British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 9

Testimony of John E. Hart, cont.

9993. I had better tell you why, because it helps us all. We have had other evidence, you see, and it is not very clear from the other evidence where the people got in?
- Am I clear?

9994. You are clear. Are you quite clear in your own mind that they got in from the boat deck?
- Yes.

9995. (The Commissioner.) 25?
- There were more than 25, but I took up 25.

9996. Your 25 got into No. 15 boat from the boat deck?
- Yes.

9997. (The Solicitor-General.) I daresay you can tell us a bit further about it. When you got to boat 15 with these 25 people, were there any people in boat No. 15 already?
- Yes.

9998. About how many, or who?
- Well, I can give you a rough estimate.

9999. Yes, of course?
- The last 25 were passed in from the boat deck.

10000. Your 25?
- Yes.

10001. (The Commissioner.) Were they mixed, women and children, or were they women?
- There were three children with them, My Lord.

10002. Twenty-two women and three children?
- The boat was then lowered to A deck. We there took in about five women, three children, and one man. He had a baby in his arms.

10003. Five women, three children, and a man with a baby from A deck?
- Yes; the boat was then lowered away.

10004. Into the water?
- Yes.

10005. You were in her, as I understand?
- Yes.

10006. Did you get in her from the boat deck?
- Yes.

10007. At the time when your second contingent got in?
- After; yes.

10008. How many people do you think were in boat No. 15 after she got into the water, and when she was saved?
- I would not like to vouch for its accuracy, but I can give you an estimate.

10009. What is your estimate?
- I should say somewhere about 70 after we left A deck.

10010. Another Witness has told us he thinks 68?
- Well, it is a rough estimate; it is pretty near it.

10011. Now let us see if you can help us as to how many members of the crew there were in boat No. 15. There is yourself, of course?
- Yes.

10012. Can you tell us how many other members of the crew there were in boat No. 15?
- I should say about 13 or 14 all told of the crew.

10013. There is a man named Cavell, a little short man, who is a trimmer?
- Yes.

10014. Do you know him?
- Yes.

10015. He was in the boat?
- Yes.

10016. Do you know a bath room steward named Rule?
- Yes, I know him.

10017. He was in the boat?
- I saw him get out of the boat.

10018. That will prove it. Then a man named Diamond we have heard of; he was a fireman?
- Yes.

10019. Was he in the boat?
- Yes.

10020. Who was in charge of her?
- This Diamond - at least, he had all the say, and so I take it he was in charge.

10021. I suppose so. Then I think there is only one other name I have heard, that is Lewis. Was there a man named Lewis, said to be a third class steward? Do you know about that?
- I no doubt know them by sight, but we had nearly 60 third class stewards, and it is rather difficult to know their names.

10022. Then we have heard something about somebody called Jack Stewart. Is that somebody else?
- Well, I know the name, but I would not like to vouch for him being in the boat, as I did not see him.

10023. I want to be sure we do justice to you. You got your second contingent, 20 or 25, into the boat. They got in before you did?
- Yes.

10024. Now, were any directions given about your getting into the boat?
- Yes, I was ordered to get into the boat.

10025. Please, tell us about it?
- After I saw my people in, the Officer who had charge of the lowering away of that boat.

10026. That was Mr. Murdoch, was it not?
- Yes, Mr. Murdoch. It was rather dark on the deck. He said, "What are you?" I said, "One of the crew. I have just brought these people up." He said, "Go ahead; get into the boat with them."

10027. And that is how you came to get in?
- Yes.

10028. Let us take your estimate - 13 or 14 of the crew out of some 70?
- Yes.

10029. That will leave us something like 55 others?
- Yes, or 57.

10030. You have told us of that 55 or 56, some 25 were your contingent, your women and children that you brought up?
- Yes.

10031. That is 25 out of the 55; that leaves about another 30?
- Yes.

10032. And you have told us that, besides, there were taken in from the a deck five women, three children, and a man with a baby?
- Yes.

10033. That knocks off 10 more?
- Yes.

10034. That leaves 15 more people. Now, can you give us any idea whether those 15 remaining people were men, women, or children, or what?
- Yes.

10035. Will you tell us?
- There were about three male passengers and the rest were women.

10036. (The Commissioner.) Do the three that you talk about include the man who came on board with a baby in his arms?
- No.

10037. Then there were four men?
- There were four men.

10038. Four men and 13 or 14 of the crew?
- Yes.

10039. Then out of the whole boatload of 70 there were about 18 men?
- Yes.

10040. (The Solicitor-General.) And it follows that if that is right there would be about 50 women and children?
- Yes.

