In our own timeline, we wrote an extensive explanation as to our reasons why we believe #7 launched at 12:40, fully referenced to the testimonies and other eyewitness accounts. There is no reason for us to restate these proofs here, our readers can click here to read our timeline.
Gleicher, on the other hand, chooses to accept the times of both Quartermaster Rowe and Officer Pitman. Rowe said "I remained until 25 minutes after 12, when I saw a boat on the starboard beam"20. Pitman said in reference to getting to #5 "I should think it would be about 12.20"21 and "I should think it would be about 12.30 when No. 5 boat reached the water"22.
Gleicher does not analyze what Pitman claimed to have done between 12:20 and 12:30 a.m., accepting his time estimates at face value. Despite the present authors' detailed examination of Pitman's activities during that time span, Gleicher has recently claimed that we are merely attempting to discredit or brush aside Pitman's testimony. Nothing can be further from the truth, as every account needs to be objectively examined and cross-referenced with other evidence to see if what is being said by the witness is reliable and in line with the bulk of the other evidence. The problem is that what Pitman claimed he did during that time was far too much to have been accomplished in a short 10 minute span. Again, see our article for the detailed analysis of this.
Gleicher also does not mention the internal inconsistency of Rowe's testimony about the launch time of Collapsible C. If Rowe was correct that he was ordered to Collapsible C at 1:25 (with an implied time frame of 15 minutes to prepare it for lowering at 1:40), then why does Rowe say the ship sank just 20 minutes after he left the ship? The two statements cannot both be correct, unless Gleicher believes the ship sank at 2:00 a.m. But if Rowe had actually set his watch back by 23 minutes (as we believe he did), that pushes the launch time of #7 to around 12:45, which agrees with a number of other lines of testimonies, and incidentally pushes the launch time of C to around 2:00 a.m., which agrees with other testimonies about that boat, and supports Rowe's estimate that the ship sank 20 minutes after he left the ship.
Relating to the launch time of #7 is the phone call Rowe made to the forward bridge when he spotted a lifeboat in the water off the starboard side of the ship, and the call Boxhall received asking about lifeboats in the water. Gleicher postulates (without the slightest bit of evidence) that there were actually two phone calls. Gleicher states on page 156:
"Bright testified that shortly after midnight he and Rowe contacted the forward bridge and that each of them brought a box of detonators. Between 12:15 and 12:30 AM these must have arrived, and this is when Boxhall was able to send off his first distress rocket. We surmise that Rowe left the after bridge five to ten minutes after Bright, making a second call to the forward bridge to report the launching of a boat from the starboard side. Boxhall did not fire any rockets before getting detonators from the after bridge: 'I had sent in the meantime for some rockets, and told the captain I had sent for some rockets, and told him I would send them off'"
Gleicher then quotes Boxhall's statement that he fired a rocket before getting a call regarding a lifeboat in the water. The first phone call, according to Gleicher, was when Bright was told to bring rockets forward, and he did so, while Rowe allegedly remained behind. Boxhall fired his first rocket (which Bright had brought forward), Rowe saw the lifeboat and allegedly phoned the bridge a second time before coming forward himself with more rockets.
The question of "Why would Rowe remain behind when rockets had been ordered to be brought forward?" is not asked by Gleicher, nor does he mention Rowe's statement that rockets were *also* kept on the fore bridge23. It is important to note that Boxhall already had rockets available to him *before* Bright and Rowe came forward. Rowe, other than saying that his relief was late, never alludes to or mentions Bright in any of his accounts. Bright himself says "They told us to bring a box of detonators for them - signals. Each of us took a box to the bridge. When WE got up there we were told to fire them - distress signals"24. This definitely does *not* indicate that Rowe and Bright went forward at different times.
One phone call is all it should have taken to get Bright and Rowe to bring the rockets forward to the bridge. There is no reason for Gleicher to postulate a second call, and zero evidence to support that scenario. Boxhall himself testified to receiving only one phone call and says that he was returning the firing lanyard to the Bridge after firing a rocket when he received the call. This indicates he had fired at least one rocket prior to Bright and Rowe's arrival from the stern. What Boxhall says was discussed in the single phone call he received matches the context of what Rowe said was discussed when he called.
Rowe himself never testified as to whether a rocket was fired prior to him coming to the Bridge. In the 1960s he gave conflicting information, telling one person that no rockets were fired prior to him coming to the Bridge, while telling another person around the same time, that rockets were fired prior to him coming forward.
