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I'd go further and suggest that if the letters TAH were read in cir***stances where the sending ship was (or might have been) sending her name, and the Waratah was known to be in the vicinity, then the probability is that the sending ship was indeed the Waratah.

Why would this be probable? Other reasons are that (by all accounts) the receiving-ship was a Union Castle ship (and therefore probably operated at a high standard) and Waratah herself appears also to have been operated at a high standard. All of which is merely cir***stantial comment, but it does create a fairly high standard of probability.
 

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#9

My own recollection of the call-up procedure was that the calling-up sign was AA.

Thus Dit-dah, dit-dah (pause) dit-dah, dit-dah (pause), continuously until the receiving ship would answer T (Dah). ("Success!", thinks the sender.)

The sending ship would then send the break-sign BT (Dah-dit-dit-dit, dah) and then follow immediately with the signal. The break sign was used only to open the conversation.

At the end of the conversation, the terminating party would send AR (Dit-dah, dit-dah-dit).

Standards of signalling (as with hand-writing) varied enormously.
This information is spot on as I remember it.
 

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Many thanks, Robert.

A further recollection is that there were at least four kinds of morse lamp.

The most basic was an all-round light set on top of a post, usually three-inch by three-inch timber erected vertically on the monkey island. The light was cylindrical, about the size of a small syrup-tin. For practical purposes, this was virtually useless other than at close quarters.

Next came a portable Aldis-lamp in which there was a powerful light and a balanced mechanism, the effect of which worked rather like the dip-switch in a car. The art was in holding the lamp-steady in order that the main-beam could be directed towards the receiver, while dipped-beam remained directed away from the receiver. On a rolling bridge-wing, this could be difficult.

Next best was a larger lamp (still portable) on which the shutter was a tube which either encased or revealed the lamp-bulb (as the case may be) and did not require quite such precise aim as the Aldis, partly also because the lamp itself was usually more powerful.

Most effective of all was a much larger lamp secured at some fixed point, with a very powerful light and a shutter mechanism akin to venetian blind. I cannot recall the trade-names of the last two types of lamp, but they were both very good.
 

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I'd go further and suggest that if the letters TAH were read in cir***stances where the sending ship was (or might have been) sending her name, and the Waratah was known to be in the vicinity, then the probability is that the sending ship was indeed the Waratah.

Why would this be probable? Other reasons are that (by all accounts) the receiving-ship was a Union Castle ship (and therefore probably operated at a high standard) and Waratah herself appears also to have been operated at a high standard. All of which is merely cir***stantial comment, but it does create a fairly high standard of probability.
Thanks for the insight Barrie.
The problem with this potential sighting is the timing - if this was in fact the Waratah then it creates quite a dilemma in the mystery's time-line as it would indicate that she had become well behind schedule at this point and so must have slowed down considerably for some reason. However, she was apparently not re-overtaken by the Clan MacIntyre who she passed earlier in the day. The weather was worsening, but had not reached the hurricane force that it would the next day.
 

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Hi, DH,

Many thanks. I can't add anything to the chronology, unfortunately, as I'm completely new to this incident. But if she was in difficulty (which seems quite clearly to have been the case), at least some delay (i.e. reduction in speed) would surely have been natural?

Is it known at what point in the chronology her troubles began?
 

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Hi, DH,

Is there any factual evidence that Waratah was not already behind schedule at the time when Guelph saw the letters "TAH"? Could her troubles have started only after she passed Clan MacIntyre but before Guelph saw her?

Have sent you a PM.

Best

BY
 

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This is a very long shot, but does anybody know the kind of signal lamp being used at the time of the exchanges mentioned here? As mentioned above, an all-round morse-light was virtually useless, save at close quarters.

Am looking for information as to when (i.e. the earliest date when) proper signalling lamps were developed and came into common usage. Any information would be much appreciated.
 

