British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 18

Testimony of Edward Wilding

Examined by Mr. ROWLATT.

19789. What is your Christian name?
- Edward Wilding.

19790. I think you are a Naval Architect?
- Yes.

19791. And are you in the employment of Messrs. Harland and Wolff?
- Yes.

19792. And did you design or did you take part in the designing of this ship, the "Titanic"?
- Yes, it was made in our designing office at Belfast. I was one of the people connected with the making of the design.

19793. You are in a position to give us the details about the construction of the ship?
- Yes, that is right, as far as possible.

19794. We know a great deal about it already, you understand, but you can give us all the dimensions of the ship?
- Yes.

Mr. Rowlatt:
Your Lordship has the extract from the Register which gives you a great many of them, and I do not propose to ask questions on those points.

The Commissioner:
You might ask him whether the figures are right.

19795. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Yes, My Lord. (To the witness.) Are the figures in the Register correct?
- Yes.

19796. There are two figures here which I think are not in the Register. One is the load draught; how much is that?
- 34 feet 7 inches.

19797. And the displacement at load draught is what?
- 52,310 tons.

19798. Does that mean that when the ship is loaded down to her load draught she displaces and therefore weighs 52,310 tons of water?
- Yes, a ton of 2,240 lbs.

19799. It is distinct altogether from the tonnage of the ship?
- Entirely.

19800. That is what the mass of the ship would weigh?
- Yes, actually loaded to that draught.

19801. You can also give us, can you not, the heights above the decks?
- Yes.

19802. I have them here; just see if they are right. The height between the Orlop and lower deck is 8 feet?
- Yes.

19803. Between the lower and middle 8 feet?
- Yes.

19804. Between the middle and upper, 8 feet 6 inches?
- Yes.

19805. Between the upper and saloon, 9 feet?
- Yes.

19806. Between the saloon and shelter, 10 feet 6 inches?
- Yes.

19807. That is amidships, is it not?
- Yes, for about half the length.

19808. Between the shelter and bridge decks, 9 feet?
- Yes.

19809. Between the bridge and promenade, 9 feet?
- Yes.

19810. And between the promenade and boat, 9 feet 6 inches?
- Yes.

19811. And the camber on all decks was 3 inches?
- Yes, 3 inches in the extreme beam.

19812. The vessel was constructed, was she not, under the survey of the Board of Trade?
- She was.

19813. In order to get a passenger certificate?
- Yes.

Mr. Rowlatt:
My Lord, a passenger certificate certifies that the requirements of the act have been complied with. It states the limits beyond which the steamer is not fit to ply, and the number of passengers which she is fit to carry, distinguishing, if necessary, between the different parts of the ship.

The Attorney-General:
Your Lordship has the abstract in the little buff book, and you will find that at page 9 of the act.

The Commissioner:
"Issue of passenger steamer's certificate"?

The Attorney-General:
Yes.

19814. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Was the "Titanic" also made to comply with the American Immigration Laws?
- Yes.

19815. We know that the steam was supplied from six independent sets of boilers and that there were reciprocating engines and a turbine engine also?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
Mr. Rowlatt, I have had handed up to me a descriptive statement of the "Titanic." It comes from Harland and Wolff, I understand. Have you a copy of it?

Mr. Rowlatt:
I am examining from it, My Lord. I purpose in parts to amplify it slightly and in parts to pass very lightly over it.

The Commissioner:
I should like you to put it in.

Mr. Rowlatt:
If your Lordship pleases.

The Commissioner:
Unless there is some correction to be made in it.

19816. (Mr. Rowlatt - To the witness.) Did you prepare this descriptive statement?
- With assistance.

19817. Is it correct as a whole?
- Yes. I wrote most of it myself, but, of course, the information had to be collected by many people.

19818. Of course, but so far as you know it is, on the whole, correct?
- Yes, certainly.

Mr. Rowlatt:
Put it in, My Lord, but I will ask a few questions about it, and if at any part of it I seem to be going too much into detail, your Lordship will check me.

The Commissioner:
Are you going through it page by page?

