Titanic-Californian Morse lamp communication

Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
>>Boxhall did not know what he was seeing. He assumed it was a four masted steamer. It could have very well been something else.<<

Boxhall said that he "judged her to be" a 4-masted steamer. That is very different from making an assumption. Based on his observations, it had the appearance of a 4-masted steamer.

As far as distance to this steamer is concerned, Boxhall said: "I have already stated, in answer to a question, how far this ship was away from us, that I thought she was about 5 miles, and I arrived at it in this way. The masthead lights of a steamer are required by the board of trade regulations to show for 5 miles, and the signals are required to show for 2 miles." It was a simple subjective estimate based on brightness. In the conditions of a perfectly calm, clear, and moonless night, lights tend to appear much closer than they really are, whether they be ships or planes.

If this steamer with 2 masthead lights were only 5 miles away, it's two mast lights should have been seen by everyone on the Titanic. They weren't.

As far as that comment about Boxhall being only a J/O at the time, so what? At the time he was on Titanic, he already had 13 years of experience at sea, 4 as an apprentice, and 9 as an officer; 5 of which was with White Star Line.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
I was under the impression that Moody hadn't achieved the Extra Masters certification. Not that it's really important in this context. I would also point out that Boxhall was also the ship's de facto navigator, and nobody get's to that position on one of the crack express mail boats by being a slouch at anything, junior officer or not.

White Star was as picky as the rest when it came to that sort of thing. Lest anybody read too much in his never making captain of his own ship: Don't.

Lot's of people had the masters and extra masters qualifications but the catch here is that there were way more officers then there were ever ships to command.
 
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Roy Kristiansen

Member
>>Californian had it's Ernest Gill. Where's the "mystery ship's" Ernest Gill?

And let's not forget about Carpenter MacGregor, who did more damage to Lord's fiction than Gill could've ever hoped to.

Roy
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Michael,



What proof can you offer for the rather bold and unsupported statement above?



Known by whom? The Californian was twenty miles away, too far to be seen. Boxhall claimed to have seen a red light without glasses. He would not have been able to see that light unaided from twenty miles distant. Captain Smith estimated the vessel to be about five miles away. How do you account for that disparity?

What proof can you offer that absolutely puts the Californian within visual range of the Titanic? And what is that distance between the two for which you can provide incontrovertible proof?

Boxhall did not know what he was seeing. He assumed it was a four masted steamer. It could have very well been something else. Remember also, he was a junior officer, and whatever his abilities then or later, he never made captain in his career.

I don't believe there is any other testimony or evidence that describes what the mystery vessel might have been or definitely was. If there is such testimony or evidence, kindly cite it.



Yes, it would, if it was within visual range, which the Californian was not. Also, the Californian did not make a 360 degree turn or even a 180 degree turn in the time allotted for the illusion you cite.

Moreover, both the Californian and the Titanic were actively signaling via Morse lamp their respective mystery ships. If the Titanic and the Californian were within visual range of each other and were each other's mystery ship, their respective Morse lamps would have been seen and communication established. That did not happen for the abundantly obvious reason they were both too far apart and out of each other's visual range.
I am a new member I would say you have got it spot on with your last paragraph of the Morse code lamps range. The rocket time first at 12.47am. No captain would reacted on seeing the first rocket. Possibility by the third rocket. If the last of 8 rockets at 1.50am that's 63 minutes. Averaged 7.8 minutes one can see over 23 minutes has moved on now. Time 1.10am. Raise the crew and boiler steam pressure that's another minim of 10 minutes. Time 1.20am. Maxim speed of California 12 knots or 13.8 mph. Distance of 17 miles makes it impossible to reach Titanic within the hour! Not only that Lord is in a dangerous ice field in the pitch dark with no spot light and moon light. He can only processed at 3-4 knots with safety. No good arriving at 2.20am. Must arrive at less 30 minutes beforehand as a life boat shuffle is required. Were he is to put 2,200 passengers and crew on his small ship is another question? Captain Stanley Lord was truly used as scapegoat for the protection of the out of date safety regulation from the Board of Trade. Can't feel he becomes distraction of the mistakes made by Titanic in the first place?
Mike.
 
