Continuing the groundbreaking research on Titanic's Secrets Unfold---- The Launching of the Last Lifeboats
Coming on the heels of the prior articles into how and when the early boats and then the rear boats, were loaded and lowered, I was pleased at how the final pieces of the puzzle fell into place. But I was absolutely thrilled to see another of Titanic's secrets unfold literally before my eyes. I won't reveal it until the end, but it's discoveries like this that make the painstaking research worthwhile.
The story of the launching of the last lifeboats begins with Greaser Frederick Scott, who told his story to the British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry.
His bombshell evidence was first printed in Titanic's Secrets Unfold/Launching the Rear Boats, but it warrants reprinting here:
5640. And did you get an order to go up on deck?
- Yes, the engineer came down and told everybody to go out of the engine room.
5645. Then did you go on deck?
- Yes, up the working alleyway.
5646. And then did you get orders?
- Some of the firemen came down and told us we had to get some lifebelts.
5647. What did you do then?
- We got them at the Third class; from there we went up on the boat deck. There were two boats left then on the port side; lowered down to the ship's side they were then.
5648. Were there any on the starboard side?
5649. Let us see if we can get this quite clearly. Did you look over the starboard side?
- Yes, we went to the starboard side first.
5655. Then you went back to the port side?
- We went to the port side then.
5656. Then you looked over that?
5657. Tell us what you saw?
- I saw two boats then, and one of the boats was where the Officer pulled a revolver out and shot it between the ship and the boat and said, "If any man jumps into the boat I will shoot him like a dog."
5658. That is Mr. Lowe, according to the evidence. Do you remember where these boats were? Were they forward or aft?
5659. Aft on the port side?
- Aft on the port side.
Scott couldn't be any clearer. By the time he reached Boat No. 14, in which Fifth Officer Harold Lowe left the ship, all the starboard rear boats were gone, as was No. 16 port.
This puts two officers in motion (to use an American football term.) Sixth Officer J. Moody, who had been in charge of No. 16, and First Officer William Murdoch, who supervised the starboard boats.
Murdoch went to No. 10 after seeing Nos. 13 and 15 safely off the ship.
There's a huge gap in Moody's known movements between the launching of No. 16 and the next time anyone mentions him--- helping get Collapsible A off the roof of the officer's quarters near the bridge. However, we can make an education guess as to where he was at least part of the time.
Moody had just lowered his boat, No. 16. The other two aft port boats were being supervised by other officers. Why wouldn’t he pass to No. 10 to help get the last aft boat in the davits?
We know from evidence given by various crewmen that the first thing they would do when arriving at a lifeboat is clear the falls and make sure the plug was in. Murdoch was the superior officer. Moody, in fact, was the most junior officer on the ship. If they arrived at No. 10 one after the other, it’s only logical that the junior would be checking the plug.
Then, before No. 10 was ready to load, two more officers would have converged on the lifeboat bringing the total to four. Moody from No. 16, Murdoch from No. 15, Wilde from No.14, and Second Officer Charles Lightoller from No. 12. It wouldn’t have taken long to disperse the officer corps to where they were needed more.
Lightoller went forward to No. 4, the boat he had been forced to abandon almost an hour earlier. The others stayed at No. 10 which was still on the boat deck and not in the davits. That’s confirmed by the testimony given at the U.S. Senate Inquiry by seaman Frank Evans.
Evans related how he lowered No. 12 to the sea, ‘then’ went to No. 10.
“…and the Chief Officer, Mr. Murdoch, was standing there and I lowered the boat with the assistance of a steward,” he said.
His evidence has to be read in conjunction with seaman Edward Buley’s, also before the Senate Inquiry.
Buley gives a slightly jumbled account of his initial work at No. 10:
“There was No. 10 boat and there was no one there, and the Chief Officer asked what I was, and I told him, and he said “Jump in and see if you can find another seaman to give you a hand.” I found Evans and we both got in the boat and Chief Officer Murdoch and Baker also was there.”
