Was Californian Caught in an Eddy?

AlexP

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Nonsense!
Groves said Lord left the bridge about 10-35 pm. Lord said that as he left the bridge at that time, he pointed out a light to the Officer (Groves). The officer replied that "he", not Lord, thought is was a star.
Lord was talking to the Chief Engineer and watching the approaching vessel from a lower deck. This was before he decided to go see the Sparks who did not send his message to Titanic until 11-55 pm. Since he was blocking Titanic, he must have attempt to do so before 11-55 because Titanic told him to shut up.
You are making this up as you go along or you are on a very, very steep learning curve at my expense.
Who is Sparks anyway?
Please read carefully the testimony of Mr. Evans

8977. Did you go on deck when you found the ship had stopped?
- Yes.

8978. I think you found the Captain and the Chief Engineer discussing the matter?
- Yes.

8979. And then did the Captain make a communication to you and ask you to do something?
- Well, Sir, he was talking about the ice then; he was talking to the Chief Officer. I asked him if anything was the matter, and if he wanted me. A little after that he came along to my cabin to talk to me.

8980. What did he want to know?
- He asked me what ships I had got.

8981. That means, what ships you were in touch with?
- In communication with.

8982. What did you say?
- I said, "I think the 'Titanic' is near us. I have got her."

8983. Did you say "I think the 'Titanic' is near us" or "is nearest"?
- Near us.

If by the time Mr. Evans came to the deck the Captain had already seen the light he would have asked him about nearby ships right away. The fact he did not proves he saw his first light sometime later.
So I am not making anything up. I am simply reading evidence.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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I agree, but I wonder if you’ve got an explanation why the Captain did not see as much the deck lights Mr. Groves did?
Do you really think Groves saw all those deck lights that he claimed he did? I'm not sure what to believe when it comes from Groves, or Lord for that matter. They all had their own agendas. Groves had decided sometime Monday, after they all found out about Titanic going down, that the ship he saw was Titanic and, like some of his questioners, assumed Titanic must have carried two mast lights. It carried only one, but they didn't know that. Groves said at the inquiry that he told both Lord and Stone that he thought it was a passenger steamer that he saw. Lord denied that Groves told him that it was a passenger steamer despite admitting that he may have said to Groves that the only passenger steamer that was near them was Titanic. (Why even mention that if a passenger steamer never came up in conversation to begin with?) Lord even denied ordering Groves to call the steamer up by Morse lamp (6841). If you read only Lord's testimony, Groves never came down to him, but he went up to talk to Groves and found Groves trying to signal to this vessel by Morse lamp. (Now I find that giving Grove more credit than what he deserves.)
Stone said at the inquiry that Groves told him that the steamer stopped when it was about one bell, which supports Grove's claim, and that he called her up via the Morse lamp and got no reply. There was no mention by Stone of Groves saying anything to him about it being a passenger vessel that shut out her lights.
By the way, if you read the evidence of Evans, he does not support Lord's contention that he was told by Lord that there was a steamer approaching when Lord came by. He was only asked what ships does he got, and told Lord only the Titanic. Nor does he say anything about Lord ever telling him that this approaching steamer was not Titanic. There is only Lord who claimed that he saw a steamer approach before going to inquire of Evans.
 

Julian Atkins

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I don't think we have had a proper analysis of Groves on ET so far!

In response to some of Sam's points, it is quite clear to me that at the British Inquiry a lot of the questioning of him was based on leading questions based on Groves' wreck commisioners statement. They might just have read into the record Groves' statement! You can pretty much reconstruct this statement from the questions.

It was probably quite a short statement, and relatively pithy, but when Groves expanded on this in the witness box, he tied himself into knots, and makes no sense to me over this "passenger steamer" coming up obliquely "a little abaft" that then becomes "3 points abaft" "the starboard beam", then shutting out a blaze of light from the deck lights, and showing just a few lights from the deck plus a red port sidelight and 2 masthead lights, and still heading westwards rather than being on an easterly course. (I could go on).

I think one must also take into account Harrison's interview and correspondence with Groves in 1959 (the striking revelation that Groves knew nothing about Stone and Gibson's statements of 18th April, amongst other things), and Groves' correspondence and interview with Walter Lord in 1957 and 1958 and his 'Middle Watch' essay of 1958.

All of Groves' various accounts are full of inconsistencies and contradictions - in fact just about as bad as Ernest Gill's 2 testimonies and affidavit! Except we know that Groves was actually seeing things for himself, and ought to have given a decent account.