A

AlexP

Member
I have three questions. Maybe somebody could respond them.

1. Did somebody from the lifeboats saw Titanic's Morse lamp signals?
2. Are Morse lamp signals could be seen from the ships that sends them just to make sure that the light is working properly?
3. Was there any screen or some structure behind Morse lamps or there was only the sky behind them?
Thanks.
 
Dave Gittins

Dave Gittins

Member
Offhand, I don't know if anybody in the boats noticed the lamp.

The lamps on Titanic were on each wing of the bridge. Each consisted of a number of small globes inside a round glass cover on a short pole. The filaments in the lamps were preheated when in use, to make them light up quicker. There was nothing behind them and anybody could easily see if they were working from any angle.
 
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Bob Read

Guest
5ECFA280 FE8E 4B43 A2FB FC10ADE4907F
 
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Scott Mills

Scott Mills

Member
Boxhall did not know what he was seeing. He assumed it was a four masted steamer. It could have very well been something else. Remember also, he was a junior officer, and whatever his abilities then or later, he never made captain in his career.

RJ, I am on the same page as you are regarding this; though, I do believe the mystery ship seen by both Titanic and Californian was not a simple fishing or whaling vessel. I am quite convinced that it was another steamer. In fact, if you believe a word of Captain Moore of Mt. Temple (I do not), in addition to dodging a 'schooner' on his way to aid Titanic he also encountered a black funneled steamer.

That being said, let me stand up for Boxhall here. Not a single one of Titanic's surviving officers became a captain in the merchant navy following the Titanic disaster. Let me emphasize: not a single surviving officer on Titanic ever made captain of a merchant navy vessel.

The only officer that became a master of any ship during the rest of their career was Lightoller, and that was in his capacity as an officer of the Royal Navy Reserve during the First World War.

I would argue that the above very clearly indicates that Titanic's surviving officers were 'blacklisted' after the sinking of Titanic, and that the they never made captain is in no way indicative of their skills, or lack there of, as merchant navy officers. In fact, as a general rule, I would assume that their initial placement on the newest flagship of White Star Line most likely indicates that prior to the sinking, the skill of Titanic's officers was highly valued by White Star.
 
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Scott Mills

Scott Mills

Member
Sam, :D! This forum is unique among the few I frequent on the web in as much as it has active threads that are, in some cases, almost twenty years old.

I sometimes do not take the time to look at the age of things that I reply to; still, for anyone who comes to Encyclopedia Titanica for first time (it still happens!), I think it is important, if said people encounter this thread, that they realize that Titanic's surviving officers all failed to reach the rank of captain in the merchant navy, not because of their skill as officers, but rather because of their association with Titanic.
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Sam, :D! This forum is unique among the few I frequent on the web in as much as it has active threads that are, in some cases, almost twenty years old.

I sometimes do not take the time to look at the age of things that I reply to; still, for anyone who comes to Encyclopedia Titanica for first time (it still happens!), I think it is important, if said people encounter this thread, that they realize that Titanic's surviving officers all failed to reach the rank of captain in the merchant navy, not because of their skill as officers, but rather because of their association with Titanic.
So very true!

This is one of the great problems about this and many sites like it...pontification and wisdom long after the event.
We have a plethora of armchair experts tearing to bits and judging the actions of individuals who acted in a perfectly natural, rational way according to the standards of the day. In fact, by these very standards, the most incompetent captain who was one of the players at the time, was the one who came out of it diamond studded and smelling of roses.
I have even seen those who should know better, referring to the use of part of a navigation instrumentation which, althouh recently invented, was unlikely to have been known about by any British MN Navigating Officer in 1912. In fact, such parts were just becoming common in the years just after WW2.
However, I won't go into that. This forum should not be a window for the displaying of individual wisdom above and beyond. (except it be new facts about the Titanic disaster
 
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