British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry
Testimony of Frederick Scott
Examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL.
5506. (The Attorney-General.) Scott is the one who climbed down the davits with Ranger, the Electrician who was called yesterday. (To the Witness.) Were you employed as a Greaser on the "Titanic"?
5507. Do you remember the Sunday of the collision, the 14th April?
5508. You were on watch, I think?
5509. You went on watch at 8 o'clock, did you?
5510. In the ordinary course would that be from 8 to 12?
- 8 to 12.
5511. Was your duty in the turbine department?
I see that Ranger spoke to the list to port?
5512. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, that is the one I called your attention to just now. That is the reference I did give. (To the Witness.) That is where the turbine engine is?
5513. You were employed in the turbine engine room, starboard side?
- Starboard side.
5514-5. Is that where you were when the collision happened?
- Yes, just against the engine room door which parts the turbine room from the engine room.
5516. Oh yes, into the reciprocating engine room?
5517. That is forward?
- No, the after side of the engine room door, the after side of the main engine room.
5518. (The Commissioner.) The engine room door is forward of the turbine?
- Yes, the forward side of the turbine door.
5519. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, forward of the turbine-room is the reciprocating engine room, and aft are the electric engines?
5520. We have that from the plan. You were standing by the door. Just tell us before you felt anything at all, did you see anything done?
5521. You felt something; what was it?
- I felt a shock and I thought it was something in the main engine room which had gone wrong.
5522. We know it was about 11.40?
- Yes, about 20 minutes to 12.
5523. Did you notice the two telegraphs in the engine room?
- Yes; four telegraphs rang.
5524. Were there four telegraphs?
- She got four telegraphs, two emergency ones.
5525. Two emergency?
- Yes, and two for the main engine.
5526. What did you notice?
- I noticed "Stop" first.
5527. To which telegraph did that come?
- On the main engines.
5528. Let us get this clearly. I understand you are speaking now of the turbine room?
- No, there are two stand-bys; you can see just the same in the turbine room; if you are standing at the engine room door you can see the two just the same.
5529. Where did you see those?
- In the main engine room.
5530. That is where the reciprocating engines are?
5531. The watertight door is open?
5532. And you can see through?
5533. Now I think we follow. When you speak of the four telegraphs, are they all there?
5534. Or are there any in your room?
- No, there are none in the turbine room at all, Sir, all in the main engine room.
5535. Was the telegraph signal that came the emergency or the ordinary telegraph?
- That is to the main engine room. It is different. They ring the two on the main engine room, and then they ring two others just afterwards, the emergency ones.
5536. Did you hear the two?
- All four went.
5537. Did you hear the two ordinary ones ring first?
- No, they all four rang together.
5538. What did they ring?
5539. Was that before or after the shock?
- After the shock.
5540. What was the next thing?
- Then the watertight doors went.
5541. Was any reply given to the telegraph orders from the bridge?
- Yes, they rang back from the engine room; the two greasers at the bottom rang back.
5542. It would be their duty, I suppose, to ring back?
5543. Did you see them do that?
5544. After they got the order to stop?
- Yes, they were feeding the engines, and were close handy at the time.
5545. They happened to be there?
5546. Then the next thing that happened was something with reference to the watertight doors?
- Yes, the watertight doors all closed.
5547. Did you hear any bell ring first?
- No, not for the watertight doors.
5548. Do you mean that without any signal they came down?
5549. Which watertight doors are you speaking of?
- All of them.
5550. When you say "all of them," how many do you mean?
- I think it is about six, leading down to the afterend of the tunnel.
5551. Do you mean not only in your engine room, but you are speaking also of what you could see aft; the other watertight doors had been open?
- We had to go and open them up afterwards.
5552. I understand now what you mean. You are standing in the turbine engine room and there you have got watertight doors fore and aft which were open, and aft you could see the other watertight doors were open?
5553. Then, if I follow you correctly, what happened was, all those doors closed down at the same time?
5554. What did you do after that?
- After that we went up to the turbine room and down one of the escapes to let one of the greasers out in the after tunnel.
5555. That is into the electric room?
- No, there is another tunnel after that one.
5556. Do you mean the aftermost one?
- Yes, the aftermost one of the lot.
5557. That is the very last on the tank top, your Lordship will see. (To the Witness.) You went there?
- Yes, and heaved the door up about two feet to let the greaser out.
5558. Who was the greaser there?
- He was tunnel greaser, the one who looks after the tunnel.
5559. You had to release him?
- We had to go and heave the door up.
5560. How many did it take to heave the door up?
- Two of us.
5561. That you did by winding it up, I suppose?
5562. Did you have to give any signal before that?
5563. Did you get any order?
5564. Did you do it by yourselves?
- Yes, me and my mate on the other side of the engine room.
5565. Did you hear any signal given to the bridge?
- From the engine room?
