Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

EIGHTH DAY


 

QUEBEC

Wednesday, June 24, 1914.

 

The Commissioners appointed by the Honourable John Douglas Hazen, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries of Canada, under Part X of the Canada Shipping Act as amended, to enquire into a casualty to the British Steamship Empress of Ireland, in which the said steamship, belonging to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, was sunk in collision with the Norwegian Steamship Storstad, in the River St. Lawrence, on the morning of Friday, the 29th day of May, 1914, met at Quebec this morning, the twenty-fourth day of June, 1914.

Lord Mersey:
We have received a communication from the officer commanding the Essex to say that the two gentlemen from the Essex who have been conducting the diving operations are at the disposal of the court, if you think it worth while to obtain their evidence.

Mr. Newcombe:
I understood they were available and we are making arrangements to have them here.

Chief Justice McLeod:
There is another matter we have talked over. There is a question about the course that these vessels took, and particularly the question of the course that the Empress took after leaving Father Point and I thought it would be advisable if we could get some captain or pilot, who is used to the course, to say whether the course taken by the Empress was the ordinary course with a view of getting out to sea or whether it was a different course. I think that can be done.

Mr. Newcombe:
If it is thought desirable.

Chief Justice McLeod:
I mentioned it to Lord Mersey and I thought I would mention it to you.

Mr. Newcombe:
The testimony, as far as it goes, is that they were upon the usual course.

Chief Justice McLeod:
We have just the testimony of the Empress but I thought that some one outside might be got to tell us that.

Lord Mersey:
I should have thought that you would have brought some gentleman from some independent line.

Mr. Newcombe:
We will try and call competent witnesses in regard to that.

 

WITNESSES.

Frank Harrison - Second Class Steward - ss. Emrpess of Ireland.
Testimony

Leonard Powell - Assistant Steward - ss. Empress of Ireland.
Testimony

William Wallace Wotherspoon - Chief of Diving Operations.
Testimony - Recalled

 

Lord Mersey:
The object of that examination is to show, I suppose, that steps have been taken, and are being taken, to raise as many of the dead as it is possible?

Mr. Newcombe:
That is the sole object. I have a certified copy of the ship's articles which gives the names and ratings of the crew and so on.

Lord Mersey:
I think you had better put that in. (Ship's articles put in and marked Exhibit "R".)

Mr. Newcombe:
I have two certified copies of the passenger's' certificate and the immigration certificate.

Lord Mersey:
These were issued in Liverpool?

Mr. Newcombe:
Yes, my Lord. (Certified copy of passengers' certificate put in and marked Exhibit "S." Certified copy of immigration certificate put in arid marked Exhibit "T".)

Mr. Newcombe:
I have the life saving appliance rules and I have a number of copies of these. (Rules put in and marked Exhibit - U ".)

Lord Mersey:
I have a copy, as a matter of fact, which was supplied to me before I came out. If you have copies you had better hand them in.

Mr. Newcombe:
We have four copies.

Lord Mersey:
Four would be enough.

Mr. Newcombe:
Then, here is the log of the Empress which was found awash.

Lord Mersey:
I understood that had been put in long ago.

Mr. Newcombe:
I believe it has not been put in.

Lord Mersey:
I understand it does not go beyond twelve o'clock at night?

Mr. Newcombe:
No. (Log put in and marked Exhibit "V ".)

 

WITNESS.

Alexander Radley - Boatswain's Mater - ss. Empress of Ireland.
Testimony

 

Mr. Newcombe:
Now, I will recall Mr. Hillhouse.

Lord Mersey:
Have you the statement that the last witness is supposed to have made? Mr. Newcombe probably has it.

Mr. Newcombe:
I understand it was made to Mr. Holden, representing the Empress.

Lord Mersey:
It is in writing, I suppose?

Mr. Newcombe:
It is in typewriting.

Lord Mersey:
May I see it?

Mr. Aspinall:
Yes, I have it in my book here. (Copy of statement handed up to his Lordship.)

 

By Lord Mersey:

 

6403. Am I right, Mr. Aspinall, in supposing that you have submitted to Mr. Haight, copies of the statements that have been obtained by you from the crew of the Empress?

