British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 9

Testimony of Samuel Rule, recalled

The Commissioner:
Does any gentleman want to ask any question of this Witness?

Mr. Scanlan:
I should like to ask him one or two questions, My Lord.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

9597. In your evidence a few days ago you said that Mr. Ismay was assisting on the starboard side to get people into the boats?
- Yes.

9598. You heard an order given as to the lowering of the first boat from the starboard side, No. 1?
- Yes.

9599. Was Mr. Ismay present when that order was given?
- He was standing by No. 3.

9600. That was quite close to No. 1?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
What do you mean by "quite close to No. 1"?
- As far as Mr. Ismay was concerned, it would depend upon where he was standing.

9601. (Mr. Scanlan - To the witness.) Could you indicate where Mr. Ismay was standing on the deck at the time the order was given to No. 1?
- At the second boat. (Pointing on the model.)

9602. (The Commissioner.) Do you remember with reference to the second boat where about he was standing, was he at the stern, or at the bow, or at the middle. If you do not remember, say so?
- The last I saw of him he was pretty well at the stern, at the after fall.

9603. (Mr. Scanlan.) Will you indicate on the model where he was standing?
- Yes (The witness did so.)

9604. And where were you standing?
- I was just by the end of No. 3, between that and No. 5.

9605. (The Commissioner.) You were a boat's length away?
- Not quite.

9606. (Mr. Scanlan.) At all events he was nearer to No. 1 at the time it was being lowered than you were? -Yes.

9607. When you heard this order given as to the lowering of No. 1, do you know that it had only 5 passengers?
- No, No 1 was in the water at that time.

9608. You did not know how many were in it?
- No, No. 1 was in the water at that time.

9609. Can you now remember the Officer who was on the boat deck giving orders then?
- No.

9610. But are you sure it was an Officer?
- Well, I would not swear.

9611. Are you still satisfied that the boat in which you went away was No. 15?
- Yes.

9612. You were asked on the last occasion if a previous Witness named Cavell was in the crew of that boat with you. Have you seen him since?
- No.

The Solicitor-General:
He is here.

Mr. Scanlan:
Would it not be well, My Lord, if this Witness had an opportunity of seeing him, as there is confusion?

The Solicitor-General:
We have him back.

The Commissioner:
To identify him.

Mr. Scanlan:

The Commissioner:
Let him come in. You can go on with your questions in the meantime.

9613. (Mr. Scanlan - To the witness.) Did Mr. Ismay give any orders?
- No.

9614. He just assisted to help the passengers in?
- Yes.

9615. With regard to No. 15 had you a lamp?
- No.

9616. I suppose you looked for it?
- Yes.

9617. Had you a compass?
- Not that I am aware of.

9618. We may take it from you that the crew of No. 15 consisted of seven men?
- All in the boat together?

9619. Yes?
- There were more than that.

9620. How many seamen were in the boat?
- One.

9621. (The Commissioner.) What do you mean by a seaman? Do you mean an A.B.?
- I could not swear whether he was an A.B.

The Commissioner:
I am asking Mr. Scanlan. Do you mean A.B., because one of the witnesses said that he regarded one of the men out of the engine room as a seaman, because he said they could very often handle an oar very well.

Mr. Scanlan:
I regard the deckhands, My Lord, as seamen.

The Commissioner:
I wanted to understand in what sense you use the expression.

9622. (Mr. Scanlan - To the witness.) When you say there was a seaman in the boat with you, do you mean one of the a.B.'s?
- He was a deckhand.

9623. He would be either an A.B or an ordinary seaman?
- Yes.

9624. Besides this seaman, how many of the ship's hands were in the boat, Members of the crew?
- That I could not say.

9625. I thought you said, in giving your evidence, that when the boat was lowered from the boat deck down to A deck there were six in her?
- Yes.

9626. Six of the crew?
- Yes.

9627. And, then, do you know any other member of the crew who got into her except yourself?
- No.

9628. So that you would have had seven in her?
- Yes.

9629. Could you recognise the members of the crew who were in her?
- The only ones I can recognise were those in our department.

9630. From your department?
- Yes.

Mr. Scanlan:
I understand Cavell is here now, My Lord.

9631. (The Commissioner.) Very well; now just stand forward. (Cavell came forward in Court.) Now, Rule, look at that gentleman?
- Yes, My Lord.

The Commissioner:
Now what is your question, Mr. Scanlan?