19819. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Yes, My Lord, I am now on page 2. (To the witness.) You said something about the American Immigration Laws. Can you tell us what they are at all?
- A particular requirement of the American Immigration Laws that has to be complied with is the question of area provided for each third class passenger, each immigrant into the United States. That is considerably in excess - something like 20 percent, in excess of the British Board of Trade requirements for emigrant passengers - which has to be provided and allotted to the third class passengers. That is the principal point. Other points in connection with the American Immigration Laws are covered by the reciprocal Treaty which acknowledges the British Board of Trade Certificate as the equivalent of the American inspection which would otherwise be carried out.

19820. The next paragraphs of your report deal also with the boiler sections, but I think we know all about that. Then we come to the main electrical machinery. Perhaps you might explain a little about that. You say that the main electrical machinery is in a section which is abaft the turbine engine room, as shown on the plan?
- Yes.

19821. And you also say there are two emergency dynamos up at the top above the turbine engine room - two decks above the turbine engine room?
- Yes, on D deck, above the top of the bulkheads.

19822. Where did those dynamos get their steam from?
- They had a special pipe, provided from three of the boiler rooms. They had also a cross connection to this pipe, so that any steam reaching the special part of the engine room from any boiler of the ship could be passed along to them by opening two or three valves.

19823. Is that true of both the engines?
- Yes, of both the emergency dynamos.

19824. Where did the other electrical machinery get its steam from?
- From Nos. 1, 2 and 4 boiler rooms.

19825. Just to clear up a question which arose earlier in the case. If the engines which actuate the propellers are stopped, that has nothing whatever to do with the engines that actuate the dynamos?
- Nothing whatever. They have a separate pipe of their own.

19826. They are separate engines drawing, by means of separate pipes, steam from the pipes of the ship?
- Certainly. Of course, there are boilers which also supply the main engines.

19827. I quite understand that. The next paragraph of your report deals with the general equipment, which is not very material to this accident except the installation of wireless telegraphy. That is the first one to which I wish you to refer. Where was the electricity for the wireless telegraphy generated?
- There were certainly two, and, I believe, three provisions. It could be taken in the first instance, from the main dynamos of the ship, of which one, at least, was always running. It could, in addition to that, be taken from the emergency dynamos which were running every night after sunset; and I believe - though I am not quite sure in regard to this matter, because I have not got the information from the marconi Company - they had a small battery which would take them on for a short time.

19828. A storage battery?
- Yes, a storage battery.

19829. Then you had submarine signalling apparatus?
- Yes.

19830. And electric lighting apparatus?
- There was one point which was rather of a special character in that. Some of the lights in the electric light equipment could only be controlled from the switchboard, so that in the event of accident one could practically ensure the ship being fairly well lit, and that a passenger could not accidentally put out the lights.

19831. Then you had a system of telephones?
- Yes, of which you have heard something.

19832. And electric elevators?
- Yes.

19833. I see on page 3 of your report you say there were four electrically-driven boat winches provided on the boat deck for handling the boats?
- Yes.

19834. Where were they situated?
- They were marked on this general arrangements plan (Showing.)

19835. Do you know whether they were used on this occasion?
- They are not necessary for lowering. You can lower just as fast without them, but they are necessary if you have to raise.

19836. That is what they are used for?
- That is what they are used for.

19837. Then you have telephones and engine and docking telegraphs, emergency telegraphs, steam whistles, and so on. I do not think that apparatus is material to the present Enquiry particularly, but you have a plan, have you not, if the Court wishes to see it, the rigging plan of the vessel, which would show all these connections. You need not produce it?
- It does not show the telegraphs, but it shows several of these things.

19838. I do not think you need produce it, but you have the plan, if necessary?
- Yes.

19839. We will go on to the question of the decks now. We know generally now what decks there were, but will you just tell me how high the boat deck was above the keel?
- It was about 92 feet 6 inches above the keel at the lowest point. It was a little more at the ends because of the shear of the vessel.

19840. It would be about 60 feet above the water when she was loaded?
- Rather more than 60 feet.

19841. That deck was about 500 feet long, was it not?
- About - a few feet under 500.

19842. Can you tell us shortly - I do not know whether it is in the mind of the Court or not - what access there was to the boat deck?
- Yes, but it is simpler to follow it on the plan. Would your Lordship like a copy of the plan (Handing the plan.)?

Mr. Rowlatt:
Is that the same plan that we have had all through?

