United States Senate Inquiry

Day 5

Testimony of Harold G. Lowe, cont.

6240. No; before you could obtain this position, did you first have to ascertain the speed of the ship?
- You are speaking of the 8 o'clock position, sir?

6241. Yes.
- Her speed from noon until we turned the corner was just a fraction under 21 knots.

6242. You say you took your watch at 6 o'clock Sunday night?
- No.

6243. Do not misunderstand me. You went on duty from 6 o'clock to 8 o'clock that night?
- Oh, yes; that is quite right, sir.

6244. When were you on duty before that, on Sunday?
- From noon until 4 p. m.

6245. And off for two hours?
- Off for two hours; and then on again.

6246. You have fixed the position, or did fix the position, of that ship at 8 o'clock p. m.?
- At 8 p. m.; yes, sir.

6247. And you did report to the captain of the ship?
- Yes, sir.

6248. What speed did you use in getting the 8 p. m. position?
- I used the speed for the position at 8 o'clock, and got it by dividing the distance from noon to the corner by the time that had elapsed from noon until the time we were at time corner.

6249. Were you to fix the position accurately by taking the speed that was made by that ship at noon?
- Within a mile or two.

6250. Why did you not take the revolutions at 8 p. m.?
- Why should we take the revolutions?

6251. In order to be accurate.
- Do you mean to say you would be more accurate than I am?

6252. You are the man that is making the statement. I want to know whether you fixed the position of the ship at 8 o'clock Sunday night upon the speed of the ship at noon on Sunday or upon the speed of the ship at noon at the time you gave her position.
- You may be out just as much or mere by the revolutions as I am by the hour - that is, by dead reckoning, the way I ascertained the position of the ship at 8 p. m..

6253. In order to ascertain the ship's position accurately at 8 p. m. you must know her speed at 8 p. m., must you not?
- Her speed at 8 p. m.?

6254. Yes.
- If you take the average speed from 12 to 6 - that is giving her a run of six hours - she will not jump up in two hours, from 12 to 6 o'clock, from that average speed. You have six hours in there to take a mean on.

6255. Suppose the captain of your ship between the hours of 4 and 6 o'clock on Sunday, when you were off duty, had, because of information which had come to him from the steamship Californian, that he was in the vicinity of icebergs, ordered the ship to slow down, then would your point of figuring be accurate?
- He ordered the ship to slow down, you say?

Senator Smith:
No. I am not going to have you get confused. I will have the reporter read that question.

6256. (The reporter read the question as follows:)
"Suppose the captain of your ship, between the hours of 4 and 6 o'clock on Sunday, when you were off duty, had, because of information which had come to him from the steamship Californian that he was in the vicinity of icebergs, ordered the ship to slow down, then would your point of figuring be accurate?"
- The junior officer that I relieved would have passed on the word to me before I relieved him, before I relieved the ship.

6257. But you had means, had you not, of ascertaining definitely how fast the ship was going?
- In what way, sir? We have the log -

6258. (interposing). Between 6 and 8 o'clock.
- We have the log.

6259. I am not finding fault with you. Perhaps you were entirely right about it when you took the average speed of this ship that day or the maximum speed; but inasmuch you said she never had attained her maximum speed -
- (interrupting). No, sir; she never had.

6260. And inasmuch as you did not take the revolutions, I wondered whether you were strictly accurate when you defined the ship's position at 8 o'clock.
- As I told you, sir, we were working at our slip table, and that is a table based upon so many revolutions of engines and so much per cent slip; and you work that out, and that gives you so many miles per hour. This table extended from the rate of 30 revolutions a minute to the rate of 85 and from a percentage of 10 to 40 per cent slip; that is, minus. We were working it all out, and of course it was not finished.

6261. Let us see if we understand one another.

The position of the ship at 8 o'clock could be ascertained by astronomical observations and the speed the ship was going. Is that right?
- No, sir; you do not really need that. You only need that for dead reckoning position.

6262. That is what you said you gave.
- Yes; but we are speaking of observations now. Observations and dead reckonings are very different.

6263. If you I had your report here, the report you made to the captain, I would not be so particular about this, because I would accept your report, as the captain probably accepted it if you heard no complaint about it; but I have not got the report. The report is not available. Therefore, if you will tell just how you got it - or if you have told it all, I will desist. I will not press it any further.
- This is the only figuring that is required to get the speed (handing the chairman a paper).

