British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 6

Testimony of Samuel Rule

Examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL.

6367. You were bathroom steward on board the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

6368. Did you join her at Southampton?
- Yes.

6369. As bathroom steward?
- Yes.

6370. Did you hear anything at all about being in the neighbourhood of ice before the collision?
- No.

6371. Where were you at the time of the collision?
- In my bed.

6372. Were you asleep?
- Yes.

6373. Would you help us to find out where you were from the plan? Where did you sleep?
- On E deck.

6374. What part of E deck?
- The afterpart. It is an eight-berthed room; eight people slept in it - the saloon steward, and the lounge steward, and deck steward -

6375. Was it starboard or port side?
- Port side. It is next door to the chef's room.

6376. Was it forward or aft of the chef?
- Forward, the same passage. The chef went past our door in that passage way.

6377. Who were the men who were with you in this berth?
- At the time?

6378. Yes, what were they? Storekeepers?
- No. The Linen Keeper, the Smoke Room Steward, the Deck Steward, the Lounge Steward, and the Second Bedroom Steward, and the Bathroom Steward, myself.

6379. Was there any other eight-berthed cabin close there?
- No, the next one is twelve.

The Attorney-General:
Your Lordship will see where it is if you look just forward of the "Engine casing" on the port side. Your Lordship has the room where Joughin was. Forward of that there is the chef and forward of that again there is a berth and in front of that another one. "Twelve superior stewards." It is the one which has the eight in, and it is marked "One barkeeper, six storekeepers," and something else.

The Commissioner:
Are you sure it is there?

The Attorney-General:
It must be from what he says, because it is just abaft the twelve.

6380. (The Commissioner.) I can see the big berth a little further on. (To the Witness.) How many were there in yours?
- Eight.

The Attorney-General:
That is why it fixes it, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
I see in the one I am looking at there are a great many more.

6381. (The Attorney-General.) This is the only eight one there. (To the Witness.) Were you asleep?
- Yes.

6382. What woke you?
- The stoppage of the engines.

6383. Did you feel any shock before that?
- No.

6384. How many of you were there in the cabin at the time?
- Three.

6385. All turned in?
- Yes.

6386. Did you all wake together?
- Yes, pretty well, I think. If they did not I woke them myself.

6387. Did you think that something was wrong?
- I thought so when the ship stopped suddenly.

6388. Did you notice anything further with the engines?
- Not until she went full speed astern.

6389. You did notice that?
- I noticed that and the electric bells going in the fidley.

The Commissioner:
Does he say full speed astern?

6390. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, that is what he said. (To the Witness.) You noticed the engines had been reversed?
- Yes.

6391. I am not sure whether it was after that or at the same time that you heard the electric bells go to close the watertight doors?
- The same time.

6392. What did you do then?
- I immediately got up and dressed and went on deck.

6393. Were there lifebelts in your cabin?
- Yes.

6394. Provided for everyone?
- Yes, eight.

6395. Eight lifebelts for eight people?
- Yes.

6396. Did you take any with you when you went on the boat deck?
- Not then I did not.

6397. You went on the boat deck?
- I went right up the stairs on to the boat deck.

6398. Was there any sign of excitement or agitation on the boat deck?
- None whatever.

6399. What did you do then?
- I walked right along the boat deck right forward and passed in on to A deck and down the stairs to each deck.

6400. What do you mean by each deck?
- A, B, C, D, and E.

6401. Till you got to your deck?
- Yes, eventually, and I spoke to several of the stewards on watch and asked them what was the matter, and they thought everything was correct. There was no excitement anywhere. As I passed down on each deck I saw groups of people, but there was no panic and no excitement; you would have thought it was the closing up of the public rooms we met at every night. People were grouped round talking, and nothing more that I saw. I went right down through B and C deck down to D and E deck back through the saloon to the pantry, and I stopped talking to the watchman there, and I passed down to E deck again to my room.

6402. To your room?
- To my own room, back again. As there was nothing doing and no excitement we thought everything was right.

