British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry
Testimony of Archie Jewell
Examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL.
1. Is your name Archie Jewell?
2. And were you one of the look-outs on the "Titanic"?
- Yes, quite right.
3. On the "Titanic" did all the able seamen take their turns at the look-out or had you a special set of look-outs?
- Yes, six special look-outs.
4. You were one of the six?
5. Now on the night of that Sunday, the 14th April, which was your look-out - which was your watch?
- From 8 to 10.
6. And where were you - were you in the crow's nest or at the forecastle head, or where?
- In the crow's-nest on watch.
7. Was there a second look-out with you in the crow's-nest?
- Yes, there were two, one at a time.
8. There were two of you together in the crow's-nest?
9. Who was the man who was with you?
- Symons. He is back in New York.
10. And he was saved too, was he?
11. Then those are the two in the crow's-nest. Then are there two on the bridge?
12. Are there two forward?
- No, not in clear weather; we take two hours each.
13. Let us just get it clear. There was you and there was Symons in the crow's-nest. Were there no other look-out men on duty?
- No, not so long as the weather was clear.
14. Then on this night, during your watch from 8 to 10, was the weather clear?
15. Was there any moon?
- No, I never see no moon.
16. Was it starry?
17. Now do you remember when you were on your watch, from 8 to 10, any message coming to you about ice?
- Yes, about 9.30.
18. What was the message?
- To keep a sharp look-out for all ice, big and small.
19. How did the message come to you?
- On the telephone; we have a telephone in the crow's-nest.
20. That was telephoned up to the crow's-nest, and where was the telephone from?
- From the bridge.
21. Then it would be the Officer on the bridge who would telephone to you?
22. Do you happen to know who it was - which Officer it was?
- I could not say. I think the Second Officer was on watch at the time.
23. Up to that time, up to the time you got that message, had you seen any ice?
24. And after you got that message until you went off duty, did you keep a sharp look-out?
- Yes, and passed the word along.
25. And did you see any ice?
26. (The Commissioner.) What do you mean by "passed the word along" - to keep a sharp look-out for ice?
- To the other look-out.
27. How far does the other look-out stand from you?
- They relieve me from the nest.
28. (The Solicitor-General.) The two of you were together in the crow's-nest, and you would be relieved at
- Yes, that is right.
29. And when you were relieved at 10 o'clock did you hand on this message?
30. Who were the look-out men who relieved you at 10 o'clock?
- Fleet and Lee.
31. I think Fleet has given evidence in New York?
32. So he was saved?
- Yes; all the look-out men were saved.
33. And Lee was saved as well?
34. Do you know whether Lee has given evidence in New York?
- I do not know. He has been kept back.
35. (The Commissioner.) What age are you?
There are six of them, my Lord, and we had better have the names of the other two.
36. (The Solicitor-General - To the Witness.) Just give us the names of the remaining two look-out men?
- Hogg and Evans.
37. And do they always work in the same pairs?
- Yes, always.
38. You and Symons, Hogg and Evans, and Fleet and Lee?
39. Then you had relieved at 8 o'clock, had you, Hogg and Evans?
40. And you in your turn were relieved at 10 o'clock by Fleet and Lee?
41. And up to the time you went off duty, you had not seen any ice at all?
- Not any.
42. Just tell us, supposing that something is seen ahead and you want to send the warning, how is it done from the crow's-nest?
- Strike the bell three times.
43. And is that a bell hanging in the crow's-nest?
- Yes, a big bell.
44. Then you can telephone from the crow's-nest to the bridge?
45. And do the look-out men use the telephone to the bridge from time to time?
46. Now, supposing that during your watch, the 8 to 10 watch, there had been any ice and you had seen it, what would you have done; would you ring the bell and then telephone?
- Yes, to tell them what it was.
47. However, nothing of that sort happened while you were on duty?
- Nothing at all.