9632. (Mr. Scanlan - To the witness.) Can you recognise Mr. Cavell here as one of the boat's crew who were in No. 15 with you?
- Yes.

9633. He was?
- Yes.

9634. Are you still satisfied on your recollection of what happened on that night that you took in on A deck 60 men, Male passengers?
- 60? That I would not swear to.

9635. How many male passengers did you take in?
- That I could not say.

9636. I thought you were very emphatic on the last occasion that all told in your boat, No. 15, you had 68 persons?
- That was the count in the morning - 65 to 68.

9637. And that you had taken in four women and three children?
- Yes, when I was there.

9638. Now if you had seven of a crew, that would leave 61 persons in the boat, and of these seven were women and children - four women and three children. At all events, you had 55 additional passengers?
- Yes.

9639. Is it still your opinion that those 55 were all male passengers?

The Commissioner:
To make your arithmetic correct it would be 54.

The Solicitor-General:
Yes, that is right.

9639a. (Mr. Scanlan.) Yes, My Lord, 54. I thank your Lordship. (To the witness.) Were these all male passengers?
- No, I made a mistake there.

The Commissioner:
I cannot hear what he says.

9640. (Mr. Scanlan.) He says, "I made a mistake there." (To the witness.) Will you explain to my Lord what mistake you did make?
- I just counted the women I helped into the boat and the children. The others I did not see.

The Commissioner:
What am I to understand now, because up to this time there has been a flat contradiction, as I understand, between this Witness and that other man?

Mr. Scanlan:
That is so, My Lord.

9641. (The Commissioner - To the witness.) Now, then, am I to understand that you think the other man was right?
- Yes.

9642. (Mr. Scanlan.) Do you mean that when you said the other day that all the others except the seven taken into that boat were men, that is all wrong?
- Yes, I made a mistake.

9643. Were they all women?
- Principally, I should say.

9644. Are you able to tell my Lord now how many men and how many women respectively you took in at A deck?
- I could not say.

The Commissioner:
Well, Mr. Scanlan, you are only making confusion worse confounded.

Mr. Scanlan:
I think, at all events, it is important to have this discrepancy cleared up.

The Commissioner:
Quite; I quite agree with you.

9645. (Mr. Scanlan.) I do not wish to leave it entirely here. (To the witness.) Did you count yourself in the morning the total number of persons you had in the boat?
- No.

The Solicitor-General:
I am sorry to interrupt, but I think it would be as well if that man Cavell went out of Court now.

The Commissioner:
Where is Mr. Cavell? He had better retire.

The Solicitor-General:
I think he had better go out.

(Cavell left the Court.)

9646. (Mr. Scanlan.) Here is what you said when you last gave evidence, in answer to the Attorney-General. I want you to listen to it. You were asked: "Can you give us any idea of how many of the 68 who went into this boat No. 15 were women and how many were men?" Your answer is: "Four or five women and three children." Then the next question is: "And all the rest men?" and you replied to that, "Yes"?
- Yes, that is all the women and children I saw in.

9647. When you stated that all the rest were men, you understood what you were being asked?
- I did not see all the men get in.

9648. But you knew that you were being asked as to the number of men, Male passengers, who were in the boat?
- Yes.

9649. Now, if you have made a mistake, can you explain how you came to the conclusion or can you tell us now how many men were in the boat and how many women?
- Well, I took it from what I could see - I was in the bows of the boat - there were most men forward. I could not see the women; the women were in the centre of the boat.

9650. The women were in the centre of the boat?
- Yes.

9651. And is it still your evidence that although you did not know the numbers of men and women, the majority of the people in the boat were men?
- Yes, as far as I could see.

9652. Is that still your evidence?
- Yes.

9653. (The Commissioner.) I do not know what you mean by "As far as I could see." I suppose these people were dressed in all sorts of garments?
- Yes.

9654. Do you mean you had some difficulty in distinguishing men from women?
- You would have at night.

9655. You got to the "Carpathia" at daylight?
- Yes, just after the break of day.

9656. It was coming daylight. Had you a difficulty then in distinguishing the men?
- Well, no.

9657. (Mr. Scanlan.) Did anyone make a count of the passengers?
- Yes.

9658. Who did?
- A man called Stewart.

9659. (The Commissioner.) Do you mean the "Carpathia's" steward?
- No, on our boat - the man in charge of the boat.

9660. (Mr. Scanlan.) The man called Jack Stewart, and he is a survivor?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. HARBINSON.

