British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 2


Examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL.

736. Were you the senior second engineer on board the "Lusitania”?
- Yes.

737. And how long have you been with the Cunard Line?
- About 21 years.

738. Do you hold a chief engineer's certificate?
- Yes, Sir.

739. And are you next in authority, or were you next in authority, to the chief engineer in the engine department?
- Yes.

740. He was drowned unfortunately?
- Yes.

741. Now were you in charge of the 8 to 12 watch?
- Yes.

742. Throughout the whole voyage?
- Yes, throughout the whole voyage.

743. And can yon tell me what was the average speed at which you came across?
- About 21 knots.

744. Do you remember the morning of the 7th May, the day the ship was torpedoed?
- Yes.

745. Were you on the 8 to 12 watch that morning?
- Yes.

746. Did you receive any instructions that morning about the speed?
- Yes, shortly after I went on, after 8 o'clock, I got instructions to slow down to18 knots.

747. You had been going quicker?
- Yes, 21.

748. And did you accordingly reduce your revolutions?
- Yes.

749. Who gave you those instructions?
- I got them from the chief engineer.

750. Now, after reducing the speed to 18 knots, did you later on get orders to proceed more slowly?
- Yes, by telegraph.

751. What was the order?
- The telegraph wag rung to go slow, and we called up by telephone to the bridge to ask the number of revolutions that were required. I think it was 100 revolutions they ordered, - yes.

752. How many knots would that be?
- Probably 15; I am not quite sure.

753. Then, later on, did you get orders to increase the speed?
- Yes, that was shortly before I came on board. At 12 o'clock we got rang on the telegraph "full speed ahead," and we again communicated with the bridge and asked what revolutions they wanted, and they ordered 18 knots.

754. And when you came off watch at 12 o'clock, what speed were you going?
- 18 knots.

755. How did you know that you were approaching the war zone, or danger zone?
- Well, I had an idea.

756. Was there a general order to close all bulkhead doors on approaching the war zone?
- Not all bulkhead doors, but as many as possibly could be closed, allowing sufficient to work the ship.

757. Do you know whether that was done?
- Yes, it was done.

758. When was it done?
- It was done during my watch, in the 8 to 12 watch.

759. Upon that day?
- Yes.

760. Now when the ship was struck, where were you?
- I was on the "C" deck.

761. Were you in your cabin?
- No, outside the cabin.

762. Is that above the engine room?
- Yes, immediately above the engine room.

763. Did you see any submarine or torpedo?
- No.

764. And when you were struck what did you do. Did you go below?
- Yes, I went below on to "F" deck to see if the bulkhead doors were closed, and I found they had been closed.

765. Did you go to what is known as the fan flat?
- Yes.

766. What is that?
- That is where I was supposed to have the plans.

767. Is that above the boilers?
- Yes, above the boilers.

768. Did you see that the watertight doors were closed?
- Yes.

769. Could you see it from there?
- I could see one of them from there was closed.

770. Then after seeing that the watertight doors were closed, did you come back and put on a lifebelt?
- Yes.

771. Was there a heavy list on-we had that before?
- Yes, a very heavy list.

772. Did you go into the engine room?
- After I put a lifebelt on I went back to the engine room.

773. What did you find there?
- I found the Chief Engineer and the Second Engineer, who were on watch at the time, and all steam had evidently gone and everything was stopped in the engine room; nothing was working whatever.

774. Was the place in darkness?
- Yes, the place was in darkness.

775. The Commissioner: The lights were out?
- Yes, the lights were out, my Lord.

776. The Attorney-General: Where were you standing at that time?
- Down the first grating in the engine room - down the first ladder.

777. Had you a conversation with the Chief Engineer?
- Yes; he asked me what we could possibly do now.

778. And what did you say?
- I said "absolutely nothing."

779. And was that the fact that you could do nothing?
- In my estimation.

780. Then did you go on deck?
- Yes, I went on deck.

781. And what did you find when you got on deck?
- The ship appeared to me to be sinking then; I had got just to the rail in time and got hold of the netting on the ship's side and went down with her.

782. About how long after she had been struck was it that she went down?
- I absolutely no idea of the time.

783. Then I believe you got on to an upturned boat and were saved?
- Yes.

784. Now that last time that you were in the engine room did you hear any water coming in?
- Yes, I heard water.

785. Coming where?
- I could not say where it was coming from.

786. And was the boat listing heavily to starboard at that time?
- Yes.

787. By whom were you picked up?
- A trawler, the "Indian Empire," I think it was.

788. While you were being picked up did you hear the Captain of the "Indian Empire" say anything - was he looking through glasses?
- I heard him shout out "There is a periscope."

789. Did you yourself see the periscope?
- I looked round and saw what he was pointing to as a periscope.

790. What did it look like - did you see something sticking up out of the water?
- Yes, I saw an object which he said was a periscope.

791. How far was that away from you?
- I do not suppose it was more than 200 yards.

792. The Commissioner: This was after the "Lusitania” had gone down?
- Yes, four hours after.

793. The Attorney-General: Now there is just one other question I want to ask you: were lists of the boat stations for the crew posted all over the ship?
- Yes.

794. And were boat badges issued to all the crew before you left New York?
- Before we left Liverpool.

795. That is on the voyage to New York?
- Yes, that same voyage.

796. Had you a boat station yourself?
- Yes.

797. What was your boat?
- No. 2 boat.

798. Were you able to do anything with it?
- No, I never got on that deck; I never got off the C deck.

799. Do you recollect whether there was any boat drill in New York before you left?
- Yes, there was boat drill in New York.

Examined by Mr. WICKHAM.

800. Was the "Lusitania," when she was struck, going at the same rate that she had been going at during the whole of the voyage - she was going 18 knots when she was struck, was she not?
- Yes.

801. I put it to you that it was only 15 knots she was going when she was struck?
- I do not know, but I was not on watch at the time.

802. So far as you are aware, did she follow the same course as she did on her last voyage?
- I do not know what course was steered.

803. Do you know that part of the coast at all?
- Not very well.

804. Do you know where the Admiralty wireless poles are?
- No.

(The witness withdrew.)