Juxtapose Evans, who has a slightly different memory of what happened:
“The chief officer said “What are you, Evans?” I said “A seaman, sir.” He said,”All right, get into that boat with the other seamen…and I got into the bows of this boat and a young ship’s baker was getting the children and chucking them into the boat and the women were jumping. Mr. Murdoch made them jump across into the boat.”
Note that while Buley and Evans call Murdoch the Chief Officer, he wasn’t on the Titanic. He was the First Officer.
Baker Charles Joughin gave his story to the British Inquiry, and he introduces true Chief Officer Henry Wilde at No. 10:
Q. Did you go to your boat, No. 10?
5943. And what did you find was the situation there?
- Everything orderly. The Chief Officer was there.
5944. Is that Mr. Wilde ?
- Yes, Mr. Wilde.
5945. Were there passengers there?
- A good many passengers there.
5946. What was happening, how far had things got?
- They were getting the boat ready for getting the passengers in, and Mr. Wilde shouted out for the stewards to keep the people back, to keep the men back, but there was no necessity for it. The men kept back themselves, and we made a line and passed the ladies and children through.
5947. Who made the line?
- The stewards mostly - stewards and seamen; they were all together.
5948. I think I caught you to say that though Mr. Wilde gave the order to keep the men back there was really no necessity, they kept back themselves?
5949. Was the order good - the discipline good?
5950. No. 10 was being got ready. When you saw it had anybody got into the boat yet?
5951. Now tell us about No. 10 in order: What happened?
- It was swung out, the stewards, firemen and sailors all got in a line. We passed the ladies and children through.
The evidence of the three men is consistent: No. 10 was swung out (Joughin)---by Evans (Evans)—as Wilde made sure nobody interfered with the loading (Joughin)---Buley was ordered in and told to find another seaman to help, who turned out to be Evans (Buley)---who was questioned by Murdoch before being let in the boat (Evans)---after which Joughin passed women and children into the boat (Joughin) under the watchful eye of Murdoch (Evans).
Murdoch, from the evidence of Evans, stayed long enough to see the loading of No. 10 underway. At some point he, too, went forward---- to emergency boat No. 2, where he was remembered by seaman Frank Osman at the U.S. Senate Inquiry.
Mr. Osman: …I went away in No. 2 boat, the fourth from the last to leave the ship.
Senator Burton:Who had command of that boat?
Mr. Osman: The fourth officer, Mr. Boxhall.
Senator Burton: Did he direct the loading of the boat?
Mr. Osman: No, sir, the chief officer, Mr. Murdoch.
Murdoch was soon joined up front by Wilde.
QM George Rowe told the Senate Inquiry:
I …was firing the distress signals until about five and twenty minutes after 1.
At that time they were getting out the starboard collapsible boats. The chief officer, Wilde, wanted a sailor.
Wilde was at starboard collapsible C. He would have, by this scenario, left No. 10 in charge of Fifth Officer Moody.
Rowe was among three crewmen who had been sending off rockets for almost an hour---Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall, Quartermaster Rowe, and Quartermaster Arthur Bright. Suddenly, they found themselves dispatched to help with the last lifeboats on deck.
Boxhall was ordered to take charge of Boat No. 2. His account from the Senate Inquiry (with superfluous questions removed):
Mr. Boxhall: The Captain was standing by this emergency boat.
Senator Smith: What was he doing?
Mr. Boxhall: Supervising the boats being loaded, I think.
Senator Smith: Did he tell you to get in?
Mr. Boxhall: He told me I had to get into that boat and go away.
Note that Murdoch is missing at No. 2.and replaced by Wilde but the Captain is giving the orders to lower the boat.
Even as No. 2 went down, Boxhall noticed that No. 4 was still being loaded on A deck.
Boxhall, British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, Day 13
“15432. Did you notice whether there were passengers on the deck at the time the boat was lowered?
- Yes, there were passengers round the deck, but I noticed as I was being lowered that they were filling No. 4 boat.”
Rowe’s colleague, Bright, picks up the story after Boxhall left in No. 2.
