British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 3


Examined by Mr. BRANSON.

1444. Were you the first senior third engineer on board the "Lusitania"?
- I was.

1445. Shortly after 2 o'clock on the 7th May, I think, you were walking up and down the port side of C deck?
- I was.

1446. Did you hear an explosion?
- I heard an explosion.

1447. Did you then go about among the passengers trying to reassure them?
- There were quite a number of second cabin passengers on the same deck at the time, and there was great excitement caused through the explosion, and I tried to pacify the people as best I could for the time being.

1448. Some time after that did you hear the sound of a second explosion?
- I heard the sound of a second explosion.

1449. Could you tell me where that second explosion occurred? -I could not exactly tell you where it occurred, but it must have been nearer to me than the first one, because where I was standing there was a thermo tank and a piece of the thermo tank flew off and dropped at my feet after the second explosion.

1450. Where were you standing?
- Just abaft the engineers' quarters.

1451. Would that be where the main mast comes down?
- Just exactly the place where the main mast comes down.

1452. In your opinion did the explosion occur just about there?
- It was forward of that, because a piece of the tank flew off.

1453. The Commissioner: What was the interval between the two explosions?
- I should say about a minute or a couple of minutes, from what I can gather.

1454. Mr. Branson: Then I think you assisted people to get lifebelts on?
- I did.

1455. And finally you went into the water as the ship went down?
- I walked down the port side in nearly an upright position.

1456. And you were rescued by getting on to a tank and being picked up?
- I was holding on to a small tank out of one of the lifeboats.

1457. When were you last in the engine room?
- 12 o'clock noon.

1458. Can you tell us what was the condition of the bulkhead doors at that time?
- We were slowed down, through hazy weather, from 8.26 (I reported on the Engineers' log) till ¼ to 12, and we had to close all doors possible during hazy weather, by the orders of the Chief Engineer.

1459. Were all the doors possible closed?
- All the doors possible were closed.

Examined by Mr. MACMASTER.

1460. I understand you were instrumental in saving some of the passengers?
- I was.

1461. You rescued a lady, I think?
- A Mrs. Adams of Bristol, I found out.

1462. I see, from the draft of the questions submitted to you, that you rescued a Canadian lady. Perhaps you will be kind enough to tell me her name?
- The Canadian lady was Mrs. Adams. There was another lady and a gentleman on the tank, but the gentleman died from exposure, and the lady got hysterical and we lost her too.

Examined by Mr. CLEM EDWARDS.

1463. I think you told my friend that all the watertight doors it was possible to close were closed?
- That is so.

1464. Were there any that it was not possible to close?
- No, we cannot close them on account of working the ship.

1465. I am afraid you did not quite understand my question. You say that all the watertight doors which it was possible to close were in fact closed?
- Yes, they were closed.

1466. Were there some doors which it was not possible to close?
- There were some doors, yes.

1467. What particular watertight doors were those?
- The hydraulic doors.

1468. In what position would those doors be?
- These doors I am referring to are in the engine room.

1469. The Commissioner: I understand you to say that they are doors which must be kept open in order to work the ship?
- Yes.

1470. Mr. Clem Edwards: That means that they are doors between the engine room proper and the stokehold. Is that right?
- There is only one door between the engine room proper and the stokehold in the engine room.

1471. Was that door closed or not closed?
- That door was closed.

1472. Now I want to get exactly what watertight doors were not closed?
- The doors leading into the different H.P. engine rooms were not closed.

1473. How many of those doors are there?
- Two.

1474. Were they closed at any time?
- They were not closed during my watch.

1475. And your watch lasted from what time till what time?
- From 8 till 12.

1476. And they were not closed then?
- They were not closed then.

1477. Where were you when the torpedo struck the ship?
- I was walking up and down on the port side by the engine room door.

1478. And immediately the torpedo struck her what did you do?
- I tried to pacify the passengers around me as best I could.

1479. You did not go into the engine room?
- Not at that moment.

1480. Did you go into the engine room later?
- When I went into the engine room I met the chief engineer coming out, and he told me I could do nothing down below, but I was to look after myself.

1481. So that you cannot say whether in fact these two watertight doors you have spoken of were closed or not?
- I cannot say.

1482. The Commissioner: Where are these two hydraulic doors worked from?
- From the bridge.

1483. Mr. Clem Edwards: Which deck were you on?
- C deck.

1484. Did you see any water?
- When I left the ship the water was coming over the starboard rail.

1485. That is when you got on to the side of the ship?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. BUTLER ASPINALL.

1486. With regard to these doors which were not shut, you have told my Lord that they are operated from the bridge?
- Yes, they are operated from the bridge.

1487. Has the officer on the bridge in front of him a little plan which enables him to see at once what doors down below are shut and what are open?
- Yes, he has an indicator on the bridge.

1488. So that he has information to tell him exactly which doors are shut and which are open?
- Yes.

(The witness withdrew.)