British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 8

Testimony of Cyril F. Evans, cont.

9086. When you heard these messages from the "Mount Temple" and from the "Frankfurt" did you tell Mr. Stewart what you heard?
- I wrote down the position and gave it to him.

9087. You wrote down the position on a piece of paper and gave it to him?
- Yes.

9088. Did it take any time calling these ships up and getting the answer?
- About five minutes, not more than that.

9089. So that it was about a quarter to six ship's time?
- Yes.

9090. When you gave Mr. Stewart the message and the position what did he do?
- He went off to the Captain and fetched the Captain. Then I got the "Virginian" and asked him for an official message.

9091. What line does the "Virginian" belong to - the Allan line, is it not?
- Yes.

9092. You asked the "Virginian," did you, for an official message?
- Yes, so that I could give it to the Captain.

9093. What was the message that you got from the "Virginian"?
- It gave the position of the "Titanic," and said she was sinking, passengers in boats.

The Solicitor-General:
Have not you got the actual message there? You might just as well have it?

The Commissioner:
What was the position?

9094. (The Solicitor-General.) I think you will find it is in the message. I have it here: "'Titanic' struck berg; wants assistance; urgent; passengers in boats; ship sinking. His position, 41.46 North, 50.14 West. - Gamble, Commander." Is that right?
- Yes.

9095. That is the message from the "Virginian"?
- Yes, I have it here, Sir.

9096. I think I read it right, did not I?
- Yes.

9097. Did you get any news as to whether any vessels were going to this spot to see if they could help?
- The "Frankfurt" told me they were going along, and the "Virginian" told me so, and also a Russian boat.

9098. What is the name of the Russian boat?
- The "Birma," Russian-American Line.

9099. She has also got wireless, has she?
- Yes, but not our system.

9100. Could you tell sufficiently?
- Yes. We all unite in case of an emergency like that.

9101. Did these different vessels that you speak of give you their position?
- No, Sir; they gave the "Titanic's."

9102. Only the "Titanic's"?
- Yes.

9103. Then you knew they were going to the spot, but you did not know where they were going from?
- I knew the "Frankfurt" had passed us during the day before, I think it was.

9104. She is a faster boat than you?
- She was going the opposite way, and she passed us. She turned back and went towards the scene of the disaster.

9105. You knew she was nearer Europe; she was more to the East?
- Yes.

9106. Apart from that, did you know the actual position of these other boats that said they were going to her assistance?
- No. I knew that the "Virginian" was coming up from Cape Race way.

9107. (The Commissioner.) Yes, but you did not know their position?
- No, my Lord.

The Solicitor-General:
That is what I wanted to know.

(After a Short Adjournment.)

9108. (The Solicitor-General.) What I wanted to know further was this, about the system. When you turn in and leave your instrument as I understand from what you have told me, a motor stops, your little motor?
- No, the detector, it has to be wound up.

9109. Is the effect of that that there would be no means by which you would know whether a distress signal was being sent out by another ship?
- No, unless I had the 'phones on. There has been nothing invented so far. There was in the very old sets, but it was done away with because it could not be relied on.

9110. So that you have to rely upon the sense of hearing in your ears, applied to the receiving instrument set against your ears?
- Yes.

9111. And, of course, you cannot do that when you are asleep in bed?
- No.

9112. The other thing I wanted to be clear about was this. I suppose the range of your communication depends upon the strength of your installation?
- For sending, yes.

9113. You heard the "Titanic" speaking to Cape Race?
- Yes.

9114. Could you hear Cape Race speaking to the "Titanic"?
- No.

9115. Could you hear Cape Race at all?
- No.

9116. But evidently the "Titanic" could hear Cape Race?
- They had a higher aerial, and I understand they had a more sensitive detector.

9117. Now, take your installation. What sort of range, what radius of area would you be able to cover with your apparatus; could you speak to a ship 100 miles off?
- Yes; the furthest distance I have got so far is 250 miles. My power is cut down. The ship is only a 60-volt dynamo ship; most ships have 100 volts.

