What happened on the starboard side of the bow from 140 AM to 210 AM


Tad G. Fitch

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Hi David, how are you?

You wrote:
"Well, as far as the question of Moody is concerned, Inger and I have been through this before, and anyway I don’t dismiss out of hand the possibility that the officer referred to was Moody. What more can I say?"

Well, if you have been through this before and admit the possibility that Moody was the officer in question, then you also have to admit the possibility that your launch times are incorrect.

Your launch sequence has # 16 lowering at 1:20 a.m., and # 13 and # 15 at 1:25. Essentially, you have Moody in two places at once, since the officer on A Deck was described by Littlejohn and others as having loaded the passengers into those boats there. According to Beesley and others, Murdoch left the scene after ordering those two boats lowered away, at which point they stopped and took on the majority of passengers on A Deck. If Moody stayed at # 16 until it was lowered away, this problem is further compounded, since it took five minutes to lower a boat to the water, which means Moody would not even have been able to get to # 13 and # 15 prior to them lowering at 1:25.

Additionally, Threlfall and others were released from below at a time specifically mentioned as 1:20 a.m. He immediately proceeded up on deck and was able to board # 14 before it lowered. Your sequence has # 16 and # 14 lowering at 1:20, another indicator that your times are off. In order to gain a truly accurate picture of the timeline, all of this comes into play, including the officer movements, which you branded "trivial" in an earlier post when discussing Moody.

You wrote:
"Many other points you and Sam make have to do with other departure times–Collapsible C, no. 10, no. 4,no. 6 and on and on, and this is not the time or place I want to address them (see my book)."

We have seen your book, as you were kind enough to send some of us a copy when it came out, and disagree with your findings about the launch sequence. There isn't any evidence that you present there that is anymore convincing than what you have stated here, which is why we posed these specific questions to you, particularly since you never address many of the eyewitness accounts, and admit that you have willingly ignored everything not from the inquiries, Beesley, or Gracie. I'm sorry, but without taking the full body of evidence into account, you're missing reliable and crucial information from other sources.

You wrote:
"I don’t need to respond to each single “eye-witness” you cite along these lines--and anyway I don’t disagree that the order to load the boats on the port side was around 12:25, which is all you demonstrate."

Your reluctance to discuss the eyewitnesses in question is puzzling, as is your assertion that all they prove is that the order to load the boats on the port came at 12:25. Most, if not all of these eyewitness accounts aren't addressed in your book, or subsequent arguments here, which is why we asked that you do so here.

The eyewitnesses to this order were in various places, not just the port side, contrary to your assertion. For example, Poingdestre has just come up to the Boat Deck from below when he heard the order, Hart was below deck with the other Third Class stewards when he heard the order, Mackay was also below-deck when he heard Dodd pass along the order, Shelley was in the First Class quarters when a steward told her the order, etc. Most of these witnesses were in locations other than on the port side of the Boat Deck, and all give time estimates or specific times indicating the order to load the boats came down around 12:25. They are not specific to the port boats.

You wrote:
"There is also a sleight of hand you perform when calculating the time it must have taken for Pitman to launch the boat. Pitman’s testimony was not that the boat was just beginning to be uncovered when he arrived at 12:20."

Sam already demonstrated how much you're reaching on this point, so I won't repeat it here.

Kind regards,
Tad
 
Mar 22, 2003
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David,

I hope I don't come across as jumping on your case, or anything like that, but I was just looking back at what I posted On May 6, and noticed that I did address the issue of the first lifeboat launch time. In particular, the evidence presented by stewards Wheat and Ray regarding the time that water was seen on E deck by the 1st class staircase which was right after Ray saw boat #7 going away.

I know in your book you have boat #7 launched at 12:25, and in your book you said that the first rocket "really was at 12:25 or even as early as 12:20." I also am intimately familiar with Rowe's testimony about seeing a boat on the starboard beam at 12:25. I hope you realize that if he saw the boat in the water at 12:25 unadjusted time then they had to have launced that boat no later than 12:20 for it to have been seen away from ship off the starboard beam at the time he stated. You cannot just drop the boat from the boat deck 60 ft up. With the pulley arrangement thay had, the best that can be expected is for the boat to go down about a foot ever 5 or 6 seconds.

