British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 6

Testimony of Charles Joughin

Examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL.

5907. Were you chief baker on the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

5908. What was the staff of bakers under you?
- Thirteen.

5909. Thirteen, and yourself as chief baker?
- Yes.

5910. At the time when this accident happened, were you off duty?
- Yes.

5911. In your bunk?
- Yes.

5912. Did the shock wake you up?
- I felt the shock and immediately got up.

5913. I do not think we need find the place exactly, but tell us, more or less, are your quarters in the aft or the fore part of the ship?
- Amidship on the port side.

5914. Did you hear orders given which affected you?
- No, Sir, just general orders - orders passed down from the top deck to the lower deck.

5915. You heard orders being passed down from the top deck to the lower deck?
- Yes, what we call general orders.

5916. Those are called general orders, are they?
- Yes.

5917. I suppose that if provisions were wanted it would be your department to look after that would it not?
- No.

5918. What about bread?
- The boats are provided with hard bread, what we call biscuits.

5919. Did not you hear any orders given about provisions for the boats?
- Not directly from any Officer. Word was passed down from the top deck and I received it eventually through other channels.

5920. What was it?
- "Provision boats," or put any spare provisions you have in the boats, that was it.

5921. As I understand, the biscuits, the hard bread, would be in the boats already, or ought to be?
- Yes.

5922. And it would only be the soft bread you had to think about?
- Any surplus stuff we had around that was handy we would put into the boats.

5923. You heard that order passed along. Did you take steps to send up some provisions to the boats?
- Yes.

5924. What was it you did, you and your men?
- I sent thirteen men up with four loaves apiece, 40 pounds of bread each as near as I could guess.

5925. And your staff, your men, had they got stations for the boats?
- Yes.

5926. And as far as you know did they know their stations?
- Yes.

5927. Did these thirteen bakers go up with these loaves?
- Yes.

5928. Did you go up on deck yourself?
- I stayed in the shop for a little while, and then I followed them up the middle staircase.

5929. Which deck did you come out on to?
- Eventually the boat deck.

5930. The top deck. The accident was at 11.40. Can you tell us the sort of time it was when you got to the boat deck? - How long do you think after the accident it was that you got to the boat deck? What time do you think it was?
- I should say about half-past twelve, as near as I could guess.

5931. That is the time, as I understand, when you got to the boat deck?
- About that time.

5932. The orders you speak of had been given, and you had already sent up the bread?
- Yes.

5933. And you followed your men afterwards at about 12.30?
- Yes.

5934. There is just another question about time you might help us over. You say it was half-past twelve when you got up to the boat deck. That was after these orders. Can you give us some sort of idea when it was you heard of the order for provisioning the boats?
- I should say about a quarter-past twelve.

5935. Then the order is obeyed, and you get up there about half-past twelve?
- Yes.

5936. When you got up to the boat deck had any order been given that you had heard about all hands going on deck?
- The order had been passed round previous to that.

5937. It had?
- Yes.

5938. That would be the general order, I suppose?
- The general order.

5939. Had that order about all hands on deck been given before your bakers went on deck?
- Oh, yes.

5940. Just two or three questions about what happened after that. Which was your boat?
- I was assigned to No. 10.

5941. I do not think, my Lord, we have had any evidence about this boat yet. There are four boats on the afterpart of the boat deck on each side, and No 10 would be the first of the four?
- The first one on the port side - the forward one.

The Commissioner:
The most forward boat on the port side.

The Solicitor-General:
No, the most forward boat of the aft boats.

The Commissioner:

5942. (The Solicitor-General.) It may be convenient, to remind your Lordship that the next one to it, No. 12, was the one that the man Poingdestre was in, and the next one to that, No. 14, is the one that Morris and Scarrott were in, and this one we have not dealt with. (To the Witness.) Did you go to your boat, No. 10?
- Yes.

5943. And what did you find was the situation there?
- Everything orderly. The Chief Officer was there.

5944. Is that Mr. Wilde?
- Yes, Mr. Wilde.

5945. Were there passengers there?
- A good many passengers there.

5946. What was happening, how far had things got?
- They were getting the boat ready for getting the passengers in, and Mr. Wilde shouted out for the stewards to keep the people back, to keep the men back, but there was no necessity for it. The men kept back themselves, and we made a line and passed the ladies and children through.

5947. Who made the line?
- The stewards mostly - stewards and seamen; they were all together.

5948. I think I caught you to say that though Mr. Wilde gave the order to keep the men back there was really no necessity, they kept back themselves?
- Yes.

