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Stanley Lord
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Military Personnel
    (September 13, 1877-January 24, 1962)
    Born in Bolton, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
    Captain of the steamship SS Californian (1911-12)
    Californian was approximately 20 miles from the Titanic when that ship sank (April 14-15, 1912)
    When officers woke him with the news that a ship on the horizon (the Titanic, as it turned out) was firing rockets, he dismissed them as 'company rockets' used for identification rather than a distress signal.
    He did not order someone to wake up the Californian's radio operator to contact the other ship and ask why they were firing rockets.
    He gave conflicting testimony about what happened before the British and American boards investigating the loss of the Titanic.
    In a newspaper interview, he made the oddly specific denial, 'It is all foolishness for anybody to say that I, at the point of a revolver, took any man and made him swear to tell any kind of story.'
    The British Titanic inquiry concluded that if he had reacted quickly to the distress rockets, the Californian could have arrived in time to rescue as many as 300 additional passengers.
    After encountering an ice field and stopping for the night, he told his radio operator to warn other ships in the area about the danger.
    When the Californian's radio operator sent the ice warning to the Titanic, radio operator Jack Phillips snapped, 'Shut up, shut up, I am busy working Cape Race!'
    At the time, regulations specified that the distress signal would be rockets fired at one minute intervals. The Titanic fired its rockets irregularly at longer intervals, creating confusion about their meaning.
    He was not allowed legal counsel at either Titanic inquiry.
    His defenders claim he was scapegoated by the British Board of Trade to detract from its own deficient regulations concerning lifeboat requirements, wireless coverage and ice patrols.

Credit: C. Fishel


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