Cheers,

Julian
 

AlexP

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Do you really think Groves saw all those deck lights that he claimed he did?
Then I have to rephrase my question. What prevented the observes from the Californian to see Titanic’s deck lights in all their brilliance before the collision? After the collision she turned, but before...
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Alex,

The question you might consider is why Groves saw no green sidelight around 11.10, 11.15, and 11.25 of this "passenger steamer" a blaze with lights, when Captain Lord clearly saw a green side light of his westerly heading ship.

I don't think Sam's explanation quite 'cuts the mustard' (sorry, that is an English vernacular phrase, that others may not be aware of it's meaning!). To my mind a sidelight ought to be seen amongst the glare or blaze of decklights, and Groves was sufficiently attentive to notice this ship by 11.25 as a ship coming closer, to leave the flying bridge unattended and go down to report to Captain Lord in the chart room (via the Venetian door) at 11.30pm.

The reason why Captain Lord did not describe that 'blaze' of light from Titanic's decks was to not incriminate himself.

Why did Captain Lord go to Evans' Marconi room to ask what ships Evans had/Evans meeting Captain Lord on the lower deck, and Evans to reply 'only Titanic'? And for Captain Lord then to order Evans to send an ice warning message to Titanic (which Evans, incidentally completely 'mucked up'). It wasn't a 'CQ all ships we are stopped surrounded by ice'. It was specific order from Captain Lord specifically directed only at Titanic.

Cheers,

Julian
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Then I have to rephrase my question. What prevented the observes from the Californian to see Titanic’s deck lights in all their brilliance before the collision? After the collision she turned, but before...
Distance. She would have been hull down beyond the horizon. Her boat deck would have been on the horizon as seen from the upper bridge of Californian when she was first 17 miles away. That is when her sidelight would first graze the horizon. A deck doesn't appear until she comes within 16 miles. B deck within 15 miles, and C deck within 14.5. From the deck below, on the Promenade deck of Californian, reduce those numbers by about an additional mile.
This is a profile view of Titanic from C deck and above when 14.5 miles away:
1564527435285.png

This is from A deck and above when 16 miles away:
1564527773001.png
 
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AlexP

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So do you believe that even before the collision the Titanic could have been mistaken with a steamer as small as Californian?
 

Jim Currie

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The ATS was the other way around Julian. I also have have no reason to believe Groves' watch was 5 minutes fast, and I don't believe Groves bothered to look at it much while he was OOW after it got dark. He probably estimated the time from the striking of ship's bells by the QM which took place every half hour. That 10:26 time was suggested by Mr Rowlatt. Groves just agreed. Rowlatt had heard Lord testify the day before when Lord said he stopped at 10:21. I think it was Rowlatt who made the mistake in stopping time and Groves agreed and said he looked at his watch last when the ship had stopped. Somebody had to write down the stopping time in the scrap log when that event took place. As OOW at the time, that would have been Groves.
As far as seeing those icebergs at 5:20, in his Middle Watch essay to Walter Lord, Groves wrote:
"The voyage proceeded normally until the afternoon of Sunday April 14th, when, at a few minutes before 6.00 pm, Mr. Groves went on to the bridge to relieve the Chief Officer for dinner." That means he had to have seen those bergs after 6, not at 5:20 if what he wrote about relieving Stewart for dinner about 6pm was accurate. That would agree to what was reported to Antillian.
When the ship bell sounded, Groves would have leaned over the Compass an checked his Watch by the card illumination... standard practice.
The stopping time would have been noted in the scrap log and copied into the Official Log Book by Stewart the following day. Stopping times for the engines would be verified from the Engine room Log book. lord stated at the UK Inquiry
Who is Sparks anyway?
Please read carefully the testimony of Mr. Evans

8977. Did you go on deck when you found the ship had stopped?
- Yes.

8978. I think you found the Captain and the Chief Engineer discussing the matter?
- Yes.

8979. And then did the Captain make a communication to you and ask you to do something?
- Well, Sir, he was talking about the ice then; he was talking to the Chief Officer. I asked him if anything was the matter, and if he wanted me. A little after that he came along to my cabin to talk to me.

8980. What did he want to know?
- He asked me what ships I had got.

8981. That means, what ships you were in touch with?
- In communication with.

8982. What did you say?
- I said, "I think the 'Titanic' is near us. I have got her."

8983. Did you say "I think the 'Titanic' is near us" or "is nearest"?
- Near us.

If by the time Mr. Evans came to the deck the Captain had already seen the light he would have asked him about nearby ships right away. The fact he did not proves he saw his first light sometime later.
So I am not making anything up. I am simply reading evidence.
The name "Sparks" was simply a ship-board term used by seamen to signify "Wireless Operator"...everyone used it. Analise your "Sparks" evidence properly. Imagine the following.

