The direct answer to your questions - both why Titanic’s lookouts did not see the Californian and why Californian was not seen by Carpathia - is ‘I don’t know’. I’m not sure anyone will ever know now. But, it doesn’t mean they were not there to be seen. Let me explain in more detail.
Your two questions are filed in the ‘I don’t know’ file along with an exasperating list of many others. For example, why did many of the survivors not see the Titanic break in two? It happened, but they did not see it. The simple reason, mundane though it undoubtedly is, must be that they were not looking in the right place at the right time, they forgot as they didn’t think it was important or were (understandably) distracted by something else. Ditto, why didn’t Fleet and Lee see the iceberg sooner? Ditto, why isn’t everyone on Titanic agreed as to what lights were seen of the Californian?
One other point of note. On this forum, on other threads, I have been studying and trying to identify crew survivors from photos taken inside and outside the Seaman’s Institute in New York and from the Victualling department survivors in Plymouth. What struck me (and I hadn’t thought of again until now) is that not one single crew survivor in the photos is wearing spectacles. That seems unusual. I suspect that measures to correct vision were not taken as often in 1912 as they are now. But, eyesight wasn’t any better in 1912 than it is now. What I am trying to say is that I think a lot of people - deck crew included - probably had impaired vision. I acknowledge that lookouts had to have additional eyesights tests; I think I read on this site that they needed 20/20 vision. In any event, 20/20 vision is not perfect vision. My point is that I genuinely believe that less than optimal eyesight might explain some of the unanswered questions as to why people did not see things. I’m not using this as an excuse or to explain anything away, I’m just saying it could be a factor, one of several.
Yes, the evidence of witnesses should be taken in context of 1912. But, we must also update our assessment of that evidence too, I think. On this or another thread on this forum someone said that you cannot pick and choose someone’s evidence, that you must accept it all or reject it all. I disagree. Here are two examples. Boxhall’s position was wrong. But, you should discount all his other evidence. Greaser Prangnell’s claim that he was picked up by a ship other than Carpathia is false. Yet, his other claim about his experience of surviving on collapsible B was sound. If this is ‘cherry picking’ evidence then so be it. We all do it including you and I.
Take Lord’s evidence at the BI. Gibson says he was sent to make a report to Lord about seeing rockets. Lord denies the conversation, or at least partially denied it because he said he was asleep. This is at the point that he cannot bring himself to say that Gibson is trustworthy. He has deniability about hearing of rockets, rather than hearing of a single rocket. Ref BI 7275 onwards. At BI 7282, reference the same conversation, Lord admits asking Gibson a question. Yet, he also claims to be asleep! Ludicrous!
At the BI, Lord also admits that the only reason to fire rockets at sea is for signals of distress. In Stone’s position, what would you have determined the rockets were for, Jim? Would you say you had no idea? It was claimed that one of the rockets came from the deck of Titanic. Presumably then the other rockets came from the deck of another ship which sailed away. So, we have a mystery ship firing rockets as well!
I don’t buy into any blackmail theory. I do not support any claim that Stone was fat, lazy or unimaginative. I have not heard that before.
A lengthy tome to respond to, Paul. But before I do, I was going to ask you to respond to an earlier post is made today, but for some mysterious reason, although it is addressed to all members, it is shown with a red shield followed by the legend " This message is awaiting moderator approval, and is invisible to normal visitors."
So I'll try my best to respond without creating outrage or whatever. First:
If my question is answered honestly and in a non confrontational way, then that answer in itself will be proof positive as to why the lookouts on Titanic
did not see Californian
and vice -versa. Second:
broke in two, the lights went out. Those watching from a distance... but not too far... would see this. Those close up would not. i.e. people at the forward end washed overboard.
Others actually on the stern section were the best witnesses to this event. Third:
Even back in 1912, it was Ministry of Transport and BoT requirement that Deck Crew who had achieved the rating of AB had to have their eyes tested for standard vision and colour blindness. at regular intervals. I'll let Fleet tell about this:
Day 5 - US Inquiry:
Senator BURTON: Mr. Fleet, while you were acting as lookout man were your eyes examined?
Mr. FLEET: Yes, sir.
Senator BURTON: How frequently?
We are supposed to have them examined every year, or every two years."
I suspect that Fleet was hedging at that point. However we cannot say that his eyes were a problem and in any case, a consultation of the records would prove if he was lying or not. Fourth:
As with the lookouts on the Titanic,
(with, I suspect, the same ice berg): - the lookouts on Carpathia
did not have much time to see the iceberg. But because their ship was travelling 7-plus knots slower, they had time to avoid it.
If the vessel seen from Titanic
had been Californian,
then the lights seen from the Titanic
would have been two white masthead lights on over the other and the lower one forward and to the right of the higher one... as well as a green side light until the second last signal was fired. Thereafter, they would have seen the same to white lights but the lower one to the left and a red side light until Californian
was heading West or WSW. After that, they would have seen a single white light. The foregoing is fact due to the arrangement of a ship's lights, Paul. The only disputable evidence is the bearing from Titanic.
It follows that if there is any evidence of a red light showing before the second last signal was fired then the vessel showing it could never have been Titanic.
Have I made myself clear? It also follows that if we use the popularly accepted times during which Titanic was firing her signals, the any
red light seen by a witness on or off the Titanic
before 1-45 am could not have been ojn the Californian. If you carefully go through the evidence, you will find that a red side light was seen from the Titanic
between the hours of 12-55 am and 1-05 am. I don't know how else I can convince you and others? This is hard evidence. Even the Commissioner and his side-kick jumped on it: "The Commissioner: Yes; one of them said he saw a sidelight.
The Attorney-General: Yes.
The Commissioner: It was a red light, was it not, the sidelight?"
6852. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, quite right, my Lord."
At the UK Inquiry, Lord already had a signed report from Stone and Gibson. The Gibson report backed him up, and also backed Stone up in his story about the signals, yet he chose not to reveal this. Why do you think that was?
As to his answer about rockets -plural. That was made retospectively. I quote:
"6882. Have you never heard from other Officers that she fired a number of rockets? A : - Since.
6883. When did you hear that? A: - The next day. (Actually he heard it from Stone at 2-40 am and said so.)
In fact the questioning of Lord regarding the initial report given to him by Gibson and subsequent one given by Stone is possibly one of the most incompetent bits of cross examination I have heard.
Lord's story was that he was told of a signal which was low lying relative to the nearby vessel, Ergo, it was not, by itself, an indication of anything. So he pressed for more information.
When he finally got more information, via Gibson or finally Stone, he still had not clear evidence of a distress call.
No matter whether he heard Gibson's first report or Stone's second one, both reports contained the "steaming away" information. Consequently - there was a mystery, but no distress. It was not rocket science for these two Interrogators. They didn't want to accept it.
As a former Marine Accident Investigator, I assure you that I consider every single morsel of evidence, however unlikely it might be. Then I subject it to a series of tests against normal accepted marine practices. I most certainly do not "cherry pick" a favourite idea. Had I done so in the past, I would not have lasted a New York Minute.
Old habits die hard, Paul.
However, on several occasions, I have stated quite clearly that if I am shown to be wrong, I will be the first one to learn from an accepted mistake. I reiterate.