British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry
Testimony of Frederick Barrett, recalled
Now, is Sir John Simon here?
Yes, my Lord.
Now, Sir John, will you be kind enough yourself to state what you understand to be the effect of the present Witness' evidence up to this point?
Yes, my Lord.
I am very sorry to have to ask you to do it, but my mind is in a state of confusion, and I want to clear it up; and I think some of the assessors want an explanation of the matter.
I think I have a view of what he said.
If you state it to us now we shall be able to follow on with the remainder of his evidence.
My Lord, if I may say so, I think it would greatly help if your Lordship and the Assessors would look for a moment at what Mr. Wilding has just done for me on that model. He has tipped the model so that we can see more of the bottom than we otherwise should, and he has put on that model two pieces of white paper, a long piece which is perpendicular and then a short white piece a little further along. The long piece represents the line of the watertight bulkhead between No. 5 and No. 6. That white line on the outside of the ship starts at the top where the watertight bulkhead begins, and it goes down to the bottom to the place where the watertight bulkhead would join the inner skin of the ship. Your Lordship asked that length, and that length is 40 feet.
The bulkhead is 40 feet perpendicular.
That is it, my Lord. Then the other piece of paper which is rather more forward is the point on the outside of the ship corresponding to the place where, according to this Witness's evidence the water came in at the moment of the collision.
Now can you tell me what space that hold opened into.
Yes, my Lord, I can. As I understand, his evidence is to this effect. Immediately in front of that watertight bulkhead which is there indicated is Section No. 6, which is the foremost boiler room of the ship. Immediately behind that perpendicular bulkhead is Section No. 5. The man's evidence begins by his being in No. 6, which is his proper place, and he says he was at work there in No. 6 together with, I think, eight firemen and four trimmers, and the first thing that he testifies to is the appearance of a red disc in No. 6 which, as he knew, indicated that a message had been sent to the engine room to stop. The engine rooms, of course, are further on. That is the first thing he says. Then he says as soon as he sees this red disc appear in his stokehold, which means that the engines had been told to stop, he orders his gang to push in the dampers so as to reduce the draught on the fires. He says that they were in the act of putting those dampers in when the collision occurred, and that he felt it. He says that the moment it occurred, or immediately afterwards, water came into No. 6, where he was standing.
That is where the small piece of white paper is.
Yes. And this is what I venture to think is the important point. He says that as far as he could judge the water came in at something like 2 feet above the plate level where he was standing. The plate level, Mr. Wilding tells me, there would be something like 18 inches or 2 feet above the top of the tanks; and by that means one is able to tell, Mr. Wilding says, how far that is below the level of the water outside approximately. Mr. Wilding tells me that he estimates that the waterline outside, the level of the sea outside, would be 25 or 26 feet above the stokehold plates. Therefore, if the water came in some 2 feet above the stokehold plates it came in at a point some 23 or 24 feet below the level of the sea.
The level of the sea would be how many feet below the top of the watertight bulkhead?
Perhaps Mr. Wilding will just tell us. My Lord asks, Mr. Wilding, assuming your figures, how much below the top of the bulkhead the level of the sea would be?
About 13 or 14 feet. It is the difference between 23 or 24 feet and 40 feet.
The ship had to sink 13 or 14 feet before the water could get over the bulkhead.
It had to sink that amount at this point.
But the moment it sank that amount at that point, then supposing the bulkhead was quite firm and strong, the water would come over into the next compartment?
That is so - 13 or 14 feet from the top would bring you to the level of the sea; another 25 or 26 feet would bring you to the plates.
That makes the 40 feet.
That makes the 40 feet. Then, the Witness goes on to say that upon this water rushing in from the side, as he describes it, he and Mr. Shepherd, who is the second assistant engineer, ran back through the watertight door which was then open, that is to say through the bulkhead into No. 5, and that they had just passed through that open door when the door shut behind them automatically.
From the bridge.
From the bridge; and that brought him and Mr. Shepherd into No. 5.