Mr. Aspinall:
Of all who have not been examined in court.

Mr. Holden:
Those who have not been examined in court.

Lord Mersey:
And Mr. Haight has been in a position to acquire any of them.

Mr. Holden:
Yes.

Lord Mersey:
Has he acquired any other statements?

Mr. Holden:
Mr. Fournier's.

Mr. Aspinall:
In addition to that we gave Mr. Haight these statements. These are apparently statements made by several members of the crew when in the presence of each other.

Mr. Haight:
I have seen the statements of ten men in all.

Lord Mersey:
Have you seen all the statements that have been taken?

Mr. Haight:
I should say that I have seen about five per cent or perhaps two per cent of the statements taken, judging from the thickness of these books.

Lord Mersey:
Then do you desire to have them all before you?

Mr. Haight:
I ought to say in fairness to my learned friends that our motive in New York, and possibly their motive, is to take statements more as advocates than as judicial officers.

Lord Mersey:
Do you mean to convey to me the idea that they take statements that are not true?

Mr. Haight:
No, my Lord, but I do think they might put in their statements expressions of opinion and references of one kind or another that I thought I would not be entitled in fairness to see and I did not ask to see their statements.

Lord Mersey:
But this court is entitled to see everything.

Mr. Haight:
I was speaking of myself in my position as attorney for the Storstad, a vessel which is suing and is being sued.

Lord Mersey:
The Storstad is not being sued here; we have nothing to do with that.

Mr. Haight:
Not here; but I have stipulated with my learned friends that the evidence taken here may be used in the civil proceedings pending, and it did not seem to be quite fair that I should put them in the awkward position of refusing to show me these statements; nor do I think it would be quite fair that I should ask them to show statements which had originally been taken confidentially as between counsel and client. I therefore only asked them for the statements of a few witnesses whom they considered unimportant.

Lord Mersey:
I thought you were blaming them in that they had not shown you more than ten statements.

Mr. Haight:
I am explaining the facts; I am not laying a complaint.

Lord Mersey:
But you state the facts in a way that would seem to indicate that you are complaining.

Mr. Haight:
I am not making a complaint, but I did not wish it to stand on the record that I had seen the statement of every member of the crew and that I had only seen fit to ask for the production of two men.

Lord Mersey:
Is there any objection, Mr. Aspinall, to show this gentleman all the statements you have taken?

Mr. Aspinall:
I am reluctant to do that because as Mr. Haight says, in this book there are a good many observations, as your Lordship will see on looking through the document, made between counsel and witness.

Lord Mersey:
Observations made by counsel when taking statements are, of course, not matters of evidence.

Mr. Aspinall:
The way in which the statements are taken is by question and answer with occasional observations.

Lord Mersey:
And in the same way all the statements made to the gentlemen representing the Storstad ought to be brought before the court. Are you aware what these statements are?

Mr. Haight:
I was to give them to Mr. Newcombe as soon as I had them ready.

Lord Mersey:
Are we in this position that there are a large number of statements which have been taken on the side of the Empress and another large number of statements which have been taken on behalf of the Storstad and that this court is to see nothing of one or the other?

Mr. Haight:
This court has seen none of the statements. Mr. Newcombe received the first day the only statement I have had time to have typed and I promised him during the course of the day to have the balance of these made out. Your Lordship expressed the preference that Mr. Aspinall and myself should examine our own witnesses. I intended to hand Mr. Newcombe the balance of the statements from my men.

Lord Mersey:
Am I right in saying that there are a number of statements in existence of witnesses from the Empress and a number of statements in existence of witnesses from the Storstad which each side has not seen and which this court has not seen?

Mr. Haight:
This Court has never seen any of the statements that I know of.

Lord Mersey:
I am looking at one now.

Mr. Haight:
With the exception of the one now before your Lordship.

Lord Mersey:
Are you satisfied with that procedure?

Mr. Haight:
I am perfectly ready and will be quite glad to hand up to your Lordship the working copy of the notes from which I have examined all the witnesses.

Lord Mersey:
I do not know what that means.

