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

Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
So I guess we should throw out everything he said or wrote about what took place that night, or just those recollections that don't fit within your narrative? If you don't throw it all out, then you are being selective like everyone else, are you not?
I never throw any evidence out. A witness has a reason for replying in the way he did...if I don't understand it, I try to. That includes looking for corroboration. Both of the Midnight to 4 am witnesses stated categorically that they saw signals right on th horizon
 
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Hi Jim,

It's quite simple really and common sense.

There are 2 independent PVs recording Cottam's wireless message warning that Carpathia was starting to fire off distress signals.

Some 10 minutes or so later Gibson sees the first of these he noticed at 3.20am (his 18th April statement) then points it out to Stone, and they both see something of 2 more.

Far in the distance and perhaps not very distinct - but nevertheless visible.

Ergo Carpathia still had another 40 or so minutes to get to the first lifeboat, (which lifeboat was not far from where Titanic sank), and so by extrapolation The Californian was by implication easily able to see Titanic's own distress signals.

That is all common sense to me.
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Hi Jim,

It's quite simple really and common sense.

There are 2 independent PVs recording Cottam's wireless message warning that Carpathia was starting to fire off distress signals.

Some 10 minutes or so later Gibson sees the first of these he noticed at 3.20am (his 18th April statement) then points it out to Stone, and they both see something of 2 more.

Far in the distance and perhaps not very distinct - but nevertheless visible.

Ergo Carpathia still had another 40 or so minutes to get to the first lifeboat, (which lifeboat was not far from where Titanic sank), and so by extrapolation The Californian was by implication easily able to see Titanic's own distress signals.

That is all common sense to me.
It most certainly is common sense, Julian. Common sense for a W/O to record minute by minute what was going on, but Cottam did not do that. Why? if his ship was the principal rescue vessel?

I totally accept that both Stone and Gibson saw Carpathia's signals at 3-20 am that morning.
Set aside, for the moment, the smoke screen of irreconcilable times and concentrate on the evidence which tells us that there was a physical sighting witnessed by more than one individual. However, It is not the sighting that matters most in this instance but the description of it.
The exact location of the sighting of Carpathia's signals by both Stone and Gibson was "right on the Horizon" therefore we have corroboration of witness statements.

Now permit me to remind you of certain facts.

If the height of eye of an observer above sea level and the height above sea level of an observed object is known, then the distance between object and observer can be fairly accurately calculated. I'll give you an illustration.

If a distress signal rises to say 400 feet above the sea level, then theoretically, an eye-ball at sea level 23 miles away, will see it on the horizon.
If, however, you elevate that same eyeball to 55 feet then that eyeball would have to move back another 8.5 miles before the signal would once again be seen by it right on its horizon. Then, the total separation distance between signal source and eyeball would be 23 + 8.5 = 31.5 miles.
Now apply that to the Carpathia signal evidence of Stone and Gibson.

At 3-20 am when Gibson saw Carpathia's signal right on the horizon, she would have been about 10 miles from Boxhall in boat 2. Right?
If Carpathia's signal rose to 400 feet, then as we have seen, the separation distance between Boxhall and the Californian would have been 31.5 miles minus 10 miles = 21.5 miles. Right?
Incidentally, that separation distance would increase by 3.6 miles for every extra 10 feet of height the signal or eyeball rose above the sea.

From the foregoing, the common-sense answer as to why the lookouts on Titanic did not see the lights of the Californian was because the vessels were too far apart.

This conclusion can only be debunked if the evidence of Stone and Gibson regarding the expression "right on the horizon" can be debunked. However, to do so, involves contradicting men who, night and day, in their professional working lives...8 hours a day 7 days a week... use the visual horizon as a range-finder - men who, at the time of seeing Carpathia's signals, were using vision enhancement by way of binoculars to verify what they were seeing. Such a contradiction would also involve showing that there was a haze which obscured the horizon.
Incidentally, the horizon seen by Stone and Gibson was a mere 8.5 miles away which for a telescope or good binoculars was right on their visual "doorstep".
 
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Hi Jim,

Unlike John Durrant the Marconi wireless Officer on the Mount Temple - who stayed up all night and the following morning keeping a detailed PV, Harold Cottam on the Carpathia stopped adding to his PV just before the CQD from Titanic.

But interestingly, we have most of Cottam's Marconigram service forms, whereas I haven't seen any of Durrant's. So one kept his chits but a huge gap in the PV, and left the CQD chit on his desk rather than take it to the USA Inquiry, and the other kept awake and recorded pretty much everything in his PV but the chits have been lost.