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interesting i was researching tug boats - and in the book - a tug at my heart - by grapow and westby nunn - strangely on the same day the oceanos sinking was playing out - a ulcc 357 000 tanker - mimosa was facing the same seas as the warath would have faced - in fact - the description reads - facing very high winds and mountainous seas the weather was hideous - the particular coast line on this stretch of the south african coastline - has always produced the worst of weather - which brings me to the point of the waratah - she was a top heavy ship - and the simple truth of it would have simply capsized and sunk - without trace - she was a notorious roller - the model on the attached picture gives an indication of the high side - the newspaper article is from my own collection
 

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she was a top heavy ship - and the simple truth of it would have simply capsized and sunk - without trace - she was a notorious roller
Yes - entirely agree. There's no need to invent scenarios such as rogue waves etc. - she was simply a very tender ship that almost certainly just capsized in very bad weather/high seas.
 

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waratah ship wreck

fascinated by the comments in this tread - here are a few books members might find interesting to read for the record - she was a top heavy ship - and encountering extreme seas - which is a common phenomenon along the coast line of south africa - she would have gone down fairly quickly - the not so recent sinking of the oceanos - along the same stretch of sea - bears testament of these notorious event
 

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#31

Many thanks for this, OSD.

Slightly off-thread - but not too far - both of the Titanic films (since 1958) show the use of an all-round morse-light - which many of us will remember as a simple lamb on top of a four-by-four stanchion, operated by an on-off switch - and generally useless at a range of more than about three miles at most. This is surprising in a state-of-the-art vessel such as Titanic in 1912 - and I wonder what was the best equipment then available? It seems that Arthur Henry Webb Aldis, inventor of the Aldis Lamp, was born in 1878, which would make him still a young man in 1912 - and even younger at the time of the WARATAH loss.

Signalling lamps as I remember them (not all of which were Aldis lamps) were of three types, all simple in design and all of them streets ahead of the all-round lamp described above, as attributed to Titanic. From memory, the standard Aldis lamp was a strong light whose beam was deflected, as required, by a simple reflector and mechanical leverage. The light-beam went up and down, rather like the dipping of headlights on a car. A larger type had the reflector fitted rather like blinkers on a horse, with the reflector being pulled back (and opened out) as required, by mechanical means. A third and usually much larger type had shutters rather like a venetian blind, again operated mechanically. All were so simple in design that it seems probable that something very similar would have been in use long before the Waratah incident - and even more probably before the later Titanic incident. The Royal Navy would surely have had the shutter-type signalling lamp long before 1912?

Answers on a postcard, please!
 

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Composed today on a dull afternoon, here is a reminder-note of some of the thoughts which entered my head when signalling by Morse-lamp fifty years and more ago.

Dit-dah. Dit-dah. I call to ask you who you are?
Dah-dit-dit-dit Begins English Lit
Dah-dit-dah-dit - I see, I see.
Dah-dit-dit - Do you? That’s good.
Dit. Eee-bah-gum – You’ve got it, Chum!
Dit-dit-dah-dit begins the F-word
Dah-dah- dit – Gosh!
Dit-dit-dit-dit - Hello, Hello!
Dit-dit – Aye, Aye!
Dit-dah-dah-dah – Jump for Joy!
Dah-dit-dah – Kick, my boy!
Dit-dah-dit-dit – Oh, ‘Ell!
Dah-dah – Mother!
Dah-dit – Numpty!
Dah-Dah-Dah –Oh!
Dit-dah-dah-dit – The cat has peed on the matches!
Dah-dah-dit-dah – Here comes the Bride!
Dit-dah-dit – Roger, roger!
Dit-dit-dit – Sugar!
Dah – Tango!
Dit-dit-dah – Upset, a bit.
Dit-dit-dit-dah – Victory!
Dit-dah-dah – Wictory !
Dah-dit -dah-dah –You !
Dah-dit-dit-Dah – Express and Echo!
Dah-dah-dit-dit – That’s Enough!
 

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fascinated by the comments in this tread - here are a few books members might find interesting to read for the record - she was a top heavy ship - and encountering extreme seas - which is a common phenomenon along the coast line of south africa - she would have gone down fairly quickly - the not so recent sinking of the oceanos - along the same stretch of sea - bears testament of these notorious event
Some good books there, Old Se Dog :)

Anyone know if 'The Waratah Nightmare' by Capt. Stan Robinson has actually been published? A quick internet search only revealed the author's blog saying it was about to be published.
 
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