British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 5

Testimony of Thomas P. Dillon, cont.

3849. You remained where you were until the ship sank?
- No.

3850. Well, what did you do?
- I went on to the poop.

3851. Was she getting low in the water then?
- Yes.

3852. Were there many others on the poop besides yourself?
- Yes.

3853. Any passengers?
- Yes.

3854. Any women?
- No.

3855. How long did you wait on the poop? Until the ship actually sank?
- Yes.

3856. How did you get off the ship?
- I left her in the water.

3857. (The Commissioner.) Am I to understand that you were actually on board the "Titanic" when she went down?
- Yes, my Lord.

3858. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Before the ship actually went down did you see her make any movements?
- Yes, she took one final plunge and righted herself again.

3859. She gave a plunge and righted herself again?
- Yes.

3860. Did you notice anything about the funnel?
- Not then.

3861. Did you afterwards notice something about the funnel?
- Yes.

3862. What?
- When she went down.

3863. Was that after you had left the ship?
- Before I left the ship.

3864. What did you notice?
- Well, the funnel seemed to cant up towards me.

3865. It seemed to fall aft?
- Yes; it seemed to fall up this way.

3866. Was that the aftermost funnel?
- Yes.

3867. Did you get the idea that the ship was breaking in two?
- No.

3868. Did the funnel seem to fall towards you?
- Yes.

3869. (The Commissioner.) That is the after funnel?
- Yes, my Lord.

3870. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Then you say the ship plunged and righted herself again; and was it then that you dived into the water?
- I did not dive into the water.

3871. How did you get off the ship into the water?
- I went down with the ship, and shoved myself away from her into the water.

3872. Were you sucked down at all?
- About two fathoms.

3873. And did you then come up again to the surface?
- I seemed to get lifted up to the surface.

3874. You got lifted up to the surface?
- Yes.

3875. Were you picked up by one of the boats?
- Yes.

3876. Do you know which one?
- Afterwards I found out; it was No. 4 boat.

3877. Did you have to swim far? Were you swimming long in the water before you were picked up?
- I suppose about twenty minutes.

3878. Did you see any of the other passengers in the water - any other people in the water of any sort?
- Yes.

3879. Many?
- About a thousand.

3880. Were there any others near the boat when you were picked up?
- I do not know.

3881. (The Commissioner.) Did you say "I saw about one thousand people in the water"?
- From my estimation, my Lord.

3882. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) When you came up again, after you were sucked down - you told us you were sucked down and came up again - was the ship still floating then?
- No.

3883. She had sunk when you came up again?
- Well, I saw what I thought would be the afterpart of her coming up and going down again, final.

3884. Then she had not sunk?
- She came up and went down again.

3885. You saw what you thought was the afterpart coming up again?
- I thought it was the ship coming up again. She came up and went down again - finish.

3886. You were picked up by boat No. 4?
- I found out it was No. 4 afterwards.

3887. Did you see any women in the water?
- No.

3888. Was there anyone round about boat No. 4 in the water when you were picked up?
- I do not know.

3889. I suppose you were probably very exhausted by that time?
- Yes.

3890. When you got into the boat, I think you became unconscious?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

3891. Did you ascertain how many people were in No. 4 boat?
- No.

3892. At any time before you were rescued by the "Carpathia"?
- No.

3893. Did you know before you left the ship - before she sank - whether all of what you call the life-rafts, the Englehardt collapsible boats had been used?
- I do not know.

3894. With regard to those watertight doors, is it the case that when you pass, say, from the engine room into No. 1 boiler room, you can open the door from the engine room, but you cannot shut it from the boiler room?
- I do not know.

Mr. Scanlan:
You do not understand me.

Examined by Mr. HARBINSON.

3895. I think this was your first trip on this boat?
- Yes.

3896. So you did not know very much about it?
- No.

3897. When you came aft, after going through boiler rooms 2, 3 and 4, you stopped at 4?
- Yes, I stopped at 4; I think it was No. 4.

3898. That was to allow all the others to go through - the other engineers to come back?
- All the engineers were working in the stokehold.

3899. That is why you opened the doors?
- Yes.

3900. Were they all through when you came back; had they come aft?
- In my estimation I suppose they did.

3901. But were you the last to come aft?
- No.

3902. There were others behind you?
- They came in a bunch.

3903. Do you know why the doors were left open; why no attempt was made to close them?
- No.

3904. You do not know?
- No.

3905. Had you a lifebelt?
- Yes.

3906. Had you it on?
- Not then I did not.

3907. You say when you came up to the well deck there were a great number of people there, men?
- Yes.

3908. Had they all lifebelts?
- In my estimation they had.

3909. Most of them?
- Yes.

3910. What class of passengers did these seem to be?
- Steerage passengers.

3911. All steerage passengers?
- Yes.

3912. But there were no boats for them?
- No; the last one was being lowered.

Examined by Mr. EDWARDS.

