Woolner Hugh evidence unreliable


Senan Molony

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The US evidence of High Woolner is highly unreliable.

He claims that he and Hakan Bjornstrom Steffanson saw Boat D "about to lower", then went across to the starboard side, and saw an officer fire two shots to get men out of a collapsible there.

Woolner says he and Steffanson then personally pulled several men out each, and put a number women into this collapsible instead.

("We pulled out several, each" - "I should think five or six"), out of the collapsible, then "lifted in these Italian women, hoisted them up on each side and put them into the boat."

Then, having nothing further to do, Woolner claims he and Steffanson went down to A Deck, pottered about for a bit, then crossed over to the port side, where - guess what - boat D was still lowering, so they jumped into it.

Steffanson does not support any of this, and it seems demonstrably impossible for Woolner's account to have taken place in the time available.

But here is a prior account, quoting Woolner, from the Calgary Herald of April 21, 1912.

The paper claimed it as an exclusive and says it was obtained by their correspondent in New York when the Carpathia docked. No other newspaper, to my knowledge, quoted Woolner this early -

102420.jpg


Here Woolner is saying that "at one time" (not "at the end" or "just before I left") there were shots fired at a boat (not "the last boat," "one of the last boats", or a "starboard collapsible.")

He does say it is a forward boat, but it is open as to whether it is located to starboard or port.

[Last extract was bottom of column, now to top of new column -]

102421.jpg


Now look at this. The shots belonged to a boat at one point in proceedings, and he moves onto "the last boat" - the boat HE got into.

He and H. B. Steffanson were saved in collapsible boat D.

Woolner and Steffanson aided in getting women into this boat (no mention of a starboard collapsible).

No mention of going around to the starboard side.

No mention of pulling men out of, and loading women into, a starboard collapsible.

[His previous mention of shots is at a "boat", rather than a "collapsible."]

No mention of going down to A deck.

(Why go down there, when the ship is sinking and there are no boats on A deck?
Woolner in his US evidence: "I said to Steffanson: 'There is nothing more for us to do. Let us go down onto A deck again.'"
But why? Why do that, Hugh? Why go down to A deck?
Steffanson does not support this claimed action!)

The Calgary Herald says both men jumped as boat D left the (port) side of the ship. The only side it could leave from.

Woolner striking the gunnel with his chest is as he describes in his US evidence - eight days later.

It is not something a newspaper could have invented, and indeed it is quoting Woolner himself.

But Woolner a week later tells an end-time story of personal heroism to the US Senate subcommittee that is completely different in sequencing and other matters from his first account on landfall.

His later story also happens to be extremely physically unlikely in certain respects.

His official "evidence" is therefore far too good to be true.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Senan, I suggest that you go back and re-read all of Steffanson's accounts of the disaster before making broad statements suggesting he does not corroborate Woolner. Two of his accounts in particular *do* corroborate Woolner's testimony as has been pointed out in the past, and these accounts were given prior to Woolner's testimony.

Senan wrote:
"Woolner's US Inquiry evidence is contradicted, not just by several people, but as we have seen in the first post here, by his own first landfall account."

This means nothing, because as you apparently aren't aware, or chose to ignore, Woolner wrote a private letter on board the Carpathia, *before* both his "first landfall account" you are pointing out, and before his inquiry testimony, and it agrees completely with his inquiry testimony. If it furthers your agenda to believe that a 1912 press account is more accurate than a private letter and inquiry testimony from the same individual, feel free to continue believing that.

As for your relying rather heavily on a press account in your above post, wasn't it you who had previously referred to press accounts as "tittle-tattle" when they didn't support your case? Seems that you have since changed your tune.

Senan wrote:
"It is possible to submit a great deal to disprove these claims of Woolner."

If you chose to alter facts or omit them, then yes, that is the case. The above topic has already been covered at length in the past, so I won't bore the readers with a rehash, but will refer them to both sections of the following thread instead, so that they can see the evidence for themselves, and how you've chosen to handle it in the past. Readers will see that, and also some of the evidence that supports Woolner:

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/messages/5665/77838.html?1139462267

Senan wrote:
"Yet are whole theories based on uncorroborated (indeed self-contradicted) Woolner. Bizarre woolheadness is what it is."