19842a. (Mr. Laing.) What plan have you handed up?
- The 32nd scale general arrangements plan.

19843. (Mr. Rowlatt.) How will you take it? Will you first of all go along the deck and show where the access comes from?
- Yes. At the forward end of the boat deck there are two ladder-ways which lead down to the next deck, the promenade deck, the a deck, as we have called it, below.

19844. Those are the little brown marks close to the Englehardt boats?
- Yes, that is right.

19845. On either side?
- Yes. The next approach to the boat deck is the large first class entrance, abaft the Officers' house.

19846. That is the thing that spreads out like a fan, in brown?
- Yes. The next means of access down to A deck are two ladders abaft the raised roof over the first class lounge under the third funnel.

19847. That is near the Officers' mess?
- One at the Officers' mess, and one outside the deck chair house. Those go down. If you look down the deck on to A deck they are marked on the big plan in the rear of the third funnel leading aft.

19848. Is that what goes down by the lounge pantry?
- No. The lounge pantry is yet another one. There is a diagonal line under the third funnel.

19849. Just below the third funnel?
- There is one each side, of course - port and starboard.

19850. It is shown on this plan, My Lord, as that diagonal line under the third funnel. (Showing.) That is it, is it not?
- Yes, that is right - one port and one starboard. The line is dotted on that line.

19851. Then just abaft that again?
- There is another stair leading down into the lounge pantry which has connections right down to E deck. You come off the stair and walk round the foot of it, and go down again.

19852. That is a continuous stair right the way down?
- That is right.

19853. (The Commissioner.) Where is that?
- Just abaft the third funnel, My Lord.

Mr. Rowlatt:
Here, My Lord. (Pointing.)

19854. (The Commissioner.) Is that it?
- There is a transverse stairway - a stairway leading down athwart ships.

19855. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Instead of going this way, as this one does, it goes that way across the ship (Showing.)?
- Across the ship. It is so marked on the plan. You will see the length of it. The length of the brown mark is across the ship.

19856. (The Commissioner.) That goes down to where?
- Eventually to E deck, My Lord.

19857. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Then abaft that again, what is there?
- From the boat deck there is the forward second class main stairway.

19858. Is that the one at the end of it?
- Close to the afterend of it, the one that is between the mast and the funnel, that has a little knob called "Elevator gear" on top of it.

19859. This one (Showing.)?
- Yes.

19860. This goes right down?
- Yes.

19861. That is the boat deck, and it goes right away down to the bottom (Showing.)?
- Yes.

19862. That can be communicated with at every deck; you can reach the staircase at every deck?
- At any deck except A deck. There is no entrance on to that staircase on A deck. There is a landing but no entrance.

19863. When we were at the E end of the boat deck we did not say how far these ladders that went from the boat deck went down into the ship?
- They go down two decks to B deck.

19864. The little ones, you mean, near the Englehardt boats?
- The one that is close to the Englehardt boats.

19865. You can see it there going down two decks (Showing.)?
- You will notice there is a landing between the two pieces of it.

19866. And then there is another ladder goes down beyond?
- Yes, but you have to turn the corner of the house to get to it on B deck.

19867. There is the other big first class stairway. Does that go right down through the ship?
- That goes right down to the middle deck, to F deck.

19868. That is the one between the two first funnels?
- Yes.

19869. And that is underneath this big brown mark at the top of the plan?
- Yes, it goes right down.

19870. Can you tell us how that acts in practice for the first, second, and third class passengers to reach the boat deck?
- If you will turn to page 21 you will find it is described in detail - "Access of passengers to boat deck."

19871. I see; it is at the bottom of the page. "First class passengers. The following routes lead directly from the various parts of the first class passenger accommodation to the boat deck: From the forward ends of A, B, C, D, and E decks by the wide staircase in the forward first class entrance direct to the boat deck, also by elevators from the same decks as far as A deck, and then up to the top flight of the main staircase." Do you mean by that that in the forward ends of A, B, C, d and E decks you can go from these decks to the boat deck by the wide first class entrance between the first and second funnels?
- Quite right. With regard to the width of the stairway, it is a double stairway varying from 4 to 7 feet on each side. It is 7 feet wide at the fantail. It is 4 feet at the narrowest point and double. That makes 8 feet in all.

