British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 6

Testimony of Charles Joughin, cont.

Examined by Mr. COTTER.

6226. Are there any bulkhead doors in the alleyway outside your room?
- One immediately outside.

6227. Is that forward or aft?
- Forward of my room.

6228. And the water was coming from forward?
- The water was coming from forward.

6229. So that if that bulkhead door had been closed it might possibly have kept the water out?
- The door was not closed, but just about that time I saw two men coming and they said they were going to close it, but I did not see it closed.

6230. Was it closed after they said that?
- I do not know; I walked upstairs.

6231. You went up on deck?
- Yes.

6232. Your boat you told us was No. 10, and you were in charge?
- That is the one I was sent to.

6233. You said that boat was a yard and a half from the ship's side. Was there any difficulty in getting the women into that boat?
- Yes. That was through the list to port. Under ordinary conditions there would be no difficulty.

6234. But the boat was slung away from the ship through the list?
- Yes.

6235. Did you assist to get some women into the boat?
- I assisted to get most of them.

6236. You said you went down to the next deck to bring or try to force women up. Will you tell us - did you do that?
- Yes.

6237. Who did you bring up?
- I brought up two children and the mother - and a mother and a child, and other stewards were bringing up other women.

6238. What did you do with the children when you put them into the boat?
- Handed them into the boat or dropped them in.

6239. Threw them in?
- Threw them in.

6240. And what did you do with the mother?
- We wanted to throw her in, and I think she preferred to try and step in.

6241. What happened?
- She missed her footing.

6242. What happened then?
- This steward named Burke got hold of her foot and she swung head downwards for a few minutes, but she was got into B deck. Somebody caught her into B deck - no, A deck.

6243. Did you ever see her again?
- No.

6244. The children were saved?
- The children were saved.

6245. You said that you never went into your boat. Why did not you go, seeing that you were in charge?
- I would have set a bad example if I had jumped into the boat. None of the men felt inclined to get into the boat.

6246. You simply stood back to assist the women and children to get in?
- We stood back till the Officers should give us the word, and we never got it, so that we never jumped for the boat.

6247. When you found your boat had gone you said you went down below. What did you do when you went down below?
- I went to my room for a drink.

6248. Drink of what?
- Spirits.

The Commissioner:
Does it very much matter what it was?

Mr. Cotter:
Yes, my Lord, this is very important, because I am going to prove, or rather my suggestion is, that he then saved his life. I think his getting a drink had a lot to do with saving his life.

The Commissioner:
He told you he had one glass of liqueur.

6249. (Mr. Cotter.) Yes. (To the Witness.) What kind of a glass was it?
- It was a tumbler half-full.

6250. A tumbler half-full of liqueur?
- Yes.

6251. When you were on the poop did you see anybody attempting to come up on to the poop after you - following you up?
- It was an impossibility for them to get on to the poop.

6252. Are there no ladders going on to the poop?
- But the ship was like that. (Showing.) The ladders would be astern. The people were all on the port side in one bunch. There was nobody on the starboard side; in fact you could not see.

6253. It has been stated that she turned practically perpendicular. I want to ask your opinion about that, because I think it is very important. Did you see the propellers come out of the water at all?
- She was not far out of the water at any stage that I saw.

6254. So that to say that she stood up like that - (Showing.) - would be wrong?
- It would be absolutely wrong.

6255. She simply glided away?
- She went down that fashion (Showing.) It was a glide. There was no great shock, or anything.

6256-66. She simply glided away?
- She simply glided away. [TIP Note: Numbers 6256-66 were all given to this one question in the original transcript.]

6267. When you got into the water and had swum to the collapsible boat you were pushed off, you say?
- Yes.

6268. Who pushed you off?
- I do not know.

6269. Did you say anything when you were pushed off?
- No.

6270. You made no statement to anyone?
- No.

6271. What condition were you in when you got to the "Carpathia"?
- I was all right barring my feet, they were swelled.

6272. Were you able to walk up the ladder?
- No.

6273. How did you get up?
- On my knees.

(After a short Adjournment.)

Examined by Mr. LAING.

Mr. Laing:
May I mention a matter to your Lordship. The White Star Line will gladly welcome any gentleman who is appearing here in Court on behalf of those to whom your Lordship has allowed representation, to visit the "Olympic" on Monday at twelve o'clock, if they can conveniently be there at that time.

