Chris Jensen wrote:Someone, elsewhere on this forum, has asked the question "Why is this aspect of the tragedy so controversial?"
The answer is simple and direct for the following reasons.....
1]- Maximum distance for lookouts....
In conversation with the crews of the various tender vessels that I have spoken to operating from our local port, it becomes clear that the maximum possible distance for sighting a vessel before the curvature of the earth intervenes is 18 MILES (and that is in DAYLIGHT). Captain Stanley Lord claims that his vessel, the Leyland Liner CALIFORNIAN, was stopped over 20 MILES away. If this is true, then lookouts would be UNABLE to spot an object at this distance, so the inescapable conclusion must be drawn that Californian WAS between 8 and 12 miles from the stricken Titanic. This is confirmed by Californian Fireman ERNEST GILL.
2]- Fireman Gill claims to have seen "A large steamer....firing rockets....between 8 and 10 miles distant." The very fact that he did not inform the bridge and the watch officers should not be held against him, but this testimony reveals that somebody was not telling the whole truth about the location of Californian in relation to Titanic.
Gill had little or no reason to tell fibs about this, but watch officer Herbert Gibson had every reason to cast doubts.
3]- "Lordites" have always claimed that another vessel was in-between their ship and Titanic, with the most likely candidate stated as the sealer SAMSON. This holds no water, for if the 'Samson' were present, the very LAST THING an illegal sealer would do would be to fire rockets of any description. No other vessel was in distress on April 14-15 in the vicinity, and the Samson would have been the least likely candidate of them all for advertising it's presence.
4]- Watch officer of the Californian, (Third Officer Charles Groves), is on record as being the only officer or crew member to show any interest whatsoever in the Marconi Apparatus of his ship. He regularly visited Operator Cyril Evans and could even understand the signals, provided the message was not transmitted too swiftly. Why an officer who had knowledge of the possibilities of wireless telegraphy should not think to call awake Cyril Evans is totally inexplicable. The same applies to Captain Lord, befuddled by sleep or not. Captain Arthur Rostron was also retiring to bed, and in a befuddled state when Harold Cottam brought him the news....he became instantly awake and acted accordingly, unlike Lord.
5]- The subject of Third Officer Groves and his inaction becomes damning when his own conversation and testimony alludes to the fact that white rockets were sighted by Officer of the Watch Groves, all eight of them, observed from the bridge of Californian. Titanic passenger Lawrence Beesley has stated that these rockets were an indication "...even to the rankest landlubber" of a VESSEL IN DISTRESS....Herbert's inaction is further damned by his assertion that the mysterious ship observed on that fateful night had "...come to a halt....". Moreover, he also saw it " looking queer....her big end looks like it's out of the water..." The failure of Groves or Herbert to do anything at all in a positive manner is inexcusable, particularly as Cpt. Lord was fully aware of the disturbances observed.
6]- Captain Lord started up Californian's engines at dawn, and then proceeded WESTWARD to the OTHER SIDE OF THE ICEFIELD. On hearing of the exact position of CARPATHIA, he then proceeded THROUGH the ice, mostly at HALF SPEED. This is said to have taken all of two hours to reach the site of the sinking...Lordites have pointed to this "fact" as an example of the true distance of Californian from the wreck site, but most have neglected to mention the speed or the direction taken by Lord when Californian was underway. As a counterpoint, Carpathia steamed into the icefield in the dead blackness of the morning at 17.5 knots, twisting and turning to avoid collision.
All of this adds up to NEGLIGENCE by the officers of Californian.
They were aware that Titanic was the ONLY vessel in the vicinity....Marconi Operator Cyril Evans had told Captain Lord this. The inaction by Californian constitutes a disgrace to every member of the ships officers. The wonder of it is that many Titanic passengers could clearly see this vessel.....boat No. 6 rowed and rowed in a futile attempt to catch this vessel, stationary as she was.
IF this is a site dominated by "Lordites".....what say YOU?
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