After we had finished firing the distress signals there were two boats left. I went and assisted to get out the starboard one; that is, the starboard collapsible boat. Rowe went away to help to get the other one out, and I went away myself.
Did you assist in loading that boat?
I assisted to get it up.
For the record, Bright was wrong about Rowe. He had actually gone to doublecheck whether to stop firing rockets or not.
“I asked Capt. Smith if I should fire any more,and he said "No; get into that boat." I went to the boat.” (Rowe, Senate Inquiry)
What’s interesting here is that it’s very likely Wilde was at No. 2 before it was launched, and at Collapsible C seconds later (when there were only two boats left)to order Bright and Rowe over.
“It takes thirty seconds to walk through the bridge and get across to the other side. It takes about a minute if you walk around by the compass platform,” said
“Titanic” movie producer and director James Cameron, based on his experiences with a life-sized model of the ship. http://www.charlespellegrino.com/chapter_one.htm
While Bright and Rowe worked to get Collapsible C ready to load, No. 4 was launched and Lightoller hurried up to the boat deck to get Collapsible D ready. He was accompanied by Col. Archibald Gracie, whose recollections in his 1913 memoir, The Truth About the Titanic, will play a big part in the rest of the story.
“Our labors in loading the boats were now shifted to the Boat Deck above, where Clinch Smith and I, with others, followed Lightoller and the crew. On this deck some difficulty was experienced in getting the boats ready to lower…We had the hardest time with the Engelhardt boat, lifting and pushing it towards and over the rail,” he wrote.
Gracie is speaking of port Collapsible D. It should be remembered that the Engelhardt collapsibles weighed more than half a ton each.
A Controversy Explored
Eventually, Collapsible D was in the davits and being loaded. The loading of Collapsible C was further ahead since it began earlier. At this point, the narrative must slow to a crawl as we unravel a controversial episode of the launching of the final boats, one that has sparked a fierce debate among Titanic researchers.
It begins with first class passenger Hugh Woolner. Woolner told reporters and the Senate Inquiry (quoted here) he had been helping with D when he heard shouts coming from across the deck. He and a companion headed over to see what the commotion was about and “as we got around the corner, I saw these two flashes of a pistol.”
The gun had been fired by First Officer Murdoch who was “shouting out,”Get out of this, clear out of this” and that sort of thing to a lot of men who were swarming into a boat on that side.” Woolner and his friend helped drag men out of the boat and fill it with women who were standing by.
(Note Murdoch’s reappearance in the story.)
Collapsible C was swung out and Woolner told his companion “There is nothing more for us to do. Let us go down onto A deck again.” But when they did, they found the deck deserted. The lights turned red and the sea rushed in. To save themselves, they leapt to a window when they saw Collapsible D literally being lowered in front of them. They jumped in and were saved.
Gracie, who was also helping to load D, mentions nothing of this--- no shouts, no shots, no last-second rescues. And yet his account meshes well with Woolner’s.
He wrote,”We had now loaded all the women who were in sight at that quarter of the ship, and I ran along the deck with Clinch Smith on the port side some distance aft shouting, “Are there any more women?”
There’s the reason he heard no commotion. He wasn’t there. He was aft searching for more women to save.
“On my return there was a very palpable list to port as if the ship was about to topple over,” he wrote. Lightoller then commanded “All passengers to the starboard side.”
Lightoller, in his Senate testimony, remembered the incident.
“…she was taking a list over to port, the order was called, I think, by the chief officer. “Everyone on the starboard side to straighter her up,” which I repeated.
Seaman Samuel Hemming had a slightly different memory of what happened. He had been atop the officer’s house clearing away Collapsible B, he said, when he heard the order for men to starboard.
Hemming, Senate Inquiry, Day 7
Q. You saw what?
- The captain was there, and he sung out: "Everyone over to the starboard side, to keep the ship up as long as possible."
Q. - Yes, sir.
Q. How many?
Q. Several hundred?
- No, sir; I should not think it would amount to several hundred. It amounted to just one or two.
Q. It amounted to one or two hundred?
- Yes, sir.
Q. Men and women?
- No, sir; there were no women.
