British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 6

Testimony of Samuel Rule, cont.

6527. Which are you referring to as A deck?
- The deck below the boat deck.

6528. The deck immediately below the boat deck?
- Yes.

6529. Have you any idea how many got into the boat altogether?
- Sixty-eight.

6530. Is that including passengers and crew?
- Yes.

6531. That is all told?
- Yes.

6532. From first to last?
- Yes.

6533. Could you get any more into the boat?
- No.

6534. Were there any other boats left besides yours?
- No, that was the last in the davits.

6535. Then yours was the last boat to leave on the starboard side?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
That is No. 15.

The Attorney-General:
Yes my Lord.

The Witness:
11 and 13 were in the water; we very nearly got on top of 13 lowering down.

6536. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, I am going to ask you about that in a moment. Did you leave any people standing on the deck when the boat was lowered?
- Yes, there were some left behind.

6537. Was there any attempt on the part of those to get into the boat?
- There was a bit of a rush at the last when they said "lower away."

6538. (The Commissioner.) What were these people left behind? Were they men or women or what?
- All men.

6539. (The Attorney-General.) Can you give us any idea of how many of the 68 who went into this boat No. 15 were women, and how many were men?
- Four or five women and three children.

6540. And all the rest men?
- Yes.

6541. That is about 61 men?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
This seems quite contrary to the other evidence.

The Attorney-General:
Yes, my Lord.

6542. (The Commissioner.) Now I want to be clear about this. Are you now talking about boat No. 15?
- Yes.

6543. And where was it? Show it to me on that model?
- (The Witness pointed out the place on the model.)

6544. (The Attorney-General.) There is no doubt about that, my Lord. Will your Lordship allow me to put one question to him to make it clear he is speaking of the same boat, No. 15. (To the Witness.) When No. 15 was lowered did you very nearly swamp another boat?
- Yes, No. 13.

6545. You very nearly came on top of No. 13?
- Yes.

6546. (The Commissioner.) How long were you at No. 15 boat?
- When?

6547. When the passengers or whoever they were were going on board, how long were you there?
- 10 minutes possibly - 10 or 15 minutes.

6548. How many people got on in 10 or 15 minutes?
- We were about 10 or 15 minutes there before we started to take on anybody at all - when they were looking for the women and children.

6549. As I understand, first of all you got on a small number?
- Yes.

6550. And then you sent out what you call three or four scouts?
- Yes.

6551. And they came back and said there were no women or children to be found?
- Yes.

6552. Then did men begin to go on board the boat?
- Not until Mr. Murdoch gave the orders from above.

6553. And what order was it he gave?
- He said, "There are no more women and children; fill your boat up and lower away."

6554. (The Attorney-General.) Could you tell whether the women who were on board were first class or second class or third class passengers?
- I think they were third.

6555. Who, the men?
- The women.

The Attorney-General:
I am asking now about the four women he said he put on. Why do you say that?
- Well, I could not swear.

6556. What makes you think it? I want you to tell the Court what your reason is?
- I fancy from the way they were dressed. In fact, I know one was, because she told me on the "Carpathia" that she had lost her husband.

6557. Could you tell whether there were any Irish women amongst them?
- No.

6558. You could not tell?
- No, because they were all in the middle of the boat and I was in the bows of the boat.

The Commissioner:
I do not know how this Witness Cavell can have made a mistake.

The Attorney-General:
No, if your Lordship looks at page 109 -

The Commissioner:
I am looking at it now.

The Attorney-General:
It is very difficult to understand.

The Commissioner:
He is being examined by the Solicitor-General, and this is what he says: "(4353.) And then you are lowered to the lower deck, and you take in, you think, about 60? - (A.) Yes. That would make about 70" - that would be the 60 and the seven, you know? - "(A.) Yes. (Q.) Do you say that you took in everybody who came at that time at the lower deck? - (A.) Yes."

The Attorney-General:
He corrected that later.

The Commissioner:
"You left nobody behind?- (A.) No, Sir;" and therefore he affirms that there were none but women and children, and he denies that any were men.

