British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 5

Testimony of Charles Hendrickson, cont.

4957. Did you get your lifebelts?
- Yes, we got our lifebelts, and we made our way up.

4958. Did you know what your boat was?
- Yes.

4959. How did you find that out?
- I saw it printed the same day; I saw the printed list up on the bulkhead.

4960. Was it a long list like this? (Exhibiting a list.) - Yes, just the same.

4961. Where did you see this?
- I saw that on the top staircase outside the firemen's quarters.

4962. Do you know when it was put there?
- No.

4963. When did you see it first?
- I saw it on Sunday morning first.

4964. Do you think you would have seen it if it had been there before?
- I could not say that.

4965. (The Commissioner.) What was the number of your boat?
- No. 12.

4966. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Did you look for the list?
- No, I never looked for it.

4967. You just noticed it?
- Yes, I just noticed it and saw my name and saw my boat, and did not trouble any more about it.

4968. Did you go to your boat, No. 12?
- Yes.

4969. That was on the port side of the ship, was it not?
- Yes.

4970. Pretty well aft?
- Yes.

4971. When you got there was it swung out or was it on the chocks?
- It was swung out a little, but not out ready for lowering. It was inclined inwards on the ship's side so that anyone could step into it.

4972. Was any Officer there?
- Yes, when I walked along there I met an Officer, who asked me who I was. I said, "A fireman." "All right, my lad," he said, "get along there," and sent me along. I went along aft.

4973. And you went to your own boat?
- Yes, and there was not anyone there; there were some people along further, getting other boats away and getting into the boats.

4974. What did you do?
- I got hold of a rope with a sailor.

4975. At which boat?
- I could not tell you the number.

4976. Did you do that under anybody's orders particularly?
- No, on my own.

4977. Did you help to lower away?
- Yes, with a sailor.

4978. Was the boat filled?
- No, they were getting filled at the time.

4979. Was it filled before you lowered it away?
- As far as I could see it was.

4980. Filled from the top deck?
- The boat deck.

4981. Did you assist in lowering other boats?
- Yes, about five; I assisted in five boats, getting people into them and lowering them.

4982. All the time you were on the boat deck?
- Yes.

4983. Were there women and children?
- Yes, they were all pretty well mixed up. The women were nearer the ship's side than anyone else, all going along slowly into the boats.

4984. Was there order?
- Oh, everything was very quiet, as if nothing had happened.

4985. Were all the women on that deck put into the boats?
- All they could get hold of were put into the boats; all the women that could be found that were about there in the vicinity.

4986. Could you see any women that were not put into the boats?
- No.

4987. How long were you up on the boat decks lowering boats in this way?
- I could not say; somewhere about three-quarters of an hour or an hour, I should think. I was not taking particular notice.

4988. Had the people lifebelts?
- As far as I could see, yes.

4989. After you had done all this, what happened then?
- As far as I know I saw all those boats away on the port side.

4990. After that what happened next?
- I came and could not see anyone round that I knew, so I took a walk round the other side of the deck, and walked up and down there, and heard the captain say they were to get all the women and children into the boats first. Someone came up and said, "Get the boats away as quickly as possible." Whoever the gentleman was I do not know. Then the captain walked along and gave his orders to the Officers, whoever were there; they were walking up and down to see if they were being carried out.

4991. This was while the boats were being lowered?
- The boats were being lowered at the same time.

4992. Then after the boats were lowered that you had been assisting in, where did you go?
- To the starboard side of the deck.

4993. Did you see any people there?
- Yes, there were not so many there as there were on the other side in the first place. There were a good many there.

4994. Did you do anything on the starboard side?
- The boatswain [Alfred Nichols] called me and asked me to lend him a hand with the boat on the after side of the bridge.

4995. That is this little bridge which is there, No. 1 boat, was it not?
- Yes.

4996. Did you assist to lower that?
- To clear it - to clear the rope away and everything.

4997. Who were there at that boat?
- I could not say; I knew the boatswain was there and an Officer, and at the time the Officer started firing rockets.

4998. Were there some other firemen there?
- I found out afterwards there were.

4999. Did you start to get the boat ready?
- Yes.

5000. How many of you were there at that time?
- I suppose there would be about 20 of us; that would be passengers and crew mixed.

