Vision but no sound?


James Leen

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Howdy,

I find it hard to make up my mind about how close The Californian was to the sinking ship, but I've just had a thought.

If The Californian was under 6 miles from the Titanic, surely those on board the Californian would have heard Titanic's horns and whistles when the boiler steam pressure was released?

This is predicated on the assumption that all routes to the atmosphere would be used as part of the release system. Buf if not, sureley just the release of steam would have been heard aboard The Californian?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Depending on atmospheric conditions, the Titanic's steam whistles had a range of up to 11 miles. The whistles were of course designed for that purpose - presumably any release of steam from other outlets would not be audible over anything like that distance.
 

Bob Godfrey

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But does it matter, bearing in mind that the bridge crew of a ship that close on a clear night ought to have had no problem reading the morse sent by Titanic's powerful signaling lamp.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello James!

It's not really hard to determine that Californian was out of sight of all those on Titanic. There is clear evidence to show hat the ship that stopped near to Californian could never have been Titanic.
By simple logic; since those on each of the named ships saw but one vessel nearby then both were seeing different vessels.

I and many like me have heard the sound of gunfire beyond the sea horizon, Titanic's pyrotechnic signals were fired in lieu of a gun. Consequently, signals detonated with a very loud BANG, much like the report of a gun. In the still conditions prevailing at the time, these reports would have been heard a very great distance away. It is often missed, but Titanic fired these signals and flashed her signal lamps (she had two) to attract the attention of those on a vessel who Captain Smith knew full-well would be able to see and hear Titanic's cries for help. You do not use such tactics in the direction of a clear horizon You most certainly do not use the type of signalling equipment as supplied to Titanic if the target was so far away that there would be any chance that it would not be seen.
There is no way that Titanic's morse signals could have been mistaken by an observer on a nearby ship for anything else than what they were.

Jim C
 
Nov 13, 2014
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There's something odd about the accounts of Titanic survivors regarding the mystery ship. They apparently saw it at Titanic's port side. The Californian was north of Titanic.
But Titanic was sailing west when she scraped the iceberg, so her starboard side was facing north.
When 4/O Boxhall took charge of Lifeboat 2, he crossed the boat to Titanic's starboard side before rowing away from the ship as fast as possible. His boat ended up the furthest to the south and was picked up first by the Carpathia.

This seems to imply that the ship turned 180° after the collision. Unless... The mystery ship seen from the Titanic was south of them, Boxhall didn't row south and another ship fired white rockets seen from Californian.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Christophe!

You write "There's something odd about the accounts of Titanic survivors regarding the mystery ship. They apparently saw it at Titanic's port side. The Californian was north of Titanic."

I suggest there is nothing really odd about the evidence. What is most definitely odd is the way the evidence was and continued to be distorted and bent to form a pre-conceived idea of how things really were. The biggest culprits as far as I can see are the marine 'experts' who were advising Lord Mersey and Senator Smith. Either these men were incompetent or their advice was ignored by Mersey and Smith. I am inclined to believe the latter since a Second Year Deck Apprentice of 1912 could have easily and accurately plotted the given evidence and would have seen that there was no way the vessel seen by those on Titanic was Californian. We even have people like Tim Malton developing mirage theories to make things fit.

As for Boxhall: He had his people row emergency boat 2 in a north east direction from just aft of midship onTitanic's starboard side. One of the survivors in his boat tells of how they steered the boat by a star " Well, the boatswain told us to keep a star and keep looking at this star and not to lose it, and keep within the vicinity of it." If I remember correctly, the bright star Vega would be bearing about North East of the sinking Titanic at that time.

Titanic would have come to a stop south of her intended course line and past the place where she met the iceberg. Any boat, rowing in a north east direction from her stern would be going back in the direction of that berg. Boxhall's men heard the water lapping on the berg.

Jim C.
 
Nov 13, 2014
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Ok, but Titanic's bow was facing west after the collision, so the port side was facing south. The mystery ship was reportedly seen from Titanic's port side. But the Californian was north of Titanic, not south. No ship was reported south of Titanic being close enough to be the mystery ship.

