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Jun 1, 2000
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Hi Tim.

I don't know how it works now but, for Titanic, the ship's clock was set to an apparent time to agree with the longitude of the ship. The ship's clocks were reset daily at Noon.

In Michael Davie's book "Titanic - The Full Story Of A Tragedy" he states that the difference between Titanic time, (as set at Noon on Sunday 14th April based on her apparent longitude of 44 1/2 West), and New York time was 2 hours and 2 minutes. New York time was behind Titanic time.

This means that the New York time for the sinking, (assuming 2.20am Titanic time), would have been 12.18am on 15th April.

Michael Davie is ex-Royal Navy, and I would put a fair bit of faith in his calculations in this regard. Not too sure how this can be reconciled with the wireless message times, as noted in the Eaton and Haas book. Anyone got any ideas?

Paul.
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Michael Davie had some RN service but that doesn't mean he's right. He's jumped to conclusions not justified by the navigational evidence. I can't imagine where he got a noon longitude from and I've scoured the evidence pretty well.

Some captains did adjust their clocks at noon as he assumes. Captain Lord was one of them. This was OK on a slow ship where the change of time per day was maybe 20 minutes. The watch on deck at noon worked a bit longer than their four hours but the next day it was the other watch's turn to do a bit more and over a voyage it evened out.

On Titanic the clocks were changed over 40 minutes each day in two parts. The first 20 minutes were added to the watch which was on duty at midnight. The next watch then came on and worked 4 hours, plus the extra 20 minutes. On the fatal night the actual numbers were 47 minutes, split 23 and 24. This practice also caused the least disruption to passengers by keeping the clock change away from lunch time. The iceberg spoiled this plan and the changes were not made.

The practice on Titanic was to calculate the time change in such as way as to make the next day's real noon roughly coincide with the clock and also to make dinner time coincide with "stomach time". Thus it was based not on where they were at noon but on where they thought they would be next noon.

The time difference is a little debatable but 3 hr 10 behind GMT or 1hr 50 ahead of New York fits the radio logs pretty well. Sadly, the US enquiry got the time difference wrong and Lord Mersey simply thought it unimportant and was happy to accept that it was around two hours.

Forget Eaton and Haas on this matter. They were pushing a Lordite agenda.
 

Paul Rogers

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Thanks for correcting me on that one, Dave. It just goes to show that you can't trust what you read; unless you go to the original sources, and/or do your own research.

In Michael Davie's book, he goes on to say that Titanic time was 12 minutes ahead of Californian time. The two ships' respective times is, of course, quite an important issue. I'm sure I've come across the figure of 12 minutes somewhere before as well, (can't think where at the moment - need to do a bit of digging.)

Do you, (or anyone else), know if this is correct, or is it just another assumption by Davie?

Thanks, in anticipation.

Paul.
 

Dave Gittins

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It's often seen in Lordite versions of the story. In their attempts to whitewash Captain Lord they confuse the issue by dragging in supposed discrepancies between the ships' times. Lord was quite clear on his time. He based it on his noon longitude of 47 25 west and was 3hr 10 min behind GMT. (strictly 3hr 9 min 40 sec).

As I mentioned, Titanic's time is not known with total certainty but 3 hr 10 behind GMT fits the records. All my work is taken from the evidence given at the enquiries especially the radio log kept by John Durrant of Mount Temple. There is also evidence from Cape Race on the time of the first CQD.
 
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Elaine Barnes

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Hi Dave,
Will you be writing a book on the nautical aspects of Titanic and the other ships involved in the disaster?
Elaine
 

Tim Zukas

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Jun 19, 2000
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Thanks for the helpful responses-- more than I expected. Dave G., you're saying that if Titanic's clocks were indeed 3 hr 10 min behind GMT, that would be because someone projected (during the previous night) that at noon on 14 April the ship would be at 47 1/2 degrees west? And the projection would have been based on the evening star sights? I assume ships never tried to measure their longitude at noon-- just their latitude.
 

Dave Gittins

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Roughly that. At some stage somebody guesstimated the distance likely to be run and the resultant change in longitude. The adjustment seems to have been a sort of compromise, designed to suit the officers and the passengers. As you say, real navigators did not try to get longitude at noon. They worked it up by carrying forward a longitude sight taken in the morning when the sun bore roughly east. The mystique surrounding the noon sight was a survival from the days before chronometers, when the noon sight for latitude was the only reasonably accurate one for the day.

There are various methods of getting a noon longitude which involve taking sights either side of noon and a great deal of messing about. They sometimes crop up in yachting books, but the professionals avoid them. Sometimes these methods depend of having clear skies for some time before and after noon and that can be hard to come by on the North Atlantic.
 
