United States Senate Inquiry

Day 18

Affidavit of James R. McGough

I, James R. McGough, do depose and say that I was a passenger on the steamship Titanic on Sunday, April 14, 1912, the time of the disaster; that I live in Philadelphia, Pa.; that I am 36 years of age; and I hereby make the following statement: I was awakened at 11.40 p.m., ship time; my stateroom was on the starboard side - deck E - and was shared with me by Mr. Flynn, a buyer for Gimbel Bros., New York, at Thirty-third and Broadway. Soon after leaving our stateroom we came in contact with the second dining-room steward, Mr. Dodd, in the companionway, of whom we asked the question, "Is there any danger?" and he answered, "Not in the least," and suggested that we go back to bed, which we did not, however, do.

It was our intention to go up on the promenade deck, but before doing so I rapped on the door of the stateroom opposite mine, which was occupied by a lady, and suggested to her that she had better get up at once and dress as there was apparently something wrong.

Mr. Flynn and I then ascended to promenade deck A, and after being up there about 10 minutes were notified to put on life preservers as a matter of precaution. We then had to go all the way from promenade deck back to our stateroom, which was on E deck. After procuring our life preservers we went back again to the top deck, and after reaching there discovered that orders had been given to launch the lifeboats, and that they were already being launched at that time.

They called for the women and children to board the boats first. Both women and men, however, hesitated, and did not feel inclined to get into the small boats, thinking the larger boat was the safer. I had my back turned looking in the opposite direction at that time and was caught by the shoulder by one of the officers, who gave me a push, saying, "Here, you are a big fellow; get into the boat."

Our boat was launched with 28 people; we, however, transferred 5 from one of the other boats after we were out in the ocean, which as some time after the ship went down.

When our lifeboats left the vessel, we were directed to row away a short distance from the large boat, feeling it would be but a short time until we would be taken back on the Titanic. We then rested on our oars; but after realizing that the Titanic was really sinking, we rowed away for about half a mile, being afraid that the suction would draw us down.

Although there were several of us wanted drinking water, it was unknown to us that there was a tank of water and also some crackers in our boat, having no light on our boat; and we did not discover this fact - that is, as to the tank of water - until after reaching the Carpathia.

The following questions are asked by Mr. O'Donnell:

Q. Do you know anything about the wireless? - A. No.

Q. Did you see the captain at any time after being awakened? - A. No.

Q. Did you see any neglect of duty by the crew at the offset? - A. No; they were all calm and apparently well disciplined: there was no panic at all.

Q. Have you any complaint to make in regards to the officers or crew? - A. No.

Q. Did you see any other ships or lights? - A. I saw lights but was told they were from our own life-saving boats.

Q. Did you hear any guns or revolvers fired - A. No.

Q. Which side of the ship were you on? - A. Starboard side.

Q. Did you see any one drunk, or drinking, on the Titanic during your voyage? - A. I saw no one drunk.

Q. How fast was the Titanic going at the time of the accident? - A. I do not know.

Q. Did you see Ismay at any time after you awakened? - A. No.

Q. Did you see any ice? - A. Not until the next morning. as I had gone bed at 10 o'clock and was asleep.

Q. Did you hear any groans or moaning after you got into the lifeboat? - A. Yes.

Q. Do you think if the crew on the lifeboat had gone back they could have picked up some of the passengers who were in the water? - A. I could not say; but some of the women passengers objected to our making the effort.

Q. Did the captain or officers tell the steward to call the passengers on one side only, and what was the purpose? - A. I do not know.

Q. State further anything else you know? - A. The above is a complete statement from the time of the accident until the time I got on board the Carpathia.

Q. Were you fully dressed? - A. I was fully dressed.

It is hereby certified that the within statement is true and correct, to the best of my knowledge and belief.


Subscribed and sworn before me this 1st day of May; A. D. 1912.

Chief Deputy United States Marshal.