British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 7

Testimony of Stanley Lord, cont.

6814. (The Attorney-General.) He will be called, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Will you tell us what he said to you next day about these two lights?
- I asked him the next day or the following day - I do not remember exactly, it is so long ago - how many lights the ship had, and he said "two." I remarked that I only saw one.

6815. (The Commissioner.) Now I want to know this. You had seen only one, and you and he were on the deck together, as I understand you?
- Yes.

6816. Why did you ask him how many there were?
- Well, I was curious about this "Titanic" accident. I was trying to locate the ship that was supposed to be between us and the "Titanic."

6817. Were you in doubt as to whether you had seen one or two lights?
- I had not myself.

The Commissioner:
Then I cannot understand why you should ask him how many lights he had seen if you yourself had no doubt whatever about it.

6818. (The Attorney-General.) If he did see two lights it must have been the "Titanic," must it not?
- It does not follow.

6819. Do you know any other vessel it could have been?
- Any amount.

6820. Which - I mean, at this particular time, you know, and at this particular spot. Can you suggest any other vessel it could have been?
- Well, I do not know.

6821. Carrying two lights?
- That particular spot? The spot mentioned here as 19 miles away is not, in my opinion, where the "Titanic" hit the berg.

6822. Within a radius of 20 miles of you?
- No, 30 miles.

6823. Do you mean she was further from you?
- She was 32 miles from where I left the wreckage.

6824. (The Commissioner.) Has the Third Officer ever expressed any opinion to you that it was the "Titanic" he saw?
- No, my Lord.

6825. Never?
- Never.

6826. (The Attorney-General.) I must put this to you. Do you remember about a quarter-past 11 on that night, that is the night of the 14th, his telling you that he had noticed a steamer - that is, the Third Officer, Mr. Groves?
- No, I do not.

6827. A steamer about three points abaft the starboard beam, 10 to 12 miles away?
- No, I do not.

6828. Did you ask about her lights?
- Not then.

6829. At any time?
- No. A quarter to 12 was the first time I ever mentioned anything to him about the steamer, that I recollect.

6830. Did he say to you that she was evidently a passenger steamer?
- No.

6831. And did you say to him, "The only passenger steamer near us is the "Titanic"?
- I might have said that with regard to the steamer, but he did not say the steamer was a passenger steamer.

6832. You might have said what?
- The "Titanic."

6833. What about the "Titanic"?
- The "Titanic" we were in communication with.

6834. That is not what I put, you know.

The Commissioner:
No, and it is not what he said.

The Attorney-General:
That is a very different thing.

6835. (The Commissioner.) You said, according to your statement, "The 'Titanic' is the only passenger steamer near us." You said that to him?
- She was.

6836. But you said it to him?
- I do not recollect saying it.

6837. You have just told me you did say it. Do collect. your mind. Did you say it?
- I do not recollect saying it.

6838. (The Attorney-General.) Did you know of any other passenger steamer near you except the "Titanic"?
- I did not.

6839. But you knew the "Titanic" was not far from you?
- I had no idea where the "Titanic" was.

6840. But you had been in communication with it?
- Yes; I had never had its position.

6841. Did you tell him to call her up with the Morse lamp?
- I did not; he had already called her up.

The Commissioner:
I do not know whether you are going to leave it here?

The Attorney-General:
No; I am going to call other evidence about it.

The Commissioner:
I mean with this Witness.

6842. (The Attorney-General.) No, I am not going to leave it. (To the Witness.) Who was Mr. Stone?
- The Second Officer.

6843. It was he who relieved Mr. Groves?
- Yes, at 10 minutes past 12.

6844. Do you know whether the steamer was pointed out by Mr. Stone to Mr. Groves?
- He told me afterwards that she was.

6845. And that it was a passenger steamer?
- I never heard that.

6846. That he had said that it was a passenger steamer?
- I never heard that.

6847. (The Commissioner.) You do not give answers that please me at present. You said just now as plainly as possible that you answered the Third Officer, I think it was, and said: "The only passenger steamer near us is the 'Titanic.'" You now suggest that you do not remember whether you said that or not?
- I do not recollect saying anything to him about it, my Lord.

6848. Could you have forgotten such a thing?
- Well, I have heard so many stories about the "Titanic" since that I really do not know what I heard that night.

6849. (The Attorney-General.) But that would be rather an important matter, would it not, if you thought the steamer that was approaching you was the "Titanic"?
- I never thought it. I saw a steamer.

The Commissioner:
This is exactly what you said: "I might have said that the only passenger steamer likely to be near us is the 'Titanic.'"

