British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 4

Testimony of Frederick Barrett, cont.

2220. On the Sunday morning?
- Yes.

2221. That is why you told me that there had been 8 boilers out and afterwards you thought there were only 5 or 6 out; is that it?
- Yes.

The Commissioner:
What he said was 5 boilers, certainly, and perhaps 8.

2222. (The Solicitor-General.) Yes, my Lord, I am much obliged. (To the Witness.) That is what you said, Barrett - you said 5 boilers were out, certainly, and perhaps 8?
- Yes, and perhaps 8.

2223. Now, just explain why you say that?
- When you light a boiler up it will take 12 hours before you can connect it with the others to get steam on as a Rule in a merchant ship as far as my experience goes.

2224. These three, the difference between the 5 and the 8, were they lit up?
- Those three were lit up on the Sunday morning.

The Commissioner:
Was it 3 or 2? I wrote down 2 main boilers were lit up on the Sunday morning, and you said 2.

The Solicitor-General:
It would not be in his section.

2225. (The Commissioner.) Which was it, 2 or 3?
- I could not exactly say.

The Commissioner:
Then we will say 2 or 3.

2226. (The Solicitor-General.) Do you know in which section they were?
- In the after section - the next one to the after section. That would be No. 2 section.

2227. In No. 2?
- Yes.

2228. Of course that would not be your section?
- No.

2229. So I suppose you can only have heard this?
- My other leading hand is in charge of that section and he tells me this when he comes by.

2230. What is his name?
- Ferris.

2231. (The Solicitor-General.) He says, my Lord, the other leading hand, a man named Ferris, who would be in charge of No. 2, told him this when he came by. (To the Witness.) Was Ferris saved, or not?
- He was drowned.

2232. (The Commissioner.) Now I want to know this. Can you tell me when those two or three main boilers were lit on the Sunday morning - about what time?
- As near as I could say, 8 o'clock in the morning.

2233. Then they may have been connected that same night?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

2234. In No. 13 lifeboat was there any seaman?
- I could not tell you.

2235. How long have you been going to sea?
- I have been going to sea over 10 years in the fire-room, but I was on the deck previous to that.

2236. Have you experience of a number of liners?
- Yes, I have been in quite a quantity of liners.

2237. Is it usual for an Officer to draw the attention of stokers to the stations given to them?
- It is usual for the list to get put up.

2238. Can you tell his Lordship whether a list was put up on the "Titanic"?
- I never look for that as a Rule.

2239. Is it usual on liners to call all hands, including stokers, to muster for boat drill?
- About twice a trip - once going to New York and once coming back.

2240. Are firemen called too on these occasions?
- Yes.

2241. And there was no such practice or no such muster on this voyage?
- No.

Examined by Mr. ROCHE.

2242. I want you to answer two or three questions. You saw in your section Shepherd, the engineer No. 6?
- Yes.

2243. And the last you saw of him was he had broken his leg and was taken to the pump room?
- Yes.

2244. You have told us you saw Second Engineer Hesketh in No. 6?
- That was the man who jumped through the watertight door, not Mr. Shepherd.

2245. And you left him in No. 5 also?
- I left him in No. 5 also.

2246. And you saw there also two other engineers, Wilson and Harvey?
- Yes.

2247. Did you see any other engineers at all?
- No.

2248. Did you see any engineers at all on deck?
- No; when I went up I saw one of the builders' men.

2249. That is all you can tell me about the engineers. Now I want to ask you one question about the hole in this bunker that you have described to my Lord. I do not suppose you can tell us how big it was, but I expect you can tell us whether the water was coming through in a rush, or was trickling through?
- I explained it was not coming through as much as in the other section.

2250. But did it look as if it were a hole, and as if a hole had been made by something outside puncturing the bunker, or did it look as if a rivet had been started by the shock?
- That would be a question for an engineer.

2251. You can tell us, I think, by the amount of the flow. Was it pouring through? If you cannot tell us, you cannot?
- I cannot explain.

2252. You cannot say how much water was coming through at all?
- No.

2253. (The Commissioner.) I do not understand this. Was a teacupful of water coming through?
- No.

2254. What was it?
- A continual pour of water.

2255. Now, describe the pour of water. It was not like Niagara Falls, I suppose, but try and tell me what it was like?
- Just the very same as an ordinary fire hose would come in.

Examined by Mr. HARBINSON.

2256. I understood you to say when you came up on to the deck there were a number of third class passengers coming out?
- Coming around the house.

2257. You did not see whether or not any third class passengers were coming from the fore part of the ship?
- No; I never made an attempt to go forward.

2258. Your impression is that all the passengers in the neighbourhood of boats 13 and 15 were third class passengers?
- Yes; I believe the majority in No. 13 boat were third class passengers.