Mr. Haight:
Here is the original draft taken down -

Lord Mersey:
Are you willing to hand up the statements of the people who have not been called?

Mr. Haight:
Yes, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
So that we may have the whole mass of the evidence which has been secured.

Mr. Haight:
Yes.

Lord Mersey:
Are you willing, Mr. Aspinall, to hand up all the evidence that has been collected on behalf of the Empress?

Mr. Aspinall:
If your Lordship will give me a moment in regard to what the instructions of my client are - ?

Lord Mersey:
Yes.

Mr. Aspinall:
Did I understand your Lordship's suggestion to be this: First of all, Mr. Haight, are you willing to put before the Court the statements of all the witnesses that have not been called? - answer: 'Yes,' by Mr. Haight; the other question is this: Are we willing or prepared to take the same course? - answer: Yes. I only make this further statement - it always being remembered that a number of these statements have already been put in the possession of Mr. Haight to make such use of them as he sees fit.

Lord Mersey:
It is suggested by the Chief Justice to me that possibly we might be doing an injustice to the parties to a civil action in requiring the production of these documents. Is that, in your opinion, right?

Mr. Aspinall:
May I consult? I do not know the practice here.

Chief Justice McLeod:
We do not wish to try any question that may have arisen between the Empress and the Storstad, but it is our business and duty to get all the facts in connection with the collision.

Mr. Haight:
I would very much prefer that, if the statements made to the other side are to be submitted at all, they should be submitted to the court and not to me. I do not think that I am quite entitled to examine their statements, in view of the fact that I am subsequently to try an action against them in a civil court.

Lord Mersey:
I should not care to read statements upon which you have not cross-examined the witnesses.

Mr. Haight:
The witnesses have all now been called. It is very difficult to cross-examine; I suppose it can be done.

Chief Justice McLeod:
These statements have been made by a number of witnesses that the parties representing the Empress have examined; they have not been heard here at all, and they have not been cross-examined. It would be rather unfair to take their evidence without their being subject to cross-examination. Has Mr. Newcombe seen all these statements and gone over them?

Mr. Newcombe:
I have not seen any of those statements; I thought I made that plain.

Chief Justice McLeod:
I was about to say that if Mr. Newcombe had had in his possession the statements made both on behalf of the Empress and on behalf of the Storstad, and had gone over them all, he should have known what they contained.

Mr. Haight:
I offered him my statements in the first instance, and only the lack of stenographic facilities prevented me from putting them all into his hands when I found that I should have to cross-examine the witnesses myself.

Lord Mersey:
You have read these statements, Mr. Aspinall?

Mr. Aspinall:
I have not read them all, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
But you have read all that you supposed to be of any importance?

Mr. Aspinall:
Yes.

Lord Mersey:
Are you conscious of their containing any information which it would be desirable to place before the court? I ask the same question of you, Mr. Haight.

Mr. Haight:
I have, my Lord, so far as I know, called every witness who knows anything of importance. I have called a number of the men who were asleep, because they had got on deck in time, but I do not think there is any other man on my ship who can add any information to that already given.

Lord Mersey:
Yery well; I should be disposed to accept your statement, Mr. Aspinall.

Mr. Aspinall:
My answer to that is this: the only thing that occurred to me that could be of the slightest importance in the statements either that we have shown to Mr. Haight or that we have not shown to Mr. Haight is this: In the statements that we showed to Mr. Haight, there is some reason for thinking that the stem lookout man, the man on the forecastle, may not have been there, but apart from that there is nothing. This was in the statements that we handed to Mr. Haight; I personally did not attach importance to it and I take it that Mr. Haight did not attach importance to it.

Lord Mersey:
There was a man in the crow's nest?

Mr. Aspinall:
There was a man in the crow's nest. That information we had given to Mr. Haight.

Mr. Haight:
I have never received it; that is, I have overlooked the fact that it is in the notes.

