British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 6

Testimony of Charles Joughin, cont.

6070. Did you find anybody else holding that rail there on, the poop?
- No.

6071. You were the only one?
- I did not see anybody else.

6072. Were you holding the rail so that you were inside the ship, or were you holding the rail so that you were on the outside of the ship?
- On the outside.

6073. So that the rail was between you and the deck?
- Yes.

6074. Then what happened?
- Well, I was just wondering what next to do. I had tightened my belt and I had transferred some things out of this pocket into my stern pocket. I was just wondering what next to do when she went.

6075. And did you find yourself in the water?
- Yes.

6076. Did you feel that you were dragged under or did you keep on the top of the water?
- I do not believe my head went under the water at all. It may have been wetted, but no more.

6077. Are you a good swimmer?
- Yes.

6078. How long do you think you were in the water before you got anything to hold on to?
- I did not attempt to get anything to hold on to until I reached a collapsible, but that was daylight.

6079. Daylight, was it?
- I do not know what time it was.

6080. Then you were in the water for a long, long time?
- I should say over two, hours, Sir.

6081. Were you trying to make progress in the water, to swim, or just keeping where you were?
- I was just paddling and treading water.

6082. And then daylight broke?
- Yes.

6083. Did you see any icebergs about you?
- No, Sir, I could not see anything.

6084. Did it keep calm till daylight, or did the wind rise at all?
- It was just like a pond.

6085. Then you spoke of a collapsible boat. Tell us shortly about it?
- Just as it was breaking daylight I saw what I thought was some wreckage, and I started to swim towards it slowly. When I got near enough, I found it was a collapsible not properly upturned but on its side, with an Officer and I should say about twenty or twenty-five men standing on the top of it.

6086. (The Commissioner.) With an Officer and what?
- I should say roughly about twenty-five men standing on the top - well, on the side, not on the top.

6087. (The Solicitor-General.) Do you know which Officer it was?
- Yes, Mr. Lightoller.

6088. Mr. Lightoller and you think about twenty or twenty-five people?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
"Men," he said.

6089. (The Solicitor-General.) Yes, men, my Lord?
- Yes, all men.

6090. You said something about its being turned on its side?
- Yes.

6091. I wish you would explain what you mean?
- It was like as if one of those lifeboats was on its side, floating on its side. (Pointing to model.)

6092. Then they were not in the boat, were they?
- No.

6093. They were -?
- Standing on the side, holding one another's shoulders.

6094. Did you swim towards it?
- Yes.

6095. Was there any room for you?
- No, Sir.

6096. You agree, do you, that there really was not room for you?
- There was not room.

6097. And so they could not take you in?
- There was no room for any more. They were standing on it then.

6098. Did you stay near it?
- I tried to get on it, but I was pushed off it, and I what you call hung around it.

6099. How much later on was it that you were picked up?
- I eventually got round to the opposite side, and a cook that was on the collapsible recognised me, and held out his hand and held me - a chap named Maynard.

6100. Was he able to pull you out of the water, or was he only just able to help to support you?
- No.

6101. He gave you a hand, and you kept treading water?
- No. My lifebelt helped me, and I held on the side of the boat.

6102. You had been wearing a lifebelt?
- Yes, all the time.

6103. So that your feet would be in the water?
- Yes, and my legs.

6104. And you supported yourself by your lifebelt. I do not want to be harrowing about it, but was the water very cold?
- I felt colder in the lifeboat - after I got in the lifeboat.

6105. You were picked up, were you, by a lifeboat later on?
- We were hanging on to this collapsible, and eventually a lifeboat came in sight.

6106. And they took you aboard?
- They got within about 50 yards and they sung out that they could only take 10. So I said to this Maynard, "Let go my hand," and I swam to meet it, so that I would be one of the 10.

6107. Did you swim to it, and were you taken in?
- Yes, I was taken in.

6108. You have said you thought it was about two hours before you saw this collapsible, and then you spent some time with the collapsible. How long do you suppose it was after you got to the collapsible that you were taken into the lifeboat?
- I should say we were on the collapsible about half-an-hour.

6109. That means that for some two and a half hours you were in the water?
- Practically, yes.

6110. We may be able to identify this boat?
- I do not know it.

The Attorney-General:
We can identify it, I think.

6111. (The Solicitor-General.) This lifeboat that took you aboard - did it also take some men off the collapsible?
- Yes.

6112. How many?
- I could not tell you, Sir.

6113. You did not notice?
- I climbed in and then she went alongside the collapsible afterwards, after I had got in, but I did not notice how many she took.