- When they rang the stand-by. Is that what you mean?
- That is all I heard, and then they rang down, "Slow ahead!"
5569. Wait a bit. I will ask you about that in one second. Did you hear any message given by the Chief Engineer [Joseph Bell] to release the watertight doors?
5570. To release the clutch?
- No. After we got the greaser out we came back to the turbine-room again, and the Engineer in the turbine-room told us to heave up all the watertight doors. That was after we came back from letting the greaser out of the tunnel.
5571. That would mean somebody must have telegraphed to the bridge?
- Yes, somebody must have done.
5572. In order to release the clutches so that you could heave them up?
5573. Then you had to go right to the afterpart of the ship there, had you, into the tunnel?
- We went down the escape ladder.
5574. That was for the purpose of getting there in order to open up that watertight door which is the last, the aftermost watertight door?
5575. That is the one which you did proceed then to heave up?
5576. And then you released your mate who was there at work?
5577. Then when you released him what did you do?
- We had to go up the escape again, and we went down the turbine.
5578. You went up the escape then and got back again into the turbine engine room?
5579. Did you leave the watertight door open?
5580. And so far as you know, was it ever closed?
- No, because they were all opened afterwards. We heaved them all up again. We went back and heaved up the one which we opened about two feet, we heaved it right up.
5581. Now let us follow it. The first time you go there to release your mate you heaved it up two feet?
5582. That released him?
5583. Then you went back to the turbine engine room?
5584. Then when you got there did you get further orders about the watertight doors?
- Yes, the engineer of the watch in the engine room.
5585. What did he tell you to do?
- He told us to heave all the watertight doors up.
5586. Did you go right aft again to the aftermost tunnel?
- Yes, we went right through. We opened one up in the afterside of the turbine room, and then went right through them till we got to the after one, which we had opened up about two feet.
5587. Now, let us see if I follow. In order to get to the aftermost tunnel you would again have to go up the escape?
- If we had not opened the doors we would have to go up the escape; but as we went through we opened them up.
5588. I thought you went up the escape and then opened them coming forward?
5589. Did you open them going aft?
- You are bound to, because the handle is this side of the door.
5590. The handle is this side of the door?
- Yes; and then we passed through and opened up another.
5591. You would pass first of all from the turbine engine room?
- Into the electric engine room.
5592. And you go into the electric engine room. When you say you opened them, how much did you open them?
- Right up.
5593. Can you give us an idea how much that is?
- Just over 6 feet, I think. I could walk through them easy without bending down.
5594. Then from the electric engine room at the afterpart you again opened in the same way?
- To get into the tunnel.
5595. Then from the tunnel you come to the last watertight door?
5596. That again, you have to open from the afterend?
5597. You open them and then you come to the place where your mate had originally been?
- Yes, that is the after one of the lot.
5598. After having done that, you walk through again?
- Yes, we go back into the main engine room then.
5599. And you left all those doors open?
- All those doors open.
Then all the watertight doors aft of the main engine room were opened?
5600. (The Attorney-General.) Yes. (To the Witness.) And, so far as you know, as I understand it, they never were closed?
- No. Why they opened them was they had to go down the last tunnel but one and get a big suction-pipe out, which they used for drawing the water up out of the bilges.
5601. That tunnel is the one before you get to the last watertight door where they went to get a big suction pipe?
- Yes, it takes four men to carry it. I think I saw four men coming through with it. They took it to the stokehold. What they did with it I do not know.
Will you get what time this was?
5602. (The Attorney-General - To the Witness.) What time was it?
- About a quarter to one.
5603. (The Commissioner.) That is about an hour after the collision?
5604. (The Attorney-General.) When you came back to the main engine room did you see whether the watertight doors forward of the main engine room were open?
- They must have been, because they could not take a suction pipe out to the stokehold if they were not.
5605. So that the suction pipe which they wanted, was taken right forward?
- Taken into the stokehold. What they did with it I do not know.
5606. I only want to know whether you can remember. You say they must have been. Did you notice any of the watertight doors forward of the main engine room open?
- No, I never noticed them because I could not see them open. The men in the main engine room had to open them.
We have evidence that some of them were up to No. 5.
Up to the division between 4 and 5.
Yes, that is right.
If this evidence is right, there were no watertight bulkheads at all serving after a quarter to one from the bulkhead between four and five right away aft.
That is right, my Lord; that is as I understand the evidence.
May I interpose here and say that these watertight doors are fitted with a float so that if any material quantity of water comes the float automatically releases the door and it comes down again by itself.
That is something I do not at present quite understand. You mean to say that there is some provision by which these doors work again automatically?
If water comes in to any extent?
We have not heard of that.
I only thought it right to tell your Lordship, having regard to what has been said about it.
We shall go into that a little later, and see how it would work.