6264. And you are able to say that the speed at that time was 21 knots?
- Twenty-one knots or under; it was really 20.95, about. If the speed had been increased or reduced during the interval when I was off duty, I would have been informed of it.

6265. It would have been very important that you should be informed of it?
- We are informed of all. Wherever there is an altering of the course, we say, "She is doing so and so, and so and so." "All right." Then you are relieved.

6266. I want to take you back just a moment to your statement that ordinarily that report would not be very valuable.
- What report is not; about altering the speed?

6267. No; about this 8 o'clock report you made.
- No, sir; under ordinary circumstances it would not be important.

6268. But, to provide accurate information should accident arise, that is part of the regulations and part of time duty?
- No. It is the White Star routine. The White Star Co. have regulations, just the same, in fact, as the Navy, and we all know exactly what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and where to do it. Everybody knows his business, and they do it. There is no hitch in anything.

6269. Did you ever see the captain again after that night at 8 o'clock?
- The last time I saw the captain was just after I got out of bed.

6270. What time?
- I do not know, sir, what time, but as near as I could judge it would be just before 12.

6271. After the accident?
- It must have been after the accident, because the impact did not waken me.

6272. What time did you retire?
- I went to bed at about anywhere between a quarter past 8 and half-past 8.

6273. Are you a temperate man?
- I am, sir. I never touched it in my life. I am an abstainer.

6274. I am very glad to have you say that.
- I say it, sir, without fear of contradiction.

6275. I am not contradicting you, and I congratulate you upon it; but so many stories have been circulated one has just been passed up to me now, from a reputable man, who says it was reported that you were drinking that night.
- Me, sir?

6276. That is the reason I asked the question. - No, sir, this (indicating a glass of water) is the strongest drink I ever take.

6277. That there might not be any misunderstanding about it, I asked that question. You retired at 8 o'clock that night?
- I was supposed to retire.

6278. You retired from your duty?
- I was relieved from the ship at 8 o'clock.

6279. Where was your room?
- My room?

6280. What deck?
- It was on the boat deck.

6281. The upper deck? Did it have a number?
- No, sir; it is labeled, "Fifth officer." There (indicating) is a plan that I drew. This (indicating) is the bridge here. That (indicating) is the wheelhouse, and this (indicating) is our chart room, and this (indicating) is the captain's apartment, and this (indicating) is where I lived, where it says "Fifth Officer."

6282. What other officer was there?
- There were the chief officer and the first officer - the first, second, and third and sixth officers on that side. Then on the opposite side of the ship - that is, the starboard side - the captain lived and the fourth officer, namely, Mr. Boxhall.

6283. Mr. Lightoller was here (indicating )?
- I will write their names opposite, if you wish it.

Senator Smith:
Just put their names on this drawing.

(The Witness complied with the chairman's request.I

6284. What time did you go to bed that Sunday night?
- I went between 8:15 and 8:30.

6285. What time were you awakened?
- I do not know. I was awakened by hearing voices, and I thought it was very strange, and somehow they woke me up and I realized there must be something the matter; so I looked out and I saw a lot of people around, and I jumped up and got dressed and went up on deck.

6286. What did you find when you got up there?
- I found that all the passengers were wearing belts.

6287. Lifebelts?
- Yes, sir; I also found that they were busy getting the boats ready to go overboard.

6288. What did you do?
- I met somebody, and they said she had struck an iceberg, and I could feel by my feet that there was something wrong.

6289. What - a listing?
- No. I heard that term applied yesterday, and it is wrong. It is not listing; it is tipping.

6290. I suppose he meant tipping when he said listing; but did she tip?
- This is sideways (indicating).

6291. Could you feel her tip sideways?
- No; there was no listing. Listing is the side motion and tipping is the end motion. She was by the bow; she was very much by the bow. She had a grade downhill; a grade like that (indicating).

6292. The bow, you say, was down?
- Down, and the stern was up.

6293. Could you tell at about what angle she was at that time?
- Do you want the perpendicular angle or the horizontal angle?