As as far as the first rocket going up as early as you suggest, look at Hichens carefully. He remained at the wheel until 12:23 and then was first sent to take the cover off collapsible D. He also said that no rockets had been sent up before getting to No. 6 (1202-1204). He managed to to get the cover off and the grips off D before being sent to #6 (1087), and no rockets had gone up yet. Only during the loading of #6 were they going up, "because I was working there not more than a quarter of an hour or 20 minutes, I suppose, before I was sent away in the boat."
 
Jan 10, 2006
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Sam,

Thank you for your humane remark, and reasonable tone. You know the expression “to keep throwing mud until something sticks”? Well I do feel a bit like the thing being thrown at.

Concerning Ray and Wheat. I think it is very hard to say how long it was before Ray saw the water on E Deck, since he first went to his room. I am sorry, but you don’t know how long Ray took before he left with his topcoat , after which he observed water on the forward end of E Deck. You say five minutes, but it could also have been ten or fifteen. (Ray describes his pace as “leisurely” several times in the course of testifying about his activities around this time).

More importantly, to me the two descriptions of the water on the decks are not sufficient to distinguish that particular section of the ship at 12:20 versus 12:40, so the fact that they are very similar does not seem conclusive within that short a time frame.

As for Hitchens (not, by the way, the most reliable witness), he testified that before he left the wheel-house–as you say, he was relieved at 12:23--he had no way of saying whether a rocket was fired or not.

I infer in my book from the testimony of all three witnesses (each of whom testified extensively on their activities) that Bright supplied Boxhall replacement rockets ahead of Rowe. By this reasoning, Boxhall fired the first rocket very shortly after Rowe had called reporting seeing Lifeboat 7 in the water, and as Lifeboat 5 was just departing. As a result Rowe did not see that first rocket or any other until he reached Boxhall. Hence he testified that the first rocket fired was at 12:45. It was the first rocket that he knew of that had been fired, but there may have been a few fired in between 12:30 and 12:45.

So, my understanding of the matter is that the first rocket was fired around 12:25 to 12:30 (the possibility offered up in my book at one point of it being 12:20 was in retrospect overreaching). Therefore it was likely not seen by Hitchens.

You’re point is well-taken, that if Rowe saw Lifeboat 7 at 12:25 it was actually launched roughly five minutes before that. That ‘s one of the reasons I keep saying that Pitman may have arrived at Lifeboat 5, five minutes or so earlier than his estimate of 12:20.

I had not developed this much at the time I finished the book, but I do believe there is an interesting line of thought here. Mightn’t Murdoch have immediately started loading the first boat, Lifeboat 7, as soon as it was ready (swung out and lowered), and done the same with nos. 5 and 3, which were ready some five minutes after no.7. The loading of no. 7 would be as early as 12:05 to 12:10, given that uncovering the boats had begun five or ten minutes before midnight. Pitman, then, arrived between 12:10 and 12:15, rather than 12:20, at which time the preparations of Lifeboats 5 and 3 were well underway.

Hence it is not so problematic that Lifeboat 7 was launched around 12:20, and Lifeboat 5 around 12:25. This would support the view that Rowe observed Lifeboat 7 at 12:25, the time when Lifeboat 5 was about to be or had just been launched.

Finally, let me address your remarks on how long it took to launch the boat.

I pointed out that Pitman clearly testified that the boat was in process of being uncovered when he arrived, it was not “completely” covered. This was presumably as part of the general preparing of boats on the forward end that was going on.. Four men other than Pitman worked preparing the boat (so, Bill, when Pitman was speaking to Smith it didn’t mean that the work stopped).

The four men would have worked in tandem, so one cannot take each of the tasks and add them serially in time. Given the context, the work would have been done at maximum speed, adrenaline flowing. I contend that, after the final uncovering, the boat would have been swung out and lowered in five to ten minutes, and loaded (roughly at half capacity), in another five to ten. This gives a launch time of 12:30 to 12:40. And this doesn’t take into account that, as just discussed, Pitman may have arrived earlier, between 12:10 and 12:15.

In contrast, Tad, Bill and George contend that Lifeboat 5 departed at 12:50 to 12:55! So, not only wasn’t it a “five minute deal,” according to them it took 30 to 35 minutes from the 12:20 time Pitman gave for when he arrived, to when Lifeboat 5 was finally in the water. Really?

