British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 7

Testimony of Stanley Lord

Examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL.

6670. (The Attorney-General.) This is the Master, my Lord, of the Leyland Line steamship, "Californian" of Liverpool. (To the Witness.) Are you the Master of the s.s. "Californian" of Liverpool?
- Yes.

6671. She is owned by the Leyland Line?
- Yes.

6672. Would you tell me her tonnage?
- Net?

6673. Give me the gross and net?
- 4,038 net; 6,223 gross.

6674. What is her full speed?
- It depends on the consumption of coal. Do you mean on a full consumption of coal?

6675. Yes?
- 12 1/2 to 13.

6676. Did you leave London on April 5th?
- Yes.

6677. For Boston?
- For Boston.

6678. You arrived there, I think, on April 19th?
- Yes, 4 a.m.

6679. Did you carry any passengers?
- No.

6680. Do you carry passengers at all?
- Sometimes we do; we have accommodation for passengers.

6681. You have a certificate as a passenger ship?
- Yes.

6682. How many passengers would you carry?
- 47 we have accommodation for.

6683. And what crew?
- 55.

6684. Full complement?
- 55.

6685. And how many boats do you carry?
- 6.

6686. How many of those boats are lifeboats?
- 4.

6687. (The Commissioner.) What are the other 2?
- One is a gig and the other a pinnace; they are not lifeboats.

6688. (The Attorney-General.) And how many will your lifeboats carry?
- The 6 boats carry 218 altogether.

6689. You have no difficulty in carrying more boats than are required for crew and passengers?
- We have boat accommodation for double the crew and passengers it will carry.

6690. Do you remember on Sunday, April 14th, send a wireless message to the "Antillian"?
- 6.30 on the 14th.

6691. Is that ship's time?
- Yes, ship's time for longitude 47° 25.'

6692. Did you give him the position of some icebergs?
- I gave him the position of the ship at 6.30, and I told him the icebergs were 5 miles south of me.

The Commissioner:
What was the name of the boat?

6693. (The Attorney-General.) It was a message sent to the "Antillian." Your Lordship will see in a moment what happened. (To the Witness.) Giving the position of three large icebergs, was it?
- Yes.

6694. Would you tell me the position that you gave him?
- Forty-two deg. five min and 49 deg. 9 min.

6695. Forty-two deg 5 min N and 49 deg 9 min W?
- Yes.

6696. The three icebergs were reported five miles to the southward of you?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
Forty-two deg 5 min and 49 deg 9 min. was the position of his ship?

6697. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, my Lord. On the chart it is a little to the right of the spot marked as that at which the "Titanic" sank - five miles to the southward the icebergs were. (To the Witness.) Did your wireless operator tell you whether any other vessel had picked up that message? -

The Witness:
He did.

6698. Did he tell you anything about the "Titanic"?
- He told me he had offered it to the "Titanic" and he said, "All right, he had it."

6699. He said, "All right, he had it"?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
What does that mean?

6700. (The Attorney-General.) That meant he had already received the information -

The Witness:
He had picked it up whilst we were sending it to the "Antillian."

6701. Later on did you have to stop on account of ice?
- I had to stop and reverse engines.

6702. Would you tell us what time that was?
- 10. 21 p.m.

6703. That also was ship's time?
- Yes, ship's time for that same longitude.

6704. Where were you then?
- Forty-two deg five min N, and 50 deg 7 min. W.

The Attorney-General:
We shall have to do this with several vessels later on, my Lord; it will be very useful if we agree, at any rate, upon the spot as we proceed, so that we see we get the same spot as your Lordship's assessors have marked for you. We make it the spot is just under the fringe marked as "the field of ice between March and July," and the spot is just under the "J," where she stopped.

The Commissioner:
I can hand this plan down. You will see where the blue or the red mark is, and I have written "Californian" above the round spot in pencil. It is not quite under "July"; it is a little to the east of "July." Do you see it?

The Attorney-General:
Yes, my Lord, I do.

The Solicitor-General:
Probably that is the first position.

The Attorney-General:
I agree that is the first position, but what we are speaking of is the spot where she stopped and reversed engines because of ice. I think it is just under the fringe below the "J" in "July"; in the field of ice.

Sir Robert Finlay:
That is right.

The Attorney-General:
We are agreed that is the right spot, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
Very well.

The Attorney-General:
I think it is convenient to mark them on the chart as we proceed.

The Commissioner:
At some time I shall want a chart, but not now - it is not convenient now - marked with the position of these different vessels at the different times that are referred to in the evidence.