Mr. Aspinall:
It is in them, and we were conscious of the fact that it was in them when we offered to submit them the other day when this discussion took place. I said: We have given to Mr. Haight this statement, to make use otf it as he may see fit. The way the evidence stands with regard to that is this: The Captain thought it was the duty of somebody in addition to the man in the crow's nest to be on the forecastle head. The man in the crow's nest seems in practice to do the work; he has got a bell which he strikes, and that gives the information in an easy way to the bridge. Captain Kendall and others in responsible positions assume that the man was there; the man unfortunately has been drowned. In. the statements that I handed to Mr. Haight, one man said that the man whose duty it was to be on the forecastle head was washing the decks. Another man says this: I think I saw somebody on the forecastle head. Apart from that one incident there is nothing in these statements which can be of the slightest value to the court in regard to this matter.

Lord Mersey:
My object in asking these questions was this: that I did not want it to be suggested by one side or the other later on that anything has been kept back that was of any importance. If I feel sure that neither of you is going to make that suggestion, I am quite satisfied.

Mr. Aspinall:
I ought to say this in connection with the matter regarding the lookout. Some person on board our ship told the man to go there; he may have failed us and not gone; there is that possibility, but, as I say, there is evidence that a man was seen on the lookout. The man himself was unfortunately lost. Apart from that - I speak in the presence of my friends, who have examined more closely into this book than I have - I am in a position to assure your Lordship that there is nothing, at any rate within my knowledge, which will in any way assist your Lordship in arriving at the circumstances which led to this unfortunate catastrophe.

Chief Justice McLeod:
Have the witnesses who could give us that information been called?

Mr. Aspinall:
No, they were not called. We gave a group of witnesses to Mr. Haight; Mr. Haight called Mr. Radley.

Lord Mersey:
Will you, if you can, read the statements which you say convey this information?

Mr. Aspinall:
What I will do with the assistance of Mr. Holden, will be to read material passages from the evidence of two witnesses, the witness who says that the man who ought to have been on the lookout was washing the deck, and the witness who says that he thought he saw somebody upon the forecastle deck.

Mr. Newcombe:
Your Lordship has put these questions with regard to the merits of the particular collision, which, though no doubt definite and important, are comparatively unimportant in relation to the question in which the public is so largely concerned; that is, as to why it was that the ship came to sink so quickly: were the bulkhead doors closed and were the port holes closed. I was going to venture to suggest to your Lordship to extend to counsel the inquiry as to whether these statements disclose any information which should be in the hands of the court in that regard.

Lord Mersey:
I will ask that question after we get the answer to the other questions.

Mr. Aspinall:
I have got the first one

Lord Mersey:
Mr. Haight, do you listen to this.

Mr. Aspinall:
James Moran, being called, makes the following statement: -

 

Examined by Mr. Holden:

 

Q. You were on the boatswain's mate's watch?
- Yes.

Q. On the forecastle head?
- No.

Q. Do you know who was there?
- Carroll was on the lookout.

Q. Carroll was in the crow's nest?
- Yes.

Q. Did you notice who was up on the stem head?
- No, I did not.

Q. Did you know Crayton?
- Yes.

Q. He is lost?
- Yes.

Q. Do you know where he was at the time of the collision?
- I think he was in the forecastle.

Q. You did not notice him there yourself?
- No.

Q. Do you mean he was on the forecastle head, on the lookout?
- No, was in the forecastle.

Q. What makes you think that?
- He had just finished washing down the decks with me, and he went in the forecastle.

Q. Did you see him going into the forecastle?
- Yes.

Q. How long before the collision itself?
- About ten minutes.

Q. There was only one Crayton aboard the ship?
- That is all.

Q. Did you see the boatswain's mate put somebody on the forecastle head? Did you know there was a lookout on the forecastle head?
- No.

Q. When did you see Crayton last before the collision?
- He was working with me.

Q. Until when?
- Until about ten minutes before it happened.

Q. What was he doing?
- Washing down the decks.

Q. Then, ten minutes before the collision he went into the forecastle?
- We finished washing down the decks, and he went into the forecastle.

Q. Was there any one else with you two?
- I had one man, but I do not know who he is.

Mr. Holden:
Had you planned to go home on the Alsatian?
- Yes.

Mr. Holden:
Well, I am afraid I will have to ask you to remain.

Mr. Moran:
All right, sir.

