British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 7

Testimony of Stanley Lord, cont.

Examined by Mr. ROCHE.

7131. You had never been in ice before?
- Not in field ice.

7132. You stopped your engines at half-past 10 when you got amongst it?
- 20 minutes past.

7133. And you did not put them ahead again until something after four in the morning?
- The first move was 5.15.

7134. You were treating the ice, so to speak, with great respect, and behaved with great caution with regard to it?
- I was treating it with every respect.

7135. May I take it that you were not anxious if you could help it, between 10 o'clock and 5 o'clock, to move your engines?
- I did not want to move them if I could help it. They were ready to move at a moment's notice.

7136. Was that the reason, perhaps, why you were not so inquisitive as to these signals as you might otherwise have been?
- No, that had not anything to do with it.

Examined by Mr. HARBINSON.

7137. I understand when you saw ice first this evening it was before 6?
- It must have been about 5.

7138. So that it was pretty clear daylight then?
- It was perfectly clear - a beautiful day.

7139. So that, it being clear at that time, you did not consider at that moment that it was necessary to slacken speed?
- No.

7140. But assuming that you had first heard of ice at 11.30 that night, would not you have considered it necessary? Did you, as a matter of fact, that night later on slacken speed?
- Not until 20 minutes past 10.

7141. You were only going 11 knots an hour?
- That was my full speed.

7142. Thirteen, I thought you said?
- Driving. On my consumption then, 11 knots.

7143. Having seen ice and knowing you were on the verge of an ice-field, would you not have considered, provided you could have driven the ship at that speed, that 21 knots an hour would be grossly excessive?
- Oh, I do not know anything about that.

7144. Under the conditions, ice being in the immediate vicinity, is not that a very high speed?
- It was a clear night.

7145. It may have been. Is not it a high speed?
- Twenty-one knots is a high speed.

7146. A very high speed?
- Yes, very fast.

7147. And an ice-field is very dangerous?
- If you hit it.

7148. And at night it is sometimes not easy to see ice?
- I do not know. I saw it.

7149. You may have. So you tell us. But do you not consider that 21 knots an hour, or, rather, 45 knots in two hours, was a grossly excessive speed?
- I really do not know. It all depends on how quickly that ship handles.

7150. That is to say, on how quickly she responds to the rudder?
- To the rudder and engines.

7151. Now, supposing you saw ice right ahead, what message would you send down from the bridge to the engine room?
- It all depends what the ice was like.

7152. Supposing you saw a berg of ice on your starboard side?
- One solitary berg?

7153. Yes?
- On my starboard side?

7154. And you were making for it head on?
- That would be right ahead; that would not be on the starboard side.

7155. Slightly to the starboard?
- I should starboard the helm; go further away from it.

7156. What direction would you give as to the engines?
- I would not give any.

7157. You would go right on?
- I would go right on if it was a single berg.

7158. There were two engines, a starboard engine and a port engine on the "Titanic." Suppose you sent the message, "Starboard engine ahead; port engine reverse," what effect would that have on the steamer?
- It would twist her head to port.

7159. Would it turn the steamer in her own length?
- I do not know; I have no experience of 21 knot steamers.

7160. You have not?
- No.

7161. Would it be likely to get rid of the berg quickly?
- Oh, yes, to get away from it; that would be the idea of stopping the port engine or reversing it.

7162. Reverse the port and keep ahead with the starboard?
- That would twist it quicker.

7163. At once?
- Very quickly.

7164. That would be the quickest way of altering the course of the steamer?
- I should think so.

7165. You have told us you have four lifeboats for a crew of 102?
- Four lifeboats and two ordinary ships' boats.

7166. Is that the normal complement for cargo boats like yours to carry, prescribed by the Board of Trade?
- We have more, I think, than are really required.

7167. (The Commissioner.) Is it a crew of 102?

Mr. Harbinson:

The Witness:
That is including the passengers.

Mr. Harbinson:
I am including passengers and crew.

7168. (The Commissioner.) But you had not any passengers?
- No, we only had 48 at the time.

7169. (Mr. Harbinson.) But you have a carrying capacity of 102?
- Yes.

7170. And four lifeboats to make provision for them?
- Yes, and two ships' boats.

7171. Is four lifeboats the number of boats prescribed for steamers of your class by the Board of Trade?
- I do not know; I think that would be excessive. They do not require you to carry double the boat accommodation for the crew you have in the ship.

The Commissioner:
I do not want to hurry you at all, but we are not at present concerned to inquire whether this ship, the "Californian," was properly supplied with lifeboats. If I am to sit here and inquire into the manning and equipment of every vessel referred to I shall never finish.