6294. The horizontal angle. - I should say she was about 12° to 15° by the head.

6295. How long was that after the impact?
- I do not know, sir.

6296. You did not feel the impact?
- I never felt anything.

6297. You do not know how long that was?
- I have not the slightest idea of the time, sir, because I had Greenwich time on me, and I did not look at my watch.

6298. You were not aroused from your slumber by anyone?
- No, sir. Mr. Boxhall, the fourth officer, told me that he told me that we had struck an iceberg, but I do not remember it.

6299. You do not remember his telling you that?
- I do not remember his telling me that.

6300. That is, while you were -
- It must have been while I was asleep. You must remember that we do not have any too much sleep and therefore when we sleep we die.

6301. Now, what did you do after you went out on the deck and ascertained the position of the ship in the water, and saw what had occurred?
- I first of all went and got my revolver.

6302. What for?
- Well, sir; you never know when you will need it.

6303. All right; go ahead.
- Then I went and helped everybody all around. Let us see; I crossed over to the starboard side. I lowered away. The first boat I helped to lower was No. 5, starboard boat. I lowered that boat away -

6304. You lowered No. 5 boat?
- Yes. That is, under the orders of Mr. Murdoch.

6305. Did Mr. Murdoch assist you?
- No; he was the senior officer; I was the junior.

6306. On that side of the ship?
- Yes.

6307. Was he superintending?
- He was superintending that deck.

6308. The loading?
- He was in charge of everything there.

6309. The loading and the lowering of the lifeboats?
- Yes, sir.

6310. How many officers or men were there to assist you with lifeboat No. 5?
- I could not very well answer that; but I should say that there were about 6. No; more than 6; there must have been more than 6. There were about 10, I should say.

6311. All around the station?
- It takes 2 at each winch. Then there were 2 jumped in each boat. Then there were some clearing the falls - that is, the ropes - and you can roughly estimate it at 10 men.

6312. Who got into the boat, do you know?
- How do you mean?

6313. You say two got into the boat? Who were the two?
- Oh, I do not know, sir.

6314. Do you know any of the men who assisted you in lowering that lifeboat?
- No, sir; I do not, by name. But there is a man here, and had he not been here I should not have known that I had ordered Mr. Ismay away from the boat.

6315. Did you order Mr. Ismay away from the boat?
- I did, sir.

6316. What did you say to him?
- This was on the starboard side. I don't know his name, but I know him by sight. He is a steward. He spoke to me on board the Carpathia. He asked me if I knew what I had said to Mr. Ismay. I said, "I don't know Mr. Ismay. "Well," he said, "you used very, very strong language with him." I said, "Did I?" I said, "I can not help it if I did." He said, "Yes, you did," and he repeated the words. If you wish me to repeat them I will do so; if you do not, I will not.

6317. I will first ask you this: What was the occasion for your using this harsh language to Mr. Ismay?
- The occasion for using the language I did was because Mr. Ismay was overanxious and he was getting a trifle excited. He said, "Lower away! Lower away! Lower away! Lower away!" I said - well, let it be -

Mr. Ismay:
Give us what you said.

Mr. Lowe:
The chairman is examining me.

Senator Smith:
Mr. Ismay you asked the witness to give the language?

Mr. Ismay:
I have no objection to his giving it. It was not very parliamentary.

Senator Smith:
If the language is inappropriate -

Mr. Lowe:
There is only one word that might be so considered.

Mr. Ismay:
May I suggest that it be put on a piece of paper and given to you, Mr. Chairman, and you decide.

Senator Smith:
All right; write it down.

(The witness, Mr. Lowe, wrote something on a piece of paper and handed it to the chairman.)

6318. You may put that into the record. You said you -
- You wish me to repeat it, sir?

6319. You uttered this to Mr. Ismay?
- Yes; that was in the heat of the moment.

6320. What was the occasion of it; because of his excitement, because of his anxiety?
- Because he was, in a way, interfering with my duties, and also, of course, he only did this because he was anxious to get the people away and also to help me.

6321. What did you say to him?
- Do you want me to repeat that statement?

6322. Yes, sir.
- I told him, "If you will get to hell out of that I shall be able to do something."

6323. What reply did he make?
- He did not make any reply. I said, "Do you want me to lower away quickly?" I said, "You will have me drown the whole lot of them." I was on the floor myself lowering away.

