Why didn't the Titanic's lookouts see the Californian?

P

Paul Wilkinson

Member
>>And since (correct me if I'm wrong on this) these rocket signals purportedly only achieved masthead height

According to one witness. Gibson had the vessel under observation with binoculars and his report is somewhat different.

Cheers

Paul
 
P

Paul Lee

Member
Don't forget that Gibson was off the bridge for some time, too, looking for a new log. He either came back to the bridge at 12.55 (Gibson) or 1.15am (Stone), after five rockets had been seen by the second officer.

Best wishes

Paul

 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
I believe it was Stone who said something about the rockets being about masthead height. He also believed the ship was only 4 to 5 miles off. If the ships were more like 3 times that distance, which I believe they were, that would have the rockets going off well over 400 feet up. The problem is that people saw the lights of the other vessels, not the vessels themselves. The hull and decks of the vessels were not outlined very well, if at all from the descriptions given. The night was, as we say in aviation, "severe clear" with no visible separation between sea and sky. At a distance of 12 to 14 miles these ships would have been hull down to each other. Their bridge heights would be just above the level of the horizon. Only their lights visible to each other. Estimates of true distances could be way off as there was no real reference object to judge from. Lights of a large passenger ship far off could very well be mistaken for a much small ship close by. Both ships were reported trying to signal each other by morse lamps. Both reported seeing the other as possibly trying to signal each other but were unable to read the signals.
 
Jon Hollis

Jon Hollis

RIP
> [Suggest sometime you may want to contact PH Nargeolet of Ifremer.They did a Rocket test out there which was quite involved having rockets made of the same type Titanic used and did experiments at night at differnt distances.]
 
P

Paul Lee

Member
PH Nargolet had nothing to do with the rocket re-enactment AFAIK. Funnily enough I have just read about the re-enactment in TI's "Voyage 25". I won't re-iterate the details as I believe you were there Jon!

Best wishes

Paul

 
Jon Hollis

Jon Hollis

RIP
> [Apologies I though PH was always on the expeditions with George. The only time I was ever at the site was when the QE2 stopped there. Remember your dealing with stupid game playing jerk]
 
P

Paul Lee

Member
HI Jon,
I never said you were a stupod game playing jerk!

Apologies for the mix-up, I thought you were on the memorial cruise, as your name is mentioned a lot in "Voyage". If people want then, I'll do a resume of the rocket firing experiment?

With best wishes

Paul

 
Jon Hollis

Jon Hollis

RIP
> [Re my mentioning Clarkes book and picking apart statement. Pls note "He" did it again. Seems EVERYTHING I mention has to get a negative response. I guess that fiction work called "Raise The Titanic never got discussed here. (coded) MTSR.]
 
N

Noel F. Jones

Member
"Really? Can you name another candidate? One that hasn't been previously refuted? Can you name any other ship that was firing socket signals/rockets that night?"

I don't feel I have to. Captain Lord could still take refuge in causa proxima non remota spectatur, provided:-

"According to one witness. Gibson had the vessel under observation with binoculars and his report is somewhat different."

In which case, if the following quote is to be given credence, he would be in conflict with the officer of the watch. We need to know how different.

"I believe it was Stone who said something about the rockets being about masthead height. He also believed the ship was only 4 to 5 miles off. If the ships were more like 3 times that distance, which I believe they were, that would have the rockets going off well over 400 feet up."

Stone was of course relating the achieved height to mast trucks in perspective terms. The pyrotechnics supplied to Titanic must have had a designed performance under standard conditions. Do we know what this was? If it was indeed 400 feet this seems to put the originating vessel some miles beyond the vessel under observation, would you not agree?

"Both ships were reported trying to signal each other by morse lamps. Both reported seeing the other as possibly trying to signal each other but were unable to read the signals."

Can you direct us to a verbatim source saying that Titanic was attempting to morse another vessel?

I'm sorry if all this is going over old ground and giving you work to do but unless such detractions can be resolved, I can only repeat that the reviled Captain Lord could still take refuge in causa proxima non remota spectatur.

Noel
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>I don't feel I have to.<<

Oh???