10041. Your people that you were responsible for were third class people?
- Yes.

10042. Can you tell us about the people that were taken in from the a deck, the five women and three children and the man with the baby; do you know at all what class they belonged to?
- Yes.

10043. What were they?
- They were also third class.

10044. And those people who were on the boat before your contingent got into it, what class did they belong to as far as you know?
- I should imagine they were either first class or second.

10045. Then it comes to this, that as far as you can tell us, it was either first or second class people who were in that boat before you got there. Then your people got in and some more people got in from A deck, and those people you think were third class people?
- Yes.

10046. When you left the third class part of the ship the second time, the last time, were there any more third class passengers down there?
- Yes, there were some that would not come to the deck.

10047. They would not come?
- They would not leave their apartments.

10048. Of course by that time you at any rate had realised that this was a very serious accident?
- Yes, but they would not be convinced.

10049. Did you do your best to convince them?
- Everybody did their best.

10050. Did you hear other people trying to persuade them?
- Yes.

10051. On this second journey of yours, the last journey, did you see other stewards or not engaged in getting people?
- Yes, I met several on the deck directing them the way to the boat deck. There was one man at the foot of the companion leading from the sleeping accommodation to the after-well deck; there was one man at the end of the companion leading from the well deck to the E deck, and there were others along the saloon and second cabin deck showing them the way to the boat deck. So that there was no difficulty for anybody who wanted to get to the boats to find their way there.

10052. There is a third class interpreter, is there not?
- Yes.

10053. Did you see him about?
- Yes.

10054. Some of your third class passengers are foreigners?
- Yes.

10055. What was he doing?
- He was trying to keep some of the foreigners quiet.

10056. We have been told that there is an emergency door that can be opened and will let people from the third class into the alleyway, so that they could use the second class companion?
- Yes.

10057. You did not go by that route, I know?
- No.

10058. Did you see whether or not that door was open?
- Yes, I could see the door was open.

10059. Could you see whether it was being used as a means of getting from the third to the second?
- The people that were coming from the forward part of the ship were making right for the after-well deck of the third class, and one was following in the others' train.

10060. And would they pass through that door?
- No, they would have to pass that door but not through it.

10061. What I wanted you to tell me was, whether that door which you say was open in order that people could get through, was used at all?
- I cannot tell you that; I saw nobody use it.

10062. When this boat No. 15 left the boat deck with your 25 women and children in it and then you following in as Mr. Murdoch told you, were there any other women and children on the boat deck there?
- Yes, there were some first-cabin passengers.

10063. Women?
- Women with their husbands, I take it.

10064. This was the last boat to leave, at any rate, on the starboard side?
- Yes.

10065. Were there men there?
- Yes.

10066. A number of them?
- A number of them.

10067. What was the discipline? What was the order then?
- Absolute quietness.

10068. On the boat deck?
- Yes.

10069. And when this last boat No. 15 got to the a deck and took in these five women and three children and the man, were there any other people on the a deck?
- Yes, there were some men.

10070. Men?
- Yes.

10071. Do you mean that there were only men left on the a deck?
- Yes.

10072. When the boat got to the a deck did you hear any orders given or any cry raised to see whether there were women and children?
- Yes, there had been repeated cries before that boat was lowered, for the women and children.

10073. And were they looked for when it reached the a deck?
- Well, there were stewards all round the ship. I take it that there were.

10074. I understand you to say that so far as you know there were no other women and children on the a deck?
- No. I saw none.

10075. As a matter of fact, was there any room in your boat when it left A deck, or was it full?
- Had there been any more women or children I take it they would have made room.

The Commissioner:
There were some women.

The Solicitor-General:
Not on the a deck.

The Commissioner:
No, on the boat deck.

The Solicitor-General:
His point is that those on the boat deck would not go.

The Witness:
Had there been any more I have no doubt a place would have been found for them, even if they had to lie on others.

10076. Lord Mersey has just pointed out that you told us, on the boat deck where the boat left there were some women and their husbands. How was it they did not get into the boats?
- Because the cry was for the women and children, and the boat at that time was practically full of women and children, and these women would not leave their husbands.

10077. That is what I wanted, that was the impression you got, was it?
- Yes.

10078. Did you hear any of them say so on the boat deck?
- Yes.

10079. You did?
- Yes.

10080. You have told us that you were one of a number of some 60 third class stewards?
- Yes.

10081. Can you tell me how many third class stewards were saved?
- Yes, I believe 11 or 12.

10082. Out of 60?
- Yes.

10083. And you have told me that you had about 55 or 60 people to look after in the third class cabins that were your duty?
- Yes.