The Attorney-General:
If your Lordship looks at Question 4369, that puts it specifically.

The Commissioner:
"(Q.) You think that the 60 women you took were all third class passengers? - (A.) Yes, my Lord."

The Solicitor-General:
Of course, the deck he is speaking of is, undoubtedly, a second class deck."

The Attorney-General:
Will you read on?

The Commissioner:
"(The Solicitor-General.) That was your impression, was it? - Yes. (Q.) These women that you think came from the third class, were some of them foreigners? - (A.) They were Irish girls. (Q.) It is a nice question, whether they are foreigners or not. Then your boat, I suppose, was as full as it would hold, was it? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Who took charge of it? - (A.) One of the firemen. (Q.) What is his name? - (A.) Diamond. (Q.) Then there was you, and were there only three others of the crew? - (A.) Four. (Q.) Four others? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Diamond and yourself, and four others. (A.) Three more." Then it goes on to another point.

The Attorney-General:
Yes, it is very definite.

The Commissioner:
Mr. Attorney, are you in a position to call evidence from the "Carpathia"?

The Attorney-General:
I expect we shall be. I am not at present, but we shall be.

The Commissioner:
Because one would hope that the "Carpathia" could give us some information as to what the people were who got out of this boat.

6559. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, we may be able to, but I am not very sanguine about that; but we will try. I am much obliged to your Lordship for the suggestion. We will see whether it can be done. (To the Witness.) Can you give me a little more information about those persons?

The Commissioner:
I wish you would press him a little on the point.

6560. (The Attorney-General.) I am going to, my Lord. (To the Witness.) If you leave out the four women and the three children of whom you have spoken - I am not going to ask you anything more for the moment about those you picked up on the boat deck - are you quite sure that all the rest of the passengers who got in were men?
- Yes.

6561. Quite certain of that?
- Yes.

6562. You were helping to pass them into the boat?
- Yes.

6563. So that if your memory is correct, you could not be mistaken about it?
- No.

6564. (The Commissioner.) Do you know Cavell?
- No.

6565. Have not you seen him here?
- I could not say.

6566. (The Attorney-General.) We saw him, he was a very short man, boyish looking. Do you remember?
- No.

6567. You do not know him at all?
- No.

6568. Could you tell at all whether these passengers, the men who got in were first, second, or third class passengers?
- They were third class.

6569. Third class?
- Third and second.

6570. Why do you say that? What makes you think they were third and second?
- I was in conversation with them on the boat.

6571. And they told you?
- Yes, in fact a second class passenger pulled an oar with me during the night; he told me he was a second class passenger.

6572. Did you talk to many of the passengers in the boat?
- No, only just those immediately around me.

6573. Those who were just around you when you were in her?
- Yes. I was in the bows of the boat.

6574. Is this a matter about which you are quite clear in your mind, and about which you cannot be making any mistake as to the number of women that were in that boat?
- Quite right.

6575. It struck you as rather odd, did it not, that after the order that was given, "Women and children in the boats," that you should have so many men?
- Well, they were pretty well all cleared off that deck.

6576. Did you think when the vessel left that there were no more women on board?
- No.

6577. Well, you knew there were some women left?
- Well, I should imagine so.

6578. But you knew that the order was that the women were to go into the boat first and this was the last boat?
- Yes.

6579. On the starboard side that is - we are speaking altogether of the starboard side?
- Yes.

6580. (The Commissioner.) If these were all practically men, did it not strike you that you were not doing what you ought to do? You were not taking the women first. Did not that occur to you?
- Well, of course, we took all the women who were there. We could not find any more.

6581. You took all the women that were on that deck opposite to that boat, but you knew that there were hundreds elsewhere. You knew that, I suppose?
- Well, I imagined there would be some more.

6582. (The Attorney-General.) Why did not you go to look for them?
- Well, because there were other people looking for them.

