Titanic Sinking - Watched Titanic Sink
SAW TITANIC SINK, BUT DIDN'T KNOW IT.
Californian Officer Observed Her Lights Go Out, Due to Changing Course, He Thought.
MORSE LAMP SIGNAL FAILED
Another Officer First Supposed the Titanic Was Putting Out Her Lights When They Disappeared.
LONDON, May 15.---At least one officer of the Leyland liner Californian firmly believes that that vessel was in the vicinity of the Titanic on the night she went down, and, although he did not know it, actually saw her sink as the lights of the vessel they were watching disappeared.
Charles Grove, the third officer of the California, so testified in the course of to-day's Board of Trade inquiry. His fellow-officers disagree with him, but from the remarks of Lord Mersey, President of the inquiry, the latter concurs in the belief of Grove.
Grove was on watch when the vessel now called the "ship of mystery" was first sighted on the night of the catastrophe.
He testified that he told the Captain of the Californian that the vessel was a passenger steamer, but the Captain thought otherwise. He also said that at 11:40 on the fatal night---almost at the moment when the Titanic struck the iceberg---the lights of a steamer which he was watching from the bridge of the Californian were shut out. He believed that the turning of the steamer two points to port would account for this.
It would be remembered that some of the members of the crew of the Titanic in their evidence said that when the vessel struck her helm was put hard a-starboard, and that the Titanic immediately answered and swung two points to port.
Grove also said that the steamer he saw had two masthead lights, which gave further evidence that she was a passenger steamer. When the steamer was sighted he reported to the Captain, who came up on to the bridge. The steamer undoubtedly was a passenger steamer. He tried to signal her with a Morse lamp, but failed. The Captain said that she did not look like a passenger steamer to which Grove replied, "It is, Sir; but she has put out her lights." The Captain then said that the only passenger steamer in the vicinity was the Titanic.
When he was told the next morning that the Titanic had sunk he went to Stone's room. Stone told him that he had seen rockets during his watch.
Lord Mersey: "My impression is Stone said the Titanic. Do you believe the steamer you saw was the Titanic?"
Grove: "After what I have heard since I am decidedly of that opinion."
G. F. Stewart, the first officer of the Californian, said he did not believe the vessel which was firing rockets was the Titanic. He explained that the "scrap log" written on the bridge was destroyed day by day as it was entered in the log book, by the instructions of the company.
Evans, the wireless operator on the Californian, also testified that he told the Captain on the night of the disaster that he believed the Titanic was near the Californian, judging from the strength of her signals.
The telegrapher reconstructed the story of the sinking of the Titanic from the messages he heard passing between the doomed vessel and other steamers.
The New York Times, New York, NY 16 May 1912