British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 14

Testimony of Harold S. Bride, cont.

16459. Do you remember about what time?
- Just before I turned in.

16460. What time would that be?
- Between half-past 8 and 9 o'clock.

16461. Who established that communication?
- Mr. Phillips.

16462. When did you relieve Mr. Phillips?
- I was due to relieve him at 12 o'clock.

16463. At 12 o'clock that night?
- Yes.

16464 Why was that?
- He had had a very busy night the night before.

16465. If I understood aright, what you said to my Lord at the beginning your duty would be from 2 o'clock in the morning to 8 o'clock in the morning?
- Yes.

16466. But on this particular occasion you relieved him at 12 at night?
- At 12.

16467. (The Commissioner.) You came on duty then or intended to come on duty two hours before your ordinary time?
- Yes.

16468. (The Attorney-General.) That was, as I understand from what you said just now, because he had had a very busy time; was that it?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
You said, Mr. Attorney, that he knew that Phillips had got into communication with Cape Race. I want to know how he knew that.

16469. (The Attorney-General - To the witness.) How did you know that Phillips had got into communication with Cape Race?
- I heard him sending the preliminaries as I was turning in.

16470. What do you call the "preliminaries"?
- He was sending to Cape Race when I turned in the time that -

16471. (The Commissioner.) Tell me what he was saying; let me hear it, and how do you know he was sending it. He did not speak it?
- I was reading what Mr. Phillips was sending, Sir, from his apparatus.

16472. I want to understand it. Phillips was sending a message by means of the machine?
- Yes.

16473. Were you looking at him while he was doing it, or looking at the machine?
- No.

16474. How do you know what it was that he was sending?
- I could hear the make and break of his key.

16475. Do you mean to say that you listened, and by that means knew what the message was?
- Yes.

16476. Why were you listening to the message?
- You know, I tell you at once, Mr. Bride, your memory is of such an extraordinarily accurate kind that I wonder whether you are really giving us - I do not mean for a moment to say you are not telling us the truth, but I doubt whether you can remember such things with accuracy; I could not, but my memory is not nearly as good as yours. Do you mean to tell me that at this distance of time or from the Sunday when you landed at New York you recall having listened to a message which did not concern you, and remember what it was?
- It was not a message which concerned you?
- The message did concern me indirectly.

16477. In what way?
- Because I had refused it in the first place when it was offered to me; I did not answer it.

16478. You have not told us that: What was that?
- It was the message of the "Californian" - the ice report of the "Californian" which he had offered to me, and which was explained a minute or two ago.

16479. I thought you were talking about Cape Race?
- We are talking about Cape Race now. I remember these things, because they constitute my work, and they are big things, as far as I am concerned. It was one of the biggest -

16480. If I were to ask you to give me particulars of all the messages that you had taken on the 13th, could you recollect them now?
- No.

The Attorney-General:
Nor has he been asked.

The Commissioner:
I asked if he could remember them.

The Witness:
I am not offering to give you particulars of the messages which were sent on the 14th.

16482. I am talking about this one particular message to Cape Race?
- I was to tell you that Mr. Phillips was transmitting the time we had on board our ship, also his distance and bearing from Cape Race, and the number of messages he had for Cape Race, which is the usual thing when establishing communication with a land station.

16483. (The Attorney-General.) See if you can tell us in your own way, without my suggesting it to you, why should you particularly remember getting into communication with Cape Race?
- It was just before I went to bed; I was not asleep, and I had nothing else to do but to lie and listen.

16484. Is it important to you to get into communication with Cape Race?
- It was that night.

16485. Had you been in communication with Cape Race before on that voyage?
- No.

16486. Is it of importance for you when you can get into communication with it that you should at once send messages?
- It is.

16487. (The Commissioner.) Do I understand that messages collect together before you get into communication with Cape Race which have to be transmitted when you get into communication with Cape Race?
- Yes, they do.

The Commissioner:
That explains it.

16488. (The Attorney-General.) One thing more your Lordship will follow. (To the witness.) Is that your first means of communication with America on your voyage?
- Yes.

16489. So that, of course, you would be anxious whatever messages you have got to send to America to get into communication with Cape Race and then transmit them?
- Yes.

