I have a feeling the Titanic log would be more valuable than an original copy of The Shipbuilder, especially if it contained the time and content of each iceberg warning, there might be some things John Q. Public will never know that could have been in that log....
It's possible, but I think that even more useful would have been the scrap log which would have essentially been a transcript of events as they happened. Unfortunately, these sheets of paper never made it to the other side of the Atlantic either.
Aye, Michael. The scrap log that was probably in Moody's pocket is the "holy grail" document. I rather suspect the official log was last updated at the 8 p.m. change of watch. But, what would the notes in the scrap log tell us...??
It would only survive if it was placed inside a leather bag or case. Quite a number of papers have survived in that way. The catch is that it was probably somewhere in the area of the bridge, which is in a rather poor state of repair. It may even have been wiped from the ship during the sinking if the wheelhouse and surrounds were destroyed in the process.
To my knowledge pertinent questions about the Log Books like the one’s asked here on our forum were not pursued at either Inquiry. We essentially have two Log Books that no one seems to have given instructions about or attempted to save in the sufficient time before the bridge went under, or for that matter within the entire two hours it took for the whole ship to sink! Doesn’t the absence of information on this matter from surviving Officers and lack of strong questioning at the Inquiries strike anyone else as extremely odd, maybe raise a red flag?
Personally, I suspect that both logs were deliberately destroyed in order to ensure confusion and doubt over the culpability White Star Line could be responsible for. The person responsible for the deed couldn’t have known that the movements on the bridge leading to the collision would be pieced together rather easily from the testimony of surviving Officers, and died probably believing they did what was best for all concerned.
My theory is; if Captain Smith did indeed meet his death inside the bridge as it plunged underwater (and that is still the best guess to date), then it was because the logs were there and they were his principal reason for remaining inside. Being a good “company man” it seems logical, and since he knew he had to die anyway, to stay near the books he would have placed out of sight in order to make certain even the slightest evidence they might contain would go down with him.
Are not most of the Captains movements after the collision assumed or unknown? Were there not ‘chunks” of time where no one saw him or could account for his whereabouts? My guess is he was making arrangements at least during one of those missing time periods. After the bridge was clear of personnel it would be an easy thing I think to move the books to his cabin, lock it and return to the bridge to die, feeling in a way, heroic for removing unnecessary grief for his crew members and their families in the inevitable public examination to come---and perhaps at the same time insure a noble epitaph from his employer.
If the books were deliberately destroyed, only the Captain, and the crew on watch at the time had a motive for gain, and I doubt if any of the Officers would have considered so magnanimous a gesture because they didn’t possess the scope of the situations entirety that Captain Smith did . Ismay is out of the question, even now, with all the evidence in, it still appears that ‘Yamsi’ couldn’t find an excuse to exit fast enough or he would have made an even earlier lifeboat. (Though on second thought, he might have given some advice to E.J. before leaving, something like; I’m sorry but someone has to stay, you know what you have to do.)
This is all speculation of course, based on evidence I’ve gathered through the years, but mainly it’s based on the evidence that isn’t there and should have been.
>>Doesn’t the absence of information on this matter from surviving Officers and lack of strong questioning at the Inquiries strike anyone else as extremely odd, maybe raise a red flag?<<
Odd??? Not really. Let's be straight about one thing: The formal deck log wouldn't have been all that remarkably useful save to work out overall how the voyage went. The Holy Grail...as discussed above...would be the loose sheets of paper known as the scrap log, all of which would have had the raw data of events as they happened.
That neither survived is not as remarkable as you might think. Customs and laws notwithstanding, it's not that incredibly unusual for the logbook to go down with a ship, especially if the casualty happened in a reletively short period of time. There may well have been an effort to save some of the ships important papers but if they made it off, they never saw daylight.
Personally, my own approach is a concession to Occam's Razor (Least complicated hypothosis). At the time, the priority was in getting people into the boats and getting them away. That a reletively untrained crew not entirely used to working with each other managed to get 18 of 20 away without serious incident is no mean feat, but the catch is that it required all their attention. By the time it occured to anyone to do something about the papers, it was already too late. If the scrap log was in somebody's pocket, I suspect it was simply forgotten about. When you know your about to drown, you don't give a lot of thought as to what's in your jacket pocket.
>>My theory is; if Captain Smith did indeed meet his death inside the bridge as it plunged underwater (and that is still the best guess to date),<<
Errrrr...says who? If you're drawing this from the movie, I wouldn't take that too seriously.
>>Personally, I suspect that both logs were deliberately destroyed in order to ensure confusion and doubt over the culpability White Star Line could be responsible for.<<
Didn't work too well, did it?
>>then it was because the logs were there and they were his principal reason for remaining inside. Being a good “company man” it seems logical, and since he knew he had to die anyway, to stay near the books he would have placed out of sight in order to make certain even the slightest evidence they might contain would go down with him.<<
Do not concur. The reason being that by this point in time, it was just too late to matter. People were scurrying about pell mell for their lives. When you know you're minutes away from swimming in lethally freezing water, you don't concern yourself with the paperwork. You have more pressing concerns on your mind.
Michael-A caveat to not saving the logs. It is odd in a way that they were not saved for the British are very sticky about this. There are a number of instances when in the midst of black disaster things of little practical use are protected, often at a cost of many lives. I am referring mostly to retiring Queen's (King's) Colours on the battlefield when things are going horribly wrong. I would think that the same mind set prevailed at the time, but as you say, the scramble to live was on! Still, I'm not entirely certain they're still not looking to recover the colours of the 44th in Afghanistan either!
>>I would think that the same mind set prevailed at the time,<<
I wouldn't make that assumption. Whatever the value of a ship's log, saving it is not a matter of honour. Saving the colours...at least to the military...is a matter of honour, albit a very difficult concept to explain to anyone not familier to military culture.