19872. "The same route," you say here would be available "for first class passengers forward of midships of B, C, and E decks"?
- Yes. There are no first class passengers amidships on D deck. It is occupied by the saloon.

19873. "First class passengers abaft amidships on B and C decks could use the wide staircase in the after main entrance to A deck, and pass out on to the main deck" - That wants correcting. It should be "pass out on to the open deck." That is a clerical error.

19874. (The Commissioner.) Where is that?
- I say "pass out on to the open deck" instead of "pass out on to the main deck."

19875. (Mr. Rowlatt.) It is the paragraph which begins "first class passengers abaft the amidships"?
- Yes. It is the fourth paragraph in that clause.

19876. Where are the first class passengers that you are speaking of here?
- Those in way of the third and fourth funnels, and there is a stairway going up two decks there on to A deck. (Showing.)

19877. And then, where?
- Out on to the open deck outside the house.

19878. And then, by the way you have described to the top deck?
- Yes, in the way I described a minute ago - that is right, the diagonal ladder. (Showing.)

19879. "They could also use the stewards' staircase between the reciprocating engine casing and Nos. 1 and 2 boiler casing." That is it, is it not (Showing.)?
- That was the long vertical one, that one (Showing.)

19880. They could also use that one, and that last route again could also be used by passengers on E deck. Is that so?
- Yes.

19881. And the passengers on E deck could also use the first class main stairway?
- Yes, they would have to walk along the corridor.

19882. And get up that stairway between the first and second funnels?
- That is right.

19883. That is the whole of the first class?
- That is the whole of the first class - that deals with every one.

19884. Now take the second class passengers. Are they on D deck? Where are the second class passengers on D deck? Are they forward or aft?
- There are no second class state rooms higher than D deck.

19885. "Second class passengers on D deck used their own after stairway to B deck up behind the mast." Is that right?
- That is right - up to B deck. That stairway is 5 feet wide, I may say.

19886. "And then passed up their forward stairway"?
- They would then go through the smoking room and up the forward stairway which is 5 feet 6 inches wide on to the boat deck, or, it they liked, they could go through at the lower level through the second class saloon to the same forward stairway. They get to the same point, but they go across at one of two levels.

19887. With regard to the second class passengers on E deck, there are some of those by the reciprocating engines, are there not?
- Yes, down on E deck abreast of the engine casing. That is right, just where Mr. Asquith is pointing.

19888. It would not be shown in that section?
- It was correct where Mr. Asquith was pointing.

19889. Where did they go?
- It depends on whether the watertight door abaft of their accommodation has been closed or not.

19890. The watertight door is between d and E decks there (Showing.)?
- Yes, that is right.

19891. What happens if that is closed?
- There is an emergency door provided into the engine room and then they can go straight up the engine room ladders to the boat deck inside the engine room easing.

19892. Is that the turbine engine room casing?
- No, in the reciprocating engine room There is a special door provided.

19893. Where does the ladder come up there?
- At the forward end. There are steel ladders going right up.

19894. As opposed to a stairway?
- Yes, that is, it is a slope, but it is a steel runged ladder, and not a wood stair.

19895. I think we went down it on the "Olympic"?
- I think you did.

19896. That is if the watertight door is shut?
- If it has been necessary to close that door from an accident just close by. If there has been any accident close by it would be the duty of the steward or somebody to see that that door was open, and that they were passed aft.

19897. How would they pass along; they would go aft?
- They can go aft, and then join the other second class passengers going up the forward second class stairway.

19898. When the watertight doors are closed, Making a watertight compartment complete, you have to go by a ladder to get up to the top deck?
- You must make some arrangement for getting them out, and that was the easiest way in this case.

19899. What other second class passengers are there? You have given us these alongside the engine casing. Now there are some alongside the turbine casing?
- Yes, that is the next section further aft.

19900. How do they go up?
- They have a special ladder of their own. If the watertight door is open abaft them they can go and join the forward second class stairway, but, if not, they have a special short ladder going up two decks. It is close up to the bulkhead, and then they turn through the entrance through the saloon. May I come and show you.

