British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 5

Testimony of George Cavell, cont.

4338. (The Solicitor-General.) Probably he can tell us. (To the Witness.) Do you remember whether when you got to this lower deck there were windows that had to be opened, or whether it was clear?
- No.

4339. Which was it?
- All clear.

4340. Then you called for more people there, did you?
- Yes.

4341. And how many people came there?
- Crowds of them.

4342. Did more come than you could take in?
- No.

4343. For more than you could take in?
- No.

4344. How many do you think you took in from the lower deck?
- We took in about sixty, Sir.

4345. (The Commissioner.) That is in addition to the five that you had taken from the boat deck, from the upper deck?
- Yes.

4346. (The Solicitor-General.) From deck A?
- Yes.

4347. Perhaps you can tell us this - when you were ordered in at the boat deck you and five others, was there nobody in the boat already?
- No.

4348. It was empty?
- Yes.

4349. Then you made the first five to get into it?
- Yes.

4350. Then it was lowered to the A deck and you took in about how many?
- Five.

4351. About five more?
- Yes.

4352. That would make ten?
- Yes.

4353. And then you are lowered to the lower deck, and you take in you think about 60?
- Yes.

4354. That would make about 70?
- Yes.

4355. Do you say that you took in everybody who came at that time at the lower deck?
- Yes.

4356. You left nobody behind?
- No, Sir.

4357. Can you tell me about these 60 - first of all were they men or women?
- All women and children.

4358. Were there no men about?
- Yes, Sir.

4359. You did not take them in?
- No, Sir.

4360. Were they on this same lower deck?
- Yes.

4361. How was that, were they standing back?
- Yes.

4362. Did you see anybody there keeping order?
- No.

4363. Were the men passengers, or stewards, or crew, or what?
- They seemed to be third class passengers.

4364. That is what you thought they were?
- Yes.

4365. And they were standing back, were they?
- Yes.

4366. And as far as you could see were all the women and children from there taken on board?
- Yes.

4367. When you say they were third class passengers what makes you think so?
- I generally know the difference between a third class passenger and a second.

4368. At this rate, you did not take any second class passengers into your boat?
- Not to my knowledge, Sir.

4369. (The Commissioner.) You think that the 60 women you took were all third class passengers?
- Yes, my Lord.

The Solicitor-General:
Of course, the deck he is speaking of is, undoubtedly, a second class deck.

The Commissioner:

4370. (The Solicitor-General.) That was your impression, was it?
- Yes.

4371. These women that you think came from the third class, were some of them foreigners?
- They were Irish girls.

4372. It is a nice question whether they are foreigners or not? Then, your boat, I suppose, was as full as it would hold, was it?
- Yes.

4373. Who took charge of it?
- One of the firemen.

4374. What is his name?
- Diamond.

4375. Then there was you, and were there only three others of the crew?
- Four.

4376. Four others?
- Yes.

4377. Diamond and yourself, and four others?
- Three more.

4378. I thought so - Diamond, yourself and three others?
- Yes.

4379. Were the other three firemen too?
- Yes.

4380. You pulled away from the ship a bit?
- Yes.

4381. I do not propose to go into the details of this, my Lord, because it is simply duplicating previous evidence, and you were picked up by the "Carpathia"?
- Yes.

4382. Had you got any room on your boat to take on board anybody more?
- No.

4383. Perhaps I might just ask you this as there is a statement about it. Did you hear, or do you know at all from your No. 4 section what was the pressure of steam you were to get to?
- 225 lbs. steam.

4384. Was that the order?
- That was not the order. That is what steam there was.

4385. 225 lbs.?
- Yes.

4386. You must explain it to me; how do you know that?
- By the gauge.

4387. Do you mean you read the gauge yourself?
- Yes.

4388. The gauge would be near the boiler?
- Alongside the boiler.

4389. And when was it do you think that you read that gauge?
- Just before I went into the bunker.

4390. You did?
- Yes.

4391. Is that your regular course to look at the gauge before you go into the bunker?
- No.

4392. But you think you remember that?
- Yes.

4393. When was it that you went into the bunker; what was your watch?
- 8 to 12 watch.

4394. You started work at 8, did you?
- Yes.

4395. Do you remember about the gauge at any other time during this trip?
- We had orders to keep 200 lbs. steam.

4396. You heard that those were the orders, to keep 200 lbs.?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
Have you no better evidence on this point than this?