I've yet to see any theories based on Woolner alone, but it is safe to say that the only "bizarre woolheadedness" I see any evidence of is your above posts and posts in other threads on this topic. Readers can read those threads and see for themselves.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Senan, what you wrote above clearly shows that you are being subjective and once again trying to mislead the readers by inaccurately quoting or spinning the evidence. For example, you wrote:

"Here Woolner is saying that "at one time" (not "at the end" or "just before I left") there were shots fired at a boat (not "the last boat," "one of the last boats", or a "starboard collapsible.")"

Wrong, Woolner himself does not say this, it is paraphrase by a reporter and not an actual quote from him as you would have us believe. (thanks very much for posting the article by the way, it is helpful in pointing out what is actually contained in it)

The reporter is clearly the one saying that "they kept at the task until the last boat had been filled and dispatched" as people can read above. The reporter is also the one who says "at one time" when describing the warning shots.

So not only are you being inaccurate, you would also have the readers believe that a paraphrase, rather than an actual quote, of what Woolner said in a 1912 press interview is more accurate than a private letter written previous to it, and more accurate than his inquiry testimony. Try getting that one to stand up. And no, I don't believe the article is fabricated, it is what it is: a paraphrase of what Woolner said in an interview, when recording devices were not yet available.

Senan wrote:
"He and H. B. Steffanson were saved in collapsible boat D. Woolner and Steffanson aided in getting women into this boat (no mention of a starboard collapsible)."

Not according to Woolner's private letter and testimony, and according to Steffanson himself. That is you saying that they put women into Collapsible D. They clearly state the starboard side. This detail being omitted in a brief paraphrase of his words does not mean it did not happen and does not indicate a contradiction is present. Sorry, but Woolner doesn't say in the press account that he "helped women into a port boat" or anything else that would contradict his other accounts, and non-statements can hardly be construed as evidence in light of his other accounts which mention that Steffanson and him pulled men out and helped women into the starboard collapsible boat.

"See, for Woolner to have achieved what he claims (pulling several struggling, fighting, unwilling men from a lifeboat.. etc) would have taken a considerable time."

Total assumption on your part, completely unsupported by the evidence. How long would hauling a few men out then helping several women into the lifeboat take, especially when they were not the only ones assisting? Jack Thayer, in 1915, the 1930s and in his published account of the sinking, states that the shooting took place at the second to last forward boat (Collapsible C), and that the men in the boat were quickly hauled out.

Another bit that shows your subjectivity is your suggestion that the above article indicates that Woolner and Steffanson leapt from the boat deck into Collapsible D, rather than from A deck. Funny how this is not only completely at odds with the accounts of these two (which you have ignored), but also that it is not borne out in the very article you refer to!

The article states the following:
"As it (Collapsible D) left the side of the ship they decided they might as well try to save themselves, having done all they could for the others, and both men jumped from the deck for the boat."

Again, this is not a quote from Woolner, but a paraphrase by a reporter when no recording devices were available to record his words. Which deck is being referred to? It doesn't specify boat deck, despite you wanting it to, nor does it specify A deck, it simply says deck. To suggest that this somehow undermines Woolner's earlier private account or later testimony is extremely tenuous and leaves one to wonder what your motives are.

"Lucas's evidence (and that of others) does not allow Hugh Woolner to go down to A Deck."

Not according to Woolner and Steffanson themselves, or to Quartermaster Rowe or Bright. Again, I point out the previous thread I posted the link to above:

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/messages/5665/77838.html?1139462267

Sam Halpern illustrated this point rather well, and there is a lot of evidence presented in that thread which shows A-Deck was not completely flooded at the time Woolner and Steffanson indicate they were there. I will not retread that evidence here. It is there for others to see. There is a significant amount of evidence in that thread that indicates how far Collapsible D had to be lowered to the water (most evidence indicates around 10-20 feet, not the 1 1/2 Lucas claimed), the rate of flooding, and that A-Deck was not flooded entirely until after Collapsible D was lowered, etc.

