British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 3

Testimony of George W. Beauchamp

Examined by Mr. RAYMOND ASQUITH.

652. Is your name George William Beauchamp?
- Yes.

653. And were you a fireman on the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

654. Were you on duty on Sunday, the 14th, when the ship struck?
- Yes.

655. Where were you?
- Eight to twelve watch.

656. Were you down below in the stokehold?
- Yes.

657. Which stokehold was it?
- No. 10.

658. Can you see the plan from where you are?
- The second one from the forward end.

659. The second one from the bow?
- Yes.

660. Can you say what pressure of steam was being carried at that time?
- I could not say.

660a. (The Commissioner.) Do you know anything about the pressure of steam?
- We were carrying it where we had orders. What the orders were I could not say for certain.

661. I do not want you to tell me anything you do not know yourself; I do not want you to guess. I want you only to tell us what you know yourself?
- Sometimes they carry 210 and sometimes 200. I think we were carrying thereabout 210 then.

The Attorney-General:
We will get it from somebody else who knows it better.

The Commissioner:
I do not think he knows anything about it, and I should not expect him to.

661a. (Mr. Raymond Asquith - To the Witness.) Did you notice the shock when the ship struck?
- Yes, Sir, I noticed the shock.

662. Was it a severe shock?
- Just like thunder, the roar of thunder.

663. And immediately after the shock was any order given?
- Yes.

664. What order?
- To stand by, to stop. The telegraph went "Stop."

664a. (The Commissioner.) You got that order from the bridge, "Stop"?
- Yes.

664b. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) And were the engines stopped at once or not?
- The
telegraph rung off "Stop," so I suppose they were.

665. Did the engineer in your section give you any order?
- Yes; the engineer and the leading stoker shouted together - they said, "Shut the dampers."

666. Did you shut the dampers?
- Yes, immediately; "shut everything up."

667. Was anything done to the watertight doors after that time?
- Yes, immediately the telegraph rang "off" and the order was given to shut up everything the watertight doors dropped.

668. The watertight doors dropped?
- Yes.

668a. (The Commissioner.) How soon do you suppose after the order to "Stop" came from the bridge did the watertight doors close?
- In less than five minutes.

668b. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Can you say which watertight doors they were - in which bulkhead they were?
- The watertight doors shut. There was only one in the section where I was. They all shut all through.

668c. (The Commissioner.) Did not all the bulkheads close at one time?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
If the order came from the bridge to close the watertight bulkheads, would not they all simultaneously be closed?

I believe if they were all in working order they would.

668d. (The Commissioner.) I assume they would all close; they would not close some only. (To the Witness.) At all events, all you know is that those which were in your compartment were closed?
- Yes, Sir.

668e. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) After the watertight doors were closed, was any order given to you with regard to the fires?
- Yes, I could not say when - it was a few minutes afterwards; the order was given to draw fires.

669. A few minutes after what?
- After the order was given to shut up, an order was given to draw fires. I could not say how many minutes, but the order was given to draw fires.

670. And did you obey that order?
- Yes.

671. Did you see any water?
- Water was coming in on the plates when we were drawing the fires.

672. What do you mean by "the plates"?
- The plates of the stokehold where you stand.

672a. (The Commissioner.) You mean where the stokers were standing?
- Yes.

673. What happened then?
- The water was just coming above the plates then.

673a. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) You mean it was coming through the floor?
- Yes, coming through the bunker door and over the plates.

674. Through the bunker door?
- Yes, coming through the bunker like.

675. When you had drawn the fires what did you do next?
- Waited till everything was shut down and an order was given. Someone shouted "that will do," when everything was safe, when everything was shut down.

676. What did you do?
- When the order was given someone shouted "that will do," and so I went to the escape ladder.

677. Is that the ladder by which you get out of your stokehold when the watertight doors are closed?
- Yes, the escape ladder.

678. Can you say how long it took to draw the fires?
- I could not say how long it took, just the usual time; I could not say for certain.

679. What is the usual time - you have often done it, I suppose?
- Yes, I have done it a good many times. Of course, it all depends what you have got in the fires as a Rule.

680. Can you say whether it took a few minutes or half-an-hour?
- It took about a quarter of an hour, I suppose.

681. Did you notice any more water coming through during that quarter of an hour?
- When the order was given and everything was shut up, someone shouted "that will do," and I went to the ladder then, the escape ladder.

682. But I asked you did you notice any more water coming through as time went on; did it come through in greater quantities?
- I was going up the ladder.

683. Your answer is you do not know - is that what you mean?
- I do not know.

684. When you went up the ladder where did you go to?
- I walked aft in the alleyway, right aft.

685. Which deck?
- Where the stokehold doors were; I do not know what deck it was.

686. Did you go up to the boat deck?
- Yes, I went right along aft up the companionway up to the boat deck.

687. Did you know what your boat station was?
- No.

687a. (The Commissioner.) Why not?
- The list was put that morning, they said, but I did not see it.

688. Does that mean to say you could have seen it but did not look?
- I heard someone say it was put up, but did not look.