9118. So that your installation was comparatively weak?
- Oh, no, I get 250 miles.

The Solicitor-General:
Of course, this Witness can give evidence of what happened when they got to the "Carpathia," but we have got it without.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

9119. I think you said to your Captain on the Sunday evening that the "Titanic" was near you?
- I said I thought she was near us.

9120. What basis had you for saying she was near you?
- The strength of the signals.

9121. You also state that when you gave a message to the ship of your own line you gave your position?
- Yes.

9122. You commenced the message by giving your position?
- Yes.

9123. When you gave the final message to the "Titanic" did you commence that message by giving your address, so to speak - your position then?
- No.

9124. Would the "Titanic" be able to judge from the distinctness of your message that you were near them?
- Yes; you cannot judge a distance accurately.

9125. What impression did you have as to the distance the "Titanic" was from you?
- Well, he had very good signals, very clear signals, and he has got a good power.

9126. Would that indicate roughly a certain number of miles - that you must be within a certain number of miles?
- By the strength of the signals I should say he was not more than 100 miles off us in the afternoon. I heard him working a long time before I got him.

9127. When you were speaking to him at night, when you gave the message that you were surrounded by ice, what I want to know is, could he form an idea that ice was very near him?

The Commissioner:
The ice?

9128. (Mr. Scanlan.) That he was not far from the position of which this gentleman was speaking. (To the Witness.) In whose employment are you?
- The Marconi Company.

9129. Are you liable to come to your machine any time you are called upon by the Officers of the ship?
- Well, personally I would myself, but we have no instructions to that effect to my knowledge. We are under the command of the Captain.

9130. (The Commissioner.) Do you sign on with the ship's Officer's?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. HARBINSON.

9131. You cannot work day and night?
- No.

9132. If there had been another operator on this boat to have taken your place when you went to bed at 12 o'clock?
- Half-past 11.

9133. He would have got this C.Q.D. signal sent out from the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. LEWIS.

9134. Do I understand you are on the ship's articles?
- Yes.

9135. I take it only as a matter of form?
- To bring us under the Captain's control.

9136. To what extent has he control over you? The Captain has command over everybody in the ship, has he not?
- That is why we have to sign on.

9137. To what extent can he interfere with your duties as an operator? You are in the employ of the Marconi Company?
- Yes.

9138. Do you receive instructions from them when engaged, as to your duties?
- Well, we have instructions as to our hours; if we want to get into communication with the land, we generally stop up later.

9139. I am not asking the instructions from time to time. I want to know whether you are given instructions when you are first employed as to your duties and so forth - when you are first employed by the Marconi Company?
- We are told to take orders from the Captain.

9140. There are certain duties laid down; I presume they give you certain instructions. Do not you have instructions as to your duties on board ship?
- Not to my knowledge.

9141. There are no printed instructions issued?
- There is one about calling the C.Q. at even hours, so that you can always get somebody at that time.

9142. Are you allowed to get into communication under ordinary circumstances with a ship with another system, say the De Forest system?
- Not under ordinary circumstances; we are not supposed to.

9143. Have you had instructions on that matter?
- No written instructions.

9144. What sort of instructions have you with regard to communication under ordinary circumstances with ships having other installations?
- We are not to communicate with them.

9145. You are not to communicate?
- No, except in case of distress or anything like that.

9146. Is that under the International Code? - Perhaps you are not aware; that is by agreement with the different countries?
- The only other one is the American one, and America has not come under the International Convention.

9147. America has not come under it?
- No.

The Solicitor-General:
We shall call another Witness.

9148. (Mr. Lewis.) I will defer that, as I understand another Witness will be called. (To the Witness.) When you approached the "Carpathia" did you find any difficulty in getting into communication with her?
- Yes.

9149. You tried to communicate did you?
- Yes, but I heard him say this; he said that he had picked up twenty boat loads, I think it was.

9150. Did they tell you the same thing as the other boat did, to shut up? I understand you did not think it was rude, but on another occasion another boat told you to shut up. He told you to do the same?
- Yes.

