British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 6

Testimony of Frank H. Morris

Examined by Mr. RAYMOND ASQUITH.

5275. Is your name Frank Herbert Morris?
- Yes.

5276. And were you first class bath-room steward on the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

5277. At the time of the collision I think you were asleep?
- Correct.

5278. Were you wakened by the shock?
- No. Were you called by someone?
- Yes.

5279. By another steward?
- By the saloon steward.

5280. Were you told to get up and dress and go on deck?
- Yes.

5281. Did you dress and take your lifebelt?
- No, I did not dress right away; I sat on my bunk for a while; then the second steward [Dodd] came in and told us to go on deck.

5282. How long was that after the collision, do you know?
- I could not swear to the time.

5283. About how long?
- About ten minutes or a quarter of an hour.

5284. Did you go up to the boat deck?
- Yes.

5285. Did you meet anyone on the way?
- I met the second steward.

5286. Did he give you any orders?
- He told us to go below and get bread from the baker's shop.

5287. And did you do that?
- I did.

5288. Did you find any bread?
- No.

5289. Did you then go up to the boat deck?
- Yes.

5290. Did you know your boat station?
- I did.

5291. Had you seen a boat list?
- I had.

5292. When had you seen the boat list first?
- In the first class pantry.

5293. But when?
- On Thursday.

5294. Which was your boat?
- Port 16.

5295. That was the aftermost boat on the port side?
- Yes.

5296. Did you go to that boat?
- I did.

5297. Was there an Officer directing operations there?
- Well, I could not tell you that.

5298. Was there some one who seemed to be in charge?
- Well, I believe there was a sailor or quartermaster; I could not swear who it was.

5299. And were the passengers being put into that boat?
- Yes.

5300. Were they put in on the boat deck or was the boat lowered to another deck?
- No, put in on the boat deck.

5301. Were any orders given about who was to be put in?
- Women and children first.

5302. Did you help to put them in?
- I did.

5303. Was the boat lowered then?
- I did not stand by 16 all the time.

5304. Did you see No. 16 lowered?
- No, it was being lowered away while I was standing by No. 14.

5305. Could you say how full 16 was when you saw it?
- It looked pretty full to me, but I could not swear to the number.

5306. Did you see anyone refused who wished to get into boat 16?
- The women and children were crying and we had great trouble to get the women into the boats.

5307. You had great trouble in putting them in?
- Yes, we had to push them in.

5308. Did any men try to get in?
- Not in 16; they did in 14.

5309. Fourteen was the next boat you went to?
- Yes.

5310. And in that boat some men tried to get?
- Yes, some third class passengers who were foreigners.

5311. Did they succeed in getting in?
- No.

5312. Was there an Officer in charge of No. 14?
- Well, there was in the last part, when the boat was pretty well full, Officer Lowe came along.

5313. Did you get into boat No. 14?
- After I was called.

5314. You were told to do so?
- Yes.

5315. Was that by the Fifth Officer, Mr. Lowe?
- Yes.

5316. Were any other members of the crew in that boat?
- I think there were two firemen, two sailors, and I think there were two more stewards besides myself.

5317. That would make seven members of the crew altogether?
- Yes.

5318. (The Commissioner.) Three stewards; did you say, two firemen?
- I believe there were two firemen, but I could not swear.

5319. And two sailors?
- Yes.

5320. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Do you know the names of any of them?
- No.

5321. How many women and children had you. Can you say at all?
- Well, I counted 53 when we pulled away from the "Titanic."

5322. You counted 53?
- Yes.

5323. Fifty-three women and children apart from the men?
- Yes.

5324. Apart from the crew?
- Yes.

5325. Were there any men passengers?
- Yes.

5326. How many?
- I think I counted two, but I could not swear, not to be correct.

5327. Do you know whether they were first, second, or third class?
- One was a second class passenger.

5328. (The Commissioner.) One of the men?
- Yes.

5329. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) You cannot say about the other?
- No.

5330. Can you say to what class the women belonged?
- I think some were third class passengers, the ladies, Irish women.

5331. You think some of them were Irish women?
- Yes, by the way they spoke.

5332. I do not know whether you can say at all, how many you thought were Irish women?
- No.

5333. Was the Fifth Officer in the boat himself?
- Yes.

5334. What orders did he give you after you were lowered?
- He told us to pull away from there, and not to pull too far.

5335. How far away did you pull?
- About a quarter of a mile on a rough estimation.

5336. And did you wait there till the "Titanic" sank?
- No, when we pulled away from her, Mr. Lowe asked how many were in the boat, and he said we had not enough, and he said we would have to pull back and see who we could pick up.