689. Therefore you did not know which was your boat?
- No, Sir.

690. And that was because you had not looked to see?
- Yes, I did not look to see. That is right, Sir.

690a. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) You say you heard a list had been put up that day?
- Yes, that morning.

691. Had you looked to see if there was a list before that day?
- There was no list before that day.

691a. (The Commissioner.) Had you looked, was the question. You did not look for this one. Had you looked to see whether there was a list?
- Yes, Sir.

692. When did you look to see if there was a list?
- You generally see anything put up like that.

693. When did you look to see if there was a list?
- When I was going about in the daytime.

694. But when - how many days before?
- I was in the room, and I did not see any notice up.

695. Answer the question. You say you looked for this list some time before, and that you did not see it. When was it you looked for it?
- The second day out.

696. Did you tell anyone the list was not there?
- No, I did not say anything about it.

697. Why did not you tell someone that the list was not there, if it was not there?
- I never took any more notice of it.

698. Then you say you looked and found it was not there and you said nothing. Is that right?
- Yes, that is right.

699. And then on the morning of the day on which the collision took place you know there was a list there hanging up?
- I never saw it.

700. You did not look?
- No.

700a. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) And not knowing where to go to, what your boat was, what did you do? Where did you go?
- I went aft on to the boat deck, and across to the starboard side, and stood on the deck of the ship by the boat and one foot on the boat and one foot on the lifeboat, like that, and helped the ladies and children in that were there, and the order was given by the Officer then, "Lower away the boat, that will do."

701. Which boat was it?
- No. 13.

702. No. 13 on the starboard side?
- Yes.

703. Who was looking after that? Was there an Officer there looking after it?
- On the deck giving orders, yes.

The Commissioner:
This is the starboard side (Pointing to the plan.) Tell me where No. 13 boat was.

The Attorney-General:
Is not the model better for him, my Lord?

The Commissioner:
That is also the starboard side?

The Attorney-General:
Yes.

The Commissioner:
Now show me No. 13. (The Witness indicated the position on the model.)

703a. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Was there an Officer looking after the loading of that boat?
- Yes.

704. Who was he, do you know?
- No, I could not say who he was.

705. Did he give you any order?
- He said, "That will do in that boat. Who can pull oars?" I said, "I can." He said, "Get into that boat. Lower away. That will do."

706. How long were you there before the order to lower away was given?
- I could not say how long it was.

707. Did you help many people to get into the boat?
- Yes. The order was given, "That will do; that is enough for that boat," and I stepped into the boat and went away with it.

708. I want you to say, if you can, how the people were chosen that got into the boat?
- Women and children first.

709. Were there a lot of people standing about the boat or not?
- There was. Some ladies would not come in the boat.

709a. (The Commissioner.) Did you say some lady or some ladies?
- Some ladies. I heard one say it.

710. Some ladies refused to come in?
- Yes.

710a. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) How many refused?
- Well, I heard them saying - two or three of them saying, "No, I will not go; I will not go away in the boat."

711. Did they give any reason for refusing?
- They did not give any reason, Sir.

712. However, you did put a good number of ladies into the boat?
- Yes, all that would come.

713. Did you put any men in as well?
- No, Sir.

714. Any passengers, I mean - any male passengers?
- No, I never put any in.

714a. (The Commissioner.) Did any get in?
- Yes, I suppose some of them.

714b. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Do you know how many, if any, got in?
- I could not tell you the amount of male passengers there were in the boat.

714c. (The Commissioner.) The question is how many men got into the boat - men passengers?
- I could not tell you the number.

715. Well, did some get in?
- Yes.

716. Can you give us about how many?
- I could not tell you the number that got there.

717. Was it 20?
- I do not know. I never saw 20 get in. I stood like I could not see everything, helping the ladies and children in.

718. Then I suppose you took an oar after the boat went into the water, did you not?
- Yes.

719. Well, you would see then how many men there were in the boat and how many women?
- No. I was keeping the boat off the ship's side with an oar.

720. How long were you in that boat before you were picked up?
- It was 10 minutes to 10 when I was picked up by the "Carpathia."

721. The next morning?
- Yes.

722. Very well then, you were in the boat a very long time. Cannot you remember how many men there were in it and how many women passengers?
- No, I could not say how many men there were in there. The boat was full, 70 - about 60 or 70 I should think all told.

722a. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Before the boat was lowered, while people were still getting in, were there a lot of men passengers as well as women passengers on the deck?
- Yes, there were a lot on the deck all round there.

723. Did they try to get in or was it orderly?
- Quite orderly. Everyone obeyed orders. Everything was quite calm.

724. Could you tell whether the people that you saw standing round that boat were third class passengers or first class passengers?
- No, Sir.

725. You did not know which they were?
- No.

726. Who was in charge of that boat after it had been lowered?
- The leading stoker and a sailor in the sheet ends of it. They were both in charge. I could not tell you which took charge of her.

727. Do you know their names?
- Only Barrett. I think he took the tiller. He was giving orders. Barrett, the leading stoker.

