British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 5

Testimony of James Johnson, cont.

3610. When the boat struck you said you were on night watch?
- Yes.

3611. Your duty would be round the first class saloon to receive the reports from the bedroom stewards and the stewards of the second and third class?
- That is right.

3612. Where did you go when you found there was water going into the baggage-room?
- As I told you, I went down and changed my clothes.

3613. You did not go to the second steward or the chief steward?
- I went down. I met Mr. Wheat, the assistant second steward, and I told him I thought it was serious, and I was going away into the glory hole. I called all our boys.

3614. What did you say to them?
- I told them I thought it was a bit serious.

3615. Did they come up?
- Some of them did and some did not till Mr. Dodd came, and he chased everyone out of every glory hole.

3616. Were you there when he came?
- Yes. I had changed and had everything ready.

3617. What order did he give the men?
- Everyone to get their life preservers and go to their boats.

3618. Did he give instructions to get the women out of the third and second class and the first?
- The bedroom stewards were all told to go to every room and put life preservers on the passengers and get them out of their cabins.

3619. Did the men carry out those orders as far as you could see?
- As far as I could see.

3620. Now I want to ask you a very vital question. How many men were in the steward department of the "Titanic"?
- I think something like 470 altogether - there must have been.

3621. Were they all Englishmen?
- I do not know whether the restaurant were included in it or not.

3622. There is a restaurant there?
- Yes.

3623. What is that staff constituted of?
- Mostly Italians and French. I do not know. I never mix with them, so I cannot tell you; but there were none of them Englishmen as a Rule.

3624. How many Italians and Frenchmen would there be in the crew?
- Do you mean my average?

3625. Yes?
- Well, I should say 50 to 60.

3626. Can you tell us whose jurisdiction they were under outside the captain - the chief steward or somebody else?
- Mr. Gatti.

3627. Who was Mr. Gatti?
- A nice little man.

3628. What was Mr. Gatti's position on board the "Titanic"?
- He was like chief steward in his own department.

3629. Do you know if any of Mr. Gatti's men took part in any drill at all; had they a boat station?
- I do not know.

3630. Did you see any of those men after, shall I say, the alarm had been given?
- Well, I saw them all bunched together, but everyone was bunched together at first; but after that I only saw one, and he saved himself.

3631. I want to ask you your opinion - supposing there had been what we will call a proper boat muster of all hands on the "Titanic" to the boat stations when that collision took place, do you think, if that had taken place, and they had mustered on the boat deck it would have been possible from the time the ship struck, before the boats were lowered, to have got every woman and child out of the third, second and first class?
- Well, my opinion is, suppose everyone went to their boat stations - you had all your boat stations, and perhaps eight or ten stewards, five or six firemen, two or three sailors - I do not think there would have been more ladies in the boats.

3632. You missed my point. When you go to a boat station to muster, you go there to receive orders?
- Yes.

3633. A bugle goes - is that so?
- Yes.

3634. Did any bugle go that night?
- No.

3635. If a bugle had gone, the men would have gone to their boat stations, I take it?
- Some of them would have gone, and some would not, because they never thought about looking to their boat stations.

3636. Not the stewards department?
- Some of them did not.

3637. I am asking for your opinion. Supposing they had done so, was not there time then to turn the spare men out of the boat, and say, "Go down and show the women, second and third class, and also the first class, up here"?
- If you had got them up - but you could not drive the women.

3638. How do you know that?
- Because I tried it.

3639. Where did you try?
- For our boat.

3640. I mean down in the third class, in the rooms; that is what we want to get at - if the stewards had been told to go down and bring them up?
- They were told, but they did not think she would go down, and they were laughing when the passengers were carrying their baggage about.

3641. Your contention is that they were told, and that the women would not come up on deck?
- I am certain of it.

3642. How are you certain of it. It is a very serious answer you are giving now?
- Well, I am certain by our boys, because some of our boys would have been saved if they had come to the boat stations.

