British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 11

Testimony of Annie Robinson

Examined by Mr. RAYMOND ASQUITH.

13272. You were a First class Stewardess on the "Titanic," were you not?
- Yes.

13273. And at the time the ship struck the iceberg I think you were in bed?
- I was.

13274. Did you get up and dress?
- I did.

13275. And did you afterwards go in the direction of the mail room?
- Yes.

13276. What deck were you on?
- E deck.

13277. When you got to the top of the stairs which lead down to the mail room what did you see?
- I saw two mail-bags and a man's Gladstone bag, and on looking down the staircase I saw water within six steps of coming on to E deck.

13278. That would mean that it had gone up to the top of the mail room and into the compartment above that?
- Certainly.

13279. Are the stairs you are speaking of the ones by the side of the squash racquets Court?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
I would like to follow this. I see the mail room on the plan.

Mr. Raymond Asquith:
I think I can point it out to you, My Lord.

The Solicitor-General:
Your Lordship will see that this confirms the theory of Wheat about the water rising to the top of E deck.

Mr. Raymond Asquith:
That is the mail room; above that is the post office, and above that is the squash rackets Court. It was at the stairs there that the water was seen; the witness says that the water came to within six steps of the top of those stairs. (Pointing on the cartoon.)

13280. (The Commissioner - To the witness.) About what time was this?
- About half-an-hour after she struck.

13281. After the collision?
- After the collision about half-an-hour.

13282. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Did you see the Captain and Mr. Andrews about this time?
- The mail man passed along first and he returned with Mr. McElroy and the Captain and they went in the direction of the mail room, but that was before.

13283. It was seeing the Captain and Mr. Andrews going to the mail room that made you go there?
- I followed after they had come back.

The Commissioner:
Are we to understand that at this time the mail room was covered with water?

13284. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Yes, and not only the mail room but the storey immediately above it, too. (To the witness.) When you saw the water there I suppose you realised that things were rather serious?
- I did.

13285. Did you go and look after your ladies?
- I did.

13286. How many ladies were under your charge?
- Seven ladies and one maid and a governess.

13287. Did you see other stewardesses doing the same thing, looking after their passengers?
- The stewardess on my deck was doing exactly the same thing.

13288. Did you then go upstairs on to A deck?
- I had to call a stewardess I had met on the boat on A deck.

13289. Were you told by a steward there to put on your coat and lifebelt?
- Mr. Andrews told me first.

13290. Did Mr. Andrews tell you anything else?
- Yes. Mr. Andrews told me to put my lifebelt on after I had been on E deck.

13291. Did he say something to you about blankets?
- We had already got the blankets and the lifebelts out of the rooms which were unoccupied at the foot of the staircase. Mr. Andrews said to me, "put your lifebelt on and walk about and let the passengers see you." I said to him, "It looks rather mean," and he said, "No, put it on," and then after that he said to me, "Well, if you value your life put your belt on."

13292. Did you put your belt on and walk about in it?
- I did.

13293. Did he say anything to you about Mr. Ismay?
- No, Mr. Ismay's name was never mentioned in my hearing.

13294. So far as you know were all the ladies on E deck warned by the stewardesses whose business it was to look after them?
- Yes, and they were all saved, too.

13295. You told us you were responsible for seven or eight ladies; were they all saved?
- They were.

13296. Eventually you were put into boat number 11?
- Yes.

The Solicitor-General:
That is the one the last witness Wheat referred to.

13297. (Mr. Raymond Asquith - To the witness.) I will not ask you about what happened in the boat, but there is one thing I should have asked you about what happened before; did you see the carpenter?
- I did; he was the first man I saw. He came along when I was looking down at the water, and he had the lead line in his hand.

13298. Had he taken a sounding do you know?
- I could not tell you that.

13299. Did he say anything to you?
- No, the man looked absolutely bewildered, distracted. He did not speak.

13300. You think he looked alarmed?
- He certainly was.

13301. When your boat left the ship was the band still playing?
- It was.

13302. Can you remember at all what time it was when your boat left?
- Well, I looked at my watch when the ship went down and it was twenty minutes to two. That was by altered time when we were in the boat, and I do not think we were in the boat more than three-quarters of an hour.

13303. You left about three-quarters of an hour before the ship went down?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

13304. Can you state at what time it was when Mr. Andrews said to you, "if you value your life put your lifebelt on"?
- It was about half-an-hour when I saw the water on the deck, and I should say it would be about a quarter of an hour after that.

13305. About three-quarters of an hour after the collision you mean?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. COTTER.

13306. Have you ever been in a collision before?
- Yes.

13307. What ship was that? The "Lake Champlain"?
- Yes.

13308. Also an iceberg?
- Yes.

13309. So that you knew exactly what to do on this occasion?
- Yes.

13310. And you did it?
- Yes.

Examined by Sir ROBERT FINLAY.

13311. When was it you were told to put on the lifebelt? You said that it was three-quarters of an hour after something?
- I said it was three-quarters of an hour after I felt the shock of the collision.

13312. Did the people get into the boat in an orderly way?
- Yes.

13313. Did you hear the band playing?
- Yes.

13314. Was it still playing when you left the ship?
- Yes it was. It was playing when I went up to A deck to call the other stewardess, and when I left the ship it was still playing.

(The Witness withdrew.)