British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 14

Testimony of George E. Turnbull, recalled

Further examined by Sir ROBERT FINLAY.

16287. Now with regard to the "Mesaba," can you give us the ship's time when that message, 7.50 New York time, would reach the "Titanic" in the ordinary course?

The Commissioner:
Now we are on the "Mesaba."

16288. (Sir Robert Finlay.) Yes, My Lord. (To the witness.) It would be about 10 o'clock would it not, ship's time?
- I should say so, about 10 o'clock.

16289. About 10 o'clock?
- Yes; I have not made all those calculations.

16290. Not exact. I am told it is somewhere about that?
- Yes.

Sir Robert Finlay:
Your Lordship will remember there is one change of watch at 10 o'clock.

The Commissioner:

16291. (Sir Robert Finlay.) Now, have you got here, or can you get for us, the messages which passed - have you got from Cape Race the messages which passed between the "Titanic" and Cape Race between 8.30, say when the "Titanic" got into touch with Cape Race, and the time the collision took place?
- I have called for all those messages and they are on their way to England, but they have not arrived yet.

16292. When will they arrive?
- I expect them in three or four days.

16293. We are speaking of ship's time, you understand. I mean all the messages that passed between the "Titanic" and Cape Race by your apparatus between 8.30 ship's time when the "Titanic" got into communication with Cape Race, and the happening of the collision?
- Yes, I have asked for the whole lot.

16294. We want them all, if you please.
- Yes, I have asked for them all.

16295. Have you ascertained whether there were many?
- I do not know exactly how many there were. I have only ascertained from ships that heard the "Titanic" speak to Cape Race that there was a great deal of traffic.

The Commissioner:
You do not speak loud enough for me to hear you at all well.

Sir Robert Finlay:
He said he had only ascertained from ships that overheard what was passing, that there was a great deal of traffic between the "Titanic" and Cape Race.

The Commissioner:
Very well.

16296. (Sir Robert Finlay.) That is between the hours I have mentioned?
- Yes.

16297. Would those be trade messages or private messages, or both?
- They would be service messages and private messages. One of them will be the message that the "Amerika" sent, which is a service message.

16298. (The Solicitor-General.) You call it a service message?
- Yes.

16299. (Sir Robert Finlay.) That, of course, could not be sent on to Cape Race until after 8.30 p.m., when the "Titanic" had got in touch with Cape Race - the "Amerika" message?
- No, that would not be sent until she got in touch.

16300. It could not be sent?
- No.

16301. Your Company is paid for all these trade and private messages, I suppose?
- Yes.

16302. And the operator was properly attending to them?
- Yes.

16303. And as soon as he got in touch with Cape Race he was continuously engaged, according to what I read just now in communication with Cape Race?
- Yes.

16304. On those trade and private messages?
- Yes.

16305. Which, of course, are paid for?
- Yes.

16306. Now, you have not got the reply that is said to have been received from the "Titanic"; I mean you have only got a note by Mr. Adams?
- Yes.

16307. Mr. Adams, I suppose, we can see afterwards?
- Oh, yes.

16308. He is available as a Witness?
- Well, he is on the "Mesaba" now.

The Attorney-General:
We will take steps. I have said already - I do not know whether you caught it - after the point was made and explained by my friend, the Solicitor-General, that we would take immediate steps to get Mr. Adams here as soon as he returns. He is on the voyage.

16309. (Sir Robert Finlay.) Very good. (To the witness.) In some cases I see your roll of documents shows the terms of the reply received. For instance, take the "La Touraine" message?
- Yes.

16310. There is the reply of Captain Smith: "Thanks for your message and information. My position 7 p.m.," - so-and-so. "Had fine weather. Compliments.
- Smith"?
- Yes.

16311. You have not got any reply of that kind from the operator on board the "Titanic" with regard to this "Mesaba" message?
- No, we would simply send "O.K.R.D.," which means, Had he got the message?

16312. What does "R.D." mean?
- It is short for "Received."

16313. The note Mr. Adams has made is "Received, thanks"?
- Yes, he would send "R.D.T.K.S.," which is the usual abbreviation for "Received, thanks."

16314. That would be a message simply from the operator?
- Yes, simply his acknowledgment.

16315. One other quest ion with regard to the "Titanic's" communications with Cape Race: Was the "Titanic" likely to be receiving a number of messages from other ships for transmission to Cape Race?
- That is quite possible.

16316. Is it probable?
- It is also probable.

16317. The "Titanic" by 8.30 p.m. ship's time would be in communication with Cape Race?
- Yes.

16318. And there would be a great many other ships not in communication with Cape Race that might want to transmit?
- That is it.

16319. And they would do it through the "Titanic"?
- Yes, if the "Titanic" had the time to do it.

16320. That would keep the marconi operators on the "Titanic" pretty busy?
- Yes.

16321. (The Solicitor-General.) I handed up to your Lordship a print of the letter of 7th May. Would your Lordship kindly look at the last page - the outside page. The bottom communication on the last page is, or professes to be, a copy of a Marconi message. Now just above that your Lordship will see in the print "This sent on to M.G.V." (To the witness.) Is that a misprint?
- It is a misprint.

16322. It ought, I understand, to be "M.G.Y."?
- That is so.

The Solicitor-General:
That is where the mistake came from, My Lord; it is a mistake in printing, and your Lordship might turn the "V." into a "Y." (To the witness.) You have told us that "M.G.Y." means the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

Sir Robert Finlay:
I daresay the Board of Trade will let us have copies of all these documents.

The Attorney-General:

Sir Robert Finlay:
And the procès-verbal , of course.

The Attorney-General:
Whatever we have I shall not part with those yet; perhaps Mr. Bride may want them. That is all your Lordship wants to put to this Witness at present.

The Commissioner:
There are no other questions I want to put to him.

The Attorney-General:
We shall recall Mr. Turnbull later, to go into some other matters.

(The Witness withdrew.)