48. (The Solicitor-General.) My Lord, we have picked out this Witness because he begins the story, but of course he can also speak to a few matters after the casualty, and perhaps it is as well to take them now. (To the Witness.) When you went off duty at 10
o'clock and went below, did you go to bed-turn in?
- Yes, I went to bed.
49. And what was the next thing you knew?
- The boatswain came below and called all hands on deck. I heard the crash first; that woke me up.
50. You were woke up were you by the crash?
51. What did you do then?
- Ran on deck to see what it was.
52. What did you see?
- I saw some ice on the well deck on the starboard side.
53. You mean the fore well deck, I expect?
54. Did others turn out at the same time with you?
55. And saw it too?
56. What did you do then?
- Went down and put on some clothes. We all went below. They did not think there was any harm.
57. Do you mean you turned in again?
- No, we did not turn in.
58. Then you spoke about the boatswain coming. How long after was that?
- Not long. I cannot say exactly the time. He came and called all hands on deck. I could not tell you exactly the time; it was not long.
59. Then, when the boatswain came and called all hands on deck, did you go on deck with the others?
- Yes, all hands went on the deck.
60. Had you got a station?
- Yes, at my own boat.
61. Which was your boat?
- Number 7.
62. (The Commissioner.) Were the engines revolving at this time?
63. (The Solicitor-General.) I will ask him, my Lord. We have evidence to show that they were not; that they were stopped at once. (To the Witness.) Did you notice whether the engines had stopped?
- The ship was stopped when I looked over the side.
64. Now I was just going to ask you about your boat station. Which was your boat?
- Number 7.
65. How do they number them on the "Titanic"; how do the numbers run?
- Well, all odd numbers on the starboard side; even numbers on the port.
66. And your boat was No. 7, you say?
67. One on the starboard side?
68. Then just take the odd numbers; do they run forward aft?
69. The fourth boat on the starboard side. Now how did you know that that was your boat?
- We had got a boat list right in front of our forecastle.
70. Had you taken part in any boat drill before the accident?
- We always have a drill leaving port.
71. Then did you take part in one?
- Yes, always.
72. (The Commissioner.) Where was that?
- At Southampton.
73. (The Solicitor-General.) And had No. 7 been your boat at that drill?
- No; there were only two boats lowered away.
74. (The Commissioner.) Only two boats lowered for that drill?
75. And is that the practice?
- Yes, it is the practice.
76. What I mean is, you have travelled on these liners before, I suppose?
77. Is it the practice when you have your boat drill to have it with two boats only?
- That is all I have seen.
78. That has been your experience?
79. (The Solicitor-General.) You say only two boats would be lowered at the drill. What I want to know is whether your boat drill included everybody going to their boat stations?
- Yes, all hands are on the boat deck.
80. Just one thing more about that. There are two boats, are there not, that are kept swung out as emergency boats?
81. And the rest of the wooden boats, the lifeboats would be swung in - kept in?
- Well, they are not swung quite really in; they are just on the edge of the rails.
82. How do you know whether it was the emergency boats that were swung out that were used for the practice on which boat it was?
- Oh, no, it was the lifeboats.
83. Two of the lifeboats?
84. Now we can see which your boat is - because the model shows us the starboard side?
- Yes, this is the one (Pointing to the model.) - there was one on the other side here and a fourth one on the starboard side.
85. That would be No. 7?
86. Then there are No. 5 and No. 3, and No. 1 is just behind the emergency boat, is it not?
- No, that is No. 1 (Pointing to the model.)
The emergency boat is No. 1.
Sir Robert Finlay:
88. (The Solicitor-General.) You say that when you were ordered up on deck and there was the muster, you went to No. 7?
89. Just tell us what was done with boat No. 7?
- We all cleared away the boats. The orders were for all hands to clear the boats, and we all went and cleared the boats. I helped to clear away No. 7, cleared away the falls, and got them all ready and the First Officer, Murdoch, told us to lower away the boats to the level of the rail.
90. That was Mr. Murdoch you say?
- Yes, he was in charge of us.