16490. (The Attorney-General.) Your Lordship sees why he would remember that. (To the witness.) So that on this particular occasion you have told us now and explained to my Lord why you recollect that. Now will you tell me, when you came up at 12 o'clock and relieved Mr. Phillips did you find any telegrams still to relay to Cape Race?
- As far as I can recollect Mr. Phillips told me he had cleared all the traffic to Cape Race.

16491. He had got a considerable accumulation?
- Yes.

16492. Now, the only other thing I want you to tell me is, did he tell you - can you recollect, whether he said when it was that he had finished relaying the telegrams to Cape Race?
- He did not say.

16493. Was this conversation that you have told me of directly you came up?
- Yes.

16494. That is 12 o'clock?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
After the collision.

16495. (The Attorney-General.) I am just going to ask about that. (To the witness.) Tell us in your own way; how did you know first of all there had been a collision?
- Mr. Phillips intimated that he thought we had struck something from the fact of feeling the shock.

16496. You yourself had not felt it?
- No.

16497. Had you been asleep?
- Yes.

16498. Did you remain in the room with Mr. Phillips at 12 o'clock?
- Yes.

16499. At that time were you sending any messages?
- No.

16500. Did the Captain come in to you?
- He did shortly afterwards.

16501. Between the time of your coming up and the Captain coming in to you had you sent any messages?
- No.

16502. Or received any?
- No.

16503. Then what did the Captain say?
- The Captain told us he wanted assistance.

16504. I am not quite sure that I understand what you mean by that: assistance where?
- He gave us to understand he wanted us to call C.Q.D.

16505. That is to say that what the Captain wanted you to do was to call for assistance from other vessels?
- Yes.

16506. And you were to send out this signal C.Q.D.?
- Yes.

16507. Did you hear any conversation between Mr. Phillips and the Captain about this?
- Yes.

16508. Beyond what you have just told us that you were to call for assistance?
- The Captain gave him the latitude and longitude of the "Titanic," and told him to be quick about it or words to that effect.

16509. Then what did Mr. Phillips do?
- He started to call C.Q.D.

16510. After the Captain had come in, the first message was sent out, C.Q.D. was by Mr. Phillips; is that right?
- Yes.

16511. I do not know whether you can help us at all with regard to the time a little more than you have. You have told us you came up at 12 o'clock, and that then you heard this conversation between the Captain and Mr. Phillips. Could you give us any idea of the time - how long had elapsed after your coming up at 12 o'clock, or coming into the room with Mr. Phillips?
- Not with any accuracy.

16512. Give us the best estimate you can?
- I do not think I could.

16513. Do you remember what was the first vessel to answer your C.Q.D. call?
- The "Frankfurt."

16514. Do you remember what the "Frankfurt's" answer was?
- "O.K. Stand by."

16515. "O.K." - is that "All right"?
- Yes.

16516. What was the next?
- The "Carpathia."

16517. What was the message from the "Carpathia," so far as you can recollect it?
- She transmitted her position and told us she had turned round and was coming along as fast as she could.

16518. To your assistance?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
Did the "Frankfurt" transmit her position?
- No.

16519. (The Attorney-General.) So as far as I follow from what you have told us, the "Frankfurt's" message was "O.K. Stand by"?
- Yes.

16520. What did you understand that to mean?
- That he had got my message and would let me hear from him in a minute or so.

16521. It meant to say "All right," that he had got your message. "Stand by" - that is. "Wait and I will communicate with you later"?
- Yes.

16522. He would have to communicate with the Commanding Officer?
- Yes.

16523. You received those two messages, the one from the "Frankfurt" and the other from the "Carpathia;" what did you do then?
- I went to report to the Captain.

16524. And Mr. Phillips remained in the room?
- Yes.

16525. Did you report to the Captain?
- Yes.

16526. Where was he when you reported to him?
- He was on the boat deck, the starboard side, if I remember.

16527. What was he doing?
- He was superintending the loading of the lifeboats.

16528. Do you recollect any other message?
- Yes.

16529. What was the next you recollect?
- The next one was the "Olympic."

16530. What did you do about that?
- We received several messages from the "Olympic" from time to time, but to the best of my recollection they were not delivered because Captain Smith was busy and we presumed he would be worried, and we let them go.

16531. (The Commissioner.) What was the effect of the messages?
- They merely said - one message I remember was that the Commander of the "Olympic" told Captain Smith to have his lifeboats ready.