Also, how do you explain Second Officer Lightoller's description of seeing two men leaping into Collapsible D "from the deck below" as it was being lowered, if A deck was flooded at this time?

In your post, you have not even represented Lucas' statements accurately. He stated the following:

"1518. What did you do then? - I went over to the starboard side to see if there was any more boats there. There were no more boats there so I came back and the boat (Collapsible D) was riding off the deck then. The water was UP UNDER THE BRIDGE then."

Notice, not up to the bridge, or over the bridge, but "up under" the bridge. He repeats this again when asked if the water was up to the bridge. If A deck isn't "up under" the bridge, then what is it? This is not necessarily a contradiction, it depends on your interpretation of how far "up under" is, and when you compare his statement to the other evidence that is presented in the other thread, it is hard to argue that he meant it was level with the bridge at the time.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Wow, talk about grasping for straws.

"Now the ship is flooding. Lucas said Boat D practically floated off. He was there in 1912.
Going down to A Deck makes no sense."

Lucas said the boat was lowered 1 1/2 feet, several others say 10-20. You choose to believe one over several others, fine by me, go right ahead.

"Tad, I would be grateful if you would post here any corroboration from Steffanson saying that he went down to A Deck with Woolner after performing these heroics? I have not been able to find any."

Please forgive me if I choose not to conduct your research for you. If you really are interested in facts and not speculation, do some digging, you'll find the information I speak of.

"Tad, I love your line insisting that A Deck was “not completely flooded.”￾

Not my line, that's what the evidence indicates. If A deck was flooded as *you* are insisting, then how did the two men Lightoller
saw jump down into Collapsible D from the deck below as it was being lowered accomplish that feet? Again in line with Woolner and Steffanson's accounts. Choose to ignore it if you want.

"Who in their right mind is going to go down to an enclosed deck that is even partially flooded"

Nice try, I never said A deck was partially flooded already when they got there. As per Woolner, it started flooding while they were already there. Keep being selective with the evidence and ignoring all the evidence to the contrary, it is getting you real far.
 
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Per what Tad said, there was NO flooding on A deck when Woolner and Steffanson went there after leaving C. It started afterwards, shortly before they jumped for D.

"Then that boat was finally filled up and swung out, and then I said to Steffanson: "There is nothing more for us to do. Let us go down onto A deck again." And we went down again, but there was nobody there that time at all. It was perfectly empty the whole length. It was absolutely deserted, and the electric lights along the ceiling of A deck were beginning to turn red, just a glow, a red sort of glow. So I said to Steffanson: "This is getting rather a tight corner. I do not like being inside these closed windows. Let us go out through the door at the end." And as we went out through the door the sea came in onto the deck at our feet."


"About to lower" is not a definite statement. Saying a lifeboat is about to lower, means very little. It could mean it was in the davits - no more, no less. Or it could mean they were seconds away from starting to lower, as Senan is trying to get everyone to believe it means. Could be 30 seconds - or could be 10 or 15 minutes.

Grasping for straws, indeed!
 

Tad G. Fitch

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"Give yourself some time to think — all other considerations aside — as to how long it would take you to pull three resisting people, single-handedly, out of your car, or a bus, or a park bench…"

Nice illustration, except that you are again neglecting the evidence that Woolner, Steffanson, the officer and any crew on the scene, etc. would have helped to defuse the situation at Collapsible C. You are the only one, witnesses included, who would have us believe that Woolner claimed to be doing this completely alone, apparently to further your claim that his account is impossible. Also, how long would *you* fly in the face of an officer who was firing a loaded weapon and telling you to get out? You conveniently have left that fact out.

And since when does saying a boat is about to lower mean that it *is* lowering? Nice loose interpretation of the facts.

By the way, keep on relying on that paraphrase of Woolner's words in the press account alone to contradict his previous private letter and inquiry testimony, it is entertaining watching you try to buid a case out of that, while ignoring all the points to the contrary. My apologies for letting the facts and other accounts get in the way of your fun.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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When Bright was leaving the forecastle head was just going under. Because of the list to port, D had about 10 ft to reach the sea.