Look, the problem Tad, Bill and George have here (along with their legions of followers on this message board) is that there is no eye-witness testimony–and indeed precious little direct evidence of any sort–that Lifeboat 5 was launched between 12:50 and 12:55.

There is, however, direct testimony that it was launched around 12:30, by no less than the Third Officer on the ship, who happened to be in charge of loading and launching the boat and then entered it and was in charge of it in the water. All the nit-picking in the world does not erase these plain facts.


DG
 
Dec 6, 2000
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David said:
"I infer in my book from the testimony of all three witnesses (each of whom testified extensively on their activities) that Bright supplied Boxhall replacement rockets ahead of Rowe."

But you keep neglecting the fact that Rowe stated that rockets were *also* kept on the fore bridge! Boxhall had no need to wait for either Bright or Rowe to bring them to him.

As far as "the problem Tad, Bill and George have here" regarding the time of #5 - since there is much evidence that #5 was lowered after #7, then a proof of #7 at 12:40 means that #5 must have left later than 12:40, let's say 12:45, and that Pitman's 'estimate' of 12:30 is wrong.

Why are you mis-quoting us, David? "Tad, Bill and George contend that Lifeboat 5 departed at 12:50 to 12:55". We did *not* say 12:55 at all! Our timeline very specifically says 12:45. If you're going to refer to our timeline, at least get your facts correct!
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Hi David.

It seems to me that you place a great deal on the times given by Rowe and Pitman for when No. 7 was launched. Of course Pitman was talking about No. 5 which went shortly after No. 7. But you must be aware that Pitman was not very reliable when it came to estimating time. The only reliable time I take from him was the time the ship sank since he said he looked at his watch and told the other people in his boat that it was 2:20. But when it came to when his boat was put into the water, we get conflicting information him. For example, you quote Pitman's, 'Well, I should think it would be about 12.30 when No. 5 boat reached the water.' and take him at his word. Notice that talked about reaching the water at 12:30, not launched at 12:30. But then again, he also said he thought it only took 1 or 2 minutes to drop the boat from 70 ft, which is ridiculous unless they let go of the falls completely.

Anyway, consider this exchange with Fletcher:

Senator FLETCHER. How long was it after your boat was in the water before she went down, as near as you can fix it?
Mr. PITMAN. How long before?
Senator FLETCHER. How long was it after your boat was lowered into the water before the 2.20 hour arrived and the Titanic went down?
Mr. PITMAN. I should say an hour and a half.

I don't know about you, but if you go back an hour and a half from 2:20 you arrive at 12:50 for when #5 was put into the water according to Pitman.

So which Pitman version do you want to believe?

I have more to say about Rowe's times, but that will have to be for another day. Got to go for now.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Hello David, how are you?

You wrote:
"As for Hitchens (not, by the way, the most reliable witness)...he had no way of saying whether a rocket was fired or not."

Labeling Hichens an unreliable witness doesn't change what he said. Hichens was very specific that no rockets had been sent up prior to him getting to #6. Him being located in the wheelhouse doesn't mean he was in a sound-proof booth, unaware of anything going on outside. If they had been sending off rockets prior to him going to #6, he would have been able to hear the detonators going off, and the bursting of the rocket, not to mention the flash of light it would have made. He may not have been able to see the rockets being fired directly from his location, but would have been able to see the flash through the window in the side of the wheelhouse, or from the windows fore of his position, since the forward Bridge itself was open on it's sides. The starboard Bridge wing was close by, and Lowe and other described the noise of the rockets being fired as deafening, as well as how the flash lit up the entire surrounding deck, at least as far back as #3.

You wrote:
"I infer in my book from the testimony of all three witnesses (each of whom testified extensively on their activities) that Bright supplied Boxhall replacement rockets ahead of Rowe. By this reasoning, Boxhall fired the first rocket very shortly after Rowe had called reporting seeing Lifeboat 7 in the water, and as Lifeboat 5 was just departing. As a result Rowe did not see that first rocket or any other until he reached Boxhall."

This is indeed an inference on your part. In his testimony, Rowe himself says nothing in regards to whether he saw the first rocket fired or not. In the 1960s, he told one person no rockets were fired before he came to the Bridge, but told another that they were.