Quartermaster Hichens' testimony provides strong evidence that the first rocket was not fired as early as Gleicher suggests (Gleicher postulates a time of 12:20 to 12:25 on page 157 of his book). Quartermaster Hichens left the Bridge when he was relieved at 12:23 a.m.25, at which time he was asked to remove the cover from Collapsible D26. After he spent at least 15 or more minutes taking the cover and grips off, he was ordered to #6 by Lightoller27. Hichens testified that no distress rockets were fired while he was working on the collapsible, but that the first rocket was sent up during the 15 or 20 minutes he was working at #628. Taking into account the jobs he accomplished at Collapsible D, Hichens was at that boat for at least several minutes before going to #6, which would have occurred no earlier than 12:40 a.m. This demonstrates that the first distress rocket could *not* have been fired any earlier than 12:40 a.m., and that it was probably fired a bit later than that, since Hichens did not specify how long he worked at #6 before he saw the distress rocket ascend over the ship.
Since the publication of his book, Gleicher has slightly backed off the statement in his book that the first rocket was fired as early as 12:20 a.m. He says that "my understanding of the matter is that the first rocket was fired around 12:25 to 12:30 (the possibility offered up in my book at one point of it being 12:20 was in retrospect overreaching)."
Using this reasoning, Gleicher says that Hichens simply missed seeing the first rockets because he was in the wheelhouse. Although it's true that Hichens could not have seen any rockets from inside the enclosed wheelhouse, that certainly doesn't mean he was in a sound-proof booth oblivious to everything that was going on outside. If any rockets had been fired prior to him going to #6, Hichens would certainly have heard the detonators going off and heard the subsequent deafening detonation of the rocket. The starboard Bridge wing was close by the Wheelhouse, and Lowe and others described the noise of the rockets being fired as deafening, as well as how the flash lit up the entire surrounding deck, at least as far back as #3.
According to his timeline, Gleicher postulates that boat #9 left the Titanic before #14, (at 1:00 a.m.) and some twenty minutes before boat #11 was lowered (which event he places at 1:20 a.m.). In the comments he makes about Lifeboat #9 on pages 116 to 121, the author makes absolutely no mention of Seaman Scarrott, who testified that Seaman George McGough manned the aft set of falls on #14 as it lowered29, and Boatswain's Mate Haines, who testified that McGough (misspelled "McGow" by whoever was transcribing at the Inquiry) was with him in #9 after it was launched30 . Several other survivors place McGough in #9, and in discussions since his book has come out, Gleicher acknowledges that "there is strong testimony that he left the ship in Lifeboat 9". Both Scarrott and Haines knew McGough personally, as they served together in the same starboard-watch deck crew under Fourth Officer Boxhall. If McGough helped lower #14, but left the Titanic in #9, then #9 must have left after #14. The author makes *no* mention of this evidence in his book, not even to attempt to discount it. This testimony is critical in placing the lowering of the aft port boats in relation to when the aft starboard boats were lowered.
On pages 119 to 121, Gleicher makes a lot out of Ward's testimony regarding #9 and how it relates to #11, although he does not address the following exchange31:
Senator FLETCHER. How long after you got out there and stopped rowing was it before the ship went down? Mr. WARD. About an hour, sir.
Gleicher's timeline would have us believe that #9 was launched at 1:00 - a full hour and 20 minutes *before* the Titanic sank.
In a note on page 119, Gleicher says "Ward mis-identified Murdoch here as the Chief Officer." This appears to be the *only* case where Gleicher accepts that someone calling Murdoch the "Chief Officer", and using his name, actually meant Murdoch. It is strange that he accepts this, as he later uses Buley's and Evans' similar misidentification of Murdoch as the "Chief Officer" in an attempt to disprove Murdoch was the officer involved in the loading of #10.
In limiting himself only to inquiry testimony and the work of Gracie and Beesley, Gleicher also misses another crucial piece of evidence from a passenger who was lowered away in #9, namely Second Class passenger Sidney Collett. In a lengthy interview given in April of 1912, Collett recalled: "There were no more women to go and I asked the officers if there was any objection to my going in that boat. He said, 'No, get in' and I was the last one in. I think it was the third from the last to go from that side. It was No. 9 and we had to get away fast. Besides other boats coming down (author's italics) there was danger from the sinking boat." The importance of Collett's statement cannot be minimized, since Collett states that Boat #9 needed to clear the sinking ship's side because of dangers from "other boats coming down". Gliecher acknowledges that the forward starboard standard boats had already departed, so the only remaining lifeboats in the vicinity of No. 9 would have been Nos. 11, 13 and 15, with No. 11 being the closest. If there was a twenty minute gap between the lowering times of #9 and #11, as Gleicher postulates, there would have been no danger to #9 from other boats coming down nearby like Collett stated in this interview. Our timeline places a five minute gap between the lowering of these two boats, which is much more in keeping with Collett's statements.
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20. Amer. 519
21. Br. 14992
22. Br. 15036
23. Amer. 522
24. Amer. 832
25. Amer. 451, Br. 1017
26. Br. 1053 - 1054
27. Br. 1082 - 1092
28. Br. 1200 - 1204
29. Br. 395
30. Amer. 657
31. Amer. 599 - 600