Lord Mersey:
Now, Mr. Haight, did you receive that?

Mr. Haight:
Yes, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
Then you have already read it?

Mr. Haight:
It has been read, my Lord, already.

Lord Mersey:
Now, what is the next one?

Mr. Aspinall:
The next, my Lord, is the evidence of Bruin, as given to Mr. Holden. He was the man who was in the crow's nest up to 2 o'clock; he went off and Carroll took his place.

Lord Mersey:
Carroll, if I remember rightly, came into the crow's nest about 10 minutes before the collision?

Mr. Aspinall:
Yes. This man whose place was taken by Carroll says this:

Q. You were on the lookout in the crow's nest; who was on the lookout on the forecastle head?
- There was a man up there, but I could not tell you his name.

Q. You saw somebody there?
- Yes.

Q. Do you know where the ship was when she had this man on the fore castle head?
- No, sir.

Q. You do not know how long he had been there?
- No.

Q. Do you know Crayton?
- I know him as a shipmate.

Q. There was a shipmate of yours by the name of Crayton?
- Yes. I know him and I remember him.

Q. Do you know what Crayton was doing that night?
- No.

Q. It might have been Crayton who was on the lookout?
- It may have been. 'I do not know.'

And then he goes on to state the weather; there is nothing more with regard to that.

Lord Mersey:
Was that statement handed to Mr. Haight?

Mr. Aspinall:
It was.

Mr. Haight:
Yes, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
Are these all at present?

Mr. Aspinall:
There is one further matter, my Lord. Radley, in the evidence which I have handed to your Lordship, says that he told Crayton to go on the forecastle head.

Lord Mersey:
You have not had that statement, Mr. Haight?

Mr. Haight:
I think so.

Lord Mersey:
Is that all, Mr. Aspinall?

Mr. Aspinall:
That is all.

Lord Mersey:
Then the matter stands, as I understand it, in this way: that these three statements contain the only information which has not been put before this court?

Mr. Aspinall:
Yes.

Lord Mersey:
That you think is of importance. These statements have been in the hands of Mr. Haight?

Mr. Aspinall:
Yes.

Lord Mersey:
He was invited to ask for any witnesses that he desired to have called?

Mr. Aspinall:
Yes.

Lord Mersey:
And he did not desire to have these men called?

Mr. Aspinall:
No.

Lord Mersey:
May I ask you, Mr. Haight - it is perhaps a question that I should not put to you, but if you think it is not a question that I should put to you, you may decline to answer and I shall draw no adverse inferences. Did you understand from this evidence that there was a doubt as to whether there was a man at the forecastle on watch?

Mr. Haight:
I did not in the first instance so understand, my Lord, but I am not at all sure that the point -

Lord Mersey:
I do not see how you could have read this without understanding that.

Mr. Haight:
Mr. Griffin and Mr. Duclos read this statement with much more care than I did; I simply read the important points to which they referred. Mr. Griffin tells me that he did gather that it very likely was the lookout who had been washing the decks.

Lord Mersey:
Another question. I have never heard it suggested from the evidence in this case that there was any fault in the lookout.

Mr. Haight:
None at all, my Lord; I have no suggestion of that kind to make.

Chief Justice McLeod:
Then whether there was a lookout in the forecastle or not, does not greatly matter?

Mr. Haight:
It does not appear to me that with men in the crow's nest and on the bridge, another seaman on the forecastle head adds very much to the safety of the situation.

Lord Mersey:
You know, we had exactly that question in the Titanic inquiry: whether there were men in what were called the eyes of the ship. There were men in the crow's nest, but none in the eyes of the ship, and I remember very well that it was not considered of very great importance.

Mr. Haight:
When the fog limits the range of vision and the vessel is seen well off on the starboard bow, there is very little to be said for the advantage of this in this case.

Mr. Aspinall:
I cannot at the moment put my hand upon the report of the discussion in which your Lordship and Mr. Haight and myself took part, as to whether he should have an opportunity of seeing the statements that we had obtained from these various men, but what happened was that I offered and gave him these statements with a full knowledge that this information was available to him, to be used as he might see fit.