6114. Do you know an able seaman named Lucas?
- No, Sir.

6115. Who has given some evidence here?
- No.

6116. Can you tell me this. Did this lifeboat that took you aboard, and also took some others aboard, keep you in it until you got to the "Carpathia," or were any people transferred?
- All kept in it till we got to the "Carpathia."

6117. You do not know who was in command of the boat that picked you up?
- Mr. Lightoller left the collapsible and then took charge of the boat till we reached the "Carpathia."

6118. And you say the collapsible kept company with the lifeboat, did it?
- I do not know what became of that afterwards, Sir. It was half under water while we were on it. I do not know whether it righted itself. I do not know what became of it at all.

6119. After you and some of the others were taken on board this lifeboat, did that lifeboat rescue any other people that you know of?
- No, Sir; it could not have done.

6120. It was too full?
- It was filled right up.

6121. There was just room for Lightoller to get on board and take command?
- There was only room for Mr. Lightoller to stand on the forward part. He had to stand on top and give orders.

6122. There was Mr. Lightoller and there was yourself. Do you know whether it took others on board, and how many?
- It took a few more off the collapsible, but I did not recognise them.

6123. And this boat into which you got, the boat Lightoller took command of, what were the people who were in it - women, or men or what?
- Mostly women. Bride was one that I recognised.

6124. The Marconi operator?
- The Marconi boy. He was one that was taken off the same collapsible.

6125. He was on this collapsible, was he?
- Yes, Bride and Maynard. Those two I recognised.

6126. Maynard was the cook?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

6127. Do you know whether any of the crew assigned to this boat, No. 10, went with her?
- I do not know.

6128. You were captain of it?
- I was supposed to be the captain of it.

6129. Can you give any explanation of the fact that from the evidence of yourself and most of the Witnesses it does not appear that practically any of the men went with the boats to which they were stationed?
- Of course I could not say about other boats, but I know I sung out the names of all the victualling department connected with the boat, and they were every man there.

6130. If there had been a boat drill or a boat muster, would it have helped the members of the crew to know their stations?
- They know their stations very well. They knew exactly what to do, because they had been drilled already on the "Olympic."

6131. They had not all been on the "Olympic," I take it?
- A great many of them - in fact most of them. It was practically a crew from the "Olympic."

6132. Was there any light in No. 10 when she went off?
- I did not see any.

6133. Was there any light in the boat you got on to?
- It was daylight.

6134. A crew of two sailors and one steward went with No. 10?
- That is all I saw.

6135. Is that all?
- That is all I saw.

6136. Was that sufficient for a big lifeboat?
- I do not know anything about lifeboats, Sir.

6137. But you were captain of one?
- I am not skilled in boats; I am put down as in charge; but, then, I would always give way to a man with nautical knowledge in the boat.

6138. How many men would you expect with you in a boat of which you would have charge?
- I should say about seven or eight.

6139. When this boat, No. 10, was being sent off, was there space in the boat to take in a proper crew?
- The space was there, but it was filled up with women and children.

6140. Do you know if all the four collapsible boats were sent off from the ship before she sank?
- I do not know, Sir.

Examined by Mr. ROCHE.

6141. You were nearly two hours or three hours in the water, so I understand, and you can help us about a matter that has aroused a good deal of interest. How much assistance did you get from your lifebelt? Did it support you without your treading water yourself?
- Yes.

6142. It did?
- Yes - splendid.

The Commissioner:
You cannot say.

Mr. Roche:
There have been a good many questions about it - whether that is so or not. That was with regard to a lifebuoy, it is true, but there have been many questions raised about this, and this gentleman is in a better position than practically anyone ever has been to give an opinion about it.

6143. (The Commissioner.) What is this lifebelt made of - is it cork?
- Cork.

6144. That you tie round you?
- These were a new patent, better than the old ones. You slipped it over your head, and it was like a breastplate and a backplate, and you tied two straps.

The Attorney-General:
One can be produced, no doubt.

6145. (Mr. Roche.) It is very important to get it cleared up. This is the idea of the new patent, that instead of keeping it down here they put them on the body?
- Mine fitted here. (Showing.)

6146. Did your men know how to get them on?
- Everybody knew, it was so simple.

6147. Did you show any of them?
- There was no necessity to show.

6148. Did it in fact support you throughout without your treading water?
- Oh, no, you had to assist it.

6149. (The Commissioner.) But you would not have sunk if you had not done anything?
- No. It is only a case of keeping your head with one of those lifebelts.

