US Inquiry Inaccurate? - News Reporters Present?

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Aaron_2016

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Does anyone know if the news reporters were allowed in the general room at the US Inquiry and did they take notes and dash out to the telephones each time important news was discovered? I'm reading the survivor testimonies in the newspapers and they do not match the official transcripts of the Inquiry. e.g.

Lightoller told the US Inquiry that he saw the lights of another ship - "Two points on the port bow during the time in which I was getting out the boats." Yet the newspapers quoted his answer and said - "Two points on the starboard bow." Which is correct? Boxhall said in 1962 that the light was first seen on the "starboard bow" when the lifeboats were being prepared, and during the evacuation the survivors had noticed the light of the ship moved over to the port bow, first one point, then two points. Is it possible that the Inquiry misheard what Lightoller had said, and the reporters got it right? Lightoller was asked if a number of individuals had survived the disaster.

Q - Did any of them survive?
A - No, not one.

Yet the newspapers gave his answer as follows:

Q - Did any of them survive?
A - No, all were lost.

e.g.

newsp1.png


Clearly the reporters version and the official Inquiry version are not the same. Is it possible that the reporters were more accustomed to hearing regional accents and they recorded the answers correctly, and the Inquiry transcripts did not have such a good ear for it, especially if the answers were recorded in shorthand like the minutes of a meeting i.e. Where each answer is converted into shorter generalized terms, whereas the news reporters were in the room and heard exactly what the survivors had said.


repo1.png


I guess my question is, which source is more reliable and does this mean the official Inquiry should not be taken literally because it was possibly not recorded down word for word, especially if there was a breakdown in understanding the broad regional accents of the survivors. I saw a live dramatized version of the Inquiry in 2012 and it was sometimes difficult to understand what the survivors were saying owing to their accent. Is it possible that the official Inquiry transcripts do not have 100% accuracy of the literal truth i.e. the literal spoken words of the survivors?

Can the same be said of the British Inquiry? e.g. The Commissioner told the lookout Reginald Lee - "You must not whisper your answers. Speak up so that we can hear you."



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Mar 22, 2003
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Boxhall said in 1962 that the light was first seen on the "starboard bow" when the lifeboats were being prepared,
As you know Aaron, Boxhall said many things in 1962 which were very different from what he said in 1912 and in 1913. In 1912 he testified that the light was 1/2 point on the port bow when first seen. He said that at both inquiries.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Thanks, but even half a point is quite a difference from Lightoller's claim that the light was 2 points off the starboard or port bow. Boxhall said if the vessel had continued on her course she would pass down the port side. I think that would suggest the ship was crossing their bow from right to left and would first appear off their starboard side. When the last boats were being lowered the light was two points off the port bow. It would be rather unusual for the ship to appear 2 points to port, and then shortly after only half a point, and then over an hour later she moves back to 2 points to port again. I think the reporter's version makes much more sense as the ship was likely swinging after the order 'hard a-port' was given, so that it would appear 2 points to starboard, then half a point to port, and then 2 points to port.


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Mar 22, 2003
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A ship on your port side showing red could very well pass down you port side if it were moving. It did not have to be crossing your bow. Anyway, according to Rowe, when he came onto the bridge the steamer was about 1/2 point on the port bow, and when he left to go to the boat it was about 2 points on the port bow. He took it that Titanic was swinging, not a ship moving. Also, Boxhall admitted that when he first saw the vessel's sidelights it was showing green. Then it was pointing head-on giving the appearance of coming straight for Titanic, then it showed red, and before he went away in his boat, he saw only a single white light which he took to be a stern light. He never saw the light again after getting over to the starboard side of Titanic. Yet others in lifeboats continued to see it until Carpathia showed on the scene. There are other claims about this steamer such as Buley's, but I think you know all that.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Thanks. Any ideas why Boxhall was so adamant that the Titanic did not swing?


Q - When you first saw her, I understand you to say she was approaching you?
A - She was approaching us, yes.
Q - For about how long did you signal before it seemed to you that she turned round?
A - I cannot say; I cannot judge any of the times at all.
Q - Do you know at all whether the Titanic was swinging at this time?
A - No, I do not see how it was possible for the Titanic to be swinging after the engines were stopped. I forget when it was I noticed the engines were stopped, but I did notice it; and there was absolutely nothing to cause the Titanic to swing.


Why did he say "there was absolutely nothing to cause the Titanic to swing"? Is it possible that Boxhall was not aware of the hard a-port and slow ahead orders following the collision? Could that be the answer why the other ship appeared to approach and cross their bow? Was Boxhall simply too preoccupied to notice what the bridge was doing immediately after the collision and he came to the wrong conclusion and he thought the other ship was coming towards them and passing their bow?

Also why did he believe the Titanic was still facing west during the evacuation?

Regarding the light of the other ship.
A - It was to the westward. Right ahead.
Q - Right on the course of the Titanic?
A - Exactly.

Is it possible that he knew there wasn't time to turn away before the collision because he heard the bell ring and felt the collision a few seconds later, and he naturally felt the Titanic made no effort to turn away before the collision and was still facing westward during the evacuation? Is that why he said "there was absolutely nothing to cause the Titanic to swing"?


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B-rad

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I think Boxhall was preoccupied. He went to inspect for damage twice, reaching the bridge the second time around midnight. Then I suppose he helped with the boats until he redid the distress signal. Either way, I believe that up to the point of firing rockets Boxhall was running about doing various duties. With no wind and the sea smooth, if one was not paying attention, one wouldn't notice a ship swinging unless something caught your eye, maybe a star that moved or a ship's light. Those are my guesses.
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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Also why did he believe the Titanic was still facing west during the evacuation?
He probably never even thought about it until he was asked.
Why did he say "there was absolutely nothing to cause the Titanic to swing"?
The ship was stopped and there didn't seem to be any wind. Yet we know Californian was swinging, and it is not because she was turning before she stopped. That swinging motion will dampen out quite quickly just like any forward or backward motion will end soon enough after the engines are stopped. Swinging or any movement THROUGH the water would be caused by some outside influence such as a slight breeze. On Californian, 2/O Stone reported, "the night being fine and clear with light airs and calms."
 
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>> I'm reading the survivor testimonies in the newspapers and they do not match the official transcripts of the Inquiry. e.g.<<

Why would that surprise anybody? Fake news/misrepresented news or whatever you prefer to call it is hardly a 21st Century invention. The press of the day was often very creative in it's creativity when it came to playing fancy and footloose with the facts, and there were plenty of stories fabricated whole cloth out of nothing.

The thing about the Inquiry transcripts is that those minutes of evidence were recorded word for word by hoards of court reporters/stenographers as they were spoken. That was quintessentially the reason they were there and they never ran off to any phones. What you see in that transcripts id gavel to gavel coverage with no concern to selling copy.

I'll take that over a newspaper article any day.