Lightoller: “I lowered the last boat 10 feet and it was in the water.”￾ QM Bright: “When I left, the forecastle was going under water.”￾

One can only speculate as to why Woolner and Steffanson would go down to A deck as the boat was sinking. I believe it was nothing more than a temporarily attempt to find a warmer place than the cold boat deck while trying to decide what is the next best thing to do. It was soon apparent that being in an area where they could not easily get off the ship may not be a good idea, but going forward through the port side door put them in an area where they could easily jump off into the sea without a large drop.
 
May 12, 2005
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Candee’s stylized piece, "Sealed Orders," written for Collier’s Weekly and published 4 May 1912, may not technically offer support for her friend Woolner’s claims, since she opted to be rather romantic and leave out names, but in the passage below, excerpted from her story, it’s obvious she’s describing his actions. True, Candee wasn’t there to witness whatever Woolner and Steffanson were up to in those last minutes, but it’s safe to assume she took her information directly from one or either of them.

Here’s the passage from "Sealed Orders" referencing Woolner’s escape with Steffanson. One will note the essential difference in her account is that Boat D is afloat when the men jump aboard:

"….Men of courage and resource who had been loading and lowering boats from the very first came at last to a stop. The last boat was ready for the launching. Two who had held together in the work went a deck below to see if any stray women were there unrescued. All was brilliant desolation. The lights were beginning to burn low. Water —— soft, noiseless water —— was creeping up the slanting deck so fast that in another minute they would have been imprisoned under the deck's roof. They leaped to the railing and mounted it. At that moment the last boat floated before them, three yards away, with vacant room in the bow. Surely they had the right! They looked in each other's faces to ask the question, and each nodded to the other, "yes." They leaped the space and caught the side of the boat, the last to leave the ship by boat, and almost the only rescuers who were saved….."

For the full article, available here on ET, follow this link:

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/articles/candee_02.php
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Hello Randy, how have you been? Things have been hectic here, but I can't complain. Thank you very much for pointing this out. It has been a really long time since I have seen that article, and I would be lying if I said that I remembered this being in there offhand. Good eye! :0) I rather enjoyed your article on this by the way.

You're right, although this isn't an eyewitness account, it is very interesting when one considers that Candee knew both Hugh Woolner and Steffanson well, spent a decent amount of time with both during the voyage, and was very close at one point with the former.

It is certainly reasonable to assume that she discussed this with one or both of them onboard the Carpathia or at some later date, especially since it matches what both said individually, which is in turn corroborated by Lightoller's sighting of two men jumping into Collapsible D as it was lowered past A-deck.

Her account provides a possible motive for why they headed down to A-deck in the first place, an act which has been falsely characterized as some sort of paranormal or impossible to explain event by an individual in this thread.

The detail she relays about the lifeboat being afloat rather than barely above the water when they jumped in is slightly different, as you've said. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprised if this insignificant difference and detail is latched onto and presented as a three-page long post paraded as evidence that Woolner was a liar.

I hope that you have a great day tomorrow and that things are well with you. Finally feeling like Spring here, which is ok by me.
Kind regards,
Tad
 
Mar 22, 2003
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"Her account provides a possible motive for why they headed down to A-deck in the first place."

This certainly fits with the romantic explanation of why those "men of courage" did what they did. And that touch about being imprisoned in another minute by the creeping water makes for a great dramatic moment. But I tend to believe a far simpler, more selfish explanation.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Hi Sam, how are you today? Good I hope. For what it's worth, that's what I believe to have been the case too. I believe that they were simply trying to find a way to stay warm or save themselves.

I pointed Candee's statement out as a counter to Senan's claim that there was "no reason" at all for them to be on A-deck. We already have two possible motives.

Something that I did not point out, but which is again in line with a statement Woolner made in a private letter aboard the Carpathia: Candee mentions that in another minute, the water would have pinned them to the "deck's roof". Woolner himself described the same thing in detail, showing how rapidly the ship was settling at this point. Water began pouring onto A-deck right before they left. By the time Steffanson and him leapt into Collapsible D as it lowered, the water was so close that Woolner's legs dangled into the water, and the water nearly reached the top of A-deck right as D was pulling away. This matches the rate of flooding as described by Rowe and Bright in their testimony.
 