3643. You have had conversations since?
- I have never spoken to the boys.

3644. How do you know?
- Because I know all the old ones were lost.

3645. That is not the point. You make a statement that a man was there and that the women would not come up, and then you said, "Some of our boys have been saved"?
- I did not say they were saved; I said all the best of the boys went down.

3646. How do you know the women and children would not come up?
- Well, I could tell by the bedroom stewards. I saw them driving, and I saw Mr. Ismay try to drive a few, and he had a pair of slippers on and his dust coat, and he was trying to get the women, and they would not go in for him into our boat.

3647. That was on the boat deck. I am talking about down below - the third class quarters?
- I was not down there, and I could not tell you.

The Commissioner:
This Witness was not down below in the third class quarters.

Mr. Cotter:
He states there was a steward sent down there, and he also states that the women would not come up.

The Commissioner:
I suppose he only says that because he only saw some women come up. Some certainly did come up and got into his boat.

3648. (Mr. Cotter.) You are not sure what was going on down below?
- No.

3649. You say the second steward, Mr. Dodd, came back with a dust coat over his head?
- Yes, he had his dust coat in his hand and gave me his lifebelt, and did not come back for it.

3650. Did he give any orders?
- No, he gave orders in the glory hole; he had no business to give orders on the deck.

3651. Are you sure he had no right to give orders to the steward department on deck?
- Certainly not; it is under the Officers, that.

3652. Now when you got into the boat did you find any biscuits and water there?
- No. I trampled over a loaf of bread, a big pan loaf; there were biscuits carried up, but nobody seemed to care to put them in.

3653. Who carried the biscuits up?
- Williams had one box - Billy Williams - and there might have been four or five boxes carried up through the companion way. They were shoving each other on.

3654. There were some stewards bringing the stores up?
- Yes, they were bringing the stores up.

3655. Had you any difficulty in launching your boat?
- Nothing at all earthly - easy.

3656. There was no attempt to rush the boat by the men?
- No; it would have been rushed at first; but when they saw it was not going down, they went away from our boat.

3657. Did you see any stewards putting lifebelts on the passengers?
- I did not, because I was not amongst them.

3658. How many women do you think were on deck just as your boat was lowered?
- When it was lowered there was not a woman near our boat, because we could not get any more to go in.

3659. Were there any there?
- They were walking up and down. As I told you I saw Mr. Ismay trying to get them into our boat, and he took them to the starboard side; he went to the starboard side with them.

3660. Was your boat the first away?
- No, I should think it would be about fifth on the port side - fourth or fifth on the port side when it went away.

3661. Yours was one of the emergency boats?
- Yes.

3662. It would be the first boat on the other side?
- Yes.

3663. Number 2?
- Yes.

3664. Did you see any of the foreign waiters on the deck?
- I saw them in a bunch before I went to my boat.

3665. You did not see any on the deck?
- No.

3666. You never saw them after you saw them in that bunch?
- No.

3667. You do not know whether they assisted with the passengers in any way?
- I do not know.

3668. Did you go to Belfast on the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

3669. So you would have a thorough knowledge of the way round her?
- Well, I was every night round her and every day. I went round every part of her, or I think I did - but you could not go round her.

3670. Can you tell us where the glory holes are situated in the "Titanic"?
- All amidships.

3671. On which side, port or starboard?
- Port side.

3672. On the port side?
- Yes.

3673. Can you show on that chart?
- Underneath the saloon as near as possible. They would hold about 28. Some of them hold about 28, some 40, and some 60 or 70.

3674. Would they have any difficulty at all in getting up the companions, and round the ship?
- Certainly not.

3675. No difficulty at all?
- Certainly not.

3676. Was there a lifebelt for every steward in the glory hole?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. HOLMES.

3677. Did you hear any order given by the captain as to the sending away of your boat?
- I think it was the captain told us to make for that light and come back again.