And what about the white rockets seen from the Californian? Groves and Lord saw a ship sailing westbound, south of Californian. It must have been a large passenger liner, based on the big amount of lights. Stone and Gibson were informed by Lord about it, they then saw a number of white rockets. The times don't matter here, but the rockets were there. And if the Californian saw them, the Titanic must have seen them too. But no survivors of the sinking ever recalled seeing white rockets being fired from another ship.
 

Jim Currie

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The pyrotechnics seen from Californian in the direction of the vessel nearby were reported to have risen no more than the height of that vessels's white masthead light. This can mean one of two things:
A: That the signals were Roman Candles and did not rise very high above the sea level... about 100 feet? or
B: That they were fired from a vessel which was over the horizon and beyond the vessel near to Californian.

The Pyrotchnics used by Titanic detonated with a loud bang at about 600 feet above sea level. This means that the shower of white stars emitted after the bang could have been seen just on the horizon at a distance of 37.5 miles away by a person standing on Californian's upper bridge.
If the nearby vessel fired white Roman Candles to a height of 100 feet above sea level then these might just have been seen right on the horizon by people on Titanic's bridge at a maximum distance of 21.5 miles.
I believe that the foregoing proves that those on Californian did indeed see Titanic's signals. That they saw them 21.5 miles away and that because of the intervening vessel, they did not identify them as signals of distress. What I do not believe is the evidence to suggest that the bearing of these signals from Californian was South East True. I think it was South-South East True. because if Captain Lord's stopped position was correct, then Titanic would have been on that SSE bearing. This was too much of a coincidence. Lord had no idea of the correct position where Titanic went down. Nor did anyone interrogating him at the time.

By the way, the observers on Californian described the nearby vessel as being something like their own ship - not lit up like a passenger ship.

Jim C.
 
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While I do not intend to get into the fray over Californian, I do have a few thoughts about the arguments...

First, just because one ship can see another is not proof that the reverse is true. In fact, the Rules of the Road take this into account. Ships are deemed to be "in sight" of one another only when both can see each other. This is not stating the obvious. Many times the lighting situation combines with atmospheric conditions to produce odd results. One ship may see the other well enough, but the other may see only a bank of fog. (In which case other rules pertaining to fog apply.) My point is not to discuss these phenomena but to point out they sometimes occur and that it is not safe to assume the obvious without proof.

Another thing is Titanic's heading after the iceberg. According to quartermaster Olliaver, First Officer Murdoch's last helm order was "hard a-port." Olliver not only heard this order, but also the quartermaster at the wheel (Hichens) sing out that the order had been carried out. A port helm (as Olliver described) would have turned Titanic to the right, causing its bow to take a more northerly heading. During the sinking it was observed that the ship was swinging its bow to the north. And, the wreck of the bow section is pointed northerly as it now lies on the sea bed. All of this indicates that the ship was not headed west after impact, but turned to its right -- to the north.

-- David G. Brown
 

Jim Currie

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Hello David.

This thread is about sound and sight signals but I couldn't resist. You just knew I would respond: rolleyes:

I also do not want to enter into arguments about phenomenon. So I won't.

As for the evidence of QM Olliver: I have to say that this is exactly the example of bending the evidence to suit that I was referring to. Olliver's evidence regarding a helm order is simple and straightforward. It can be enumerated as follows:

1. He heard the order Hard-a-port given.

2. He heard it when he was on the bridge.

3. He heard it when the iceberg was way down stern (His own words).

It is at best, presumptious or at worst, simply wrong to assume that because QM Olliver heard that order given, it was part of a sequence to avoid the iceberg or to swing Titanic's stern away from the iceberg. He could have heard it at any one of the several times he was on the bridge during the first 10 minutes after impact.

Ist Officer Murdoch was a highly experienced officer who knew exactly how an Olympic Class vessel would behave under emergency helm. If he had wanted to do as you and others declare he did, then that second helm order would have been given the moment Titanic hit the iceberg; not when it was, as Olliver described it, Way down Stern. Titanic was moving at close to 38 feet per second when the first helm order was given. The engines were slowing down rapidly. Murdoch would know this. He would also know that the rudder would rapidly lose efficiency from the moment the first engine order was given. More to the point, he would know as every ship handler knows that there wasn't a snowball's chance in Hades that a second helm order would be effective in any way unless the engines and or the ship was going ahead and there was little or no turbulence round the stern post.