16532. (The Attorney-General.) We know what the "Olympic's" messages are. I wanted to get from him what was done. (To the witness.) Do you remember the Captain coming in and telling you about the vessel?
- The Captain kept in communication with us; we either went to him or he came to us.

16533. What about?
- He came in and told us at one time she would not last very long, and he informed us when the engine room was flooded.

16534. Was that before or after you had had the message from the "Carpathia;" do you recollect?
- After.

16535. If I follow you correctly, you have got the message from the 'Frankfurt," and you have got the message from the "Carpathia" that she was coming to your assistance, and then you got the message or messages from the "Olympic"?
- Yes.

16536. And other vessels?
- The messages from the "Olympic," spread over to the time when we left the cabin; from the time we first established communication, Captain Haddock was sending us communications until the time we left the cabin for good.

16537. He was communicating with you, sending you messages throughout?
- Yes.

16538. Now, I want you to tell me after that, and before you left for good, as you have told us, did you have any discussion or conversation with Mr. Phillips about the relative strength of the signals of the "Frankfurt," and the "Carpathia"?
- Yes.

16539. What did he say?
- Mr. Phillips was of the opinion that the "Frankfurt" was the nearer of the two vessels as the strength of the "Frankfurt's" signals was greater than those of the "Carpathia."

16540. Did you establish communication with the "Baltic" at all?
- Yes.

16541. Did you send her a message?
- I myself informed the "Baltic" of the condition of things.

16542. When you say the condition of things, would you tell us as well as you can to the best of your recollection - I know it is rather hard for you at this moment, but so far as you can?
- I explained to the "Baltic" that we had had a collision, and we were sinking fast.

16543. When you sent that message was Mr. Phillips there?
- No.

16544. Where had he gone?
- He had gone outside to have a look round.

16545. When he came back did you tell him?
- Yes.

16546. Did you tell him - I mean of the communication you had established with the "Baltic"?
- Yes.

16547. And the message you had sent?
- Yes.

16548. Did he tell you what he had found out?
- Yes.

16549. What did he say?
- He told me the forward well deck was awash.

16550. Did he tell you anything else?
- He told me, as far as I remember, that they were putting the women and children in the boats and clearing off.

16551. Was anything said about a list, do you remember?
- There was a heavy list to port.

16552. Did you notice that?
- Yes.

16553. (The Commissioner.) You noticed that yourself?
- Yes.

16554. (The Attorney-General.) Of course, your Lordship recollects we have got a good many of these messages, and they can be referred to at the proper time; I do not want to take him through them all, and we do not depend on memory at all for them, as your Lordship remembers. I wanted him to tell today the story so as to bring him to the point of leaving the marconi room. (To the witness.) After he came back and told you that, do you remember the Captain coming in?
- Yes.

16555. What did he tell you?
- He told us to clear out.

16556. (The Commissioner.) To clear out of the room?
- Yes.

16557. (The Attorney-General.) To clear out - why?
- It was very evident the ship was sinking.

16558. That you were to shift for yourselves - to do the best you could?
- Yes; words to that effect.

16559. Do you remember whether at that time you were called up?
- Yes; Mr. Phillips took the 'phones when the Captain had gone away and he started in to work again.

16560. That was after the Captain had come in and told you to shift for yourselves?
- Yes.

16561. When did he get to work again?
- Of course I could not read what Mr. Phillips was receiving, but I could read what he was sending, and I judged that the "Carpathia" and the "Frankfurt" had both called up together, and the "Frankfurt" had persisted in calling and was interfering with Mr. Phillips in reading the "Carpathia's" message.

The Commissioner:
The one message was blurring the other.

16562. (The Attorney-General.) I did not know whether your Lordship heard it. (To the witness.) Did Phillips say anything to you about it?
- Yes; he expressed his opinion of the "Frankfurt" and then told him to keep out of it, to stand by.

16563. He told the "Frankfurt" to keep out of it and stand by?
- Yes.

16564. Did he then communicate with the "Carpathia"?
- Yes.

16565. To the best of your recollection, what was it he said?
- To the best of my recollection he told the "Carpathia" the way we were abandoning the ship, or words to that effect.

16566. After that did you do anything further? Did you try to call any further ships?
- Mr. Phillips called once or twice more, but the power was failing us and I do not think we were getting a spark, as there were no replies.