The whole of what you said and which I was addressing is this:
But since Californian was visibly 'morsing' her own unknown steamer at the material time, which these numerous witnesses do not seem to have reported, it is unlikely they were witnessing the Californian.

I rest my case (provisionally....)
Since there seems to be some semblance of a claim out there, it's incumbant on the claimant to provide some evidence to back it up. Mind you, I have no problems with a ship in between. Even if it doesn't take away from Californian's accountabilty (And it doesn't!) it might explain some of the confusion that appears to be evident here.

Yes...yes...I know, it may have been misperception, optical illusions and the like, but if there was another player in the game, I'd like to know who it was. Any candidates?
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
Noel, you asked: "Can you direct us to a verbatim source saying that Titanic was attempting to morse another vessel?"

Most certainly:

Mr. BOXHALL: No, sir. As a matter of fact, Capt. Smith was standing by my side, and we both came to the conclusion that she was close enough to be signaled by the Morse lamp. So I signaled to her. I called her up, and got no answer. The captain said, "Tell him to come at once, we are sinking." So I sent that signal out, "Come at once, we are sinking."
Senator BURTON: And you kept firing up those rockets?
Mr. BOXHALL: Then leaving off and firing rockets. There were a lot of stewards and men standing around the bridge and around the boat deck. Of course, there were quite a lot of them quite interested in this ship, looking from the bridge, and some said she had shown a light in reply, but I never saw it. I even got the quartermaster who was working around with me - I do not know who he was - to fire off the distress signal, and I got him to also signal with the Morse lamp - that is just a series of dots with short intervals of light - whilst I watched with a pair of glasses to see whether this man did answer, as some people said he had replied.
Senator BURTON: You saw nothing of the hull of the boat?
Mr. BOXHALL: Oh, no; it was too dark. I have already stated, in answer to a question, how far this ship was away from us, that I thought she was about 5 miles, and I arrived at it in this way. The masthead lights of a steamer are required by the board of trade regulations to show for 5 miles, and the signals are required to show for 2 miles.

As I said in my previous post, the hulls were not distinct at all. The lights, however, were very distinct on this extremely clear night. From looking at lights alone, distances can easily be misjudged, especially if there are no other visual clues that one can use as a reference.
I once remember flying into Trenton airport at night and reported that we were on a 5 mile final based on visual contact with the approach lights. Needless to say after flying on for about 3 minutes we had to call tower again with a revised estimate of our distance. Good news was they said "no problem" and gave us our 2nd "cleared to land."
 
Maureen Zottoli

Maureen Zottoli

Member
Pardon the intrusion. Maureen here. Been a long time since I have visited this site. I am enjoying the discussion here and wish to ask the question, if a rectangle of sea ice about 2-5 miles distance and about say 45-60 miles spand left to right were between the two ships, could the unevenness of the horizon (bergs, grollers, etc) and the distortion of the ice on the light (evaporation of the ice into the air)impede the line of sight? In other words, the ships were where they said they were and were not sure what they saw because various ice forms kept anyone from seeing anything certain consistantly over a period of time? Couple that with the concept that there was a third ship at some point...could this happen and could that cause confusion? Just curious?
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>Couple that with the concept that there was a third ship at some point...could this happen and could that cause confusion? Just curious?<<

So am I. I don't know how it could, since the "mystery ship" that Joe Boxhall reported was moving and displayed what he thought was a stern light if I recall correctly. I don't know of many ice floes or fields of pack ice which display lights of any kind. Seems to me the person best qualified to answer that would be Marmaduke Collins, but I haven't seen him post in several months.
 
N

Noel F. Jones

Member
Michael:

My entry point here was and is causa proxima, non remota, spectatur. That's why in the absence of equivocating evidence I do not feel I have to provide any myself.

Samuel Halpern provides the first inkling of equivocation but then Michael destroys it with the following:

"....the "mystery ship" that Joe Boxhall reported was moving and displayed what he thought was a stern light if I recall correctly."

But Californian was not moving.

Which puts us back to causa proxima etc.

Thus we are no further forward.

Noel
 
Top