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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What time? Whose time?

During a film of one of his descents to the Titanic, which was shown on TV last night, he steered his submersible into the suite of the Strauses, where this clock remains on the mantlepiece.

Though the face was covered in crud (technical term) he thought he could detect that it had stopped at 2.20 - the time the ship sank. It did appear that the minute hand mind be poised at 20 past, but no hour was discernible.

Looking through various websites, opinion seems to favour the clock's having stopped at 2.04. Perhaps it has since been salbaged and the face cleaned.

But in the middle of the night, I started to wonder whose 2.04 that might be. The ship had 5 time zones to cross. Were clocks on board routinely altered to show the correct time for the zone it was in? How was this co-ordinated? There was no public address system. Did servants or cabin staff take care of it?

At whose 2.04 did the clock stop? At whose 2.20 did it sink? For that matter, at whose 11.45 did it hit the iceberg? When did we start changing to BST for the summer months?

Another matter sprang unbidden into my mind as I lay awake at 5.20 am British Standard Time/4.20 am Greenwich Mean Time, the time(s) at which the BBC World Service hands one of its wavelengths over to BBC Radio 4.

The captain of the Californian had his reputation destroyed by being accused of ignoring distress calls and signals from the stricken liner. But another programme said he was exonerated 20 years after his death, when the wreck was found some miles away from where its distress call said it was.

Well, if it was so far from where it was thought to be, how on earth did the Carpathia find the survivors in the lifeboats, and the wreckage and floating bodies close by, just four hours after the sinking, and apparently sailing straight there?

I'm not a conspiracy theory fan, but this suddenly struck me as odd.


Eliza said...

I hadn't thought about the time zone thing..although I will now, thank you

I think we may have been watching the same programme..I too wondered how Carpathia found the lifeboats so easily when the Californian didn't, despite being so much nearer, and as far as I could tell, even if the Titanic was off course, it was still nearer..I haven't come up with a logical answer yet

mauigirl said...

Val, I think you have too much time on your hands. Not sure who's time it is.

Anonymous said...

Since Titanic was mid-Atlantic, I would have thought she'd be on whatever the time zone for her last port of call was, but I've never thought about it before...!

I was quite surprised to hear on the TV last night that Captain Lord of the Californian had eventually been 'vindicated' because Titanic wasn't where she was supposed to be. I'm just reading the book 'A night to remember' on which the 1950's film was based. This, according to ANOTHER book about Titanic I just finished, is the 'bible' simply because there were still some 60 survivors alive when it was written, and the author, Walter Lord, spoke to as many of them as possible (OK, this was 1954/55, but....) According to him, the crew on the Californian had been counting the rockets being let off by Titanic, although they couldn't figure out WHY she was doing it, and reported to the captain that the strange ship they could see looked '....very queer out of the water, her lights look queer'. Second Officer Gibson of the Californian even thought what they could see was '...listing, a big side out of the water', yet the Captain simply rolled over and went back to sleep, refusing to believe it could be the Titanic anyway. At 2.20am, they decided the other ship had definitely gone, believing it had sailed off into the night.....

....OK, I'll shut up now ;0)

JoJo said...

Never even gave the time zones a thought! Good questions, all!

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