The Solicitor-General:
I put the question because I saw there was a reference to it in the statement he had made, but I quite recognise it is not the best evidence.

The Attorney-General:
All the engineers are drowned. We are getting the best evidence we can.

The Commissioner:
Were there any engineers saved?

The Attorney-General:
No, all the engineers were drowned. They all remained at the bottom of the vessel.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

4397. Are you quite sure that you noticed on the gauge an indication of 225 lbs. steam?
- Yes.

4398. Do you know that those engines are only designed for a working pressure of 215 lbs.?
- No.

4399. The boilers, of course, you are referring to?
- Yes.

4400. Can you say what length of time elapsed from the collision until you first went into the alleyway when you saw the third class passengers?
- About an hour and a half.

4401. And do you say they seemed to be wet through then?
- Oh, no. It was just on two hours by the time I saw them wet through.

4402. How long was it when you went up to the alleyway and saw those third class passengers and they seemed to be wet through?
- I give about two hours for that time.

4403. Two hours had elapsed then?
- Yes.

4404. In what direction were those passengers going?
- Right aft.

4405. When you found water in this compartment, No. 4, in which you were working were the pumps being used?
- I do not know about the pumps.

4406. Could you see when you were leaving compartment No. 4 whether the watertight door had been shut or not?
- The door was shut.

4407. You are quite sure it was shut?
- Yes.

4408. (The Commissioner.) Which door is this?

4409. (Mr. Scanlan.) Are you referring to the watertight door between compartment 3 and compartment 4?
- Between 4 and 5.

The Commissioner:
There is no suggestion that that was open.

4410. (Mr. Scanlan.) No, my Lord. (To the Witness.) You know the corresponding watertight door between 3 and 4. Had you sufficient light at the time you were leaving No. 4 by the escape ladder to see whether or not that door was closed?
- You cannot see that door from that stokehold.

4411. You could not see it from the stokehold?
- No.

4412. (The Commissioner.) It is down a little tunnel?
- Yes.

4413. (Mr. Scanlan.) You would not be in a position at any time to see whether it had been opened or not?
- No.

4414. Do I gather from what you have told us that the crew in this lifeboat, No. 15, was yourself, Diamond and three firemen?
- Yes.

4415. Any sailormen at all?
- No sailormen.

4416. Was there anyone in that boat, No. 15, who knew about managing a boat?
- Five of we crew did.

4417. Who took charge of her?
- Diamond.

4418. And is Diamond a trimmer?
- A fireman.

4419. Had you sufficient of a crew to row safely?
- We done our best, which we did; we managed her.

4420. Had you difficulty?
- No, not to say difficulty.

4421. Had you ever been called to a boat station - I take it you had not - on the "Titanic"?
- No. The only boat drill as I ever had was when we went to New York, on Sunday morning.

4422. But none on the "Titanic"?
- No.

4423. Did you usually have boat drill on the other boats you have been on?
- No.

4424. On any boat?
- No.

4425. What other boats have you been on?
- The "Adriatic," the "Oceanic" and the "Olympic."

4426. All White Star boats?
- Yes.

4427. Do you mean to tell us that on none of those boats at any time have you had boat drill?
- Only when we have been at New York for the week.

4428. For the weekend?
- When we have stopped there a week we go up there on a Sunday.

4429. Has it not been a practice on the White Star ships to muster the men to their stations?
- I never had one yet.

4430. You have never been to a station?
- No.

4431. How long have you been on the White Star?
- Eighteen months.

4432. Prior to that had you been on any other lines?
- No.

4433. That is your whole experience of the sea?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. ROCHE.

4434. What engineer was in charge of your section?
- The engineer I think on our watch was Mr. Harrison.

4435. Did you see him when you came out of the bunker and went up the escape ladder?
- No.

4436. The fires were still going when you left?
- Not going, we drew what we could.

4437. You drew them?
- Yes.

4438. Before you went up?
- After I came down again - not the first time.

4439. Was Mr. Harrison still there then?
- No, Mr. Farquharson was the only engineer I saw.

4440. Mr. Harrison was not there and Mr. Farquharson was then in the engine room?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. HARBINSON.

