British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 14

Testimony of Charles H. Lightoller, recalled

Further examined by Sir ROBERT FINLAY.

16802. You have heard that a message was sent, according to the evidence, to the "Titanic," for transmission to Cape Race, from the "Amerika"?
- Yes.

16803. Which would reach the "Titanic" about 2 p.m.?
- Yes.

16804. You know the nature of that message?
- I heard it, yes.

16805. And that a message is said to have been sent from the "Mesaba" which could not reach the "Titanic" before about 10 p.m.?
- Yes.

16806. You have heard that?
- Yes, I have heard of that also.

16807. Did you ever hear of any such messages?
- Nothing whatever.

16808. What was the course of business with regard to messages which are communicated by the marconi operators to the Captain or Officers?
- It is customary for the message to be sent direct to the bridge. If addressed "The Captain," or "Captain Smith," it is delivered to Captain Smith personally, if he was in the quarters or about the bridge. If Captain Smith is not immediately get-at-able, if not in his room or on the bridge, it is then delivered to the senior Officer of the watch. Captain Smith's instructions were to open all telegrams and act on your own discretion.

16809. And are you positive that you never heard anything of either of those telegrams?
- Absolutely positive.

16810. What were you doing during the day; just recapitulate in this connection what you were doing. In the afternoon, about 2 o'clock, where would you be?
- I was below.

16811. When did you come up?
- At 6 o'clock.

16812. And from 6?
- From 6 till 10, with the exception of half-an-hour for dinner.

16813. You were on the bridge?
- I was.

16814. And nothing was said by anyone about such telegrams?
- There was no telegram received by me nor did I hear of any telegram.

16815. Were you in communication with the Captain and with other Officers during that time?
- Between six and ten?

16816. Yes?
- I was in communication with the Chief Officer when I relieved him, and with the first Officer when I was relieved by him for dinner, and with the Commander when he was on the bridge, as well as Junior Officers.

16817. How often, and for how long, did you see the Commander on the bridge?
- He came on the bridge about five minutes to 9, and remained with me till about twenty or twenty-five past nine.

16818. A message such as that from the "Mesaba" would be one, of course, of great importance?
- I have no doubt it would have been immediately communicated to me if it referred to pack ice, as I believe it does.

The Solicitor-General:
May I ask him a question or two about it?

Examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL.

16819. How many messages about ice on the 14th have you any knowledge of?
- I have a distinct recollection of the message that the Commander brought on the bridge to me, and which I mentioned as having read while he held it in his hands.

16820. You told us that was about a quarter to one?
- Yes.

The Solicitor-General:
I will give your Lordship the reference, if I may. That will be found in this Witness's evidence at page 302, Question 13466. Perhaps I may read two or three before that. Your Lordship had asked: "What time was it?" and I had said: "So far, My Lord, he has said it was between 12.30 and 1 in the middle of the day"; and then I said to Mr. Lightoller: "(13460.) Can you fix at all as between those times? - (A.) About 12.45 as near as I can remember. (Q.) Very well; about a quarter to 1? - (A.) Yes. (Mr. Laing.) I have the wording of it," and he handed to me the wording of the "Caronia" message. I read that to the witness. Then I said at Question 13463: "You had not heard anything about that before you went off your watch at 10 o'clock? - (A.) No. (Q.) Can you help us? Would 9.44 a.m. "Caronia's" time coming from New York be likely to be later than your 10 o'clock watch coming to an end? You see, you went off duty at 10? - (A.) Yes. (The Commissioner.)nlay.)nlay.) Did Captain Smith tell you when he had received the marconigram? - (A.) No, My Lord. (The Solicitor-General.) And the first you knew of it was when Captain Smith showed it to you at about a quarter to one? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) So far as your knowledge goes, is that the first information as to ice which you had heard of as being received by the "Titanic"? - (A.) That is the first I have any recollection of." That is that one.

The Commissioner:
Where is that last question?

16821. (The Solicitor-General.) The very bottom question on page 302. (To the witness.) That is the "Caronia's" message, so that we may fairly treat that as identified and brought to your notice in that way?
- Yes.

