British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 5

Testimony of Thomas P. Dillon

Examined by Mr. RAYMOND ASQUITH.

3708. You were a trimmer on the "Titanic," were you not?
- Yes.

3709. I suppose your duties as a trimmer would be in the engine room?
- Yes.

3710. Were you on duty in the engine room on the night of the accident?
- Yes.

3711. Is there more than one engine room?
- I do not know.

3712. I see on the plan immediately after the last boiler there is a compartment marked "Reciprocating engine." Is that where you were?
- That is where I understand I was - in the engine room. I have never been down below before; it was my first trip down below.

3713. Would you be in a coal bunker, or where?
- In the engine room where the main engines are.

3714. What were you doing there? What were your duties there?
- I belonged to the upper section, but the upper section of boilers was not lit up, and they sent us to the engine room to assist in cleaning the gear.

3715. Did you feel the shock when the ship struck?
- Slightly.

3716. And shortly before that had the telegraph rung?
- Yes.

3717. Can you say at all how long before she struck that was?
- Two seconds.

3718. What was the order given by the telegraph?
- I could not tell you.

3719. You just heard it ring. Then a few seconds after that you felt a slight shock?
- Yes.

3720. Was anything done to the engines? Did they stop or did they go on?
- They stopped.

3721. Was that immediately after you felt the shock or some little time after?
- About a minute and a half.

3722. Did they continue stopped or did they go on again after that?
- They went slow astern.

3723. How long were they stopped for before they began to go slow astern?
- About half a minute.

3724. For how long did they go slow astern?
- About two minutes.

3725. Two or three did you say?
- Two minutes.

3726. And then did they stop again?
- Yes.

3727. And did they go on again after that?
- They went ahead again.

3728. For how long?
- For about two minutes.

3729. Then did they stop the boat after that?
- Yes.

3730. Who else was in the engine room? Were there a number of engineers there?
- Yes.

3731. Can you remember who they were?
- I did not know their names.

3732. What did they do when the ship struck?
- They rushed to their stations, the pumps and valves, I understand.

3733. They set the pumps in motion?
- I could not tell you.

3734. Was anything done about the watertight compartments?
- Yes.

3735. Were they closed?
- In the meantime.

3736. How soon after the ship struck was that done?
- Three minutes.

3737. Did you receive any orders from the engineer?
- Yes.

3738. What order?
- The next order we got was to get out of the engine room and into the stokehold and open the doors.

3739. Open what doors?
- The watertight doors or watertight compartments.

3740. Was that possible; could you do it?
- We assisted to do it.

3741. As I understand it the watertight doors had been closed from the bridge?
- Yes.

3742. Could you open them from below?
- One leading from the engine room to the stokehold was lifted up high enough by hand to let us get underneath.

3743. You could open them by hand?
- Yes, by a pump.

3744. (The Commissioner.) By a pump; what is the meaning of that?
- The pump wheel.

3745. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Did you open the watertight doors?
- Yes, I assisted to open them as far as we could forward.

3746. And did you go into the stokehold?
- Yes.

3747. Do you know which stokehold that would be?
- The after-stokehold.

3748. The one immediately forward of the engine room?
- Yes.

3749. Were the boilers lit in the stokehold?
- No.

3750. None of them?
- No.

3751. Did you go on to the next stokehold?
- Yes.

3752. Where the boilers were lit?
- Yes.

3753. What did you do there?
- Opened the doors - assisted to open the other doors.

3754. Did you do anything to the fires?
- No.

3755. Was an order given you with regard to the fires shortly after that?
- Yes.

3756. What order?
- "Keep steam up."

3757. How long was steam kept up? Can you say?
- I could not tell you how long it was kept up, but that was the order - "Keep steam up."

3758. Subsequently to that was an order given to draw the fires?
- Yes.

3759. Did you assist in carrying out that order?
- No.

3760. Drawing the fires?
- No.

3761. Do you know what fires it had reference to? What fires were to be drawn?
- No.

3762. You do not know in which stokehold the fires were to be drawn?
- I know the order was passed along to the stokehold to draw fires as much as possible.