6583. But not at the time the men were being passed into the boat?
- Yes, they were shouting out round the decks.

6584. Do you mean that when the scouts who went round that you have told us about, whilst the scouts were away, the men were getting into the boat?
- No, not till the men came back.

6585. When the men came back and said there were no women?
- No, Mr. Murdoch said, "Fill your boat up with what you have got there - men."

6586. After that did anybody go to look for women?
- No.

6587. Was there a rush to get into this boat?
- No, not particularly.

6588. "Not particularly" means there was some rush?
- Well, there was a bit of a rush at the last, yes.

6589. Did the men seem anxious to get into the boat?
- Yes.

6590. Pushing forward to get into the boat?
- They all seemed anxious to get in.

6591. Alarmed because it was the last boat on that side?
- Well, I do not know; I could not say whether they were alarmed.

6592. It looked like it, did it not?
- Yes.

6593. Was the vessel then very much down by the head?
- Yes, she was.

6594. Was she well listed over to port?
- Yes, she had a slight list to port.

6595. Do you know a man called Diamond? [Dymond]
- No.

6596. Do you know who took charge of the boat?
- A man called Jack Stewart.

6597. What was he?
- A steward; he was a steward called Stewart.

6598. A man who was a steward, whose name was Jack Stewart?
- Yes.

6599. (The Commissioner.) He is alive?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
Who is he?

6600. (The Attorney-General.) This is the first we have heard of him, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Who rowed?
- Nearly everybody rowed who could get to the oars. I rowed for one.

6601. (The Commissioner.) You do not mean to tell me 60 or 70 people rowed?
- No, everybody who could get to the oars. It was difficult.

6602. I thought you said nearly everybody?
- Well, pretty well; they took turns.

6603. (The Attorney-General.) When this boat No. 15 was lowered what did you do? Did you go and lie off?
- Yes.

6604. Did you wait?
- Yes, we waited off.

6605. Could you see people on board?
- No.

6606. How far off did you go?
- About 500 or 600 yards.

6607. Could you see the lights of the vessel?
- Yes.

6608. Her electric lights?
- Yes.

6609. Did you see her go down?
- Well, yes, I saw her.

6610. Were her electric lights burning to the end - to the last?
- Very near to the last.

6611. Did you see her actually founder?
- I did not see her actually go down at the last.

6612. After she went down, did you hear cries?
- Yes.

6613. Before she went down did you see a number of people in the stern of the vessel, on the poop?
- No.

6614. When you heard the cries, did you make any attempt to reach them?
- We pulled back and pulled round.

6615. Did you?
- Yes.

6616. Did you get near anybody - No, we never saw anyone.

6617. Did you try to reach anybody?
- We pulled around the district, around the ship.

6618. (The Commissioner.) Your boat was nearly full?
- Yes, we could not take many more. It was down in the water as it was.

6619. (The Attorney-General.) Supposing you had got to anybody, could you have taken them on board your boat?
- Yes, we might have got them in, but there was not much room for anybody there.

6620. What?
- There was not much room to pick up anybody.

6621. Was your boat far down in the water?
- Yes, right to the gunwales.

6622. Did you see anybody on the deck or on the ship without a lifebelt?
- No.

6623. Do you mean everybody had one?
- Everybody I saw had one on.

6624. A lifebelt?
- Yes.

6625. Can you give me the names of any one of the men who went to look for women and children?
- I could not.

6626. Did you know any of them?
- No.

6627. (The Commissioner.) Did those men get into the boat?
- That I could not say.

6628. (The Attorney-General.) Did you see at all in what direction they went to look for the women and children?
- They went round the deck on the port side on A deck.

6629. On the same deck?
- Yes.

6630. Did they go to any other deck?
- I do not think so.

6631. Why not?
- That I could not say. I could not tell you why they did not.

6632. Then apparently, if I understand you, all that they did was to go round to the port side of the A deck and see whether there were any women and children there?
- They went on both sides of A deck.

6633. On both sides of A deck?
- Yes.

6634. Do you mean along the deck?
- Yes.

6635. (The Commissioner.) Do you think they went not to find them?
- No, they shouted pretty well all round.