5337. You are now speaking of the time before the "Titanic" sank, are you?
- Yes. As we were rowing round in the vicinity of the "Titanic" we came upon four lifeboats, and Officer Lowe asked who was in charge, if they had an Officer, and they said "No"; and he said, "Consider yourself under my charge." Then we put our women and children into their boats, and then he asked if our sail was all right, and we put up the mast of the sail because he said it might be useful in the night. After the boat was down he said we would have to do our best to try and pick up as many as we could.

5338. (The Commissioner.) Did you pick up any passengers from any other lifeboat?
- No.

5339. Did you put any of your passengers into any other lifeboat?
- We put all our passengers in.

5340. Then did it leave your boat empty?
- Yes.

5341. And what did you do then?
- We pulled towards the wreckage to see who we could pick up.

5342. That is to say, after the "Titanic" had gone down?
- Yes.

5343. And how many did you pick up?
- Three.

5344. Did you pick up no more?
- No; we only heard those three crying for help.

5345. And when you were picked up by the "Carpathia" were there on your boat only the seven men of the crew and these three persons whom you had picked up?
- No, because we had picked up another collapsible boat that was making towards the "Carpathia."

5346. What happened with that boat?
- The gunwales had not been properly fixed of this collapsible boat.

5347. Did you take the passengers on the collapsible boat into your boat?
- Yes.

5348. How many were there?
- I think there were about eighteen; I could not swear to the number at the time.

5349. Now, did you take any more people on board your boat before your boat was picked up by the "Carpathia"?
- No, only the three we picked up out of the water.

5350. Did you take any more?
- No.

5351. Then you had eighteen that you took from the collapsible boat?
- Yes.

5352. And three you had taken out of the water?
- Yes.

5353. That was 21?
- Yes.

5354. And you had the seven men of the crew?
- Yes.

5355. That is 28?
- Yes.

5356. When you were picked up by the "Carpathia" that was the number you had on board?
- Yes.

5357. How many was your boat constructed to carry?
- I suppose the lifeboat is constructed to carry about 60 or 70.

5358. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Apart from these three whom you picked up out of the water, did you see anyone else alive in the water?
- No.

5359. Did you row about and look for people?
- We were rowing all night.

5360. On the scene of the wreck?
- Yes.

5361. With regard to the people whom you took off the collapsible boat, were they women or men, or both?
- I think there were some men; we were a little excited to try and save them because they were on the point of sinking, and I never took that much notice who they were, but I think there were women amongst them, but they were nearly all men - three stewards were amongst them.

5362. Were they the only members of the crew in the collapsible boat?
- That is all I could recognise at the time.

5363. You think there were some women, but they were mostly men?
- Yes.

5364. (The Commissioner.) Now, can you tell me when you arrived on the "Carpathia" how many men and how many women were there in your boat?
- I could not tell you; I think there were about six or seven, but I could not swear to it.

5365. Six or seven what?
- Women.

5366. Out of the 28?
- Yes, I think there were that number, but I could not swear. Out of the 28, as I understand, there were 10 of the crew, perhaps I was wrong.

Mr. Raymond Asquith:
I think there would be 11, counting the Fifth Officer.

5367. (The Commissioner.) Of the 18 that you took from the other boat, I understand that three were members of the crew?
- Yes.

5368. And you already had seven?
- Yes.

5369. That was 10?
- Yes.

5370. You picked three people from the water?
- Yes.

5371. Were they men or women?
- Men.

5372. Was any one of those three a member of the crew?
- Yes, one.

The Commissioner:
Then you are right, Mr. Asquith, there were eleven.

5373. (Mr. Raymond Asquith - To the Witness.) Are you quite sure that you are right in saying this boat was No. 14?
- Yes.

Mr. Raymond Asquith:
I ask that question, my Lord, because another Witness named Scarrott, has given evidence who says he was in boat 14, and he describes the boat as having about sixty-four.

The Solicitor-General:
It is the second Witness that was called, my Lord.

Mr. Raymond Asquith:
One of them must have made a mistake about the number.

The Commissioner:
It is not so far wrong, Mr. Attorney.