Your Lordship may remember we had an earlier Witness, Beauchamp, yesterday, who was a fireman, and who spoke as to the order to close the dampers; he said that the water had come in and he said that he escaped by the emergency ladder.
Then, my Lord, this Witness goes on to say that as soon as he got into No. 5 with Mr. Shepherd and the watertight door shut behind him, he looked to see whether water was coming into No. 5, and his evidence is that a certain amount of water was coming in immediately behind this bulkhead in the empty coal bunker.
Yes, through the skin of the ship.
I understand through the skin of the ship, but I propose to ask him this morning a question to be sure, because your Lordship will remember the plan shows that immediately behind the bulkhead is a coal bunker on the starboard side and another on the port side, the passage-way being between the two.
But the watertight bulkhead, as I understand, goes through the middle of the bunker.
There are two bunkers, one on each side, one bunker to serve No. 5, and one bunker to serve No. 6. Of course, there are more bunkers than one.
Oh, yes; but that particular bunker is divided by the bulkhead.
Yes. He says that particular bunker, that is to say, the bunker immediately behind this bulkhead on the starboard side was empty. The coal had been used; and that he could see into it; and in that way he noticed some water coming in. I propose this morning to ask him another question about that, because I am not clear as to how it came to be stopped. Then he went on to say that in addition to Mr. Shepherd and himself he found also in No. 5 two others of the engineer's staff; he found Mr. Harvey and Mr. Wilson. He says they were busying themselves about the pumps. He says that orders were given that the other stokers and firemen should go up; he was kept behind, as he says, in case he should be wanted. He says that almost immediately afterwards the lights went out, and that it was his business then to go up by the emergency ladder to the alleyway where he sent a man to the engine room for some lights.
To get a lamp.
Yes. He says that when this lamp or these lamps came back he took them down to No. 5, and almost at the same time the electric light came back. I think the next thing he says is that orders were given to him to get some firemen back in order to draw the fires in No. 5, and that he did get 15 or 20 men to come back, and that they drew the fires; and he says that that took about a quarter of an hour. He says that they had just done this, they had just drawn the fires, when they were ordered up again; that he was then in No. 5 with the engineers; that there was a short wait, and that during that time he was asked to lift a manhole plate from the floor in No. 5. He says that No. 5 was full of steam owing to the fact of the fires having been drawn, water had been thrown on them, and that in the confusion Mr. Shepherd fell into this hole and broke his leg. He says he lifted Mr. Shepherd up and put him in what he calls the pump room which is in the same level, in No. 5, one of the little rooms, and that just as he put him there, suddenly there was a rush of water into No. 5 through what he describes as the pass.
Between the two boilers?
Yes, my Lord, the pass being the space between the two boilers - a little space, and, as I follow, on the same line as this emergency door, which had already closed. He says it came in very suddenly, and he had to escape, and did escape.
It came from the direction of No. 6?
Yes, my Lord. Your Lordship will remember you asked him just at the close yesterday whether his impression was that the thing had come with a rush, as though something had given way, and he said that was his impression. I think the only other material evidence up to date is that I asked him whether he had noticed that the ship was tipping, was going down by the head, and he said he had noticed it; and I asked him when it was he first noticed it, and he said that he had first noticed it when the fires were being drawn, and that it got worse. To the best of my recollection, that is the whole.
I wanted to ask you a question. Can you account for the lights going out and coming on again?
My Lord, his suggestion was that they were changing over from one dynamo to the other.
There is a sort of reserved dynamo on board, which may be put into operation and which will keep all the lights in what you may call the public part of the vessel alight. It will not keep the lights in the cabins and such like places alight; and it may have been that when the main dynamo stopped, the whole ship was in darkness for a short time. Then when they got the supplementary dynamo to work, the lights would come in the passages and in the engine rooms and in places of that kind.
I did ask him, if your Lordship remembers, whether, when he went up to get the light, he found the lights were also out in the alleyway, and he said, "No; the lights were burning in the alleyway."