16822. Now apart from that message, were not other messages, in your belief, received to the knowledge of the Officers about ice on the 14th?
- To my belief there were perhaps some messages, but I can give no information and I cannot recollect with any degree of distinctness having seen them.

16823. I will tell you why I put the question, and I think my Lord will remember it. I put it to you for this reason. I asked you if you recollected when you were here the other day, whether Mr. Moody, when he calculated that you would reach the ice at 11 p.m., had, you thought, used the "Caronia" message, and you told me your impression was he had used another message; is not that so?
- Precisely.

16824. That is in the middle of page 304, Question 13531. You will see the answer: "I directed the sixth Officer to let me know at- what time we should reach the vicinity of the ice. The Junior Officer reported to me, "About 11 o'clock." (Q.) Do you recollect which of the Junior Officers it was? - (A.) Yes, Mr. Moody, the sixth. (Q.) That would involve his making some calculations, of course? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Had this Marconigram about the ice, with the meridians on it, been put up; was it on any notice board, or anything of the sort? - (A.) That I could not say with any degree of certainty. Most probably, in fact very probably, almost certainly, it would be placed on the notice board for that purpose in the chart room. (Q.) At any rate, when you gave Mr. Moody those directions he had the material to work on? - (A.) Exactly. (Q.) And he calculated and told you about 11 o'clock you would be near the ice? - (A.) Yes." Then the next question and answer: "That is to say an hour after your watch finished? - (A.) Yes. I might say, as a matter of fact, I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Moody did not take the same marconigram which Captain Smith had shown me on the bridge, because, on running it up just mentally, I came to the conclusion that we should be to the ice before 11 o'clock by the marconigram that I saw." Then your Lordship says: "In your opinion, when, in point of fact, would you have reached the vicinity of the ice? - (A.) I roughly figured out about half-past 9. (Q.) Then had Moody made a mistake? - (A.) I should not say a mistake, only he probably had not noticed the 49° wireless" - that is the "Caronia" one you had seen?
- Yes.

16825. "There may have been others, and he may have made his calculations from one of the other Marconigrams. (Q.) Do you know which other Marconigram he would have to work from? - (A.) No, My Lord, I have no distinct recollection of any other Marconigrams. (Q.) Because it is suggested to me that there was no Marconigram which would indicate arrival at the ice-field at 11 o'clock? - (A.) Well, My Lord, as far as my recollection carries me, Mr. Moody told me 11, and I came to that conclusion that he had probably used some other Marconigram"?
- Exactly.

16826. As a matter of fact, if one takes the marconigram, for instance, from the "Baltic," which we proved today, it would give a later time than 9.30, and it would bring you to something like 11 o'clock. Have you noticed that?
- No, I have not. I think it will be found so.

Sir Robert Finlay:
Which message?

16827. (The Solicitor-General.) I am calling his attention to the circumstances. The "Caronia" message mentioned your getting to ice as soon as you got to the 49th meridian?
- Exactly.

16828. I do not like to make a suggestion unless the Admiral thinks it is correct, but I think that is substantially so. (To the witness.) You see what I mean?
- Yes.

16829. And your impression at the time was not that- Mr. Moody had made a mistake in his calculations, but that he had used another Marconigram?
- Exactly. You will quite understand that all I am quoting is purely from memory. I am trying as much as I possibly can, of course, to assist, and it is just these mere facts as I recollect them with regard to 11 o'clock. There is nothing to identify 11 o'clock in my mind, Merely what I recollect, and also with regard to the marconigrams. I put that down as the most feasible explanation of the 11 o'clock, but I cannot say, of course, that Mr. Moody actually had seen other Marconigrams.

16830. Oh, no; you have been perfectly fair and candid about it, as far as I am concerned, if I may say so. You did not ask Mr. Moody to make the calculation again or check it?
- No.

16831. You accepted his statement that his calculation showed 11 o'clock?
- Yes.

16832. I think one also ought to put it from this point of view. Let me take these telegrams in order and see which of them would come in your watch, as far as one can judge. Your watch was from 6 to 10 a.m. and 6 to 10 p.m.?
- Exactly.