6403. You thought everything was going to be all right?
- Yes.

6404. Did you know you had struck an iceberg?
- I heard.

6405. When you got on the boat deck?
- Yes.

6406. But you did not think it was anything serious?
- No, nobody thought so.

6407. Nobody thought so?
- No.

6408. Then you went back to your cabin?
- Yes.

6409. Did you go to bed again?
- No I stood talking to my two mates that I had left behind, and advised them to get up and dress in case we should be wanted.

6410. You told us you passed along these decks. Did you see any passengers?
- On each companionway, I did, in groups. I recognised some that I knew.

6411. You have said there was no excitement. Did that apply as well to the passengers as to the stewards, the persons to whom you spoke?
- Yes.

6412. What was the next thing that happened when you got back to your cabin?
- I was there perhaps 10 or 15 minutes when the chief bedroom steward came down and said the order was, "All hands on deck for the lifeboats," and the bedroom stewards were to see the passengers out of their rooms with their lifebelts and lock the rooms up.

6413. Did you then go up to the boat deck?
- Yes.

6414. Did you take your lifebelt?
- Yes.

6415. Does that mean that each one took one lifebelt?
- We each took our own.

6416. (The Commissioner.) When you say "we," you mean the three?
- Yes.

6417. (The Attorney-General.) Did you notice any list in the vessel at that time?
- Not at that time.

6418. Was there any water in your cabin - any sign of water coming into your cabin at all?
- No.

6419. When you got up to the boat deck did you get any other order?
- No, as I passed up the staircase, I got to A deck and I saw Mr. McElroy the purser, and Mr. Dodd, the Second Steward. I thought to receive some orders from them, but there were no orders given, and I passed on to the next deck, the boat deck. It was on A deck I saw them. They were in deep conversation.

6420. On the boat deck did you get any order?
- No.

6421. Did you get any order about provisions for the boats?
- No.

6422. What did you do next?
- I went forward to No. 3; I went forward till I got to No. 3.

6423. Did you know your station?
- Yes.

6424. Was No. 3 boat your station?
- No, No. 15. We got the number as we passed up through the pantry from the boat list.

6425. I want to understand that. There was a boat list?
- Yes.

6426. Had you seen that before this night?
- Yes.

6427. Where was that?
- In the saloon pantry.

6428. And did that tell you your station?
- Yes.

6429. Was your station 15?
- Yes.

6430. Then when you came up you did not go to boat 15, you went forward to boat 3?
- Yes.

6431. Why was that?
- Well, I just merely went forward to see what they were doing, and my curiosity took me forward to see if I could hear any more of the damage, and I got busy at No. 3.

6432. Was the vessel at all down by the head then? Did you notice?
- Yes, slightly.

6433. Boat No. 3 was on the starboard side?
- Yes, starboard side forward.

6434. It was the second boat?
- The second boat.

6435. Next to the emergency boat?
- Yes.

6436. When you got there were any passengers there?
- Well, of course there were some passengers, and some of the crew getting her ready.

6437. Was she being uncovered?
- Had she been uncovered at that time?
- She was entirely uncovered, and ready for lowering almost.

6438. She was almost ready for lowering?
- Yes.

6439. Were there any passengers in at that time?
- There were some in it.

6440. Were they men or women in the boat?
- Women.

6441. Any children?
- I could not say; I was a good way off.

6442. Were there any men in the boat?
- I think so.

6443. Could you tell whether they were crew or passengers?
- Mostly passengers, that I saw.

6444. In the boat?
- Yes. Mr. Ismay was seeing them into No. 3 boat.

6445. (The Attorney-General.) I think this is the first time we have had No. 3 boat, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Was any Officer superintending?
- Yes.

6446. Who?
- I think it was Mr. Lowe; I am not sure. It was a Junior Officer. I do not know him.

6447. Was there any confusion?
- No.

6448. Everything was going on quietly and regularly?
- Yes.

6449. Were the boats lowered from the boat deck to the A deck?
- No, they took their passengers on from the boat deck.

6450. I said the boats. Did you see the No. 1 boat?
- No. 1 would be in the water at that time.

6451. That was the emergency boat?
- Because I heard an order given: "Stand off from the ship's side and come to when we call you." That was when No. 1 boat was in the water.