Mr. Harbinson:
Quite so, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
I do not want to hurry you or to shut out anything, but do not ask needless questions.

Mr. Harbinson:
If I may say so, my Lord, of course, I accept your Lordship's suggestion. The point I was going to make was that if this proportion of lifeboat accommodation had been provided for the "Titanic," of course the whole of the passengers would have been saved.

The Commissioner:
Well, that may be. You can do that without asking these questions.

7172. (Mr. Harbinson - To the Witness.) Now I want to put a further question to you about the look-out men. You have a crow's-nest on your boat?
- Yes.

7172a. Is it an able-bodied seaman you keep posted there usually?
- Yes, always.

7172b. Is it a most responsible position?
- Oh, I suppose it is.

7172c. To detect danger ahead?
- Yes.

7172d. Do you not think that the responsibility of that position would be better satisfied if a Junior Officer was also posted in the crow's-nest along with the able-bodied seamen?
- Do you mean in my own ship?

7172e. In any ship. I ask you now from your general experience as a captain and a seagoing man?
- No. If you have an Officer on the bridge, I think that is quite sufficient.

The Commissioner:
Now that is not the answer you wanted. He is giving you an answer that you did not want, and I respectfully submit you may leave him alone now.

Examined by Mr. CLEMENT EDWARDS.

7173. I think you said that you did not give any instructions to the Marconi operator to try and ascertain the name of this vessel?
- No; I did at 11 o'clock.

7174. Not after 11 o'clock?
- Not after 11 o'clock.

7175. You have given evidence, I believe, before the American Court of Enquiry?
- I have.

7176. Did you at that Inquiry, in reply to a question, say "about 1 o'clock I told the operator to call the ship again"?
- No.

7177. So that if you are so reported, it is untrue?
- It is.

7178. You said, I think, that when the lad came you have a faint recollection -

The Commissioner:
Have you got the print of the shorthand note of the evidence of this Witness in America?

Mr. Clement Edwards:
I have not, my Lord, but I have what purports to be a verbatim question and answer given by this Witness before the American Enquiry.

The Commissioner:
Where does it come from?

Mr. Clement Edwards:
Reuter's Agency, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
Was it telegraphed to this country verbatim?

Mr. Clement Edwards:
Yes, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
Well, read it to him. Put it to him specifically.

The Attorney-General:
I have it, my Lord; I cannot say I have read it.

The Commissioner:
Put it specifically to him.

Mr. Clement Edwards:
There are certain matters into which this Witness has given testimony this morning, and it would be more convenient, if I may respectfully suggest it, if I put to him certain quite specific questions.

The Commissioner:
Follow your own course.

7179. (Mr. Clement Edwards - To the Witness.) You said, I think, that you have no recollection of the lad Gibson saying anything when he came to the chart room in the morning?
- No, I have no recollection.

7180. Did you tell the American Court of Enquiry -

The Commissioner:
I understood you to say something different from that; I understood you to say that the boy said nothing.

Mr. Clement Edwards:
That is what I understood the Witness to say now.

The Commissioner:
Oh, no; now he says that he does not remember that he said anything. I understood him first to say that the boy came in and shut the door, that he then said to the boy, "What is it?" and that the boy behaved in a most extraordinary manner by shutting the door and going away.

7181. (Mr. Clement Edwards - To the Witness.) What do you say? Do you remember the lad saying anything or not?
- I do not remember him saying anything.

7182. (The Commissioner.) Do you remember that he said nothing?
- He did not say anything to me as far as I know.

7183. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Did you tell the American Court of Enquiry, "I have a faint recollection of hearing the cabin boy about four o'clock saying something about the ship still standing by"?
- I did not.

7184. As a matter of fact you were expecting the lad to come back with a message from the Officer as to whether the ship was still there?
- Not to come back; I was expecting him to come down for the first time.

7185. So that you were expecting a message from the lad?
- I was expecting a message from the Officer.

7186. (The Commissioner.) By the lad?
- By the Apprentice.

7187. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) And you said nothing of that before the American Court?
- About what you have just read?

7188. Yes?
- No.

7189. Did you tell the American Court that "there were flashes of light from this ship; they might have been signals of distress or Morse messages"?
- No, Sir.

7190. You said nothing about flashes of light?
- I said the Second Officer reported this one rocket which I have mentioned here this morning.