Lord Mersey:
I am very much disposed to be guided by what you two gentlemen tell me, and if you are both of opinion that it is a matter of little importance whether or not there was a man at the forecastle head, I think, speaking for myself, that I should view the matter in the same light, and I rather think my colleagues would also.

Mr. Aspinall:
When this matter came to my knowledge first, naturally I gave it consideration, but as the case developed, especially in view of the fact that Mr. Haight, as he now says, was not attacking our lookout, I came to the conclusion at once that this incident was quite immaterial. We gave Mr. Haight the document that contained this information and he now frankly says that he still attaches no value to it.

Lord Mersey:
Mr. Haight, would you like these witnesses to be put in the witness box?

Mr. Haight:
My Lord, as I understood the situation two days ago, Mr. Newcombe said: We have certain other witnesses who can be called. I had not the slightest idea whether or not what they knew would be of any interest to the court. Your Lordship said: We do not wish men put into the box if nobody knows what they are going to say and nobody knows whether what they have to say is of importance. I understood that those men were here. I said to Mr. Newcombe: Instead of putting man after man into the box and having them say: I was fast asleep, saw nothing, heard nothing and went into the water, will you let me see their statements and I will look over them and see whether there is anything in them. There were only six or eight or ten men whose statements I received. If my friends assure me and assure your Lordship that there is nothing in their entire book of statements which will in anywise embarrass me in what they consider and what I consider to be fair treatment towards them in the subsequent conduct of the civil suit, I should like to look through their entire book of statements and give them my entire book of statements, and each of us may come back to court with any observation we may have to make on the subject.

Lord Mersey:
What I want to know is whether you desire to have these three witnesses called.

Mr. Haight:
I have asked that one be called; he was in the witness box this morning. As to the other two, it does not seem to me that they are of any importance.

Chief Justice McLeod:
One of the three has been called.

Mr. Haight:
Radley, called this morning, was one of those named.

Lord Mersey:
Do you desire either of the other two men to be called now?

Chief Justice McLeod:
Do not call them unless they can give us some information. You should be in a position to let us know that; we do not want to call witnesses to find out.

Mr. Newcombe:
So I apprehend.

Chief Justice McLeod:
As I said before, I do not think this court wishes to try the issue as between the Empress and the Storstad.

Mr. Haight:
Of course, you must try these issues, my Lord; which vessel is at fault.

Chief Justice McLeod:
We must do that, of course.

Lord Mersey:
The matter of the lookout is one of importance. You know, although I say that, I appreciate the observations that you have made, Mr. Haight, that if there was a man in the crow's nest who was keeping lookout in the then state of the atmosphere, it is of little importance, perhaps of none, whether or not there was a man at a lower level in the forecastle head doing the same thing.

Mr. Haight:
That is the way it seems to me; the fog is thicker the nearer you get to the water.

Lord Mersey:
Very well. Now, the long and short of this seems to me to be this: that we need not call these men, and I am not going to order or suggest that you shall exchange these bundles of privileged communications which you have received on the one hand or on the other, because I do not think that by doing so this court will be helped, and I do think that possibly the case which we know will have to be tried, the civil case, may be prejudiced. Are you now satisfied? There has been a long discussion and I am afraid that it has been all about nothing; perhaps it is my fault. (To Mr. Newcombe): Have you any other witnesses?

Mr. Newcombe:
At the peril of prolonging the discussion for one moment, may I remind your Lordship of the observations which I made a moment ago?

Lord Mersey:
Yes. Now, Mr. Newcombe says - I do not think this affects Mr. Haight at all - Mr. Newcombe very properly says that it is of great importance to this court to know whether everything was done on board the ship to secure the performance by the men of their various duties, that is to say, the closing of the watertight doors and the providing of life-belts. If there is anything, Mr. Aspinall, in your bundle of information which you think will throw light on these questions, this court thinks either that you ought to give the information to Mr. Newcombe, that he may exercise his judgment upon it, or that you should yourself put the necessary witnesses into the witness box, because we shall have to consider whether proper steps were taken to close the water-tight doors, and we shall have to consider also whether proper steps were taken to see that the unfortunate people on board secured life-belts and any assistance that they would require under the circumstances.