Gracie was among the scores of men who crossed the deck to starboard---where they found Collapsible C gone! Collapsible C had been lowered by the time the order of men-to-starboard was given, which suggests it had, indeed, been given by Wilde. He would have been freed by the launching of C in time to cross over to D.
“All the lifeboats had been lowered and had departed,” wrote Gracie. But in the crowd that congregated at the rail he discovered Mrs. J.M. Brown and Miss Evans, two women he had escorted to Boat No. 4 more than an hour earlier. As they discussed how the women came still to be aboard the ship, Gracie noticed crewmen “working on the roof of the officers’ quarters to to cut loose one of the Englehart boats.” It was Collapsible A.
He hadn’t been speaking with the women long when a crew member came from Collapsible D to say there was room for more women. Without delay, Gracie took Mrs. Brown and Miss Evans in hand and headed to D. Three or four other women joined them.
They didn’t go far before they were stopped amidships by a cordon of crewmen who would allow only the women to pass.
Gracie later learned why the line of men had been set up. He was told by Lightoller himself that after the men around D had been ordered to starboard “men from steerage rushed the boat.” Lightoller had had to wave his pistol to scare them off and restore order.
Gracie returned to starboard and began “working with the crew at the davits on the starboard side forward, adjusting them, ready for lowering the Engelhardt boat from the roof of the officers’ house to the boat deck below.”
It must be somewhere about here that Collapsible D was launched by Wilde. It wouldn’t take long to get five of the six women who accompanied Gracie into the boat. (Gracie described five women in his memoir, six in his Senate testimony). Miss Evans never boarded the lifeboat and was lost.
Collapsible D had only about 10 feet to drop before hitting water, but along the way, Huge Woolner and his friend leaped into it to save themselves.
It’s clear from the evidence that Collapsible D was not launched very closely after Collapsible C. And this should make you rethink Woolner’s story of meeting with D by seredipity.
Obviously he didn’t go down to A deck as quickly after the launch of Collapsible C as we’ve been left to believe. I'll go into that in greater detail later.
Given Woolner’s aggressive efforts to bring female passengers to the lifeboats, is it possible he accompanied Gracie and the six women to port, only to be stopped amidships? And then, watching carefully for when the order was given to lower away Collapsible D, did he make a dash to A deck? It makes more sense, given the evidence, than Woolner's own claim to have been saved by pure chance. But unless more evidence turns up to support or discount such a theory, we’ll never know for sure.
With Collapsibles C and D now off the ship, the final desparate moments aboard the Titanic were at hand.
Gracie watched as A was pushed off the roof and onto oars placed along the officers’ house to cushion its fall. On the other side of the ship, with D off, Lightoller leaped onto the roof of the officers’ quarters to try and get B down before the ship sank under him.
“With one other seaman I started to cast adrift the one remaining Engleheart (sic) on top of the officers'’quarters."”he wrote in his 1935 memoir. The reference to “one remaining” boat tells that this action took place ‘after’ A had been pushed to the boat deck. The other seaman he identifies as Samuel Hemming.
“We had just time to tip the boat over and let her drop into the water that was now above the boat deck…” Lightoller wrote. “Hemming and I then, as every single boat was now away from the port side, went over to the starboard side, to see if there was anything further to be done there.”
In the wireless room, meanwhile, the operators were isolated from the pandemonium outside.
Harold Bride, the junior man, gave an account of his final minutes on the Titanic to the New York Times, including his helping to get Collapsible A down.
“He (Jack Phillips, the senior operator) suggested with a sort of laugh that I look out and see if all the people were off in the boats, or if any boats were left, or how things were.”
“I saw a collapsible boat near a funnel and went over to it. Twelve men were trying to boost it down to the boat deck. They were having an awful time. It was the last boat left…I gave them a hand, and over she went. They all started to scramble in on the boat deck, and I walked back to Phillips. I said the last raft had gone.”
Hemming testified at the Senate Inquiry that he helped uncoil some kinks in the starboard falls of Collapsible A.