6150. (Mr. Roche.) And simply treading water and paddling?
- Just paddling and you keep afloat indefinitely, I should say.

6151. Now a few questions about two other matters. You mustered your own staff and got them up?
- Yes.

6152. Did you do that of your own accord, or did you get directions to do so?
- I did it of my own accord.

6153. You had no directions from anybody else?
- There was a general order; I got no special directions.

6154. What was the general order; that is what I want to know?
- All hands out - all hands out of your bunks. There were six of my men working.

6155. In this crowd of several hundreds that you told my Lord about, were you able to distinguish at all who they were, or what they were, whether they were all passengers or sailors or crew?
- I could not make out.

6156. You could not make out who they were at all?
- They were all mixed up.

Examined by Mr. HARBINSON.

6157. You have told us about the means of access from the third class quarters to the boat deck?
- I said from the third class quarters into the second class, and from the second class there is a wide staircase up on to the second class deck.

6158. And ultimately to the boat deck?
- Yes.

6159. It leads to the boat deck?
- Yes.

6160. And there is an elevator there also?
- Yes.

6161. As a matter of fact, once the dynamos are flooded, and the wires are wet, that would prevent the elevator working, would not it?
- I do not know anything about that.

The Solicitor-General:
There are the stairs.

Mr. Harbinson:
There are also, of course, the wide stairs.

The Commissioner:
The stairs that were indicated there. (Pointing on the plan.)

6162. (Mr. Harbinson.) You said to my friend that this crew had served on the "Olympic." Do you seriously suggest that the crew was transferred from the "Olympic" to the "Titanic"?
- No.

6163. (The Commissioner.) He did not say that?
- I said a good many of them.

6164. You said a good many of them had been on the "Olympic"?
- A great many. Ten out of my 14 had all been on the "Olympic."

6165. (Mr. Harbinson.) That is only in the baking department?
- That is one department only; but I know the stewarding was practically the same.

6166. You do not suggest that the fact that some of the crew had been on the "Olympic" would dispense with the necessity of the boat drill that my friend has referred to, and having further instructions given them as regards their positions in the boat?
- No, that would not, but the previous experience on the "Olympic" would help them. That is what I mean to say.

6167. But it would not take the place of proper and adequate instructions?
- It would do, it certainly would.

6168. Would it?
- They would have the past experience to go on.

6169. Do you suggest that the fact of their having been previously on the "Olympic" would dispense with the necessity of the proprietors of the White Star Line giving proper instructions, and prescribing an adequate code for the members of the crew when they joined the "Titanic"?
- No, I would not suggest that.

Mr. Laing:
What do you call a code of regulations?

6170. (Mr. Harbinson.) As regards their proper positions in the boat, and what they should all do in case of emergency. (To the Witness.) I think you have described quite a number of passages that lead from the third class sleeping apartments to the second class apartments, and then up to the boat deck. There are quite a maze of passages, I believe, in this ship?
- I only described one passage, and that is what we call, on the ship, Scotland Road, the wide alleyway that leads from two or three sections of the third class. It opens into an emergency door leading into the second class. It is a wide alleyway.

6171. At normal times is that emergency door kept closed?
- At normal times, yes. It is kept private.

6172. Would I be right in thinking that at normal times the third class passengers would have no right of access to this door at all?
- No, not in normal times.

6173. They would be forbidden to approach it?
- They could walk past it, but it is never open. It is a kind of slide.

6174. So that, unless on this particular occasion special instructions were given to them as to the route they should follow they would not know where to go, would they?
- They would not know unless they were given instructions.

6175. Did you hear any such instructions given?
- Yes.

6176. By whom?
- I saw the interpreter passing the people along that way, but there was a difficulty in getting them along because some of the foreign third class passengers were bringing their baggage and their children along.

6177. Who was the interpreter?
- I do not know his name.

6178. You do not know his name?
- No.

6179. Where was he standing?
- He was standing just abaft this emergency door leading into the third class.

6180. He was pointing or directing those who came to the door?
- Passing them along.

6181. That is at the door, but my point is this. Did you see or know of anyone going to the third class quarters and giving instructions there to the third class passengers?
- No, Sir, I did not. I am out of that altogether.

6182. As to the course they should follow in order to escape?
- I did not hear any orders.

6183. You did not hear any directions being given to these people to go to this door, when further instructions would be given to them?
- I only saw and heard the interpreter doing his business.