I do not understand it.
It seems to have been a local failure.
Further examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL.
Your Lordship has No. 3 plan.
2076. (The Solicitor-General - To the Witness.) Before we go on there are just two things you told us about yesterday that we want a little more information about. First of all, about the lights. You told us yesterday that the electric lights went out in No. 5?
2077. And so you were sent to get some lamps?
2078. And that you went up the ladder to the alleyway, and then sent along to the engine room?
2079. When you got to the alleyway, were the electric lights burning there or had they gone out?
- They were burning there.
2080. As far as you know had the electric lights gone out elsewhere in the ship except in No. 5?
- That I cannot tell.
2081. You do not know?
2082. Did the electric lights continue to burn in the alleyway until those lamps were brought and you went down again?
- When I went down with the lamps the lights were burning in the fireroom again.
2083. The fireroom is the stokehold?
2084. How long should you suppose the lights were out in that stokehold?
- I could not estimate. After I went up and got the lamps and came back again they were lit.
2085. That would not take very long?
- No; you have to run along the alleyway and down the engine room to the stores and come back again, and down the escape ladder.
2086. And of course they would have to find the lamps when they got to the stores?
- I could not tell you; I did not go down to the stores.
2087. Now the other thing is this. You told me yesterday that when you got into No. 5 and the watertight door closed behind you, you found that there was some water coming into No. 5?
- No. 5 coal bunker.
2088. Yes, the coal bunker. Is that the coal bunker immediately behind the watertight bulkhead?
2089. Is it the coal bunkers on the starboard side?
- On the starboard side.
2090. So that as you came through the watertight door from No. 6 into No. 5 it would be immediately on your left hand?
- Immediately on the left hand.
2091. Was it empty?
2092. And was the door of it open?
2093. So that you could look in?
2094. Just tell us, when you did look in, what was it you saw?
- I saw water pouring in through the ship's side.
2095. In this bunker?
- In this bunker.
2096. In the ship's side in the bunker. At what level was it coming in, as far as you could see?
- The coal bunker is about 2 feet below the plates; it was coming about 4 feet higher than the coal bunker - the bottom of the coal bunker is 2 feet below the plates.
Your Lordship sees that.
2097. (The Solicitor-General - To the Witness.) So that if it was 4 feet below the bottom of the coal bunker it would be the same level as if it was 2 feet above the plates?
2098. And that is the same level as you found it was coming in in No. 5?
- In No. 6 and No. 5 about the same level.
2099. Was it coming in the opening in No. 5 as fast as it had been coming into No. 6?
- No, Sir.
2100. What is the width of the side of the ship in that coal bunker? The side of the ship is one of the sides of the coal bunkers there. How many feet is it, should you say? What is the width?
- From the watertight bulkhead to the other?
2101. Yes. From the watertight bulkhead to the other wall of the bulkhead?
- The forward end of the watertight compartment would be about four feet wide, but the after-side was wider.
2102. I am told it would be nine feet wide?
- I could not estimate; I am no judge of measurement.
My Lord, that is the depth of the coal bunker immediately behind the watertight bulkhead, measured along the skin of the ship, fore and aft, nine feet. Your Lordship sees what I mean?
2103. (The Solicitor-General.) Then you got this wall, nine feet or thereabouts. I want you to tell us, was the water coming through all parts of that or through some part of it only?
- Which wall do you mean?
2104. The water is coming through the skin of the ship into the bunker?
2105. And the bunker is about nine feet along the side of the ship. Now, I want to know, was the water coming in at this level right across the bunker or only in part of it?
- Water was coming in about two feet abaft the watertight bulkhead.
2106. Do you mean that it was coming in from the watertight bulkhead and for two feet back?
- No; only from the ship's side. The watertight bulkhead was not damaged.
2107. Was it coming in at one point, or was it coming in for two feet?
- I could not estimate exactly how large the hole was.
I do not think this Witness can answer your questions. I should place very little reliance upon his evidence, because I do not believe that in these circumstances such particular notice would be taken.
