United States Senate Inquiry

Day 1

Testimony of Harold T. Cottam, cont.

1650. How far had you gotten along in your arrangements to retire?
- Well, I was about to retire.

1651. Had you disrobed - taken all your clothes?
- No, sir.

1652. Had you taken off your shoes?
- No, sir.

1653. Had you taken off any of your clothing?
- I had my coat off.

1654. When you took your coat off, did you have any instruments attached to your head?
- Yes, sir.

1655. What?
- Telephones.

1656. How did you happen to leave that on?
- I was waiting for the Parisian.

1657. How long would you have waited; just long enough to undress?
- I would have waited a couple of minutes. I had just called the Parisian and was waiting for a reply, if there was one.

1658. And you had just called her?
- Yes.

1659. And you did not know whether she had gotten it or not?
- No, sir.

1660. And you were waiting for an acknowledgement?
- Yes, sir.

1661. So you kept this telephone on your ears, on your head?
- Yes, sir.

1662. On your head?
- Yes.

1663. With the hope that before you got into bed you might have your message confirmed?
- Yes, sir.

1664. Was that what you had in mind?
- Yes, sir.

1665. What did you hear at that time?
- I heard nothing, sir.

1666. How soon? You heard something pretty quick, did you not?
- No, sir; I went back onto Cape Cod again.

1667. And still left this apparatus on?
- Yes, sir.

1668. Did you send a message to Cape Cod?
- No, sir.

1669. Did Cape Cod send a message to you?
- No, sir.

1670. Then, as a matter of fact, you did not get back to Cape Cod?
- Yes, sir.

1671. How?
- They were sending it for the trans-Atlantic two-man ships. They were sending the news to the senior ships.

1672. Where?
- These ships that contribute to the Marconi press.

1673. An intermediate communication, intermediate station?
- No, sir; Cape Cod, which is the Atlantic station.

1674. You got into communication?
- Yes, sir.

1675. With one of the Marconi stations?
- I did not establish it. I was receiving the press communications from Cape Cod.

1676. While you were undressing there?
- I was not undressing.

1677. After you had taken off your coat?
- Yes, sir.

1678. And then did you sit down to your instrument?
- Yes, sir.

1679. And received this message?
- I received about four.

1680. In how many minutes?
- About seven or eight minutes.

1681. You received four in seven or eight minutes?
- Yes, sir.

1682. Did that include anything from the Parisian?
- No, sir.

1683. Simply this Cape Cod relay service?
- . Yes, sir; sending messages for the Titanic. I was taking the messages down with the hope of re-transmitting them the following morning.

1684. Let us understand that a little. When did you first know anything about the Titanic?
- I had had communication with her late in the afternoon, half-past 5 or 6.

1685. A stray communication, or one addressed to the Carpathia?
- One addressed to the Carpathia.

1686. What did it say?
- It was a message for one of our passengers aboard.

1687. For whom?
- Mrs. Marshal.

1688. A commercial message, an official message?
- A commercial message.

1689. So that was the only message you received from the Titanic in the afternoon. Was the message answered?
- Yes, sir.

1690. Do you know anything about how far you were from her at that time?
- No, sir.

1691. Have you no means of knowing?
- No, sir.

1692. After you got through with this regular business, then what did you do?
- I called the Titanic.

1693. You called the Titanic yourself?
- Yes, sir.

1694. Who told you to do it?
- I did it of my own free will.

1695. You did it of your own accord?
- Yes, sir.

1696. What did you say?
- I asked him if he was aware that Cape Cod was sending a batch of messages for him.

1697. And did they reply?
- Yes, sir.

1698. What did they say?
- "Come at once."

1699. Did you gather from that that they had received your communication?
- Yes, sir.

1700. And this was the reply?
- He said, "Come at once. It is a distress message; C. Q. D."

1701. Only the three words were used?
- No, sir, all the lot. The whole message was for me.

1702. When you received that message, what did you do?
- I confirmed it by asking him if I was to report it to the captain.

1703. Before you reported to the captain you asked him if you were to report it to the captain?
- Yes, sir.

1704. Did you get an answer?
- Yes, sir.

1705. What did it say?
- It said, "Yes."

1706. How did you happen to confirm it?
- By asking him if -

1707 (Senator Smith - interrupting.) I know, but what prompted you to confirm it before you delivered it to the captain?
- Because it is always wise to confirm a message of that description.

1708. Do you always do it?
- Yes, sir.

1709. Are you instructed to do it?
- No, sir.

1710. Or is that a matter of discretion?
- It is a matter of discretion.

1711. Had you been misled by messages that were without foundation that prompted you to confirm that message?
- No, sir.

1712. What would you have done if you had not received any confirmation?
- I should have reported the communication.

1713. You would have reported it to the captain?
- Yes, sir.

1714. How much time elapsed between the time when you received that distress call and the time you communicated it to the captain?
- A matter of a couple of minutes.

