Secrets of the Dead

S17 E6 | FULL EPISODE

Abandoning the Titanic

Join a team of investigators as they search for the identity of the captain of a “mystery ship” that turned away from the “unsinkable” Titanic in its darkest hour, abandoning thousands of lives to the icy waters and their deaths.

AIRED: November 04, 2020 | 0:55:15
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TRANSCRIPT

♪♪

-♪ Oh, they built their ship, Titanic ♪

♪ To sail the ocean blue

♪ And thought they had a ship

♪ That the water wouldn't go through ♪

[ Bell clanging ]

-Three clangs of the bellin the RMS Titanic's crow's nest

in April of 1912

unknowingly signaled the impending deaths

of 1,500 people.

In that moment, the next 100 years of history

would be breached by this reckless tragedy,

provoking a relentless pursuit of answers

as to why so many had to die.

In the Titanic's last hours, death came as the leveler

to a world of class, wealth, and privilege,

a world abruptly swamped

by struggling steerage-class immigrants

as keen as any aristocrat

to escape the gruesome demise that confronted them.

♪♪

As death became certain,

the magic of Marconi's wireless telegraph machine

sprang to life,

sending frantic pulses and pauses of Morse code

into the unseeing night...

[ Beeping ]

...when suddenly, off the port bow,

an unannounced and unidentified light

on the horizon of the night sky

became a shimmering gleam of hope.

A ship approached within just a few miles.

The Titanic was not alone.

Now, startling revelationssuggest an answer to the mystery

that has haunted the tragic disaster for so long --

the identity of the ship that turned its back on the Titanic.

"Abandoning the Titanic."

♪♪

-On April 22, 1912,

just seven daysafter the dream ship RMS Titanic

sank beneath the waters of the North Atlantic,

a man walked into the Toronto Star offices

and stunned the reporters.

-This gentleman who walked into our busy newsroom

identified himself as Friedrich Quitzrau.

And he was a doctor,

and the story he unfolded was amazing.

-Thus began one of the enduring mysteries

surrounding the loss of the Titanic,

one that has lasted 108 years.

♪♪

1912 -- in Great Britain,

a time of wealth, confidence, new beginnings...

a most auspicious moment

for the invincible and unsinkable Titanic

to set out on her maiden voyage...

only to sail into the annals of history.

The Royal Mail Ship Titanic isthe second of three ocean liners

built for the White Star line

by Harland and Wolff in Belfast,

the sister ship to the RMS Olympic,

which preceded Titanic on the North Atlantic's

lucrative mail and passenger routes.

RMS Titanic is designed to be

the pinnacle of British passenger transport,

departing Southampton for New York City

with 1,300 passengers

and a contingent of 900 officers and crew.

-In the early 1900s, we were shifting from a period

of ships that were driven by sail and wood

to ships that were driven by steam and steel.

They were bigger ships. They were faster ships.

-Titanic was really built as a strong ship

to withstand the blow from another ship,

and it was not built to be a ship

that would even encounter an iceberg.

-Titanic is known as "The Ship of Dreams,"

and in dramatic portrayals today,

we see her sent off from Southampton

with great fanfare and ticker tape.

Well, it -- it wasn't like that in truth at all.

-There was not so much interest in Titanic

because Olympic was the first ship.

-The sister ship had taken all the garlands

and the accolades the previous year.

She had inaugurated this new great class of ships

of which the Titanic was the second.

So her departure was not attended

by pomp and state and ceremony.

The ship herself wasn't even full.

It hadn't been this hot ticket that everybody imagines

to get on board.

-The Olympic's earlier debut isn't the only reason

the Titanic isn't carryinga full complement of passengers.

-That was because of the historic strangeness

of a national coal strike

which had caused all shipping to be in question,

and, you know, whole schedules of sailings were canceled.

-The 37-day coal strike by a million British miners

is an annoying burden

for many of Europe's transatlantic travelers.

It also brings unemployment and financial hardship

to the thousands who work

in Great Britain's shipping industry

until it ends on April 6th,

just four days before theTitanic is to depart.

-White Star Line had promised fatefully

that they would sail the Titanic

on the given day of April the 10th, 1912.

-With the departure date now confirmed,

Titanic becomes the epicenter of employment

as White Star quickly fills all positions available.

-My dad was put onto the maiden voyage of the Olympic.

Then he was selected to go on the Titanic,

and he was thrilled.

-Just as White Star promised, on April 10, 1912,

the Titanic pulls away from Southampton

with her newly hired crew and eager passengers.

-The Titanic had had a wonderful maiden voyage so far.

The weather gods had been smiling

on Captain Smith and his command.

Bright sunshine, smooth seas

ever since leaving Queenstown in Southern Ireland,

and the ship had been performing exceptionally well.

She had made up steadily increasing mileages each day.

And there was a great deal of pleasure being felt

amongst the passengers at the prospect

of making a smart arrival in New York.

