British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 16

Testimony of Alfred Crawford, cont.

Examined by Mr. ROBERT DUNLOP.

17987. When you saw the lights of this steamer on your port side, do you know how the "Titanic" was then heading?
- I could not say what course.

17988. Not the course, but was she heading for New York or heading for Europe?
- She was heading for New York.

17989. (The Commissioner.) How do you know that?
- She seemed to be going the way we were going.

17990. That is another matter altogether. If she had swung round, you know, then she was not heading for New York?
- I cannot say whether she had swung round or not.

17991. (Mr. Dunlop.) Did you notice whether the "Titanic" had swung round?
- I did not.

17992. If the "Titanic" had swung round, do you think you would have noticed it?
- No, I do not think so.

17993. Was the vessel you saw apparently heading the same way as the "Titanic" was heading?
- It seemed to be coming this way, towards the "Titanic."

17994. Was she to the southward of you, or to the northward of you?
- I could not say.

The Commissioner:
He does not know these things; a steward does not know these things.

17995. (Mr. Dunlop.) What lights on her did you see - one masthead or two masthead lights?
- Two masthead lights.

17996. How far do you estimate they were from you when you saw them first?
- Between five and seven miles I should say, at the most.

17997. Did they appear to remain stationary, or go away, or come nearer to you?
- They seemed to be stationary.

17998. Did you see her Morse signalling at all?
- No.

17999. If she had been Morse signalling you would have noticed that, would you?
- I should think so.

18000. At what time was it you first saw her?
- Just after one, when the Captain pointed it out.

18001. And how long had you her under observation?
- Nearly all the night.

18002. What happened to her afterwards; did she come nearer to you, or did she disappear?
- I could not say. We saw the "Carpathia" coming up, and we turned round and made for that one.

18003. (The Commissioner.) Your interest in the "Californian," if it was the "Californian," ceased as soon as you saw the "Carpathia"?
- Yes, My Lord.

The Commissioner:
Very naturally.

18004. (Mr. Dunlop.) When you saw the "Carpathia," was the other vessel in sight?
- No, I did not notice her.

18005. When did you lose sight of this other vessel?
- Just as it got daylight.

18006. Was she so far away that you were not able at daylight to see the ship herself?
- We never looked for her after that.

18007. Did you lose sight of her before you saw the "Carpathia"?
- I do not remember.

18008. At what stage did you begin to lose sight of this vessel whose lights you say you had seen?
- Only when we saw the "Carpathia" coming, that is all.

The Commissioner:
Can you give me the position of the "Carpathia" at the time she received the position of the "Titanic," Mr. Attorney?

The Attorney-General:
I do not know that I can at the moment. We shall be able to tell you, but I do not think we can now.

The Commissioner:
Was she to the southward or the northward?

Sir Robert Finlay:
I think those on the "Carpathia" thought she was to the northward.

The Commissioner:
Who thought so?

Sir Robert Finlay:
A Witness from the "Carpathia."

The Attorney-General:
We have not had a Witness from the "Carpathia."

Sir Robert Finlay:
I mean the "Californian."

The Attorney-General:
My Lord's question was directed to the "Carpathia," not the position of the "Californian."

The Commissioner:
No, the "Carpathia."

The Attorney-General:
My friend, Sir Robert Finlay, understood it was with reference to the "Californian."

The Commissioner:
No; I was thinking of the questions which had been put to the witness which were questions about the "Carpathia." I want to know if anyone can tell me where the "Carpathia" was at the time she received the position of the "Titanic"?

The Attorney-General:
The only possibility of answering the question today would be by seeing what was said in the American evidence. We have no evidence at present; we shall call some.

The Commissioner:
Very well.

The Attorney-General:
You shall have the information later.

18009. (Mr. Dunlop - To the witness.) How long before you saw the "Carpathia" was it that you last remember seeing the other steamer?
- I could not say how long.

