United States Senate Inquiry

Day 7

Testimony of Samuel Hemming

Senator SMITH.
Where? In what direction? Toward the Titanic?

Mr. HEMMING.
We were moving around, constantly, sir. Sometimes the stern of the boat would be toward the Titanic, and sometimes the bow of the boat would be toward the Titanic. One moment we would be facing one way, and a few moments later we would be facing another way; first the bow, and then the stern toward the ship.

Senator SMITH.
What did you hang around for?

Mr. HEMMING.
We did not know what to do.

Senator SMITH.
Did you pick up any more people in the water?

Mr. HEMMING.
Not from the water; no, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did these people that you picked up all live until you reached the Carpathia?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How many died?

Mr. HEMMING.
Two.

Senator SMITH.
Which two?

Mr. HEMMING.
Lyons and - I do not know whether it was a steward or a fireman - one more man besides Lyons.

Senator SMITH.
Did the rest all live?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes.

Senator SMITH.
How long did you lay by at that time - after you picked these seven people out of the water?

Mr. HEMMING.
Not long, sir. We made for a light.

Senator SMITH.
You saw a light?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes; one of the boats' lights.

Senator SMITH.
You mean a lifeboat light?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Proceed.

Mr. HEMMING.
We pulled toward them and got together, and we picked up another boat and kept in her company. Then day broke and we saw two more boats.

Senator SMITH.
Lifeboats?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes. We pulled toward them and we all made fast by painters.

Senator SMITH.
How long did you remain in that condition?

Mr. HEMMING.
Then we heard some hollering going on and we saw some men standing on what we thought was ice.

Senator SMITH.
How far away?

Mr. HEMMING.
Half a mile, as nearly as I can judge.

Senator SMITH.
How many men?

Mr. HEMMING.
A good few seemed to be standing there.

Senator SMITH.
Give me the number approximately. About how many?

Mr. HEMMING.
Twenty, I should think.

Senator SMITH.
Standing on this field of ice?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir; standing on what we thought was ice.

Senator SMITH.
What did you do then?

Mr. HEMMING.
Two boats cast off - us and another boat cast off - and pulled to them, and took them in our two boats.

Senator SMITH.
Where did you find them?

Mr. HEMMING.
On the bottom of this upturned boat.

Senator SMITH.
Did you take all of the people that were on the upturned boat into your boat?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir; in the two boats.

Senator SMITH.
You took them into the two boats?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How many were there altogether?

Mr. HEMMING.
I could not say, sir. I guess about 20, I should say, stood up on the boat.

Senator SMITH.
Were they standing up, or were they sitting down?

Mr. HEMMING.
They were standing up, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What did you do? Did you take on a portion of them into the boat you were in, and the other portion in others?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Who was the officer in charge of the boat that helped you in this?

Mr. HEMMING.
There was no officer, sir; a seaman.

Senator SMITH.
What was his name?

Mr. HEMMING.
I think it was Poingdestre. I am not sure, but I think it was.

Senator SMITH.
Do you know what the number of the boat was?

Mr. HEMMING.
That I could not say, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did you see any officer in that boat?

Mr. HEMMING.
Mr. Lightoller was on the upturned boat.

Senator SMITH.
Second Officer Lightoller was on the upturned boat?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did he get into your boat?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir; the other one, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Do you remember Bride, the wireless operator of the Titanic?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir; I do not know the man, sir. If I saw him I should not know him.

Senator SMITH.
Did you get all these people into the two boats?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Were there any women among them?

Mr. HEMMING.
I do not think so, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Were there any children among them?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir; I do not think so.

Senator SMITH.
What did you do then?

Mr. HEMMING.
We pulled away. We went away a bit. Then we pulled up until we saw the Carpathia, and we pulled to the Carpathia.

Senator SMITH.
It was then daylight?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did you pull toward the Carpathia?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did all the people in your boat, then, live until they got on the Carpathia?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Were there any dead people on this upturned boat?

Mr. HEMMING.
I did not see them. I did not see one myself, but I heard there was one. However, I did not see him myself.

Senator SMITH.
You heard there was?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes; but I did not see him myself.

Senator SMITH.
You finally got along by the Carpathia?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes.

Senator SMITH.
Did you get all your passengers on board?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What did you do then?

Mr. HEMMING.
I went on board myself, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did you take the boat aboard?

Mr. HEMMING.
They did afterwards, sir, I believe. I did not. No, sir; our boat did not go aboard the Carpathia.

Senator SMITH.
When you saw this group of men standing on what you thought was ice, about a half a mile away, did you, at the same time, see ice?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did you see any icebergs that morning at all?

Mr. HEMMING.
Oh, yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How many?

Mr. HEMMING.
Three or four, sir, I think.

Senator SMITH.
Large icebergs?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir; not very large.

Senator SMITH.
How large?

Mr. HEMMING.
About a moderate size, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Give the size, as near as you can - the height above the water.

Mr. HEMMING.
I should think they would be 12 or 14 feet. Some more than that, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did you say 30 or 40 feet high?

Mr. HEMMING.
Twelve or fourteen feet, I say; somewhat more than that.