The Attorney-General:
Your Lordship shall have it, and the direction in which they are proceeding.

The Commissioner:
And also the probable position of the "Titanic" at the time those messages were sent off.

6705. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, your Lordship shall have that. (To the Witness.) You were telling us that you stopped and reversed engines because of ice. What sort of ice was it?
- Field ice.

6706. Where was it?
- Right ahead of me.

6707. Did it stretch far?
- As far as I could see to the northward and southward.

6708. You could see it although it was night?
- Oh, yes.

6709. Then you stopped and reversed engines, and what did you do then?
- I turned round and headed E.N.E. by the compass. I twisted her head to E.N.E.

6710. Where had you been heading before?
- S. 89, W. true.

6711. You turned to E.N.E. by the compass?
- Yes, by the compass.

6712. Did you then stop?
- We stopped.

6713. Till?
- 6 o'clock next morning. 5.15 we moved the engines for a few minutes and then we stopped on account of the news we received, and waited till 6 o'clock.

6714. It was daylight then, I suppose?
- It was daylight then.

6715. Now close upon 11 o'clock did you see a steamer's light?
- I did.

The Commissioner:
11 o'clock when?

The Attorney-General:
At night, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
This was on Sunday night?

6716. (The Attorney-General.) Yes. (To the Witness.) This was on Sunday night that you had stopped?
- After we had stopped.

6717. And you saw a steamer's light. Was it approaching you?
- It was approaching me from the eastward.

6718. How did it bear?
- I did not get the bearings of it; I was just noticing it casually from the deck.

6719. Where was it? On your quarter?
- It was on the starboard side.

6720. What did you see - what light?
- I just saw a white light to commence with.

6721. Did you then ask your wireless operator what ships he had?
- Yes, I went to his room and I asked him what ships he had.

6722. That means from what ships he had had messages?
- What ships he had been in communication with.

6723. What did he say?
- "Nothing, only the 'Titanic.'"

6724. Did you think that the vessel approaching you was the "Titanic"?
- No, I remarked at the time that was not the "Titanic."

6725. How could you tell that?
- You can never mistake those ships - by the blaze of light.

6726. I am not quite sure that I understand you - you told us you had seen one light?
- First.

6727. Then as she was approaching you, did you see more?
- I saw more lights.

6728. Did you see any sidelights?
- I saw a green light.

6729. And did you see any deck lights?
- A few.

6730. It was sufficiently close for that?
- Oh, yes, she was getting closer all the time.

6731. About what distance approximately did you consider she was from you?
- At 11 o'clock?

6732. I was going to ask you the distance at the time this conversation took place, and you said it was not the "Titanic"?
- I suppose she was six or seven miles away. That is only approximately.

The Commissioner:
What lights did you see at the time this conversation was taking place.

6733. (The Attorney-General.) I thought that was what he was saying. (To the Witness.) Will you tell us what lights you saw at the time you had this conversation with the Marconi operator?
- I saw one masthead light and a few other white lights, but I do not say I noticed the green light then; I was not paying a great deal of attention to her.

6734. (The Commissioner.) Were the white lights bearing from east on your starboard side?
- Coming from the eastward on our starboard side, my Lord.

6735. And you saw some other lights. What were they?
- They might have been anything - lights from the portholes, doorways, or anything at all.

6736. But no coloured light?
- I did not notice any then.

The Commissioner:
I understand it now.

6737. (The Attorney-General.) You said it was not the "Titanic." Did you give him any directions? Did you tell him to let the "Titanic" know?
- I said, "Let the 'Titanic' know that we are stopped, surrounded by ice."

6738. Do you remember at what time that message was sent?
- About 11 o'clock.

6739. About 11 o'clock that night, ship's time?
- Ship's time.

6740. Did you hear whether that message was acknowledged by the "Titanic"?
- Not until the next day.

6741. It was not reported to you till the next day?
- No.

6742. What was the report given to you?
- That he told him to keep out - stand by; that he was busy with Cape Race. That is what I understood the message.

6743. You heard that from your Marconi operator, I suppose?
- Yes.

6744. That an answer had been received from the "Titanic"?
- Yes, telling him to keep out - that he was busy.

6745. What is the meaning of "keep out"?
- Well, do not interrupt him.

6746. Do not interrupt because he, the "Titanic" operator, was busy?
- Was busy.

6747. I think I understood you to say he was getting into touch with Cape Race?
- That is what they were doing, I think; they were signaling with Cape Race.