Compare this with the Virginian which had 2 Marconi wireless officers! Huge gap in the PV! We do have a few Marconigram service forms during this gap that continues to be a matter of debate and requires further research I would suggest.

Of the horizon, mentioned by Gibson of the Carpathia firing off distress rockets, I would consider you are homing in again on a point that wasn't explored in cross examination, and in any event perhaps the horizon was more discernible by 3.15am that morning of the 15th April 1912?

(I doubt it myself, and Gibson was simply trying to get over his perception of distance and the Carpathia rockets being seen a long way off and only just visible. I think myself that this is a fair interpretation, and balanced and objective).

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Hi Jim,

Unlike John Durrant the Marconi wireless Officer on the Mount Temple - who stayed up all night and the following morning keeping a detailed PV, Harold Cottam on the Carpathia stopped adding to his PV just before the CQD from Titanic.

But interestingly, we have most of Cottam's Marconigram service forms, whereas I haven't seen any of Durrant's. So one kept his chits but a huge gap in the PV, and left the CQD chit on his desk rather than take it to the USA Inquiry, and the other kept awake and recorded pretty much everything in his PV but the chits have been lost.

Compare this with the Virginian which had 2 Marconi wireless officers! Huge gap in the PV! We do have a few Marconigram service forms during this gap that continues to be a matter of debate and requires further research I would suggest.

Of the horizon, mentioned by Gibson of the Carpathia firing off distress rockets, I would consider you are homing in again on a point that wasn't explored in cross examination, and in any event perhaps the horizon was more discernible by 3.15am that morning of the 15th April 1912?

(I doubt it myself, and Gibson was simply trying to get over his perception of distance and the Carpathia rockets being seen a long way off and only just visible. I think myself that this is a fair interpretation, and balanced and objective).

Cheers,

Julian
Hello Julian, thank you form your reply.

On the subject of evidence as per Processes Verbal - I suggest to you there seems to be an element of Mafia-like interference (for want of a better description), and the Commissioner spotted it right away,
The Pv of Mount Temple states:
9.55Sigs. With M.P.A. Nil.

Yet the "reconstituted" Pv of Cottam states that, he, Cottam was still in contact with Mount Temple 5 minutes after that, at 10 am EST. There might be an excuse for difference in clock accuracies were it not for the fact that these two stations exchanged Trs.. time checks a few hours earlier.
Then there was the reconstituted PV itself. It only covers the period up to 10 am EST that evening, Thereafter... nothing! According to Cottam:
"17061. I suppose, owing to the emergency you could not keep a regular record?
- No."
My opinion is that Cottam had finished for the night and tuned into Cape Cod to listen to the news and to hear if there were any messages for him. Because he was receiving and tuned into a specific wavelength, he did not hear Titanic's first cry for help which, if he was in an open listening frequency, would have blasted his ears off.
He said he received 4 messages for onward transmission to Titanic the following day, then changes his mind and calls Titanic and gets the distress call. Then he changes the time of receipt from 11 pm to 10-25 pm. There were also fairies at the bottom of that young man's garden

I see little to disagree with in your post, Julian except for the last bit.

As I pointed out to you, there is no evidence to suggest that the visibility at 3-20 am that morning of April 15 was anything but perfect.
The horizon was 8.5 miles away from those on the upper bridge of the Californian. Binoculars were used. BOTH witnesses stated under oath that they saw Carpathia's signals right on the horizon. There was no sign of masthead lights or any other ship's lights. In the absence of body cams - what other evidence is required?

PS: Durrant normally turned in at 1 am. Evans normally turned in at 11-30 pm.
 
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Jim,

Actually Captain Lord disclosed to the USA Inquiry that Evans would usually stay up very late and report messages received into the early hours.

This evidence on oath contradicts your assertion, and is a detail often overlooked.

It was Evans' habit to stay up usually far later than 11.30pm, or in the 14th April 1912 11.35pm.

But on that particular night he decided to turn in early - this is corroborated by Groves who was not expecting him to have already gone to bed.

Cheers,

Julian
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Jim,

Actually Captain Lord disclosed to the USA Inquiry that Evans would usually stay up very late and report messages received into the early hours.

This evidence on oath contradicts your assertion, and is a detail often overlooked.

It was Evans' habit to stay up usually far later than 11.30pm, or in the 14th April 1912 11.35pm.

But on that particular night he decided to turn in early - this is corroborated by Groves who was not expecting him to have already gone to bed.

