British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 2


Examined by Mr. DUNLOP.

1156. Were you a first class passenger on the "Lusitania”?
- I was.

1157. At the time the "Lusitania” was torpedoed where were you?
- I was down in the saloon - just outside the saloon. I had just finished lunch.

1158. Did you see anything of the submarine or a torpedo?
- Nothing at all.

1159. Did you hear an explosion?
- Yes; a loud noise.

1160. What did you then do?
- I was talking to a lady who was waiting for the lift when it happened, also to another gentleman who was travelling with me, and we both took her by the arm and started going up the stairs, and we got on to the next deck, the "C" deck, on the port side. We then went aft with her to the companion way leading up to the boat-deck where there was a big crowd, and they were taking the women and children first, and we put her on to that.

1161. Who were taking the women and children first - do you mean the crew?
- Yes; there were two sailors at the top and there were some passengers trying to keep order and to calm the people.

1162. Did you then get on to the boat-deck and go on to the port side?
- Yes, we had to leave this lady there and we went forward on the port side, we climbed up on to the next deck outside the rail.

1163. By this time we know the vessel had a list?
- Yes, she had a list immediately.

1164. Did the list interfere with the boats on the port side?
- Yes.

1165. What effect had the list?
- It seemed to make them swing inboard. I only saw one.

1166. Did you lend your assistance to try and push the boats out on the starboard side?
- Yes, with my friend.

1167. Had you any success?
- No.

1168. The Commissioner: Were any boats lowered on the port side?
- I did not see any, my Lord, lowered. There was a crowd round the boat I was at.

1169. Mr. Dunlop: Failing with the boats on the port side, did you then go to the starboard side?
- Yes, we went round to the starboard side.

1170. And did you find a boat there?
- Yes, we found a boat there quite empty.

1171. I think you went to one of the after boats - the most after boat on the starboard side?
- Yes.

1172. That would be No. 21 b?
- I do not know what the number was.

1173. Was that boat swung out?
- Yes, it was swung out and hanging out from the ship's side about 5 feet.

1174. And was there difficulty in consequence in getting into it?
- Nobody would get into it because of that.

1175. Did you assist people to get in?
- My friend and I jumped in and we could just reach the hands of the people on deck.

1176. Did you fill the boat?
- We got a lot of women in the boat.

1177. What happened to that boat?
- They started to lower us when some other people jumped in and the man who was looking after the fore davit ropes could not control them. I think he must have let go of them by accident and the boat was tilted forward like that and we were all thrown into the water.

1178. And did you manage to swim to some other boat?
- When I came up I saw another boat about 30 yards away and I swam towards her and they took me in.

1179. And were you afterwards picked up?
- Yes, I was afterwards picked up by a trawler.

1180. What do you say with regard to the behaviour of the crew of the "Lusitania”?
- I could not see many of them when the accident happened, but those I saw seemed perfectly collected. There were two men at the ropes of that boat that tried to lower us and the men on the boat that eventually picked me up were perfectly right.

1181. So far as you could see, were they rendering every assistance possible?
- Those that I saw were, yes.

1182. Was there any panic?
- No. There was a great deal of excitement on "D" deck naturally but there was no raging panic.

(The witness withdrew.)