10084. Can you tell me of those how many were saved?
- I would not vouch for those that got away in other boats outside of the one that I was in myself.

10085. Do you know how many of your own lot of people you were able to save?
- I would not like to say "able to save," but I saw in the same boat as myself those that I took to the boat - in the boat I got away in, No. 15.

10086. And the others?
- They were not all mine.

10087. (The Commissioner.) They did not all come out of your section of the afterpart; some belonged to other stewards?
- Yes, other sections.

10088. (The Solicitor-General.) I thought you might have been able to see them afterwards on the "Carpathia"?
- Yes, I saw a lot of them.

10089. I thought that you could tell us probably how many people that were under your charge were saved?
- I see what you mean. I should like to give you some idea. I saw about 20.

10090. Whom you recognise as being in the cabins you had?
- Whom I recognised as being in my rooms.

10091. (The Commissioner.) That is 20 out of 58?
- Yes.

10092. (The Solicitor-General.) The others came from other sections. I am told I may have made a mistake, and we ought to get it right. It is the first class companion up which you came. I said it was the one near the barber's shop. Is that right or not?
- To tell you the truth, I did not know where the barber's shop was.

10093. Is it the main companion?
- The main companion.

10094. The big one?
- Yes.

The Solicitor-General:
That identifies it. I see it is close to the purser's office.

The Commissioner:
The companion forward of the boiler casing?

The Solicitor-General:
Yes, My Lord, that is my meaning; it is the big one.

The Commissioner:
And it would bring him up opposite No. 8 boat?

10095. (The Solicitor-General.) That is it. And, putting it another way, it would bring him up between the first and second funnels of the ship. (To the witness.) That is the one, Mr. Hart, is it not?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

10096. At first, I take it, you were trying to assure the passengers under your charge that they were in safety?
- Yes.

10097. When you realised that the position was very serious, what did you say to those people?
- I told the people to lose no time in getting to the boat deck.

10098. Did you tell them the ship was sinking?
- No, I did not know the ship was sinking.

10099. Even amongst the 49 women and children for whom you were responsible, did some of those go back to their quarters?
- Yes.

10100. And refused to go?
- Yes.

10101. When those people refused to go, did you again go back to them and tell them that those in charge knew that the ship was in a very dangerous condition?
- Yes; they were informed the second time I went back.

10102. You made it perfectly clear to them?
- Everything was clear.

10103. At the time you were leaving in No. 15 boat, were there rockets being sent up?
- Yes; rockets had been fired some time previous to that.

10104. You saw that yourself?
- I saw the rockets fired; yes.

10105. Have you had boat drill during your experience as a steward?
- Yes.

10106. On a number of ships?
- Yes.

10107. You handled an oar yourself, did you in No. 15?
- Yes.

10108. And you are quite accustomed to the handling of an oar?
- I believe so.

10109. Have you had practice, some training, in handling lifeboats?
- Well, I have had the usual boat drill on board ship, but previous to that I have had some exercise at rowing a boat.

10110. Is it the usual practice in ships you have been on to have boat drill?
- Yes.

10111. What companies have you been with?
- The American Line.

10112. And what else?
- Only that.

10113. How often do they have boat drill there?
- As a Rule, one each way, out and home.

10114. Do you call that a boat drill or a boat muster?
- Fire and boat muster.

10115. Do the stewards and the firemen as well as the a.B.'s and other deckhands take part in that boat muster?
- Yes. They have to attend this boat muster, failing which, they are logged for non-attendance - fined.

10116. You had not a boat muster on the "Titanic"?
- No.

Examined by Mr. ROCHE.

10117. You have told us that when you got the order to muster the women and children it was about half-past 12, you think?
- Somewhere about that.

10118. Now I want you to give us your best estimate of the time when you left the ship - when the boat was lowered from the ship?
- When boat No. 15 was lowered?

10119. Yes; it was the last boat, was it not?
- Yes.

10120. What is your idea about the time then?
- I should say about a quarter after one.

10121. You had been going between half-past 12 and a quarter-past one two or three times backwards and forwards from the deck to your quarters at k that you had charge of?
- Yes.

10122. To do that you passed "Engine Room Casing"?
- I could not tell you anything about the engine room casing.

10123. You pass along E deck, do you not?
- No, I did not go along E deck.

10124. What deck were you on?
- I was on E deck, but I went right aft.

10125. You never went as far as the engine room?
- No.

10126. Was the electric light going all the time?
- Yes.

10127. But what the engines were doing you do not know?
- No; the light was burning brightly.

10128. But what the main engines were doing, you did not know?
- I cannot vouch for what they were doing.

10129. Did you ever see any of the engineers on the boat deck?
- No; I would not know them, perhaps, if I saw them.

10130. You would not know them at all?
- No.

10131. How many Officers did you see on the boat deck? You saw Mr. Murdoch?
- I saw Mr. Murdoch on two occasions, the only two occasions on which I went to the boat deck.