May 12, 2005
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Hi, Tad:

Good to see you here again! I enjoy your posts as always. Thanks for recognizing merit in Helen Candee’s story, which is a good one, if not totally accurate. I also agree Woolner and Steffanson were trying to save their necks when they went down to A Deck, not scouting out more women to save; Candee just gave it a flourish. But I think her mentioning A Deck flooding as the men escaped isn’t dramatic license. It must be based on at least Woolner’s own account.

Best wishes,
Randy

PS) If Woolner was treading water as he jumped for Boat D (I’d forgotten that bit), then Candee wasn’t far off in her description of its being afloat. Perhaps, when she heard his tale, she interpreted that to mean the boat was in the water, at least partially, at the time.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Hello again Randy, how are you? I'm good, about to turn in for the night. I agree, Helen Candee was a good and entertaining writer.

You wrote:
"If Woolner was treading water as he jumped for Boat D (I’d forgotten that bit), then Candee wasn’t far off in her description of its being afloat. Perhaps, when she heard his tale, she interpreted that to mean the boat was in the water, at least partially, at the time."

Sounds completely possible to me. According to Woolner and him, in essence, as A-Deck began to flood, Bjorstrom Steffanson leapt out from A-deck and landed squarely in the bow of Collapsible D as it was lowered past, and Hugh Woolner, missing the mark somewhat, hit his lifebelt on the gunwale of the collapsible, and slipped, his feet ending up in the water as the boat was nearly touched down to the surface. Lightoller witnessed this from the deck above. Woolner indicates that immediately after Collapsible D begins to row away, the water had nearly risen to the "ceiling" of A-Deck on the port side, aka the bottom of the boat deck. Because of the list, the starboard side of A-deck was probably still high and dry at the moment.

Good hearing from you as well Randy, I enjoy your posts too, thanks for the compliment. I hope that you have a great day tomorrow.
Kind regards,
Tad
 

Senan Molony

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So Lightoller and Lucas say A Deck was under water. Lightoller says that specifically. There is no gainsaying it.

If the boat only has to lower 10 feet, quite obviously Deck is substantially under water and nobody could go down there.

I note that no-one has yet posted any Steffanson support for Woolner going down to A Deck.

Candee's romanticised account comes after Woolner's evidence.

Here is more of what Lightoller says -

14035. Had you time to do anything more after you got that collapsible boat (D) afloat? —￾ I called
for men to go up on the deck of the quarters for the collapsible boat (B) up there...
14036. There was no time to open her up at all? —￾No, the water was then on the boat deck.


Lightoller is consistent with this US evidence –

Lightoller: I lowered the last boat (collapsible D) 10 feet and it was in the water.
Senator Smith: You lowered it 10 feet and it was in the water?
Lightoller: Yes, sir.

No head room for Woolner.

Look at the rest of the crew of D:

John Hardy (US evidence)

"We were too near the water when we lowered away."

The transcript immediately thereafter has him saying "We were not more than 40 feet from the water when we lowered." But 40ft cannot be "too near" as the boat deck was 70ft from the sea, and 40ft is 40ft.

This leaves open the possibility that this is an acoustic mistake. Hardy might have said 14ft. Before you jump all over this, remember that it is "too near" that he is saying, which rules out 40ft.

Furthermore, the US Inquiry is full of acoustic errors. It has, for instance, Daniel Buckley saying he comes from "Town Court" instead of "County Cork."

Samuel leaves out the rest of Bright's quote -

Bright: What we call the forecastle head was just going under water. That would be about 20 feet lower than the bridge, I should say.
Senator Smith: In other words, the boat had sunk about 50 feet into the water?
Bright: Yes, sir; all of that,

We know the boat deck is 70ft from the surface, less in a list situation, because it's not vertical. Take Bright's 50ft away from 70ft and it leaves 20ft.

Lightoller, Lucas, Hardy and Bright effectively say the water was "too near" for anyone to go down to A Deck.

No-one has offered a credible motive for Woolner (let alone Steffanson, who appears to be silent on the subject) to go down there.

It is no good to suggest either, that there must have been a delay in the lowering of D (to enable Woolner to perform all unloading and loading heroics and still get into it).