Nov 5, 2000
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Hi all, Hi Dave,

this thread is sleeping, but it is not all the way dead.

Dave, you wrote:
The time difference is a little debatable but 3 hr 10 behind GMT or 1hr 50 ahead of New York fits the radio logs pretty well. Sadly, the US enquiry got the time difference wrong and Lord Mersey simply thought it unimportant and was happy to accept that it was around two hours.

My question, why do you think they got it wrong?

Admittedly 1 h 33 minutes is not according longitude time at noon. But passenger liners did not necessarily adjust their time to longitude.

"Bremen" on her maiden voyage in july 1929 changed her clock 2 hours in the first night, and 1.5 hours in the second and the third night. Because of daylight saving time in the USA the time difference was 4 hours only.

About Titanic:
Virginian heared the last CQD at 12.27 New York time. With 1 h 50 minutes this was sent at 2.17 Titanic time.

With 1 hour 33 minutes, as found by the US enquiry, this was sent at 2.00 Titanic time.

Bride said about the last minutes in the marconi room:
Phillips went outside to see what was going on. He returned and started to transmit messages. He found he could not get any sparks. But they had to wait until they were relieved by captain Smith.

They were relieved at about 2.05 a.m.
They left the room at about 2.10 a.m.
Who sent the last CQD at 2.17 then?

You say, 1 h 50 minutes fit's the radio logs pretty well. Which radio logs?

Again my question:
It is allowed to cast doubts upon the time difference of 1 h 33 minutes as found by the US enquiry.
But what is the contradiction then? What is the reason for Titanic researchers to believe that 1 h 33 minutes is wrong?
Where do they get the confidence from that 1 h 50 minutes, which is just an supposition, is closer to reality?

Here Bride's testimony in the US enquiry:

Mr. BRIDE. The motor and alternator that was working with our wireless set were running when we left the cabin, 10 minutes before the ship went down.

Senator SMITH. Did you continue to send messages, or Mr. Phillips, up to the time you left the cabin?

Mr. BRIDE. When we had finished with the Frankfurt, and we had thoroughly informed the Carpathia of our position, Mr. Phillips again went out to look and see how things were going outside. I tried to establish a communication with the Baltic, and it was not very satisfactory, and I judged myself, from the strength of her signals, that she was too far away to do any good and it was not worth taking any trouble, and I told her we were sinking fast and there was no hope of saving the ship.

Senator SMITH. Told Who? - Mr. BRIDE. The Baltic.
Senator SMITH. Did Mr. Phillips return from the deck? - Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.
Senator SMITH. To the room? - Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.
Senator SMITH. What did he say to you then? - Mr. BRIDE. He told us he thought it was time we put on our life belts.
Senator SMITH. Did you act upon his suggestion? - Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.
Senator SMITH. And both of you put on life belts? - Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.
Senator SMITH. At that time had all the lifeboats been lowered? - Mr. BRIDE. I could not say, sir.
Senator SMITH. You paid no attention to the lifeboats?
Mr. BRIDE. Mr. Phillips told me that things looked very queer outside. Beyond that I knew nothing.
Senator SMITH. How did you interpret the word "queer"? - Mr. BRIDE. The sooner we were out of it the better.
Senator SMITH. What did you do then, Mr. Bride? - Mr. BRIDE. Mr. Phillips sat down again at the telephone and gave a general call of C.Q.D., but I think that our lamps were running down; we did not get a spark. We could not tell, because the spark of our wireless was in an enclosed room. We could not hear at any time whether it was sparking.

Senator SMITH. When Mr. Phillips sat down to the instrument did he have a life preserver on, and did you put one on? - Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.
Senator SMITH. And did you put one on? - Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.
Senator SMITH. Immediately? - Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.
Senator SMITH. But after he had put the life preserver on he tried and succeeded, as I understand you, in sending a last message, and that message was C.Q.D.; and anything else?
Mr. BRIDE. General C.Q.D., M.G.Y.; waiting for some one to answer.
Senator SMITH. What did you do then, Mr. Bride?
Mr. BRIDE. On Mr. Phillips's request I started to gather up his spare money and put on another coat, and made general preparations for leaving the ship.
Senator SMITH. How did you expect to leave the ship? - Mr. BRIDE. We had to wait until the captain told us, first.
Senator SMITH. You had to wait until the captain told you? - Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir. He came along in a very short period afterwards and told us we had better look out for ourselves.
Senator SMITH. You waited until the captain told you that you could leave the ship? - Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.
Senator SMITH. How long was that before the ship disappeared? - Mr. BRIDE. I should say it was just about a quarter of an hour.
Senator SMITH. About 15 minutes? - Mr. BRIDE. About 15 minutes.
Senator SMITH. And the captain said you had better take care of yourselves? - Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.

kind regards

Markus
 

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