-White Star's most seasoned and most trusted captain

of maiden voyages, 62-year-old Edward John Smith,

is at the helm of the line's newest edition.

-Captain Smith of the Titanic

was a cultured, well-coiffed man,

very presentable with his trimmed white beard,

and inordinately popular.

He had a devoted following.

In those days, hard though it is to believe today,

you know, maritime skippers were almost like rock stars.

They had their personal coterie of society,

grand dames and wealthy plutocrats.

He commanded the Olympic on her maiden voyage.

He had taken her out in June 1911 to New York.

♪♪

-Alongside Captain Smith,

and drawn from the Royal Naval Reserve,

Titanic's seemingly experienced crew includes officers

who are familiar with sailing with Captain Smith

and the elite of the Edwardian class.

-Aside from the captain, the only two senior officers

that were allowed to freely mingle

were the ship's doctorand the purser, and that was it.

In 1912, the distance between officers

and passengers was great.

Officers were given very strict instructions --

be polite, answer their questions quickly,

and then go about your business.

There was no socialization.

-Captain Smith is no stranger

to the North Atlantic route to New York.

And neither are his two executive officers,

Chief Officer Henry Wilde

and First Officer William Murdoch,

both of whom had just sailed with Smith on the Olympic.

As The Ship of Dreams heads west,

opening up to speeds close to her maximum,

Captain Smith and his officers tend to the well-oiled machine.

Senior Officers Wilde, Murdoch, and Lightoller

take their shifts as officers of the watch,

while Junior Officers Pitman, Boxhall, Lowe, and Moody

maintain the ship's performance and position.

♪♪

[ Waves crashing ]

♪♪

-The year in which they encountered the iceberg

was admitted by all to be an unusual year

in which the icebergs were flowing further south.

-If the Titanic were in a visible ice field,

I would think that the captain would be on the bridge.

But keep in mind that up to the point of collision

they were not in an ice field

and the bergs that had been seen were seen at a great distance.

So the clear and present danger was not really at hand.

♪♪

-The ice, for weeks past,

posed serious challenges to mariners.

But on this particular Sunday,

we know that many of the masters of vessels,

the captains with their own commands,

they were taking things in a very cautious manner.

And some ships like the Niagara

were coming in with damaged and buckled plates.

-The SS Californian is one of several ships

in the area that night.

-She was about 440 feet long with a general cargo.

It was a crew of 47.

And at her head was a Bolton shipmaster, aged only 35.

His name was Captain Stanley Lord,

and he had made a meteoric rise in his profession,

and he had a reputation as a fine navigator.

-In Lord's own words,It was an "extraordinary night."

The sea was completely flat calm,

and there was a clear night.

-No waves. No nothing. Absolutely calm.

There was no moon but plenty of stars.

-That Sunday had proven to be a long day,

at least for the captainof the single-funnel cargo ship.

-The night of the accident,

Lord had been on duty for a long shift of 16 hours.

And he was tired. You know, he was in an ice field.

He was command of a ship,

and he wanted to make sure it was safe.

-This was practically the first time

the Californian had had a Marconi operator aboard,

and the Marconi operator himself had only made

two previous voyages, and that was on another ship.

-The Californian's wireless operator, Cyril Evans,

has also had a busy day, exchanging messages

about the ice, weather conditions,

and its location with other ships in the area.

♪♪

-But on the Titanic, this message crashed in

upon the ears of Jack Phillips.

-Titanic's telegraph operators are also busy.

In addition to ship-to-ship messages,

they are finally within range

of the first North American relay station --

Cape Race, Newfoundland.

-Suddenly, Phillips was assaulted

by this unwanted information about some small freighter

being stuck in pack ice somewhere to his north,

when his own ship was racing, as he knew, for New York.

-Titanic's reply?

With receipt of that reply,

a reply that possibly sealed Titanic's fate,

Cyril Evans signs off

from the wireless room of the Californian.

Just an hour later,

theCalifornian's unheeded warning

would come to haunt the captain and officers of the Titanic.

Captain Smith could not have known that his ship

was not where his officers reported it was

or how it negated the impact of the ice warnings

being received throughout the day,

leaving Titanic's safe passage

dependent on the lookouts in the crow's nest.

-When you're a lookout, it is not necessary for you

to be able to say what it is you're seeing.

Your job is to just raise the alarm.

"I have something there."

-They were huddled up against the cold, peering.

And their blearing eyes naturally produced tears

which made it harder still, blinking those away,

and staring and looking all over the sea.

Their job was to identify objects.

And they would ring a bell

to send that signal to the bridge.

It would be one bell for somewhere on the port side.

[ Bell clangs ]

It would be two bells for something to the starboard.

[ Clang, clang ]

And it would be three bells for an object ahead.

[ Clang, clang, clang ]

Now, once they had rung -- clang, clang, clang! --

their job was done.