3678. Did you hear him tell the Fourth Officer [Boxhall] to go away?
- Yes, and come back.

3679. Is it not the fact that you did in fact try to pick up some passengers who were in the water? After you had left the "Titanic" did not you make any attempt?
- I did not see any people in the water; we heard them, but did not see them.

The Commissioner:
I understand he heard cries, but saw no one.

Mr. Holmes:
I am basing my question on the report of the evidence given by the Fourth Officer in America.

The Commissioner:
I do not know what that is.

Examined by Mr. EDWARDS.

3680. Do you remember the names of the members of the crew who were in your boat?
- I do not know any of them.

The Commissioner:
Whom do you represent?

Mr. Edwards:
The Dockers' Union.

The Commissioner:
How is the Dockers' Union interested in the matter? Were any of your members on board?

Mr. Edwards:
Yes, my Lord. I am sorry this should be raised again. I made an application. You told me to put the thing in writing.

The Commissioner:
I know that, but I want you to tell me exactly how they are interested?

Mr. Edwards:
Quite a large number of the deckhands on board the "Titanic" were members of the Dockers' Union.

The Commissioner:
I see; I understand. Are they members of any other Union?

Mr. Edwards:
No, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
Very well, that is quite enough.

3681. (Mr. Edwards - To the Witness.) You said that you saw a list of men allotted to each boat?
- Certainly.

3682. Was that a printed list?
- Written out. It is a printed bill, but your name is put for each boat.

3683. Are the names written in?
- Yes.

3684. Would those names be written before you left Southampton?
- I saw my name on the Thursday night.

3685. That I understand, but would they in fact be written out before you left Southampton or not?
- No, they would be written out after we got away, I should think. They have always been in every ship I have been in.

3686. So that there would be no copy on shore of this list?
- I do not think so.

Examined by Mr. LAING.

3687. Did you hear the Fourth Officer give his evidence in America?
- No.

3688. Is it true, so far as you know, after you were in the water you attempted to rescue three more persons for whom there was room, but without success?
- I did not see them.

3689. Do you remember anything of that sort?
- No.

Re-examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL.

3690. Now just explain to us a little more. What do you mean by the glory hole?
- It is where we all live.

3691. The stewards?
- Yes; it is called "glory hole" in all ships.

3692. Is it next to the galley?
- No, it is on E deck, the working alleyway. There are two exits, one from the saloon companion and the other up through the pantry.

3693. It is on the port side, I understand?
- Yes.

3694. The glory holes are on the port side of the alleyway?
- Yes, the outside.

3695. The alleyway goes up - that is, the port alleyway?
- The port alleyway is the working alleyway.

3696. And you are on the port side of that?
- Yes, on the off side.

3697. Against the side of the ship?
- Yes.

3698. Against the port side?
- Yes.

3699. I think I see where it is; it is on "E," if I understand?
- Yes.

3700. (The Attorney-General.) Your Lordship sees no doubt where it is. (To the Witness.) You told us about Mr. Ismay in answer to one of my learned friends? Was Mr. Ismay still on the "Titanic" when your boat left?
- Yes, he was doing as much as any other Englishman could do.

3701. Standing on the deck?
- He was not; he was trying to entice women to go to the boats.

3702. As I understand he had tried that on the port side where you were?
- He took them across. There is about that height where my boat was, and he took them round there to the other side abaft the second funnel, I think.

3703. Why did he take them the other side?
- Because they would not come into ours, and he tried to get them to the other side to go into another boat.

3704. You told us something about a bulkhead drill?
- I did not tell you that.

3705. I thought you answered a question?
- I answered a question. I know nothing about bulkhead drill.

3706. Did you see a bulkhead drill?
- In our position we would not know anything at all; it might happen dozens of times and we would not see it.

3707. So far as you are concerned you know nothing about that?
- I know nothing at all about it.

(The Witness withdrew.)