I was only saying, as far as I could gather at present, there were no operative watertight bulkheads from the bulkhead between four and five, right away aft after a quarter to one.
I think that is right, my Lord. It is subject to this, that there was this automatic release which we shall have to hear something more about and discuss whether it was effective or not, and what happened when we get further evidence. But, so far as we know (and I rather gather it seems to agree with my friend Mr. Laing's evidence.), there was no order. I am not asking for an admission which is to operate against my friend; I mean, so far as we know at present, there is no question after that of closing the watertight doors?
Nothing that I know of.
5607. (The Attorney-General.) We do not know anything either. It may be there may be some evidence later; we shall hear. (To the Witness.) Will you go back a little to something you just mentioned before, that I want you to tell the Court a little more about; that is, orders that you heard in the main engine room. Do you remember? You were standing in the turbine engine room close to the door?
5608. And you told us you heard what was going on in the main engine room?
- The telegraph?
5609. Yes, I want you to tell my Lord what it was?
- They rang down "Stop," and two greasers on the bottom rang the telegraph back to answer it. Then they rang down "Slow ahead." For ten minutes she was going ahead. Then they rang down "Stop," and she went astern for five minutes.
5610. (The Commissioner.) The orders were "Stop," "Slow ahead," and then "Astern"?
- No, it was "Stop," and then "Astern." She went astern for five minutes. Then they rang down "Stop."
5611. "Stop," "Slow ahead" - 10 minutes, you say?
- Yes, about 10 minutes.
5612. Then "Stop" again?
- Yes, "Stop"; then she went astern for about five minutes.
5613. (The Attorney-General.) Did you hear the order about "Astern"?
- Well, it was on the telegraph.
5614. What was the order?
- "Go astern" - "Slow astern." Then they rang down "Stop," and I do not think the telegraph went after that.
5615. A telegram came "Stop"?
- Yes, and I do not think the telegraphs went after that.
5616. (The Attorney-General.) The first order you heard was "Stop"?
5617. Did the engines stop before the order came "Slow ahead"?
- Oh, yes.
5618. They did stop?
5619. Then when the engines had stopped the order came "Slow ahead"?
5620. Can you tell us at all what time passed between the order "Stop" and "Slow ahead"?
- I should say about 10 minutes or a quarter of an hour.
5621. "Stop," of course, comes at once?
- It comes at once. They cannot stop the engines at once.
5622. That is what I want. They cannot stop them at once?
- No; they are bound to let the steam get out of the cylinder first, otherwise they would blow the cylinder covers off if they tried to stop them at once.
5623. You would not know how long it would take to stop the engines?
- No, I do not.
5624. I think you said ten minutes to a quarter of an hour "stop," then ten minutes "slow ahead" and then again "stop"?
5625. Then how long between "stop" and "slow astern"?
- I suppose that was a matter of about four or five minutes.
5626. That is between "stop" and "slow astern." And how long between "slow astern" and "stop" for the last time?
- Five minutes.
5627. Did you hear those orders given before you went to the aftermost tunnel?
5628. So that all this which you have told us happens before you go to release your mate?
I make out this would take about half-an-hour?
5629. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, that is what I make it. (To the Witness.) Was there a clock there?
- Yes, the engineer had a clock. There is not one in the turbine-room; but he had one of his own for taking the count of the turbine engines, the revolutions that the engine is turning.
Will you look at Dillon's evidence on this point at Question 3718?
I have it in mind, my Lord.
I am told by one of my colleagues that it is directly in the teeth of this evidence.
I am afraid that is likely to happen more than once in the case.
No doubt; we shall not get the same story from everyone.
Of course this man is down in the engine room and he is telling us. I am going to see further whether we can exhaust the time. He is telling us by the clock. Of course we shall have to contrast it. He is a trimmer who was on duty in the engine room, and this man's business, so far as I understand, was always in the turbine department.
5630. After you had heard all these orders can you tell me how long it was before you went aft to the aftermost tunnel to release your mate?
- Well, I should say it was just over the half-hour I should think.
5631. You mean just over half-an-hour from when?
- From the time the doors were lowered and we went and let him out.
5632. If that is right it would be very soon after you heard the last order given?
- To stop?
- No, it was about a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes after that.
5634. I want to see if we can exhaust the time. A quarter of an hour or twenty minutes after you heard the last order "Stop," you went to release your mate?
5635. Then you came back at once?
5636. How long do you think all that took, to release your mate and back again into the engine room?
- About ten minutes.
5637. Then you got the order to open the watertight doors?
5638. That, I think you said, was about a quarter to one?
- Yes, about a quarter to one.
5639. (The Attorney-General.) That is right. I mean the time he gives at any rate tallies with that. It would then bring it up to about 12.40 or 12.45 and that is right. That is why I was trying to exhaust it to see what happened. (To the Witness.) When you came back into the engine room, did you wait for orders?