Now look again at QM Olliver's evidence. He said he did not know where the iceberg went after he caught a glimpse of it as it passed the bridge. He said that heard that second helm order when he was on the bridge. However, he was on and off the bridge several times from shortly after Captain Smith arrived there until he arrived back from getting the boat muster list. He could have heard that order given at any of the times between running messages for the Captain. He could have heard it at any time between the first and last engine order. During that entire period, the iceberg was way down stern.


As for the evidence of QM Hitchens - the man who was actually on the wheel at the time; he told his questioners that Titanic stopped immediately after impact. He would know this simply because she would lose steerageway. Se Q 1020 of the Commissioner's inquiry.
He was pointedly questioned about a second helm order her is his answer:

" Q: 1314: You were given the order hard-a-starboard. A: Yes.

Q: 1315: Was that the only order you had as to the helm? A: Yes."

I have to ask, David. How can that be any clearer? Why do so many ignore that answer?

The observation regarding the vessel swinging to the north was made by QM Rowe. His evidence does not make much sense. He first saw the light half a point on the port bow. Then it as 2 point on the same bow when he left. He declares h ship's head was pointing north. Was that at first or after he left Titanic? How did he know she was pointing North? How did he know the bow and therefore the stern were swinging through North. He was working aft then on the bridge wing and nowhere near a compass. The only way other than by a compass, he would think the ship was swinging would be relative to a target such as a fixed point of light. If that point of light was moving, how could he say that his own ship was swinging?
5th Officer Lowe made exactly the same observation.. and without the aid of the compass .. merely by a glance over the bow. Really?

As for the orientation of the bow section on the sea bed.. well....? How do you think that bow section acted on its way down through 2 miles of water while passing through thermal layers and continuously losing any retained buoyancy? Add to that the popular belief that there was a southward setting 1+ knot current running. Are we being asked to believe that that bit of the wreck rigidly held it's north heading all the way down despite all these external influences? Really? Come to think of it; how was it possible in the first place for Titanic, with her ever failing rudder action, to turn her bow nothward against that mythical south-setting current?

Last but not least: if as Rowe stated, the bow was swinging through north... what made the bow stop swinging? It most certainly would not have been a south-setting current.

As I pointed out earlier, there's more meat on this old bone that needs chewing over.

Jim C.
 
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I have pondered the problem Jim just put forth. He and I have been disagreeing over this conflict for years. While I respect his opinion I see things differently. One thing we seem to agree on is that the two testimonies don’t seem to come from men who were on the same bridge. He’s explained his position, so now I’ll present my solution to this enigma.

My starting assumption is that both men were telling the truth as they knew it. We have no evidence to the contrary for either man’s words. That said, I do believe that at best there was bias in Hichens’ testimony to protect himself from blame for the accident. At worst, I suspect he was under pressure to defend the explanation that Lord Mersey had in mind. To my newsman’s eye there was a bit of “spin doctoring” in his sudden appearance aboard Olympic in New York on the last possible day for testimony to the U.S. Senate inquiry. To add impact to his words he made is appearance in the boiler room of the ship and not a hearing room ashore. I count that as a public relations coup for White Star Line.

Whatever Hichens’ situation, the arrow of time flies only one way - into the future. In any reconstruction of the events surrounding Titanic’s accident we must adhere to strict chronological order. Else, everything is a jumble and no serious conclusions can be taken. Case in point is the conflict between Olliver and Hichens. As I see it, too many people unfortunately confuse the order of events. They think those events described by quarter master Hichens are the same as those witnessed by quartermaster Olliver. The easiest understood version of Hichens’ testimony came deep inside that Olympic boiler room. There is a tell-tale bit of information about Hichens’ testimony in words spoken by Senator Smith immediately after the quartermaster’s testimony.

Sen. SMITH: The officer gave you the necessary order?

Mr. HICHENS: Gave me the order, “Hard a’starboard.”

Sen. SMITH: Hard a’starboard?

Mr. HICHENS: Yes, sir.

Sen. SMITH: You carried it out immediately?