7191. Did you say anything at all about there being flashes of light, and they might have been Morse signals?
- No.

7192. Nothing at all?
- Nothing at all.

7193. You have said that there was no haze that night?
- Yes.

7194. Did you tell the American Court of Enquiry that the light that night was very extraordinary; the conditions were very deceiving?
- I told them it was a very strange night; it was hard to define where the sky ended and the water commenced. There was what you call a soft horizon. I was sometimes mistaking the stars low down on the horizon for steamer's lights.

7195. What is that condition of things due to, if it is not due to a haze?
- I do not know; just a flash, that is all.

7196. What do you suggest as a characteristic of the atmosphere on a night of that sort?
- I really could not say. We could see a light the full limit of my vessel.

7197. You have said that when you heard from the "Virginian" in the morning that the "Titanic" had gone down, and when you heard that she was 19 miles away you did say something about: "Well, you ought to have seen her signals"?
- I did not say it; I thought it.

7198. Did you tell the American Court of Enquiry that at 19 miles distance it would be utterly impossible to see either distress signals or Morse flashes?
- I did not say "utterly impossible."

7199. Do you say it was impossible?
- No. I said I did not think it would be possible to see them at that distance. If they were seen they would be so low on the horizon they might be shooting stars.

7200. You now think that it was possible?
- That we might have seen them.

7201. At what time did you think it was possible?
- At half-past six the next morning I was thinking about it.

7202. Before you were asked these questions at the American Enquiry, you thought it was possible to have seen these lights?
- I thought it might have been possible.

7203. And you told the American Enquiry that you thought it was not possible?
- I did not think it was possible.

7204. When did you first hear of the message from the "Titanic" that you were to shut up and keep off as they were busy?
- Some time during the morning of the 15th.

7205. Did you regard it as an insulting message?
- Oh, no.

7206. Did either of your Officers regard it as an insulting message?
- No.

7207. (The Commissioner.) Is a record kept of these messages?
- Yes, my Lord.

7208. By the operator?
- By the operator.

The Attorney-General:
We are going to call him.

7209. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Why did you tell them that you were surrounded by ice? Did you want to warn them that you were in danger at all?
- It is usual, when we see it, to send out messages that we have seen it to all ships in the vicinity.

7210. When you said that you were surrounded by ice, was that to warn them of your danger?
- No; to warn them, so that they would know if they were in the vicinity, or pass the word on to other steamers.

7211. That is to say, it was a message of Courtesy?
- A message of advice.

7212. It was rather a snub, was it not?
- Who for?

7213. For them to tell you in reply to that, "Shut up, and keep off"?
- I suppose it was, more or less.

7214. And did your Officer who received it take it as so?
- I do not think so.

7215. You had no conversation with him about it?
- I asked him the next morning what they said. When I heard that the "Titanic" had sunk, I sent along and asked him whether he delivered the message I sent at 11 o'clock. He said he had, and they told him to please keep quiet, or shut up.

7216. To shut up?
- Something like that; they were busy.

7217. Did you have any conversation with him as to the character of this message?
- No.

7218. None at all?
- No.

7219. Which Officer was that?
- That was the wireless operator.

7220. He reported to you directly?
- He reported to me directly.

7221. Did he when he got that message report to the Officer on the watch?
- I was on watch myself then, at 11 o'clock.

7222. Then he did not report to you?
- No; I do not think he came on deck again.

7223. Did not you tell the American Court of Enquiry that the operator did come to you at 11 o'clock, and that you then told him to try and find out what was the name of the ship that had stopped close by?
- No.

7224. You did not?
- No.

Examined by Mr. LEWIS.

7225. How long have you been in charge of a ship; how long have you been a Captain?
- I beg your pardon?

7226. (The Commissioner.) You are asked how long you have had a captain's certificate?
- Since 1901.

7227. (Mr. Lewis.) Do you consider it reasonable, seeing that you had very little experience of ice, to go below to the chart room and lie there?
- When a ship is stopped?

7228. Yes?
- Perfectly justified.

7229. Do you consider it reasonable, in view of the fact that you had been in communication with other ships that your wireless operator should have gone off duty at 11 o'clock?
- Yes.

7230. Can you tell us what control you have over the operators?
- I do not know that we have any great control. They are amenable to the discipline of the ship to a certain extent, but their hours I do not think I have anything to do with.

7231. They are under the control, I understand, of the Marconi Company?
- To a certain extent they are.

7232. To what extent; can you tell us?
- No.

7233. Can you tell us if you pay them?
- No, they pay them.

7234. So that you have only control so far as the mere discipline is concerned?
- If I wanted to get a message sent at any time, day or night, I would send it.

