British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 27

Testimony of William Stewart

TIP NOTE: The original inquiry transcripts also included Questions 25242 to 25253 as part of Hugh Young's testimony. However, after careful consideration of the testimony it was determined that this data actually constitutes the opening testimony of William Stewart, who followed Mr. Young on the stand. Therefore, the decision was made to move the testimony into its proper place.

Examined by Mr. BUTLER ASPINALL.

25242. Are you a retired Master Mariner?
- I am.

25243. Do you hold a Master's certificate?
- Yes.

25244. Have you been in the North Atlantic trade for 38 years?
- Yes.

25245. I think you held command for some years in the Beaver Line?
- All the time that it ran, 35 years.

25246. Sailing between Liverpool and Canada?
- Yes.

25247. When was it the Beaver Line were taken over by the Canadian Pacific?
- 1903.

25248. And did you continue on then in the service of that Company?
- Yes, for three years, till I retired.

25249. What was the last vessel that you commanded?
- The "Empress of Britain"; but I went in the late "Manitoba" for a voyage to let a Captain fit in that was going to join her.

25250. I do not want it in great detail. I only want to direct your attention to one of the salient matters. Was the "Empress of Britain" the fastest ship you ever commanded?
- Yes.

25251. What was her speed?
- 18 knots.

25252. Do you know the weather conditions which existed when the "Titanic" struck?
- I have read about them in the newspapers.

25253. See you have them accurate. It was a clear night, no moon, no swell, no sea, and stars?
- Yes.

25254. Given those conditions, and that you had command of a ship, and were given information that you might meet ice and that your course would take you through the place where you might meet ice, and meet it at night, would you reduce your speed?
- No, not as long as it was clear.

25255. Not as long as it was clear?
- No.

25256. I am going upon the assumption that you might meet icebergs - you would not reduce your speed?
- No.

25257. If you had information that you might meet field ice, would you still maintain your speed?
- Until I saw it, and then I should do what I thought proper.

25258. With regard to the look-out, if you have information that you may meet ice, either field ice or icebergs at night, do you take any special precautions with regard to the look-out?
- In clear weather we have the ordinary look-out.

25259. Where is that ordinary look-out kept?
- In the crow's-nest.

Examined by Sir ROBERT FINLAY.

25260. Would you maintain your course as well as your speed if ice were reported?
- Yes.

25261. And has that been the invariable practice in the North Atlantic?
- It was with me.

25262. And, as far as you know, with others?
- As far as I know with others.

25263. Did the "Empress of Britain" carry many passengers?
- Yes.

25264. First, second, and third?
- Yes.

25265. What was her tonnage, about?
- I could not tell you now, she was a large ship.

25266. She was a big boat?
- Yes.

25267. Of 18 knots?
- Yes.

25268. How many people did she carry, about?
- Oh, I suppose about 2,000 altogether.

(The witness withdrew.)