Mr. HICHENS: Yes, sir, immediately, with the sixth officer behind my back, with the junior officer behind my back, to see whether I carried it out – one of the juniors.

Sen. SMITH: Is that the only order you received before the collision, or impact?
[/B]
Mr. HICHENS: That is all, sir. ...


The key in that exchange is Senator Smith’s use of the word before in his question and Hichens’s reply which confirms that the“hard a’starboard” order he obeyed came prior to impact on the iceberg. This sequence of events is unequivocal – hard a’starboard came before impact on the iceberg. Olliver was the only eyewitness to the actions of Murdoch. His testimony to the U.S. Senate is equally unequivocal.

Sen. BURTON: Did you know whether the wheel was hard aport then? (Ed. Note: After impact on the berg.)

Mr. OLLIVER: I know the orders I heard when I was on the bridge was after we had struck the iceberg. I heard “hard a’port,” and there was the man at the wheel and the officer. The officer was seeing it was carried out right.

(Exchange about Sixth Officer Moody omitted for brevity)

Sen. BURTON: You do not know whether the helm was put hard a’starboard first, or not?

Mr. OLLIVER: No, sir, I do not know that.

Sen. BURTON: But you know it was put hard a’port after you got there?

Mr. OLLIVER: After I got there, yes, sir.

Sen. BURTON: Where was the iceberg, do you think, when the helm was shifted?

Mr. OLLIVER: The Iceberg was away up stern.

Sen. BURTON: That is when the order “hard a’port” was given?

Mr. OLLIVER: That is when the order “hard a’port” was given, yes, sir.

Sen. BURTON: Who gave the order?

Mr. OLLIVER: The First Officer.


In the men’s own words it becomes obvious that the order obeyed by Hichens came before impact while the order Olliver heard from First Officer Murdoch came afterward. They are not the same orders. The two men were speaking of two separate events separated by the impact of steel on ice. This means that Hichens could say truthfully he had a “hard a’starboard” helm order prior to impact. And, Olliver could say just as truthfully that the “hard a’port” order came afterward. Their words do not conflict nor do they contradict one another. The events they describe are separated by the forward motion of the arrow of time.

Now let’s look at the probable outcome of the accident if the ship were under starboard helm (left rudder in modern parlance) at time of impact. We should expect the following:

1. The berg would have slid down along the whole starboard side of the ship doing damage right along Titanic’s length. Left rudder would have swung the stern hard against the berg and there is a possibility the starboard propeller might have been damaged.

2. Quartermaster Rowe on the poop should have seen the iceberg coming under the ship’s fantail as it passed.

3. After impact the ship would have been curving to the left. The only way to see the berg would have been off the port quarter. We would expect officers to go to the port bridge wing to catch a glimpse of the icy menace.

4. Titanic should have stopped with its bow facing SW or SSW.


The above is for a hard a’starboard helm at and during impact. Now let’s look at what we would expect to see if Olliver was correct in saying that a hard a’port order was given and obeyed.

1. The ship’s bow should have come hard against the berg, probably in way of the well deck, and then the side of the ship should have started pulling away as the stern swung outward under right rudder.

2. Quartermaster Rowe on the poop should have seen the gap between berg and fantail appear to be widening as the ship passed its nemesis.

3. With the ship swinging to its right, the iceberg would only have been visible off the starboard quarter. The officers should have gone to the starboard bridge wing to catch sight of it before the berg disappeared into the night.

4. Titanic should have stopped with its bow pointing NNW or NW.


Note that these predicted events are mirror images of each other based upon whether the rudder was to the right (hard a’port) or to starboard (hard a’starboard). One set of prediction fails on all counts, while the other is correct on all counts. If the ship had been under left rudder as Hichens claimed, then the first set of predictions should match history. Unfortunately, none of them does. The hull did not hold itself against the berg; Rowe perceived the gap widening, not narrowing; it was necessary to go to the starboard bridge wing and not the port wing to see the iceberg; and, Titanic did not stop pointing SW or SSW.

