British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 8

Testimony of Cyril F. Evans

Examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL.

8924. Are you the Marconi operator on the steamship "Californian"?
- Yes.

8925. Do you remember Sunday, 14th April?
- Yes.

8926. You have no one to help you, I think - no assistant - with the Marconi apparatus on the ship?
- No.

8927. Can you tell us what time you turned in on the Sunday night?
- Half-past eleven, ship's time.

8928. During the Sunday, this 14th of April, had you been on duty with your Marconi apparatus from time to time?
- Yes.

8929. I think starting about 7 o'clock in the morning?
- Yes.

8930. When you get a certain way across the Atlantic do the Marconi operators keep New York time for the purpose of their messages?
- Yes, when they get to 40 west.

8931. When you get to the Meridian 40 west?
- Yes.

8932. Were you in that part of the Atlantic where New York time is kept by the Marconi operators?
- Yes.

8933. Have you got your records there, or do you remember them - the hours I am going to put to you?
- I have my logbook.

8934. Would not it be as well for you to have it?
- The Chief Officer has it.

8935. I have no doubt he would let you have it. Perhaps, while they are getting it you can tell me this: What is the difference between New York time and ship's time at the place where you stopped?
- One hour and fifty-five minutes.

8936. That means one would have to add 1 hour 55 minutes to New York time to get at your ship's time at the place where you stopped?
- Yes.

(The Marconi logbook was handed to the Witness. )

8937. We have heard something about communications between you and the "Antillian"?
- Yes.

8938. Is that another ship of the same line, the Leyland line?
- Yes.

8939. Can you tell us what time it was that you were communicating with the "Antillian," and then tell us what the message was you sent?
- 5.35 p.m. on the 14th.

8940. That is New York time?
- Yes.

8941. In ship's time then that would mean 7.30, would it not?
- Yes.

8942. P.m.?
- Yes.

8943. What was the message which you sent the "Antillian" at that time?
- It was a message reporting ice. "To Captain, 'Antillian,' 6.30 p.m. apparent time, ship; latitude, 42.3 North; longitude, 49.9 West. Three large bergs five miles to southward of us. Regards. Lord."

8944. "Lord" - that is the name of your Captain?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
Did you say that was sent at 7.30?

8945. (The Solicitor-General.) He was sending it at 7.30. (To the Witness.) That is information, so I understand, as to what they had seen at 6.30?
- Yes.

8946. You are sending at half-past seven a message which the Captain had asked you to send?
- Yes.

8947. And the message referred to the fact that an hour before apparent ship's time there had been icebergs seen to the southward?
- Yes.

8948. Did the Captain write out this message and give it to you to send?
- Yes.

8949. I just want you to go back for a moment to the message; there was one point I did not quite follow. You began by telling us the message started by a reference to your latitude and longitude. Did that refer, as you understood it, to the position you were in at half-past seven, or to the position you were in at half-past six?
- Half-past six apparent time ship.

8950. So that it gave the other ships news of whereabouts in the Atlantic these icebergs were?
- Yes.

8951. Did you hear anything of or from the "Titanic" about this time?
- Yes, a little after.

8952. Did she ring you up, or did you ring her up?
- She called me up.

8953. What does that mean? Is it just to find your position, or what?
- No. If you have not had another ship before, whichever ships hears the other one first you call him up and you offer him a "T.R."

8954. What does "T.R." mean?
- "Time rush"- when a ship gets him. It is what we call the official "T.R."

8955. (The Commissioner.) What does "T.R." mean?
- It means "time rush."

The Commissioner:
What does "time rush" mean?
- I do not know the significance of it.

8956. (The Solicitor-General.) I fancy it is merely a memoria technica. (To the Witness.) It is merely a convenient message to use?
- Yes.

8957. Let us see if I follow it properly. When the "Titanic" sends out a message as other ships get nearer to her with apparatus they can hear that the "Titanic" is sending out a message, cannot they?
- Yes.

8958. When they get within a certain range?
- Yes.

8959. And when that happens, do you communicate back again?
- Yes.

8960. To say that you are there?
- Yes.

8961. Then the "Titanic" knows that you are within her range, and you are able to say that you have heard the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

8962. Is that what a "T.R." is?
- Yes; and then we exchange times to see if our clocks are the same. That is why we call it a "T.R."