16833. You also, I think, relieved Mr. Murdoch, you told us, between half-past 12 and1, at lunchtime?
- Yes.

16834. And during your evening watch, from six to ten you were off for a certain time to dinner?
- Exactly.

16835. Now those are the times for which you are responsible. The "Caronia" message by your ship's time would get to your ship about 11 o'clock.

The Commissioner:
Ship's time?

16836. (The Solicitor-General.) Yes. (To the witness.) Or something of the sort?
- Yes.

16837. It was acknowledged at 9.44, New York time, and, adding two hours, will make it between 11 and 12?
- Yes.

16838. You would have finished your morning watch by then?
- I should.

16839. And you would be off duty?
- Yes. I may incidentally mention the fact that I should be on the bridge between a quarter to 12 and a minute or two past 12 taking the noon position; I should be there with the Commander and the Chief and First Officers.

16840. But at any rate you did not hear anything of the "Caronia" message at that time?
- Nothing.

16841. You did hear of the "Caronia" message at about a quarter to one, when you were relieving Mr. Murdoch while he had lunch?
- About that time, yes.

16842. The next message in order of time that is suggested is the "Amerika" message, which merely goes through the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

The Solicitor-General:
And that would go through apparently about 2 o'clock?

Sir Robert Finlay:
No; it ought to have been received about 2, but it could not go on till 8.30. It would be put up with other messages and transmitted after 8.30 to Cape Race.

The Solicitor-General:
You are quite right. It would be in the custody of the marconi room at some time about 2, and presumably would be kept until they got into communication with Cape Race.

Sir Robert Finlay:

16843. (The Solicitor-General.) When it arrived you were off duty. Assuming this evidence is right it would be in the marconi room at 6 o'clock when you came on duty again?
- Yes.

16844. You heard nothing of that?
- Nothing.

16845. The next one is the message from the "Baltic" which, as I pointed out just now, would give the position of the ice at about 11 p.m.?
- Yes.

16846. That message from the "Baltic" would get to your ship at about 1 o'clock?
- I think so, 1 p.m.

16847. You would be off duty?
- Yes.

16848. Do you observe that if you told Mr. Moody when you came on duty at 6 p.m. to calculate when he would meet ice, the "Baltic" message would be a later message in point of time than the "Caronia" message?
- I see.

16849. Then the "Californian" message?
- If I may interrupt you to make it a little clearer; when I gave Mr. Moody instructions (I think if I did not say it in my evidence, I ought to have done.) I used words to the effect that would guide him to look for the earliest ice, to let me know at what time we should be up at the ice. He would naturally look at the easternmost.

16850. When you gave him instructions, as far as you knew there was only one ice message?
- Yes.

16851. You did not know of two?
- No.

16852. Then if I take the "Californian" message, it appears that that message passed at about half-past 7, ship's time. That is right, Sir Robert, I think.

Sir Robert Finlay:
Yes. Of course, there is a conflict between the procès-verbal and the other Witness.

16853. (The Solicitor-General - To the witness.) You were on duty between 6 and 10?
- Yes.

16854. So that that message, if it arrived at 7.30, would arrive during your evening watch?
- Yes.

16855. But you are off duty at some time between 6 and 10, in order to get dinner?
- Yes.

16856. What is the sort of time you are off duty?
- Half-an-hour. I think that is 7.5 to 7.35, as near as I remember.

16857. And who took your place when you were off duty?
- Mr. Murdoch, the first Officer.

16858. You knew nothing of the "Californian" message at all?
- Nothing whatever.

16859. Then the last one, the "Mesaba" message, according to the evidence given, would reach your ship about 10 o'clock?
- Yes.

16860. That is when you would be changing watch, and Mr. Murdoch would be taking your place?
- Yes.

16861. (The Commissioner.) You told Mr. Moody you wanted him to ascertain the time when you would meet the most easterly of the ice. Was that so?
- That is the impression I wished to convey, whether I actually used the word easterly I do not recollect, but he would naturally conclude that, I should judge.