The Commissioner:
The gentlemen do not appear to be all here at present, but I will mention it in a quarter of an hour or so, when I see them here.

Mr. Laing:
We desire to extend a welcome to those gentlemen who are appearing here in Court on behalf of the representation your Lordship has allowed.

The Commissioner:
Yes, I understand.

6274. (Mr. Laing - To the Witness.) With regard to questions which have already been asked you about your boat No. 10, you, as I understand, were captain of that boat and had a crew of some seven hands allotted to No. 10?
- That was only out of the kitchen department.

6275. Seven of your department were allotted?
- That is seven out of the kitchen and the bakery and butchers' department. That does not constitute the crew.

6276. You were the captain and there were seven of your department allotted to that boat?
- Seven out of three departments, that is the cooking, baking, and butchering departments.

6277. When you got up on the boat deck you were there, and were your seven people there too?
- Yes.

6278. And was Mr. Wilde the Chief Officer, there?
- Yes.

6279. And was Mr. Wilde having this boat filled with women and children?
- Yes, those were his orders.

6280. Were his orders being carried out?
- Yes.

6281. Was the sea, as you have described it, like a pond?
- Yes.

6282. And when this boat was full, or nearly full, did Mr. Wilde pick out the men to go in her to look after her?
- Yes, he said "I want oarsmen."

6283. How many did he want?
- He picked out two sailors and a steward.

6284. Three of them went with the boat?
- As far as I know. I did not see any more.

6285. Had you heard that help was given or was expected?
- We all knew - at least the word was passed round - that there were four or five ships rushing to us. The word was passed round, but there was nothing official.

6286. But you knew pretty well that help was expected and was coming?
- Yes.

6287. And with the sea as it was, do you think three men were enough to keep this boat afloat?
- I did under the circumstances, because there was no necessity for rowing. They were only there to calm the women, I thought.

6288. Calm the women and keep the boat floating until help arrived?
- Yes.

6289. Was that the idea, do you think which Mr. Wilde was carrying out?
- I do not know what he thought.

6290. Then there is another matter I want to ask you about. As to water, you say, as I understand, you only saw water on the alleyway?
- I did not see it in the alleyway; I saw it in my room. My room is in what we call the skin of the ship, and the water was on the lower port side, just enough to cover my feet, that was all.

6291. (The Commissioner.) Your room is against the skin of the ship?
- Yes.

6292. On the port side?
- Yes.

6293. And the water that you are talking about was on the port side of your room?
- Yes, the extreme port side.

6294. Did the water extend over the whole of the floor of your room?
- Oh, yes, but the bulk of it was on the port side.

6295. You have said it was deep enough to come to your ankles; Where was it deep enough to come to your ankles?
- On the port side.

6296. On the side which was nearest amidships, what water was there there?
- I could not say, but I suppose a fraction less, that is all.

6297. (Mr. Laing.) Was there enough to wet your feet, and that sort of thing?
- Yes, that is all.

6298. You have told us that you saw some men coming along to close the watertight doors on the alleyway?
- Yes.

6299. Do you know who the men were?
- No.

6300. Was it the last time that you were in the alleyway that you saw them coming?
- Yes.

6301. And were they closing these doors?
- They were setting about it.

6302. (The Commissioner.) With spanners?
- Yes, one large spanner. The spanner is alongside the door in a click ready for use.

6303. (Mr. Laing.) The spanner is kept there so that anybody can use it?
- Yes.

6304. That was the last time you were down the alleyway?
- The last time I was on E deck.

Re-examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL.

The Solicitor-General:
I think, in view of this last bit of evidence about the water, it is worthwhile finding out where this Witness's room is.

The Commissioner:

6305. (The Solicitor-General - To the Witness.) Your room is on E deck, I understand?
- On E deck, amidships.

The Solicitor-General:
Has your Lordship got the plan we have called No. 3?

The Commissioner:
I have got the plan of E deck.

The Witness:
To save confusion, I was occupying, and have occupied on the "Olympic" and the "Teutonic," the confectioner's room because it is a better room.

6306. (The Solicitor-General.) That is a little bit further aft?
- Yes.

6307. There is a room which is marked on my plan, "Confectioner and Second Baker"
- That is right, that is the room I occupied.