728. How many of the crew were in this boat?
- I could not say how many of the crew altogether that was in this boat.

729. There was you, and a sailor, and Barrett, the stoker?
- Yes.

730. Did you have any difficulty in lowering and launching the boat?
- Yes, we had a difficulty, because we were under the engine room discharge.

731. Did water come into your boat?
- No. Everything lowered easily right till she got to the bottom, to the discharge, then we had a difficulty in keeping it away from the ship's side, to prevent the water coming in.

732. Did you succeed in keeping her away from the side and getting off?
- Yes.

733. Did you have any difficulty in getting the boat free from the falls?
- Yes. The boat was crowded. We could not get to the lever to get the blocks out.

733a. (The Commissioner.) That was because the people were in your way?
- Yes, because the boat was crowded.

734. You had to push through?
- You could not get through to where the lever was.

734a. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) What did you do?
- Barrett cut one end of the falls and a sailor cut the other.

735. What did you do when you got free of the falls; did you row away or did you stand by the ship?
- We pulled a little way away and then laid on the oars.

736. Can you say about how far you pulled away?
- Well, I could not judge the distance; it was not very far away.

737. Do you mean 100 yards or do you mean half a mile?
- It was not half a mile.

738. Could you see from where you were what was going on on the deck of the vessel?
- Yes, we could see what was going on.

739. How long did you remain there?
- We pulled on our oars again then and pulled further away because of the suction of the ship.

740. What I asked you was how long did you remain in your original position?
- What, stopped pulling the oars?

741. No. You told me you first of all rowed a short way away from the ship. How long did you stay in that position?
- I could not say how long it was.

742. How long was it between the time when you launched your boat and the time when the ship sank? Can you say that?
- Well, I should say about half-an-hour.

743. Within half-an-hour she sank?
- Yes.

743a. (The Commissioner.) I want to ask a question about that. How long were you upon No. 13 boat getting her into the water? How long did it take you to get her into the water?
- I could not say the time, but not very long.

744. What do you mean by not very long?
- Everything worked all right and very easily till we got to the engine room discharge.

745. Yes, and then you had to push the boat away with your oar from the ship's side?
- Yes.

746. But how long were you altogether in getting that boat launched, getting the passengers in, getting in yourselves, letting her down, cutting the falls, and getting her into the sea?
- I could not say.

747. Can you give me no idea?
- Well, as quickly as possible. Every man did the best he could.

748. I have no doubt of that, but how long did it take?
- I could not say the time.

749. Did it take an hour?
- No, not an hour, certainly not.

750. Did it take 20 minutes?
- No, Sir.

751. You did it in less than 20 minutes?
- Yes, I should think so.

752. How long was it after the shock, after you felt the shock in the engine room, that you began to let down the boat?
- I could not say.

753. To loosen the boat on the deck, you know?
- I could not say.

754. We have heard something. You were a quarter of an hour drawing the fires and you were some time down in the stokehold after you got the order to stop. You were down there, as I understand, about half-an-hour after the order to stop came?
- No, not so long as that.

755. Say 20 minutes, and then it took you 20 minutes to lower the boat?
- It took us about that or less than that.

756. That would be about three quarters of an hour; and do you tell me the ship sank in half-an-hour after your boat got free?
- From the time of the impact when the ship struck, someone in our boat had a watch; it was just about 2 hours and 10 minutes.

757. So I thought - a great deal longer than that. It was over 2 hours between the impact and the foundering?
- About 2 hours and 10 minutes. Someone in the boat had a watch because it was between 20 and 25 to 12 when she struck, and it was just after 2 the gentleman said that she went down, or just about 2, somewhere handy 2 o'clock.

757a. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) When she sank were you near enough to see what happened; did you see how she sank?
- Yes, she went down bows first; I could see the stern and then the stern went.

758. Did you hear any explosion?
- I could hear a roaring just like thunder.

758a. (The Commissioner.) Yes, but I wish you would apply your mind to the question. You were asked, did you hear any explosions?
- Yes.

759. Are you sure?
- Yes.

759a. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) How many did you hear?
- You could hear the roaring as the ship went down as the explosion occurred.

760. Did you see anyone in the water after the ship went down?
- No; you could hear the cries after the ship sank.

761. Did you go back to the place where the cries came from or not?
- No; no order was given.

762. You did not go back?
- No.

762a. (The Commissioner.) I did not understand him to say he heard cries. (To the Witness.) Did you hear cries after the ship went down?
- Yes, Sir.

763. Was that from the people in the sea?
- Well, I could not say; I daresay it was, I suppose it was.

763a. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) You did not go back?
- No.

764. Had you any room for more people in your boat or not?
- No. Had we had any more room we should have gone back, but we could not go back owing as we were full up.

765. Do you know whether there was any compass in your boat?
- No, Sir; there was not.

766. Did you look for one?
- There was no compass, not in the boat I know.

767. Did you look for a compass?
- Some of them did, I think.

767a. (The Commissioner.) Did you?
- No, I never. When I got on the quot;Carpathia" I looked.

767b. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Was there any lantern or lamp on the boat?
- No, Sir.

768. Did you look for that?
- Yes.

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