United States Senate Inquiry

Day 11

Testimony of Dickinson H. Bishop

(The witness was sworn by Senator Smith.)

14766. Will you state your full name?
- Dickinson H. Bishop.

14767. And your residence?
- Dowagiac, Mich.

14768. What is your business?
- The manufacturing business.

14769. What is your age?
- Twenty-five.

14770. Mr. Bishop, can you add anything to the statement Mrs. Bishop has made?
- I do not think I can.

14771. Is there any information beyond that which she has given which will throw any light or contribute to our investigation?
- There is one thing, in regard to the watertight compartments on E deck.

14772. You may state it.
- It has to do with the mechanical closing of them. Some way or other, it had a brass plate in the deck, and from what I know - I do not know from my own observation, but only from what I have heard from some other people I knew on the boat - immediately after the accident they saw the members of the crew trying to do something to these holes in the deck with a key such as they use in the shut-offs to the water system in cities, and placing the key down there, they failed to turn the one of that side, and they immediately went to the other side and could not close that. They said, "There is no use; we will try the other side." What it was or how serious it was I do not know.

14773. Did you notice any other defects of any kind?
- Not any. Leaving the boat as soon as we did, we had very little opportunity to observe what happened on the deck after the first lifeboat left.

14774. This plate to which you have referred was in the floor of E deck?
- In one of the passageways.

14775. In the floor?
- Yes.

14776. On E deck?
- As I understand it, yes, sir; or else on the wall.

14777. You say the crew could not turn this bolt or -
- Whatever it was; the shut-off.

14778. And what did they do when they found it could not be turned?
- One of the members of the crew who was engaged in trying to turn this, said to the other one, "It is no use; we will try the other side."

14779. What member of the crew was that, if you know?
- I could not answer that correctly. I do not know. As I said, my information came through other people, passengers.

14780. From what you saw of that, do you know whether this had to do in any way with the efficiency of the watertight compartments?
- Only in that the plates were marked -

14781. (interposing.) "W"?
- With "W.T." or "W. T. C." The letters "W. T." I remember particularly.

14782. How long were the members of the crew trying to turn this plate or bolt?
- I do not know.

14783. Do you know the name of the person who saw the attempt made?
- Mr. Hardy. [George A. Harder]

14784. What are his initials?
- George A.

14785. And what is his address? Is it the Grosvenor; 27 Fifth Avenue, New York?
- That is correct.

14786. Who told you to get into the lifeboat?
- One of the officers in charge of the lowering; which one, I could not tell. There was some confusion there at the time, and I did not pay much attention. There was an officer stationed at the side of the lifeboat, and as my wife got in I followed immediately, and he helped me into the boat, or rather indicated, and I fell into the boat.

14787. Did Mrs. Astor get in the same lifeboat?
- No; she did not. I did not see Mrs. Astor except on the A deck earlier in the evening.

14788. What time?
- Just before the order to put on the lifebelts.

14789. After the collision?
- After the collision.

14790. Did you see Col. Astor about that time?
- I did not.

14791. Do you know in which boat Mrs. Astor left the Titanic?
- I do not; no.

14792. Did you know anything about the people in your lifeboat, except yourselves? Did you know any of them except your wife?
- Yes; the French aviator - they called him "Marshall" [Marachel] - was in our boat. I could not pronounce his name.

14793. Anybody else?
- Mr. Greenfield, with his mother, living in New York.

14794. Did anyone attempt to get into your lifeboat, either while it was being lowered or after it was in the water?
- There was a little confusion on the deck at that time. No one rushed the boats, at all.

14795. How long after the impact was it before the order was given to lower the lifeboats, or clear the lifeboats?
- I did not hear the order given.

14796. Did you hear anyone give any warning, or did you hear any alarm given to waken the passengers after the impact?
- I did not hear any alarm. The alarm we had was from another passenger, a friend of ours on the ship.

14797. What was his name?
- Mr. Stewart. He was lost.

14798. Do you remember his first name?
- His initials were "A.A." Mr. A.A. Stewart, of New York.

14799. And he did not survive?
- He did not.

14800. Did anyone attempt to get out of your lifeboat after it reached the water?
- No.

14801. Do you agree with your wife that there were 28 people in your lifeboat?
- That was what the count was, after we took it.

14802. Did you count them?
- Each passenger was supposed to have counted one number, starting in the bow and going back.

14803. That is, they started with one to count, and it ran up to 28?
- Yes, sir; but there were some I know who were missed, and there is a possibility of there having been more people in that boat at the time. It was very difficult to take the number correctly on account of the scattered position of the passengers.

14804. Were there any children in that boat?
- There was a woman with her baby transferred from another lifeboat, I think.

14805. That is, after you reached the water?
- After the Titanic had sunk.

14806. After the sinking?
- Yes, sir.

14807. Can you tell how long it was after you left the side of the Titanic before she sank?
- I can not tell, exactly. I imagine the time the boat was lowered was about a quarter to 1, and the only information I have as to the time of the sinking comes through the reports, that it was probably in the neighborhood of 20 minutes after 2.

14808. Do you know, of your own knowledge, that lifeboat No. 7, in which Mrs. Bishop and yourself left the Titanic, was the first boat lowered on the starboard side?
- It was. We had been on the boat deck in the neighborhood of 10 minutes, watching them prepare the boats for lowering. At that time there were very few people up on deck, and from the testimony I have heard, and from what I have heard, it seems there were a good many people who did not get onto the boat deck until after they had started lowering the boats.

14809. Did you hear any order given by anyone for the men to stand back?
- I heard no such order.

14810. "Women first," or "Women and children first"?
- No.

14811. At the time the first lifeboat was lowered, are you willing to say that that order had not been made?
- Absolutely.

14812. Of the 13 passengers in your lifeboat, did you say you knew none except your wife?
- I knew a good many of them -

14813. (interposing.) Your wife and this Frenchman?
- I knew other men in there, but I can not recall their names. I would like to revise that statement I just made, in a way, about the order, "Women first." I can say positively there was no such order given on the starboard side, near where our boat was lowered. What happened on the port side I knew nothing of, at all.

14814. Do you know what officer took charge of loading and lowering the boats on the starboard side?
- Only from what I have heard of the testimony.

14815. Was it Mr. Murdoch or Mr. Lightoller?
- I could not be sure who it was, from my own observation; only from the testimony here.

14816. Did you see the captain there superintending that part of the work, at any time?
- I did not see the captain after the accident.

14817. Did you see him before the accident?
- No.

Senator Smith:
I think that is all, Mr. Bishop. We are very much obliged for your kindness in waiting so long.

(Witness Excused.)