- Yes, I went back into the main engine room then.
5640. And did you get an order to go up on deck?
- Yes, the engineer came down and told everybody to go out of the engine room.
5641. Which one was it?
- I could not say.
5642. But one of the Officers?
- Yes. I think it was one of the senior engineers.
5643. Was there any water to be seen?
- No, it was as dry as we are here.
5644. That was so at all times; there was never any water there?
- No water at all in either engine room.
5645. Then did you go on deck?
- Yes, up the working alleyway.
5646. And then did you get orders?
- Some of the firemen came down and told us we had to get some lifebelts.
5647. What did you do then?
- We got them at the Third class; from there we went up on the boat deck. There were two boats left then on the port side; lowered down to the ship's side they were then.
5648. Were there any on the starboard side?
5649. Let us see if we can get this quite clearly. Did you look over the starboard side?
- Yes, we went to the starboard side first.
5650. And you looked over the side?
- Yes, the highest side of her where she had a list.
5651. The highest side?
- Yes, the port side was where she had listed over, and we went to the starboard side.
5652. It was the port side that had listed over?
- Yes. We went up the starboard ladder and came this side of her. We looked, and there was no boat. We went to the port side, and there were no boats then lowered to the ship's side.
5653. Was it an appreciable list? Did you notice as you were walking?
- I never took that much notice. I know she had a list that side.
5654. And you remember looking over the side?
5655. Then you went back to the port side?
- We went to the port side then.
5656. Then you looked over that?
5657. Tell us what you saw?
- I saw two boats then, and one of the boats was where the Officer pulled a revolver out and shot it between the ship and the boat and said, "If any man jumps into the boat I will shoot him like a dog."
5658. That is Mr. Lowe, according to the evidence. Do you remember where these boats were? Were they forward or aft?
5659. Aft on the port side?
- Aft on the port side.
5660. There are four aft on the port side. Do you remember which of them you saw?
- I know it was the two after-boats on the port side.
5661. That is 14 and 16 on the port side?
- I do not know the number.
5662. That is right. They were the last. When you looked over the starboard side you were in the afterend?
- In the afterend.
5663. Could you see at all whether there were any boats forward on the starboard side?
- No. I saw a lot of lights a tidy distance away from the ship, and the chaps thought it was a ship overhauling us and somebody said they thought it was a lifeboat, and the others said they could not have got out so far; but we happened to find out it was a lifeboat.
5664. When you did look over the starboard side there were no boats either forward or aft?
- No, not alongside the ship.
5665. So that all the boats either forward or aft had gone from the starboard side?
- Yes. The only two left were on the port side, the afterend of the ship.
5666. (The Commissioner.) And they were the only two lifeboats left?
- Round the ship, yes.
5667. (The Attorney-General.) Either lifeboats or emergency boats?
And they were 14 and 16.
5668. (The Attorney-General.) That is right?
- They were full up with women. There were only two men in one boat and that was the one I got into. They pulled back for two more men, and we got in from the ship's side.
5669. (The Attorney-General.) He is right; that is boat 14; they took off two men?
- Yes; we got up on the davits and went down the falls. I got halfway down and went into the water. Ranger happened to get into the boat without getting wet. I was in the water, I suppose, about four or five minutes and they pulled me in.
5670. You were pulled in and taken into the same boat that Ranger was in?
5671. There were only two men?
5672. All the rest were women?
- Yes; it was filled up with women.
5673. Any children?
- Yes, one or two, but I cannot say how many, and I cannot say how many were in the boat, but I know she was full up. We pulled away from the ship's side and we had not been away long before the ship started breaking up, and her stern went up in the air, and you could see her three propellers nearly the same as you can see them on the model.
5674. You got away?
- Yes; we had just got at the stern of her when she started breaking up.
5675. You say she started breaking up?
- Yes; she broke off at the after-funnel, and when she broke off her stern end came up in the air and came down on a level keel and disappeared.
5676. It went up in the air and came back on a level keel?
5677. Then did she go up again before she disappeared?
5678. Simply sank?
- She simply sank.
5679. (The Commissioner.) Where did she break?
- The after-funnel.
5680. (The Attorney-General.) Do you mean between the third and fourth funnels?
- No, the after-funnel. From the after-funnel to the stern of her.
5681. Do you mean the break was aft of her last funnel?
- Yes, just aft of the last funnel.
5682. (The Commissioner.) Aft of the ventilating funnel?
- Yes, that is right.
Does this agree with the other evidence?
I thought the other Witness made it more forward.
Yes, between the forward and the second funnels; and one of the Witnesses said she came back and righted on her keel and then up-ended again, with her stern in the air, and then plunged into the water. There is, not unnaturally, some discrepancy about it. There is some evidence from one of the Witnesses, who said the last funnel seemed to come towards him, then to go aft. Your Lordship will remember that.