British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 3

Testimony of William Lucas

Examined by Mr. ROWLATT.

1386. Is your name William Lucas?
- Yes.

1387. Were you A.B. on the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

1388. When did you join her?
- Southampton.

1389. What day?
- The day of the sailing.

1390. What time of the day did you join her?
- I caught her at ten minutes to twelve when all the gangways were up.

1391. When did she sail?
- The same day.

1392. Yes, but how long after that; what time?
- Well, just after twelve.

1393. You joined the very last thing?
- Yes.

1394. And where were you employed on the voyage?
- With the watch.

1395. On the deck?
- Yes.

1396. What was your watch on the Sunday that she hit the iceberg? What was your watch that afternoon?
- We had the first watch. That would have been our watch below.

1397. When did you go off in the evening?
- We had the first from four to six, and then our next watch was from eight to twelve.

1398. Therefore it was your watch when the accident happened?
- Yes.

1399. Where were you when the collision did occur?
- I had just left the mess room.

1400. Where is that on the ship?
- Just above the forecastle.

1401. Will you show it us on the model?
- Yes, it will be under here. (Pointing to the model.)

1402. Down in the well?
- That is right.

1403. Where the mast comes up - forward of the mast?
- It would be about there. (Pointing on the model.)

1404. Port or starboard side?
- The port side.

1405. What was the weather?
- We could not wish for better weather.

1406. Was it cold?
- Well, it was.

1407. When did it begin to get cold?
- I noticed it Saturday morning.

1408. Did it get colder and colder after that?
- Colder and colder, yes.

1409. I suppose you did not think to look at any thermometers or anything of that sort yourself?
- No, I only put on an extra jersey.

1410. You were your own thermometer?
- Yes.

1411. I see. Did you hear of any ice?
- Well, I knew it was knocking about.

1412. Did you hear it talked of or anything of the sort on board?
- Only among my own sailor fellows, that is all.

1413. Discussing the question whether there might be ice?
- Yes.

1414. Was that because it was so cold that you did that?
- Yes.

1415. Did you not hear any orders about ice from Officers?
- No, not at all.

1416. You say you had just come out of the mess room when the collision occurred?
- Yes.

1417. What did you hear, how did it sound like to you?
- It very nearly sent me off my feet.

1418. A hard shock?
- Yes.

1419. Was there a loud sound?
- Well, I did not take that particular notice. I went to the fore-well deck and there I saw ice on the deck.

1420. Did you see the iceberg?
- No, I did not.

1421. You would be down a little way you would not be able to see over the side?
- No, we would have passed it.

1422. Where did you see the ice on the deck?
- On the fore-well on the starboard side.

1423. Show me on the model how far forward does the well come?
- This is the fore-well deck I am touching now. (Pointing to the model.)

1424. How far forward does the well come before the deck begins?
- This is the fore-well; it would be about here; that is where we sleep. There is about six yards difference.

1425. Where was the ice just abaft the mast?
- About here, in the centre of the fore-well. (Pointing on the model.)

1426. How much ice was there on the deck there?
- I suppose, about a couple of tons.

1427. What colour was it?
- It was a darkish white.

1428. What happened then, as far as you know? Whom did you see who came?
- The first orders I got was up under the bridge; that would be the boatswain's mate, followed by the boatswain, "All hands up about the boats."

1429. How long was that after the collision do you suppose?
- I suppose, about a quarter of an hour.

1430. What had you been doing in the meantime?
- I had been playing nap - playing cards.

1431. Were you playing at nap again after the collision?
- No.

1432. What were you doing between the time of the collision and the time you had the order about the boats?
- Playing nap.

1433. After the collision?
- No, not after the collision; before the collision.

1434. When the collision happened you stopped playing nap?
- I stopped before the collision, because I was broke.

1435. Then after the collision what did you do?
- I went down below to put on my extra jersey.

1436. Did you put on a lifebelt?
- No, not at all.

1437. Had you a lifebelt?
- I had one, but I would not put it on.

1438. At that time did you think there was any danger?
- Not at all.

1439. You say you came on deck and you heard the order, "All hands up to the boats"?
- Yes.

1440. Did you obey that order?
- I did.

1441. And did you go up on to the boat deck?
- Yes.

1442. Where did you go?
- The first boat I had anything to do with was No. 2, but that boat was already swung out.

1443. What was your boat?
- My boat was No. 1.

1444. Did you know that?
- I knew that, yes.

1445. How had you found out?
- By the lists that is always put up in all the boats I have been in; in nearly all the White Star boats.