Becaues Woolner's claim is that he saw a starboard collapsible.

Lightoller sees it at the same time. He climbs onto the roof of the officer's quarters and is seeing a starboard collapsible.

And Lightoller says "the water was then on the boat deck." How could Woolner leave the collapsible and go down to A?

Are you going to tell me he had loads of time? The others deny it.

Woolner has no support. Others who were there testify against Woolner's evidence.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Senan, Senan, Senan, you are really trying hard here aren't you?

"So Lightoller and Lucas say A Deck was under water. Lightoller says that specifically. There is no gainsaying it."

Wrong again Senan. Despite your claim, Lightoller says nothing that discounts Woolner. As for your claim that Lightoller says this "specifically," nothing above says anything about this "specifically." Why don't you quit trying to mislead the readers?

Contrary to your claim, Lightoller mentioned that he saw two men jump into Collapsible D from the deck below, quite impossible if A-deck was flooded at the time as *you* would have us believe.

You so kindly posted Lightoller's evidence:
"14035. Had you time to do anything more after you got that collapsible boat (D) afloat? —￾ I called for men to go up on the deck of the quarters for the collapsible boat (B) up there...
14036. There was no time to open her up at all? —￾No, the water was then on the boat deck."

Senan, this is again consistent with Woolner and Steffanson's version of events. Woolner in particular was quite specific that right after they jumped, and by the time Collapsible D began rowing away, the water had risen up nearly to the boat deck. This supports rather than undermines Woolner: Lightoller says the same thing, the water was about ten feet below, then in the very short period of time between when Collapsible D was lowered and the beginning of the attempt to free Collapsible B, it was level with the port side of the boat deck.

Senan wrote:
"If the boat only has to lower 10 feet, quite obviously Deck is substantially under water and nobody could go down there."

Incorrect again. Woolner and Steffanson were on A-deck before the flooding began, and at the moment Collapsible D began lowering, otherwise they would not have been able to catch it as it lowered past them. Water had just begun to reach the port side of A-deck as they were standing nearby.

You should do some measuring. The outside water level could be more than three feet *above* the level of the floor of A-deck and *still* be held
back from the deck itself by the solid railing forward and by the lower part of the wall containing the glass windows. The water had to rise *above* the solid railing before flooding could occur. So yes, A-Deck could have been high and dry at the time, and was as the evidence indicates.

Senan wrote:
"I note that no-one has yet posted any Steffanson support for Woolner going down to A Deck."

As I said previously, I am not about to conduct your research for you. Try digging yourself if you want to find it. It's there. It's called research before making criticisms and accusations. If you don't want to look for it, feel free to continue with your unhealthy attacks of any work conducted by certain researchers who you have a personal problem with, and don't let the facts get in the way of your claims. It will just be showing your true colors again.

Senan wrote:
"No-one has offered a credible motive for Woolner (let alone Steffanson, who appears to be silent on the subject) to go down there."

We already offered two possible motives, you saying they are not credible does not make that so.

Senan wrote:
"Woolner has no support. Others who were there testify against Woolner's evidence."

Rather than go through this exercise again, I will simply refer readers to both segments of the following thread once again to address the above statement:

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/messages/5665/77838.html?1139462267

What I find particularly interesting Senan, is how you have condemned other researchers in the past for using newspaper articles in their research, calling them "tittle-tattle", yet here you are relying solely on a paraphrase of Woolner's words by a reporter from a newspaper article to support your thinly veiled attack, and are taking them to be more reliable than a first-hand and highly detailed private letter written several days before the newspaper article appeared, and over testimony given in the inquiry, both of which agree almost completely. You are even taking the article, or at least your selective interpretation of it, over Lightoller. It just doesn't make any sense. In fact, I think even you are having a hard time believing your argument.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Senan wrote:
quote:

Lightoller: I lowered the last boat (collapsible D) 10 feet and it was in the water.
Senator Smith: You lowered it 10 feet and it was in the water?
Lightoller: Yes, sir.

