What color(s) were Titanic's rockets?

Lets see, according to the testimony given at the inquiries, the color of the rockets fired by the Titanic was:
No wait, the color was:
Pale blue.
Argh! Hold the phone, they were actually all:
Oh headaches and heartaches and all kinds of pain! There's varying testimony about the color of the rockets fired by the Titanic, folks.
So, I'm asking: is there anything like a rocket invoice, or some sort of list, in some dusty archive someplace which gives the color(s) of the rockets allotted on the Titanic?
Thanks in advance for any help.

Richard (ya gotta love all that inquiry testimony) K.
Never mind the testimony of frightened and confused people. The "rockets" (actually socket signals) were BOT approved and supplied by the maker as distress signals. Hence they were white. What do you think they were? The Guy Fawkes special multicoloured novelty selection?
No Dave, I thought it was the Fourth Of July. :)
Seriously, this is the first time I've heard that the BOT said distress rockets had to be white. Eithier that, or I'd forgotten.
Still, if the BOT said "white", than why, after Hichens made the following statement during his testimony, Mersey and the dude questioning the quartermaster had a confab about rocket colors:

"1198. Can you tell us what colour rockets? - I did not take no particular notice of the colour, Sir. Some were green, some were red, and some were blue - all kinds of colours - and some white, Sir. I think, if I remember rightly, they were blue.

The Commissioner: Have these colours a different significance?

The Attorney-General: My Lord, that is what I am trying to ascertain. There is a special reason for wanting to know it. Has your Lordship got the "Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea"? Is that what you are looking at?

The Commissioner: Yes, the last page.

The Attorney-General: I am much obliged. That is what I was looking at myself.

The Commissioner: "At night."

1199. (The Attorney-General.) Yes. That is Article 31, dealing with distress signals: "When a vessel is in distress and requires assistance from other vessels or from the shore, the following shall be the signals to be used or displayed by her, either together or separately"; and then, as your Lordship pointed out, "At night" No. 3 is "Rockets or shells, throwing stars of any colour or description, fired one at a time, at short intervals." That is it."

Can anybody clue me in on this, or was that manual used at the British Inquiry dated and did not say "white rockets" for the new rocket-color rule had just gone into effect?

Richard K.
They were white for the simple reason that white is visible furthest and because a few lines had a coloured rocket or two in their company signal.

As for Hichens, I would not believe anything this self-serving egotist said. He made himself out to be the great seaman, but he was the clown who asked if there was a buoy near the wreck. I've got a tape of him excusing his failure to return to rescue swimmers. According to him, a boat that did just that was capsized and all but six were drowned.
Where can find a list of 1912-era BOT regulations that specify the color white for rockets?
You mean Hichens gave an interview years later where he spun that false tale about a boat being capzized?

Richard K.
The colour was not laid down. It was just the usual practice. It was 1952 before somebody woke up long enough to make the prescribed colour red.

I don't have the date of the interview. It's probably from the BBC. For more on Hichens' self importance, see his biography on ET. At different times he called himself a master mariner or a navigating officer. And the tale about him being a "harbour master" is pure bulldust. Harbour Masters in major ports are at least Masters or Extra Masters and they don't go out in boats to meet ships.
Pure bulldust?

Sorry,.....that is just one I've not heard before...but Hichens lives up to the challenge!

Sorry Sir Gittins, I've intruded once more and I am truly sorry. But I love what you've stated here. I too have heard Hichens from a friend who shared it a while back and have read with interest the details on Hichens and the ET Research on him as well. "Bulldust" is a fairly kind word for Hichens testimony.


Jan Kite

Hi Norman. ships used CQD but on that fateful night Phillips also put out what was then the new call SOS, this call is used to this present day. It is believed that Titanic was the first ship to use the SOS call. regards Jan BTS.
Titanic WASN'T the first to use SOS. A ship used it off the United States' cost in 1908 or 1909.

However, it could be argued that she was the first OCEAN LINER to use SOS, although she started with CQD.

Mark Baber

At most, it seems, Titanic was the first British (or perhaps first Marconi-equipped) ship to send SOS. The American steamer Arapahoe was supposedly the first to send SOS, when she broke her propeller shaft off Cape Hatteras in 1909. And, earlier in April 1912, the French liner Niagara sent SOS when she hit a berg in the same area as Titanic.

My understanding is that Marconi operators were reluctant to drop the Marconi-created CQD in favor of the internationally agreed upon SOS, perhaps explaining why Phillips first send CQD, before switching to SOS. But, in any event, it seems that he DIDN'T send the first SOS.

Sources: Kemp's The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea; Lynch and Marschall's Titanic: An Illustrated History; Heyer's Titanic Legacy.