Old men's memories

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.

Moderator: Bill Jurens

dunmunro
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Old men's memories

Post by dunmunro » Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:35 pm

Rob Stuart has published another article about Operation C, the IJN carrier raid into the Indian Ocean in April 1942:

http://www.combinedfleet.com/CornwallDo ... -Adobe.pdf

at:

http://www.combinedfleet.com/articles.htm

As to the relevance to current forum discussions I would draw the forum members attention to page 7 of the article where he notes factual discrepancies between Captain Agar's 1959 memoirs, Footprints in the Sea, and actual events:


It is worth noting at this point that Footprints in the Sea is riddled with factual errors concerning the January to April 1942 period, the following among them:

(1) That Dorsetshire escorted “the last refugee convoy to leave Singapore”, but Dorsetshire was 3,000 miles away, at Bombay, and never called at Singapore after the war with Japan began.

(2) That Dorsetshire transported to Rangoon “100 Royal Marines to man armed river launches and harass the Japs”. This small unit, Force Viper, was real enough, but it was taken to Rangoon by the light cruiser Enterprise. Dorsetshire was not involved in any way.

(3) That Dorsetshire escorted the last convoy from Rangoon, when in fact it escorted the second-to-last convoy to Rangoon. It never escorted any convoy from Rangoon.

(4) That while Dorsetshire was at Trincomalee Agar “took the opportunity to have the ship dry-docked and her bottom cleaned”, but it appears that Trincomalee had no drydock in March 1942.

(5) That the destroyer “Jarvis” was serving with the Eastern Fleet, but in fact Jervis (not “Jarvis”) was in the Mediterranean.

These misstatements are not crucial to understanding the circumstances surrounding the loss of Dorsetshire and Cornwall, but they show that Agar relied primarily on a fallible memory in writing Footprints in the Sea.

BuckBradley
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Re: Old men's memories

Post by BuckBradley » Thu May 30, 2019 6:55 pm

Memories are very very mallable and unreliable things, even if you have an "excellent memory" and unless you are the Rainman.

E.g., I am a strapping virile young lad with an absurd i.q. and a very good memory. A few days ago, a ladyfriend sent me an email that included a picture of her from the waist up looking FABULOUS wearing a gray top. I was really struck by how great she looked and I e-mailed her back the next day "please send me some more pictures of you in that fabulous gray top." To which she responded, "it was black."
And I'll be damned if she wasn't right. :lol:

A semi-joking way to make a serious point, lads.

pgollin
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Re: Old men's memories

Post by pgollin » Fri May 31, 2019 9:18 am

.

I live in the UK, of my two brothers one went to live in the USA when he was 26, and the other to live in Australia when he was 24 (was it something I said ??? )

The VERY few times we have met up since then has revealed very different memories of "interesting" childhood events, probably (?) because they haven't been recalled regularly since then. OF COURSE, I think "my" versions are the correct ones, but who knows ?

.

Bill Jurens
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Re: Old men's memories

Post by Bill Jurens » Fri May 31, 2019 8:47 pm

I was witness to a shot-gun style murder many years ago, and attempted to assist the victim. Many memories. Many police photographs. Years later, met a woman who's brother was one of the police officers involved, and who -- probably somewhat unethically -- arranged to show me some of the photos of the scene. Memories of the victim himself were absolutely flawless. But he was actually in a completely different area of the room from where I remembered him to be.

In many situations, the most faded ink counts for more than the most vivid memory...

Bill Jurens

HMSVF
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Re: Old men's memories

Post by HMSVF » Fri May 31, 2019 11:05 pm

Bill Jurens wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 8:47 pm
I was witness to a shot-gun style murder many years ago, and attempted to assist the victim. Many memories. Many police photographs. Years later, met a woman who's brother was one of the police officers involved, and who -- probably somewhat unethically -- arranged to show me some of the photos of the scene. Memories of the victim himself were absolutely flawless. But he was actually in a completely different area of the room from where I remembered him to be.