No head room for Woolner.
Actually there was plenty of head room because A deck was 9 feet 6 inches below the boat deck. Now I assume Mr. Lightoller was just estimating the depth that D had to be lowered. But if he was anywhere near being close to what it really was, then A deck on the port side would be just above the level of the water when they started to lower D. There was 9' 6'' of headroom and a dry A deck at that time.

A few more facts. The boat deck was 58' 0'' above a 34' 7'' waterline amidships, not 70 feet. (See BOT report for deck height details.) Even allowing for mean draft of 2 feet higher after 2/3 of the voyage, we are talking about 60 feet under 0 trim from waterline to the boat deck amidships. With the forecastle head seen to be going under when they launched boat D, the water at the aft end of the forward well deck would be close to the level of B deck forward on the ship's centerline, which was 18' 6'' below the boat deck. Bright was close in his estimate of 20 ft. A list to port of about 10 degrees (producing a 2.5 feet gap between the side rail of the Boat deck and the side of a lifeboat per seaman Frank Evans' observation) would bring the boat deck further down by 8 feet on the port side, and raised by 8 feet on the starboard side. This means on the port side it would be 18' 6'' - 8' = 10' 6'' above the water which supports Lightoller's observation. This then puts A deck forward at about 1 foot above the water on the port side at that time they started to lower away. Within a very few minutes the sea would be up to A deck, and as Woolner said, "And as we went out through the door the sea came in onto the deck at our feet."

It is all very consistent if you willing to analyse the details.​
 

Senan Molony

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So we appear to accept that Boat D had only to lower ten feet when Woolner left it “about to lower.â€Â￾ How long is it going to take to lower in these circumstances? A minute? Two?

Lucas’s mention of the boat 'riding off' suggests the sinking – if not the lowering (both combining of course) – was rapid.

All of Woolner’s story and sequencing thus simply does not hang together. How can he go around to the starboard side, be stopped by pistol shots, then drag out 'five or six' persons personally, next 'hoist' up several replacement Italian women into the boat he sees there?

How can he do all this, dust his hands down, say to Steffanson (paraphrasing): 'Let us go down to the death-trap of A Deck, for a lark.'

(Why doesn’t Steffanson reply: 'Ach, I’ve been there. Why don’t we go down to the engine room instead? I fancy seeing all that machinery.')

Let’s go back to Lightoller –

He says:

14025. When. you were filling that collapsible boat (D) and preparing it to
go, had you noticed that the water was over the bows of the ship ?—￾I could not say the bows of the ship but I could see it coming up the stairway.

This is before Woolner says the boat was “about to lower.â€Â￾ It is being prepared, not lowered, and Lightoller at this point can see the water coming up a 10-foot stairway which only leads down to A Deck.

14026. You noticed that? —￾ Yes.
14027. And the other people on the boat deck could see that too? —￾ If they looked down the stairway, yes.

Woolner is presumably still here on the port side, since D is not yet “about to lower.â€Â￾ But the water is already on A Deck, as Lucas and others state.

Lightoller: I lowered the last boat 10 feet and it was in the water.
Senator Smith: You lowered it 10 feet and it was in the water? - Yes, sir.
Q. When you began lowering, the boat was about 60 feet up from the water?
Lightoller: Seventy feet.

70 minus 60 is 10 feet, which is the drop to A Deck. Water already on A deck when D starts to lower. Therefore Woolner has to manhandle his dozen-or-so boat occupants to starboard and still get down to A Deck – which has been filling since before he pulled his first man out.

(13846A - I can remember that distinctly—￾lowering it only about 10 feet.)

Lightoller only says two men got in from A Deck in his 1935 book. Let’s be clear: He does not see them. He does not mention them in 1912 evidence.

He mentions only in evidence (14030) two passengers —￾ Those were the ones I heard about afterwards. 14031. You did not know they had got in? —￾ No, I did not.

Lucas, who talks about boat D riding off, and it only being one and a half feet from the water, suggests these were “foreignâ€Â￾ passengers and steerage at that.

Bright, as we have seen, remembers a gentleman who “took to the water and climbed in the boat after we had lowered it. I remember that quite distinctly.â€Â￾ Pity he didn’t say more about it.