5949. Was the order good - the discipline good?
- Splendid.

5950. No. 10 was being got ready. When you saw it had anybody got into the boat yet?
- No.

5951. Now tell us about No. 10 in order: What happened?
- It was swung out, the stewards, firemen and sailors all got in a line. We passed the ladies and children through.

5952. Into No. 10?
- Into No. 10. Then we got it about half full, and then we had difficulty in finding ladies for it. They ran away from the boat and said they were safer where they were.

5953. You heard ladies saying that?
- I am sure of that.

5954. (The Commissioner.) "When the boat was half full we had difficulty in finding more ladies"?
- Right, Sir.

5955. "They ran away, saying they were safer where they were"?
- Yes.

5956. (The Solicitor-General.) Up to this time, could you tell me had you seen any third class passengers - women from the third class?
- Yes, Sir, plenty.

5957. So far as you saw, was any distinction made between the different classes - first class ladies or second class ladies or third class ladies?
- None at all.

5958. Of course, at ordinary times this boat deck is a first class deck, a promenade, is it not?
- Yes.

5959. And the third class people would not get on to it?
- It is railed off just from the boats, and the saloon passengers use it as a sunning deck.

5960. But at this time were there any barriers up?
- No.

5961. You know the way, I suppose, that third class people would have to go in order to get on to this top deck, they would have to mount some stairs, would not they?
- They have to go up some stairs, but there was an emergency door from the third class into the second class leading up the broad staircase that was open very early.

5962. We will find where that is. There was an emergency door from there leading from the third class to the second class?
- From the third class alleyway, what we call the working alleyway, there is a wide door, and that was open early on.

5963. Could you tell us whether that door was open?
- It was open.

5964. Let us just fix this. It opens, you said, into the broad staircase?
- Yes.

5965. What staircase is that, who uses it as a. Rule?
- Second class passengers as a Rule while at sea.

5966. Is that the staircase - correct me if I am wrong - that runs up the funnel place, as it were?
- No, Sir, it runs up the centre of the ship to the second class smoke room and the decks.

5967. It is abaft of the fourth funnel?
- Oh, yes, it is abaft the after-funnel.

The Solicitor-General:
Will your Lordship look for a moment at the big section?.

The Commissioner:
It is all on this plan.

The Solicitor-General:
If your Lordship has got it I need not trouble.

The Commissioner:
This emergency door that you are talking about is, I think, on the same deck that the last Witness was telling us about.

The Solicitor-General:
Yes, I think it is, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
Then if you go up you get into what is called the second class entrance into the dining saloon - the second class dining saloon.

The Solicitor-General:
My Lord, may I suggest that I think it is a little abaft of that.

The Commissioner:
What is abaft of it?

The Solicitor-General:
The staircase, my Lord. The second class staircase appears to me to be a little bit further aft than that.

The Commissioner:
Not according to my plan.

5968. (The Solicitor-General.) I think your Lordship is right; I beg your pardon. I see my Lord, now. (To the Witness.) Let us just fix this second class staircase into which the third class people get when this door is opened. Is it a stairway that rises through several decks up to the top?
- Yes, and there is a lift, an electric lift.

5969. There is an elevator alongside at the same place as the staircase?
- Yes.

5970. Your Lordship has got that, I think, on the plan?
- That is the staircase in yellow. (Pointing on big plan.)

5971. Is that the staircase and the elevator in the middle of it - the second class staircase (Pointing on the big plan.)?
- No, it is the one further aft, is it not? It is immediately behind the aft funnel. That is the staircase. (Pointing on the plan.)

5972. And the third class people come along their alleyway through this emergency door and get direct into that staircase (Pointing on plan.)?
- Yes.

5973. And all they have to do is to go straight up on to the boat deck?
- Yes, that is right.

5974. Just tell us, please, how is it you know that emergency door was open for them?
- Because I went down that way to my room after shutting the bakery door.

5975. You shut the bakery door, went down to your own room, and you saw this door was then open?
- Yes.

5976. When you went down to your room and found this door open, did you at that time see third class people coming up?
- Coming along the alleyway some women, with two bags in their hands. They would not let go of them.

5977. A number of third class passengers were coming up?
- Yes.

5978. You have already helped us about the time. Could you tell us at all what time you think that was? - You say it was half-past twelve when you got on to the boat deck yourself?
- That was just after I had passed the first lot of bread up, and I went down to my room for a drink, as a matter of fact, and as I was coming back I followed up my men on to the deck.