Recall that I said both men spoke the truth. For Hichens’ testimony to have been true something more had to happen. It was necessary to have the ship turn right under right rudder (hard a’port in 1912 parlance) after impact – which is exactly what Olliver testified happened that night. By using right rudder, Murdoch would have restricted damage to the bow by swinging the starboard side away from the berg. As the ship turned right the officers quarters deckhouse blocked any view of the berg except from the starboard bridge wing – which is where the officers gathered. Rowe would have seen the gap between the fantail widening as the berg passed the poop. And, Titanic would have stopped facing NW or NNW which is very nearly the heading the bow still holds on the bottom.

Well, with a knuckle to my forehead in Jim’s direction I’ll end here.

– David G. Brown
 

Adam Went

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I won't disagree about the mystery vessel that Jim alludes to, and think it's quite likely that Titanic probably was more than 10 miles away from the Californian - a distance at which her rockets could be seen, but not heard, along with the steam whistles. Being a very still night, one would think that if anything, sound would travel further and more clearly. However, it is hard to judge because regardless of the situation with the mystery third vessel, I personally believe there was much more the Californian's crew could have done to ascertain exactly what was happening. After all, they were stopped in ice themselves, so it's hardly as if the crew were run off their feet and didn't have time to concern themselves with the rockets. Even at a distance of 20 + miles, Californian was much closer than Carpathia.

Cheers,
Adam.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello David.

I admire the eloquence of your argument. I can forgive one who has never handled a ship before or who has not been trained in ship handling, but I think you do yourself an injustice when you go with the flow in this instance.

The idea of Titanic pointing north is a fit-up. A sort of Eurika! afterthought. This afterthought might be described as

The ship seen from Californian was bearing South East therefore, since the ship seen from Titanic was first seen fine on her port bow, that bow must have been pointing North West because the ship seen from Titanic was Californian.


The fit-up process began with a search to find evidence to show that Titanic's bow was physically turned toward the North West. With apologies to Robert Burns; this is where the best laid plans o'mice and men went seriously agley!

The UK people went to great lengths to show how Titanic could have turned 2 points in 47 seconds. They tried to emulate Titanic's turn using her sister ship, the Olympic.
Sam showed this to be nonsense in his excellent paper on the subject then he spoiled it all by extending the work to show how a hard left then hard right manoeuver - the one you, he and many believe in - was carried out. What he, you and everyone of like thought forget is that the experiment using Olympic was done with all three of her engines running at Full Ahead. That was fine up until the moment Murdoch touched the engine telegraph. After that, we are comparing chalk and cheese.
There is simply no way that Titanic could have checked a hard left turn and reversed it into a hard right hand turn given the circumstances i.e. during a period of dramatic drop in speed. There is no way she could have turned her massive bow against a south-setting current running at 1+ knots.

However, if you or anyone else can show that she indeed did have the capapbility of performing thee tricks then I will gracefully admit I am wrong.

As for Titanic's reaction to hitting the iceberg? Here's a wee experiment that, as they say on TV, everyone can try at home.

Take an ordinary, long handled broom or sweeping brush. Tuck it under your left oxter (arm-pit) brush-head forward, handle pointing directly astern. Then walk briskly through a doorway in the house. As you walk through, allow your right shoulder to contact the right door frame. At the moment of contact, look over your left shoulder and see what direction the broom handle is pointing in. Actually, you will find that action unnecessary for a very good reason but I'll leave you to discover that for yourself.

Let me know the result.

Oh and by the way! You and everyone else should keep in mind that the idea of the stern swinging outward in the opposite direction of the turn only holds good if the turn of the vessel in question is not impeded in any way, If it is, then all bets are off.

Cheers!

Jim C
 

James Leen

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Hello chaps,

Quite an interesting discussion about the Titanic's direction. As so often with this though, nothing's ever so clear cut.

QM Hichens probably started all the confusion.


948. Had you had any instructions before she struck? Had you been told to do anything with your helm before she struck?
- Just as she struck I had the order "Hard-a-starboard" when she struck.

949. Just as she struck, is that what you said?
- Not immediately as she struck; the ship was swinging. We had the order, "Hard-a-starboard," and she just swung about two points when she struck.

950. You got the order, "Hard-a-starboard"?
- Yes.

951. Had you time to get the helm hard a starboard before she struck?
- No, she was crashing then.

952. Did you begin to get the helm over?
- Yes, the helm was barely over when she struck. The ship had swung about two points.