9661. Do you remember the Attorney-General asking you before it was lowered - that is No. 15 boat - to A deck, had she taken in passengers at all?
- Yes.

9662. And you answered there were no passengers. Now do you remember being asked whether any passengers were standing on A deck at this time when the boat was lowered, and you said, "Yes, there were some." Then the Attorney-General says, "Women and children? - (A.) There were four or five women and children." And then do you remember this: "Did you get those four women and three children into the boat? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Were there any more?" and did you say. "No, they sent scouts around and shouted out for any more women and children and waited quite a while, but there were no more women and children to be found?"
- Yes.

9663. Is that correct?
- That is correct.

9664. This was on A deck?
- Yes.

9665. Where did they send the scouts?
- Round a deck.

9666. How long did it take them sending those scouts round?
- About six or eight minutes.

9667. Did they send them to any other deck than A deck?
- I do not know.

9668. You do not know?
- No.

9669. There was ample time to send them to other decks?
- No, there was not.

9670. Was there any great hurry about the launching of this boat?
- The Officer, I think, was pretty anxious to get her ready because the ship was taking a list.

9671. Who was the Officer who sent the scouts around?
- I could not say his name.

9672. And it was after the scouts returned that the boat was filled with men?
- Some more men got in.

The Commissioner:
The boat was filled. Whether it was filled with men or not, we do not know.

9673. (Mr. Harbinson - To the witness.) Well, More men got in?
- Perhaps half-a-dozen.

9674. You have told my friend you do not know the exact composition of this crew, the numbers of men and women respectively?
- No.

9675. (The Commissioner.) What do you mean by half-a-dozen more men got in. Do you say that after the scouts came back only six men got in?
- About that.

9676. Then the boat was already full with the exception of those six men?
- Yes.

9677. But they had been calling out for women all the time, had not they?
- Yes.

9678. And the women had been getting in, and then they sent for more women, and then six men got in. Is that right?
- Yes.

9679. (Mr. Harbinson.) I understood you to say when the boat was lowered to A deck there were only a few women and children standing round. Listen to this: The Attorney-General asks you, "Were third class passengers standing around on A deck at this time at the place where the boat was lowered to? - (A.) Yes, there was some. (Q.) Women and children? - (A.) There were three or four women and children - four women and about three children"?
- That is when I arrived there.

9680. On A deck?
- Yes.

9681. And when the boat was lowered to A deck it was quite empty?
- Bar the crew that entered from the boat deck.

9682. Except the crew?
- Yes, six men.

9683. Then I understand that in answer to my Lord those four women and three children got in there?
- When I got in there.

The Commissioner:
No; I did not ask him anything about that. I asked him about six men who he says got in after the scouts came back, and apparently they completed the whole boatload.

9684. (Mr. Harbinson.) Perhaps I could make it slightly clearer this way, My Lord. (To the witness.) There were only four women and three children, when the boat came down, standing on A deck?
- I cannot say; I was not on A deck when the boat arrived.

The Commissioner:
If you are going to make it clear do not make a statement yourself, because you were not there, but ask him questions.

Mr. Harbinson:
Yes, My Lord, I will do so.

The Commissioner:
And elicit from him what the facts are.

9685. (Mr. Harbinson - To the witness.) Is it accurate that when the boat was lowered to A deck you saw four women and three children standing there?
- I was not at A deck when the boat arrived at A deck.

9686. You were not?
- No.

9687. When you arrived at A deck did you see four women and three children standing there?
- Yes.

9688. Were there some men standing there at the same time?
- Yes.

9689. Did those women and children get into the boat?
- Yes, I helped them in.

The Commissioner:
Do not repeat the thing over and over again. We have heard about the four women and the three children over and over again. There is no doubt that they got into the boat.

9690. (Mr. Harbinson - To the witness.) Was it at that time that scouts were sent round the deck?
- Yes.

9691. While the scouts were away did any men get into the boat?
- No.

9692. (The Commissioner.) Then after the scouts came back six men got into the boat?
- Yes.

9693. Did any more people get into the boat?
- No, My Lord.

9694. Was the boat then launched?
- The Officer said "lower away"; he was frightened of the falls.

9695. (Mr. Harbinson.) Where did you get the crew and passengers all told of 68?
- Off A deck.

9696. You do not know how many got in on A deck?
- No. They all got in on A deck bar the crew from the boat deck.

9697. All men?
- Where from?

9698. A deck?
- Yes.

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