6748. (The Commissioner.) "We are busy getting into touch with Cape Race"?
- They were communicating with Cape Race then.

6749. (The Attorney-General.) I am going to call the operator, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Did you continue to watch the approaching, vessel?
- Yes.

6750. Till what time?
- Half-past 11. I was standing on deck watching it.

6751. All this time you were stopped?
- We were stopped.

6752. What size steamer did she appear to you - can you give us some idea?
- She was something like ourselves.

6753. Something like yourselves?
- Yes.

6754. Medium size?
- A medium size steamer.

6755. Did you see your Third Officer attempt to communicate with him?
- I did.

6756. How?
- By a Morse lamp.

6757. A Morse lamp?
- Yes.

6758. Did he get any reply?
- No.

6759. By this time had you been able to detect her sidelights at all?
- I could see her green light then.

6760. How far do you judge she was when you could see her green light?
- Well, I saw it some time between 11 and half-past; I do not know exactly.

6761. What distance do you think she was from you when you could see the lights?
- About five miles.

6762. As much as that?
- About that, I should think.

6763. Did you give any directions to your Second Officer with reference to this ship?
- After the Second Officer relieved the deck.

6764. At what time did he relieve the deck?
- Ten minutes past 12.

6765. Just before that was there any other Officer on deck?
- The Third Officer was on deck until 12.

6766. With you?
- Well, I was up and down off the bridge till 12 o'clock.

6767. Then at 12 o'clock the Second Officer relieved the Third Officer?
- Ten minutes past 12.

6768. You were still on deck?
- Yes.

6769. And did you tell him anything with regard to this vessel?
- I told him to watch that steamer - that she was stopped.

6770. She was stopped?
- The other steamer was stopped.

6771. When did you notice the other steamer was stopped?
- About half-past 11.

6772. And he was to let you know if she did what?
- If she altered her bearings or got any closer to us - drifted towards us.

6773. Did the ice extend at all to the eastward or westward of you?
- It, seemed to me to be running more north and south, but whilst we were stopped we were surrounded by loose ice.

6774. From north to south was the field?
- Yes.

6775. Then when you stopped you got surrounded by the loose ice?
- I ran into the loose ice before I could stop - before the ship was brought up.

6776. There was ice between you and this vessel?
- Yes.

6777. And then you noticed this vessel had stopped at half-past 11, presumably also on account of the ice?
- On account of the ice.

6778. Can you tell us at all how this ship was heading?
- She was heading to the westward, that is all I can tell you.

6779. Could you tell her bearing at all?
- Well, I have heard it since. I heard what it was at midnight - S.S.E. from us by compass.

6780. That was at midnight?
- Yes.

6781. (The Commissioner.) Was the compass correct?
- No.

6782. (The Attorney-General.) What variation?
- The variation that day at noon was 24 3/4. She was about 24 when we were stopped; the deviation would be about 2E, making an error of 22W.

The Commissioner:
Are these minute particulars of importance?

6783. (The Attorney-General.) No, I do not think they are, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Did you speak to the Second Officer again later about going down below?
- I went into the chart room at a quarter-past 12.

6784. Is that below?
- No, it is on the bridge deck, just below the upper bridge.

6785. Then did you speak to him through the speaking tube?
- At 20 minutes to 1.

6786. Did he say whether she had changed her position?
- I asked him if the steamer was the same. He said it was the same; he had called her up once, but she would not reply to him.

6787. Then you went to lie down in the chart room?
- Yes, I told him I was going to lie down in the chart room then.

6788. A little later did he whistle down the tube and tell you she was altering her bearings?
- A quarter-past 1.

6789. Did he say how she was altering her bearings?
- Towards the S.W.

6790. Did he tell you whether he had seen any signal?
- He said he saw a white rocket.

6791. From her?
- From her.

6792. A white rocket?
- Yes.

6793. (The Commissioner.) She did not change until what time?
- A quarter-past 1 it was reported to me first.

6794. And then what was her bearing?
- She was altering it slightly towards the S.W.

6795. It was then that you saw the rocket?
- It was then that we saw the rocket.

6796. Did you see it?
- No.

6797. The Second Officer saw it?
- The Second Officer saw it.

The Attorney-General:
Your Lordship has the spot marked on the chart showing where the "Titanic" was when she sank?

The Commissioner:

The Attorney-General: It is not necessary to call attention to that because I think your Lordship has it before you?

The Commissioner:

The Attorney-General:
You will see exactly what relation this has to the "Titanic."