6452. I should like to get that clear. No. 1 boat was the emergency boat; the forward boat on the starboard side of the ship?
- Yes.

6453. It was the boat in which Hendrickson was, the last Witness yesterday, my Lord. (To the Witness.) I want you to repeat the order you heard given about that boat?
- "Stand off from the ship's side and return when we call you."

6454. "Stand off from the ship's side and return when we call you"?
- Yes.

6455. To whom was that order addressed?
- To the people in the boat, I presume.

6456. To the people in No. 1 boat. Could you see how many there were in that boat at the time?
- No.

The Attorney-General:
It was the one with seven of the crew and five passengers in, your Lordship will remember.

6457. (The Commissioner.) The emergency boat was in the water when you were at No. 3 boat?
- Yes.

6458. And this emergency boat had been dropped from the forward end on the starboard side?
- Yes.

6459. And someone, I do not know who, gave directions to this boat to stand off from the ship's side and come back when called?
- Yes.

6460. Who gave that order?
- I could not say - some Officer.

6461. (The Attorney-General.) Had you heard any other orders given to that No. 1 boat?
- No.

6462. At this time, from what you have said, Mr. Ismay was standing close?
- Yes, he was helping to get No. 3 out.

6463. Helping to get No. 3 boat out?
- Yes.

The Attorney-General:
Your Lordship will remember this order. It is on page 119, question 5011. Hendrickson's answer is practically to the same effect. The words are, "He was told to stand off a little way and come back when called."

The Commissioner:
Yes, it is to the same effect.

6464. (The Attorney-General - To the Witness.) Was Mr. Ismay dressed at this time?
- No, he had his slippers and a light overcoat on and no hat.

6465. Slippers, light overcoat and no hat?
- Yes.

6466. You said he was helping. What was he doing?
- He was just the same as any of the crew; he was doing all he could to assist to get the boats out.

6467. You saw passengers get in. Did you hear any refuse to get in?
- No.

6468. Can you give us any idea how many people there were in this boat No. 3 before she was lowered?
- No, I could not give you that, because I was a good way from her at the stern of the boat.

6469. You were at the stern?
- Yes, at the fall.

6470. Did you see this boat lowered at all to A deck?
- No, I think she went right into the water.

6471. (The Commissioner.) This is No. 3?
- Yes; she could not take her passengers on at A deck.

6472. (The Attorney-General.) She could not?
- No.

6473. That was because of the windows, I suppose?
- Yes, closed in.

6474. What did you do after you saw this boat lowered?
- I assisted in the next one.

6475. Which was that?
- No. 5. They passed the cover down and I threw it on one side clear of the falls. Then I met some of the pantrymen coming up with provisions for the boat, and I placed all the provisions round to pretty well each boat on the deck.

6476. What do you mean by provisions? What provisions?
- A box of biscuits and some bread.

6477. A box of biscuits and some bread, do you mean, to each boat?
- Yes.

6478. Did you stay with No. 5 until she was lowered?
- No, I went on with the bread and the biscuits.

6479. After helping No. 5 you then went further aft. Did you go to the next boat?
- No, I distributed the bread all round - the biscuits and bread to each boat.

6480. Had any of the boats been lowered on the starboard side by the time you got on to the boat deck?
- No.

6481. They were all there. Then did you go along to each boat distributing provisions?
- Yes.

6482. (The Commissioner.) Does this apply only to the starboard side or to the port side as well?
- Only to the starboard; I never crossed to port.

6483. Does that mean that you distributed biscuits and bread to each one of the boats on the starboard side?
- Yes, pretty well.

6484. (The Attorney-General.) If I follow the story it must be from No. 5, because No. 1 was already in the water?
- Yes, No. 3 was down.

