British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 15

Testimony of Samuel Hemming

Examined by Mr. RAYMOND ASQUITH.

17702. You were a lamp-trimmer on the "Titanic," I think?
- Yes.

17703. Do you remember the evening of Sunday, the 14th?
- Yes.

17704. Do you remember reporting to Mr. Murdoch, the first Officer, that all the lights had been placed?
- Yes.

17705. About what time was that?
- I think about a quarter-past 7.

17706. Do you remember what he said to you when you reported that?
- Yes.

17707. What did he say?
- I was walking off the bridge, and he called me back, and he said: "Hemming, when you go forward get the fore -scuttle hatch closed, there is a glow left from that, as we are in the vicinity of ice, and I want everything dark before the bridge."

17708. Where is the fore -scuttle hatch?
- On the forecastle head.

17709. Did you carry out those orders?
- I closed it myself.

17710. When the ship struck, I think you were asleep?
- Yes.

17711. Were you wakened by the jar?
- Yes.

17712. What did you do?
- I came out of the room, put my head out of the port to see what we struck, and could not see anything.

17713. Did you hear a noise?
- I heard a hissing noise.

17714. Did you go and try to find out what that was?
- I did.

17715. Where did you go?
- Right forward under the forecastle head.

17716. Will you describe what you did and where you went?
- I went there and could not see anything, so me and the storekeeper took the hatch off the storeroom and went down to see if she was making water and she was dry. We went down as far as the tank top.

17717. Do you mean a storeroom in the fore part of the ship?
- Yes, right forward, in the very fore part.

17718. Would that be the storeroom above the four-feet tank?
- Yes, directly above it.

17719. When you got down to the storeroom what did you find?
- Nothing; everything was dry.

17720. You could not find any sign of damage?
- No.

The Commissioner:
Just tell me where it is.

Mr. Raymond Asquith:
I will point out what I think he means. Your Lordship sees this tank in the blue (Pointing on the cartoon.) I think he means the place just above that, Marked "Store."

The Commissioner:
Very well, that is sufficient; I see where it is now.

17721. (Mr. Raymond asquith - To the witness.) Was the store -room you went to immediately forward of the chain-locker?
- Yes. That is the place where you pointed out just now.

17722. You told us you did not see any sign of damage?
- No.

17723. Did you still hear the hissing noise?
- Yes.

17724. What did you do then?
- I came up to ascertain where the noise was coming from, and I went on the forecastle head again, and I found it was coming from an exhaust pipe in the four-feet tank.

17725. Was that a pipe which came out on the top of the forecastle?
- Underneath the forecastle head.

17726. (The Commissioner.) What purpose does it serve?
- It is the air exhaust for the water going into the tank.

17727. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Was that a pipe which connected with the four-feet tank?
- Yes.

NOTE: The above question references "four-feet tank" which is undoubtedly referring to the forepeak tank.

17728. Do you know whether the four-feet tank had water in it when you started on the voyage or not?
- I could not say.

17729. At any rate, you found air coming out of this exhaust pipe?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
That indicates that water was coming into the tank.

17730. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Yes, My Lord, that is the effect of it. (To the witness.) Was the air coming out with considerable force?
- It was.

The Commissioner:
That would indicate, would it not, that the vessel had been injured in the fore part forward of the collision bulkhead?

17731. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) Yes, that is the importance of this Witness. We have never got the wound so far forward before. (To the witness.) Did you see the Chief Officer shortly after that?
- Yes.

17732. What did you say to him?
- He asked me what it was. I said: "It is the air coming out of the four-feet tank. She must be making water there."

17733. Nothing more?
- He said: "All right." I said; "The store rooms are dry though." He said; "All right," and went away.

17734. I think you saw the carpenter after that?
- The joiner.

17735. Did he tell you something about there being water in the ship?
- Yes.

17736. What did he say?
- He said she was making water in 1, 2, and 3, and the Racquet Court.

17737. What did he mean by 1, 2, and 3?
- 1, 2, and 3 holds.

17738. Shortly after that, did you see the boatswain?
- Yes.

17739. What did he say to you?
- He told us to turn out; that the ship had half-an-hour to live, from Mr. Andrews; but not to tell anyone, but to keep it to ourselves.