1446. Where was the list put up?
- Just above the forecastle.

1447. And you saw it there?
- Yes; I saw it.

1448. When did you see it?
- I saw it the day after we left Queenstown.

1449. Did you say you had found it in all the White Star boats?
- In all that I have been in and I have been in four of them.

1450. You saw it the day after you left Queenstown?
- Yes.

1451. Do you know when it was put up first?
- Well, they very nearly always put them up so that you can muster on a Sunday.

1452. Can you remember when it was put up on the "Titanic" this time?
- Well, I should say on Saturday night.

1453. You saw it when you left Queenstown?
- Yes.

1454. (The Commissioner.) You left Southampton on Good Friday, I understand?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
Is not that right?

The Attorney-General:
I am not sure that it is. I think they joined on the Good Friday.

Mr. Rowlatt:
When did you leave Southampton?
- It was the next week, was it not?

1455. (Sir Robert Finlay.) It was on the Wednesday following.

The Witness:
It was on the Wednesday, I think.

1456. (Mr. Rowlatt.) You say your boat was No. 1?
- Yes, that was my emergency boat. While I was at sea I got told off to two boats.

1457. When you got upon the deck did you go to No. 1?
- No, not at that time, I did not.

1458. Where did you go?
- I went to the assistance of all the boats there to be swung out from the deck.

1459. This one had not to be swung out?
- No, it was already swung out.

1460. That is it, slung outboard already (Pointing on the model.)?
- Yes.

1461. Then you went to the next one, No. 2?
- The opposite side, the port side.

1462. Who was in charge of that boat at that time; was any Officer there?
- The only Officers I saw there were Mr. Moody and Mr. Lightoller.

1463. Did they give you any orders?
- Yes.

1464. What did they say?
- They said "get out the boats," we all got out those boats - before the boats were lowered, before they were swung out.

1465. They had to be uncovered I suppose?
- Yes.

1466. And then got out outside the rails?
- We took the covers off and slung them inboard.

1467. Did you stay at No. 2 boat?
- No.

1468. Where did you go?
- To number 4 and number 6, and then I went right aft.

1469. What boats did you go to right aft?
- The lifeboat - I mean on the boat deck.

1470. Do you know what number?
- Well, No. 16, No. 14.

1471. Right aft on the other side, on the port side?
- On the boat deck there, right aft.

1472. That was before anybody got into the boats was it?
- That is right.

1473. Do I understand you to say that all the boats were outside before anybody got in?
- Before anybody was lowered.

1474. Where did you see the first people get into the boats?
- The afterpart of the ship where I first started lowering boats.

1475. What boat was that?
- That was number 16, 12.

1476. How many people got into that?
- They were not fully manned by a long way.

1477. Not full?
- No not full.

1478. Was any order given about filling up?
- Yes, but there was not anybody there handy - No women. I was singing out for women myself.

1479. Had you received the order that women were to be put in the boats?
- Yes.

1480. Whom did you receive that from?
- Mr. Moody, the Sixth Officer.

1481. Was he there or was he by the falls?
- He was near me when I was lowering.

1482. And you called out for women and there were no more?
- That is right, Sir.

1483. That was right at the afterend was it?
- Yes, the afterend of all.

1484. Do you know where the access from the third class accommodation comes up?
- Well, I never knew my way up myself and I was a sailor on the ship.

1485. I daresay you had never been that way before?
- No. I do not think those people had time to go there without directions from somebody; I hardly knew my way there myself.

1486. When you say the way, what do you mean - the way where to?
- The boat deck.

1487. You had come up this forward end, had you not?
- Yes, the fore end.

1488. I see there is third class accommodation at both ends of the vessel?
- Yes.

1489. Were there third class passengers here forward?
- Yes, they were.

1490. Do you know if there were aft too; perhaps you do not know?
- Well, I think the general Rule is women aft and the men forward.

1491. As far as the third class passengers forward were concerned they would come up the same way that you went to the boat?
- The same way as I went.