19901. Certainly.
- They come up this transverse ladder and again turn round and come up this ladder, and then through the door. (Showing.) They are now above the watertight bulkhead, and they can go through the doors into this entrance, and then up.

19902. Then there are others on F deck below?
- That is F deck. (Showing.) These people have the same ladder, and they come up in the same way.

19903. You mean there are second class passengers abreast the turbine casing on two decks?
- Yes.

19904. And the ladder goes through those two decks?
- It is not quite the same ladder, but there is a ladder.

19905. Passengers between M and N bulkheads on both e and F decks go where?
- That is those two. (Showing.) They go in through the doors right into their entrance, and then right up this staircase. (Showing.)

19906. No question of watertight doors affects them?
- No, because they have the staircase in their compartment.

19907. Then between N and O bulkheads?
- That is between that and that. (Showing.) There are three, in all, three possible routes, 1, 2 and 3. They can go right up this stairway to B deck, come through the smoke room, or outside on to the deck, and up that stairway. Or if they like, they can go through the dining saloon, and up the stairway, and eventually reach the boat deck by the forward second class stair.

19908. Now, the third class passengers. Go to the fore end of the vessel first, will you please. You say here "The third class passengers at the fore end of the vessel passed by the staircase in accordance with the Board of Trade requirements to C deck in the forward well"?
- That is up to here. (Showing.) The Board of Trade or Immigration Survey insist on that ladder being provided up to the level from each compartment. There are other ladders running up here, 1, 2, 3, 4, and the ladders go up here and ladders go up there - these ladders are specially wide - to get them on to the forward well deck.

19909. I see there is written there "Third class open space." Can you point to that?
- Yes. (Pointing.)

19910. Does that mean that that is open deck?
- It is not exposed to the weather, but it is open from large obstructions.

19911. Open inside?
- Yes.

19912. But the ladders are required to go to the top of that?
- Yes.

19913. When they get there is that a deck?
- This is a deck, and that is the forward well deck. (Showing.)

19914. Is there a way up from that deck to the boat deck?
- Yes, by this ladder at the forward end of the bridge deck, round the corner of this house, either port or starboard, and then up by these ladders direct to the boat deck.

19915. Is there any other way for them to get to the boat deck. Can they come aft along the working alleyways?
- They can go up the working passage, which has been referred to as Scotland Road, along this deck, and enter the forward first class entrance through an emergency door here. (Showing.); then go up this main stairway, or they can continue still further on and go up this stewards' stairway. It is open to Scotland Road, as we call it, the big working alleyway. (Showing.)

19916. At the afterend of the ship, the third class accommodation is where you are pointing now?
- Yes. (Showing.)

19917. There are ladders, are there, in each of those parts. (Showing.)?
- Yes, gradually increasing in width as you go up to the top deck.

19918. And then when they are on the top deck?
- They come up on to an open deck. They can then go one of two ways, either up ladders at the afterend of the bridge deck, or to B deck and along to the forward second class entrance, and then up to the boat deck, or they can go, as I understand, from some of the evidence they actually did go, through and past the second class library into the first class accommodation along the first class alleyway right to the first class entrance. I think one of the stewards gave evidence that he had taken two parties that way.

19919. With regard to the crew, you say that an escape is provided from each boiler room direct to the boat deck by the fidleys. What is that?
- The fidleys are the trunks which carry down the air supply. They go down at each end of the funnel, and there are ladders provided in each of those leading direct from the stokehold plate up to the boat deck. Including the engine room there are nearly 200 tons of those steel ladders in the ship.

19920. Can you enter these fidleys from the E deck?
- Yes. There is a door at each fidley. As it passes E deck there is a steel door, which is never fastened in any way. You can get out into the working passage, and then you can choose any of the ways from the working passage.

19921. Those are the provisions made with regard to the boiler rooms. Are ladders also provided from the engine rooms?
- Yes, going up this way, and then up that way like that (Showing.), up the engine room skylight direct to the boat deck. They can also again come out on to E deck. There are doors from the engine room on to E deck, but, of course, if the watertight doors between D deck and E deck are shut, they must go up the ladders.

19922. Are there also ladders from the other engine room?
- Yes, from the turbine engine room there are similar ladders up the base of the dummy funnel.