9151. You had a communication from the "Frankfurt" and the "Birma," had you?
- Yes.

9152. What systems are those?
- I am afraid I made a mistake before, because the German company and our company is a combined company really, and we always communicate with them; but with the Americans we are not supposed to.

9153. What system had the German boat?
- It is the Telefunken system.

9154. Did I understand you to say it is a joint system?
- A joint system, Marconi and the other.

9155. And the "Birma" is the De Forest?
- The American De Forest, yes.

9156. (The Commissioner.) The "Birma" is a Russian ship; she has a different system?
- Yes.

9157. (Mr. Lewis.) You say that is an American system?
- The United Wireless Company of America, so I understand.

9158. Is that the system employed on the "Birma"?
- Yes.

9159. Not the De Forest?
- It is the same thing.

9160. You had no difficulty with them. Did you ever have any difficulty with those ships by that system?
- They jammed us a good deal.

9161. That is in the ordinary course?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. CLEMENT EDWARDS.

9162. When Mr. Stewart came to your cabin was your ship moving?
- No.

9163. How soon after he came to your cabin did your ship start moving?
- Ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, I think.

9164. Did he say anything to you about a ship being to the southward, would you find out what she was?
- No, not to my knowledge.

9165. How soon did you get into touch with the "Carpathia"?
- I did not get her until I got nearly alongside of her.

9166. What time was that?
- About half-past 8, I think.

9167. From the time you started moving till you got alongside, have you any idea how far you had traveled?
- No, I was in my room most of the time, or else I was running up to the bridge.

9168. Could you tell what the revolutions were; whether it was working rapidly or slowly?
- I do not think so; I am not much judge of that.

9169. You are not able to judge?
- No, I know the ship was trembling a bit through hitting the ice.

Examined by Mr. COTTER.

9170. Is it not the fact that she was supplied every trip with a chart of the North Atlantic?
- Yes.

9171. Have you a copy of the chart you had on the "Californian"?
- No, but that chart is only amongst ourselves. They are square charts. They are not made out like ordinary charts.

9172. I want to look at the chart?
- We are not marked on that chart because we have not got a regular run.

9173. But the "Titanic" would be marked on it. First class passenger ships would be marked on that, giving the positions going across the Western Ocean?
- I do not know. I have not got one of the "Titanic."

9174. Did you have a chart at all?
- No.

9175. Have you seen a Marconi chart?
- I should think so.

9176. You had none on the "Californian"?
- I had got some.

9177. When did you get it?
- The other trip before.

9178. The voyage you were on I mean?
- The trip before that.

9179. You got none for the last trip?
- No.

9180. Is it not the fact that you get them every trip?
- Yes, it was an oversight on my part.

9181. So that you can locate a ship and get some idea of the radius she is in in the Western Ocean?
- It is a chart made out so that we can know for our own convenience when to expect communications from other ships, but you cannot say that a certain ship is going to be there at a certain time.

9182. But within a range of 100 miles or so you would have an idea where to pick her up?
- Yes.

9183. And you had not got a chart?
- No, I had got a South Atlantic chart because I made a mistake. We went to New Orleans on the first trip, and the next trip we came back to London; we did not go back to Liverpool; and in the hurry of getting off again. I did not get another chart.

9184. You took no chart?
- No.

9185. If you had had a chart with the "Titanic" on it, it would have given you a better idea where she was than you had?
- No, it would not at all.

9186. What is the use of the chart then?
- Simply to show us when to expect communications with other ships.

9187. That is the point. At a certain time she would be in a certain place?
- You cannot say a ship will be in a certain place at a certain time.

9188. It would give you the radius; I do not mean the miles?
- It would give you the longitude West.

Examined by Mr. DUNLOP.

9189. With regard to the distance at which you say the "Titanic" was when you got into communication with her, did you give evidence at the Court of Inquiry in America?
- Yes.

9190. And you remember in answer to Senator Smith, saying this, "You cannot tell by the strength of the signals where anybody is"?
- "You cannot tell exactly" were my words.

9191. Can you tell within 100 miles?
- It is very hard to say. There is some peculiarity in every boat. You can tell she is getting nearer by the strength of the signals or something like that.