The Commissioner:
I do not follow it very well.

The Attorney-General:
Have you the spot marked of the "Titanic" sinking? I think it is just at the sounding 2084.

The Commissioner:
Is it right Mr. Attorney that. at this time the "Titanic" would be bearing to the S.W. of where the "Californian" was?

The Attorney-General:
To the S.W. yes.

The Commissioner:
Is it also true as this Witness is telling us, that the vessel of which we do not know the name was also bearing to the S.W.?

The Attorney-General:
I understand him to say so.

6798. (The Commissioner - To the Witness.) Is that so. Did you hear him?
- I did my Lord. The steamer was heading S.S.E. by compass till 10 minutes to 1.

6799. Yes I know it was, but at the particular time we are talking about it was heading S.W.
- Towards the S.W.

6800. I do not know what that means. Does it mean not S.W. What does towards "S.W." mean. Does it mean S.W. or does it not?
- It does not mean exactly S.W.; she was heading towards the S.W.

6801. Well, near enough. Is it the fact - am I right in supposing that this vessel, the name of which you apparently do not know, from which a rocket appeared, was at the time that the rocket was sent up in the position in which probably the "Titanic" was?
- No.

6802. Well, then, you have conveyed to me an erroneous impression. How did this rocket bear to you?
- I have never heard the exact bearing of it.

6803. But your Second Officer is alive, is he not?
- Yes.

6804. Have you never asked him what the bearing of that rocket was?
- He told me it was heading towards the S.W. Between the bearings S.S.W. and S.W. would be a distance of at least 5 miles and she was going slowly between those two bearings.

The Commissioner:
Mr. Attorney, again I want to know this: Apparently the "Titanic" (although it is very inaccurate because the chart is so small.) would be at this time 14 or 15 miles away from this vessel?

The Attorney-General:

Sir Robert Finlay:
I thought 19 miles.

The Commissioner:
I do not think it matters very much.

Sir Robert Finlay:
19, Southerly by W.

The Commissioner:
I am told 14, but let us assume it was something between 14 and 19. This mysterious vessel would be between the "Californian" and the "Titanic," and must have been well within sight of the "Titanic."

The Attorney-General:

The Commissioner:
We have heard about the mysterious light that was seen, the imaginary light as it was called, that was seen from the "Titanic," but dismissing that light, was there any light or any vessel seen by any Witness from the "Titanic" at this time?

The Attorney-General:
There is some evidence of it certainly.

The Commissioner:
Of what?

The Attorney-General: There is some evidence of a light having been seen.

The Commissioner:
I know; I say, dismissing that imaginary light, is there any evidence of any ship having been seen at this time or about this time by the "Titanic"?

The Attorney-General:
No, I do not think so.

The Commissioner:
What is in my brain at the present time is this, that what they saw was the "Titanic."

The Attorney-General:
I know.

The Commissioner:
That is in my brain, and I want to see whether I am right or not.

The Attorney-General: It certainly must have been very close.

The Commissioner:
Clear it up if you can.

The Attorney-General:
I think it will clear up as we go on - at least, as far as it can be cleared up. It is a point your Lordship will probably have to determine on the evidence.

The Commissioner:
Yes, and therefore I want the evidence put before me as clearly as possible.

6805. (The Attorney-General - To the Witness.) Can you tell us whether you saw one or two masthead lights?
- I only saw one.

6806. You only saw one?
- The Third Officer said he saw two.

The Attorney-General:
Now that is important.

The Commissioner:
That is very important, because the "Titanic" would have two.

6807. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, that is it - two masthead lights. (To the Witness.) You only saw one, but the Third Officer said he saw two?
- And the Second Officer said he saw one.

The Attorney-General:
Very well; we will hear their accounts from them.

The Commissioner:
I am sorry to interrupt you, but it is not, satisfactory to me. When was it the Third Officer said he saw two lights? The Third Officer by this time was below; I do not know what you are talking about now.

6808. (The Attorney-General - To the Witness.) When was it the Third Officer told you he had seen the two lights?
- Before 12 o'clock.

6809. Before 12 o'clock?
- Before midnight. At the time I saw one, he saw two.

6810. Were you on deck when he told you this?
- He told me the following day, I think; I do not think it was mentioned that night.

6811. He told you next day he had seen two white lights when on deck about 12 o'clock?
- Yes, two masthead lights.

6812. Is the Third Officer still in the ship?
- Yes.

6813. Will you tell me his name?
- Mr. Groves.

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