-Then the officers on the bridge identify it

and decide what they're gonna do about it.

That's not the lookout's problem.

Lookout doesn't have to provide an identity.

-There were men on the bridge who had done exams,

who had passed seamanship courses,

who had achieved certificates.

[ Clang, clang, clang ]

-At 11:40 p.m., April 14, 1912,

three bells pierce the night,

signaling the Titanic is headed right into her kill.

An iceberg, dead ahead,

without ample time to avoid it by the turn of the wheel.

The duty to respond to the alarm falls to First Officer Murdoch,

who, by training and instinct,

goes to the open bridge wingto determine a course of action.

♪♪

He gives the orders for evasive measures to turn the ship.

But it's too late. Not enough time.

In just 30 seconds, the ship strikes the massive iceberg,

bringing Captain Smith to the bridge.

[ Metal scraping ]

♪♪

Smith calls on the officers

to provide two key pieces of information --

the ship's position and the status of the damage.

Both responses are flawed,

and both have deadly consequences.

-A position is established by celestial observations,

and there's basically two ways you can do it.

One is by using the sun.

But you can't get a -- what we call a fix.

You can't get an exact position from the sun.

You can get a latitude,

and you can use estimates to get a longitude.

Now, the next way you can get a fix is by the stars.

If they managed to get a fix by the stars

on the evening prior to the collision with the iceberg,

then anything after that has got to be estimated.

You know, so, they're gonna say, "Right. We're doing 23.5 knots.

We've got a current that is going the opposite way,"

or whatever.

"We're altering the course," which will affect the speed.

So everything is estimated.

So it's quite conceivable that the estimates were wrong.

But how accurate was the evening stars?

-Fourth Officer Boxhall is responsible

for setting Titanic's position for the S.O.S.

The Captain's order is to set a dead reckoning --

a calculationbased on the last known position

adjusted by time, speed, current, and direction --

and then transmit those coordinates.

Boxhall's calculations are reviewed,

deemed wrong, and recalled.

13 minutes later,

a new position is sent to all ships

able to receive the message.

-It's very easy to make a mistake,

if he did make a mistake.

-There is a mistake.

While the ship's new coordinates are being released,

the wounded Titanic continues to steam west.

-One of the great misunderstandings

of the Titanic disaster

is that she collided with the berg, stopped,

and drank her death water,

her fatal fill of thousands of tons of water.

Not at all.

They paused merely, and then they got under way again

and drove water against the damage.

-After the Titanic hit the iceberg,

she carried on for another 10 minutes,

and the captain eventually had to stop the ship

because the water was creating a lot of pressure on the hull

and making the water flood into the ship.

-Titanic was an extremely large ship,

and people think that everything associated with it

was as large as imaginable.

And that's not exactly the case.

And unfortunately, it's the case

with the bilge and the ballast pumps.

And they're plumbed in such a way

that they're really meant to deal with local flooding,

not flooding en masse at the extreme end of the ship.

The pipes just are not laid out that way.

-During the inquiry,

Edward Wilding, who was the ship's designer,

was asked about the rate of flooding.

And he calculated that Titanic

was taking on 500 tons of seawater a minute.

[ Rumbling ]

-Shortly after midnight, Thomas Andrews,

the builder of the Titanic and a first-class passenger,

completes his review of the damage.

His dire assessment is reported to Captain Smith --

the Titanic has less than two hours to live.

♪♪

Titanic is taking on water at an incredible rate.

And as the ship goes down,

she is guaranteed to take hundreds of victims with her.

In the throes of desperation, as the lifeboats are readied,

the wireless operators pump out the S.O.S.,

pleading for any able ship to come.

[ Morse code clicking ]

-This great hefty tome

is Lloyd's Register of Shipping from 1912-1913.

And every ship gets a --

sailing ships, as well, and steam ships --

They all get an individual entry here,

giving details of their ownership and so on.

This rolls alphabetically.

We have thousands upon thousands of ships.

Just illustrating the vast forests of masts

that were going acrossthe North Atlantic at that time.

-There were over 200 westbound ships on the North Atlantic

at the time the Titanic sank.

Now, they were spaced over the ocean,

and they weren't all right in that vicinity,

but there very well could have been several

that were in that vicinity.

-The amazing thing about all this

in the midst all this huge forest of pages,

is that those ships that are listed as having wireless

consist of just this amount.

Just those few pages there.

So, prior to the advent of wireless,

if you think about it, ships were limited

to communicating only with those ships they had in view.

The great thing about wireless

is that suddenly you are broadcasting

over the curvature of the earth and ships you couldn't see.

-Titanic's mighty telegraph signal

splits the night for more than 500 miles.

The S.O.S. reaches Titanic's sister ship,

the Olympic,

as well as the Mesaba,

theMount Temple,

Baltic, Frankfurt...

theCalifornian,

Virginian, the Birma...

and the eventual rescue ship, the Carpathia,

whose captain announces

they are lighting up and coming at full speed.