3763. You were at this time in No. 2 stokehold, were not you?
- Yes.

3764. Were the fires drawn in that?
- I do not know.

3765. Was that the only stokehold you were in?
- No.

3766. What other stokehold were you in?
- As far as No. 6.

3767. That is in all of them. In which ones did you see the fires drawn?
- I did not take notice.

3768. You have told us that you, first of all, went into No. 1 stokehold, where the fires were not lit?
- Yes.

3769. And you then went on into No. 2, where they were lit?
- Yes.

3770. I suppose you lifted up the watertight doors?
- We lifted up the watertight doors and opened them again.

3771. Did you go on from No. 2 to No. 3?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
Mr. Asquith, it is not clear whether you are talking of stokeholds or boiler rooms.

Mr. Raymond Asquith:
I ought to have spoken of boiler sections, I think. I understand there are several stokeholds in each boiler section. What I meant was from one boiler section to another.

The Commissioner:
Will you put your question quite plainly to the Witness, because I am told he may misunderstand.

3772. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Yes, my Lord. (To the Witness.) You told us you first went from the engine room into another compartment, into one of the boiler sections. Is that right?
- Yes.

3773. No. 1 boiler section?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
Now, in order that I may understand, will you take the long pointer, and point out to me and to the Witness where it is.

3774. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Yes, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Can you see this plan?

3775. (The Commissioner.) You can see the plan, cannot you?
- Yes, my Lord.

3776. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) That is the engine room?
- Yes.

3777. You went through a watertight compartment there into that place which is called boiler room No. 1 - is that right?
- Yes.

3778. And there were no fires lit there?
- No.

3779. Then you went through another watertight door into another boiler room?
- Yes.

3780. Were the fires lit there?
- Yes.

3781. Did you go on from that into the third boiler room?
- Yes.

3782. Were fires lit there?
- Yes.

3783. Through another watertight door?
- Yes.

3784. Did you go on from that to the fourth boiler room?
- Yes.

3785. Through another watertight door?
- Yes.

3786. And then through another watertight door into boiler room No. 5?
- No.

3787. You did not?
- No.

3788. You stopped short at that point?
- Yes.

3789. (The Commissioner.) Then you opened three watertight doors in the watertight bulkheads.

The Attorney-General:
Four, that is the evidence; from the engine room first.

3790. (The Commissioner.) Oh, from the engine room first. Then you opened four, did you?
- Yes, my Lord.

3791. And when you came to the afterside of the fifth section, you stopped?
- Yes, my Lord.

3792. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Did you leave the doors open or not as you went through?
- Left them open.

3793. (The Commissioner.) They were not closed again?
- No, my Lord.

3794. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Having gone into No. 4 boiler room, did you go back through the open watertight doors, or what did you do then?
- I did nothing then; I just knocked about.

3795. You afterwards went on deck?
- Yes.

3796. How did you go up? Did you go back through the way you had come?
- Yes, through the engine room.

3797. And when you went back those watertight doors were still open, were they?
- Yes.

3798. (The Commissioner.) Were you ordered to open those doors?
- Yes.

3799. By whom?
- By the chief engineer.

3800. And what did you open them for?
- To allow the engineers to get forward to their duties, the valves and the pumps.

3801. Then am I to understand that the order had come from the bridge to close all the watertight doors, and that they were closed, and that afterwards the chief engineer ordered you to open the doors?
- Yes, my Lord.

The Attorney-General:
What he said was that they were closed automatically from the bridge.

The Commissioner:
Yes, he said they were ordered to be closed from the bridge; they were in fact closed from the bridge.

The Attorney-General:
Yes, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
And although they were closed from the bridge you, under the orders of the chief engineer, opened them?
- Yes, my Lord.

3803. Sufficiently to allow you to get under the door?
- Yes, my Lord.

Mr. Laing:
They have to be released from the bridge; they have to telephone to the bridge and get the catch or clutch on the bridge released so as to allow them to be opened.

3804. (The Commissioner.) That is so, is it? You could only open them with the concurrence of the people on the bridge?
- We opened them by hand.