No, my Lord.
And I think you are trying to tax his memory too much.
If your Lordship pleases.
Ordinary people, or even extraordinary people, would not have all these details in their head. I do not think so. It seems to me sufficient that the water was coming in in the forward part of the coal bunker - that is to say, in the part forward of the bulkhead - and was also coming in in the afterpart of the coal bunker and at about the same height - more coming in, it is true, in No. 6 than in No. 5.
If your Lordship pleases.
But evidently coming in from the same wound. I think that is enough.
The only thing I was concerned about was to see whether one could not ascertain whether this wound ran the whole length of the coal bunker, or whether it only ran back a little way from the watertight bulkhead, and I gather he says it was about 2 feet back; but of course, he cannot say more than that.
2108. (The Solicitor-General - To the Witness.) That being so, I will only ask you this further question about this part of the case. What was done, if anything was done, about the water that was coming into that coal bunker?
- The engineers put pumps on as far as I understand; but, of course, I am only a stoker; I do not know what engineers' work is.
2109. But you were there, and you will help us. They succeeded in getting the water down by pumps?
- As far as I was concerned, the plates never got covered while I was there.
2110. (The Commissioner.) I want to ask you about that. How were the pumps worked?
- I could not tell you, my Lord.
2111. Cannot some one tell me. The engines had been stopped?
- There was steam. They opened the pump by the steam valve in the pump room.
The only engines that would be stopped would be the engines that actuated the propeller. There is plenty of other machinery in the ship.
Then these pumps work notwithstanding that the fires are drawn and the main engine stopped?
I do not suppose all the fires were drawn, my Lord.
I thought all the fires were drawn?
Only one section, my Lord.
I think, if your Lordship would like to know, Mr. Wilding would be able to tell your Lordship.
No, it is my fault; I understand it now.
2112. (The Solicitor-General.) I think that is all I can ask him about that part, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Now then, Barrett, when all that was over, you told us you came up out of No. 5 when the rush came in?
2113. Where did you go to?
- Up the escape into the main alleyway.
2114. And where did you go to after that?
- I walked aft.
2115. Did you go up on the deck?
- On the saloon deck I went.
2116. Then above the saloon deck there is a shelter deck, the bridge deck, the promenade deck, and the boat deck?
- I call the saloon deck the one under the boat deck.
2117. You got up to the boat deck?
- The one underneath the boat deck.
2118. That is called the promenade deck, I think. Were there people there?
- I did not see any. I saw some of the stewards, and there were some third class passengers - men and women. No. 13 boat was pretty well filled when I got there.
2119. No. 13 boat is a boat on the starboard side?
2120. It is last but one on the starboard side?
- It is last but one on the starboard side.
2121. (The Solicitor-General.) That is the boat that Beauchamp, the fireman, spoke about yesterday, my Lord. (To the Witness.) When you got there was that boat on the level of the boat deck, or was it lower?
- Lowered to the deck I was on.
2122. And was that deck immediately below the boat deck?
2123. We can see that in the model. It is the last boat but one on the side we are looking at, is it not?
2124. And you say it was lowered by that time as far as the next deck?
2125. Now you said you found stewards there and you mentioned third class passengers?
- Women were coming up.
2128. Women were coming up. Did you see them coming up?
2129. Would that be coming up from the steerage?
- Coming round from aft to forward.
2130. And moving forward?
- They had to go forward to get to the boats.
2131. When you say you saw them coming up, what was it they were doing? Where were they coming?
- They were going towards the two boats; there were only the two boats left.
2132. There is a stairway, or a gangway, or something, I suppose, is there?
- I cannot say.
2133. You did not actually see them mounting a stairway or a gangway?
2134. When you did there were only two boats left. I know No. 13 was one; what was the other one?
- No. 15.
2135. That is the last boat on the starboard side?
2136. And those other boats on the starboard that were not left, were they in the water?
- Which boats?
2137. The others on the starboard side?
- I never saw any.
