Monday, 3 July 2017

'TAH' vs. 'YRE'

Let's say, for argument's sake, that the Clan MacIntyre averaged 8 knots between Cape Hermes and East London, taking into consideration that although initially averaging 11.5 knots, she made heavy weather late 27 July, extending and deteriorating into 28 July, slowing her down considerably. If this be the case, it could well have been the Clan MacIntyre that the officer on board Guelph was trying to communicate with. 

How do I get this?

If the officer could only make out the terminal letters of the name of the steamer, "TAH', how can we assume that these letters were accurate in the first place (hence 'much doubt'). It is an interesting exercise to compare, in Morse Code terms, the terminal letters 'TAH' with the terminal letters for Clan MacIntyre, 'YRE'.

T = DASH

A = DOT DASH

H - DOT DOT DOT DOT


Y = DASH DOT DASH DASH

R = DOT DASH DOT

E = DOT

At first glance there seems to be no correlation. However, one might assume, given the signal was incomplete in the first instance, that only the last dash of 'Y' (T) was detected by the officer on the Guelph, instead of the full dash dot dash dash . The same might apply to the 'A', in this case, instead of dot dash dot, only the initial dot dash was detected. Finally, the single dot for 'E' might have been confounded by masthead lights 'blinking' (instead of dots) which was a common aberration in poor visibility (which was the case by 10 pm, 27 July, off East London).

To be honest, if the initial letters of the fellow steamer were not decipherable, we can more or less assume anything of the remaining terminal letters. The Guelph signal exchange was meaningless. No wonder the officer on Guelph referred to the exchange as 'much doubt'.

We do not know if the Clan MacIntyre tried to signal any other vessels on the night of 27 July, but might sensibly assume that Captain Weir would have made mention of it at the Inquiry, December, 1910. But there again, perhaps it was forgotten or not encouraged???? There would be no reason for recording a failed signal exchange in the log and therefore no proof one way or the other.

What other steamer could it have been if it were not Clan MacIntyre or Waratah?????????






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