British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 3


Examined by Mr. DUNLOP.

1675. Were you an able seaman and lamp trimmer on the "Lusitania”?
- Yes.

1676. During the voyage from New York did you take part in boat drill?
- Yes.

1677. At the time the "Lusitania” was struck where were you?
- In the baggage room.

1678. Did you go on deck?
- I was there with the boatswain's mate with 4 or 5 men of the watch, and I jumped into the lift and got upon deck.

1679. When you got up on deck did you notice anything in the water?
- Yes, I saw what appeared to me to be a torpedo that had missed the ship going away from the starboard quarter.

1680. What did you see in the water which led you to form that opinion?
- Well, the wash. I have seen torpedo work, and it was a torpedo that I saw going away from the ship. It just missed her by a few feet.

1681. And passed under the stern?
- Yes.

1682. From what direction?
- It must have been fired from the port side.

1683. From port to starboard?
- From port to starboard.

1684. Have you been in the Royal Naval Reserve?
- I have been in the Royal Navy.

1685. Have you any doubt at all that what you saw was a torpedo?
- None whatever.

1686. Where was your boat station?
- I was stationed at No. 14 boat.

1687 And that is on the port side?
- That is on the port side.

1688. We know that the torpedoes that struck her, struck the "Lusitania” on the starboard side?
- Yes.

1689. Is it your suggestion that there was a second submarine?
- I never felt but the one shock.

1690. You felt a shock?
- Yes.

1691. Was that a shock on the starboard side?
- Yes, the ship bodily lifted.

1692. But later on, you say, you say what appeared to be a torpedo crossing under the stern from port to starboa rd?
- Quite right.

1693. How long after the shock was it that you saw the torpedo which passed under the stern?
- The time that it would take me to bring the lift up from the baggage room.

1694. How long would that be?
- I suppose it would be about a minute.

1695. Do you know how your ship was heading when you saw the torpedo?
- No.

1696. Whether she had headed towards the land or not you do not know?
- I could not say.

The Commissioner:
I think there is some mistake about this.

The Attorney-General:
No, my Lord, the suggestion is that there was a second submarine that fired a torpedo that missed on the other side. He says he saw the torpedo pass under the stern.

The Commissioner:
I know he does, but we have heard nothing about it yet.

Mr. Butler Aspinall:
The Greek witness did mention something about it, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
Yes, but there was a question about the ship having turned round. The impression I gathered was that the ship had turned round and that the torpedo probably came from the same submarine.

Mr. Butler Aspinall:
No, my Lord; with respect, I did not gather that. What I gathered was this. Here is the "Lusitania," and your Lordship is sitting as it were on the coast of Ireland. She is struck on the starboard side. The Greek gentleman appreciated that and ran along the port side, and whilst running along the port side somewhere out on the port beam he saw what he thought the periscope of a submarine. Dur ing the period of time between the shock and the seeing by him of what he thought was the periscope, the ship had been turning, but she was turning in that way, under the starboard helm, so that that would not account for this submarine being found on that side (describing).

1697. Mr. Dunlop: (To the Witness.) Did you see the wake of the torpedo across your stern?
- Yes.

1698. Have you any doubt at all that what you saw was a torpedo?
- None whatever.

The Commissioner:
I want to be clear. Was this the second explosion?

The Attorney-General:
No, this one did not strike the ship, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
There were two explosions from the starboard side?

The Attorney-General:

The Commissioner:
And then another explosion?

The Attorney-General:
The witness says this one did not strike the ship, but passed under the stern?


1699. Mr. Dunlop: As I understand, the torpedo, you say, missed you by a few feet by passing under your stern?
- Yes.

1700. Did you go to your boat station?
- Yes, I had a job to get there. I could not get on the port side at all.

1701. On account of the list?
- On account of the list and the people being on that side.

1702. Then did you go to a boat on the starboard side?
- I went to the opposite number boat to the boat I belong to.

1703. Did you assist with the boats?
- I helped clear one away.

1704. Did you succeed in filling a boat and lowering it and getting it safely away?
- Yes.

1705. Did you go on one of the boats yourself?
- Yes.

1706. And did you get safely away in your boat?
- Yes.

1707. When you were in the water with your boat did you pick up other passengers who were in the water?
- Yes.

1708. And were you afterwards picked up by a tug?
- Yes.


1709. You say that the torpedo which you saw passed under the stern of the ship?
- Yes.

1710. The Commissioner: What was your rating in the Royal Navy?
- Second class petty officer, seaman gunner and torpedo.

1711. Mr. Macmaster: Do you mean it actually passed under the stern of the ship or astern of the ship?
- It passed astern of the ship from port to starboard.

1712. You do not pretend to say it actually passed under the keel of the ship?
- No.

(The Witness withdrew.)