10-30 pm. Lord: "Right, Mister! she's all yours. I'm off. if you need me, I'll be in the chart room. let me know if you see any ships. As a matter of fact, that looks like one coming along from the east now."
Groves: "Don't think so , sir. I think it's a star rising".
Lord: " Perhaps your right. Anyway, enough of this, I'm off!"

10-35 pm. Lord leaves the upper bridge via the starboard side ladder and walks over to the starboard, boat deck rail at the bow of lifeboat # 1 and lights his pipe. He he is joined by his Chief Engineer. The two men discuss the situation and Lord points out the lights of a vessel on the starboard bow which have become clearer.
10-40 pm "There you are Chief...just I thought, here's a vessel coming along. He'll get a bit of a shock if doesn't see this lot around us. No doubt, he'll have to stop too."

At this point the story gets vague... either Lord goes to the wireless room or Sparks joins the two senior officers. I tend to think the latter was the case.

10-40 pm Evans: "Good evening sir. I see we are stopped. Is there anything the matter? Do you require me to call anyone?
Lord: "No, Sparks (with a chuckle). We are not sinking... nothing as dramatic as that. We are, as you can see stopped for ice. I intend stopping here until daylight. However, since you are here...there is a ship coming along, have you heard any ships nearby on that machine of yours?"
Evans: " Only the new White Star liner Titanic, sir."
Lord: (With another chuckle)..."Well, that fellow coming along is most certainly not her. Never-the-less, I suppose you had better send a message to her and tell her we are stopped and surrounded by ice. No doubt, that fellow there, (pointing to the approaching vessel) if he has wireless will hear you, as will any other ships in the vicinity similarly equipped."
10-45 pm. Evans leaves the boat deck and returns to the wireless room where he jots down a general Operator to Operator message for the Titanic. The he dons his head phones and listens. His ears are assaulted by the transmission of the Titanic which is less than 50 miles away, she is in communication with Cape Race.
Evans waits until there is a pause in the transmission. He faintly hears Cape Race communicating with Titanic and waits again until there is as pause, then he calls Titanic...MGY-MGY-MGY. Titanic ignores his as he is trying to listen to Cape Race. Eventually, the Titanic operator (Sparks) tells Evans to "Shut-up". The time is 9-05 New York time - 11-55 on Californian. Do you get the picture?

You and others must keep in mind that the related events did not happen instantly... witnesses were not carrying smart phones nor did they constantly note-down accurate times as they went along. In those days, folks actually strung together long sentences of actual words which was known as social conversations. These took time, believe it or not.
 

AlexP

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8979. And then did the Captain make a communication to you and ask you to do something?
- Well, Sir, he was talking about the ice then; he was talking to the Chief Officer. I asked him if anything was the matter, and if he wanted me. A little after that he came along to my cabin to talk to me.
10-35 pm. Lord leaves the upper bridge via the starboard side ladder and walks over to the starboard, boat deck rail at the bow of lifeboat # 1 and lights his pipe. He he is joined by his Chief Engineer.
Not by his Chief Engineer, but by his Chief Officer.

8979. And then did the Captain make a communication to you and ask you to do something?
- Well, Sir, he was talking about the ice then; he was talking to the Chief Officer. I asked him if anything was the matter, and if he wanted me. A little after that he came along to my cabin to talk to me.

But anyway it does not matter. He was not watching the first light he saw continuously. You are not saying that the Captain was standing on the deck from 10:35 to 11:30, do you? So he left, came back and saw the approaching Titanic.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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- Well, Sir, he was talking about the ice then; he was talking to the Chief Officer. I asked him if anything was the matter, and if he wanted me. A little after that he came along to my cabin to talk to me.
Alex, Evans meant to say the Chief Engineer. C/O Stewart was off duty at that time. See 8978 below.

By the way, what version of Evans' story do you wish to believe, 1 or 2?

1. Mr. EVANS. On the 14th, sir, the same evening, New York time, that is. I went outside of my room just before that, about five minutes before that [9:00 NYT] and we were stopped, and I went to the captain and I asked him if there was anything the matter. The captain told me he was going to stop because of the ice, and the captain asked me if I had any boats, and I said the Titanic. He said "Better advise him we are surrounded by ice and stopped." So I went to my cabin, and at 9.05 New York time I called him up. I said "Say, old man, we are stopped and surrounded by ice." He turned around and said "Shut up, shut up, I am busy; I am working Cape Race," and at that I jammed him.