16862. The information in the "Caronia's" telegram would indicate that the ice there referred to was considerably to the north of the track?
- I believe so.

16863. Is it possible that Mr. Moody may have calculated the position of the ice given by the "Baltic's" telegram?
- It is possible, but it is most probable that he would pay the greatest attention to the longitude regardless of the latitude.

16864. But if he did calculate according to the "Baltic's" telegram, he would ascertain the time at which the ice would be arrived at as 11 o'clock?
- Quite so.

16865. And the "Baltic's" information was to the effect that ice was on the track?
- A little to the north.

16866. (The Solicitor-General.) If your Lordship will turn to page 366, Mr. Lowe's evidence, you will see why I think it well to put it to this gentleman. (To the witness.) Let me tell you how the matter stands. You are on duty from 6 to 10 in the evening and about half-past seven according to the "Californian" Witnesses, there was a message sent from the "Californian," of which you know nothing?
- That is right.

16867. You, as a matter of fact, were off for dinner for half-an-hour from seven to half-past?
- Yes.

16868. I am referring to the questions beginning 15778. Did you see anything at all of a piece of paper, not in an envelope - a small piece of paper - a square chit of paper about 3 by 3 with the word "ice" on it any time between 6 and 8?
- No.

16869. What would be meant by seeing a small piece of paper on the chart room table? Which room is it?
- Leading out of the wheelhouse on the afterpart of the port side.

16870. It is the thing which is marked on my plan as the chart-house then?
- Yes.

16871. Is there a table there?
- There is.

16872. And supposing there is a message about ice and it cannot be given personally to the Captain, where would such a message be put?
- It would not be put anywhere; it would be brought out on the bridge to the senior Officer of the watch.

16873. Whoever he was?
- Whoever he was.

16874. This little room, the chart-house, is immediately aft of the wheelhouse?
- On the port side, yes.

16875. You heard nothing of that?
- Nothing.

16876. And you were off for dinner for half-an-hour?
- Yes.

16877. (The Commissioner.) Why would the piece of paper with the word "ice" upon it be placed there?
- I may say I do not quite follow what you mean by the word "ice" unless you are alluding to a message written on a chit of paper.

16878. This is the evidence. He is asked on page 366, Question 15779: "You were on duty from 6 to 8? - (A.) I was. (Q.) Did you hear anything about any messages about ice? - (A.) There was a chit on the chart room table with the word 'ice' on" - meaning "ice" on the piece of paper.

The Solicitor-General:
Will your Lordship read the next two or three questions.

16879. (The Commissioner.) Yes. "You mean a little piece of paper with 'ice' written on it? - (A.) A square chit of paper about 3 by 3. (Q.) On the chart room table? - (A.) On our chart room table. (Q.) What is that, 'Our chart room table'? - (A.) The Officers' chart room table, and the word 'ice' was written on top and then a position underneath. (Q.) Can you remember what the position was? - (A.) I cannot." What is this chart room table?
- It consists of the top of a chest of drawers. In those drawers are all the charts, necessarily big drawers, to contain the charts fully laid out, and also drawers for navigational books, instruction books, and so on.

16880. Would that chit of paper be placed there by somebody with the position marked upon it so that a chart might be consulted for the purpose of finding out where that ice was?
- A track chart is always lying on that chart room table. I quite understand what a chit of paper is. There are little pads, position pads, and deviation pads, and it is customary to tear off one of these chits and write on the back; and it would have been left on the chart room table, lying on the top of the chart.

16881. (The Solicitor-General.) Were you in Court here this morning when Mr. Bride gave evidence?
- I was.

16882. Did you hear him say that the message heard from the "Californian" he wrote down on a bit of paper, but he did not put it in an envelope?
- Yes.

16883. And if the message from the "Californian" came at half-past 7, then it would be on that watch of Mr. Lowe's that he is referring to here, 6 to 8?
- Yes.

16884. (The Commissioner.) You knew nothing of that. Are these messages which come from the marconi room written on chits of paper?
- No, My Lord.