6324. You were on the boat deck, standing on the deck of the boat, the upper deck; and where did he stand?
- He was at the ship's side, like this (indicating). This is the ship - he was hanging on the davit like this (indicating). He said, "Lower away, lower away, lower away," and I was slacking away just here at his feet (indicating).

6325. The boat was being lowered?
- I was lowering away the boat myself, personally.

6326. I want you to say what he did after you said this to him?
- He walked away; and then he went to No. 3 boat.

6327. Alongside of yours?
- The next boat forward of mine; that is, on the same side; and I think he went ahead there on his own hook, getting things ready there, to the best of his ability.

6328. Now, Mr. Lowe, how many people were there in the first lifeboat you lowered?
- I do not know, sir, because I was not the boss there. Mr. Murdoch was running the show.

6329. Was it full?
- Well, roughly, I should say around 50.

6330. Around 50 in the first lifeboat that you lowered?
- Yes; roughly. I do not know, sir. You must understand that I did not count them, or anything of that sort.

6331. Tell how many men were in that lifeboat, if you can?
- I have not the remotest idea, sir.

6332. Were they half men and half women?
- Half men, sir? No. I should say - well, I do not know. I would say about 10.

6333. About 10 men?
- Yes.

6334. How many men were put into that boat for the purpose of manning her?
- I think there were five.

6335. Who were they?
- I do not know. You must remember, it was no time to remember faces and names.

6336. I am not criticizing you. I am trying to ascertain what you know about it. Were there any officers among those five men?
- Mr. Pitman went in either No. 5 or No. 3, but which I do not remember. I heard Mr. Murdoch order him to the boat.

6337. But which one you do not recall?
- I do not know which, but either of them.

6338. You do not know if there was any other officer in No. 5?
- There were only four officers saved, altogether.

6339. I am not asking that. I asked if there were any officers aside from the possibility of Mr. Pitman being in there, that you could recall?
- No, sir.

6340. Were there any male passengers?
- I think there were a few, because we could not get any more women.

6341. You could not get any more women in the first lifeboat?
- I do not know whether thin was the first lifeboat, sir.

6342. It was the first one you lowered?
- The first I helped to launch.

6343. On your side of the boat?
- On the starboard side.

6344. Yes; that in the first one that was lowered on the starboard side?
- Yes. I stated that it was the first one that I helped to put over. I did not say it was the first, at all.

6345. I am asking you about that boat, and I am asking you whether there were any male passengers in that boat?
- I do not know. There may have been, but I do not know. If there were, there were very, very few and I do not know whether it was that boat or No. 3 that we could not get any more women and we filled it up with men. It was one of the two.

6346. You are unable to tell how many men were in the boat?
- I am unable to tell - that is, with any degree of accuracy - how many people, whether they were male or female, were in any of the boats - that is, on that side of the ship.

6347. Do you know any of the men or women in that boat by name?
- No, sir.

6348. Have you seen any of them since the accident occurred?
- No, sir; unless, as I stated, it was Mr. Pitman.

6349. Did you have any conversation with Mrs. Douglas, of Minneapolis, aboard the Carpathia?
- Mrs. Douglas? I do not know her.

6350. Or Mrs. Ryerson?
- I have lots of addresses here; but they are addresses of people who were in my boat; I do not know about anybody else's boats.

6351. Have you a list of the persons who were in your boat?
- I have some of them, sir.

6352. Let us see how many you have.
- It would be a pretty big book, to take all.

6353. It will take only about fifty, in the first boat?
- Not in the first boat, sir; in my boat, I said.

6354. In the boat you were in?
- Yes.

6355. In your lifeboat?
- Yes.

6356. I will get to that in a moment. When this first lifeboat, No. 5, was lowered; the gear and everything worked all right, did it?
- Everything went all right, sir, and it could not have been worked better.

6357. And it was lowered with perfect safety?
- With perfect safety. That was the reason I spoke to Mr. Ismay.

6358. When the boats and the gear are new and have been properly tested and work as they should, how many persons will a lifeboat the size of No, 5 hold safely, on a clear night and with no sea?
- Do you mean to ask what she would hold in the water or what would she hold lowering?

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