10132. You never were on any deck below No. E deck at that time?
- Yes, the third class dining room is below E deck; our own quarters are below it.

10133. The watertight bulkheads are there and extend up to E deck, I understand?
- Yes.

10134. They extend up as high as E deck. When you passed along to go to the third class dining saloon, was the watertight bulkhead in the way there, open or shut?
- Open.

10135. It is F deck you are talking about?
- It is the deck below E deck.

10136. It is f you are speaking of?
- Yes; that is where the dining room is situated, and where I was sleeping.

Mr. Roche:
When did you go there that night?

The Commissioner:
What is it you are putting to him?

Mr. Roche:
I am putting to him whether he was on a deck below E deck.

The Commissioner:
Yes, and he says he was.

10137. (Mr. Roche.) When was that? You slept there. Your own berth was there?
- Yes.

10138. You were there in your berth at the time of the collision?
- Yes.

10139. You went up from there to E deck?
- Yes.

10140. Pretty soon?
- Yes, pretty soon, when I realised the ship's condition.

10141. When you went along to get up you passed the position where the watertight bulkheads were?
- Yes.

10142. Were they open or shut?
- Open.

10143. Did you go down on to that deck again at any time?
- No.

10144. You cannot tell us at all whether those watertight bulkheads were open or shut?
- No, I cannot tell you.

10145. How long after the collision was it that you went up? Five minutes, ten minutes, or only a few minutes?
- Well, after the collision, on being aroused first by a man coming from forward, a steward, he said there had been an accident, and I closed my eyes and went to sleep again; I did not believe it.

10146. How long for, do you suppose?
- Oh, I should imagine somewhere about 15 or 20 minutes.

10147. And when you left 15 or 20 minutes or longer than that, after the contact with the berg, the watertight bulkheads were open?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. HARBINSON.

10148. Did I rightly understand you to say that very shortly after the impact Kieran told you to go down to your people and rouse them up?
- Yes.

10149. Did I rightly understand you also to say that you went round the whole of the two sections allotted to you?
- Yes.

10150. Did you go to each of these cabins and arouse the occupants of each compartment?
- Yes, those that were not already aroused.

10151. Those that were not already up or had not gone to bed. Now, I should like to know what are the means employed to prevent the third class passengers during the voyage from straying into the first and second class decks and quarters of the ship. First, are there collapsible gates?
- Yes, gates that can be removed. Dividing the third class deck there is a companion; dividing the second class deck and the first class deck there is a barrier.

10152. Are those kept fastened during the course of a voyage - the barrier and the companion?
- No.

10153. Are they open?
- Well, the barrier that lifts over and the gate that fixes in, you can just take it out with your hand; it is never locked.

10154. Do I understand you to say that those gates are not locked at any time and the barrier is not fastened?
- Not to my knowledge.

10155. So that at any time a third class passenger, by pushing the gate or by raising the barrier, can go to the second class deck or to the first class deck. Is that right?
- That is correct. That is, of course, if there is nobody there on watch. There usually is a quartermaster standing by there or a seaman.

10156. Have you ever seen those gates locked?
- No, I was not long enough on the ship to see them locked.

10157. I mean, any other ship. What ship were you on before you came on to this ship?
- I have been in the whole four of the American Line boats.

10158. On any of the previous boats have you seen those barriers or gates locked to prevent the third class passengers straying on to the first or second class decks?
- You see, the ships are built differently. The American Line boats are built entirely differently from the "Titanic."

10159. I want to make it quite clear. Is it the usual practice on trans-Atlantic passenger steamers to keep the gates locked and the barriers fixed so that they cannot be opened by third class passengers?
- I do not know of it.

10160. Have you seen it?
- I have not seen it.

10161. How many days had you been on the "Titanic" before the accident took place? What day did you join?
- The ship left on the 10th, on the wednesday; I joined the ship on the Friday before the wednesday.

10162. You had been on board a number of days then, and during the time that you had been on board had you looked whether or not those gates were locked or the barriers fixed?
- No.

10163. You had not looked?
- No.

10164. Do I rightly understand you to say that you do not know whether they were locked or not? Is that the effect of your evidence?
- No; I fail to understand you.

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