In your book, you suggest that two phone calls were made from the docking bridge, and say in the book and here that Bright and Rowe went to the Bridge separately.

First, there is zero evidence, eyewitness or otherwise, that there were two phone calls. Boxhall only testified to one, as did Rowe. What Rowe said was discussed matches the context of what Boxhall says was discussed in the call he received. Why speculate about, or invent a second phone call when there is no eyewitness testimony for it?

Also, Boxhall is specific in his testimony that at the time he received the call, he was returning the firing lanyard to the Bridge, meaning that he had just fired a rocket.

There is no evidence at all that Rowe and Bright went to the Bridge separately. Rowe doesn't mention Bright in any of his accounts or testimony, other than saying his relief was late. However, Bright himself contradicts your thoughts about them heading off individually. Bright testified that Rowe and he were told to "bring a box of detonators for them - signals. Each of us took a box to the bridge. When WE got up there we were told to fire them - distress signals”. This does *not* indicate that Rowe and he went forward at different times.

In any event, Rowe's testimony and other evidence indicates that rockets were also kept forward, so Boxhall would not have needed to wait for Rowe and Bright to bring any forward before he could start firing them.

I hope you have a nice weekend.

Kind regards,
Tad
 
Jan 10, 2006
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Sam, Bill, Tad,

Sam writes, I think for the second time, “It seems to me that you place a great deal on the times given by Rowe and Pitman for when No. 7 was launched. Of course Pitman was talking about No. 5 which went shortly after No. 7.”

Well, let me ask you, aside from perhaps Murdoch or Lowe, who of all those on the Titanic living or dead was in the best position to testify about the times when these boats were loaded and launched? Well my answer is Pitman. So it makes sense to me, all things being equal, to assign a great weight to his testimony. Does this not make sense to you? (A more moderate version of this reasoning applies to Rowe.)

If anything, I would suggest that things are unequal in Pitman’s favor, not as you would have it, against him. He testified at length at both inquiries, and his testimony throughout is rather consistent with the testimony of others. You don’t seem to have any problem depending on his testimony of a two or three minute gap between the launching of nos. 7 and 5, so how bad at numbers can he be?

The fact that Pitman may have mis-estimated how long it takes for a boat to be lowered to the water from the boat deck, or that he said one and a half hours rather than one hour and fifty minutes, quite possibly because he didn’t subtract correctly from 2:20, hardly seems to me very telling. He was one of the only officers who gave a ballpark number for those who entered his Lifeboat, which strikes me as more revealing.

More importantly, at the British inquiry when directly asked Pitman gave a time of around 12:30 for the departure of the boat. He also clearly thought he swung out, loaded and launched the boat by 12:30. At the American inquiry he testified that it took two or three minutes to swing out the boat, which is consistent with the ten minute time interval from 12:20 to 30.

In this context, I wonder whether you know enough to infer--not actually having been there--that what Pitman thought took ten minutes could only have occurred in twenty-five minutes?

I ran across some notes that pointed to the following testimony of Lowe at the British inquiry, which, if we grant that no. 5 was almost uncovered when Pitman arrived, seems to me to support his contention that a boat could be swung out, loaded and lowered to the water in ten minutes. I wonder what you have to say about it?

Mr. Laing 15930. So far as you saw did it take a fairly considerable time to launch these boats?
Lowe- No.

Mr. Harbinson:
15931.Did it take half-an-hour to launch these boats?
Lowe- I do not know. It was not the launching of the boats that took the time. We got the whole boat out and in the water in less than ten minutes. It was getting the people together that took the time.

Finally, as stated in Bill and Tad’s own article, Pitman’s description of his activities prior to his arrival at Lifeboat 5 is consistent with his time of 12:20. And this not contradicted by Lowe’s testimony either.

So, whether you believe Pitman or not, it seems clear he intended to say that the boat was launched at 12:30, not, as you would have it, 12:50.

Bill, I forgot that you round down the two or three minute gap between no. 7 and no. 5 so that they both depart at 12:45, and then round up the gap between no. 5 and 3, which then appears as a ten minute gap. Rather than get hung up on a degree of precision that can never be achieved, I think we can agree that all three boats were in the water within around ten minutes of each other, and the question then is when that ten minute block occurred. Along these lines, I have tried to frame the times in terms of when all three boats were in the water, and that is what I meant to refer to in the instance(s) you cite.