16885. They are on forms?
- On proper telegraph forms. My explanation of that chit of paper would be that an Officer has copied from some wireless telegram; he has noticed that there has been an ice -position on, and he has just scribbled down on a piece of paper "ice," and the position, and then has probably gone to the chart room, found the position, and marked it on the chart, and left the paper there, instead of crumpling it up and throwing it away; but I do not think that chit was of any importance, and I do not think it came from the marconi room - except, I mean, as a copy of the wireless.

16886. (The Solicitor-General.) Do not say it is not of importance. When you say it had a position, you mean it stated probably the latitude and longitude?
- Yes.

Do you know what Mr. Lowe says he did about it. Just look at page 370. There is a question asked by Sir Robert Finlay: "(Q. 15984.) You saw this chit, the note about the ice on the table? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Did you work it out? - (A.) I worked it out roughly. (Q.) You were on watch 6 to 8? - (A.) Yes. I ran this position through my mind, and worked it out mentally and found that the ship would not be within the ice region during my watch, that is from 6 to 8. (Q.) You do not recollect what the figures were? - (A.) I do not. (Q.) But that was the result you arrived at? - (A.) That was the result I arrived at."

Sir Robert Finlay:
May I ask one question on that?

Examined by Sir ROBERT FINLAY.

16887. You have been asked about the instructions you gave as to working out the time when you would get to the ice?
- Yes.

16888. About what time was it you gave those instructions?
- Soon after I came on deck. That is, soon after 6 o'clock.

16889. And when did you get the report?
- It was some time later, because they were working stars; probably shortly before 7 o'clock.

16890. That, of course, was long before any "Mesaba" message could, by any possibility, have reached the "Titanic"?
- Yes, I believe so.

16891. You have heard the "Mesaba" message, of course?
- Yes.

16892. Is that a message which, if the Captain or any Officer had got, he could have failed to communicate to his colleagues?
- I think had that message been delivered, even to the Captain, he would immediately have brought the message out personally to the bridge; he would not even have sent it out, and he would have seen it was communicated to all the senior Officers, as well as distinctly marked on the chart. It was of the utmost importance.

16893. And of a somewhat startling character?
- Extremely so.

16894. The Captain, I think you said, had been on the bridge at 9.30?
- From 5 minutes to 9 till 20 or 25 minutes past.

16895. (The Commissioner.) Will you tell me what messages, to begin with, about ice you saw on the 14th?
- The one that the Commander brought on to the bridge in his own hands to me shortly after midday.

16896. Is that the "Caronia"?
- I believe that is the "Caronia's" message.

16897. Now, did you see any other message about ice?
- I cannot give any distinct recollection of having seen any other. You will quite understand we are in and out of the chart room, and I may have seen notices on the board. If they were there I should read them.

16898. I am talking about messages from the marconi room. Would they be pinned up on a board?
- Yes.

16899. You do not remember seeing any other than the "Caronia's"?
- That is what I am explaining. If they were pinned up on this board and I was in the chart room - which we are frequently - I should notice them, Make a mental note of the position of the ice, take the most easterly position, and then disregard the rest.

16900. That is to enable you to ascertain how soon you may expect to reach the ice?
- Exactly.

16901. Can you tell me what other ice message besides the "Caronia's" you heard of?
- I heard of none that I remember.

16902. Did you hear any conversation about any other ice message?
- None.

16903. You did not hear anything about the "Californian's" ice message?
- Of no message except that one I spoke of from 49 deg., to 51 deg.

16904. I daresay you have in your mind the messages which have been referred to?
- Yes.

16905. The ice mentioned in the "Caronia's" message was the easternmost ice of all, was it not?
- I believe so.

16906. Now, it is suggested that as you would want to know the most easterly ice you may have disregarded the other messages which indicated ice further west, and may only have bent your mind upon the most easterly ice. Do you think that is so?
- Exactly, My Lord, with this reservation that had there been any mention of pack ice there is no doubt I should have fixed that telegram in my mind.

(The Witness withdrew.)