9192. When you were communicating with the "Titanic" on the Sunday, whether she was 100 miles away or 200, you could not tell from the sounds of the message which she sent to you, could you?
- You cannot tell exactly; it is impossible.

9193. Did you say further, when referring to the message that you received from the "Titanic": "I thought he was very much south of me, because we were bound for Boston and we were north of the track; we were following the track of the 'Parisian'"? Do you remember saying that?
- Yes, the captain told me to expect the "Titanic" to be away to the southward of us.

9194. When you said that the "Titanic" was near to you, within your radius, do you think she was?
- I could not tell.

9195. You could not tell within 100 miles or 200 miles?
- No, you cannot tell.

9196. All you thought you could tell was that the "Titanic" appeared to be the nearest vessel to you that had wireless telegraphy with which you could correspond?
- Yes, that was my view.

Re-examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL.

9197. If you get within communication of a ship which has wireless telegraphy, unless you know whether its installation is a strong one or a weak one, have you any means of seeing whether she is very near or whether she is further off?
- Well, you could tell by the strength. If she is a very long way off and you have tuned accurately to her, and you find her signals are very weak, you can say she is a good distance off.

9198. Does not it depend on the strength of her own discharge as well as upon the strength of the signals that you receive?
- Yes.

9199. So that you need to know whether she has a strong installation or not?
- But you can always tell by the sound of the spark. A strong installation has a singing spark; a coil set has a bad spark.

9200. I think I heard you say, "I heard the 'Titanic' long before I got her"?
- Yes.

9201. You could tell that she was sending out messages though you were not able to respond to them, is that it?
- The reason I did not try and get her before that was he was working, he was busy with different ships, and all the rest of it. You have to wait before you start. The bigger ship, the faster ship, is the controlling ship; therefore he would be senior to myself.

9202. That is the Rule, is it?
- Yes.

9203. And as you had heard the "Titanic" for some time, could you tell us from what you heard whether she was getting nearer to you as time went on?
- Yes.

9203a. Was she?
- Yes.

9204. You say you continued to hear her until you turned in at half-past 11?
- Yes.

9205. When you turned in, from what you could hear of her, was she nearer to you than she had been before?
- Yes, her signals were stronger, getting much better.

9206. Very much stronger?
- Yes.

9207. I think this is what Mr. Cotter referred to when he spoke of a communication chart. (Holding up a chart.) Yes, that has only the longitude W. marked on it. You could not tell exactly where a ship is. (The chart was handed to the Commissioner.)

9208. It is not a navigation chart, or a geographical chart?
- No, it is for our own convenience.

9209. It is a diagram?
- Yes, you could not call it a map.

9210. Suppose a ship leaves Europe on a particular day and is due in America on a subsequent day, and you draw a straight line across, you can tell more or less when she will cross the different meridians?
- That is it, exactly.

9211. And of course the steeper the line is the quicker the ship?
- Yes.

9212. If it is a flat line it is a very slow ship, that takes a long time to get across; if it is a very steep line it is a quick ship?
- Yes.

The Solicitor-General:
Your Lordship sees that on the chart?

The Commissioner:

The Solicitor-General:
You say your ship would not be on that at all?
- We are not a regular ship.

9213. You do not go a regular journey backwards and forwards?
- No.

9214. Does that communication chart enable a man to judge when it is likely that he will get within speaking distance of the different vessels in the Atlantic?
- It is simply to give the operator an idea what ships to expect. There is one thing I would like to mention. When the ship is stopped and the dynamos are not going it does not mean that the machine is useless, because I have storage batteries as well. If the ship was going down I should not be able to use the ship's power. I have my own storage batteries.

9215. You are speaking now of what was probably happening on the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

9216. You have storage batteries as well as dynamos?
- Yes.

9217. Supposing the dynamos on a ship like the "Titanic" stopped and you could not use the current which they make, you would then have recourse to your storage batteries?
- Yes.

9218. Would they be as powerful?
- The storage batteries are not so powerful, no, but I have got 200 miles with them.

(The Witness withdrew.)