2.
8977. Did you go on deck when you found the ship had stopped? - Yes.
8978. I think you found the Captain and the Chief Engineer discussing the matter? - Yes.
8979. And then did the Captain make a communication to you and ask you to do something? - Well, Sir, he was talking about the ice then; he was talking to the Chief Officer [sic]. I asked him if anything was the matter, and if he wanted me. A little after that he came along to my cabin to talk to me.
8980. What did he want to know? - He asked me what ships I had got.
8981. That means, what ships you were in touch with? - In communication with.
8982. What did you say? - I said, “I think the ‘Titanic’ is near us. I have got her.”
 

Jim Currie

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8979. And then did the Captain make a communication to you and ask you to do something?
- Well, Sir, he was talking about the ice then; he was talking to the Chief Officer. I asked him if anything was the matter, and if he wanted me. A little after that he came along to my cabin to talk to me.

Not by his Chief Engineer, but by his Chief Officer.

8979. And then did the Captain make a communication to you and ask you to do something?
- Well, Sir, he was talking about the ice then; he was talking to the Chief Officer. I asked him if anything was the matter, and if he wanted me. A little after that he came along to my cabin to talk to me.

But anyway it does not matter. He was not watching the first light he saw continuously. You are not saying that the Captain was standing on the deck from 10:35 to 11:30, do you? So he left, came back and saw the approaching Titanic.
"I went down below. I was talking with the engineer about keeping the steam ready, and we saw these signals coming along, and I said "There is a steamer passing. Let us go to the wireless and see what the news is." But on our way down I met the operator coming, and I said, "Do you know anything?" He said, "The Titanic." The engines were ready. I gave instructions to the chief engineer and told him I had decided to stay there all night. I did not think it safe to go ahead."

The Chief officer would not be on deck at 10-30 pm
 

AlexP

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"I went down below. I was talking with the engineer about keeping the steam ready, and we saw these signals coming along, and I said "There is a steamer passing. Let us go to the wireless and see what the news is." But on our way down I met the operator coming, and I said, "Do you know anything?" He said, "The Titanic." The engines were ready. I gave instructions to the chief engineer and told him I had decided to stay there all night. I did not think it safe to go ahead."

The Chief officer would not be on deck at 10-30 pm
OK, Jim, you convinced me. The Captain saw the first light at 10:30 or at 10:35 from the bridge. It probably was a star. Maybe it was Vega? He described it as the most peculiar light he had ever seen. Could a masthead light of a small steamer look as a most peculiar light to the professional Mariner? Then he went down. Now, please tell me, was he there standing on the deck keeping watching the light until 11:30?

1564590127470.png
 

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Jim Currie

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OK, Jim, you convinced me. The Captain saw the first light at 10:30 or at 10:35 from the bridge. Then he went down. Now, please tell me, was he there standing on the deck keeping watching the light until 11:30?
Yes! Lord pulled up a deck chair, filled his pipe again, opened a bottle of Irn Bru and sipped as the Titanic screamed to a halt 4 miles away. In fact, she was more than 16 miles away, but Irn Bru is great stuff... ask any Scot. That tipple acts like a pair of built-in binoculars. Give him his due, Lord was probably rocked to sleep as Californian swayed to the wash of the much bigger Titanic. That's why he never heard Gibson at the chatroom door.
 
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AlexP

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Yes! Lord pulled up a deck chair, filled his pipe again, opened a bottle of Irn Bru and sipped as the Titanic screamed to a halt 4 miles away. In fact, she was more than 16 miles away, but Irn Bru is great stuff... ask any Scot. That tipple acts like a pair of built-in binoculars. Give him his due, Lord was probably rocked to sleep as Californian swayed to the wash of the much bigger Titanic. That's why he never heard Gibson at the chatroom door.
Sorry I edited my own post as you were responding it.
He described the light he saw as " a most peculiar light". What could have been so peculiar in a masthead light of a small distant steamer?
 

Jim Currie

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Sorry I edited my own post as you were responding it.
He described the light he saw as " a most peculiar light". What could have been so peculiar in a masthead light of a small distant steamer?
It was atmospheric light he was referring to...not the ship's light itself. Incidentally, perhaps someday you will see "the light".?

Vega was well above the horizon and is a very bright star that every deck officer was familiar with. No it was not Vega. However, your picture illustrates why Gibson and Stone wee able to see Carpathia's pyro right on the horizon..
 
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