DG
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Hello David, how are you? Things have been busy here as usual lately.

You wrote:
"I ran across some notes that pointed to the following testimony of Lowe at the British inquiry, which, if we grant that no. 5 was almost uncovered when Pitman arrived, seems to me to support his contention that a boat could be swung out, loaded and lowered to the water in ten minutes. I wonder what you have to say about it?"

David, I definitely disagree with you on this point. Regarding Lowe's comments, we first have to go back to some of his other testimony:

"Senator SMITH. Did it take 20 minutes; or approximately how long (to launch the boats)?
Mr. LOWE. Yes; I should say, from the start to finish of putting a boat over, until you get her into the water, it will take you somewhere about 20 minutes."

Lowe is not clear as to whether he is including loading people into the lifeboat in this explanation. It is also not clear if he is including the time it takes to uncover the lifeboat, before attaching it to the falls and lowering to the deck.

Lowe also testified as you quoted above:

"(Mr. Harbinson.) Did it take half an hour to launch these boats? - I do not know. It was not the launching of the boats that took the time. We got the whole boat out and in the water in less than ten minutes. It was getting the people together that took the time."

Note that in the testimony that you quoted, Lowe is *not* saying that the entire preparation, loading and lowering of a boat could be done in 10 minutes.

It is quite clear that he was saying that the time it would take to swing out a lifeboat and lower it down to the water would be about 10 minutes. He excluded the time required to gather the passengers and *load* it, which is what he was saying too took the additional time.

As for our long-running conversation here, we have covered most of these points in detail, so we are beginning to go around in circles a bit it seems. Perhaps it is best to agree to disagree for now, and pick up the discussion once our rebuttal is complete?

I hope that your week is going well.

Kind regards,
Tad
 
Mar 22, 2003
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David, you asked me "who of all those on the Titanic living or dead was in the best position to testify about the times when these boats were loaded and launched?"

I must honestly answer NOBODY unless it could be established that they had actually looked a watch or clock when a boat was being loaded or launched. The times given were all subjective estimates, and a few of them were not thought through very well. And just because someone was an officer or deck crew member, it does not mean what they said necessarily should be given more weight than someone else. The only way to get at times is to cross check with other sources and evidence presented.

You said, "You don’t seem to have any problem depending on his [Pitman's] testimony of a two or three minute gap between the launching of nos. 7 and 5, so how bad at numbers can he be?"

Personally, I don't think it was as short as 2 or 3 minutes between those two boats being launched.

You also said, "He [Pitman] also clearly thought he swung out, loaded and launched the boat by 12:30. At the American inquiry he testified that it took two or three minutes to swing out the boat, which is consistent with the ten minute time interval from 12:20 to 30."

No it is NOT consistent with the 10 minutes from when he arrived at the boat to when it was in the water. A time of 2-3 minutes to crank a boat out once the chocks were removed seems quite reasonable based on information given by others. Add to that 5 to 6 minutes to lower a loaded boat from 60 ft up, and you have 7 to 9 minutes taken up just by those activities alone. But to get the total time, you have to add to that the time it took to clear the boat before it could even be swung out (which includes getting the cover off, shipping the rudder, getting the oars and oar locks ready, the plug put in, the falls removed and coiled on deck, etc.), and then to include the time it would realistically take to get people into it, and your 10 minutes gets easily blown right out of the water, (no pun intended).

You also asked me about the testimony of Lowe at the British inquiry, "which, if we grant that no. 5 was almost uncovered when Pitman arrived, seems to me to support his contention that a boat could be swung out, loaded and lowered to the water in ten minutes."

It is very clear to me that Lowe was saying that the time it would take to get a boat swung out and then lowered to the water would be less than 10 minutes. He clearly did not include the time to load people into it, and he certainly wasn't including the preparation time needed before it could be swung out to begin with. He made it very clear that the big gap from swinging out to lowering was finding people and getting them into it.