6485. But when you got to No. 5 you started?
- Yes, I met the pantry men coming along with a case of biscuits and some bread. There were some five or six men came along.

6486. Is it your view that No. 1, the first boat on the starboard side, was in the water before any of the other boats were lowered?
- Yes, on the starboard side.

6487. You got eventually to your boat, the aftermost boat on the starboard side?
- Yes.

6488. That is No. 15?
- Yes.

6489. Was she uncovered when you got to her?
- Yes.

6490. What did you do?
- The time I got there Mr. Murdoch had given orders to see the plug and rudder shipped and the tiller shipped, and everything ready, and then to call the men together into the boat.

6491. Mr. Murdoch was in charge then?
- Yes.

6492. He was the Officer superintending?
- Yes.

6493. You say he called to the men to get into the boat. Will you tell us as nearly as you can what it was he said?
- He said: "Some of you get into the boat." About six went in and he said: " That will do; no more; lower away to A deck and receive any women and children there are."

6494. "Lower away to A deck"?
- Yes.

6495. Did you then go down to A deck?
- I went along down the stairs to the boat and met her at A deck.

6496. Before she was lowered to A deck had she taken any passengers at all?
- No, there were no passengers there.

6497. When you got to A deck was there an Officer there?
- There was someone in charge; I do not know who it was.

6498. Did you hear him give any orders?
- To get all the women and children into the boat that we could find.

6499. Were there any passengers standing round on A deck at this time at the place where the boat was lowered to?
- Yes, there were some.

6500. Women and children?
- There were four or five women and children; four women and about three children.

6501. At this time had you noticed whether the vessel had any list?
- Slightly.

6502. A list to which side?
- To port.

6503. Can you give us any idea when it was you first noticed the list to port?
- No, not particularly; not until I got down into the boat. I found she was pretty well up against the ship's side. I did not notice particularly in getting the other boats out that she had a list.

6504. You mean not until you got to your own boat?
- Not till I got down to A deck.

6505. You did not notice it particularly, at any rate, until then?
- No.

6506. Did you get those four women and three children into the boat?
- Yes.

6507. Were there any more?
- No, they sent scouts around and shouted out for any more women and children and waited quite a while, but there were no more women and children to be found.

6508. Then when she got these four women and three children there was plenty of room still in the boat?
- Yes.

6509. Did you try to find any more women and children?
- Yes.

6510. What did you do?
- They sent scouts all round the port side and the starboard side looking for them.

6511. You say you sent scouts; have you any idea how many men went?
- Three or four.

6512. Did you yourself go?
- No, I was on the rail, passing the women and children on board.

6513. Did these men come back who had been out looking for the women and children?
- Yes.

6514. How long after?
- Three or four minutes - four or five minutes.

6515. Three or four or five minutes after they had started to look for the women and children?
- Yes. They went on the port side. There was no one to be seen on the starboard side, the side we were on.

6516. No one at all?
- No, only those who were round the boat.

6517. Do you mean no one at all, or no women and children?
- No one at all, no women and children. I did not encounter anyone until I came downstairs; the deck was perfectly clear.

6518. Then did they find any women and children?
- Only these three or four.

6519. We have heard of those - I mean after they went to look for them?
- No.

6520. When they came back, what did they say?
- There were no more.

6521. (The Commissioner.) They said there were no more?
- No more on the deck.

6522. Does that mean no more women and children?
- Yes.

6523. (The Attorney-General.) When there were no more women and children, what orders were given to you?
- Mr. Murdoch said, "Fill the boat up; take in what you have got there, and lower away."

6524. "Take in what you have got there." What do you mean by that? Those already in the boat?
- No, whoever was at the ship's side.

6525. Was she lowered to any other deck before she was lowered to the water?
- No, she filled up from A deck.

6526. (The Attorney-General.) That does not quite agree with Cavell's story at page 108, question 4334. It is said that after you had taken passengers in at A deck the boat was then lowered to the 3rd class. Your Lordship will remember he pointed out on the model. (To the Witness.) Is that right?
- She could not take anyone in below A deck.

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