♪♪

-It was the Board of Trade

that permitted the Titanic to go to sea

with the inadequate number of lifeboats.

The Titanic had lifeboats to accommodate about 1,100 people

when the vessel itself could accommodate 3,500 people.

-If every single seat in every single boat

had been filled, half of the people on board

were still destined to die.

Clearly, there was a situation

that would have lent itself very well

to people becoming panic-stricken.

The Titanic and the Olympic, its sister ship,

had been equipped with special davits,

the crane-like devices thatlowered lifeboats over the side.

And those davits were designed

to handle up to 4 lifeboats each.

So that meant, with 16 sets of davits,

the Titanic could have had 64 lifeboats on board,

which would have been more than enough

to save everybody on that ship that night.

-When my grandfather came down,

he said, "I've just been up on deck," he said.

And he saw them uncovering the lifeboats.

-The officer came and said, "Go to these cabins

and tell everyone in the cabin that they must dress warmly,

put life jackets on, go up on deck."

And he was told to stay calm, not create panic.

-So they went up the stairs, and as they go through,

they saw all the ice on the upper decks.

All the people there, they were saying,

"She's not gonna go down. She's unsinkable."

They kept saying that all the time.

Then the order come -- "women and children first."

And the men had to stand back.

-"All hands on deck.

Report to your lifeboat stations immediately."

-It was bitterly cold.

-People didn't want to get into the lifeboats

because there was no obvious sign that the ship was sinking.

People didn't want to leave loved ones behind,

especially the men.

People didn't want to leave

everything they owned in the world, their luggage

that they were emigrating with to the new world.

No one believed that the ship was actually sinking.

-They're on this ship. They'll be safe.

It's unsinkable.

They'll be great. They'll get there.

-Around 12:15 a.m., passengers and crew

are given another reason to be hopeful.

-When she eventually came to a halt,

Boxhall thought he saw some lights.

He got the binoculars out, looked over in that direction,

and saw the red and port starboard lights of a ship,

which indicated that this ship

was coming directly towards Titanic.

The captain came up,

and he also saw these lights through binoculars.

-Distance is hard to judge at sea,

but Captain Smith saw it as being close.

-And this ship is the bowl of their salvation.

They invest everything in this.

And maybe people shrink back from the boats.

And maybe that plays a role in the fact

that many of the early boats left ill-filled

and that people went to their deaths as a result.

-With the clock ticking off the two hours

shipbuilder Thomas Andrews had predicted it would take

for the Titanic to sink,

the pressure to get lifeboats launched is intense.

-They watched as number-12 boat went down.

And as it was going down, my mother could see

that that boat was half-empty.

You could've got more than 20 people in there, she said.

While she was looking up, she saw a light,

a bright light in the distance.

♪♪

She said, "Look!

That light, that ship is coming to our rescue."

-And now they're asking themselves,

"Do I need to trust my life to this wooden cockle shell

that's about to go down into a crevasse of depth

on a dark night when we might be lost?

When the ship might steam later off to New York

leaving us behind?"

-It was 70 to 80 feet down to the water.

And then there was the matter of getting into the boat,

which wasn't just right next to the side.

It would certainly, you know, cause you to think,

"I'm much safer on the deck here,

and we'll just wait till theship arrives and we'll be okay."

-As the first lifeboats reach the icy waters,

the mystery ship can still be seen in the distance.

-Must have been terrified of what was going to happen

and whether that ship was gonna come near them.

-The mighty vessel is taking on seawater.

Officer Boxhall and the telegraph operators

continue to reach out to the ship seen off the port bow.

-The ship seen from the Titanic was close enough

for the Titanic's officers to use a Morse lamp.

-The Morse lamp and the Marconi system

were both operated on Morse, invented by Samuel Morse,

in the middle of the 19th century,

except it took longer for a Morse lamp

because you had to have a long show for a dash...

and then needed a shorter pulse for a dot.

Whereas if you had a key...

[ Tapping code ]

...you were pulsing it out

much faster then using the long form.

-Who actually sent and received these messages?

When the Titanic sank, it was Officer Boxhall.

He estimated the distance about 5 miles.

-They were using the lamp,

and they thought they were communicating with the ship.

Of course, they were desperate but still think that they felt

that they had some some hope of raising a light.

-Boxhall said he'd asked for the rockets

to be brought up to the deck.

And they started to fire them off.

[ Explosion and sizzle ]

-Rockets were being fired about every 5 minutes.

But in those days, rockets used to do that

with other ships as an identification.

It wasn't a distress signal at all.

-Witnesses, crew, survivors have said

that they had seen the ship on the horizon

that should have come to the rescue that didn't.

♪♪

♪♪

-To Captain Smith, it seems impossible

for the unresponsive ship

to have missed or ignored the rockets,

the flashing Morse lamps,

and the S.O.S. messages pulsing through the night.