91. And he gave the order to lower the boat to the level of the rail?
92. And, of course, up to that time the boat would be empty?
93. Then, when she was lowered down level with the rail, what were the orders then?
- "Women and children in the boat."
94. Had any seamen been put into the boat?
- Not then. We were all standing by that belonged to the boat.
95. (The Commissioner.) How many men man one of these boats?
- There are two sailors told off for each boat, so many firemen, and so many stewards. I do not know how many firemen; I have never seen their list.
96. (The Solicitor-General.) Two seamen and a certain number of the firemen, and a certain number of the stewards?
97. Did you count as one of the two seamen for this boat?
98. Who was the other?
99. You say Mr. Murdoch said "women and children first," and what was done?
- Well, we put all the women in that was there, and children. Up to that time there was not many people; we could not get them up; they were rather afraid to go into the boat; they did not think there was anything wrong.
100. Were there men passengers there too?
- Yes, we had some men passengers.
101. Did any of them get into your boat?
- Yes. I do not know how many. There was three or four there. Three or four Frenchmen there - I do not know whether they got into the boat.
102. I only just want to know; did any men passengers get into No. 7?
103. Three or four?
104. Was there excitement?
- No, Sir, none at all; very quiet.
105. And how many people got into No. 7 before she was lowered?
- I could not say; it looked pretty full; there was not much room to work in her.
106. But you do not know the number?
- No, I could not say the number at all.
107. You were one of the seamen told off for her. Did you get into her?
- Yes, there were three seamen into that boat.
108. Where was the third?
- I never see no fireman or no stewards up there at that time; it was about the first boat to be lowered.
109. Number seven was?
110. And how is it done on a big liner like this: when you lower the boat from the rail down to the water, is it done from the boat or from the deck?
- From the deck.
111. So that the people in the boat would not do the lowering away?
- No, just keep the boat off the ship's side.
112. Did she get down to the water safely?
113. Were there oars in the boat?
114. A proper number?
115. Was she provisioned?
- I never saw any biscuits or nothing; I do not know whether there was any; I do not know that there was anybody looking for any.
116. Had she got any light?
117. (The Commissioner.) Is a lifeboat usually provided with a light?
- I think so, Sir; I do not know about every one.
118. And where is the light kept?
- In the after-locker; the locker in the afterend of the boat.
119. Did anyone take it out and light it?
- No; there was none there. We had a look to see if we could find a light, and there was none there.
120. Whose business was it to look after the light?
- Well, I think the men in Southampton came on board ship to look after all that, to see that the boats were all looked after.
121. (The Solicitor-General.) Who was in charge of the boat?
122. That is the look-out man you spoke of, is it?
- That is right.
123. There was Hogg and yourself and Weller?
124. Were those the only three members of the crew in the boat?
- That is all.
125. When you got down to the water, had you got any of these men passengers in them?
126. They stayed in?
127. You say you thought about four?
- Well, I should say about that; I could not say the exact number.
128. Then the rest of them would be women and children?
129. Were there any children?
- We had one I think, that was all; the rest were women.
130. And you said, you did not know how many there were altogether, but I want to know was the boat full or not?
- Well, she might have held a few more, Sir.
131. You say Mr. Murdoch was giving orders about lowering the boat; did he give orders to launch her down to the water?
- To lower her right down to the water.
132. And what were the orders about - what was she to do?
- He told us to stand by the gangway.
133. I do not quite know what you mean by that. What is the gangway you are referring to?
- The doors that open in the ship's side. Just about here (Pointing to model.) - the door is open continually.
135. Where the gangway would be if she were in port, I suppose?
- Yes, that is right.
136. (The Commissioner.) Just go to the model again and show me whereabout on that model the waterline was, and where the gangway was, so that I may know where the boat was.
- (Pointing to the model.) There is one door there, and there is the waterline right along here. There are several gangway doors in the side; there is one about there somewhere, and one about there.
The actual line of the sea.
137. (The Commissioner.) You see the port holes, do not you?