6636. They were shouting, were they?
- Yes.

6637. What were they shouting?
- "Any more women and children for the boat."

6638. Were they shouting properly so that they could be heard?
- So that anybody could hear them on the next deck.

6639. You heard them yourself?
- Yes.

6640. And they could have been heard on the next deck?
- Everywhere.

6641. (The Attorney-General.) Did you see any stewards or any men helping the women from the second class deck on to A deck?
- No.

6642. Have you seen Jack Stewart since you were in the boat with him which eventually was picked up by the "Carpathia"?
- Not since I left Southampton.

6643. Did you mean since you left Southampton to come here?
- Yes.

6644. (The Commissioner.) Then when did you see him in Southampton?
- Last Tuesday week.

The Commissioner:
You ought to know where this man is, Mr. Attorney.

The Attorney-General:
Oh, I know, my Lord. All I said was, this is the first we have heard of him in this case, but, we know, and your Lordship shall see him, and Diamond also.

The Commissioner:
He may help to clear this up.

The Attorney-General:
Yes, it has to be cleared up.

The Commissioner:
I am in a difficulty about this boat at present. Is Cavell gone?

The Attorney-General:
I am afraid he has, but we can have him back.

The Commissioner:
I wish you would keep him in sight so that we can see him again if necessary.

6645. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, my Lord. He was one of those who were released yesterday. We will take care to get him again. (To the Witness.) Do you know a man named Noss?
- No.

6646. Or Clark?
- No.

6647. In the boat with you as part of the crew?
- No.

6648. Did you hear the Officer shout out, "Stand back; women first" when the rush came?
- No.

6649. I will put this story to you. Your Lordship will see I must call the Witness later. "As we were being lowered several of the foreign passenger men rushed for the boat." That is what this Witness says. That is right, is it not?
- Yes.

6650. And did the Officer shout out when the rush was made, "Stand back; women first." - I did not hear him.

6651. Well, he must have shouted out something, must he not?
- I did not hear him shout it.

6652. Did you hear him give any order?
- No.

6653. Not when the rush was made for the boat?
- Not after Mr. Murdoch said "Fill the boat up." I never heard any order after that.

6654. I am going to put it to you that you are making a mistake as to the time, if you will follow what I am going to suggest to you. I am putting to you that what really happened was that the rush that was made for the boat of which you have spoken was before Mr. Murdoch's order. Let me put to you the story. Just follow this: that there was a rush of a number of passengers for the boat, and Mr. Murdoch then shouted out "Stand back! Women first!" that you then proceeded to take in all the women and children that were there?
- That is correct.

6655. That is correct?
- Yes.

6656. That is what I put to you before, you know. Then there was a rush made for the boat before the Officer called out "Stand back! Women first!"?
- Yes.

6657. And then where was that that the rush was made?
- When she came down to A deck.

6658. And then did you take in women and children?
- Yes.

6659. How many?
- What I told you before.

6660. The four and the three?
- Yes. That is the only deck we took them in.

6661. I must put to you that you took in at that deck 22 women and children. Is that right?
- No.

6662. Was it after that that Mr. Murdoch called out, "Is that boat full?"
- Yes.

6663. Did you hear persons shouting out at the side of the boat whether there were any more women?
- Yes.

6664. I mean not only the scouts who were sent to look for the women?
- The man who was in charge on the deck was shouting out at the same time.

6665. Do you mean near the boat?
- No, on the deck. The man that was looking after the deck, the Officer - I do not know who he was - was shouting if there were any more women.

6666. Did you hear any reply made to that?
- No.

6667. Did you hear anyone say to the Officer: "There are no more women and children to be seen"?
- Yes.

6668. You heard that?
- I heard that.

6669. And what did he say then?
- To fill up the boat.

The Attorney-General:
This is a question really of numbers, my Lord. I cannot say anything further about it, as I have only got the depositions at present. Your Lordship will have to see the Witnesses.

(The Witness withdrew.)