But it remains far off in the distance.

It isn't coming.

The Californian's captain, Stanley Lord,

is a dour-faced man who looks much older than his 35 years,

the very antithesis of a rock-star captain.

At 10:20 p.m., the Californian encounters an ice field,

and Captain Lord decides to stop the ship until morning

when he can determine the safest passage.

-Evans switched off his apparatus, and, unfortunately,

he never again went to his machine

until somewhere after 5:00 in the morning.

♪♪

-Titanic's officers anticipate

the loading process will be chaotic

and that pandemonium will ultimately set in.

[ Passengers shouting ]

Before leaving the bridge, they are issued revolvers.

[ Passengers shouting ]

-The Titanic was in trouble.

The lifeboats were being prepared.

The sound of boats being deployed outward

on the ship's davits.

Ropes squealing and pulleys and all kinds of confusion.

And noise from the passengers themselves,

in many cases who had come out on deck

having absolutely no idea what they were going to do

or what the ship was going to do.

So we have this tremendous babble of voices.

-There's some bad sounds here,

and you're realizing for the first time

that you are going to descend 70 feet to the water.

-People were beginning to panic.

[ Passengers shouting ]

♪♪

-Far below, in the belly of the beast,

there was a grim procession of steerage men

coming from forward where they were housed.

They were shunting and grumblingtowards the stern of the ship...

then ascend to the deck that they have been allocated,

which is the shelter deck, aft.

And from there, they must look up, and they see the boats.

But they know that those areboats that don't belong to them.

There are no boats

at the shelter deck level where they are.

-Some will have no choice but to jump from the decks.

Many won't survive the fall.

-And there, a kind of a hidden flaw in the design

of these life jackets manifested itself.

If you jumped, these cork panels,

both in front of you and in back of you,

would rise up under your chin...

and very probably break your neck.

-If you have self-possession enough to gather your senses,

you are now in the horrible position --

and somebody has put you in that position --

of realizing you have to wait a full hour

before your appointment with a bone-chilling death.

♪♪

♪♪

-I think that the captain

made the correct decision at the time,

because he knew what situation he was in.

-Titanic was a ship that was sinking.

It was sending flares 900 foot into the air.

It was trying to Morse the ship.

The passengers, the crew could see the ship.

-It's possible the Titanic's reputation of being unsinkable

keeps the mystery ship that's seen on the horizon

from coming to her rescue.

-Whether the mystery ship thought Titanic would not sink,

whether it thought that Titanic was sort of gonna stay afloat.

AndTitanic was obviously portrayed as being unsinkable.

It was its own lifeboat.

Why would he put his ship in danger

to a ship that wasn't gonna sink?

-The master of vessel would be required to render assistance

to another vessel at sea,

even if that vessel was an enemy vessel,

to the extent that it was practical to do so

without endangering your own vessel.

Now, that leads us, of course, to the discussion

about whether going into an ice field

that has already claimed one vessel

would be a prudent course of action.

-Scattered around the now bow-down sinking behemoth,

the lanterns in the lifeboatscan be seen bobbing in the dark,

certainly visible to the lurking ship.

Yet, they are ignored.

-A couple of officers decided that these lifeboats

went their way had to have lanterns.

And a lamp trimmer called Samuel Hemming

went down to the forecastle and fetched lanterns --

hurricane lights about so high --

and handed them individually into each lifeboat.

-As lifeboats are lowered and float away,

panic and the fight for survival set in aboard the Titanic.

[ Passengers shouting, water splashing ]

-Late in the evening, you actually see evidence

of the crowds pushing forward towards the lifeboats.

It got so bad that the crew actually had to form a circle,

locking their arms,

and allowing only women and children to come through.

-And now there's real panic on the way.

Passengers trying to climb into lifeboats

are told to get out or to face being shot.

-One of the men in the group said,

"There's nothing for you now here, lad.

It's every man for himself. You best jump. Good luck."

Um...

But the attraction of the boat, which still had lights on,

was far more comforting thanlooking at the black, icy water.

And where would he swim to?

♪♪

-People were throwing things over the side.

There were barrels, doors, everything that could float.

They were jumping over.

♪♪

-Still visible from the lifeboats,

the lights of the mystery ship start to fade,

leaving the desperate Titanic passengers nowhere to go,

abandoned.

-Those lifeboat lanterns

were snuffed out one by one, I feel sure...

as people inside those boats realized

with the slumping and sinking and loss of the RMS Titanic

that soon a thrashing horde of swimmers

would be on their way to their lifeboat.

[ People shouting ]

♪♪

♪♪

-What we know of the ships in the area,

it seems like the Titanic

was on the eastern side of the field of ice,

and some of the other ships were on that western field,

and the western field was apparently

just simply thicker and more visible

and was dangerous.

-Which, again, would demonstrate

that this ship was not the Californian,

because we believe the Californian

was more than 20 miles away during this time.