17740. I did not hear what you said about Mr. Andrews?
- The boatswain told us to turn out; the ship had only half-an-hour to live, from Mr. Andrews, but not to tell anyone. The boatswain heard it from Mr. Andrews, and he told us.

17741. (The Commissioner.) When was this; how long after the jar which you heard?
- About 10 minutes, I should say.

17742. (Mr. Raymond Asquith.) After this, did you go at once up on deck?
- As I was ordered to, to go to the boats.

17743. And you stood up to help with the boats?
- Yes.

17744. Which side of the ship were you?
- The port side.

17745. When you were told by the joiner there was water in 1, 2, and 3 holds, what did you understand by that?
- That she was making water there.

17746. Yes, but by 1, 2, and 3 holds?
- The cargo holds.

17747. Did you understand hatches by holds?
- Yes.

17748. Three hatches?
- Yes.

17749. You told us you went up on deck and helped with the boats. Did Mr. Lightoller ask you to get some lamps?
- No.

17750. Did someone tell you to go and get the lamps?
- I had a message from the Captain.

17751. Did you go and get some lamps?
- Yes.

17752. You knew where they were because you were the lamp-trimmer?
- Yes.

17753. Did you put some lamps in some of the boats?
- Yes.

17754. How many boats did you put lamps in?
- I could not say. All those boats were on the davits.

17755. All the ones which had not been lowered?
- Yes.

17756. Were oil and wicks in the lamps?
- Yes.

17757. After you had done that did Mr. Lightoller give you an order about one of the collapsible boats?
- Yes.

17758. What collapsible boat was that?
- The port foremost.

17759. The port collapsible boat?
- Yes, forward.

17760. Did you help to lower that boat and fill it?
- Yes.

17761. After you had done that did you go to another collapsible boat?
- Yes.

17762. Which one was that?
- The port one at the top of the Officers' house.

17763. The port collapsible on the top of the Officers' house?
- Yes.

17764. Did you see that launched?
- No.

17765. What did you do to that boat?
- Helped to clear it away.

Mr. Raymond Asquith:
That was the one launched upside down.

The Commissioner:
It never was really launched.

Mr. Raymond Asquith:

The Commissioner:
It was washed off the deck by the water.

17766. (Mr. Raymond asquith - To the witness.) Then you went over to the starboard side and helped with the starboard collapsible?
- I did not help with the boat; I helped with the starboard falls.

17767. Shortly after that you jumped into the sea, did you not?
- Yes.

17768. And swam to another lifeboat?
- Yes.

17769. Which was No. 4, I think - and were picked up by that?
- Yes.

I think we have already heard what that boat did, so I will not ask you about that.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

17770. Can you tell us when you were told that the ship was in the vicinity of ice?
- Mr. Murdoch told me when I put the lights out that night.

17771. Can you tell us at what hour Mr. Murdoch told you that?
- About a quarter-past 7. I would not be sure on the point.

17772. Would you repeat, if you can, exactly what Mr. Murdoch said to you about ice?
- The words he said were: "Hemming, when you go forward see the fore -scuttle hatch closed, as we are in the vicinity of ice, and there is a glow coming from that, and I want everything dark before the bridge."

17773. The object of stopping the glow, I suppose, was to give the people on the bridge a better chance of seeing ahead?
- Yes.

17774. You are sure it was a quarter-past 7?
- About a quarter-past 7; I am not sure of the time.

Examined by Mr. HARBINSON.

17775. The boatswain told you that Mr. Andrews had said the ship had only half-an-hour to live?
- Yes.

17776. And to tell no one?
- Yes, to keep it to myself.

17777. Did he mean that Mr. Andrews had said the ship had only half-an-hour to live and to tell no one, or was it the boatswain himself who told you to tell no one?
- The boatswain himself told me to tell no one.

17778. He did not say whether Mr. Andrews had said to tell no one?
- No, I do not know anything about that.

Examined by Sir ROBERT FINLAY.

17779. How many lamps did you bring up?
- Fourteen.

17780. Were they all full of oil?
- All full of oil.

17781. And properly trimmed?
- All brought up alight. I lit them myself.

17782. Did you supply them yourself to a good many boats?
- Yes.

17783. You did not put those 14 yourself, as I understand it, all into the boats?
- No.

17784. But they were there for the use of the boats?
- They were there for the use of the boats.

(The Witness withdrew.)