2259. All the other boats except 13 and 14 had been launched?
- On the starboard side.

2260. Did many passengers remain?
- I could not say.

2261. Were there many passengers about on the boat deck that you picked up?
- I was not on the boat deck.

2262. On the deck below?
- Not many.

2263. Not many?
- No.

2264. All the women were put into the boat?
- Yes.

2265. Into boat 13?
- As many as were there. Boat No. 13 was never lowered until all the women were taken off the deck.

2266. Was boat 15 lowered at this time?
- It was lowered to the saloon deck.

2267. How many seamen were in charge of it?
- I cannot tell you.

2268. Was it full?
- I cannot tell you.

2269. You could not see it?
- No.

2270. Were there any boats on the port side at this time?
- I cannot say.

2271. Were passengers continuing to go from the deck above?
- I cannot say that. They were just coming round as I got into the lifeboat.

2272. Many?
- No; one's and two's.

2273. Were they men or women?
- The women who came around were put in No. 13 boat.

2274. After No. 13 boat had been launched could you see what took place?
- No.

2275. Were there any Officers or seamen about at this time?
- I cannot say.

2276. You do not remember?
- No.

Examined by Mr. LEWIS.

2277. How long have you been in the White Star Line employment?
- I was sailing out with the Company at Liverpool.

2278. You draw distinction between a boat drill and boat stations?
- They do not lower a boat at sea; they only go and muster before the boats.

2279. Have you ever been stationed at your boat at a definite place?
- Yes.

2280. Is it the general practice for the men to examine the boat list?
- It is. When the list gets put up you might see your name and what boat you are at.

2281. With regard to this boat you left in, I understand you to say about 70 were in the boat?
- Yes.

2282. Would you consider that boat safe?
- No.

2283. How far from the water was the gunwale?
- I should say, as a rough idea, about half a foot.

2284. I take it if it had been at all choppy it would have been extremely dangerous?
- Yes.

2285. (The Commissioner.) If it had been bad weather would it have been worthwhile to get into the boats at all?
- No.

2286. (Mr. Lewis.) Did you see any other boat?
- There was one boat; I hailed one boat.

2287. Why?
- Because I thought there was hardly anybody in it.

2288. How could you tell that?
- The boat was pretty high out of the water.

2289. Did you get any reply?
- They said they were full up.

2290. What height was it out of the water?
- Between 3 and 4 feet.

The Commissioner:
Such a question and such an answer produce no effect upon my mind. This man was not busy measuring the amount the other boats were out of the water. He was nearly unconscious.

Mr. Lewis:
I am anxious to know whether this Witness hailed another boat, and I am entitled to ask him why he hailed the boat and whether, in his opinion, the boat he hailed was full or not.

The Commissioner:
He has answered that question. Then you asked him how many inches the gunwale of the boat was above the water. I tell you that in my opinion, if he told me, if he answered it, it would produce no effect upon my mind.

Mr. Lewis:
I am satisfied with the answer, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
I do not believe he was measuring such things or thinking about such things.

2291. (Mr. Lewis - To the Witness.) Do you know the number of the boat?
- I inquired on board the "Carpathia"; I believe it was No. 1.

2292. Now, with regard to the bunker, you have said this bunker referred to just now was empty - the coal bunker?
- Yes.

2293. Were there any other coal bunkers empty forward?
- No.

2294. Was this the only one empty?
- Yes.

2295. Had it been emptied in the usual way?
- No.

2296. Why was it emptied?
- My orders were to get it out as soon as possible.

2297. When did you receive those orders?
- Not very long after the ship left Southampton.

2298. Was there anything wrong?
- Yes.

2299. What was wrong?
- The bunker was a-fire.

2300. Shortly after you left Southampton -

The Commissioner:
Now how is this relevant to this Inquiry.

2301. Shortly after you left Southampton - I'll put another question or two, and you will see why I think it is relevant. (To the Witness.) How long did it take them to work the coal out?
- Saturday.

2302. The whole Saturday. What condition was the watertight bulkhead in?
- It was the idea to get the bunker out. The chief engineer, Mr. Bell, gave me orders: "Builder's men wanted to inspect that bulkhead."

2303. The bulkhead forms the side of the bunker.

2304. What was the condition of the bulkhead running through the bunker?
- It was damaged from the bottom.

2305. Badly damaged?
- The bottom of the watertight compartment was dinged aft and the other part was dinged forward.

2306. (The Commissioner.) What do you attribute that to?
- The fire.

2307. Do you mean to say the firing of the coal would dinge the bulkhead?
- Yes.

2308. (Mr. Lewis.) This is the bulkhead between sections 5 and 6?
- Yes.

Examined by Mr. COTTER.

2309. You said that when she struck the water was two feet above the plate coming in?
- Yes. Would not it be better for you to ask a steward? I am a stoker.

The Commissioner:
You must answer the questions.

2310. (Mr. Cotter - To the Witness.) You rushed through the emergency door into the next compartment, No. 5?
- Yes.

2311. Now what I want to know is the dimensions of the bunker, how far it extended to amidships - fore and aft 9 feet. Now what was the extension the other way?
- I cannot exactly tell you.

The Attorney-General:
I will give you the exact dimensions later.

2312. (Mr. Cotter.) When you looked into the bunker you saw holes through the ship's side?
- Yes.

2313. Now seeing that hole was also in No. 6, naturally you would expect it would rip the bulkhead. As a Rule when you go from one compartment to another and that door closes automatically, you could open it again?
- Yes.