-There were other ships in the area,

and there were other suspects for the mystery ship.

Mount Temple was one.

The captain of the Mount Temple was told by his company

not to go into the ice field under any account,

otherwise, his ship,

he would be held personallyaccountable for any monies lost.

-The Mount Temple was bound west for Saint John, New Brunswick,

in the Canadian Maritimes built in 1901.

She was always a workaday ship. That was her role.

She was to ferry immigrants.

She was of 8,790 tons,

some 6,600 tons net,

in comparison to the Titanic,

about just under 8 times smaller.

She had four masts, single funnel, yellow.

There wasn't much luxury orprestige about the Mount Temple.

-James Henry Moore is master of the Mount Temple.

At 52 years old, with 13 years as captain,

he is well-seasoned,

a company man working for the Canadian Pacific Line,

sailing with the specific instructions

not to cross the ice, but to go around it.

-He had more passengers on board the Mount Temple

than the Titanic did.

So much for the idea of the Titanic being the wonder ship,

Ship of Dreams, the largest.

She certainly wasn't the most filled that night.

TheMount Temple would have won that award.

She had some 1,400 in her steerage alone.

Captain Moore was taking no chances,

unlike the steaming, charging Titanic

which had been heading at 22 to 23 knots

towards an ice field.

-We're not gonna go in and imperil our own ship

and risk our own lives

and the lives of our passengers to go deeper into an ice field

that has already damaged the greatest ship ever built.

-The Mount Temple got

the Titanic's distress signals that night.

Her operator, John Oscar Durrant,

was staying up late when he heard this dread news

flashed out to the ether that the Titanic was sinking.

-There were rules that were given to these captains

as to what they did in ice,

and at that time, you answered to your boss.

-In his own ledger of messages received and transmitted,

Durrant writes that he tried to reply,

but the Titanic could not hear him.

I say "received and transmitted," but, in fact,

a curious feature of this saga is that the Mount Temple

never transmitted a further wireless message that night.

-Observing the unfolding horror,

the mystery ship ignores Titanic's pleas for help,

but remains visible from the lifeboats and decks.

-Boxhall could see not only mast headlights, but green and red.

He could even see portholes in her hull.

How tempting that prospect of salvation must have been.

-The fate of the remaining passengers and crew

aboard the Titanic is sealed --

they will go down with the ship.

-The first boat goes off at 12:45,

and by 2:20 a.m., the Titanic sinks.

And those last two boats that leave the Titanic

literally float off the ship as it goes down.

♪♪

-We have evidence from the passengers who went out

in the lifeboats --

they were speaking about her eight decks of light,

eight decks one on top of the other.

She was festooned with light.

-The mystery ship, and the passengers

in the ill-fated liner's lifeboats,

witness the Titanic's remains sinking to the ocean floor.

♪♪

-And they withdrew their oars, and they just watched

as the Titanic was slowly sinking.

♪♪

♪♪

-One lady in the boat said, "By God, it's gone.

Just like that, the Titanic's gone!"

♪♪

-How could any ship leave a ship,

especially of Titanic's size, in distress?

Nobody can explain it, and Idon't know if anybody ever will.

-When they're on the lifeboat waiting for rescue,

he said the screams and the cries were awful.

[ People screaming in distance ]

He could do nothing to help.

They couldn't help anybody.

But as the hours went on,

the worse than those cries for help was the silence,

when they knew those people had lost their struggle.

-The saddest number of that night is that

although Titanic hadlifeboat space for 1,178 people,

there were nearly 500 seats that were sent away empty.

♪♪

♪♪

-As dawn breaks, Evans,

theCalifornian's telegraph operator,

hears Titanic's distress cries from hours before

and alerts Captain Lord.

The captain immediately readies his ship

and sets course for the location given in the S.O.S. message.

-This position was to the south and west

of where the Californian was stopped.

-Hours earlier, the nearby Carpathia

set course for the Titanic, posting additional lookouts

and sailing full speed through the ice field.

At 4:00 a.m., lifeboats are spotted

nowhere near the reported S.O.S. position.

♪♪

♪♪

-Lord went first west

and to the site, to the point

where the distress signals were reportedly from.

He realized that there was --

he was in the wrong position

and actually had to go back

through the ice field again

at full speed to the Carpathia

where they were picking the lifeboats up.

On the way, he actually passed a stationary Mount Temple,

who was not making any effort to go to Titanic's aid.

-Captain Lord arrived at the Carpathia

right around 8:30 a.m. when they were getting

the last of the survivors,

but he exchanged messages with the captain of the Carpathia

and said he would stay and search for any other survivors,

which he did for another good two hours.

-But he finds none.

Meanwhile, without word or aid from the Mount Temple,

the 700-plus survivors of the Titanic

sail to New York City on board the Carpathia.

The Californian carries on to Boston,

and the Mount Temple steams home to Canada...

while in New York, an inquest into the sinking

must be initiated.