The Attorney-General:

5374. (The Commissioner.) This man says there were fifty-three passengers in his boat, No. 14, and seven that would make sixty; and then for some reason or another they were transferred to another boat. There would be about sixty in this boat No. 14 according to this man. (To the Witness.) I want to know this: Can you tell me what boat it was you transferred your passengers to?
- I could not tell you.

5375. Did you transfer them all?
- Yes.

5376. They were nearly all women?
- We transferred all the women and children.

5377. Why did you do it?
- Well, I suppose this was Officer Lowe's idea: if we rowed back to the wreckage and picked up a lot, our boat would not hold them all. That was his idea, to save as many as possible.

5378. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Did you know a man named Scarrott, a seaman?
- No.

5379. You cannot say whether he was in your boat or not?
- No.

5380. Was there fresh water in your boat?
- Yes.

5381. Do you know whether there were any compasses or provisions?
- We never attempted to look.

5382. (Mr. Scanlan.) Had your boat a light?
- Well, they looked for a lamp, but did not find it; the boat was full at the time when we were looking for it.

5383. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Did you pick up another collapsible boat after?
- Yes, full up.

5384. (The Commissioner.) You came up to another collapsible boat full?
- Yes.

5385. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) You mean you transferred the people from the second collapsible boat to your boat?
- No, we picked up two boats altogether.

5386. (The Commissioner.) By picking them up you mean you came up to them?
- Yes, we took one collapsible boat in tow.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

5387. I think the idea of transferring your passengers into the other boat was to give you a free boat to go to the rescue of people who were drowning?
- I expect that was Mr. Lowe's idea; I was not in charge.

5388. Is it the case that you could only see three people in the water?
- Oh, we saw hundreds in the water, but they were not crying for help; they might have been unconscious, they might have been dead, we could not say to that.

5389. In getting your boat station for No. 16 that meant the arrangements were that in emergency you would go to 16?
- Yes.

5390. But you were sent to 14?
- No, I was not sent to 14.

5391. (The Commissioner.) He went to 16.

5391a. (Mr. Scanlan.) Yes, my Lord. (To the Witness.) But the boat you went with was 14?
- Yes.

5392. The purpose of giving you this station was that you would be one of the crew of No. 16?
- Yes.

5393. Can you tell me whether, of the seven who were in No. 14, who rowed away in No. 14 when it was lowered, any single one of them was given as his station this No. 14?
- I could not tell you that.

5394. Do not you think, if there had been a muster, that the men would better have been able to go at once to their own stations?
- They might have done so; they might have been called upon for other orders.

Examined by Mr. HARBINSON.

5395. Coming up from the saloon that night was there any evidence of confusion on the boat deck?
- None at all.

5396. Or in any part of the ship?
- There was a little confusion round boat 14 with those foreigners, the men. That is all the confusion I saw.

5397. Were there many women there at the time?
- There did not look to be many.

5398. Had many other boats been launched at this time on that side?
- I helped to lower 12 away.

5399. You say that a number of your crew, you believe, were Irish?
- Not the crew.

5400. I mean your passengers?
- Yes.

5401. Those who were in your boat?
- Yes.

5402. When did you discover that; was it on the boat deck or afterwards, during the night?
- On the boat deck.

5403. Were all the women who were standing round taken into the boat. Did you leave any behind?
- Some women got into the other boats, I believe; but I could not say.

5404. But your boat was not full at that time?
- I did not count; I do not know what the carrying capacity of the boats is.

5405. Who gave you the order to lower?
- Officer Lowe.

5406. How long was it after your boat was lowered until you transferred the women and children to the other boat you have mentioned?
- I could not tell you the time.

5407. Was it before the sinking of the "Titanic"?
- I believe it was.

5408. You believe it was?
- I believe so; I am not going to swear to it though.

5409. You said you pulled about a quarter of a mile away?
- Yes.

5410. Were you that distance from the "Titanic" when she sank?
- No, we were making towards her when she sank.

5411. Do you suggest that having at this time transferred the women and children from your boat to another boat, it was only possible to pick up three passengers?
- Yes.

5412. Did you hear many cries?
- No, I did not.

5413. You knew, of course, that there must have been a great number of people left behind on the "Titanic"?
- I expect so.