8963. You exchange times?
- Yes, and which way we are bound.

8964. Ship's time?
- No, if we are working on New York time we exchange New York time.

8965. So that that is a check to see that each ship has got the right time?
- Yes.

8966. I see from the statement you have made that upon this happening you offered him what you call an "S.G."?
- Yes.

8967. What is an "S.G."?
- "S.G." is a prefix. When you send "S.G." he knows that there is a service advice message coming through.

8968. It means that you are offering him some information if he wants it?
- Yes.

8969. And what was the information that you were prepared to offer the "Titanic"?
- I told him "'S.G.' ice report."

8970. That means that you were in a position to give him some news about ice?
- Yes.

8971. Is this shortly after half-past seven?
- Yes.

8972. What did the "Titanic" say to you when you offered your ice report?
- He said, "It is all right. I heard you sending it to the 'Antillian,' and I have got it."

8973. Did you cease communicating with him?
- Yes.

8974. That is all about 7.30, or a little later, is it not?
- Yes.

8975. There is nothing more, as I follow you, until your ship stops?
- No.

8976. Which we know she did, about 10.25 - your ship's time?
- Yes.

8977. Did you go on deck when you found the ship had stopped?
- Yes.

8978. I think you found the Captain and the Chief Engineer discussing the matter?
- Yes.

8979. And then did the Captain make a communication to you and ask you to do something?
- Well, Sir, he was talking about the ice then; he was talking to the Chief Officer. I asked him if anything was the matter, and if he wanted me. A little after that he came along to my cabin to talk to me.

8980. What did he want to know?
- He asked me what ships I had got.

8981. That means, what ships you were in touch with?
- In communication with.

8982. What did you say?
- I said, "I think the 'Titanic' is near us. I have got her."

8983. Did you say "I think the 'Titanic' is near us" or "is nearest"?
- Near us.

8984. (The Commissioner.) "Nearer" is it you are saying?
- She was "near us."

8985. (The Solicitor-General.) As far as you know, was there any ship with Marconi apparatus that was nearer you at this time than the "Titanic"?
- Not as far as I know. I had not the "Titanic's" position.

8986. (The Commissioner.) What time was this - about what time?
- Five minutes to eleven.

8987. (The Solicitor-General.) Ship's time?
- Yes.

8988. What did the Captain say when you said that?
- He said, "You had better advise the 'Titanic' we are stopped and surrounded by ice."

8989. Did you call up the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

8990. Can you give me the time?
- It was 9.5 p.m..

8991. New York time?
- Yes, 11 o'clock ship's time.

8992. What did you say?
- I said, "We are stopped and surrounded by ice."

8993. Did you get an answer from the "Titanic"?
- They said, "Keep out."

8994. Just explain to us, will you, what that means?
- Well, Sir, he was working to Cape Race at the time. Cape Race was sending messages to him, and when I started to send he could not hear what Cape Race was sending.

8995. Does that mean that you would send louder than Cape Race to him?
- Yes; and he did not want me to interfere.

8996. That would interrupt his conversation with Cape Race?
- Yes.

8997. So that he asked you to "keep out"?
- Yes.

8998-9. In ordinary Marconi practice is that a common thing to be asked?
- Yes. And you do not take it as an insult or anything like that.

The Commissioner:
What did you say?

9000. (The Solicitor-General.) "You do not take it as an insult or anything like that." (To the Witness.) Do I understand rightly then that a Marconi operator, like other people, can only clearly hear one thing at a time?
- Yes.

9001. Have you any means of knowing - do you judge that he had heard your message about ice? When you say you sent this message and he said "keep out," did he say that after he had got your message?
- The very minute I stopped sending.

9002. (The Commissioner.) You cannot tell, I suppose, whether he heard what you said?
- He must have heard it, my Lord, but I do not know whether he took it down.

9003. Would he hear what you said, or would he merely hear that you were speaking? You see, as I understand, he was getting messages from two points - from Cape Race and from you. He could not hear both, I suppose, at the same time?
- No, my Lord.