Someone has to be blamed.

And Senator Alden Smith will see to it.

-It is remarkable to think that the hearings,

the American hearings,

began the day following the docking of the ship.

This is an unheard-of speed on the part of any legislature

to get to an inquiry so quickly.

♪♪

-The launching of the American inquiry was probably reasonable

in the circumstances, considering that this was

ultimately an American-owned vessel,

although British-flagged,

considering that many of the passengers

that lost their lives on board were American,

considering that the vessel was bound

for the United States of America.

-The U.S. inquiry begins in New York on April 19th,

just four days after the sinking.

The Smith Inquiry, which can apportion blame

but not render consequences,

calls 80 witnesses to determine who is at fault.

Based on the testimony, the committee quickly concludes

the Californian was the only ship

the Titanic crew and passengers could have seen,

and Captain Lord comes under suspicion.

-Captain Lord had been interviewed by the inquiry

as a witness to assist them in their findings,

and then they very soon honed in on him

and on his own ship's responsibility

and alleged inactions.

-The fact that they were concentrating on Lord

meant that they weren't concentrating on other things

that obviously might be to the detriment

of the White Star Line.

-As soon as something is decided by officialdom,

then most people are willing to go with that

and not to look beyond it.

-Captain Lord's, you know, situation

is that he was probably the wrong man

at the wrong place at the wrong time.

♪♪

-Steaming from the reported sinking site of the Titanic,

Captain Moore got the Mount Temple

to the docks of Saint John.

-She made her landfall.

The ropes were thrown ashore and secured to capstones.

She berthed normally.

But she was already a ship

that was seething with rumor and dissension.

A lot of anger on board about the alleged happenings

on the night the Titanic went down.

-After disembarking on April 19th,

many of Mount Temple's crew and passengers

seize the opportunity to tell their stories.

Curiously, Mount Temple's logbook contains no mention

of the details in the passengers' accounts.

-Despite the fact that they had come across

an extraordinary incident,

there's no mention at all made in the log of the Mount Temple

for anything after April the 14th, 1912.

That's the fateful Sunday.

There's something even morestrange about that official log.

There are pages missing in the Mount Temple log,

and it looks as if it's been re-stitched,

as if pages have been introduced.

-The mystery of the missing notes in the ship's log

is compounded by an additional detail,

obviously added later, discovered in the Marconi log.

-Why this additional detail

that didn't seem to be there originally was added,

particularly after a casualty has happened

and people are investigating as to why it happened,

it is a question mark as to why did this occur, who did it,

and what was the motivation in doing it?

It does make you wonder why any logbook would be altered

after the casualty occurs.

In my own practice in advising the ship-owner clients,

I would say that you don't go back

and try to change entries in the logbook

that have already been made.

-Dr. Friedrich Quitzrau

takes his shocking account to the press

and details what happened on board the Mount Temple

as the Titanic sank.

-Dr. Quitzrau told the Toronto Star

that the Mount Temple had been in sight of the Titanic,

had turned to her aid, had reached the ice field,

and had seen the Titanic, the hull of the ship herself.

And he said the captain had lost his nerve,

had failed to enter the ice field.

The journalists were astounded at this story,

and naturally they sent to Saint John offering comment

to Captain Moore, who was there,

and he cabled back a furious denunciation.

♪♪

-On the same day, in two countries,

Dr. Quitzrau's statements in Toronto

would be substantiated --

first, at the U.S. inquiry by Titanic officer Boxhall,

and in Canada,

as the Mount Temple crew's claims emerged,

two them particularly damning.

-One of them was the ship's cook who said that the Mount Temple

could see the hull of the Titanic

and could hear the noises --

the lowering of lifeboats,

the cries of passengers, he said,

could even see lifeboats in the water.

-Meanwhile, there was an officer, Arthur Henry Notley,

who left the Mount Temple, as well,

as soon as she made landfall.

-Third Officer Arthur Notley of the Mount Temple

was so incensed at what went on in that ship

that he refused to serve in it any longer.

-As the U.S. inquiry pushes forward,

Senator Smith never pauses to consider the reports

from the Mount Temple passengers and crew.

His keen focus remains on the Californian,

and he calls her captain and crew

to testify about what they saw and heard that night.

-The Californian men testified

that they saw rockets towards the southeast.

The S.O.S. position from the Californian's

computed position was to the southwest.

-By accepting that the Titanic's reported position was correct,

the unwitting admission of seeing rockets

becomes the foundation of Senator Smith's case

for putting the blame and shame on Captain Lord.

-When he was called to the inquiry,

I don't think he had any significant knowledge

that he was going to be grilled or scapegoated as he was.

-He was already being vilified in the press

as being master of the mystery ship,

which was taken to be theCalifornian.

-The news traveled,

and prior to the commencement of the British inquiry,

it is clear Senator Smith determined

that if Lord had come to the rescue of the Titanic,

1,500 lives would not have been lost.