16567. Why was that?
- The power was failing us.

16568. (The Commissioner.) Where did you get your power from?
- From the engine room.

16569. From the main engines?
- Yes.

16570. (The Attorney-General.) The power was decreasing from there, and you could not get sufficient power to generate your spark?
- That is so.

16571. Did you and Philips leave?
- Yes, we left the cabin.

16572. What did you do?
- We climbed up on top of the marconi cabin and the Officers' quarters.

16573. That was right on the boat deck?
- Yes.

16574. Do you recollect at all whether at that time there were persons on the deck?
- Yes, there were.

16575. Many? You could not tell?
- I could not tell.

16576. After you got on to the roof, what did you do?
- They were trying to fix up a collapsible boat that was up there, and I went to help them.

16577. That was on the top of the Officers' quarters?
- Yes.

16578. You went to help them?
- Yes.

16579. Did you get it down from the top deck to the boat deck?
- Yes.

16580. With all the men who were assisting?
- Yes.

16581. What happened to it then?
- It got swept off.

16582. That was the collapsible?
- Yes.

16583. When it got swept off, did it float?
- Yes.

16584. Do you remember at all whether this was on the port or starboard side?
- On the port side.

16585. It was on the port side you got the collapsible?
- It was at the side of the forward funnel on the top of the Officers' quarters.

16586. What happened to you - did you get into the collapsible?
- Yes.

16587. Was it floating all right when you got into it?
- It was upside down.

16588. Had it capsized?
- Yes.

16589. When you say you got into it, was that after the "Titanic" had sunk?
- No, it was before the "Titanic" had sunk.

16590. How did you come from off the boat deck?
- I was swept off with the boat.

16591. Was the water then rising all the time?
- Yes.

16592. And eventually you were swept off and the water was rising?
- Yes.

16593. And as the collapsible boat was swept off into the water you also were swept off; is that correct?
- Yes, we went over together.

16594. (The Commissioner.) Just let me understand exactly where that collapsible boat was; was it in front of the forward funnel?
- It was on the port side of it, right alongside of it.

The Attorney-General:
Your Lordship will recollect there are the two emergency boats on each side.

16595. (The Commissioner.) Which is the collapsible boat?

The Witness:
This one. (Pointing on the model.)

16596. Am I to understand that at this time the water was flush with that deck?
- Yes - no, it was flush was A deck; we pushed it over from that deck on to A deck.

The Attorney-General:
That is exactly what Mr. Lightoller explained.

16597. (The Commissioner - To the witness.) Then the water was flush with the boat deck?
- Yes.

16598. And swept this boat off into the sea and you with it?
- Yes.

16599. (The Attorney-General.) Let us be quite clear about it. Do you know which is the a deck?
- I have always been given to understand the boat deck was the a deck.

16600. That is what I thought was your impression. The collapsible boat you are speaking of was the one which was on the port side on the deck house. Is that right?
- On the deck house, yes.

16601. (The Attorney-General.) Your Lordship will remember there is an emergency boat, then a collapsible, then one on the top and the same on the starboard side, and that makes the four Engelhardt collapsibles. (To the witness.) That one which was on the port side you got down from the deck-house on to the boat deck, as we call it, and then the water washed it off?
- Yes.

16602. And washed you off?
- Yes. The last I saw of Mr. Phillips he was standing on the deck-house.

16603. (The Attorney-General.) My learned friend reminds me, My Lord, that this is dealt with by Mr. Lightoller, at page 318, Question 14035, and this is what he said about it: "I called for men to go up on the deck of the quarters for the collapsible boat up there. The afterend of the boat was underneath the funnel guy. I told them to swing the afterend up. There was no time to open her up and cut the lashings adrift. Hemming was the man with me there" - (we are to call Hemming.) - "and they then swung her round over the edge of the coamings to the upper deck, and let her down on to the boat deck. That is the last I saw of her for a little while." (To the witness.) You do not recollect in such detail, I understand?
- No.

16604. You told us the collapsible boat capsized. Did you get on to the collapsible boat?
- I swam away from it.

16605. Why?
- I do not know.

16606. Then what happened to you?
- I joined it again later on, three-quarters of an hour to an hour I should estimate, and I climbed on top of it.