5001. Were there any women?
- I think there were two women there.

5002. Could you tell whether the passengers were first, second or third class, or anything of that sort?
- I could not say.

5003. Were the women put into the boat?
- Yes.

5004. Who also was put in the boat?
- I think it was three gentlemen and two sailors; and this Officer - I do not know who the Officer was - called out, "Are there any more women here?" and there was no answer. He said, "How many seamen are there in the boat?" They said, "Two." He said "Six firemen jump in." I do not suppose there were six firemen there. He said to me, "Jump in," and four got in beside myself.

5005. That was all on the boat deck?
- On the boat deck.

5006. Was the boat then lowered?
- No, it was on the davits; it was swung out ready for lowering. Soon after we got into it the Officer sung out, "Are there any more passengers here?" There was no answer, and he started lowering away. That was after the rockets had been fired.

5007. How far did you lower her?
- Right the way down.

5008. How many people were in her?
- About 12 or 13, I think.

5009. Who was in charge?
- One of the seamen as far as I know.

5010. Do you know his name?
- Symons, or Simmons.

The Commissioner:
Was this No. 12 boat?

5011. (Mr. Rowlatt.) No. 1 boat, the one you see hung out there, the emergency boat. (To the Witness.) Was there any order given to the seaman in charge as to what he was to do with the boat?
- Yes; he was told to stand off a little way and come back when called.

5012. Did you stand off?
- Yes, we stood off a little way pulling around.

5013. How far?
- 150 or 200 yards.

5014. Were you called back?
- No.

5015. You simply lay there?
- Yes, we lay about there, and pulled about.

5016. Did you see the ship sink?
- Yes.

5017. When the ship sank, did you take up anybody else?
- No.

5018. Did not you pick up anybody at all?
- Nobody at all.

5019. After you left the ship's side?
- No. None of them would not go back. I proposed in the boat we should go back, and they would not listen to me.

5020. (The Commissioner.) Who would not?
- None of the passengers or anybody else. It was after the ship had gone then.

5021. Am I to understand, then, when you were picked up by the "Carpathia" there were only 12 people on board?
- Yes.

5022. (Mr. Rowlatt.) How far off were you when the ship went down?
- About 200 yards, as near about as I can make of it.

5023. How many oars had you?
- Four.

5024. (The Commissioner.) And of these twelve how many belonged to the crew?
- Seven.

5025. Then there were only five passengers?
- Five passengers, two seamen I think, and five of us, firemen and trimmers.

5026. Five passengers; what were they, women?
- Two women and three men.

5027. And there were only two women in this boat which held 12?
- Yes.

5028. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Could you make good way through the water - I suppose you could?
- Yes, pretty good.

5029. I must ask you to be a little more clear about it. You understand it is important, so be careful. Who was it objected to pulling back?
- Well, the passengers.

5030. (The Commissioner.) There were only five passengers, as I understand, three were men and two were women and then there were seven of the crew?
- Yes.

5031. Now did any of the crew object?
- No, they never said anything.

5032. Then which of the five passengers objected the women or the three men, or all of them?
- I think it was the women objected.

5033. The two women objected?
- Yes.

5034. You had plenty of room in the boat?
- There was plenty of room for another dozen.

5035. You had plenty of room?
- Yes.

5036. Who was in charge of the boat?
- A seaman.

5037. What was his name?
- Symons or Simmons.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

5038. Can you recollect whether any of the male passengers objected to go back?
- No, I cannot remember that.

5039. Did you ascertain in the course of the night who those male passengers were?
- I knew afterwards one of their names.

5040. What was the name?
- Duff-Gordon.

5041. He was a first class passenger?
- As far as I know.

5042. Did you learn the names of the others?
- No, I did not. I think his wife was there - Lady Duff-Gordon.

5043. Those are two. Now who are the others?
- I do not know the others.

5044. Was there a servant of Sir Duff-Gordon there?
- I do not know.

5045. A valet?
- I do not know.

5046. How long before the sinking of the ship was it that No. 1 boat was lowered?
- About three-quarters of an hour.

5047. I want to put this to you specially: Can you recollect whether this passenger whose name you found out, or any other passenger, objected specially to your going to the assistance of the drowning people?
- Only those I have mentioned; no one else; only Sir Duff-Gordon and his wife and this other lady passenger, whoever she was.