5414. Was it very dark at the time?
- Yes.

5415. Did you pull about and look for other passengers?
- Yes, I did - we all did.

5416. Did you shout or in any way try to attract the attention of passengers who might be in the water?
- No.

5417. You did nothing?
- All was silent.

5418. All was silent?
- Yes, we just heard a cry here and there for help.

5419. Have you been in this hall while other Witnesses have been giving evidence?
- I have one or two days, but I have not stopped here.

5420. Did you hear one of the Witnesses say yesterday that the cries were agonising?
- No.

5421. You did not hear that?
- No.

5422. Would that statement, if it were made, have been true?
- The cries when she went down were awful.

5423. After the "Titanic" sank, were you not in a position to go close to where she had gone down?
- No, we never knew whether there would be any suction or not.

5424. From where you were lying by you could see the position of the "Titanic" and see lights on the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

5425. Was it not your duty immediately the "Titanic" sunk to pull to the place where she had been, to try to rescue any passengers that might be in the water?
- We did so.

5426. And you say it was only possible under all the circumstances to rescue three?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. COTTER.

5427. How long have you been in the employ of the White Star Line?
- I believe about five years.

5428. Were you in any other company before that?
- No.

5429. Have you ever taken part in boat drill?
- I have.

5430. Or bulkhead drill or fire drill?
- Yes.

5431. Can you tell us whether there were any hand bulkhead doors on board the "Titanic," and where were they situated, to your knowledge?
- There were some in the working alleyway.

5432. You know where the third class dining-rooms are?
- Yes.

5433. Were there any bulkhead doors, separating those dining-rooms, in the alleyways leading from one section to another?
- Yes.

5434. What deck are those bulkhead doors on?
- Some on E deck in the working alleyway on the port side, and the starboard side I believe, where the first class passengers were, and some on F deck.

5435. You know where they are?
- Yes.

5436. Where were you when the ship struck?
- We were asleep.

5437. In the glory hole?
- Yes.

5438. Were you in your bunk?
- I was; I was asleep.

5439. Did anybody come and tell you there had been an accident?
- The saloon steward came and woke us and said, " She has hit something."

5440. Were there any orders from the Second Steward or the Chief Steward?
- From the Second Steward. He came in about 10 minutes after.

5441. That is Mr. Dodd?
- Yes.

5442. What did he say?
- "All go up on deck and take a lifebelt with you."

5443. Did he suggest you should stand by your boats?
- I never heard him give that order. He gave us orders: "All up on the boat deck."

5444. The "Titanic" carries a bugler, I suppose?
- Yes.

5445. Did you hear the bugle going at all, giving the call, "all hands to the boats"?
- No.

5446. You would understand it if you had heard it?
- We would have understood it all right.

5447. There was no call given?
- No.

5448. Did you see the Chief Steward?
- No.

5449. You did not see the Chief Steward?
- No.

5450. Did you see the storekeeper?
- Thompson? I saw one storekeeper.

5451. Did he say anything about coming down to the storeroom, as something had happened?
- I heard him tell some of the fellows to come to the storeroom and get biscuits.

5452. That is the duty of several stewards, providing they know their duties, and have had them told them, to go down to the storeroom to get biscuits to store the boats?
- That is on the lifeboat list, I believe.

5453. Did any of them go down there to your knowledge?
- Well, I believe there were a lot down there; I could not swear. I met some going down on the way.

5454. When you got on deck what did you see with regard to women and children?
- I saw them all standing round the lifeboats.

5455. Many?
- I could not swear to the number.

5456. Who was in charge; who did you see in charge, an Officer or who?
- I never saw any Officer; I was not taking as much notice as that.

5457. Was there nobody giving orders at all on the boat deck?
- I heard an Officer shouting.

5458. What did he shout?
- "Get the boats clear."

5459. Who told you to go down to the baker's shop for bread?
- The Second Steward.

5460. Where was he when he told you that?
- In the companion that leads from the deck up to the top deck.

5461. The man's companion?
- Oh, no.

5462. The second cabin companion?
- No, a working companion leading from E deck right through the pantries.

5463. It is a kind of crew's companion. When you got to the baker's shop was there anyone there?
- When I was getting to the baker's shop I asked a fellow if there was no more bread left, and he said "No," that it had all gone up.

5464. Who was there?
- Some stewards; I do not know their names.

5465. Was the chief baker there?
- I did not see him.

5466. They had already sent the bread up. Did you join the ship in Belfast?
- Yes.

5467. You went over to Belfast for her, so that you would have a thorough knowledge of the ship by the time you got to Southampton. Did you hear any orders given, if orders were given - for the stewards to know exactly how to get up to the boat deck?
- Yes.

