6941. That you were not satisfied it was a company's signal. You did not think it was a company's signal? - I inquired, was it a company's signal.6942. But you had been told that he did not know? - He said he did not know.6943. Very well, that did not satisfy you? - It did not satisfy me.6944. Then if it was not that, it might have been a distress signal? - It might have been.6945. And you remained in the chart room? - I remained in the chart room.Captain Lord testified that "It [the rockets] might have been a distress signal" and yet did nothing. The British Inquiry conclusion that Captain Lord bore a very grave responsibility in not having gone to the aid of the TItanic.
The sheer amount of seemingly contradictory evidence given by the participants in the aftermath of the sinking has been used since by those both on the Lordite and anti-Lordite sides to either defend or condemn the Californian crew and especially her Captain. The trouble is that ploughing through the testimonials doesn't get you any closer to the truth as emotions at the time were undoubtedly heightened due to the sheer enormity of the tragedy, plus human memory is especially unreliable and because one person contradicts himself at a time of stress and pressure does not make that man a liar, nor does two people contradicting each other whilst giving testimony to an event automatically equate to one of those persons lying.Such as it is with the whole Californian incident. Captain Lord may have given contradictory evidence both to his own previous statements, interviews, and testimony as well as seemingly contradictory at times with that of his own crew (that same crew also gave contradictory testimony as well), but it's worth bearing in mind that beneath his outward, Edwardian stoic exterior, it's almost certain that Lord was under an undue amount of emotional stress as he became more aware of the fact he was being made the scapegoat for the loss of 1500 lives, who of us wouldn't be racing in our minds to try and piece together a definitive account of "a most unusual night"...?Regardless of who said what, who did or did not, who saw what, who thought what, and on what ship they did it on, several objective and indisputable facts remain separate from fallible eyewitness testimonies, and which to my layman analysis proves without a doubt that not only was the ship seen by the Californian that night not the Titanic, nor vice versa, but Captain Lord did everything required of him, both legally and morally. So without further ado, let's get started;1) Californian herself was stopped between 10:21pm on April 14th and remained stationary (drift notwithstanding) until around 6:00am on April 15th. This is undisputed and uncontested by all sides, one of the very few things that is, but also one of the fundamental bedrocks of Lord's defence as we'll see.2) The two crewmembers in the Titanic's crow's nest until 12:23am - Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee - both testified they saw no other ship in the visible horizon line during their entire watch, so it could not have been Titanic seen by the Californian at around 11:30pm because if it had, the latter would also have been visible to the former, yet no other ship was seen by Titanic prior to the collision, and no other ship was seen at all in the vicinity of the stricken vessel until around 12:30am as testified to by both passengers and crew.3) The ship seen by Titanic passengers and crew alike was approaching from SW and about a point or two off Titanic's port bow. Aside from the basic fact that could not have been Californian because the latter was stationary at that time, the geographical direction of the approaching unidentified vessel is completely at odds with Californian's position, which was NW of Titanic's actual position not her inaccurate stated position (a difference of some 13 miles to the East), this fact alone vindicated Lord and his defenders when it was confirmed in 1985 by the Ballard discovery of the wreck, destroying at a stroke the 1912 Mersey Enquiry's acceptance of Titanic's stated position on the night, vindicating Lord and his defenders who had been stating such a thing since the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, and which finally pushed the UK Government into an official reappraisal of the Californian incident in 1992.4) Californian Second Officer Herbert Stone and Apprentice James Gibson, the two crewmembers on the bridge at the time of the Titanic's foundering, both saw rockets being fired - and undoubtedly they were from Titanic - but they stated the firing of the rockets were irregular and didn't appear to ascend higher than the half-mast of the ship closest to them in addition to the fact they did not hear the actual explosion of the rockets when they detonated at altitude. This proves that the ship closest to Californian was not Titanic because had it been, there would have been no doubt the Californian would not only have heard the rockets, seen all of them very clearly and brightly at regular intervals, and seen them ascend to a greater altitude than half-mast height. There is little doubt that ship firing the rockets was not the ship closest to Californian but rather coming from another ship a much greater distance away, namely the stricken Titanic, but how were Stone and Gibson to know such a thing at the time?5) The famed rescue ship Carpathia, arriving at the scene of the sinking around daybreak (4:30am approx.), saw two other ships in the vicinity, to quote Carpathia's Captain Rostron; "neither of them were Californian". In fact, the latter ship would not be in visual range of the former ship until around 8:00am, thus proving that Californian was a greater distance away than some have asserted, had she been closer, he would undoubtedly have been seen by Carpathia in the morning light, and much sooner than 8:00am.All these points are to prove that regardless of testimonial evidence given after the fact, and all the uncertainties they have produced thereafter, there remains certain basic and incontrovertible facts of the matter that point if not outright attest to the Californian not being close enough to the Titanic to be even visible much less in a position to have rendered assistance when it still mattered.
I cannot agree with '...beyond argument that Californian was indeed in visual contact with Titanic..' You are stating the geographic visual range as in daylight. It was night. The Board of Trade regulations, at that time, have minimum range, in good seeing conditions, of; masthead light 5 miles, side lights 2 miles, stern light 3 miles. Given the perfect seeing conditions of that night you can, about, double the range a light could be seen but no more. Do not get confused with the unfortunate term 'Infinite visibility' of a ships lights luminous range chart of that time. That term infinite meant there is zero diminution of luminosity by atmosphere and its range is according to the lights power.
If the rockets seen on the horizon at about 3-20am that morning by Stone and Groves came from the Carpathia, and Carpathia was firing standard white rockets, then the Californian was at least 32 miles from the Carpathia and at the extreme range of her rockets. At that time, Carpathia would be about 10 miles from Boxhall in boat 2. This means that Californian was about 21.5 miles away from the site of the disaster...just exactly as her master said she was.
Boxhall thought that the Californian was only about 5 miles away, based on his navigational experience as it existed in 1912. The night was clear, calm, windless, cold and moonless. This created an unusual atmospheric refraction. Refraction is strongly affected by temperature gradients, which can vary considerably from day to day, especially over water. In extreme cases, usually in springtime, when warm air overlies cold water, refraction can allow light to follow the Earth's surface
for much longer distances. Those on the Californian also experienced this unusual phenomenon. Also, if the ship you are on is swinging around in the current and the other is as well, you might think that you are stationary and the other ship is the one moving. Again, the same observation on both ships.)