United States Senate Inquiry

Day 11

Testimony of Joseph B. Ismay, cont.

Senator SMITH.
From your experience in building ships or in authorizing their construction, and from your knowledge of that profession or trade, would you regard a collision on a bulkhead, opening two compartments, as the most serious damage she was likely to encounter.

Mr. ISMAY.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And you accordingly provided against that?

Mr. ISMAY.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
There has been considerable confusion about the cost of the Titanic. I will take the liberty of asking you to state it.

Mr. ISMAY.
She cost $7,500,000 sir.

Senator SMITH.
And for how much was she insured?

Mr. ISMAY.
For $5,000,000, I understand, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did you have anything to do with the insurance?

Mr. ISMAY.
No; very little. That is done in New York; that is dealt with and handled in New York.

Senator SMITH.
I will ask you whether you know of any attempt being made to reinsure any part of the vessel on Monday, the 14th of April?

Mr. ISMAY.
Absolutely none, sir; and I can not imagine anybody connected with the International Mercantile Marine Co. endeavoring to do such a dishonorable thing.

Senator SMITH.
I do not want you to understand me to assert that it was attempted.

Mr. ISMAY.
I know, sir; but it is such a horrible accusation to have been made.

Senator SMITH.
You would regard it as a very dishonorable thing to do?

Mr. ISMAY.
It would have been taking advantage of private knowledge which was in my possession; yes, sir. Yes, sir; I should so regard it.

Senator SMITH.
Was the knowledge of the sinking of the Titanic that was in your possession communicated by you to your company in Liverpool or to your offices in New York on the journey from the place of the collision to New York?

Mr. ISMAY.
Yes, sir. I sent the message on Monday morning, very shortly after I got on board the Carpathia. The captain came down to me and said, "Don't you think, sir, you had better send a message to New York, telling them about this accident?" I said, "Yes." I wrote it out on a slip of paper, and I turned to the commander of the Carpathia and I said, "Captain, do you think that is all I can tell them?" He said, "Yes." Then he took it away from the room.

I have a copy here, sir; of every Marconi message which I sent away from the Carpathia. I had no communication with any other ship, and there is a record of every message which I received.

Senator SMITH.
Please read them. This is over your own signature, or your cipher or the cipher or code of your company?

Mr. ISMAY.
This is a copy of every message that I sent away from the Carpathia. I do not think I have them exactly in the right order, because I put no dates on them; but I have the date here that they were received by Mr. Franklin.

The first message I sent was on April 15, which was on Monday morning.

Senator SMITH.
At what hour?

Mr. ISMAY.
I have not got the hour, sir, but I should think it was about 8 o'clock.

Senator SMITH.
You say that shortly after you boarded the Carpathia you sent this message?

Mr. ISMAY.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
You boarded the Carpathia about sunrise?

Mr. ISMAY.
I think that I boarded the ship Carpathia at a quarter to 6 or a quarter past 6.

Senator SMITH.
Ship's time?

Mr. ISMAY.
Yes. I happened to see a clock somewhere on the ship when I got on her.

Senator SMITH.
Ship's time?

Mr. ISMAY.
Yes.

This is the message I sent, which was received by Mr. Franklin on the 17th of April, 1912. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that I sent the message on the 15th of April, and it did not reach Mr. Franklin until the 17th of April.

Senator SMITH.
How are you able to say that, Mr. Ismay?

Mr. ISMAY.
Mr. Franklin has told me so.

Senator SMITH.
But of your own knowledge you do not know it?

Mr. ISMAY.
No, sir.

Mr. FRANKLIN.
The original telegram is there, Senator Smith, with the stamp of the company on the back of it.

Mr. ISMAY.
I think you have the originals of all of these.

Senator SMITH.
They are not in evidence?

Mr. ISMAY.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
They were introduced in bulk, were they not?

Mr. FRANKLIN.
That particular telegram was read in evidence the first day in Washington, and is in your possession. It was read yesterday a week ago here in Washington, and the telegram is in your possession, with the telegraph company's stamp on it, with the date.

Senator SMITH.
It will not take long, and I think I would like to have you read them, inasmuch as they came from you.

Mr. ISMAY.
Yes, sir; I will do so.

This is a message I sent on April 15:

Deeply regret advise you Titanic sank this morning after collision iceberg, resulting serious loss life. Full particulars later.

That message was signed "Bruce Ismay."

The next one I sent, but I do not know the date of it, but presumably it was received by Mr. Franklin on the 17th of April at 9 a.m. I wired:

Very important you should hold Cedric daylight Friday for Titanic's crew. Answer.

YAMSI.

This is a message sent by Mr. Franklin to me on April 17, 1912, at 3:30 p.m.:

So thankful you are saved, but grieving with you over terrible calamity. Shall sail Saturday to return with you.

Florence.

That was from my wife, and was forwarded to me by Mr. Franklin, who said:

Accept my deepest sympathy horrible catastrophe. Will meet you aboard Carpathiaafter docking. Is Widener aboard?

Senator SMITH.
Who signed that?

Mr. ISMAY.
That was signed "Franklin."

This is a message I sent. I have not the date of it, but it was received by Mr. Franklin on April 17, 1912 at 5:20 p.m.:

Most desirable Titanic crew aboard Carpathia should be returned home earliest moment possible. Suggest you hold Cedric, sailing her daylight Friday, unless you see any reason contrary. Propose returning in her myself. Please send outfit of clothes, including shoes, for me to Cedric. Have nothing of my own. Please reply.