7235. Are you interested in messages received by the ship?
- What is that?

The Commissioner:
What do you mean by "interested"? Do you mean, "Does he receive any money in connection with them?"

Mr. Lewis:

The Commissioner:
What is it then?

7236. (Mr. Lewis.) I am anxious to know when messages are being received, important messages, whether the captain is at all interested to find out what is happening. (To the Witness.) I understand you were in communication with the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

7237. Would you consider it dangerous for the "Titanic" to be so close to the ice?
- I did not know where the "Titanic" was. I never had her position.

7238. I understand you to say she may have been a long way away?
- Anywhere.

7239. She may have been close?
- She may have been close or away past.

7240. If she had been 19 miles away, would not her position have been dangerous?
- I did not know. I did not know at all how far the ice extended.

7241. It may have extended that distance?
- It was more than likely.

7242. If the "Titanic" had been close to it, it would have been extremely dangerous to the "Titanic"?
- If they were not keeping a look-out.

7243. Particularly to a large steamer?
- If they were not keeping a look-out.

7244. We know now that it has been in evidence that they did have a look-out. You heard that, I take it, did not you, that they did have a look-out on the ship?
- Yes.

7245. Under those circumstances, seeing that there was a possibility of the boat being near, do you consider it reasonable that you should go off duty?
- Perfectly reasonable. I was looking after my own ship.

The Commissioner:
These are answers that do not do you the least good, and they are not the answers that you want.

7246. (Mr. Lewis.) Very well, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Do you consider it reasonable, knowing that you were in communication with the "Titanic" that you did not make inquiries from the operator - that you went on till next day before knowing what the reply was from the "Titanic"?
- He would give the message I knew, and if he could not give the message he would come back and tell me, I should have thought.

7247. You consider that reasonable?
- I do.

Examined by Sir ROBERT FINLAY.

7248. Just a very few questions: Who appoints and pays the Marconi man on board your boat?
- The Marconi Company, I understand.

7249. Cape Race is the South-East point of Newfoundland, is it not?
- Yes.

7250. Is it the great point for trade messages?
- Yes, it is, I believe.

7251. Now with regard to your own vessel, where is the best point for a look-out, on the stem or the crow's-nest, in your vessel?
- The man in the crow's-nest on a clear day would see a light further than a man on the foc'sle head of the ship would; but sometimes in hazy weather it is possible to see better from the foc'sle head than it is from the crow's-nest.

7252. And with regard to ice, where would that be best seen from?
- On a clear night. I think you would see just as well from the crow's-nest as you. would from the foc'sle head.

7253. You had one man only in the crow's-nest?
- One only.

7254. And one only on the stem?
- On the foc'sle.

7255. As a matter of fact, I think you said that you saw the ice before either of them?
- I reversed the engines myself before they reported it. Just, as they were reporting it I had reversed the engines.

7256. Only one other question. You came to the point where the "Titanic" had been reported as having foundered, 41º 46 N., if I rightly understood you, and 50º 14 W.?
- Yes.

7257. How far from that point was the "Mount. Temple"?
- I think she was very close to it. I should think she had been looking for the, "Titanic" boats or wreckage, or something, she was stopped there.

7258. You went on from that point?
- Yes.

7259. In what direction did you proceed after that point?
- I steered, as far as I recollect, about South or South by East true from there along the edge of the ice - the western edge of the ice.

7260. How, far did you go till you got to the wreckage?
- I passed her somewhere about half-past seven - somewhere in the vicinity of half-past seven. I got there at half-past eight.

7261. What rate were you going at?
- We were driving all we possibly could. The chief engineer estimates the speed at 13 1/2. I estimate it at 13.

7262. You were about an hour?
- We were an hour.

7263. Had you also any observations to enable you to fix the spot where the wreckage was found?
- I had very good observations at noon and that afternoon.

7264. How long did you remain on the spot where the wreckage was?
- We arrived at half-past eight - 11.15.

7265. Can you give us your noon observations?
- Yes; 41.33 N. and 50.9 W.

7266. That is your noon position?
- That is my noon position on the 15th April.

The Attorney-General:
That is the Monday morning.

7267. (Sir Robert Finlay.) When you left the scene of the wreckage, what course did you hold?
- 11.20 proceeded on course N. 59, W. by compass.

7268. (The Commissioner.) Is that the ship's log?
- This is the ship's log, my Lord.

7269. (Sir Robert Finlay.) What would that be true?
- I think I was intending to make N. 89 W. I think that was my intention. The variation is 23 1/2, and I think the deviation was 5.

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