Chief Justice McLeod:
Would these two witnesses throw any light on these particular questions?

Mr. Aspinall:
No, my Lord. What I propose to do with regard to that is this: that between this time and some time later in the day we will carefully go through this volume - Mr. Holden is very conversant with its contents - and any information which is contained in the book with regard to the matter to which your Lordship has addressed your remarks will be given to Mr. Newcombe.

Lord Mersey:
Is there anything else, Mr. Newcombe, that you think desirable elicit either from Mr. Aspinall's clients or from Mr. Haight's clients?

Mr. Newcombe:
No, I think your Lordship mentioned all the particulars, except possibly, the closing of the ports.

Lord Mersey:
Yes, I omitted that. (To Mr. Aspinall): Your search ought to be with reference to water-tight doors, port holes and life-belts.

Mr. Haight:
So far as I am concerned, my Lord, Mr. Newcombe may have every statement that I have from the Storstad if he wishes to see them.

Lord Mersey:
We are on now only these particular matters; I suppose that the Storstad's witnesses can give us no information in regard to these matters.

Mr. Haight:
Nothing, except what we did as to the saving of life.

Lord Mersey:
Now, then, Mr. Newcombe, you hear the undertaking that has been given, and after the adjournment we will see whether it produces anything. Who are the next witnesses?

Mr. Newcombe:
I understand that the divers from the Essex are to be here at a quarter to 12. It was said that it was important that they should not be detained here any longer than is necessary; in the meantime I am ready to call Mr. Hillhouse. Would it be inconvenient to interrupt his evidence?

Lord Mersey:
I think not.

 

WITNESSES.

Percy Hillhouse - Naval Architect - Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company.
Testimony - Recalled

John Macdiarmid - Chief Gunner - H.M.S. Essex.
Testimony

Wilfred Whitehead - Leading Seaman - H.M.S. Essex.
Testimony

 

Lord Mersey:
Very well.

Mr. Newcombe:
These two last witnesses may be discharged, I presume, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
Well, personally, I don't think the court wants them again.

Mr. Newcombe:
There is a memorandum which the chief gunner was going to send in.

Lord Mersey:
Yes, the first witness was to send over the memorandum which Mr. Haight asked for.

 

WITNESS.

Percy Hillhouse - Naval Architect - Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company.
Testimony - Recalled

 

Lord Mersey:
Now, Mr. Newcombe, what about rising? I don't want to hurry you.

Mr. Newcombe:
I have only one or two questions more to put to Mr. Hillhouse, it won't take me very long.

Lord Mersey:
Well, what do you mean when you say not very long, because there are circumstances that make it desirable to adjourn now.

Mr. Newcombe:
Well, I think I might take about ten or fifteen minutes more, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
Then, if you do not mind, I think we will have those ten or fifteen minutes after we come back.

 

The court then adjourned until half-past two o'clock in the afternoon.

The court resumed at 2.30.

 

WITNESS.

Percy Hillhouse - Naval Architect - Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company.
Testimony - Resumed

Henry George Kendall - Master - ss. Empress of Ireland.
Testimony - Recalled

 

Mr. Haight:
May I first ask, my Lord, if my witnesses from the Storstad and the interpreter may be excused from further attendance?

Lord Mersey:
I should think so. Do you want them again, do you think, Mr. Newcombe?

Mr. Newcombe:
No, my Lord, I don't think so.

Mr. Haight:
The reason I ask is this, my Lord, that a number of these men have served out their time and are held under subpoenas issued by the government, and they are practically prisoners at the present time.

Lord Mersey:
Well before discharging them, do you need them any more, Mr. Aspinall?

Mr. Aspinall:
No. my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
And Mr. Newcombe?

Mr. Aspinall:
No, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
Well, I am not quite sure, but I think we may conclude that none of us want them.

Mr. Haight:
Then I understand they are discharged, my Lord.

Lord Mersey:
Yes.

Mr. Haight:
And the interpreter may also go?

Lord Mersey:
Yes.

 

The Commission thereupon adjourned until 10 a.m., Thursday, June 25th.