16607. You got back again, or, at any rate, you got to the same collapsible boat you say three-quarters of an hour to an hour afterwards?
- I should estimate the time to be that.

16608. (The Commissioner.) Had you a lifebelt on?
- Yes.

(After a short adjournment.)

The Solicitor-General:
My Lord, the Attorney-General has been called away. Perhaps your Lordship will allow me to finish the witness?

The Commissioner:

16609. (The Solicitor-General - To the witness.) I think you had just got to the point when you found yourself in the water?
- Yes.

16610. Tell us what it was that happened to you?
- I swam away from the "Titanic," saw the "Titanic" go down, and climbed on top of the collapsible boat for the second time, was picked up from there by the "Titanic's" lifeboat, and taken on board the "Carpathia."

16611. I want to imitate your own brevity about it as far as I can; but did you get on to the collapsible boat at once, or were you in the water for some little time?
- I was in the water for some little time.

16612. Do you mind telling us about it?
- I was in the water, I should estimate, nearly three-quarters of an hour. It may have been more. It was some time after the "Titanic" sank.

16613. I only want you to tell us about it. I have looked up your evidence in America. Did you find yourself at the under-side of the collapsible boat?
- I was on the under-side of the boat, yes.

16614. I want you to tell us about it?
- I was on the underside of the boat. After I had been there two or three seconds I cleared myself and swam away from it.

16615. The collapsible boat is a flat kind of thing like a raft?
- Yes.

16616. You mean, you found yourself on the underside of that?
- Yes.

16617. (The Commissioner.) In the water?
- Yes.

16618. Knocking your head against the bottom of it?
- I was upside down myself. I was lying on my back.

16619. (The Solicitor-General.) You were lying on your back, and found yourself on the underside of this raft?
- Yes.

16620. Was there an air space between the underside of that and the top of the water?
- I could not find it.

16621. Then you were in the water?
- Yes.

16622. (The Commissioner.) You cannot have been very long there?
- Oh, no.

16623. You must have got out of that position?
- Yes, I did.

The Commissioner:
What is this material to?

16624. (The Solicitor-General.) It is not very material except that one likes to be satisfied we have got hold of the same gentleman who gave evidence in America. I read here: "You remained under the boat how long?" and you are recorded as giving an answer: "I should say about three-quarters of an hour or half" Is that right?
- No. Senator Smith pressed that question, and I could not give him any idea, he said: "How long did it seem"? and I said: "It seemed a life time."

16625. The next question is" "Was there a breathing space under the boat when it was turned over in that way?" and you are recorded as having answered "Yes, Sir." Did you mean, no?
- No, I do not think I said anything like that.

16626. "So that you got away from it as quickly as you could? - (A.) Yes, Sir. (Q.) Then you got out of it and got on it. At any rate, there seems to be some confusion. Now, going back a minute or two to the practice - supposing a message comes to the marconi room for the Captain, and it is heard, taken down, I suppose, by either you or Phillips. Do you see?
- Yes.

16627. Just tell us what happens; what would you do in a case like that?
- In a case like that I should take it along myself to the Captain.

16628. What is it you would take along?
- The message.

16629. Well, I suppose it is a piece of paper?
- Yes, a piece of paper. It would be enclosed in an envelope.

16630. Would it be enclosed in an envelope?
- Yes.

16631. Then there is not any ship's messenger or boy who does this; you do it yourself?
- Well, you can have one, but by the time you have rung for him to come up, and he has come up, you could have taken it yourself and be back again.

16632. (The Commissioner.) You are close to him?
- We are close to the Captain on the

16633. (The Solicitor-General.) And would it be part of the duty of you or Phillips, as the case may be, to get such messages delivered?
- Yes.

16634. If the message is addressed to the Captain, is it your duty to give it to him personally, or where do you put it, or what do you do with it?
- It is our duty to ascertain somehow or other, that the message is delivered to the Captain to give it to a responsible man - the Captain's steward - or take it ourselves.

16635. I think you told the Attorney-General that there had been a number of messages during the voyage, of different sorts, for the Captain? Is that so?
- Yes.

16636. As far as you know, were those messages delivered?
- Yes.

16637. As far as they came, when you were on duty, did you deliver them?
- I delivered them myself. I delivered several that came when Phillips was on duty.

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