-The British inquiry followed on from the American inquiry.

You know, why reinvent the wheel?

They just took whatever they had found

and used it in their own inquiry.

-The British hearings follow suit,

discounting and ignoring the Mount Temple's possible role,

while targeting the Californian's Captain Lord.

♪♪

-"Had she done so, she might have saved many,

if not all of the lives that were lost."

[ Rockets exploding ]

-If the Californian saw rockets

to the southeast,

the Titanic could not have been

where it said it was.

Both details cannot be true.

♪♪

-The actual positions of the Titanic

and the Californian weren't known precisely.

The Titanic's position was an estimated position,

and the Californian had been stopped,

so she had time to take star sights

and get an accurate position.

-The American investigation

disregards the Californian's reported position,

choosing to believe it saw the rockets

to the southwest, a location Titanic never reached.

This decision allows those in charge of the hearings

to conclude the mystery ship that abandoned the Titanic

could only have been theCalifornian.

-You can add it to the bucket of whitewash

that was pulled over the whole inquiry.

-The Titanic's position was proved

after they found the wreck to be miles out.

[ Rockets exploding ]

-So it was the British inquiry that had it wrong,

not the Californian officers observing.

-And there were other details,

witnessed from the deck of the Titanic that night in 1912,

that should have ruled out the Californian

as the mystery ship.

♪♪

-Fourth Officer Boxhall saw masthead lights,

two of which were close together.

-To the trained maritime eye of Boxhall,

the mystery ship's most visible characteristic

were those two front masts.

This singular description of the ship lay dormant

until an obscure note in the World War I files

of the German National Archives, the Bundesarchiv,

corroborates Boxhall's statement.

-We have two mariners separated

by less than five years in the distance of time

seeing a ship

and describe the most noticeable feature about her

as being the fact that the masts appear

to be very close together.

♪♪

-On December 16, 1916, a German navy merchant raider

sighted the Mount Temple in the Atlantic.

It is this fateful chance encounter in history

that will expose the mystery ship.

-When she saw the Mount Temple approaching

that December of 1916, her course was described

in what's known as the Kriegstagebuch,

which is a German war diary,

the war diary of the SMS Moewe,

the German raider that sank theMount Temple.

-The war diary was submitted here,

to the Imperial Navy Office in Berlin.

-And up here,we have the words "Ganz Geheim."

"Very secret" or "top secret."

And in here is mention of the Mount Temple.

And as she's being watched, theMount Temple,

through field glasses, the captain notes --

and it's here -- that she had masts

that were very close together,

exactly the same phrase used by Boxhall.

"Ganz dicht beieinander."

The same phrase. The masts "close together."

♪♪

-The German notes match Boxhall's description

of the ship he saw four years earlier

from the decks of the sinking Titanic.

It's another piece of circumstantial evidence

supporting the idea

that the mystery ship was really the Mount Temple.

♪♪

And on September 1, 1985, the wreck of the Titanic

is found at her true final position,

vindicating Captain Lord.

♪♪

-When they discovered the ship, the wreck of the ship,

Lord's calculations, his navigation all matched.

And they eventually realized that the Titanic,

the signals were wrong,

that his navigational skills were spot on

and he was where he said he was.

-It was in the 1992 MAIB report where they again reexamined it

with the finding that the Titanic

was not where people hadoriginally believed it had been,

and therefore, to the suggestion that the Californian

was not this mystery ship that the passengers

on board the Titanic saw

when they were -- when the ship was sinking.

-The arrogance documented by two inquires

that the master of the Titanic could not have been wrong

falsely maligned a superior captain for a lifetime.

-This really is Captain Lord

signed, sealed, and delivered as sacrificial victim.

Scapegoat.

-Captain Lord bore his sort of cross with dignity,

you know, all his life.

-The responsibility for the Titanic disaster

was the officers of the Titanic.

They were the ones running the ship at that time.

I don't think we can lay the blame on any other ship.

-Captain Lord was one of the great scapegoats

in maritime history.

-Two captains -- Lord and Moore.

One now finally vindicated,and one understood to be guilty.

But of what? Simply being the mystery ship?

Moore's decision that he could not safely

render aid to the Titanic

does not make him responsible for those who died that night.

Captain Smith, who received no blame from the British inquiry

and had a statue erected in his honor,

was and is ultimately responsible

for the loss of the Titanic and the 1,500 deaths.

-The 1,500 people that lost their lives in the Titanic

did not lose their lives entirely in vain.

The legacy of what's happened from the Titanic

is the reforms that have happened

in terms of safety of life at sea.

So probably tens of thousands or more have been saved

over the 108 years since it happened

because of the reforms that were made to maritime law

as a result of it.

-♪ It was sad, it was sad

♪ It was sad, so so sad

♪ It was sad when that great ship went down ♪

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