The Solicitor-General:
Does your Lordship see "Confectioner and Second Baker"?

The Commissioner:
I do.

The Solicitor-General:
That is his room.

6308. (The Commissioner - To the Witness.) Was the room that you occupied abaft of the bulkhead?
- Yes.

6309. Just abaft of it?
- Immediately abaft the bulkhead.

6310. (The Solicitor-General.) Has your room got a porthole?
- Yes, one.

6311. The portholes on E deck are not the bottom row, but the bottom row but one, I think. Mr. Wilding tells me that is so. Because F deck has also got portholes. That was, or had been, a calm evening, I think?
- Yes.

6312. Though it was cold, do you know whether your porthole was open or not?
- It was closed.

6313. On E deck are the portholes in practice opened from time to time?
- Very, very often we keep them open the whole of the passage.

6314. You say yours was closed, in fact?
- Yes, on account of the weather, it being a wee bit cold, I suppose.

6315. So far as you know, though, of course, you could only speak of what you heard or saw, was there any order given after the accident about closing the porthole?
- I never heard any order.

6316. I suppose when this ship is riding on an even keel the water would be some distance below your porthole?
- Yes, a considerable distance.

6317. And, of course, below the portholes on the deck below?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
Does this model which I see here indicate the waterline on this particular voyage?

The Solicitor-General:
Yes, my Lord, I think it does, by the dotted line.

The Commissioner:
Is it the top of the pink?

The Solicitor-General:
I am told by Mr. Wilding it is a little lower than the top of the pink.

Mr. Laing:
It is just a little below the pink.

The Commissioner:
Is it marked on this model? If it is I cannot see it.

Mr. Laing:
No, my Lord, it is not.

The Solicitor-General:
I understood it was.

Mr. Laing:
But we could have it put on if it is any convenience.

The Commissioner:
It might be some convenience if you would have the waterline marked on this model.

Mr. Laing:
We will put it on with a little strip of paper.

The Solicitor-General:
Where one does see it, is on the upper of the two plans on this side of the room. There is the waterline indicated.

The Commissioner:
There I see it - those two blue lines, one on the right and the other on the left, you mean?

6318. (The Solicitor-General.) Yes. (To the Witness.) Do you see the plan there?
- Yes.

6319. E deck would not be the line immediately above that, but the line above that again?
- Oh, no - I could tell you from the model here, but I cannot tell you from that.

The Commissioner:
I am afraid I threw you out of your line of question.

6320. (The Solicitor-General.) It was only to see where we were, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Now, with regard to this water, did you think that the water was sea water, or did you suppose that owing to the ship having a list, water had poured from somewhere inside the ship?
- My idea was she had shipped some water forward, or a quantity of ice that had melted and had run down; but I did not give it a second thought, because it was not serious.

6321. Was there anywhere else on E deck that you saw any indication of water at all?
- No.

6322. (The Commissioner.) I should like to ask a question about it. Did the water come under the door of your cabin?
- The door was open.

6323. Then it was flowing from the passage; it must have come in from the passage outside?
- It must have come in, yes. There is a scupper just at the outside.

6324. That passage outside is what you call an alleyway, is it not?
- Yes.

6325. Is that what you call Scotland Road alleyway?
- Yes.

6326. That was a fairly wide passage?
- Eight or nine feet, I think, I am not sure.

6327. Was there water on the floor of that passage?
- Very little.

6328. As the ship listed over to port the water flowed down into your cabin and left the alleyway from which it came fairly dry?
- Yes.

6329. Did you see or believe that more water was coming in while you were standing there?
- I could not see any coming; I did not know where it came from at all.

6330. Had your cabin a coaming?
- A very small one; less than two inches.

6331. Two or three inches?
- That is all, a wooden coaming like a doorstep.

6332. (The Solicitor-General.) After you had been in your room and seen this water there, you came out again in the alleyway, I understand, did you not?
- No, I went up the middle staircase, what we call the crew's staircase.

6333. Did you return to that same deck at all, or was it your last visit?
- That was my last visit.

6334. And you told me you did not see water on that deck anywhere else?
- Nowhere else.

6335. The only other thing is this. You say you saw men coming to close watertight doors; that is to say, those doors do not shut automatically?
- That is right.