2138. You did not see them?
2139. They had gone?
2140. And by this time what was the position of the ship in the water?
- Her forecastle head was not under.
2141. Can you tell us a little more closely about it? Did you notice?
- I noticed when I got away in the lifeboat it was not under.
2142. Even when you got away in the lifeboat it was not under?
- Even then it was not under.
2143. Now, why did you go to No. 13? I suppose it was the only one?
- I took a walk along the deck. I made my way aft because it was no use going forward.
2144. Had you got a particular boat to which you ought to have gone?
- I never bothered looking.
2145. (The Commissioner.) With reference to that do the men ever bother to look at these lists that are hung up?
- Some do, my Lord, and some do not.
2146. What do the bulk of them do? The bulk of them do not, I suppose?
- No, my Lord.
2147. Am I right?
- That is right, my Lord.
2148. (The Solicitor-General.) Are you able to tell us the time when you got to No. 13?
- No. As a Rule a stoker never carries a watch when he is at work.
2149. I got an impression that you could for some reason?
2150. Now when you got to No. 13 just tell us what you found about that boat - whether she was filled or empty, and all that?
- She was just on getting filled.
2151. What sort of people were they in her?
- Five-sixths were women.
This is No. 13?
2152. (The Solicitor-General.) Yes, my Lord, the same boat that Beauchamp spoke of. (To the Witness.) Do you know the fireman Beauchamp?
2153. He is in your section, I think?
2154. No. 6. Was he already in the boat?
- I never took that much notice. I did not notice him in the boat till morning; it was too dark.
2155. Was there any Officer in this boat?
2156. After you got up to her did any more people get in?
- Yes, there were about three more got in after I got in, and the order was given from the boat deck, "Let no more in that boat; the falls will break."
2157. That order was given from the deck above, I suppose?
- From the deck above.
2158. Are you able to tell us who gave you that order?
- I could not exactly tell you.
2159. But you heard the order given?
2160. When that order was given, "Let no more in that boat," was the boat lowered?
- Only just where the people were getting in; it was lowered to the deck below the boat deck.
2161. What happened to it after that?
- It was lowered away.
2162. (The Commissioner.) Which deck did you get into the boat from?
- From the deck below the boat deck.
2163. Was it lowered partly full and stopped again at your deck?
- I could not tell you, my Lord, because the majority were in when I got up.
2164. You mean to say you do not know from what deck the people got into the boat?
- I could not tell you.
2165. But you got in from the deck below the boat deck?
2166. (The Solicitor-General.) And as I understand, two or three other people got in after you?
2167. And then this order was given?
2168. I think Beauchamp told us (he was in the boat) that as it was being lowered down the side the main discharge from the engine room threatened to swamp the boat?
2169. It was somewhere opposite the rear funnel, was it not?
2170. Then there was one other boat on the starboard side still, No. 15; what was happening to that at this time?
- It was getting lowered about 30 seconds after us. It was coming on top of us.
2171. It was coming on top of you. Just tell us about that shortly?
- Yes. When we found the discharge was coming out we stopped lowering and all the hose was tied up in the boat. I had a knife and I cut the hose adrift and shoved two oars over the forward end to shove the lifeboat off the ship's side. We got into the water and there was a bit of a current and it drifted us under No. 15 boat, and I sung out "Let go the after fall." Nobody seemed to realise what I was doing. I walked across the women to cut the fall, and the other fall touched my shoulder.
2172. Supposing the ship was going down by the head and No. 15 boat was being lowered, after No. 13 boat was in the water No. 15 boat would tend to get on the top of No. 13?
2173. Then whatever the cause, you say No. 15 was coming on top of you?
2174. Did you get clear?
- We just got clear.
2175. Then what happened to No. 13, the boat you were in?
- We got the oars out. I did not see anybody that was going to take charge of the boat. The rudder was lying in the stern at the bottom, and I shipped the rudder and took charge of the boat till after the "Titanic" sank.