5048. Did his wife object?
- Yes, they were scared to go back for fear of being swamped.

5049. (The Commissioner.) Will you tell me this: Was there, as far as you know, any danger of No. 1 boat being swamped if you did go back?
- It would certainly be dangerous.

Mr. Scanlan:
Now tell me this: How would it be dangerous, considering that you had a crew of seven in the boat, to go amongst the people who were screaming for help in the sea?

The Commissioner:
Will you ask him if he heard anybody scream? I have not caught that he has said so yet.

5050. (Mr. Scanlan.) Did you hear people screaming for help?
- Yes.

5051. Of course I take it that you obeyed the orders you got from the Officer and rowed to a distance of 200 yards?
- Yes.

5052. Is it not therefore clear that when the "Titanic" sank a number of people who had been left behind were in the water?
- Yes.

5053. Just beside you?
- Well, they were some distance off; they were not beside us.

5054. Will you tell my Lord what distance they were off?
- About 200 yards.

5055. Then the cries of those unfortunate people would be heard by you and everyone in your boat?
- Yes, certainly, we all heard them.

5056. You said, and it is to your credit, that you suggested that you should go back to the help of those people?
- Yes; I proposed going back and they would not hear of it.

5057. In the presence of those cries for help from the drowning, were you the only one in the boat to propose to go back to the rescue?
- I never heard anyone else.

5058. (The Commissioner.) Do you know the names of the other members of the crew who were on board this boat of yours?
- I know the names of three or four.

5059. Give me their names?
- There were Simmons, the Coxswain, myself, and Collins.

5060. What was he?
- A fireman - Sheath.

5061. What was he?
- A trimmer - Taylor.

5062. What was he?
- A fireman.

5063. Who else?
- That is all I know the names of.

5064. That is 4, and then yourself?
- Yes.

5065. (Mr. Scanlan.) When Lady Duff-Gordon objected did her husband reprove her?
- Yes.

5066. What?
- Well, he upheld her in what she said.

5067. He did not try to instill courage into her and get you back?
- No.

5068. With your knowledge of seamanship you were anxious to go back?
- Yes.

5069. And you believed, I presume, that you could quite safely have gone back?
- Yes, we could.

5069a. (The Commissioner.) He has just told me in his opinion it would have been dangerous. It would have been dangerous, but we certainly could have gone back.

5070. (Mr. Scanlan.) If you had taken precautions, there being seven of you there could not you have restricted the number of people you would give shelter and accommodation to so as not to swamp your boat?
- That all depends on the way you go in amongst them. We have no lights to see clear to go ahead.

5071. You had no lights?
- No.

5072. Do you mean there was no lamp or lantern in the boat?
- Not a lamp or lantern.

5073. Not a compass?
- No.

5074. Nor biscuits?
- Nor biscuits.

5075. Not a sea anchor?
- No, there was no sea anchor.

5076. Nor water?
- There was a breaker there; whether there was water in it or not I do not know.

5077. (The Commissioner.) Did you look for all those things?
- We looked for a light.

5078. Did you look for a compass?
- We looked for a compass.

5079. What do you want the compass for?
- I do not know; I do not understand them.

5080. Was there anyone there who did understand them?
- I suppose so; there were two seamen there.

5081. What did they want the compass for?
- To know what latitude and longitude they were in. What does a ship want a compass for?

5082. A ship wants it to navigate?
- And it is the same with a boat. A boat would want it to navigate.

5082a. (Mr. Scanlan.) What time was it when you were taken on board the "Carpathia"?

5083. (The Commissioner.) Wait a minute. Did you look for biscuits?
- Yes, they looked for biscuits, I believe. I heard them say there was none there.

5084. Did you look for biscuits?
- No.

5085. Did you see anybody look for biscuits?
- No, I heard them saying there was none there.

5086. Did anyone want any water?
- Not that I know of.

5087. Then you had no occasion to look into the breaker to see if there was water?
- No.

5088. Did you look for a sea anchor?
- No.

5089. Did anyone look for it?
- No.

5090. (Mr. Scanlan.) In the morning, when you were being taken on board the "Carpathia," it was broad daylight, was it not?
- Yes.

5091. I suppose then you and everybody else could see whether those things were on board or not?
- We never troubled about looking for them then.