18010. Did the other steamer at any time appear to be steaming towards you?
- No, she seemed to be stationary there.

18011. At no time steaming towards you?
- No.

18012. Did you see any other vessel besides the "Carpathia" after the "Carpathia" came in sight?
- After we were picked up the "Californian" came on the scene.

18013. Did you see the "Mount Temple"?
- No.

18014. Did you see any sidelight of this vessel?
- Yes.

18015. Which sidelight?
- I saw both lights.

The Commissioner:
He said he saw both, you know.

18016. (Mr. Dunlop.) You saw two masthead lights and two sidelights?
- Yes.

18017. While she was lying apparently stationary?
- Yes; we drifted.

Examined by Mr. LEWIS.

18018. Can you say what class of passengers they were in the boat?
- I think they were nearly all first class; I would not be sure.

18019. There were no women left when you left the ship?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
Yes, there was one lady, Mrs. Straus. [Mrs. Ida Straus.]

18020. (Mr. Lewis.) There was no other lady there?
- There were several other ladies there. They were taken to No. 10 boat.

18021. Did the other ladies refuse to go into the boat?
- I only heard Mrs. Straus refuse.

18022. There were a number of men left, you said. Did any of them try to get into the boat?
- No.

18023. Were you there all the time the boat was being prepared to be lowered?
- Yes.

18024. But you have no recollection of any man or any men trying to get into the boat?
- No.

18025. Or being refused. After you left, and you found you could not approach the lights, was any suggestion made that you should return to the ship?
- During the pull across one sailor offered to return to the ship, but all the ladies said, "Why not obey the Captain's orders?"

18026. (The Commissioner.) And you were the Captain?
- No, Captain Smith - "Obey the Captain's orders."

18027. (Mr. Lewis.) Captain Smith said you were to make for the ship, land your passengers, and return?
- Yes.

18028. And the ladies objected?
- Yes.

18029. Did the men agree with the suggestion?
- Yes, I think so.

18030. And it was because the men objected you did not return?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
No, that is not right at all. It was not because the ladies objected. The ladies did object.

18031. (Mr. Lewis.) I will put it in another way. (To the witness.) I understood you to say a suggestion was made in the boat that you should return, seeing you could not approach the light?
- Yes.

18032. I understand you to say every man in the boat agreed with that suggestion?
- I did not understand you.

The Commissioner:
I did not understand him to say that.

The Witness:
No.

18033. (Mr. Lewis.) They did not agree?
- Oh, no.

18034. Did they express any opinion upon it?
- No, none of the crew spoke.

The Commissioner:
Are you asking all these questions at random, or have you some instructions upon which you ask them?

Mr. Lewis:
I have evidence that a suggestion was made in the boat that they should return to the ship.

The Commissioner:
I asked you, do you ask these questions at random or have you some instructions upon which you put them?

Mr. Lewis:
I have evidence from a Witness, who will give evidence later, I understand, that a suggestion was made in the boat that they should return to the ship.

The Commissioner:
Are those instructions in writing?

Mr. Lewis:
Yes, My Lord.

The Commissioner:
Let me look at them, and I will ask a few questions of the witness. (The document was handed to the Commissioner.)

18035. (To the witness.) Do you remember a man, an A.B. named Jones - T. or J. Jones?
- Yes. [Thomas William Jones.]

18036. Do you remember him?
- Yes.

18037. Was he sent for some lamps?
- Not to my knowledge. The lamp-trimmer put the lamp in the boat before we lowered.

18038. Was Jones's boat No. 8?
- Yes, My Lord.

18039. Was he one of the men in your boat?
- Yes, My Lord.

18040. Do you remember Captain Smith asking him if the plug was in his boat?
- No, I do not remember that.

18041. Did Jones put the plug in himself?
- I could not say. I stood on the deck and Jones was in the boat.

18042. Do you remember a man trying to get in and being prevented?
- No, I never saw that.

18043. Do you remember a child being brought and put into the boat?
- No, we had no child in the boat.

18044. Did you hear Captain Smith turn round and say, "Any more women or children for this boat. We have plenty of time if the women will get in there"?
- No, I never heard that.