6184. At what time was that?
- That was when I was going down to my room after I had sent the first load of bread up, about a quarter-past twelve, or between a quarter and half-past twelve.

6185-6. Did you see any notice posted up or painted up in the neighbourhood of this emergency door giving instructions as to what third class passengers should do in case of danger?
- We are not allowed in the passengers' quarters.

6187. (The Commissioner.) Have you ever been in this place in this ship before?
- I beg your pardon.

6188. Had you ever been along this Scotland Road alleyway?
- Yes.

6189. Before this voyage?
- I had been along it in Belfast while no passengers were on, but while passengers are on board the ship we are not allowed in their quarters.

6190. And you did not stop to look for any notices put up, if there were any?
- No.

6191. (Mr. Harbinson.) You know the "Olympic"?
- Yes.

6192. Are there any on the "Olympic," do you know?
- I do not know.

6193. You say at the time this passage seemed to be obstructed by third class passengers bringing their luggage?
- Yes.

6194. Would that lead to any confusion?
- It would.

6195. Did it, as a matter of fact?
- There did not seem to be much confusion, only it hampered the steward; it hampered the interpreter and the men who were helping him, because they could not prevail on the people to leave their luggage.

6196. What width is this staircase that has been referred to leading up to the boat deck from the second class department?
- That is within three yards of the emergency door.

6197. Is it a wide staircase?
- Yes, very wide. About six could go up abreast, I should say.

6198. I gather that unless some special instructions were given to these third class passengers in their cabins it would be impossible for them to know of any proper means of exit and escape?
- Just outside of this emergency door there are two wide staircases leading from the third class quarters right on to the poop deck.

6199. That is not to the boat deck?
- The well deck.

6200. How would they get from the well deck to the boat deck?
- That would be a difficulty, because they would have to get up two or three ladders, two or three staircases.

6201. They would have to go up two or three staircases. As a matter of fact, when you came across to the boat deck, did you see some of the people on this poop deck?
- Very few on the poop deck.

6202. Where were the people whom you saw?
- In the well deck.

6203. All in the well deck?
- Yes.

6204. And they would get from the well deck to the boat deck?
- This was at the finish I saw the people. I never saw them in that quarter of the boat till the end.

6205. And you do not know?
- I saw third class passengers coming straggling through the kitchen, and they even had their baggage then.

6206. What part of the boat was the kitchen in?
- On D deck, that is just the deck above the emergency door we are speaking about.

6207. How would they get from D deck to the boat deck?
- Just a short staircase, which, under ordinary conditions is private for the crew, but I suppose they walked through it. One man had two bags slung over his shoulder and one in his hand, an Italian, or some nationality like that.

6208. When the boat gave this lurch that you have described to us you say a great many people were thrown into one bunch. Have you any idea of the class of passengers they were?
- I could not say.

Examined by Mr. EDWARDS.

6209. You said when you went down to the pantry that you saw some water there. Did I understand you rightly about that?
- When I went down to my quarters.

6210. Which deck is that on?
- E deck.

6211. What time was this?
- After 1 o'clock.

The Commissioner:
How long before the vessel went down?

6212. (The Solicitor-General.) You suggested he said that he saw some water. I thought he said he went to get a drink of water?
- I went to the pantry, I said, to get a, drink of water.

6213. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) I want to clear up the point about it - the water that he drank and the other that he saw. (To the Witness.) You went down to your quarters, you said?
- Yes.

6214. And you there saw some water?
- Yes.

6215. What time would that be?
- A decent bit after one.

6216. (The Commissioner.) What did you say?
- A decent bit after one.

6217. What water did you see, and where was it?
- There was not very much water. It would just cover my feet, that is all. The list of the ship sent it down against my settee in the room.

6218. Sent it down from where?
- I could not say where it came from.

6219. Was this place of yours on the port side of the ship?
- Port side, amidships.

6220. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Would you see the direction from which this water was coming?
- I should say it came from forward.

6221. Was there much of it?
- No, not much; it just went over my ankles I should say.

6222. Two or three inches?
- That is all.

6223. Was it flowing at all rapidly?
- No.

6224. You have said that when you were down, I think in the pantry, or was it again when you were in your quarters, you heard a noise that you thought was the cracking, the breaking of the ship? What time would that be?
- A few minutes after I had been to my room, I should say - after half-past one.

6225. So that before you heard this noise like the breaking of the ship you had seen this water, on E deck in your quarters?
- Yes.

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