5092. Could you tell my Lord the name of the Officer on the "Titanic" who ordered the No. 1 lifeboat to be lowered with only five passengers in it?
- No, I could not tell you who he was; I did not know him.

5093. Did any Officer order you to lower?
- The people on the deck were lowering the boat.

5094. (The Commissioner.) You did not lower it, of course?
- No.

5095. (Mr. Scanlan.) Did anyone tell you to lower it?
- That is a ridiculous question to ask, because we did not lower the boat.

The Commissioner:
He would not lower it.

5096. (Mr. Scanlan.) At the time of starting to lower you would be on a level with the boat deck?
- Certainly.

5097. Therefore you were in a position to hear whatever order was given for lowering, if any order was given?
- I heard the order, as I told you, "Lower away," but we did not lower the boat away.

5098. I recognise that, of course. What I ask you is who gave the order?
- An Officer.

5099. Can you tell me what Officer he was?
- No, I cannot; I do not know.

5100. Was he one of the Principal Officers of the ship?
- I do not know.

The Commissioner:
Now, I want to know - you may ask it, Mr. Scanlan - about the people, if any, who were standing about on the boat deck at the time the order to lower was given.

5101. (Mr. Scanlan - To the Witness.) At the time the order was given to lower No. 1, how many people were on the boat deck?
- I did not see any at all there, about us; there were some further along aft.

5102. There were some further along aft?
- Yes; other boats went out at the same time.

5103. Were there many people further along aft?
- No, there were not a great lot.

5104. I mean on the starboard side?
- Yes.

5105. There were people there?
- There were people there, yes. They were getting the other boats out.

5106. Were they passengers?
- I do not know; I could not see.

5107. Who were they?
- I do not know.

5108. (The Commissioner.) Can you tell us this; were they men or women, or mixed?
- I think it was all men, I did not see any women.

5109. (Mr. Scanlan.) Did you see any women there?
- None at all.

5110. You had just immediately come from the port side to the starboard side, I think?
- Before I came to the starboard side, yes.

5111. While you were over on the port side, just immediately before coming to this No. 1 boat, were there a number of people on the port side?
- No, there was no one there.

5112. (The Commissioner.) I want to have it quite clear. When you got into No. 1 boat and when the order was given to lower it, were there other people standing about on the deck who could have got into that boat?
- No; not where we came away from; there was not any.

5113. Did you call for any?
- No.

5114. Did no one call for any to go?
- Someone in the boat called out and I believe the Officer called out.

5115. What?
- "Are there any more women or children about here?" No answer came.

5116. (Mr. Scanlan.) Of course, it was the common knowledge of all of you that there was a great number of people left behind in the boat?
- Oh, yes; of course.

5117. And the Officer who gave you the order to lower would know that, of course?
- I could not say what he knew about it.

5118. You all knew it you say?
- We knew it, yes.

5119. Do not you think if the working of the lifeboats had been at all properly organised you could have got a complement of passengers to comfortably fill your boat?
- Certainly, yes.

The Commissioner:
Now, what do you mean by that? Expand it.

5120. (Mr. Scanlan.) Were those passengers down below in the boat?
- What do you mean "down below in the boat"?

5121. Well, a deck lower or two decks lower?
- I never noticed any along those decks.

5122. You have said just now that you all knew that at that time when you were going away with five people in your boat, there were a number of passengers left behind?
- On the boat deck, I told you.

5123. Where were the passengers that were left behind?
- They were about where we were, all along the deck, scattered here and there, and some going in other boats which they were getting away.

5124. Abaft of where you were?
- Yes.

5125. Did no one ask those people to come?
- No; they sang out if there were any more women or children there, and there was no answer.

5126. So far as you know, there may have been even women and children amongst the crowd abaft you?
- There may have been, I never saw any. If there had been any I might have jumped out myself and helped some of them along. I never saw any.

5127. How many would No. 1 boat have carried?
- I should say about 25.

The Commissioner:
Is No. 1 one of the emergency boats?

Mr. Scanlan:
Yes, my Lord.

The Witness:
It is this one here. (Pointing on the model.)

5128. (Mr. Scanlan.) It is the forward boat. We were told earlier today that one of those boats could accommodate 40 people; do you agree with that?
- No, I do not.

5129. Had you a sufficient crew to row your boat?
- Yes.

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