1715. Only a couple of minutes?
- Yes, sir.

1716. Did you send any messages after that to the Titanic?
- Yes, sir.

1717. For whom?
- For the Titanic.

1718. At the instance of the captain?
- Yes, sir.

1719. What messages?
- Our position.

1720. What did you say?
- I simply sent him our position.

1721. Can you state it to the reporter?
- I can not remember what the position was now.

1722. You can not remember it?
- No, sir.

1723. But you gave the position of your ship, its longitude; is that the idea?
- Yes, sir.

1724. And you did that at the suggestion of the captain?
- Yes, sir.

1725. Did he write out a formal message for you?
- No, sir.

1726. He told you?
- Yes, sir.

1727. And you sent it?
- Yes, sir; he wrote the position out on a little slip of paper.

1728. And you sent that?
- Yes, sir.

1729. Did you get any reply to that?
- Yes, sir.

1730. How long afterwards?
- Immediately, sir.

1731. Signed by anyone?
- No, sir.

1732. What did it say?
- It simply gave me "Received."

1733. Is that all?
- Yes, sir.

1734. Signed by the operator or signed by anybody?
- No, sir.

1735. When did you next hear from the Titanic, or communicate with her?
- About four minutes afterwards.

1736. Did you communicate with her, or she with you?
- We communicated with each other.

1737. Who sent the first message?
- I did.

1738. Four minutes after this last message giving your position?
- Yes, sir.

1739. You sent another?
- Yes.

1740. What did you say in that?
- Confirmed both positions, that of the Titanic and ours.

1741. Did you get anything back from that?
- No, sir; only an acknowledgment.

1742. What did it say?
- "All right."

1743. When did you next communicate or receive a communication?
- A few minutes afterwards.

1744. How many minutes?
- I could not say, sir, because there was another ship calling the Titanic.

1745. How do you know?
- Because I heard it.

1746. What did you hear?
- I heard him calling the Titanic.

1747. I understand, but what was said?
- There was nothing but the call, sir.

1748. A distress call?
- No, sir.

1749. Do you know what boat it was?
- The Frankfurt.

1750. A North German Lloyd boat?
- I do not know whether it is the North German Lloyd. It is some German line; I do not know which one.

1751. You heard this call?
- Yes.

1752. The German boat was calling the Titanic?
- Yes, sir.

1753. And did that disarrange your signals?
- No, sir.

1754. But after that call was finished, then what did you get, if anything?
- I heard the Olympic calling the Titanic.

1755. Did you hear the Titanic calling the Olympic?
- No, sir; not at first.

1756. But you heard the Olympic calling the Titanic?
- Yes, sir.

1757. What did the Olympic say?
- He was calling him and offering a service message.

1758. Offering their service?
- Offering a service message.

1759. Offering a service message?
- Yes.

1760. Then what followed?
- Nothing, for about a half a minute. Everything was quiet.

1761. Nothing for about half a minute?
- Yes.

1762. By this time you were quite alert to the situation, were you?
- Yes.

1763. Is that right?
- Yes.

1764. After this minute, then what?
- I asked the Titanic if he was aware that the Olympic was calling him, sir.

1765. What was the reply?
- He said he was not.

1766. He was not aware of it?
- No, sir.

1767. Then what followed?
- He told me he could not read him because the rush of air and the escape of steam;

1768. That he could not read him?
- That he could not read him; yes, sir.

1769. Could not read what?
- The Olympic.

1770. That he could not read the message from the Olympic because of the rush of air?
- Yes, sir.

1771. And the escape of steam?
- Yes, sir.

1772. What was the next thing you heard?
- Then the Titanic called the Olympic.

1773. Was there anything urgent about that or anything related to the Titanic?
- No, sir.

1774. What did you do then?
- I told the Titanic to call the Baltic.

1775. What followed?
- The communication was apparently unsatisfactory.

1776. It was apparently unsatisfactory?
- Yes.

1777. Well, go right ahead and tell us just what occurred as long as you were aboard that ship doing work to the time of the rescue of these people.
- I was in communication at regular intervals the whole of the time until the last communication gained with the Titanic.

1778. You heard that?
- Yes, sir.

1779. What was said in that message?
- He told him to come at once; that he was head down. And he sent his position.

1780. And do you know whether he got any reply to that message?
- Yes, sir.

1781. What was it?
- "Received." He told him the message was received.

1782. Is that all?
- Yes, sir.

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