3913. From the time that the ship struck until you came back from No. 4 boiler section, what time elapsed?
- About an hour and forty minutes.

3914. At that time some water was coming through in No. 4 boiler section?
- Yes.

3915. As you came back was there any water at all coming in at No. 3, or No. 2, or No. 1?
- No.

3916. From the time that you left the engine room until you started back from No. 4 boiler section what time elapsed?
- From the time I left the engine room till the time I came back from No. 4 section what time elapsed.

3917. Yes?
- An hour and ten minutes.

3918. Did you report to anybody in the engine room that you had seen water coming through in No. 4 boiler section?
- No.

3919. Did anyone report, to your knowledge?
- No, all the engineers were working there.

3920. (The Commissioner.) Do you mean by that that they all knew it?
- Yes.

3921. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Did you hear any orders given, before you left, to reclose the watertight doors?
- No.

Examined by Mr. LEWIS.

3922. I believe you have had experience as a sailor as well as a trimmer?
- Yes.

3923. Did you have a boat number given to you or a boat place in precisely the same way as you would as a sailor?
- No.

3924. How long were you waiting on the poop, waiting for the boat to go down?
- About 50 minutes.

3925. From your position could you see the passengers?
- Yes.

3926. You could see the passengers?
- Yes.

3927. Was there any commotion all this time on the part of the passengers?
- No.

3928. They were simply waiting?
- Yes.

3929. Expecting the boat to go down?
- Yes.

3930. No disorder whatever?
- No.

3931. When you were taken into the boat what condition were you in? Were you picked up unconscious?
- Unconscious.

3932. When you came to what did you find?
- I was not properly right when I came to.

3933. Whom did you find with you in the boat?
- Lyons lying on top of me, a seaman, and a passenger lying on top of me dead.

3934. Do you know the seaman?
- One was Lyons.

3935. Were you in the hospital some time after you were taken on board the "Carpathia"?
- Yes.

3936. Do you remember the fire in the bunker?
- I remember working in a bunker.

3937. Do you remember the fire in a bunker?
- Yes.

3938. Did you help to clear out the coal?
- Yes.

3939. You were ordered to do so, I presume?
- Yes.

3940. Would you call it a serious fire?
- I do not know.

3941. Did it take some time to put out?
- Yes.

3942. Did you see the sides of the bunker after the coal was taken out?
- No.

3943. You did not see whether it was painted afterwards?
- No.

Examined by Mr. LAING.

3944. How many boilers are there in No. 1 section?
- Five.

3945. And none of the boilers in No. 1 section was alight at all?
- No.

3946. Did you see the engine room telegraph?
- No.

3947. How are you able to tell us what orders came down?
- By the telegraph ringing.

3948. But the ring would not tell you, would it?
- It would tell me that the telegraph rang.

3949. Yes it would, but it would not tell you what order came down at all?
- No.

Re-examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL.

3950. In No. 1 boiler room are the five boilers single ended boilers?
- Yes.

3951. In No. 2 they are double ended?
- I do not know.

The Attorney-General:
If your Lordship will look at the plan, your Lordship will see it quite clearly and what he did. You will see the watertight doors marked which he went through. Plan No. 3 is the one that contains the decks from the saloon deck, through the various decks E., F., G., down to the tank top. If you look at the lowest of them "Tank top" you see there "Reciprocating Engine," then you see five engine boilers in No. 1 boiler room; and then if you notice there you will see a watertight door, very small, between the two coal sections. Then you pass through that into No. 2 boiler room. There you have the five double-ended boilers, and then again through that through a watertight door into No. 3 boiler room, where there are again five double-ended boilers; again through a watertight door into No. 4 boiler room for the five double-ended boilers, and that is where he stops.

The Commissioner:
He saw water coming up through the floor plates of that No. 4.

3952. (The Attorney-General.) Yes. Your Lordship will remember it is in the next compartment No. 5 that Barrett and this man were. (To the Witness.) You went through Nos. 2, 3 and 4 boiler rooms?
- Yes.

3953. You have told us, I think, in No. 1 boiler room - that is with the single-ended boilers - the fires were not alight?
- Yes.