18045. Then you did not hear him shout three times, "Any more women or children for the boat?"?
- Not for that boat, no.

18046. I am talking of that boat. Did you hear him shout that for any boat?
- No.

18047. Then it is right to say that this man Jones suggested going back to the "Titanic"?
- He did.

18048. And that the ladies said, "You must carry out Captain Smith's orders"?
- Yes.

The Attorney-General:
Your Lordship says "the ladies" said that; there is some question about that. Perhaps your Lordship would ask him what he means.

The Commissioner:
I am putting it from this statement. The statement here is - I suppose it is proposed to call this man at some time - "Most of the ladies objected."

The Attorney-General:
That, if your Lordship will permit me, is rather different. I have documents before me. It may be necessary to go into this matter more fully. When your Lordship said "the ladies" suggested going back it would include Lady Rothes.

The Commissioner:
I was inaccurate. I ought to have said "most of the ladies."

The Attorney-General:
Perhaps the witness might tell us with regard to it, because Lady Rothes is rather concerned about that.

18049. (The Commissioner - To the witness.) Did the lady who was steering object to go back?
- I did not hear her; I was in the forward part of the boat.

18050. You saw the ship go down?
- Yes.

18051. Did you hear the cries of the people as the ship went down?
- We heard a little, but we were a long distance away.

The Commissioner:
Thank you, Mr. Lewis; this quite accords with what you were suggesting.

Mr. Lewis:
I am obliged to your Lordship; I have no further question, My Lord. I should like to ask whether I have to submit documents in future to your Lordship or whether I am entitled to ask the witnesses questions.

The Commissioner:
You are quite entitled to ask the questions.

Mr. Lewis:
Thank you, My Lord.

Examined by Mr. HOLMES.

18052. You have not told us what distance you rowed in the direction of these lights?
- I should say between 3 and 4 miles; by the time the morning came we were furthest away from the "Carpathia."

18053. Did they ever appear to get any nearer?
- No.

18054. Do you think the other boat was moving?
- I thought probably she might have been drifting.

18055. You thought they were drifting?
- The other ship was drifting.

18056. In the same direction as yourselves?
- No, it seemed as if she was drifting away from us.

18057. Well, that would be in the same direction?
- Yes.

Examined by Sir ROBERT FINLAY.

18058. How far off were you from the "Titanic" when you heard the cries?
- I should say a mile and a half.

18059. You had been obeying the orders to row in the direction of these lights?
- Yes, of the other vessel.

18060. You say that you saw at some time both the sidelights of that other vessel?
- Yes, we were right bow on to it; I could see both the lights.

18061. For how long was it that you were able to see both the sidelights of that other vessel?
- I did not see them long.

18062. Only a short time?
- Only a short time, that was all.

18063. After that, did you see one sidelight?
- I did not look any more; I had my back to it, and was pulling all the time.

18064. You mean you only looked round for a short while?
- Yes.

18065. So that what was happening after that or before that you cannot tell us at all?
- No.

The Commissioner:
I am told that with four men, a boat of this size, carrying about 35 passengers in such a sea as we know there was, would not move along quicker than about two and a-half to three miles an hour.

Sir Robert Finlay:
They must have gone very slowly.

The Attorney-General:
Perhaps that is rather more than they did; that is a little more than they did with four men rowing. I should have thought they would have done a little less than that. I certainly do not suggest they would have done more. I should have expected rather less.

18066. (Sir Robert Finlay - To the witness.) According to the best of your judgment how far off were these lights when the Captain said "Row there and come back"?
- Between five and seven miles, I should say.