Bright wasn't amazed, as he might have been if this man had extricated himself from the water on A Deck (that Woolner himself describes) in order to jump. 'A tight corner,' Woolner said.

I find it rather interesting that some people feel the need to defend every line of Woolner’s EXTRAORDINARY evidence (extraordinary, any way you cut it! Commemorative statue, anyone?)…

All those men; all those Italian women. Somehow “superheroâ€Â￾ doesn’t quite do justice.
 

Senan Molony

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This is a game of "Woolner's new clothes."

Woolner would like you all to be able to see them, as some people evidently do.

So let's call Hugh Woolner again in the case under review: Woolner's wonderful works.

Hugh Woolner:

Senator Smith: How long was that [your being on A deck] after the collapsible lifeboat (D) that you have just referred to was lowered?
Woolner: Oh, quite a few minutes; a very few minutes.

So Woolner says, as all other witnesses this time *agree" with him, that Boat D was lowered in only a very few minutes.

Yet he achieved all his astonishing feats in this timeframe.

It is he who supplies the timeframe himself.

"...then they got out a collapsible (D) and hitched her onto the most forward davits and they filled that up, mostly with steerage women and children, and one seaman, and a steward, and I think one other man - but I am not quite certain about that - and when that boat seemed to be quite full, and was ready to be swung over the side, and was to be lowered away, I said to Steffanson: "There is nothing more for us to do here."...

In that time, from leaving D (which he must eventually enter), Woolner has "a very few minutes" to achieve all he did before being down on A Deck.

He tells us what he did in these very few minutes. These are his wonderful works, quoting Woolner himself -

1) We went across there (to starboard) because we heard a certain kind of shouting...
2) I saw these two flashes of the pistol, and
Steffanson and I went up to help to clear that boat of the men who were climbing in...
3) We helped the officer to pull these men out, by their legs and anything we could get hold of. [clearly suggests they were resisting, as no doubt they would.] Later, again - 'I got hold of them by their feet and legs.'
4) We pulled out several, each. I should think five or six.
5) Then we lifted in these Italian women, hoisted them up on each side and put them into the boat. They were very limp. They had not much spring in them at all.
6) Then that boat was finally filled up and swung out. [Did he help swing it out too, or did he leave this to others?]
7) I said to Steffanson: "There is nothing more for us to do. Let us go down onto A deck
again."
8) And we went down again, but there was nobody there that time at all.
9) I said to Steffanson: "This is getting rather a tight corner. I do not like being inside these closed windows. Let us go out through the door at the end."
10) "And as we went out through the door the sea came in onto the deck at our feet."

Ten feet to lower D. But the above is Woolner's sequencing and he gives it "a very few minutes."

Tell you what, shall we pop it on a postcard and send it to Mythbusters?

Do you think a man would be able to pull out half a dozen average-male-weight mannikins from a boat in a very few minutes?

We're making them deadweight. They are not resisting. They are dummies.

What about "hoisting" average-weight Italian ladies in thereafter, in the same very few minutes?

Other witnesses say water is on A Deck or coming up the stairway before the "very few minutes" begins. They must be wrong, because Woolner can stop it before it arrives...

Senator Smith: You remained down there with your friend until the sea came in - water came in - on A deck?
Woolner: On that A deck. Then we hopped up onto the gunwale preparing to jump out into the sea, because if we had waited a minute longer we should have been boxed in against the ceiling.

And as we looked out we saw this collapsible, the last boat on the port side, being lowered right in front of our faces.

Ah, let's stop it there. How far out? asks Smith?
"About 9 feet out," says Woolner.

That's how far the port list was leaning out of the vertical.

Woolner says he and Steffanson climbed the gunnel from right forward (the only open place on A Deck).

But if there is a list, as he says there is, and if Lightoller's water is coming up the stairway from before Boat D lowers, then gushing water has pooled very deeply in this area.

Woolner, as in all other aspects, is swimming against the tide....
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Besides the testimony, are there any accounts by survivors in Boat D like Rene Harris, May Futrelle, Jane Hoyt, etc who can corroborate Woolner's story? Shame to think that whatever did happen, Erik Lindberg-Lind didn't make the jump. He just as easily could have saved himself.
 

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