1492. How did you get up? What sort of access is there?
- You come up about three flights of ladders to get to the promenade deck.

1493. And then from the promenade deck?
- And then I have to go up another two flights to get to the boat deck.

1494. Where are they in the ship?
- About here. There is a ladder leads up here, and then you go back again and go up the ladder here. (Pointing on the model.)

1495. What sort of ladder?
- A wooden ladder.

1496. A gangway ladder?
- Yes.

1497. Not a ladder that you can go up hand over hand?
- No.

1498. (The Commissioner.) Steps?
- Yes.

1499. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Did you know what the passengers were on the boat deck - first class, second class, or third class?
- The majority first class.

1500. Along where you were?
- Yes.

1501. How many boats did you see filled. How many boats did you take notice of as they were being filled?
- About nine.

1502. Could you see whether they were all filled to the full capacity?
- They were not all filled.

1503. Why was that?
- Because there were no women knocking about.

1504. Was there good order?
- Yes, excellent order.

1505. And were the boats that you saw all lowered successfully to the water?
- I lowered the majority of the boats on the port side. I never lowered a boat in the water at all; I lowered them about three feet from the water.

1506. But they all got into the water all right?
- Yes. Those boats are all fitted with a patent dropping gear. You pull a little lever, and the boats drop without lowering them into the water.

1507. Were you told to help to lower the boats?
- I was warned off by Mr. Moody, and to stand by.

1508. How many boats did you help to lower?
- About eight.

1509. One after the other?
- Yes.

1510. With regard to each of them was there very orderly embarkation of women?
- Yes.

1511. Then finally did you go in a boat?
- Well, I got in a boat and I got ordered out by Mr. Lightoller. That was the last boat that left.

1512. Then you were ordered out of the boat?
- Yes.

1513. Could you see whether the boats were properly equipped with oars and things?
- The two boats that I got into afterwards were properly manned with oars.

1514. You said 16 was the last boat, did you not?
- No; 16 was the last boat like, the after boat on the port side.

1515. What was the last boat you got in?
- The collapsible boat, the port side, inside the emergency boat.

1516. Is that the one you got into?
- I got into her and got ordered out.

1517. Who ordered you out?
- Mr. Lightoller.

1518. What did you do then?
- I went over to the starboard side to see if there was any more boats there. There were no more boats there so I came back and the boat was riding off the deck then. The water was up under the bridge then. The ladies sung out there was no sailor in the boat and no plugs, so I was a sailor and I jumped into the boat.

1519. It was a boat that was on the deck, just explain that?
- Just here. (Pointing to the model.)

1520. What boat was that?
- A surf boat; they call them collapsible boats.

1521. She was lying on the deck?
- Yes.

1522. The sides collapse, do not they?
- No, they are three parts clinker boats and about three parts of the gunwale is canvas.

1523. Had the gunwale been pulled up?
- Yes.

1524. And made fast?
- Yes.

1525. Who had done that?
- I assisted in doing that.

1526. Who else?
- There were eight more sailors there besides myself just at the time.

1527. At that time you say the water was right up to the place where you were?
- The ship was at that angle then. (Indicating.)

1528. (The Commissioner.) And the water up to the bridge?
- Yes; the water under the bridge.

1529. (Mr. Rowlatt.) How long was that after the collision?
- I should think about an hour and a quarter.

1530. Was it long after all the other boats had gone away?
- I should say about a quarter of an hour.

Mr. Rowlatt:
Here is an illustration of these collapsible boats, if you care to look at it, my Lord. It is a very shallow boat. (The same was handed to the Commissioner.)

The Commissioner:
I have seen them.

1531. (Mr. Rowlatt - To the Witness.) You were telling us about this collapsible boat; you assisted to get her out?
- Yes.

1532. Now what did you do with her?
- I pulled her to the davits.

1533. Did you hook her on the falls?
- The same falls used for the emergency boat picked up that boat.

1534. Did you get the falls up again?
- Yes, but the water was about 1 1/2 feet then when she was strung up to the davits.

1535. What falls do you say?
- The same falls as the emergency boat used.

1536. They had been hauled up again?
- Yes.

1537. Did you lower her and get her to the water by these falls?
- No, they only required lowering. They were already in the water.

