(The witness was sworn by the chairman.)
14738. (Senator Smith) What is your full name?
- Mrs. Helen W. Bishop.
14739. And what is your address?
- Dowagiac, Mich.
14740. You were on board the Titanic on this ill-fated voyage?
14741. Did anything in particular occur to attract your attention to the ship or any special feature of the ship while you were en route from Southampton to the place of this accident?
- We thought of nothing at all except the luxury of the ship; how wonderful it was.
14742. I wish you would tell the committee what you did after learning of this accident.
- My husband awakened me at about a quarter of 12 and told me that the boat had struck something. We both dressed and went up on the deck, looked around, and could find nothing. We noticed the intense cold; in fact, we had noticed that about 11 o'clock that night. It was uncomfortably cold in the lounge. We looked all over the deck; walked up and down a couple of times, and one of the stewards met us and laughed at us. He said, "You go back downstairs. There is nothing to be afraid of. We have only struck a little piece of ice and passed it." So we returned to our stateroom and retired. About 15 minutes later we were awakened by a man who had a stateroom near us. We were on B deck, No. 47. He told us to come upstairs. So we dressed again thoroughly and looked over all our belongings in our room and went upstairs. After being there about 5 or 10 minutes one of the men we were with ran up and spoke to the captain, who was just then coming down the stairs.
14743. Who was the man?
- Mr. Astor.
14744. Col. Astor?
- Yes. The captain told him something in an undertone. He came back and told six of us, who were standing with his wife, that we had better put on our lifebelts. I had gotten down two flights of stairs to tell my husband, who had returned to the stateroom for a moment, before I heard the captain announce that the lifebelts should be put on. That was about three or four minutes later that the captain announced the lifebelts should be put on. We came back upstairs and found very few people up.
14745. When you say upstairs, which deck do you mean?
- We were on B deck, and we came back up to A deck. There was very little confusion; only the older women were a little frightened. They were up, partially dressed. So I sent a number of them back and saw that they were thoroughly dressed before they came up again. Then we went up onto the boat deck on the starboard side. We looked around, and there were so very few people up there that my husband and I went to the port side to see if there was anyone there. There were only two people, a young French bride and groom, on that side of the boat, and they followed us immediately to the starboard side. By that time an old man had come upstairs and found Mr. and Mrs. Harder, of New York. He brought us all together and told us to be sure and stay together; that he would be back in a moment. We never saw him again. About five minutes later the boats were lowered, and we were pushed in. At the time our lifeboat was lowered I had no idea that it was time to get off.
14747. All right. Proceed.
- We had no idea that it was time to get off, but the officer took my arm and told me to be very quiet and get in immediately. They put the families in the first two boats. My husband was pushed in with me, and we were lowered away with 28 people in the boat.
14748. Was that a large lifeboat?
- Yes; it was a wooden lifeboat.
14749. And there were 28 people in it?
- Yes. We counted off after we reached the water.
14750. How many women were there?
- There were only about 12 women.
14751. And the rest were -
- (interposing.) Were men.
14752. Yes; but I want to divide the rest into two classes, the crew and the passengers.
- There were three of the crew. The rest of them were passengers. We had no officer in our boat.
14753. Three of the crew?
- Three of the crew.
14754. And 13 passengers?
- Thirteen passengers; yes. Among those there were several unmarried men in our boat, I noticed, and three or four foreigners in our boat. After we had been out in the water about 15 minutes - the Titanic had not yet sunk - five boats were gathered together, and five people were put into our boat from another one, making 33 people in our boat.
14755. Do you know from what boat these persons were transferred to your boat?
- No; I can not say. The man in charge was an officer with a mustache. I have never seen him since.
14756. Did the boat from which these people were transferred seem to have more people than yours?
- Yes, sir; they had 39, I believe, or 37, or something like that.
14757. Do you remember the number of the boat?
- No; I do not.
14758. Go ahead.
- We had been rowing for some time when the other people were transferred into our boat. Then we rowed still farther away, as the women were nervous about the suction. We waited out in the water perhaps three-quarters of an hour after we had rowed this distance when we saw the Titanic sink. For some time after that we were separated from all of the boats except one; that tied to us and stayed with us. We found we had no compass, no light, and I do not know about the crackers or water; but we had no compass and no light. We were out there until just before daylight, I think it was, when we saw the lights of the Carpathia and rowed as hard as we could and arrived at the Carpathia 5 or 10 minutes after 5 o'clock in the morning.
14759. I suppose your experience was the same as that of the others as to the presence of ice and your proximity to icebergs?
- Yes; we saw a number of icebergs.
14760. Is there anything else you care to say which will throw any light upon our inquiry as to the causes of this catastrophe or the conduct of the officers and crew of the Titanic?
- The conduct of the crew, as far as I could see, was absolutely beyond criticism. It was perfect. The men in our boat were wonderful. One man lost his brother. When the Titanic was going down I remember he just put his hand over his face; and immediately after she sank he did the best he could to keep the women feeling cheerful all the rest of the time. We all thought a great deal of that man.
14761. What was his name?
- I do not know. He was on the lookout immediately after the boat had struck.
14762. Was it Fleet?
- No; it was not.
14763. Was it Lee?
- I do not think I ever heard his name. I know the name of one man in the boat was Jack Edmunds; I think it was.
14764. That was this lookout?
- No; the man at the other end. They were great friends, I remember.
14765. Is there anything else you care to say?
- No; that is all.
Very well; you may be excused.