18067. You say at that time two masthead lights?
- Yes.

18068. Nothing else?
- Nothing else.

18069. At that time, in your judgment, were the masthead lights stationary or moving?
- They seemed stationary.

18070. What deck were you on when the collision took place?
- On B deck, forward.

18071. Did you see to getting the passengers cleared out of that part of the ship?
- Every one.

18072. Every one?
- Yes.

18073. Did you do anything in the way of closing doors?
- I closed all the doors up.

18074. What doors do you mean?
- The cabin doors - the state -room doors.

18075. After the people were cleared out?
- Yes.

18076. You said, besides that lady who refused to leave, there were some other ladies on deck?
- Yes, there were several ladies round the boat.

18077. What became of them?
- They went in No. 10 boat, I believe.

The Attorney-General:
Not Mrs. Straus.

18078. (Sir Robert Finlay.) I said the other ladies. (To the witness.) Mrs. Straus refused to go at all?
- She refused to go without her husband.

18079. And she remained?
- Yes.

18080. And the other ladies went in boat No. 10?
- I believe so.

18081. (The Commissioner.) You did not see them go?
- No, Sir.

18082. You were already in the sea in No. 8?
- Yes.

18083. (Sir Robert Finlay.) How do you know they went in No. 10?
- The Chief Officer told them to go along to No. 10 boat and get in there.

18084. You heard him give that order?
- Yes.

Re-examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL.

18085. I want you to help us upon this if you can. Did you see the "Carpathia" lights, or did you see her in daylight first?
- I saw her lights coming round.

18086. You say you saw her lights?
- Yes.

18087. Do you remember what lights?
- I saw a big ship lit up, and we turned round and went back to her.

18088. You turned round and went back to her; but what I want to know is, where was she? I want to get at that if I can from what you saw of her lights. Do you remember?
- She was coming over that way and we were going this way (Demonstrating.)

18089. You mean you were coming this way and she was coming that way?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
It does not help me for this Witness to say, "She was coming that way and we were going this way."

The Attorney-General:
It helps us to fix the position; we cannot do more than that at present. We can follow what he means having followed out where the "Carpathia" was to some extent. We make her a little to the s.E.

The Commissioner:
South and east.

18090. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, almost exactly S.E.; but we will work it out later, and your Lordship will see from the evidence of the captain of the "Carpathia" it will be made clear. That is calculating it according to the evidence already given in America. He did not give his position, but he did give a position at one time, and said how many miles he steamed after it, and from that we work out she would have been to the s.E. (To the witness.) At any rate, in the way you were heading in your boat the "Carpathia" was astern of you?
- No, she was on the quarter.

18091. That is quite right; she was on your quarter?
- Yes.

18092. And then you turned round and went to her?
- Yes.

That is sufficiently near. There was one question your Lordship put to the witness. I think it is the first time we have heard of the order from Captain Smith to which he deposed. He said something to the effect - I am not giving his exact words - that the orders of Captain Smith were that they were to row the boat to the light, that is, to the ship of which he had seen the lights, and to put the women on board and then come back, no doubt with the object of fetching more. It is right to say with regard to this Witness that there are two other Witnesses who were in this boat who deposed to the same thing. We have not got them.

The Commissioner:
The proof that Mr. Lewis has of Jones says the same thing.

The Attorney-General:
Jones has been examined in America, and I have his evidence before me; but I am speaking of something apart from Jones.

The Commissioner:
What occurs to me - I do not know whether it is right - as to what the Captain probably meant is this. This is one o'clock in the morning, and my opinion is the Captain knew that she was a doomed ship at that time, and what he meant was: "Go to the light, put your passengers off, and come back to this place."

The Attorney-General:
Yes, quite.

The Commissioner:
It is different from saying "Come back to this ship."

The Attorney-General:
Yes.

The Commissioner:
Perhaps he would not say it in words, but it would mean to come back to pick people up.

The Attorney-General:
According to one lady who has given evidence in America, what he said was: "Put these women in safety and come back for others."

Sir Robert Finlay:
Of course, it is possible the Captain might have thought that ship would make for them.

The Attorney-General:
Yes.

The Commissioner:
Of course, it is, and very natural, and that may, to a large extent, explain it.

(The Witness withdrew.)