5468. Did you hear any orders for them to go and get the third class women out?
- No.

5469. Or the second cabin?
- No.

5470. You heard no orders at all?
- No. Orders might have been given, but I was not there when they were given.

5471. Had you any difficulty in lowering boat 14?
- Not at first. When it was half way down the ship's side the tackle got hitched up.

5472. Could you account for that at all?
- I think the tackle got twisted.

5473. Through its being new?
- That might have been so.

5474. Had you much trouble in getting it into its ordinary shape to get down?
- No.

5475. Was the ship listing to starboard when you were lowering that boat?
- I think there was a list to port.

5476. A list to port?
- I think so.

The Commissioner:
That is the first we have heard of that, I think. Is there evidence that she had a list to port.

The Attorney-General:
Oh, certainly, my Lord. I will call your Lordship's attention to it.

Mr. Cotter:
Before she sank, my Lord; we have evidence that there was a list to port.

The Attorney-General:
There is no doubt there is some already, and there is a good deal more to come.

The Commissioner:
He is talking about the time when he was lowering his boat.

The Attorney-General:
Yes. I am sure there is evidence.

5477. (Mr. Cotter - To the Witness.) How long was it from when she struck till you lowered boat 14. Can you give us some idea?
- Well, in my own estimation I should say it was about 1 or a quarter-past 1.

5478. That would be thirty-five minutes after she struck?
- Yes.

5479. And she had a list to port then. Did your boat catch the ship's side at all going down?
- No.

5480. She was clear all the way. Are there any foreigners in the stewards' department of the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

5481. Many?
- No, one or two, not many.

The Commissioner:
I do not know what the point is; what you asked the question for. What is the point of it?

Mr. Cotter:
I want to point out, my Lord, that there were Italians and Germans in this crew.

The Commissioner:
But what is the point, supposing there were?

Mr. Cotter:
The point is they would not understand orders if they got them.

5482. (The Attorney-General.) If your Lordship will look at page 104, question 4054, you will find one question yesterday put to the Electrician. I will read it: "We climbed up the davit and down the boat falls, and I got into a boat, and Scott dropped into the water." Your Lordship remembers that: "(2.) You are speaking of the port side, as I understand? - (A.) Yes, port side. (2.) Did you notice at all whether there was any list on the ship at this time? - (A.) There was a slight list to port." There is a good deal of evidence which your Lordship will hear about it.

5483. (Mr. Cotter - To the Witness.) Did you see anything of these men - the restaurant people?
- No.

5484. You did not see them?
- No.

Examined by Mr. EDWARDS.

5485. You said you rescued certain people from a collapsible boat which was in a sinking condition. Do you know what was the matter with the collapsible boat?
- I should think the sides had not been fixed properly.

5486. You do not know of your own knowledge?
- No.

5487. Can you give the name of any single one of the persons who was transferred from that collapsible boat to your boat?
- Yes.

5488. Will you give the names?
- Brown.

5489. What is he?
- First class Steward.

5490. Can you give any other name?
- Lucas, First class Steward.

5491. Anybody else?
- And the First class Barber.

5492. Do you know his name?
- Gus Whiteman. [August Weikman.]

5493. Anybody else?
- No.

Examined by Mr. LEWIS.

5494. How close were you to the spot where the "Titanic" sank when you picked up the three men?
- Well, I could not tell you the exact spot where she went down, but we were pretty well near her, because when we rowed to these three persons there was wreckage all round us.

5495. You could only find three to pick up?
- Who were shouting.

5496. You made every possible effort, I take it?
- Our Officer did the finest action he could have done.

5497. If there had been more you would have picked them up.

Examined by Mr. LAING.

5498. You are a First class Steward?
- Yes.

5499. Would you be in a position to hear orders given to the third class Stewards?
- No.

5500. With regard to the restaurant people, are they a separate gang altogether, a separate body?
- Yes.

5501. Under some separate person?
- Yes.

5502. Nothing to do with the stewards as stewards?
- No.

5503. Were there any foreigners among the stewards - among the First or Second or Third class Stewards, apart from the restaurant?
- Yes, one or two.

5504. What were they?
- Saloon Waiters.

5505. Could they talk English?
- Oh, yes, very good.

The Attorney-General:
I have no question.

(The Witness withdrew.)