Jim Currie

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I have a theory about the following exchange between Titanic's 5th Officer Lowe and Senator Smith on Day 5 of the US Inquiry. Read it carefully. Has anyone else any ideas about what he was telling the senator and subsequent researchers?

Senator SMITH.:You reached Southampton on Thursday night, about midnight?
A: Mr. LOWE...Yes.
Q: Did you anchor or did you go to the wharf? A: We went right up to the wharf.
Q: Did you remain on the ship? A: Yes, sir.
Q: Were you on duty that night? A: I was on duty that day, sir; that is, from, half-past 9.
Q: In the morning? A: until half-past 5 p. m.
Q: And you were not on duty when the boat reached the wharf? A: I was not on duty from the time the Titanic was taken out. It was taken in tow at half-past 9 that morning. I was below.
 
A

Aaron_2016

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Was the Titanic moved to another berth in preparation for her maiden voyage while another ship occupied her berth? Was there also a change in the officers ranks? Boxhall said the junior officers were on duty at night.

"When I was on duty on board ship whilst at Southampton during the daytime there was always a senior officer along with me; so that any questions that were to be asked could be answered by him, or if anything was to be found out I would always refer to him, to the senior officer. At night time the two junior officers were in charge of the ship, with men on watch with them."

Yet Lowe said - "I was on duty that day, sir; that is, from half past 9."
Q - In the morning?
A - A. m. until half past 5 p. m.

Was Boxhall mistaken about the two junior officers in charge at night, or did Lowe get a bit muddled and meant to say he was on duty from 9pm until 5am? Unless there was a change in the ranks in Southampton with Boxhall as the 3rd officer and Lowe as the 4th officer? This way Lowe would be on duty at daytime.

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Jim Currie

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You are close, Aaron. The clue is the use of tugs on the morning of April, 5th.

As for the Officer's duties: It seems that Murdoch and Lightoller were on Day duty in Port. Pitman and Boxhall worked alternate days and nights and Lowe and Moody were on day work. Boxhall was ashore rthe night before departure so on that night, Pitman must have been in charge/ Don't know about Titanic, but the usual practice was for Juniors to rotate i.e they would take night about so that each had a chance at a spell ashore. That would explain why Boxhall, the junior of the Juniors, was ashore the night before departure from Southampton.
 

Rob Lawes

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Its just a guess, I would say that Titanic arrived at midnight and docked starboard side to, for ease of berthing. Subsequently they would require to wind ship so that she was port side to, for ease of departure i.e. bows out into the channel.
 

Jim Currie

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That's what I think, Rob. I cannot imagine the master of a brand new ship the size of Titanic being perfectly happy to have his ship turned round in complete darkness in a narrow,( cluttered with craft at anchor) space as was the river off the entrance WSL berth at Southampton. I think that what Lowe was telling us is that Titanic berthed bow into the berth...starboard side to when she arrived at midnight on the Wednesday. They waited until full light the next morning and with the aid of tugs, towed her astern out of her berth and turned her short round in the river. Then they towed her back into her berth where she was made fast port side to. Here is a picture of Olympic arriving at Southampton on her maiden voyage and being originally berthed in exactly the same way.

Olympic Ocean Dock
 

Rob Lawes

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Makes perfect sense.

I expect they would have turned up by now but I wonder if there are any photographs showing her berthed starboard sideside to?
 
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Aaron_2016

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In this video from 1923 the big ships are all berthed facing inwards at Southampton. Would they have remained that way and come out backwards on sailing day like the big ships in New York?

Olympic in Southampton



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Jim Currie

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Thanks for that, Aaron. Superb reference.

As some of you may know, I have crossed swords with another member on this site concerning a particular photograph. Unfortunately, Rob, it is not one of Titanic lying starboard side to but I believe it is the penultimate one of a set showing the day time arrival of Titanic at Southampton.
My reasoning is as follows:
We have all been told that in 1912, Titanic was the largest ship in the world. Is it conceivable that the local Southampton Press would wait until she sailed before photographing her? Is it conceivable that knowing that the biggest ship in the world had arrived at Southampton in the middle of the night, the Editor of the local rag would not dispatch a staff or free-lance photographer as soon as the light was good enough to make a photographic record of the arrival?
Are some of the photographs allegedly of Titanic leaving Southampton mislabeled? Are some of them actually photographs of her taken during the early part of the morning of April 4, 1912? A photographic record of her being turned in the river off the berth and subsequently towed back into the dock basin and finally made fast port side to her berth?
 