3805. It is suggested to me - I do not know how it is - that you cannot open them by hand unless some catch or something of the kind is operated on the bridge to allow you to do so.

The Attorney-General:
That would be done by the chief engineer; he would telephone up, I expect.

The Commissioner:
The chief ngineer would probably telephone up and get the man on the bridge to work the apparatus so that these doors could be opened.

3806. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) You have told us that you came back through those watertight compartments again to the engine room. Did you remain in the engine room some little time?
- No.

3807. What did you do then?
- We got the order, "All hands on deck; put your life-preservers on."

3808. Was there a clock in the engine room?
- Yes.

3809. Did you notice what time it was you got that order?
- I noticed the clock, but I did not take any particular notice what time it was. The clock was put back about 20 minutes, I think.

3810. Can you give us any idea of how long it was after the ship had struck that you got the order to go on deck?
- Yes.

3811. About how long was it?
- An hour and 40 minutes.

3812. That would make it about 1 o'clock?
- No.

3813. After that - a quarter-past one?
- Yes.

3814. Did you go up on to the boat deck?
- No.

3815. Where did you go?
- I kept on the well deck.

3816. Did you see any water before you went up in any of the boiler rooms or the engine room?
- Yes, there was water coming in forward.

3817. The furthest point forward you reached was No. 4 boiler section?
- Yes.

3818. Was it coming in there?
- Yes.

3819. Where was it coming in?
- Coming from underneath.

3820. From underneath the floor?
- Yes.

3821. And from what part of the floor, the forward part or the afterpart?
- The forward part.

3822. Did it come in large quantities or only in small quantities?
- Small quantities.

3823. Was there any depth of water standing on the floor?
- No.

3824. Do you mean the floor was just damp? That is all.

3825. And it seemed to be coming through the floor?
- Yes.

3826. Did you see any coming through the side of the ship at all?
- I never noticed.

3827. Was there any water anywhere else in any of the other sections?
- No.

3828. Then you got this order about a quarter-past one and you went up on deck; you say the well deck. Did you see any passengers on the well deck?
- Yes.

3829. Men or women, or both?
- Men and about two women; they just put them into the last boat; the last boat was getting lowered.

3830. You actually saw the last boat go off?
- No.

3831. What do you mean when you say you saw the women put into the last boat that was lowered?
- I did not lower it. I was on the starboard side of the well deck when I came up, and I saw two women there. They were singing out, "Any more women?" and there were two more, and we chased them up on to the boat deck. The last boat to leave was on the port side.

3832. (The Commissioner.) Are you talking of the aft well deck?
- Yes, my Lord.

3833. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) When you say the last boat, do you mean the aftermost boat or the last boat to leave from the ship?
- The last boat to leave from the ship.

3834. Do you know the number of that boat?
- No.

3835. Can you point it out on the model there?
- No.

3836. It was a boat on the port side?
- Yes, because I could see they were chasing the women on to the port side. We stopped where we were. It was no use us going there.

3837. You could see after that boat left there were no other boats left on the ship?
- Yes.

3838. Can you point out what was the situation on the ship of the boat that you saw leave, the last boat?
- No.

3839. (The Commissioner.) It was on the port side, I understand. The boat that you saw leave, the last boat, was on the port side?
- They sung out it was the last boat.

3840. Whichever it was, was it on the port side of the "Titanic"?
- Yes, my Lord.

3841. And was it in the forward part or aft?
- I do not know, my Lord.

3842. Were you on the after well deck when you saw it?
- Yes, my Lord. I heard an order - the last boat was leaving the ship. "Any more women there?" and we chased them up the ladder.

3843. After that boat left did you see a number of passengers standing about still?
- Yes.

3844. Any women?
- No.

3845. I did not quite hear the answer you gave just now. You said something about chasing women up the ladder?
- There were two women on the well deck when we got up from below, and we heard the order - the last boat was leaving the ship. "Are there any more women there?" and we chased them up the ladder.

3846. Up to the boat deck?
- Yes, I suppose they went up there.

3847. And those were the women you saw there on the well deck?
- Two women.

3848. Did you afterwards go up yourself on to the boat deck?
- No.

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