By the way, Lowe is simply confirming my estimate of "7 to 9 minutes" that I obtained above. I also do not believe No. 5 was almost uncovered when Pitman arrived. He certainly does not give the impression that the cover was nearly off when he got there. Just the opposite. He specifically said the cover was still on when he got there, and that he himself was working to uncover it with a few other crew members when Ismay came along and told them, "There is no time to waste."

I have no idea why Pitman told Aspinall "Well, I should think it would be about 12.30 when No. 5 boat reached the water." Think about it. He said "reached the water" (not launched) by 12:30. Did they get it uncovered, swung out, loaded, and lowered down 60 ft to the water all in 10 minutes time from when he arrived? To me it very clear that Pitman was not thinking it completely through when he came out with that answer. Unfortunately, they didn't press him further on that. In fact, they [the wreck commission] eventually decided on 12:55 for a launch time for No. 5 as you know. What I do believe, is that Pitman's American Inquiry estimate of his boat being in the water for an hour and a half before the ship sank was closer to the reality.
 
Dec 6, 2000
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All,

In recent discussions here on ET concerning lifeboat launch time issues, David Gleicher asked to see what evidence we have that shows that his lifeboat launch sequence, as presented in his 2006 book, is seriously flawed. We (George Behe, Tad Fitch and I, with assists from Sam Halpern and J. Kent Layton) have written an in-depth article outlining this evidence at: home.att.net/~wormstedt/titanic/crit/Gleicher.htm.

For those interested, the latest revision to our internally consistent lifeboat launch sequence, which was built from the ground up.
 
May 27, 2007
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Looks fascinating! Good Work and thanks for sharing!
happy.gif
I never really got into the Starboard side! I've always been more interested in the Port side launching! So this will be a mind opener for me!
 

Arun Vajpey

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I 'borrowed' Tad G Fitch's quote below from another thread because my related question is more relevant here:


>>>>>>> The jump that was required was due to the 10 degree port list that was mentioned in the previous posts. This caused Collapsible D to hang out several feet from the port side of the ship, and it was more of jump out than down that they had to take. <<<<<<<



That would be establish that by 02:05am the Titanic had a 10 degree port list causing the aforementioned problem with launching of Collapsible D on the port side.

But if Collapsible C was launched only 5 minutes or so earlier on the starboard side, would it not have encountered reciprocal problems due to the same list? The boat would scrape and side along the Titanic's starboard side as Ismay, Carter and the others were lowered.

Are there any specific eyewitness accounts from survivors in or around Collapsible C stating that this happened? If not,would it not lend support to to those who feel that Collapsible C was launched 15 or 20 minutes (rather than 5 minutes) before Collapsible D?
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Rowe at the American Inquiry

Senator Burton: What side was your boat on?
Mr. Rowe: The starboard side, Sir. All the time my boat was being lowered the rubbing strake kept on catching on the rivets down the ship’s side, and it was as much as we could do to keep her off. (…)
Senator Burton: You are sure you rubbed going down?
Mr. Rowe: Yes, Sir. (…) It took us a good five minutes to lower the boat on account of this rubbing going down.

And there are still more. Even Bruce Ismay report of that list!
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Arun,
Hello, how are you? Good point regarding the list and how descriptions of it can further give clues as to the sequence or timing of the boat launchings.

As far as Collapsible C, Quartermaster Rowe and Bruce Ismay testified about the list to port causing difficulty (as Ioannis mentioned in the post above), and others mentioned this boat catching on the rivets as it lowered, and the boat having to be pushed away from the side of the ship as a result. Emily Goldsmith gave a detailed description describing the very same thing.

Ismay testified as follows:

Senator FLETCHER.
How far did you have to lower the collapsible boat from the boat deck to the water?

Mr. ISMAY.
It was very difficult to judge, because we had considerable difficulty in getting our boat down at all.

Senator FLETCHER.
You did not have enough men?

Mr. ISMAY.
The ship had quite a list to port. Consequently this canvas boat, this collapsible boat, was getting hung up on the outside of the ship, and she had to rub right along her, and we had to try to shove her out, and we had to get the women to help to shove to get her clear of the ship. The ship had listed over that way.

I hope all of you have a great day.

Kind regards,
Tad
 

Arun Vajpey

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Thank for that information Ioannis and Tad. I have asked a list related question in the "events during sinking" sub-forum that might have a bearing on this and other lifeboats being launched. Please see if you can help.
 

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