9004. And he may not have heard what you said, though he may have known that you were trying to speak to him. I do not know, you know; I am only asking?
- Well, my Lord, my signal would be much stronger than Cape Race's.

9005. You think that he would have heard you, and you would, as it were, obliterate Cape Race?
- Certainly, my Lord.

9006. (The Solicitor-General.) I notice, Mr. Evans, in the evidence you gave in America, you said your message would come to him with a bang?
- Yes.

9007. And the other message would be faint. Is that right?
- Yes.

9008. We shall hear a good deal about this later on. Now will you tell me this? You spoke about speaking to him and his hearing you. Is it spelt out with a code or with an alphabet?
- Spelt out with an alphabet.

9009. Is it the ticking of a needle?
- No, Sir, the clicks in the 'phone. You read off them.

9010. Long clicks and short clicks?
- Yes.

9011. How is it that he would know when he got your message coming to him with a bang that it came from you?
- By my call signal.

9012. You begin with that, do you?
- First of all.

9013. You say who you are?
- First of all you give his call signal, and then yours afterwards.

9014. And then you gave him this message, spelt it out, that you were stopped in ice; and then he replies to you, "Keep out." How do you know he was talking to Cape Race?
- I heard him beforehand.

9015. You could hear him?
- Beforehand, and directly after that.

9016. (The Commissioner.) What was it you heard?
- Before that, my Lord?

9017. No. What was it that you heard which conveyed to you that he was in communication with Cape Race?
- Directly afterwards he called up Cape Race - a few seconds after.

9018. After he had said to you "Keep out"?
- Yes, my Lord.

9019. (The Solicitor-General.) Could you overhear what he was saying to Cape Race?
- Yes.

9020. What was it he said?
- He said, "Sorry, please repeat, jammed."

9021. That means that somebody else had interrupted?
- Yes.

9022. After that did you hear him continuing to send messages?
- Right up till I turned in.

9023. It was not your business, and I have no doubt you did not listen in detail to what they were, but could you tell, as a matter of fact, whether they were private messages?
- Yes, all private messages. You can tell by the prefix.

The Commissioner:
That means messages from passengers.

9024. (The Solicitor-General.) Yes, business and private messages for the passengers. (To the Witness.) You can tell that by what you call the prefix, the sound that is sent first of all?
- Yes.

9025. And that continued, you say, till you turned in?
- Yes.

9026. When was it that you turned in?
- Eleven-thirty p.m., ship's time.

9027. You had been at work since 7 o'clock in the morning, except intervals for meals?
- Yes.

9028. Was it your regular course to turn in about that time?
- As a Rule. It all depends where we are.

9029. And when you turn in you put down I suppose the receivers, or whatever they are?
- I hung the 'phones up. The detector was also stopped.

9030. What is the detector?
- The detector is the arrangement for detecting the signals - making the signals audible in the 'phones which has to be wound up.

9031. And that would stop would it?
- Yes.

9032. So that after you had turned in, supposing the "Titanic" sent out the signals C.Q.D., or whatever they might be, you would not hear them?
- No, Sir, not unless I got the 'phones.

9033. And your instrument would not repeat them?
- No.

9034. You turned in. Do you recollect the Second Officer, Mr. Groves, coming into your room a little later?
- Yes, I have a faint recollection of it.

9035. Can you give me any idea as to what sort of time it was?
- About a quarter-past 12, I think.

9036. Mr. Groves' watch ended at midnight, you know?
- Yes.

9037. And he came in you say at about a quarter-past 12?
- He stopped up on the bridge, I think, for 10 minutes until 10 minutes past 12 with the other Officer to get his eyes in.

9038. When Mr. Groves came into your room, what did he do?
- He asked me what ships I had got; if I had got any news.

9039. Yes, what did you tell him?
- I told him I had got the "Titanic." I said, "You know, the new boat on its maiden voyage. I got it this afternoon."