3954. Were they alight in the others, Nos. 2, 3 and 4?
- Yes.

3955. So far as you know all the fires were alight except the five single-ended boilers in No. 1 boiler room?
- Yes.

3956. Could you alone raise one of these watertight doors?
- No.

3957. Could you do it by yourself?
- I do not know.

3958. How many of you went through the watertight doors from boiler room to boiler room?
- There were seven of us working in the engine room.

3959. But how many of you went? First of all you went from the engine room to No. 1 boiler room?
- Yes.

3960. You went through a watertight door for that purpose?
- Yes.

3961. How many of you went through that watertight door when you did?
- About six or seven - seven.

3962. How many of you helped to open the watertight door?
- As we got into each section the men were in it, in their own boiler rooms. At No. 1 boiler room we had to lift the door up, and when we got to the next section there were men belonging to that section in it.

3963. You lifted No. 1; how many of you did it?
- Three - three on the pump.

3964. What did you do it with? How did you do it?
- With a pump handle.

3965. You turned that?
- Yes.

3966. Was it two or three turned that handle?
- Two or three.

3967. When you had got into No. 1 boiler room, who told you to go into No. 2?
- We had to open the doors and we had to work through.

3968. And you continued through to No. 4?
- Yes.

3969. Were you told to stop then?
- Yes.

3970. Who told you to stop?
- One of the engineers.

3971. What did you understand this was being done for? Why were you opening these watertight doors and going through these boiler rooms? What was the object of it?
- To allow the engineers to get at the pumps and valves, I think.

3972. Did you know at all why you did not go into No. 5 boiler room?
- Yes, I had an idea.

3973. Why?
- On account of the water - too much water.

3974. You think that was why?
- Yes.

3975. Did you hear anything about that at the time you were in No. 4 boiler room? I mean, did you hear that you were not to go into No. 5 because there was too much water, when you were in No. 4 boiler room?
- No.

3976. Then how do you know?
- Well, I judged that. In my own estimation I thought that was the reason we did not open the door, because there was too much water in No. 5.

The Attorney-General:
I have a notice which I will read, so as to get it on the note, which my friend has handed me. It is a notice which is pasted on the bridge on the watertight door apparatus.

The Commissioner:
Where the button is?

The Attorney-General:
Yes. "In case of emergency, to close watertight doors on tank top, press bell; push for 10 seconds to give alarm; then move switch to 'on' position and keep it there. Note: Doors cannot, however, be operated mechanically whilst switch is on."

The Commissioner:
That means that the switch must have been taken off?

The Attorney-General:
Yes.

The Commissioner:
Before these doors could be opened by the handle in the way described by the Witness?

The Attorney-General:
Yes; that is as I understand it.

The Commissioner:
My recollection is that there is the same notice on the "Olympic."

The Attorney-General:
That may be.

The Commissioner:
I think I remember reading it.

The Attorney-General:
My friend will correct me if it is wrong, or Mr. Wilding, but as I understand the effect will be that when the bell is pressed and the switch is on, then the watertight doors to the tank top come down. They cannot be raised again from there. They must be raised, I suppose, down below. That is right?

Mr. Laing:
Yes.

The Attorney-General:
They would have to be raised down below one at a time. When you have released the clutch at the top they drop by gravity.

The Commissioner:
I do not know that there is any significance in it at all, but those doors which he opened were never closed again.

The Attorney-General:
I understand not from what he says. Those are the 12 doors which are operated from the bridge, which communicate in that way, closing the tank top. Your Lordship will remember the question was asked - I am only saying it so that we can have it clear - at one stage you did ask the question about the closing of the watertight doors from the bridge.

The Commissioner:
I did.

The Attorney-General:
Since then you have seen the "Olympic." The effect would be that these watertight doors could only be closed with this pressure on the button from the bridge - that is, the 12 to which we are now referring. There are 12 on the tank top.

The Commissioner:
There are 12 doors that are closed automatically.

The Attorney-General:
That is right, from the switch.

3977. (The Commissioner.) There is a question that one of my colleagues wants cleared up. (To the Witness.) You said that you supposed you did not go from No. 4 into No. 5 because there was a large quantity of water in No. 5?
- Yes, my Lord.

3978. You remember saying that just now?
- Yes.

3979. Is that a conclusion that you have arrived at, that there was a large quantity of water in No. 5, since the accident, or did you think it was the fact when you were in No. 4, and that was the reason? Did you then think that that was the reason for not going into No. 5?
- Yes, my Lord.

3980. You thought then when you were in No. 4 that the reason you were not ordered to go into No. 5 was that there was a great deal of water there?
- Yes.

The Attorney-General:
I understood him to mean that, my Lord.

(The Witness withdrew.)