Rob Lawes

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Here's a picture in the Hampshire Independent from Saturday 6th April under the caption Titanic arriving in Southampton. As we know that took place in darkness the picture couldn't have been taken on the 4th.

Interestingly the tugs are on the port side.

Sadly there is no other frame of reference in thethe picture.

cutting.jpg-pwrt1.jpg
 

Jim Currie

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Is that Titanic? Or is it Olympic? Hard to see if there is a bridge-wing overhang as included in Titanic.

Does anyone have any weather records for April 5/6 of that month? Wind direction and strength would be of paramount importance.

 

Rob Lawes

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There seems to be one very well used shot of Titanic leaving that has beena cropped in some publications and left full in others. Its the picture showing the ship a few feet off the wall with a man sat on the jetty in the foreground.

I believe Titanic dressed ship on Good Friday which was the 5th April. Did she dress ship on any other day?

In the dressed ship pictures she has a gangway in the fwd position. I've found a picture on line of the ship with no gangways but two dockside cranes lowered and turned out towards her. In the same picture there are two ropes running from the stbd side of the focsle which are under tension but I've no idea where they are running. The ropes from thea port sideof bow haven't got the metal frame under them as seen in the dress ship picture.

Could this second photo have been taken before the dress ship picture?
titanic_dock_large.jpg
d19f3a8c-6fa7-4447-9642-0f26fb07b411_199_300.jpg
 

Rob Lawes

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Looking at those two pictures again, I now doubt they were the same day as there are no ships berthed in lower left side of the second photo.
 

Rob Lawes

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I haven't found any weather reports for the 5th/6th but found this for the 10th:
 

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Here's a picture in the Hampshire Independent from Saturday 6th April under the caption Titanic arriving in Southampton. As we know that took place in darkness the picture couldn't have been taken on the 4th.

Interestingly the tugs are on the port side.

Sadly there is no other frame of reference in thethe picture.

View attachment 2262

The picture show the Olympic. Titanic was docked after midnight stern first with the port side towards the dock. The photos showing Titanic in full dress were taken on the early morning of April 4th a few hours after her arrival. The log books of the tugs show no movement for Titanic only arriving and leaving the dock. Some other ships had been moved and are documented in the logs.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Ioannis.

I totally agree that the 6th April photograph of the Olympic.

Is there evidence to show that Titanic was docked stern first when she arrived just after midnight? If so, do you think that Lowe was mistaken when he stated under oath that tugs were made fast to Titanic at 9-30 pm on any morning in April?
 
D

Deleted member 173198

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Has any one bothered to approach (ABP - Southampton - Associated British Ports Southampton)?? I vigorously support Rob Lawes contribution that the press cutting highlighting that the photo published is the Olympic and not Titanic. Yes, Titanic didn't arrive until the early hours on the Tuesday morning -- time recorded at one-fifteen am precisely. I have quoted this not once, but at least twice.
 

Jim Currie

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The time of arrival you quote is from the Harbour Master's Log for the day. The Log does not record any other movement of Titanic for that day but the idea of turning such a large vessel on her debut arrival, even on a braw, bricht moon-licht nicht as it was then, is a bit doubtful. I'm in touch with Southamton as we communicate. Will let you all know as and when I learn anything.
 
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She arrived at 1:15 a.m. at her berth 44 docking stern first (as mentioned by pilot Bowyer). Only a few hours later with the first light she was photographed dressed in flags.
The "turning" later makes no sense at all. Olympic was docked several times bow first with her starboard side to the dock and was never turned before sailing.
 

Rob Lawes

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I've just noticed in the two pictures I've posted above, if you look at the bollard arrangement in the first photo you can clearly see that there are three bollards by the bow and that her head ropes are secured to the second from the bow.

In the second picture there appears to be a different set of bollards on the jetty. Also the head ropes no longer run over the metal frame.

While I have no problem with the theory that the ship may have been turned, could it not also be possible that the tugs moved her position on the jetty? Possibly to allow for a ship to berth ahead or astern of her? Due to the fact it was the weekend of a public holiday and the coal strike I would imagine berths were in short supply.
 

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