YAMSI.

This is a message I received from Mr. Franklin, which was dispatched by wire on the 17th of April, 1912 at 8 p.m.:

Have arranged forward crew Lapland sailing Saturday, calling Plymouth. We all consider most unwise delay Cedric considering all circumstances.

FRANKLIN.

This is a message I sent -

Senator SMITH. (interposing)
What time was that last message?

Mr. ISMAY.
Mr. Franklin sent that at 8 p.m., April 17. I have no record of the time I received them.

Senator SMITH.
That was Wednesday evening?

Mr. ISMAY.
Wednesday.

Senator SMITH.
At 8 p.m.?

Mr. ISMAY.
Yes, sir.

I sent a message which was received by Mr. Franklin on the 18th of April, at 5:35 a.m., as follows:

Send responsible ship officer and 14 White Star sailors in two tugboats to take charge of 13 Titanic boats, at quarantine.

YAMSI.

That message I sent at the request of the captain of the Carpathia, who told him it would be impossible to dock the ship with these lifeboats on deck. He was all hampered up, and would not be able to handle his ropes and what not. I drew up that message and showed it to the captain and asked if that would answer the purpose, and he said "Yes," and I gave it to him, and he sent it, I presume.

I telegraphed Mr. Franklin, or marconied him, and he received it on the 18th of April, 1912, at 5:35 a.m.:

Please join Carpathia at quarantine if possible.

I sent a further message, which Mr. Franklin received on April 18, 1912, at 8 a.m., as follows:

Very important you should hold Cedric daylight Friday for Titanic crew. Reply.

YAMSI.

I sent a further message, which was received by Mr. Franklin on April 18, 1912, at 8:23 a.m.:

Think most unwise keep Titanic crew until Saturday. Strongly urge detain Cedricsailing her midnight, if desirable.

I sent another message, which was received by Mr. Franklin on April 18, 1912, at 8:44 a.m.:

Unless you have good and sufficient reason for not holding Cedric, please arrange do so. Most undesirable have crew New York so long.

This is a message which Mr. Franklin dispatched to me on the 18th of April, 1912, at 4:45 p.m., and which I received when the Carpathia got alongside the dock in New York, which was handed to me in the room:

Concise Marconigram account of actual accident greatly needed for enlightenment public and ourselves. This most important.

FRANKLIN.

Senator SMITH.
What time was that?

Mr. ISMAY.
It was sent by Mr. Franklin on the 18th of April, at 4:45 p.m.

Senator SMITH.
That was the day you reached New York?

Mr. ISMAY.
I received it, I presume, about 9 o'clock that night, when we were alongside the dock.

Then I sent this message to Mr. Franklin, which he received on April 18, 1912, at 5:38 p.m.:

Widener not aboard. Hope see you quarantine. Please cable wife am returning Cedric.

YAMSI.

That is a copy of every message I sent and every message I received and I had absolutely no communication with any other ship or any shore station, or with anyone.

Senator SMITH.
Judging from the messages, it was your intention to return the night you landed, if possible, to Liverpool?

Mr. ISMAY.
Yes, sir. At that time, you understand, I had not the slightest idea there was going to be any investigation of this sort.

Senator SMITH.
When did you first learn of the investigation?

Mr. ISMAY.
Five minutes before I saw you, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Who informed you?

Mr. ISMAY.
Mr. Franklin. I think you came on board the ship with him, did you not, or about the same time?

Senator SMITH.
I followed very shortly.

Mr. ISMAY.
That is the first information I had that there was going to be any investigation.

Senator SMITH.
The committee has before it a special number of The Shipbuilder, volume 6, midsummer, 1911. This, presumably, has been examined by your engineer.

Do you know whether the committee can accept this article as a correct general description of the Titanic?

Mr. ISMAY.
I can not say, sir.

Senator SMITH.
You are not yourself personally familiar with it?

Mr. ISMAY.
No, sir. We will be pleased to give you any drawings which you may wish to have of any part of the ship. Any information you want is absolutely at your disposal, if you will simply give us an indication of what you want - all drawings and plans, and in every incidental and detail.

Senator SMITH.
Some little confusion has arisen over your statement in your testimony as to the number of revolutions made by the Titanic. I understood you to say that at certain times she made 70 revolutions, at another time 75, and finally, 80. Am I incorrect?

Mr. ISMAY.
Yes, sir; I do not think I said that. If I did, I had no intention of doing so.

Senator SMITH.
How would you wish to be understood on that matter?

Mr. ISMAY.
My recollection is that between Southampton and Cherbourg we ran at 60 revolutions, from Cherbourg to Queenstown at 70 revolutions, and when we left Queenstown we were running at 72 revolutions, and I believe that the ship was worked up to 75 revolutions, but I really have no accurate knowledge of that.

Senator SMITH.
How many knots per hour would that indicate at her maximum speed?

Mr. ISMAY.
I could not tell you that, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How many knots per hour?

Mr. ISMAY.
The whole thing has been absolutely worked out.

Senator SMITH.
But you yourself are unable to answer.

Mr. ISMAY.
Yes; that has all been worked out, the speed of the ship has been worked out at a certain number of revolutions. Her speed would depend absolutely on the slip, as I understand.

Senator SMITH.
Was she running at her maximum speed at the time she was making 75 revolutions?

Mr. ISMAY.
No, sir. My understanding is, or I am told - because I really have no technical knowledge - that the engines were balanced, and would run their best, at 78 revolutions. They were built for 78 revolutions.

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