British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry
Testimony of Francis Carruthers, recalled
Examined by Mr. COTTER.
May I ask Mr. Carruthers a question or two?
24021. (Mr. Cotter - To the witness.) When you surveyed the "Titanic" at Belfast did you notice what kind of lifebuoys she carried?
24022. What were they?
- Solid cork.
24023. Did you notice whether she had any lifebuoys with acetylene gas attachments to them?
- No, she had not any at Belfast.
24024. Have you seen those kind of lifebuoys?
- No, I have not.
24025. Have you seen the Admiralty lifebuoys?
- No, I do not think so.
24026. Did you notice whether she had two large buoys fastened to the after-bridge?
- No, I did not see any. I know the Admiralty lifebuoys.
24027. Will you tell my Lord what they are, and how they are worked?
- Well, if it is the kind that I have seen on the war vessels, they are attached to the side ready for slipping off. When they slip off and get into the water there is a light; the water makes a light.
24028. You did not notice whether she carried any of those?
- No, I am almost sure she did not.
My object in asking this question, my Lord, is this. We know the difficulty of the boats turning back; they would not know their way to where she had sunk. If she had carried these buoys and had been lost they would have been floating and a light burning from them. That is the reason I am asking these questions.
I am told this vessel had lifebuoys which ignited a lamp when they fell into the water. "Holmes Lights," they are called; they are not the same as the Admiralty lifebuoys, but the same effect.
She had these Holmes lights attached to the lifebuoys.
24029. And the effect is the same as that of the Admiralty buoys?
- When they strike the water.
24030. When they strike the water the light springs up?
There is another buoy with a small tin canister attachment containing calcium phosphate, and they have to be knocked with a kind of spring bit, to knock holes, and they are used for throwing over the side at night supposing a person fell overboard.
I have seen them myself; I have never had to use them, I am glad to say.
Very good, My Lord.
(The witness withdrew.)