British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 25

Testimony of Francis Carruthers, recalled

Examined by Mr. COTTER.

Mr. Cotter:
May I ask Mr. Carruthers a question or two?

The Commissioner:
Yes.

24021. (Mr. Cotter - To the witness.) When you surveyed the "Titanic" at Belfast did you notice what kind of lifebuoys she carried?
- Yes.

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.

Mr. Cotter:
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.

The Commissioner:
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.

The Witness:
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?
- Yes.

Mr. Cotter:
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.

The Commissioner:
I have seen them myself; I have never had to use them, I am glad to say.

Mr. Cotter:
Very good, My Lord.

(The witness withdrew.)