2314. By turning a handle?
- Yes.

2315. When you went back again the height of the water was how much?
- We never held any door up.

2316. You went up a ladder?
- No. About 8 feet of water. As soon as the order was given for men to their stations me and Mr. Shepherd went up the emergency ladder of No. 5 and down No. 6.

2317. There was 8 feet of water there?
- Yes.

2318. You had been away how long?
- I could not exactly say the time.

2319. Can you give us any idea?
- Well, 10 minutes.

2320. So that in 20 minutes it would be 16 feet?
- That I cannot say. The upper 8 feet of the ship is bigger than the bottom 8 feet of the ship.

The Commissioner:
I do not think you ought to ask a question of that kind.

Mr. Cotter:
I want to know how long it took for the water to get higher than the top of the escape ladder.

The Commissioner:
That sounds to me like a riddle. It is no use asking him questions of that sort.

2321. (Mr. Cotter - To the Witness.) You say there was a rush of water when you were in No. 5?
- Yes.

2322. Have you any idea where the water came from?
- No.

2323. No idea at all. Now I am going to ask you a question about the boats. When you were on the promenade deck, the deck under the boat deck, how far from the ship's side was No. 13 boat?
- I could not say; I could not tell you that.

2324. You say the ship had a list to starboard. I wanted to know how far the boat would be away from the ship's side?
- I cannot say.

2325. You say you put some passengers into her. Had you any difficulty in getting the women in?
- I never put passengers into her.

2326. Can you tell me who put them in?
- I do not know.

Mr. Pringle:
There are two questions which I would like to put to the Witness. First of all, if he saw anything done to stop the hole in No. 5 bunker, and secondly, whether he saw if it was the watertight door or part of the bulkhead which gave way when the water rushed in to No. 5 section.

The Commissioner:
Put them yourself.

2327. (Mr. Pringle - To the Witness.) Did you see anything done to stop the hole which you saw in No. 5 bunker?
- I did not.

2328. Did you see whether it was the watertight door or part of the bulkhead which had given way?
- No.

2329. You did not see?
- No.

2330. (The Commissioner.) You told us there was some fire in that bunker?
- Yes.

2331. Soon after you left port?
- Yes.

2332. Is it a very uncommon thing for fire to get into a coal bunker in that way?
- It is not an uncommon thing.

2333. It happens sometimes?
- Yes.

2334. I suppose the proper order is to have that actual bunker emptied as soon as possible?
- Yes.

2335. And, therefore, that was all right?
- Yes.

2336. Did the fact that there was fire in that bunker in any way conduce to the collision as far as you know? Had it anything to do with it?
- I could not say that.

2337. Do you think it had? Do you think that the fire had anything to do with this disaster?
- That would be hard to say, my Lord.

The Commissioner:
Very well; perhaps I am asking you a riddle.

Examined by Mr. LAING.

2338. Did you work out that bunker yourself?
- I was in charge. There were between 8 and 10 men doing it.

2339. Was it fire or only heat?
- It was fire.

2340. Did you play upon it?
- The hose was going all the time.

2341. And did they get it out by the Saturday?
- Yes.

2342. Cleared all out?
- Yes.

2343. I want to ask you about this bunker, just a question or two. When you saw the water coming into the bunker in No. 5 section, did you shut the bunker door?
- Yes.

2344. The bunker door is not a watertight door?
- No.

2345. And did you tell the engineer that you had seen water coming in?
- I reported to Mr. Shepherd and he reported to Mr. Hesketh.

2346. And as far as you know you are not able to say whether they were pumping it or not?
- No.

2347. All you know is you shut the door and left it?
- Yes.

2348. When this rush of water came from the pass, you went up and got in the alleyway?
- Yes.

2349. You have told us that was about ten minutes past one, I think?
- That is as near as I can recollect.

2350. Was there water on the alleyway?
- Just a little.

2351. I do not know whether you know - do you know where that must have come from?
- No. In my idea, the cause of that water being in the alleyway was some of the lower deck ports being open, and the water reached them and came through the ports.

2352. But to be on the alleyway the water must have been above the level of the watertight bulkhead?
- The water was coming down the alleyway from forward.

2353. If there was water on the alleyway it must have been above the watertight bulkhead?
- I cannot say; I do not know how high the watertight bulkhead is.

The Commissioner:
Is that so?

2354. (Mr. Laing.) I think so, my Lord; I think that must be so. (To the Witness.) This rush of water which you have described coming from the pass; was it like a fire hose?
- No, it was a greater rush than a fire hose.

2355. Can you give us any idea of the volume of water that came in when you were in No. 6?
- The pass was filled up.

2356. When you were in No. 6?
- No, No. 5.

2357. No, when you were in No. 6; the first rush of water - was that heavy?
- Pretty heavy.

2358. With regard to the revolutions, did you keep the same revolutions all Sunday, so far as you know?
- Yes.

2359. Up to the time of this disaster?
- Yes.

Re-examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL.

2360. There is only one matter I want to ask you about. You saw the ship go down - the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

2361. Had you heard the band playing?
- I had not heard the band; my friends told me they heard it; some of my mates said they heard it. I did not hear it.

(The Witness withdrew.)