138. Now where was the waterline outside the vessel?
- It was straight along here, I should say.
139. Now, where was this gangway you speak of?
140. And you were told to remain in the water below that gangway?
141. (The Solicitor-General.) Those were your orders. How far off from the ship did you keep?
- We kept right alongside.
142. Was the sea smooth?
- Yes, very smooth.
143. Just tell us what happened after that?
- Well, we see all the other boats lowered away and pull away from the ship. Then we saw the ship settling away, and we had to pull away clear.
144. Let us just see if we can get clear about these other boats, if we can. Did you keep on the starboard side?
145. You said, I think, that you thought your boat, No. 7, was one of the first to be lowered?
146. Just think. Did you see any boat lowered into the water before you got into the water?
147. You think you were the first to get into the water?
- I know we were the first on our side.
148. I am talking of the starboard side; and you were the first to get into the water on the starboard side?
149. So that there would be seven others, I think, on that starboard side?
150. Did you see each of them launched?
- No; I could not see afterwards very well from where I was.
151. Why not?
- We were all messing about with the other boats being lowered, and looking out for our own boat. We were not taking any notice of the others.
152. But you saw some of the others lowered, at any rate?
- I saw them all after they were launched.
153. You cannot tell us, I suppose, about the order of the others being lowered?
- No, I can say nothing about that.
154. Can you give us any idea of about how long it was from the time when your boat got to the water before the other boats got to the water - the last of the others on the starboard side?
- I could not say, they were not long; they were all down by the time we pulled away from the ship. We kept alongside and kept to our orders.
155. Then you told us you pulled away; you thought the ship was settling down?
156. Can you give me any sort of idea how long it was from the time you pulled away to the time when the ship disappeared?
- Well, about one and a half hours I expect. I had got no time; that is just a rough guess.
157. Did you see signs of the "Titanic" settling down when you left her side?
- Well, very little. I did not notice anything in the boats alongside the ship.
158. And you pulled away from her side because you saw these other boats were pulling away?
159. And how far off did you go?
- We only just went a little way at first, just kept so that we could speak to them on board the ship in case we were wanted.
160. Did anybody speak to you from the deck?
161. That would be some little distance off. Give me an idea how far off it would be?
- About 20 yards or something like that, and we stopped there.
162. And when you were in that position, some 20 yards from the ship, so that you could be hailed from the deck, did you see any signs of her settling down then?
- Yes, you could notice her going away by the head.
163. Was that gradual or sudden?
- No, very slow.
164. This was when you were about 20 yards off?
165. Were the other boats on the starboard side about the same distance off, or further off?
- Further off.
166. Do you mean you think you were the nearest?
- At that time.
167. Then when was it that you made a move again?
- The forecastle head was getting close down to the water then.
168. And what did you do then with your boat?
- Pulled away clear.
169. Now can you give me any idea about how long that was before she disappeared?
- I could not say that; not more than about half-an-hour I should say.
170. And how far from the ship did you pull away then?
- Oh, a long way. We met with the Third Officer, and he moored his boat alongside of ours all night.
171. What is the Third Officer's name?
- Mr. Pitman.
172. And you met Pitman in his boat?
173. And he moored his boat alongside of yours?
- Yes, alongside of ours all night.
174. Lashed together, I think?
175. Just tell us shortly what you yourself saw then. What did you see that happened to the "Titanic" before she went down and as she went down?
- We stopped there and watched her gradually sink away. We could see the people about on the deck before the lights went out. As she went away by the head so the lights went out, and we heard some explosions as she was going down. But all the lights went out and we could only see a black object in front of us.
176. Was it light enough to see if her stern was up in the air?
- Yes. I saw the stern straight up in the air.
177. At that time were the lights still burning or had they gone out?
- No. As the stern stood up in the air so all the lights went out.
178. Can you tell us at all how long you think the stern was like that?
- Not more than a few moments.
179. And then when the stern sank did she sink slowly or all at once?
- She went down pretty fast.