1538. Who got into her?
- About forty women.

1539. And what men?
- Well, I found three men in the boat afterwards, but I never saw them in the boat when she went away.

1540. Did you go away in that boat?
- I went away in that boat.

1541. Who were the other men? Were they seamen?
- One-quartermaster and two foreigners in the boat.

1542. (The Commissioner.) What do you mean by foreigners - passengers?
- Yes.

1543. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Two foreign passengers?
- Yes.

1544. Do you know what class they were?
- Well, I should think they were third class.

1545. Then did you push off from the side?
- No.

1546. I mean to row away?
- The water was there.

1547. Did you row away?
- Yes.

1548. You practically floated off the ship?
- Yes.

1549. How far off did you go?
- Well it was about 100 yards before the first explosion went. It was a very loud report.

1550. You heard an explosion?
- Yes.

1551. Then did you row further off again?
- Yes.

1552. How many oars had you?
- About eight.

1553. Plenty?
- Yes.

1554. How many people had you rowing?
- Well, I had to ask a couple of women to get hold of an oar.

1555. How many oars had you out altogether?
- About four.

1556. Who was in charge of the boat - who was steering?
- There was no rudder there.

1557. No rudder at all?
- No, I was in charge of the boat.

1558. Did anybody steer with anything?
- No. I kept on changing my oar from port to starboard to keep her away as best I could.

1559. You were doing that?
- Yes.

1560. You were in command of the boat?
- Yes.

1561. Did you see the "Titanic" sink?
- Yes.

1562. How far off were you when she sank?
- I suppose about 150 yards.

1563. Then it was not very long after you left her that she did sink?
- No.

1564. Had you been rowing all the time?
- I was not rowing long before she went down.

1565. (The Commissioner.) When you floated in this collapsible boat into the sea were you on the port or the starboard side?
- The port side.

1566. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Did you see any light?
- Well, I did see a light, a faint sidelight of another ship.

1567. Where away? In what direction?
- On my port hand it was then.

1568. You saw a light?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
A faint sidelight as I understand.

1569. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Where was it?
- Off my port hand as I was in the boat.

1570. Do you mean it was a port light?
- Was it a red or a green light?
- A red light - a sidelight.

1571. Now in what direction from you was it? That is what I wanted to ask - taking the bow of the "Titanic"?
- Taking it from here it would be the starboard side.

1572. Broad on the starboard side?
- Yes, from her quarter.

1573. What, astern?
- No, as she is left now it would be in that direction.

1574. Right out here?
- Yes.

1575. Abaft the beam?
- Just the same as she is lying now, on her quarter.

1576. That is where you saw the light?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
Is that where the other man said?

Mr. Rowlatt:
No, he said two points on the port bow. That would be in that direction (indicating), assuming they are speaking of the time when the ship was in the same place.

The Commissioner:
It is possible the quot;Titanic" had turned, you mean?

1577. (Mr. Rowlatt.) We cannot tell how she was moving. Did you notice whether the "Titanic" moved at all after the collision?
- No, I do not think she did.

1578. She lay pointing in the same direction?
- Yes.

1579. Did you take any notice of that? You would not notice unless you noticed the stars, I suppose; you would not see, would you?
- No.

1580. Did you see any other light beside the red light?
- Yes, the steaming light.

1581. You did?
- Yes, I saw the sidelights and the steaming light.

1582. You said the sidelight was faint?
- Yes, certainly.

1583. Was the other light faint or clear?
- You can only see one side.

1584. I know that, but I mean the masthead light?
- Yes, clear.

1585. Could you judge at all how far off it was?
- It was about eight or nine miles; it was right on the horizon.

1586. Are you speaking of it being on the horizon when you were in the boat?
- Yes.

1587. And of course before you left the "Titanic" you were down on the water as you have told us?
- Yes.

1588. I want to go back for a moment to get one thing clear. You told us you got into a boat and were ordered out of it?
- Yes.