Senator SMITH.
And there were a number of them?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did you see any field ice?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How much of that?

Mr. HEMMING.
A lot of it.

Senator SMITH.
Miles of it?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How many miles?

Mr. HEMMING.
It extended right across, as far I could see, sir.

Senator SMITH.
I believe you said you had been opposite the Great Banks of Newfoundland before?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
On the Olympic?

Mr. HEMMING.
On the Olympic and on the Adriatic.

Senator SMITH.
And on the Adriatic?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir; and on the Teutonic.

Senator SMITH.
But your duties did not require you to be on deck, did they?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
As a lamp trimmer, you had duties that required you to be in a room below, or somewhere?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
When you looked on the starboard side and saw it all black, did you, after that, go back to the bridge?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir; I was on the bridge, actually on the bridge, then.

Senator SMITH.
You were on the bridge, then?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir; I was on a side of the bridge.

Senator SMITH.
Did you see the captain?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir; not then.

Senator SMITH.
Did you see him at any time on the bridge?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
When?

Mr. HEMMING.
The last time I saw the captain, sir, was just as I was coming down off the house.

Senator SMITH.
Just as you came down from the house? You mean by that the top of the officers' quarters?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Where this collapsible boat was?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
You saw what?

Mr. HEMMING.
The captain was there, and he sung out: "Everyone over to the starboard side, to keep the ship up as long as possible."

Senator SMITH.
He meant by that to have the people all move to the starboard side?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Were there many people on the boat deck at that time?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How many?

Mr. HEMMING.
I could not tell you; a good many.

Senator SMITH.
Several hundred?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir; I should not think it would amount to several hundred. It amounted to just one or two.

Senator SMITH.
It amounted to one or two hundred?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Men and women?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir; there were no women.

Senator SMITH.
There were no women there?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir; I did not see any women then.

Senator SMITH.
How long was this before the boat went down?

Mr. HEMMING.
It was some little time.

Senator SMITH.
How long was it before you slipped into the water?

Mr. HEMMING.
About a quarter of an hour, I should think, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Was anyone with the captain?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir; he was by himself when I saw him last.

Senator SMITH.
And at that time did you have a life preserver on?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did you have one on at all?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Do you mean to tell me that you swam from the Titanic two or three hundred yards?

Mr. HEMMING.
Two hundred yards, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Two hundred yards without a life preserver on?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Was the water cold?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir; it was cold, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did you suffer from the cold?

Mr. HEMMING.
It made my feet and hands sore, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Why did you not put a life preserver on?

Mr. HEMMING.
After I got out of my room I never got back into my room again, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did other people have life preservers on?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes.

Senator SMITH.
Did you see any people without life preservers?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir; I saw the boatswain. the last time I saw the boatswain he did not have one on.

Senator SMITH.
Mr. Hemming, you did not have any part, yourself, in either loading or lowering the lifeboats on either side of the ship?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
You stood by lifeboat No. 4, ready to help, when you were ordered by the captain to get your lamps?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And you went about that business?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And brought the lamps back?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
At that time, several of the lifeboats had gone?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And you put lamps into the others?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
On the starboard side?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir; on the starboard side.

Senator SMITH.
Did you put the lamps into the lifeboats on the port side?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir; one or two.

Senator SMITH.
You put all the lamps into the boats that were put into the boats?

Mr. HEMMING.
I passed them all in, myself.

Senator SMITH.
Were these the lifeboat lamps, or the ship's lamps?

Mr. HEMMING.
They were the boat lamps.

Senator SMITH.
What sort of a lamp was it?

Mr. HEMMING.
It was a square lamp.

Senator SMITH.
How big was that lamp?

Mr. HEMMING.
About that high and that square.

Senator SMITH.
About 10 inches high?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes; about that high.

Senator SMITH.
And about 6 inches square? Was it square or round?

Mr. HEMMING.
It was square, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What kind of oil did you burn in those lamps?

Mr. HEMMING.
Colza oil.

Senator SMITH.
Did you take into your boat from this overturned boat, that was floating bottom side up with these people standing on it, half the persons from that boat?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How many did you take?

Mr. HEMMING.
I think it was about four or five.

Senator SMITH.
And the balance of them went into the other boat?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
You do not remember the number of the other boat?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And you do not remember who it was that was in charge of it?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir; I think it was Poindestre.

Senator SMITH.
But it was the boat that Mr. Lightoller, the second officer, got into?

Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Can you think of anything else in connection with this disaster that you care to speak of?

Mr. HEMMING.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How many of the ship's handy lamps did you have?

Mr. HEMMING.
We had no handy lamps. Every lamp that we had was supplied for a certain purpose. We had none outside of that.

Senator SMITH.
From what you say, I gather the impression that the lifeboat lamps were all carried in the lamp room, and not in the lifeboats?

Mr. HEMMING.
That is right, sir.

Senator SMITH.
You are sure about that?

Mr. HEMMING.
I am sure, sir. They were all in the lamp room. There was a special compartment in the lamp room to keep them in.

Senator SMITH.
I think that is all I have to ask you.

(Witness Excused.)