4441. There were a great number of third class passengers on the liner?
- Yes.

4442. Did you hear or see anybody giving them instructions where to go to?
- The stewards I did.

4443. Did you see stewards?
- Yes.

4444. What did you hear them say?
- They were telling them to keep calm.

4445. Did they seem to be excited?
- The passengers did.

4446. They were proceeding aft?
- Yes.

4447. How long was it from the time you saw these passengers in the alleyway until you got into the boat on the boat deck?
- About two hours.

4448. Two hours afterwards?
- Yes.

4449. During the intervening time you had been down below?
- Yes.

4450. You do not know what took place in the interval?
- No.

4451. When you came on to the boat deck you saw no one there?
- No.

4452. On the first class deck you took all the women and children?
- Yes.

4453. Were there many men left on the third class deck?
- No, very few.

4454. How do you know?
- From what we saw there.

4455. You were in the boat?
- Yes.

4456. You did not go on to the deck?
- No.

4457. So that all your knowledge is confined to what you saw from the boat?
- Yes.

4458. You say the men were standing back?
- Yes.

4459. Was any one keeping them back?
- Not to my knowledge.

4460. Could any one have been keeping them back without you knowing?
- No.

4461. You say so. A number of them were Irish?
- Yes.

4462. Were not there windows between the third class deck and where you were in the boat?
- No.

4463. No windows; space clear?
- Yes.

4464. You could see all who were on the third class deck?
- Yes.

4465. Did you see any people further aft than the position you were in the boat?
- No.

4466. Did you look?
- No.

4467. Have you any idea as to how many of these passengers were Irish?
- Most of them.

4468. Most of the people who were left behind?
- I could not say what was left behind.

4469. On the deck?
- I cannot say.

4470. But a number of Irish were with you in the boat?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. LEWIS.

4471. With regard to the inspection at Southampton, do the trimmers take part in that at all?
- Which?

4472. The ordinary Board of Trade inspection?
- No.

4473. They take no part whatever in it?
- No.

4474. There is a boat list placed on board?
- I never saw it.

4475. Did you look for it?
- Yes.

4476. You looked for it and could not see it?
- Yes.

4477. Did you have any difficulty in lowering your boat - boat 15?
- No.

4478. Was there a plug in your boat?
- We tried to find a plug.

4479. Could you find it?
- I do not know whether they did or not. I know they asked for matches to find it. Whether they found it or not I could not say.

4480. They must have found something, I suppose. It evidently had a plug in or else you would have gone down?
- You could put your hand over it.

4481. Was that done, do you know?
- I cannot say.

The Commissioner:
The boat did not go to the bottom?

4482. (Mr. Lewis.) No; so I understand, my Lord. (To the Witness.) You do not know whether a cork was thrown into the boat?
- No.

4483. Anyway, there was a difficulty in finding the plug. With regard to these third class passengers, you said when you came from your bunker that there were a large number hurrying on deck?
- Yes.

4484. And then when you went to this boat deck there were very few of them?
- Yes.

4485. Where do you imagine they went?
- I should think they was in the boats. I never see them any more.

4486. If they were not in the boats, where do you think they went. Where were they going?
- They were going right aft to the boat deck, the best way.

4487. How many were on watch at the time in your division?
- There were ten firemen.

4488. What is a complete watch - 70 or 80, is not it?
- Over that.

4489. 83?
- About that.

4490. How many were saved?
- Seven.

Mr. Lewis:
7 out of 83.

Examined by Mr. LAING.

4491. When you left your section No. 4 to go to the boat deck, did you pass along the alleyway?
- Yes.

4492. Was there water in it?
- No.

4493. None at all?
- No.

4494. I mean the last time you went up?
- I never saw any.

4495. There were five men in this boat. What did you do - lay to your oars?
- Yes.

4496. Was that all you did?
- Yes.

4497. That was all you wanted to do, was not it?
- Yes.

Further examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL.

4498. Did you see any lists like these up on the boat (Showing lists.)?
- No.

4499. You did not see any?
- No.

4500. Do you know whether any of the others had their boat stations?
- I cannot say.

4501. Did you never hear anything about boat stations the whole time you were abroad?
- No.

(The Witness withdrew.)