SIR – Apropos of the letter from Keith Trobridge (T&A, March 16) re the Titanic, I raised this same query about the orders to the helmsman, after watching the film, and after reading an article in the London Evening Standard in 1998. The reply I received, which may help, was as follows: “You are quite right in your supposition: confusingly, commands ‘hard-a-port’ and ‘hard-a-starboard’ then sunk the vessel to the right and left respectively, and the system wasn’t changed until 1932.”
On a small boat with a tiller, moving the tiller to the left will turn the boat to the right and vice versa. It seems that, in those days, the helm worked in the same way.
Paul Stephenson, Cliffe Gardens, Shipley