In many situations, the most faded ink counts for more than the most vivid memory...

Bill Jurens

Hi Bill,

I was reading Innes McCartneys book on the Jutland wrecks and isn't it the case that what people remembered was in a lot of cases what actually occurred? You have a midshipman on HMS Dublin who recalls seeing the forepart of HMS Queen Mary sailing on after having her midsection and stern blown off. He went on to say that images he saw where to haunt him for many years.

We now know that was impossible because the ship was obliterated forward with the after section sinking minutes later. When they used sonar to map the wreck you can see the stern section forward of the debris field of what was the ships bow. I don't think for one minute that the gentleman on HMS Dublin lied - just that what he saw wasn't what he thought it was.

HMS Indefatigable's demise was seen by many witness's but some of the accounts seem to differ. Some said that she was hit aft, heeled out of line and sank, some say that she hauled out of line was then hit on "A" turret and then exploded. The survivor from the foretop says that the "whole lot went up" and the ship rolled over. We have a picture of her sinking which (to me) looks as if she has rolled over and is sinking by her stern. From what I can remember from the book it would appear that the ship lost a fair section of her stern before a cataclysmic explosion destroyed the rest of the ship. So again I don't think that the witness's were exaggerating, just that the human memory isn't as reliable as people would like to think.

Also Ive read in more than one account of a battle that a "sailing ship" was seen during the action. Was it there? Was it the persons mind playing tricks?

On the flip side..

I always wonder whether some accounts dismissed at the time as being unlikely possibly did occur. When HMS Ark Royal was sunk off Gibraltar one sailor said that he saw a huge amount of damage very low down in the hull presumably at the point of the torpedo impact. From what I remember his account was dismissed, however when the wreck was rediscovered it turned out that the damage was far more than what the original enquiry into her loss had suspected.


I still think though that witness testimony, though important, needs to be treated carefully as do accounts written long after the event. As much as some people like to think we have memories like hard drives in actual fact when it comes to more precise details and timings humans are pretty fallible .


Just my two penneth!

BuckBradley
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Re: Old men's memories

Post by BuckBradley » Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:58 am

HMSVF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:05 pm
Bill Jurens wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 8:47 pm
I was witness to a shot-gun style murder many years ago, and attempted to assist the victim. Many memories. Many police photographs. Years later, met a woman who's brother was one of the police officers involved, and who -- probably somewhat unethically -- arranged to show me some of the photos of the scene. Memories of the victim himself were absolutely flawless. But he was actually in a completely different area of the room from where I remembered him to be.

In many situations, the most faded ink counts for more than the most vivid memory...

Bill Jurens

Hi Bill,

I was reading Innes McCartneys book on the Jutland wrecks and isn't it the case that what people remembered was in a lot of cases what actually occurred? You have a midshipman on HMS Dublin who recalls seeing the forepart of HMS Queen Mary sailing on after having her midsection and stern blown off. He went on to say that images he saw where to haunt him for many years.

We now know that was impossible because the ship was obliterated forward with the after section sinking minutes later. When they used sonar to map the wreck you can see the stern section forward of the debris field of what was the ships bow. I don't think for one minute that the gentleman on HMS Dublin lied - just that what he saw wasn't what he thought it was.

HMS Indefatigable's demise was seen by many witness's but some of the accounts seem to differ. Some said that she was hit aft, heeled out of line and sank, some say that she hauled out of line was then hit on "A" turret and then exploded. The survivor from the foretop says that the "whole lot went up" and the ship rolled over. We have a picture of her sinking which (to me) looks as if she has rolled over and is sinking by her stern. From what I can remember from the book it would appear that the ship lost a fair section of her stern before a cataclysmic explosion destroyed the rest of the ship. So again I don't think that the witness's were exaggerating, just that the human memory isn't as reliable as people would like to think.

Also Ive read in more than one account of a battle that a "sailing ship" was seen during the action. Was it there? Was it the persons mind playing tricks?