Hemming, Senate Inquiry
I passed the block up to the officers' house, and Mr. Moody , the sixth officer, said: "We don't want the block. We will leave the boat on deck." I put the fall on the deck, stayed there a moment, and there was no chance of the boat being cleared away, and I went to the bridge and looked over and saw the water climbing upon the bridge. I went and looked over the starboard side, and everything was black. I went over to the port side and saw a boat off the port quarter, and I went along the port side and got up the after boat davits and slid down the fall and swam to the boat and got it.
Captain Smith made his last visit to the Marconi room.
Recalled Bride: “Then came the Captain’s voice. “Men you have done your full duty. You can do no more. Abandon your cabin. Now it’s every man for himself.”
Phillips continued to send for another 10 minutes at least, by Bride’s estimate. Then they left the wireless room together.
“I went to the place I had seen the collapsible boat on the boat deck, and to my surprise, I saw the boat and the men still trying to push it off,” said Bride.
Gracie was at collapsible A at this time. “…I heard a noise that spread consternation among us all. This was no less than the water striking the bridge and gurgling up the hatchway forward. It seemed momentarily as if it would reach the Boat Deck. It appeared as if it would take the crew a long time to turn the Engelhardt boat right side up and lift it over the rail…Clinch Smith made the proposition that we should leave and go toward the stern, still on the starboard side.” They made a run for it.
Bride had just gone to help the men with B when “a large wave came awash of the deck. The big wave carried the boat off.”
It swept Gracie and Lightoller and dozens more off the ship. The end had come.
And still the Titanic refused to surrender to the sea. It stayed afloat for another five minutes or more before finally slipping gently under the water.
The End? Not yet.
The Test of the Clock
The first-hand accounts of the struggle to get the final boats off the ship come with a wealth of time references. But I never imagined how valuable they would turn out to be until after I had applied them to the narrative sequence of how the last boats were sent off the Titanic.
Let’s start at the end, the moment the ship sank, a time everyone agrees on.
That time is universally accepted as 2:20 a.m. April 15, 1912, which appears to be the consensus of survivors in lifeboats who watched the ship go under.
But there’s a second “end time” that has to be taken into account. You can call it The Wave.
That’s the moment a wave swept across the top deck of the Titanic, sweeping Lightoller, Gracie, Bride and many, many others into the ocean. To them, that would be the time of sinking, since most of them spent the next minutes underwater and fighting to save themselves by finding something, anything to cling to.
An analysis of what happened next suggests the following scenario:
The bow of the Titanic had been slowing sinking, and as it did the stern rose into the air until the propellers were out of the water. There came a point when the bow dipped fully under the ocean and a wave of water swept across the top deck. The pressure on the Titanic was unstoppable, and the ship split in two. The forepart sank, while the afterpart settled back into the water, but floating still. Water began to pour into areas heretofore dry, weighing what was left of the ship down. At the same time, the forepart was still partially attached, and pulled the afterpart down so that, to observers, it seemed the Titanic stood up almost vertically in the water. How long it maintained that position varies from witness to witness. School teacher Lawrence Beesley, in Boat #13, thought it could have been as long as five minutes; Emily Ryerson, in No. 4, said “several minutes” in her affidavit to the Senate Inquiry.
Since, obviously, nobody timed The Wave, we have to deduce a time. But since we’re talking a minute or two, give or take, which is within anyone’s margin of error, I’ve rounded it off to Beesley’s five minutes. The Wave then at 2:15 a.m.
Just before being swept into the ocean, wireless operator Harold Bride reached Collapsible B which had been pushed off the roof of the officers’ quarters but was nowhere near ready to be hooked up to the davits or to take passengers. Bride said that Captain Edward Smith had stepped into the wireless room only 10 minutes earlier and declared (I paraphrase) “You have done your duty. Now its every man for himself.”
Archibald Gracie wrote that “fifteen minutes after the launching of the last lifeboat on the port side” he heard the terrifying noise that heralded the wave which carried him into the ocean. The last port boat to be launched was Collapsible D.