6336. Was that on E deck?
- Yes, immediately outside my room.

6337. Watertight doors?
- Yes.

6338. On E deck?
- Yes.

6339. Was one aft of your room?
- Immediately forward.

6340. Immediately forward of your room?
- Yes.

6341. Then was it that watertight door, which you see on the plan is in the alleyway, which is in front of your room?
- I am not sure, but I think it is No. 23 door.

6342. I do not know their numbers, but was it the one just forward of your room?
- Yes, in the alleyway.

6343. And you actually saw them doing that?
- Yes, they were working on it.

6344. You are quite right; it is No. 23 door?
- We used to call it the skidoo door, on account of the number. That is how I remember the number.

6345. (The Commissioner.) I do not understand that?
- It is an American joke.

6346. Will you explain it?
- I could not explain it, my Lord.

6347. (The Solicitor-General.) At any rate it connects No. 23 with something about skidoo?
- Yes.

6348. Did the men working at No. 23 door tell you they had got orders about it?
- No, I did not speak to them.

6349. You do not know whether they were closing or had closed any other watertight doors?
- No, I do not know.

6350. You spoke of seeing an interpreter in the third class part of the ship trying to get the third class people to come along and go up to the deck?
- Yes.

6351. Did I catch you rightly to say the interpreter was doing it and men were helping him?
- I could see two or three stewards.

6352. You could?
- Yes.

6353. Third class stewards?
- I suppose they were, I am not quite sure.

6354. Trying to persuade the people?
- Yes.

6355. And where was it these people that you saw were standing?
- In the alleyway, just abaft the emergency door leading into the second class.

6356. That is also on E deck?
- Yes.

6357. Are the third class cabins which are abaft of that also on the E deck?
- There are some on E deck, and there are some on F deck below that.

6358. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) There is a question which I did not examine into, but which has arisen, if, your Lordship will permit me. (To the Witness.) When you saw this water in your compartment did it lead you to any conclusion as to the special danger in which you thought the ship was?
- No, not anything special. If it had been higher I should have thought something about it, but under the circumstances I thought it might have been a pipe burst, because there was a pipe burst on the "Olympic" from the engineers' quarters and we got the same water. It might have been the same thing.

The Commissioner:
I think all the representatives of the different classes are here now, and I want to say that Mr. Laing, at the sitting of the Court this afternoon, mentioned that the White Star Company would place the "Olympic" on Monday at the disposal of the gentlemen who are here representing the different classes, so that if they choose to go and see her at 12 o'clock on that day they will be able to go over the steamer.

Mr. Edwards:
May I say, my Lord, on behalf of my friends, we appreciate this, but it would considerably help us, and in the end I think might help the Court, if passes were also provided for experts to accompany the counsel and representatives who are engaged in this case, not in the sense of experts who may be called as Witnesses, but rather as experts who with their special knowledge may fortify the counsel on matters of technical importance.

The Commissioner:
What do you say to that, Mr. Laing?

Mr. Laing:
My clients do not think that is a reasonable request to make. Their invitation is to the gentlemen who are representing the parties, like ourselves.

The Commissioner:
I think you ust be satisfied with the ordinary order, which is to the gentlemen who represent the interests. I think that is sufficient.

6359. (The Solicitor-General - To the Witness.) There is one other thing. You may be able to tell us about the electric light in the afterpart of the ship. You have described how you heard the breaking of the metal, the rending of metal, followed by this rush of people to the poop. At the time when you heard the rending of metal, were the electric lights burning in the part of the ship you saw?
- The electric lights were burning right to the very last. I saw the time by my watch at a quarter-past two.

6360. You looked at your watch?
- Yes.

6361. You were carrying it?
- Yes, I had it in this pocket. I was transferring it from this pocket to my stern pocket.

6362. And you looked at it as you did it?
- Yes.

6363. Were you holding on to the rail at the time?
- No, I was getting towards the rail. It was a quarter-past two then.

6364. And the electric light was burning then?
- Yes.

6365. So that there was never a time when you were on that ship when there was not electric light where you were?
- Right to the very finish that I saw.

6366. (The Commissioner.) Your opinion is it was burning until the afterpart of the ship went down. Do you mean that?
- Yes, I saw it.

(The Witness withdrew.)