9040. You got it this afternoon. Had you got the "Titanic" earlier than half-past 7?
- No.

9041. When you said "This afternoon," you mean at half-past 7"?
- Yes, Sir, that was right.

9042. That is right, is it?
- Yes.

9043. By New York time it would be 4.30 or 5 o'clock?
- Yes.

9044. Did anything more happen then?
- I do not remember Mr. Groves picking the 'phones up, but Mr. Groves says so.

9045. That he picked them up and put them into his ears?
- Yes; of course, I was half asleep.

9046. Did he tell you, as far as you recollect, then at a quarter-past twelve of anything that he had seen since the ship had stopped?
- No.

9047. He only came in and asked what ships you had got?
- Yes. He generally comes in my room and has a talk.

9048. He generally does that?
- Yes. He comes and has a chat.

9049. Just to find out what the news is?
- Yes.

9050. And then, I think, you went to sleep?
- Then I went to sleep. He switched out the light and shut the door.

9051. The next thing I want to know is this. Mr. Stewart is the Chief Officer, is he not?
- Yes.

9052. Do you remember Mr. Stewart coming into your room later on?
- Yes, in the morning.

9053. Can you tell me what time it was?
- 3.40 or 3.45, New York time.

9054. (The Solicitor-General.) Do you mind timing it into ship's time for us?

The Commissioner:
It is inconvenient to have two times. I have taken it down hitherto in ship's time.

9055. (The Solicitor-General.) It is certainly much more convenient, my Lord. (To the Witness.) You have only to add one hour 55 minutes to it, have not you?
- Yes.

9056. So that 3.45 New York time is 5.40 ship's time. Is that right - about twenty minutes to six?
- Yes.

9057. It was getting light?
- Just after dawn, I think.

9058. You remember Mr. Stewart coming into your room at that time, twenty minutes to six?
- Yes.

9059. Just tell us carefully, if you will, what it was he said?
- He said: "There's a ship been firing rockets. Will you see if you can find out whether there is anything the matter?"

9060. (The Commissioner.) Find out what?
- If there is anything the matter.

9061. (The Solicitor-General.) Did you ask him any more about the rockets?
- No, I jumped out of my bunk and took up the 'phones at once.

9062. You took up the 'phones immediately?
- Yes.

9063. If you had been asked to do that at any time in the night you could have done it, could not you?
- I could have done it.

9064. And would have done it, of course?
- Yes.

9065. When you get hold of your instrument you send out a call don't you?
- I listened at first to see if anybody was working.

9066. You listened first?
- Yes.

9067. But you did not hear anything?
- No.

9068. And then not hearing anything did you send out a call?
- Yes, C.Q.

9069. That is call C.Q. is it?
- Yes.

9070. Is that a general call up?
- A general call for all ships to answer.

9071. Did you get an answer from anybody?
- Yes.

9072. From what ship?
- The "Mount Temple" first.

9073. That is a Canadian Pacific vessel, I think?
- Yes.

9074. Did you get any information from her?
- He said, "Do you know the "Titanic" has struck an iceberg, and she is sinking," and he gave me her position.

9075. You have got his message there, have you?
- No, - I mean to say you do not call those messages, you know.

9076. (The Commissioner.) Was it the "Mount Temple" said that the "Titanic" had struck an iceberg?
- Yes.

9077. (The Solicitor-General.) You would not keep a record of this?
- It is just simply conversation, Sir.

9078. Did you say, "She is sinking"?
- He said, "She is sinking."

9079. The "Mount Temple" said, "She is sinking"?
- Yes.

9080. Did he give you the position of the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

9081. The position that we have had mentioned in the case several times?
- Yes.

9082. Did the "Mount Temple" say what she was doing?
- No. The "Frankfurt" jumped in then. He told me the same thing and gave me the same position.

9083. What line does the "Frankfurt" belong to?
- She is a German boat; I think it is the Norddeutscher Lloyd. I know it is a German boat.

9084. What did the "Frankfurt" say?
- The "Frankfurt" told me the same thing. The Chief Officer was in my room at the time.

9085. You have told us that Mr. Stewart came in and gave you this information of what had happened during the night, and asked you to find out whether anything was the matter. You say you jumped out of bed and used your instrument. Was Mr. Stewart there?
- Yes, Sir. I gave him the position, and he went off to get the Captain.