1589. Which boat was that?
- That was the collapsible boat.

1590. Is that the same one you went away in?
- That is the same one I went away in.

1591. I see - port side?
- Yes.

1592. You came back to her afterwards?
- I came back to her afterwards.

1593. When the "Titanic" went down did you see wreckage about?
- Chairs and spare cupboards like.

1594. And people in the water?
- No, I never saw anybody in the water.

1595. Did you go back in your boat?
- I transferred all the women from my boat to No. 8 boat because I was frightened of my boat capsizing and going down.

1596. Whose boat was No. 8 boat?
- Poingdestre was in charge.

1597. You got all your women out of your boat into No. 8?
- Yes.

1598. Then what did you do with your boat?
- Poingdestre asked me if I would go in the boat and get hold of an oar and I said yes, and then I went over to the upturned boat where we had picked up 36 from the wreckage.

1599. What upturned boat was this?
- This was one of the boats that had got off from the deck where I was assisting before I went away in this collapsible boat.

1600. Was it a collapsible boat?
- It was a collapsible boat.

1601. It was upturned?
- It was upturned.

1602. Were there people clinging to it?
- Yes, 36 on the top of it.

1603. There were two collapsibles on the "Titanic," were there not?
- There are four.

1604. These are the two that got off?
- Yes.

1605. Now with regard to these 36 people on this upturned boat, what happened to them?
- I put them in the boat that I was in.

1606. You took them off?
- Yes.

1607. With your collapsible?
- No, with this No. 8 boat.

1608. What happened to your collapsible?
- I let that go with the three men in it.

1609. Where did they go?
- Well, they hung on to the remainder and were knocking round - tied themselves together afterwards.

1610. I just want to get it quite clear. You went with this collapsible boat alongside No. 8?
- Transferred the women into No. 8 because I was frightened the boat was going down.

1611. I daresay you were rather crowded, were you?
- Yes, we were; the gunwales were under water.

1612. You got them out?
- Yes.

1613. You went in No. 8 yourself?
- Yes.

1614. Now, was anybody left in the collapsible?
- Yes, three men - a quartermaster and two men.

1615. What did they do?
- They stopped there till they were picked up.

1616. By the "Carpathia"?
- Yes.

1617. Did they go to see if they could save any people out of the water?
- Yes, but they could not arrive there because our boat had two or three sailors in it and we got in there before them.

1618. They went, and you went back towards the scene of the wreck?
- Yes.

1619. Now, you picked up 36 people off an upturned boat?
- Yes.

1620. Did you pick up anyone else in No. 8?
- No.

1621. Were there any other people to be picked up?
- Well, there were people to be picked up, but they were dead before we got there.

1622. I suppose it took you some time to get there, did it?
- Well, say about a quarter of an hour.

1623. How many men had you rowing in No. 8?
- Four.

The Commissioner:
Will you ask him what his boat load was?

1624. (Mr. Rowlatt.) I was going to ask him that. (To the Witness.) When you got into No. 8 how many people were in altogether, after you got the 36 people out of the collapsible?
- Well, I should say near about 80.

1625. Would she hold all that?
- Well, we were frightened of her ourselves. Mr. Lightoller gave orders, "Keep quiet, men, before you get into the boat now."

1626. I want to get it clear. I do not quite understand why you left the collapsible so very empty and filled this boat so very full?
- Because we were frightened of her. We had no plug in it.

1627. You had no plug?
- We did not know whether there was a plug in it or not. We could not find it.

1628. Was it full of water?
- There was water under our feet. The women were frightened of her.

1629. Surely if there had been no plug there, there would have been a great deal of water with 40 people in her?
- These boats have a false bottom and plug hole about that depth. Me and Mr. Lightoller were looking round for that plug a good ten minutes before any passenger got into it and could not find it.

1630. Is it plugged from the top?
- I should say so.

1631. Do not you know how this boat ought to be plugged?
- Well, not these boats. They are the first boats I have seen of that build.

1632. (The Commissioner.) For aught you know the plug may have been in position?
- Yes, my Lord.

1633. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Did you see No. 8 go away from the ship?
- I lowered No. 8 myself.

1634. How many people were there then in her?
- I should say near about forty.

1635. How many men as far as you can recollect?
- Three.

1636. How long before you went did she go?
- About half-an-hour.

1637. Then she did not go very far away?
- No.

1638. She had only three men to row and a heavy load?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
A heavy load! She had 40, and afterwards took 40 more apparently.

Continued >