5979. Does that mean it would be about a quarter-past twelve?
- A little after that.

5980. Something between a quarter-past twelve and half-past twelve?
- Yes, about that.

5981. Now, just let us go back to boat No. 10 and finish it. You said that when it was about half full with women you could not find more women to pass along the line and put into the boat?
- We had difficulty in finding them.

5982. What was done; what happened?
- I myself and three or four other chaps went on the next deck and forcibly brought up women and children.

5983. You went down to the A deck?
- Yes, to the A deck.

5984. And you mean you brought them up to the boat deck?
- Brought them up to the boat deck - there are only about ten stairs to go up.

5985. Did not they want to go?
- No, Sir. They were all sitting - squatting down on the deck.

5986. And you and three or four others brought them up?
- Yes.

5987. Did you put them into the boat?
- We threw them in. The boat was standing off about a yard and a half from the ship's side, with a slight list. We could not put them in; we could either hand them in or just drop them in.

5988. You said "a slight list." Was it the "Titanic" that had the list?
- Yes, Sir.

5989. A list to port?
- Yes, a list to port, and that made the boat swing out about a yard and a half.

5990. Supposing the ship was lying on an even keel with no list, how much space would there be between the rail and the boat?
- Just enough space to step into it.

5991. Did that fill your boat or was there still room?
- Eventually it was filled - pretty well filled anyway.

5992. Was it filled from the boat deck?
- Yes.

5993. You did not, I think, go away in the boat?
- No.

5994. Although it was your boat?
- I was supposed to be captain of the boat by the crew list.

5995. By the crew list you were in charge?
- Yes.

5996. Why was it that you did not get in?
- Well, I was standing waiting for orders by the Officer to jump in, and he then ordered two sailors in and a steward - a steward named Burke. I was waiting for orders to get into the boat, but they evidently thought it was full enough and I did not go in it.

5997. Do you know who the two sailors were?
- No.

5998. (The Commissioner.) How many men were put on board this boat?
- As far as I could see only three - two sailors and a steward.

5999. (The Solicitor-General.) Two sailors and a steward named Burke?
- Yes. That is all I could see.

6000. As far as you could see, were all the rest women and children?
- Women and children.

6001. Was she lowered down?
- Yes.

6002. And went away from the side of the ship -
- I did not see her after she was lowered.

6003. That is No. 10. There would be three boats on the port side?
- Yes.

6004. Abaft of that?
- Yes; Nos. 12, 14, and 16.

6005. Was work being done in connection with them at the same time?
- Yes, but a little later than us.

6006. Then, of those four, Nos. 10, 12, 14, and 16, was No. 10 the one that got into the water first?
- Yes.

6007. Did you stay by the davits of No. 10 till she was launched?
- Oh yes.

6008. And then where did you go?
- I went " scouting round," as we call it.

6009. I want to know if you saw anything of Nos. 12, 14, and 16?
- I did not see them go. I saw them filling up, but I went away. I went down below after that.

6010. No. 10 was your boat, and No. 10 had gone?
- Yes.

6011. And then you went below?
- Yes.

6012. As far as the boats are concerned, is that all you can tell us?
- As far as those boats, yes.

6013. Now I want to ask you a question about the boat list. You say you knew that you were supposed to be in command of No. 10?
- Yes.

6014. Had you seen a list like that up in the "Titanic" (Showing list.) - Yes, there was one in the kitchen, posted up on the Thursday with just the kitchen staff on it.

6015. The kitchen staff on the kitchen list was posted when?
- On the wall in the kitchen.

6016. Which day?
- On the galley, what call "D" deck.

6017. Which day?
- On the Thursday.

6018. And did that list show as regards the galley staff, the cooking staff how they were distributed among the different boats?
- Yes.

6019. You say it was on the Thursday, she left Queenstown on the Thursday, did she not?
- Yes.

6020. Now we just want to finish your experience. You say you went below after No. 10 had gone. Did you stay below or did you go up again?
- I went down to my room and had a drop of liqueur that I had down there, and then while I was there I saw the old doctor [possibly Dr. O'Loughlin] and spoke to him and then I came upstairs again.

6021. On to the boat deck?
- Yes, on to the boat deck.

6022. Just tell us shortly what you did?
- I saw that all the boats had gone - I saw that all the boats were away.

6023. That all the boats had gone?
- Yes, that all the boats had gone.

6024. Do you mean forward as well as aft?
- I could not see very well forward, and I did not look, because they went off first, as far as I could understand.

6025. At all events, all the boats had gone?
- Yes.

6026. Yes, what next?
- I went down on to "B" deck. The deck chairs were lying right along, and I started throwing deck chairs through the large ports.