Cheers,

Julian
Julian, the fact that Evans stayed up late had nothing to do with regular hours.
As with all one-man vessels, his normal hours, depending on location and expected wireless traffic were from 7 am in the morning until 11-30 am in the evening with breaks for meals. Even these breaks might be curtailed if he was waiting for a message.
By the same token, if he was expecting a message from Cape Race or a US shore base which were operating long after 11-30 pm he would wait up for such a message. Much in the same way as did Cottam on Carpathia. Here is what he told his questioners:
"9026. When was it that you turned in? A: - Eleven-thirty p.m., ship's time.
9027. You had been at work since 7 o'clock in the morning, except intervals for meals? A: - Yes.
9028. Was it your regular course to turn in about that time?
- As a Rule. It all depends where we are.

Appoligies wrapped upin a fiver will do nicely, than you:D
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Contradicting the one who has served over and under and know what he is talking about? How could they?
This does not deserve the dignity of a reply...just read my reply to Julian and look it up for yourself instead of leaping before you look.:rolleyes:
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Hi!

What if we just calculate the time it took the Californian to reach the Carpathia at the sinking site?
That is far too sensible, Cam. You would be told that Captain Rostron was mistaken.. that Lord and his 3rd officer were lying about when they cleared the western side of the ice barrier and the former lied about when he passed the Mount Temple. That the Operator on the Birma could not read morse properly etc., etc.
However if we accept the evidence of Captain Rostron, then we can conduct a little experiment.
Rostron said the Californian was WSW of Carpathia about 6 miles way at 8 pm when Carpathia was at or near to the wreckage.
Let's assume Rostron told the truth and that Californian was clear of the western side of the ice at 6-20 am and had been stopped there since 10-21 pm the previous evening.
Then 10 minutes after she got underway she was up to full speed of 12.5 knots. at 6-30 am OK?
Then she ran at that speed on a southerly course until 8 am until she arrived at the position where Captain Rostron saw her.
The following is to scale. Just for you. ;)
For Cam
 
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Cam Houseman

Cam Houseman

Member
That is far too sensible, Cam. You would be told that Captain Rostron was mistaken.. that Lord and his 3rd officer were lying about when they cleared the western side of the ice barrier and the former lied about when he passed the Mount Temple. That the Operator on the Birma could not read morse properly etc., etc.
However if we accept the evidence of Captain Rostron, then we can conduct a little experiment.
Rostron said the Californian was WSW of Carpathia about 6 miles way at 8 pm when Carpathia was at or near to the wreckage.
Let's assume Rostron told the truth and that Californian was clear of the western side of the ice at 6-20 am and had been stopped there since 10-21 pm the previous evening.
Then 10 minutes after she got underway she was up to full speed of 12.5 knots. at 6-30 am OK?
Then she ran at that speed on a southerly course until 8 am until she arrived at the position where Captain Rostron saw her.
The following is to scale. Just for you. ;)
View attachment 76361
Thanks Jim, I think I understand :)

So you propose Titanic and the Californian were 6 miles apart instead of 10? very interesting. There's evidence Rostron lied?

and thanks for the handmade image for me.
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Thanks Jim, I think I understand :)

So you propose Titanic and the Californian were 6 miles apart instead of 10? very interesting. There's evidence Rostron lied?

and thanks for the handmade image for me.
No, Cam. They were 6 mile apart at 8 am but if Californian had been at the 6-3-0 position at 3-20 am they would have been 31.5 miles apart and Californian would have been 21.5 miles from Boxhalli in boat 2. OK?
 
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Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Julian, the fact that Evans stayed up late had nothing to do with regular hours.
As with all one-man vessels, his normal hours, depending on location and expected wireless traffic were from 7 am in the morning until 11-30 am in the evening with breaks for meals. Even these breaks might be curtailed if he was waiting for a message.
By the same token, if he was expecting a message from Cape Race or a US shore base which were operating long after 11-30 pm he would wait up for such a message. Much in the same way as did Cottam on Carpathia. Here is what he told his questioners:
"9026. When was it that you turned in? A: - Eleven-thirty p.m., ship's time.
9027. You had been at work since 7 o'clock in the morning, except intervals for meals? A: - Yes.
9028. Was it your regular course to turn in about that time?
- As a Rule. It all depends where we are.

Appoligies wrapped upin a fiver will do nicely, than you:D

Jim,

Captain Lord's evidence at the USA Inquiry is not supported by your reply.

Captain Lord testified as follows:-

[Of Evans the wireless operator on The Californian]

"From what I have seen of him, he [Evans] is generally around about 10 o'clock in the morning,
and next day gives me reports of things that happen after midnight, very frequently ".

Obviously, you can't tell the Captain what happens after midnight if you go to bed at the time you suggest!

Neither would there be any point in Groves popping in to see Evans after the 8pm - 12 midnight watch if Evans wasn't still usually up after midnight!

Cheers,

Julian
 
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