That puts the launch of D 15 minutes before the Wave, somewhere near 2:00 a.m. April 15th. As I said in an earlier article, I’m not foolhardy enough to claim I can pinpoint the time of any action on the Titanic down to a one minute window, 97 years later. So although I will use 2:00 as the time that D left the ship for research purposes, it should be remembered that times are best understood as guideposts around which events occurred rather than fixed signposts.
Gracie escorted Mrs. Brown and Miss Evans to Collapsible D, but was stopped by a cordon of men amidships. 15-20 minutes before the ship sank, he said. 2:15 (The Wave) less 20 minutes is 1:55.
Note how this focuses the time when Lightoller stopped a rush on Collapsible D to the five-minute period after 1:50, when the men-to-starboard order was given, and 1:55 when the cordon was already in place.
As mentioned earlier, Hemming told the Senate Inquiry, he last saw Captain Smith give an order for all the men congregating around Collapsible D to go over to the starboard side.
SEH175. How long was this before the boat went down?
- It was some little time.
SEH176. How long was it before you slipped into the water?
- About a quarter of an hour, I should think, sir.
If it took 5 minutes for Hemming to go from seeing Collapsible D off the ship (2:00) to the time he himself jumped off (2:05), that means a quarter of an hour earlier was 1:50 a.m. April 14, 1912 when the "all men to starboard" order was given.
Watch how nicely it all coordinates.
Lightoller estimated the order came a half hour to three-quarters of an hour before the ship sank.1:50 to 2:20 is exactly half an hour.
Gracie was one of the men who went from Collapsible D to starboard. He noticed that "meanwhile, the crew were working on the roof of the officers' quarters to cut loose one of the Engelhardt boats."
That boat? Collapsible A.
The proof? Steward Edward Brown testified to the British Inquiry "I suppose it took us about 10 or 12 minutes" to get Collapsible A down. Ten to 12 minutes after 1:50 is just after 2:00, the very time Hemming was helping with the falls to A.
This brings us to one of the most contentious issues regarding the last boats. When did Collapsible C go?
I explored many possibilities, but each was unsatisfactory for one reason or another. And then I realized I should take my own advice---stop trying to locate an event 97 years ago to the exact minute. With that, the solution fell into place. Knowing when Collapsible D was lowered off the Titanic, I could say with confidence when Collapsible C went within a 10 minute window, possibly five.
The key was the evidence of Samuel Hemming.
He helped turn out Collapsible D and get it into the davits ready to load. He then climbed to the roof of the officer's quarters to clear Collapsible B. And then, he told the Senate Inquiry, he heard Capt. Smith give the order for all men around Collapsible D to go to the starboard side of the ship.
"After that I went over to the starboard side. The starboard collapsible boat had just been lowered."
The puzzle pieces began to fall into place.
Lightoller said he got the order to send men from D to starboard from Wilde. Wilde had been at C working to load the boat with Murdoch. For him to be at D means that C was off the ship, or at the very least was on its way down with Murdoch overseeing it was lowered safely.
Quartermaster George Rowe, who was in charge of C, told the Senate committee, " It took us a good five minutes to lower the boat on account of this rubbing going down."
It's unlikely Wilde would order 100 men or more to starboard when there was a possibility their mere presence could disrupt the lowering of C. Therefore its safe to say he waited until, at the least, C was halfway or more down the side of the ship before heading over to D.
With those considerations in mind, we arrive at a rough time of 1:45 for C leaving the ship.
But there is another, equally compelling, option.
Among the crewmen in Collapsible C was Albert Pearcey, pantryman. In his testimony to the British Inquiry he provided a definite and seeminly unchallengeable time for the launch of C.
10456. Can you give us any idea of how long it was after you had started rowing away from the "Titanic" before she sank?
- No, I cannot. It was 20 minutes to two when we came away from her.
10457. That will help us. It was 20 minutes to two, you remember, when you started rowing away from the ship's side - is that right?
10459. Not when you came up on deck, but when you started rowing away?
- Yes, when we got away. It was just in time.
10460. How do you remember it was 20 minutes to two?
- Because I looked at the time.