On the flip side..

I always wonder whether some accounts dismissed at the time as being unlikely possibly did occur. When HMS Ark Royal was sunk off Gibraltar one sailor said that he saw a huge amount of damage very low down in the hull presumably at the point of the torpedo impact. From what I remember his account was dismissed, however when the wreck was rediscovered it turned out that the damage was far more than what the original enquiry into her loss had suspected.


I still think though that witness testimony, though important, needs to be treated carefully as do accounts written long after the event. As much as some people like to think we have memories like hard drives in actual fact when it comes to more precise details and timings humans are pretty fallible .


Just my two penneth!

Good Lord Bill! That must have been somewhat traumatic.

I happen to be an attorney, and I can tell you what you already know: eyewitness testimony is some of the least reliable that there is. Yet it is the kind that convinces a jury.

The subject of memory amazes me. You can have a VERY good memory, but if you aren't the Rainman, your memory can't be relied upon at least insofar as any "surrounding details" might go.....

BuckBradley
Junior Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:29 am

Re: Old men's memories

Post by BuckBradley » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:02 am

HMSVF wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:05 pm
Bill Jurens wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 8:47 pm
I was witness to a shot-gun style murder many years ago, and attempted to assist the victim. Many memories. Many police photographs. Years later, met a woman who's brother was one of the police officers involved, and who -- probably somewhat unethically -- arranged to show me some of the photos of the scene. Memories of the victim himself were absolutely flawless. But he was actually in a completely different area of the room from where I remembered him to be.

In many situations, the most faded ink counts for more than the most vivid memory...

Bill Jurens

Hi Bill,

I was reading Innes McCartneys book on the Jutland wrecks and isn't it the case that what people remembered was in a lot of cases what actually occurred? You have a midshipman on HMS Dublin who recalls seeing the forepart of HMS Queen Mary sailing on after having her midsection and stern blown off. He went on to say that images he saw where to haunt him for many years.

We now know that was impossible because the ship was obliterated forward with the after section sinking minutes later. When they used sonar to map the wreck you can see the stern section forward of the debris field of what was the ships bow. I don't think for one minute that the gentleman on HMS Dublin lied - just that what he saw wasn't what he thought it was.

HMS Indefatigable's demise was seen by many witness's but some of the accounts seem to differ. Some said that she was hit aft, heeled out of line and sank, some say that she hauled out of line was then hit on "A" turret and then exploded. The survivor from the foretop says that the "whole lot went up" and the ship rolled over. We have a picture of her sinking which (to me) looks as if she has rolled over and is sinking by her stern. From what I can remember from the book it would appear that the ship lost a fair section of her stern before a cataclysmic explosion destroyed the rest of the ship. So again I don't think that the witness's were exaggerating, just that the human memory isn't as reliable as people would like to think.

Also Ive read in more than one account of a battle that a "sailing ship" was seen during the action. Was it there? Was it the persons mind playing tricks?

On the flip side..

I always wonder whether some accounts dismissed at the time as being unlikely possibly did occur. When HMS Ark Royal was sunk off Gibraltar one sailor said that he saw a huge amount of damage very low down in the hull presumably at the point of the torpedo impact. From what I remember his account was dismissed, however when the wreck was rediscovered it turned out that the damage was far more than what the original enquiry into her loss had suspected.


I still think though that witness testimony, though important, needs to be treated carefully as do accounts written long after the event. As much as some people like to think we have memories like hard drives in actual fact when it comes to more precise details and timings humans are pretty fallible .


Just my two penneth!
Indeed HMSVF -- just reflect on how much variation we see here (or more properly on the Hood website I guess) in the eyewitness reports to the Hood's demise. None of the witnesses had the slightest motive for lying, and the event was profound enough that it would have had their attention. Yet aside from some broad outlines, memories varied--sometimes in ways that would have been "substantive" had they been accepted as true....

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