6027. What did you do with the deck chairs?
- I threw them through the large ports.

6028. Threw them overboard?
- Yes.

6029. They would float, I suppose?
- Yes.

6030. I think one sees why. Just to make it clear, why did you do that?
- It was an idea of my own.

6031. Tell us why; was it to give something to cling to?
- I was looking out for something for myself, Sir.

6032. Quite so. Did you throw a whole lot of them overboard?
- I should say about 50.

6033. Were other people helping you to do it?
- I did not see them.

6034. You were alone, as far as you could see?
- There was other people on the deck, but I did not see anybody else throwing chairs over.

6035. Now by this time was the list of the ship the same, or do you think she was worse?
- She had gone a little more to port.

6036. And about being down by the head, could you tell at all?
- I did not notice anything. I did not notice her being much down by the head.

6037. Do you mean that the list to port was more serious than -?
- I thought so.

6038. Than being down by the head?
- I thought so, yes.

6039. Then, after having thrown these deck chairs overboard, did you go up to the boat deck again?
- I went to the deck pantry.

6040. Tell us what happened?
- I went to the deck pantry, and while I was in there I thought I would take a drink of water, and while I was getting the drink of water I heard a kind of a crash as if something had buckled, as if part of the ship had buckled, and then I heard a rush overhead.

6041. Do you mean a rush of people?
- Yes, a rush of people overhead on the deck.

6042. Is the deck pantry on A deck?
- Yes.

6043. So that the deck above would be the boat deck?
- Yes, I could hear it.

6044. You could hear it?
- Yes.

6045. People running - yes?
- When I got up on top I could then see them clambering down from those decks. Of course, I was in the tail end of the rush.

6046. (The Commissioner.) Clambering down, climbing down from where?
- These rails here and steps. They came down this way. (Showing on model.)

6047. (The Solicitor-General.) They had run along as far aft as they could on the boat deck?
- Yes.

6048. Did you see them clambering down to get on to the A deck so as to get further aft?
- Their idea was to get on to the poop.

6049. You say that you heard this sound of buckling or crackling. Was it loud; could anybody in the ship hear it?
- You could have heard it, but you did not really know what it was. It was not an explosion or anything like that. It was like as if the iron was parting.

6050. Like the breaking of metal?
- Yes.

6051. Was it immediately after that sound that you heard this rushing of people and saw them climbing up?
- Yes.

6052. What did you do?
- I kept out of the crush as much as I possibly could, and I followed down - followed down getting towards the well of the deck, and just as I got down towards the well she gave a great list over to port and threw everybody in a bunch except myself. I did not see anybody else besides myself out of the bunch.

6053. That was when you were in the well, was it?
- I was not exactly in the well, I was on the side, practically on the side then. She threw them over. At last I clambered on the side when she chucked them.

6054. You mean the starboard side?
- The starboard side.

6055. The starboard was going up and she took a lurch to port?
- It was not going up, but the other side was going down.

6056. It is very difficult to say how many, I daresay, but could you give me some idea, of how many people there were in this crush?
- I have no idea, Sir; I know they were piled up.

6057. What do you mean when you say, "No idea." Were there hundreds?
- Yes, there were more than that - many hundreds, I should say.

6058. (The Solicitor-General.) You said this vessel took a lurch to port and threw them in a heap. Did she come back; did she right herself at all?
- No, Sir.

6059. She took a lurch and she did not return?
- She did not return.

6060. Can you tell us what happened to you?
- Yes, I eventually got on to the starboard side of the poop.

6061. (The Commissioner.) Will you point out to me where you got to?
- This is where I eventually got to. (Showing on the model.)

6062. You got on to the poop, did you?
- Along here (Showing.)

6063. (The Solicitor-General.) What you said, I think, was that you got to the starboard side of the poop?
- Yes, on the side of the ship.

6064. On the side of the ship?
- Yes.

6065. Is that on the bulwark itself?
- I do not know what you call it, Sir. It is the side.

6066. (The Commissioner.) "I got on the side of the ship by the poop"?
- Yes.

6067. (The Solicitor-General.) You see on the model that part of it is painted black and part of it is painted white. Do you mean you were on the part that is painted black or the part that is painted white?
- I got along here (Showing.), and eventually got hold of the rails here. This side here was like this. This side, instead of being like this, was like that. (Showing on model.)

6068. You got hold of the rail. Let Mr. Wilding turn the model up till you say how far you think it had gone. (Mr. Wilding turned the model.)?
- I should say about that, but then the forward part is sloping. (Showing on model.)

6069. The forward part is down by the head?
- Yes.

Continued >