10461. That is what I wanted to know. Where did you look at the time?
- One of the passengers had the time.
10462. And it was 20 minutes to 2?
His timing was supported at the Senate Inquiry by Quartermaster Arthur Bright who left the ship in Collapsible D.
The collapsible boat on the port side was lowered after the one on the starboard side?
Yes; the starboard one went down before the other one.
And it went down immediately before the one on the port side?
I could not say how long. I suppose it was 20 minutes or more. It was getting ready before I went down.
Twenty minutes before D was lowered would be about 1:40.
What a dilemma? On one hand you have a very credible time provided by two crewman backed by a passenger's watch reading. On the other, a rational estimate turning on a known order given aboard the ship which ties Collapsible D to a lowered Collapsible C.
But as I noted, the difference is about five minutes. That may be as close as we can ever get. But it means the gap between the launch of Collapsible C and the lowering of D is between 15 and 20 minutes, significantly longer than Woolner's testimony would lead us to believe.
Finally, the cherry on the cake---watching one of Titanic's Secrets Unfold.
Steward John Hardy left the ship on Collapsible D. He told the Senate Inquiry he was convinced the Titanic would not sink until very late in the crisis. It was Murdoch who changed his mind.
"I had great respect and great regard for Officer Murdoch and I was walking along the deck forward with him and he said "I believe she is gone, Hardy," and that's the only time I thought she might sink---when he said that."
"How long was that before your boat was launched?
A. "It was a good half hour, I should say, sir."
Where did he go then, do you know?
He was walking toward the afterpart of the deck. That was before all the boats had gone.
He superintended the loading of the boats?
Yes, sir; he went to see if a particular boat was properly manned.
And what was the only boat left aft at that moment?
Boat No. 10!
A good half hour, he said. D was launched at 2:00 a.m. A half hour earlier would be 1:30, just about the time Rowe stopped firing rockets to answer Chief Officer Wilde's call for men to help with starboard collapsible C.
Even Wilde's search for a sailor fits perfectly into the scenario. Having left No. 10 in the hands of Moody, he went forward to get C ready. He called for a sailor to clear the boat, then likely went to No. 2, where I see him sending Murdoch back to No. 10 while he took Murdoch’s place at 2 until C was ready to load.
For the first time, we can see the significance of Hardy's evidence. It gives us a time frame for the loading of No. 10 (almost done, but not quite),in relation to No. 2 (soon to go off after Boxhall, too, stops firing rockets and is ordered to take charge), No. 4 (on the heels of 2) and even Collapsible C (which is only now starting to be cleared.)
There is no hard evidence to prove it, other than the movements of the officers, but its a logical sequence of events and motivation.
And that's how Titanic's Secrets Unfold.
I've always looked at the movements of the officers and crew as the skeleton upon which the story of the sinking of the Titanic is built. The clues above provide the best look yet at what was happening moment by moment:
1. Wilde, Murdoch, Lightoller and Moody converge on No. 10.
2. Lightoller is not needed and goes along to No. 4. Murdoch soon follows to No. 2
That leaves Wilde and Moody at 10
Lightoller at 4
Murdoch at 2
3. Wilde leaves 10 to go to C. Wilde calls for a seaman. Rowe and Bright go to C and start to get it out.
Wilde goes to 2. Murdoch goes to 10.
That leaves Wilde at 2
no officer at C
Lightoller at 4
Murdoch and Moody at 10
4. Wilde leaves 2 and returns to C. The Captain takes over at 2 and orders Boxhall in.
That leaves Wilde at C
Capt. Smith at 2
Lightoller at 4
Murdoch and Moody at 10
5. No. 2 goes off. No. 4 goes off, freeing Lightoller. No. 10 goes off, freeing Murdoch and Moody.
6. Murdoch goes to C.
Moody, possibly, goes to the roof of the officers' house to Collapsibles A and B.
Lightoller and Wilde get D ready.
7. Wilde returns to C.
This leaves Wilde and Murdoch at C
Lightoller at D
Moody at A and B