British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 3


Further examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL.

1629. I want to ask you with reference to what they call collapsible boats - Is that the right name?
- Yes, that is the right name.

1630. We know that they were on the deck fixed by skids?
- Yes. The skids were all loose. The upper boats held the skids down.

1631. Then when the upper boats were swung out, the skids remained?
- The skids remained, but that would not prevent the boat coming away.

1632. In addition to that were the boats on chocks?
- Yes, chocks underneath.

1633. Were those chocks fixed into the deck?
- No.

1634. Were they loose?
- They were loose.

1635. It is suggested to me that is not so, but if you say so -?
- I think those chocks were loose, but I would not be sure.

1636. The Commissioner: Please answer according to your knowledge. You told that gentleman that they were loose?
- Well, I think they were loose to allow the boats to slide across the deck.

1637. You think they were, but you do not know?
- I am not sure.

The Commissioner:
If they were not loose, how do you suggest they were fastened?

The Attorney-General:
By bolts into the deck.

The Commissioner:
Then there must be somebody who knows whether they were bolted to the deck.

1638. The Attorney-General: I have no doubt, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Did you remove the skids when you came into the danger zone?
- No.

1639. Or did you take any steps to render it more easy for these collapsible boats to slide automatically into the water?
- No.

1640. Ought not you to have done so?
- I do not think so.

1641. Of course at the time you were anticipating there might be torpedoes?
- We were.

1642. Did you consider the question of whether it would have been an advantage to the crew and passengers if these boats could readily get into the water?
- Yes, I considered that question, but it would have been dangerous to loosen them, because they would slide across the deck if the ship listed.

1643. At all events, your evidence is that it would not have been right to do as I suggest?
- I do not think so.

1644. As regards the boats that had the gripes, were the gripes loose?
- No, they had slip links to them. It would be easy to unfasten them.

1645. I only want to know, were they loose?
- I do not think so.

1646. Is there any practice on board of loosening and getting out these collapsible boats during the voyage?
- Not generally. We have it occasionally.

1647. Did you have it at all during this voyage?
- I do not think so.

1648. Did you provide during this voyage, which was a very special one, or had you any special practice for such a sudden matter arising as torpedoeing [sic]?
- None whatever further than using all precautions and giving special orders.

Mr. Clem Edwards:
My Lord, when Captain Turner was previously in the witness box, I had not had the advantage of looking at the questions which constitute the terms of reference. I should ask permission now to put one or two questions which are well within questions 14 and 15.

The Commissioner:
Anyway it really does not matter whether they are within the questions or not - if you think it desirable to put them you must put them.

Mr. Clem Edwards:
I am obliged to your Lordship.

Further Examined by Mr. CLEM EDWARDS.

1649. After the torpedo had struck the ship, how soon did you make up your mind that she was going down?
- About 10 minutes afterwards.

1650. For the first 10 minutes you thought she might float?
- I did.

1651. During those 10 minutes did you take any steps to have soundings made in any part of the ship?
- I told Captain Anderson to send word along to the carpenter to sound the ship at once.

1652. You heard what the carpenter has said; that he never took soundings and never got instructions to do so?
- I think he was quite right in what he did.

1653. You heard what he said to me a moment or two ago?
- I heard it and he was quite right.

1654. If it was dependent on the carpenter that soundings should be taken, it is perfectly clear that soundings were not taken?
- That I would not like to say.

The Commissioner:
Then I do not understand the question and I do not understand the answer. Will you put your question again. You began with "if" I think.

Mr. Clem Edwards:
I say if it was based on his previous answer. If the taking of soundings was dependent on the carpenter, it is perfectly clear from the reply which the carpenter gave to me that in fact no soundings were taken.

That is right.

1655. And did you after giving those instructions to Captain Anderson see Captain Anderson again?
- I did not see him again; he was busy with the boats.

1656. Did you give any instructions at all to see that the watertight doors were all closed?
- I gave that order in the morning, and it was reported to me that the order had been carried out.

1657. After the torpedo had struck the ship did you give any order at all with regard to the watertight doors?
-The watertight doors and stonelight [sic] doors were closed from the bridge immediately by Second Officer Heppert [sic].

1658. That was after the torpedo had struck?
- When the torpedo was coming. He had strict orders to do that from me if he saw anything of the kind coming.

1659. Do all the watertight doors close automatically from the bridge?
- No, only in the engine room.

1660. How are the other watertight doors closed?
- By hand.

1661. Did you give any instructions that those which are closed by hand should be closed after the torpedo had struck the ship?
- No, I did not. Orders were given in the morning to close all bulkhead doors as far as possible.

1662. If watertight doors can be closed by hand, watertight doors can be opened by hand, can they not?
- Naturally, if they are not jammed.

1663. And they were ordered to be closed in the morning on the off-chance that something might happen?
- That is right.

1664. Do not you think as the responsible officer of that ship, that when that something had happened there ought to have been definite instructions to go and see that all the watertight doors were closed?
- Orders had been given before that if anything did happen to see that they were closed.

1665. But you do not know whether the officer carried them out?
- I do not know, but I presume they were, from what Mr. Jones says.


1666. I want to ask you a question with regard to the number of boats on the deck. Since the report on the "Titanic" disaster, was the number of boats on the "Lusitania” greatly increased?
- They were increased I understand.

1667. You have no doubt about it?
- No.

1668. The added boats were put on the top deck in the main, were they not?
- Yes.

1669. Do you think that any inconvenience arose, in connection with the launching of the boats, from the crowding of the boats on that deck?
- None whatever. If we wanted to launch the lower boats we had only to run the tackles and get the first boat out first.

1670. In some cases the collapsible boats were placed underneath one of the ordinary boats?
- Yes.

1671. And in that case you would have your top boat off first before launching the second?
- Quite correct.

1672. The Commissioner: Do you think it has turned out to be an advantage that the number of boats has been increased since the "Titanic" inquiry?
- I do not know that it has.

Examined by Mr. THOMAS PRIEST.

1673. After you gave the first order for all persons to take to the boats, did you vary that order and say "all women and children out of the boats"?
- No, I did not. I said, "All women and children in the boats first." That is all I said, and I never contradicted my order.

1674. You did not?
- I did not.

(The Witness withdrew.)