953. She had swung two points?
- Yes.

954. (The Commissioner.) Do let me understand; had she swung two points before the crash came?
- Yes, my Lord.


And it is believed that Mr Murdoch...


986. And then what happened?
- I heard Mr. Murdoch rush to the telegraph and give the order, "Hard-a-starboard."

987. When you say he rushed to the telegraph, is that the telegraph to the engine room you are speaking of?
- Yes.

988. The order, "Hard-a-starboard," was to you?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
What order did he give to the engine room?

989. (The Attorney-General.) I do not think he knows. (To the Witness.) Do you know what order it was that was telegraphed down to the engine room?
- No.

990. I think your Lordship will hear that it was, "Stop: full speed astern." Now just for a minute give me your attention on the point of speed. You have told us according to the log that the speed was 45 knots in two hours?
- Yes.


As to The Californian - I've got an interview with Captain Lord where he states that he was told that his mystery ship was the Mount Temple.

And who told him? The Mount Temple's ex First Officer!

I think it's more likely to be anothe Leyland Line ship though. Almeira maybe?
 
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Titanic's engines did not stop, let alone reverse, at the time of collision. Multiple witnesses can be cited to that effect. Best estimates are that they ran on from 1 to 2 minutes after the allision took place before they stopped. The rudder would have remained quite effective during that time.
 

Jim Currie

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Titanic's engines did not stop, let alone reverse, at the time of collision. Multiple witnesses can be cited to that effect. Best estimates are that they ran on from 1 to 2 minutes after the allision took place before they stopped. The rudder would have remained quite effective during that time.


Actually that Best estimate comes from Trimmer Dillon because he was there.

"3720. Was anything done to the engines? Did they stop or did they go on? A: - They stopped.

3721. Was that immediately after you felt the shock or some little time after? A: - About a minute and a half.

However, Barratt in boiler room 6 said he had the order to shut down just before the crash came. This means that just before Barratt received that order, an engine order had been given and was probably being executed.
Evidence shows that greasers working near the telegraphs acknowledged the bridge command. I read elsewhere that it took about 20 seconds to bring the main engines to a complete halt. If the engineers on duty started the process 10 seconds after the Greasers reacted then it is quite possible that the engines were already slowing down seconds after the iceberg passed the bridge. 20 seconds after that they were stopped.

In fact, if the engine order was given before impact then a minute and a half is far too long - even if the engineers were up in the mess room. Believe me when I tell you that such an order would have been obeyed within half a minute and there's no way it took a full minute for the engines to wind down and come to a standstill after that.

Define "Quite effective". To carry out the manoeuvre you have alluded to in the past, the rudder would have needed to be fully effective. Quite effective would not have been anywhere good enough, Sam. Nor would it be any use in turning Titanic's head to the North

The rudder would begin to lose effectiveness the minute the engine order was executed. Keep in mind that the turbine would have been free-wheeling at the time and the cross-wash over the rudder from the wing propellers would have been dropping rapidly. In addition, the flow over the fairings covering the wing shafts would have added to the turbulence round the rudder blade.
Besides he foregoing, you have not factored-in the possible effect of Titanic's forward momentum being interfered-with on one side by contact with the iceberg.
In addition and after all that, we are to believe that with this rapidly failing steering and forward propulsion condition, Titanic somehow managed to turn her starboard bow through a current setting at 1+ knots against it. Really?

Given what we know, I have never bought that scenario Sam.

However you are the expert in these matters. If you can demonstrate to me how it was physically possible for Titanic to have made a positive, continuous turn to the North West while these conditions prevailed and using a not effective and fully functioning but quite an effective rudder. then, as in the past, I will happily bow to your superior engineering knowledge

Jim C.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>>Given what we know, I have never bought that scenario Sam. <<

No surprise here. But David Brown is correct in his observation that Hichens was only referring to helm orders received prior to impact, not afterward.

>>I believe that the foregoing proves that those on Californian did indeed see Titanic's signals. That they saw them 21.5 miles away and that because of the intervening vessel, they did not identify them as signals of distress.<<

How can you say that when the key eyewitness from Californian said: "I have remarked at different times that these rockets did not appear to go very high; they were very low lying; they were only about half the height of the steamer’s masthead light and I thought rockets would go higher than that...But that I could not understand why if the rockets came from a steamer beyond this one, when the steamer altered her bearing the rockets should also alter their bearings."
 