19923. And also from the electrical machinery room?
- There is a special escape up from the afterend up to E deck, and then they can come out and use the stairway. There is no exit on to B deck.

19924. Supposing there was somebody in the tunnel, what would he do?
- There is a similar arrangement that brings them up into the afterend of the working passage, and then they can come out like the third class passengers.

19925. If anybody was in the after tunnel what would he do?
- There is a special tunnel escape up here, up into the steering gear house (Showing.)

19926. We have had some evidence of one man especially being released, one greaser?
- That was quite unnecessary in his case. He must have been a stranger to the ship. It is not a nice passage, but there is no difficulty in getting up it; I have been up it several times.

19927. Is there any passage from here to there? (Showing.) - Yes, it is quite open. That line is only a web, a frame for carrying the heavy castings - a steel plate -frame for carrying the heavy castings.

19928. (The Commissioner.) It does not represent a bulkhead?
- No; it is not marked as such, My Lord.

19929. (Mr. Rowlatt.) The stewards and the engineers' accommodation communicates through the working passage - I need not take you through that in detail?
- Yes.

Mr. Rowlatt:
There was one question I ought to have asked you while we were on page 3.

The Commissioner:
Have you left this question of the means of egress from the different classes?

Mr. Rowlatt:
Yes, My Lord.

19930. (The Commissioner.) I want to ask a question about that. (To the witness.) Take the third class passengers. In order to enable them to get to the boat deck they would have to go through parts of the ship ordinarily reserved for the first class?
- For the second class, My Lord - the afterend.

19931. Would the second class passengers have to pass through parts of the ship ordinarily reserved for the first class?
- No, My Lord. The second class can get up by their own entrance.

19932. Are there any doors of any kind, or rails, or other impediments, between the egress of the third class passengers and the boat deck?
- There are rails on the outside. On this ladderway at the afterend of B deck there is a hinged gate which anyone can lift and walk through - port and starboard.

19933. Is that the only thing?
- That is the only thing preventing third class passengers in the ordinary course getting up to the boat deck.

19934. The only thing?
- The only block.

19935. Is it a rail which can be lifted up by hand?
- Quite readily, My Lord.

19936. Is it kept locked or fastened?
- Not in any way. There is no lock on it, and no means of locking it provided.

19937. Then there is nothing to prevent a third class passenger who desires to do so passing in to the second class part of the boat?
- Except the watchfulness of the stewards and men.

19938. Except the Rules, there is no actual impediment?
- No actual impediment.

19939. (The Attorney-General.) Is it this that is shown here? (Showing.) - Yes.

The Commissioner:
I remember, I think, Mr. Rowlatt, a statement being made by several Witnesses that the barriers were down, and I thought from that there was more than one barrier.

19940. (Mr. Rowlatt.) What does the barriers being down mean?
- I can only imagine that it means that the gate was open.

19941. (The Commissioner.) What was open?
- This hinged gate was open.

19942. There was only one, I understand?
- There is only one - of course, there is one each side of the ship. There are other ways to the boat deck, one of which we had evidence was used where there is a door that would have to be opened.

19943. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Is that the emergency door?
- That is the emergency door to the second class stairway from the working alleyway.

19944. (The Commissioner.) I was going to ask you a question about the name "emergency door." The very name "emergency door" suggests that it is ordinarily shut?
- Yes.

19945. How many of these emergency doors are there?
- There are in all three, one to the forward first class main stairway. In each case they come from the working alleyway.

19946. You mean Scotland Road?
- From Scotland Road. There is one leading direct into the forward first class entrance from Scotland Road up on to the top, and then you can go on there; one from Scotland Road into the forward second class entrance, and one from Scotland Road into the after second class entrance.

19947. How are these emergency doors shut?
- With an ordinary handle, as far as I know, My Lord. They have means for locking them, but I understand they are not locked at sea.

19948. They are not locked?
- Not locked - I understand not. There is a lock on them, but I understand they are not locked at sea. I have frequently passed through them at sea.

19949. What is the object of having a door there?
- The passage is used by the third class passengers and crew extensively, and it is to prevent their being able to get in without continuously watching them. That was the intention. If you do not put doors there, or barriers of some sort, you would have to have somebody continuously stationed there to prevent people going into the second class accommodation and losing their way, for example.

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