2176. And then did you take charge of her after the "Titanic" sank?
- No. I gave the tiller to somebody else because I was too cold; I could not feel my limbs. I had only thin gear on, coming out of the fire room. Some woman put a cloak over me, and I do not know what happened then.
2177. Now can you tell us how many people were in your boat - how many men and how many women and how many of the crew?
- I could not tell you exactly.
2178. Tell us as near as you can?
- I could give a rough idea - 70 all told.
2179. Can you tell us how many of the crew there were?
- I could not; the crew mostly consisted of stewards.
2180. There was yourself and there was Beauchamp the fireman?
- Yes. I think there was another fireman, but I am not sure; I cannot say for certain.
2181. There may have been another fireman; that would make a leading stoker and two firemen. Were there some stewards?
2182. Do you know how many or about how many?
- No idea.
2183. You must have some idea?
- Judging by the majority, because they were sitting six on a thwart, two inside of each oar, and the man pulling made a third one. He could not pull; he was only just dipping the oar into the water.
2184. Because they were sitting six on a thwart?
2185. You say five-sixths were women?
2186. Were there any children?
- There were two - I am not sure whether there were two or one.
2187. You have told us you saw some third class passengers coming up to where these boats were, as far as you know. Had you got some of those third class passengers in your boat?
- All the women were getting up in the boat at the last of it, and the women were there till there was no more. The men stood all in one line when I was getting up there. I saw them standing in one line, as if at attention waiting for an order to get into the boat, against the back of the house.
2188. Was there good order on deck?
2189. Did you see who was keeping them back, if anybody was?
- I did not.
2190. Was there any Officer there?
2191. They were keeping good order without him?
2192. You say you had got about 70 people in your boat. Did you pick up anybody out of the sea or not?
2193. Had you any room to?
2194. There are two or three questions we ask everybody about these boats; I will put them to you. As far as you know, was there any compass in this boat No. 13?
- I did not look.
2195. At any rate, no compass was used as far as you know?
- The only thing I looked for was a light.
2196. Was there any light in the boat?
2197. Was there any water?
- I did not look.
- I did not look.
2199. I gather, Barrett, really, that you felt the cold so much that you do not remember very much?
- No, I remember the ship went down.
2200. You remember the ship going down?
- Yes; then I must have fallen asleep.
2201. You said one of the women put a cloak over you?
2202. We know that the fires were lit in No. 5, and I suppose in No. 6, your section. Were all the fires lit in the ship?
2203. Do you know how many sections were lit?
- The first two days when she left Southampton there were nine boilers out. The next two days there were eight out.
2204. When you say they were out, do you mean they were not lit?
- They were not lit.
2205. And on the day of the accident were there eight boilers not in use?
- I could not exactly say about how many were not in use. There were either eight or five; I can say sure for five.
2206. Would you know at all anything about the number of revolutions they were making or the pace they were going?
- Seventy-five was my order.
2207. Seventy-five were your orders?
2208. I do not quite understand what you mean by saying it is your orders?
- The second engineer gives orders to me of the revolutions he wants, and I pass the word to all my other men.
2209. Then do you hear in the stoke-room if you are not making the revolutions?
- They ring through on the telephone.
2210. And the order was 75 revolutions, was it?
2211. Were you making 75?
- I could not tell you that because it is a long way to walk. I never used the passage to the engine room.
2212. You never heard a complaint?
- No, I heard no complaints.
2213. Can you tell us, is 75 revolutions what you had been doing during that day, or ordered to?
- I got the order the day before.
2214. You got the order the day before?
2215. On the Saturday; and how many revolutions had you been doing before that?
- Just the same, I think.
2216. Then, so far as you know, the order for the number of revolutions was the same up to the accident?
2217. Then as far as you know there was no reduction in speed?
- There were two main boilers lit up on the Sunday morning, but I could not tell you whether they were connected with the others or not.
2218. You mean two main boilers which had not been lit up before?
- Yes, they were lit up.
2219. That is extra?