Jim Currie

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[QUOTE=Samuel Halpern;378193]>>Given what we know, I have never bought that scenario Sam. <<

No surprise here. But David Brown is correct in his observation that Hichens was only referring to helm orders received prior to impact, not afterward.


We are all correct. I do not dispute that Hichens said what he said and when he said it. Nor do I dispute Hichens when he emphatically stated that the hard-a-starboard order was the only one he had. Are you and David actually suggesting that Hichens had two helm orders directly related to avoiding the ice and absent mindedly forgot to mention the second one which, according to the both of you, came hot on the heals of the first one. If you are then you do not know the mind set of an old style MN Quartermaster. I most certainly do, having worked with enough of them in the distant past and sen them on the stand to be absolutely certain of how such a man as Hichens would have responded to such questions./COLOR]

>>I believe that the foregoing proves that those on Californian did indeed see Titanic's signals. That they saw them 21.5 miles away and that because of the intervening vessel, they did not identify them as signals of distress.<<

How can you say that when the key eyewitness from Californian said: "I have remarked at different times that these rockets did not appear to go very high; they were very low lying; they were only about half the height of the steamer’s masthead light and I thought rockets would go higher than that...But that I could not understand why if the rockets came from a steamer beyond this one, when the steamer altered her bearing the rockets should also alter their bearings."



This thread is about visual and audible signals. Separation distance is crucial to that argument. I can say that because the claim of Captain Lord was that such a distance separated the two vessels. Work it out for yourself or better still, use the tables. If you were on the flying bridge of a ship at 55 feet above sea level, how high would a rocket appear to be above the horizon if it rose to a height of 600 feet above sea level from a point, 21.5 miles away from you?

I'm still waiting to hear how that second helm order achieved what you and David claim it did.

Jim C.

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Mar 22, 2003
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The second helm order came AFTER the impact with the berg. It was NOT part of a collision avoidance maneuver. It was to mitigate damage to the starboard side of the vessel by pulling the stern away from the berg that was passing down along the starboard side. Even QM Rowe, who was out on the poop by the docking bridge, said that he did not believe the ship was under starboard helm (left rudder) when the berg passed aft of where he was. We also have two other eyewitnesses who saw the berg off the starboard quarter and the stern pulling away when they came up from below within minutes of the impact. That was in addition to Boxhall, Smith and Murdoch who went out on the STARBOARD bridge wing within a minute after the impact took place to look for the berg off the starboard quarter as David already explained.

I'm also glad you are absolutely certain of how such a man as Hichens would have responded to all the questioning. That tells me and everyone else something about you and your approach to all of this.

>>This thread is about visual and audible signals. <<

So it is. So if these very low-lying rockets were seen from 20 miles out, or thereabouts, how was it possible that the bearing to the rockets followed this steamer, which was originally claimed to be only 5 miles away, as it steamed away from SSE to SW as 2/O Stone claimed it did?

And by the way, I did look into the question of the angular height of rockets bursting at 600 ft as seen from the upper bridge of Californian for various distances. If Stone is to be believed, those rocket bursts would have been only about 6 minutes-of-arc above the horizon coming from a ship 27 miles away. And how they could see those rockets bursting into white stars as claimed from that great a distance is more of a mystery than the so called mystery steamer itself.
 

James Leen

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Feb 23, 2016
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Howdy,

I find it hard to make up my mind about how close The Californian was to the sinking ship... no I've done that.;)

I don't think there was a second helm order, though. I'm fairly confident it was: 3 bells, hard a starboard,full speed astern, bump and closing the watertight doors.

In Boxhall's testimony we have -

The first Officer said, "An iceberg, Sir. I hard-a-starboarded and reversed the engines, and I was going to hard-a-port round it but she was too close. I could not do any more. I have closed the watertight doors." The Commander asked him if he had rung the warning bell, and he said "Yes."


As to the Californian - another thought. Could the iceberg itself have blocked any purported view of the Titanic? If the angles were just so could that be a reason for the mystery steamer's lights suddenly going out?
 

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