6850. (The Attorney-General - To the Witness.) You might have said that. That is what you said before. That is right, is it not?
- I might have said it; I do not recollect it.

6851. Did you know the steamer had stopped from 11.40, whatever she was?
- I know she stopped round about half-past eleven.

The Commissioner:
Will you remind me, Mr. Attorney, how the mysterious imaginary light bore from the "Titanic"?

The Attorney-General:
It is not very satisfactory. It is said by some Witness two points on the port bow; by another a point on the port bow; and by another it is said to have been on the starboard or broad on the starboard. Nobody is very satisfactory about it. Of course, your Lordship will remember it is rather difficult to know after she struck the iceberg how she was heading. We have not any very definite or clear evidence how the "Titanic" was heading. We cannot tell.

The Commissioner:
Therefore, it comes substantially to nothing more than this: that there are Witnesses from the "Titanic" who believe that they did see the white light of a ship?

The Attorney-General:
Yes, and one of them said he saw sidelights. Your Lordship will hear some further evidence about it.

The Commissioner:
Yes; one of them said he saw a sidelight.

The Attorney-General:
Yes.

The Commissioner:
It was a red light, was it not, the sidelight?

6852. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, quite right, my Lord. (To the Witness.) I think you did see your Third Officer signaling with a Morse lamp from the bridge?
- I did.

6853. And that he got no reply?
- He got no reply.

6854. Did it strike you as a curious thing that he got no reply. Did you think about it at all?
- I did. It did not strike me as being very strange.

6855. You knew, of course, you were amongst ice?
- Yes.

6856. And that the other vessel might also be amongst ice?
- Yes.

6857. Have you an Apprentice on your vessel called Gibson?
- Yes.

6858. Do you remember his coming down into the chart room?
- I do not.

6859. After 1.15, when you went to the chart room?
- I have a recollection of Gibson opening and closing the chart room door some time between half-past 1 and half-past 4.

6860. You remember that?
- I remember that.

6861. Do you remember what he opened and closed the chart room door for?
- I do not.

6862. Was it to come and tell you something?
- I could not say. I said, "What is it?" and he did not reply; he closed the door.

6863. At half-past 4 by your ship's time were you called by the Chief Officer?
- Yes.

6864. Were you on deck about 20 minutes to 12?
- I was on deck, yes.

6865. And at what time did you leave the deck to go to your chart room?
- A quarter-past 12.

6866. Did you see that the deck lights of this vessel appeared to go out?
- Not to me.

6867. Did the Third Officer make any observation to you about that?
- No.

6868. Did he say to you that her deck lights seemed to go out?
- No.

6869. Or that nearly all her deck lights seemed to go out?
- No.

6870. (The Commissioner.) Was nothing said to you about her deck lights?
- Not to me.

6871. Was anything said to anybody as far as you know?
- I have heard since that the remark was passed.

6872. Who made the remark and to whom?
- The Third Officer, I think, remarked to the Second Officer.

6873. When?
- I do not know when.

6874. Have you never asked?
- I have never asked, no.

The Commissioner:
You hear what he says?

6875. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Let me finish, first, what happened during that night. You were called by the Chief Officer?
- At 4.30, yes.

6876. What did he say?
- He told me it was breaking day and the steamer that had fired the rocket was to the southward.

6877. Was still to the southward?
- Yes.

6878. (The Commissioner.) Who told you this?
- The Chief Officer at 4.30.

6879. What is his name?
- Mr. Stewart.

6880. (The Attorney-General.) 4.30 ship's time, day was breaking. The steamer which had fired the rocket was still to the southward. Did you know she had fired a number of rockets?
- I did not.

6881. According to you did she fire only one rocket?
- Only one rocket.

6882. Have you never heard from other Officers that she fired a number of rockets?
- Since.

6883. When did you hear that?
- The next day.

6884. Who told you?
- The Second Officer first.

6885. What did he say?
- He said she had fired several rockets in his watch - no, the Chief Officer told me, about 5 o'clock, that she had fired several rockets.

The Attorney-General:
My Lord, I think it very desirable that the other Witnesses from the "Californian" should be out of Court whilst this Witness is giving evidence.

The Commissioner:
By all means.

The Attorney-General:
If your Lordship will direct it.

The Commissioner:
Where are the other Witnesses from the "Californian"? (The Officers of the "Californian" stood up in Court.) Well, gentlemen, I think you had better leave the Court at present. (The Officers retired.)

6886. (The Attorney-General.) Had you heard this vessel had fired altogether 8 rockets?
- When.

6887. Before the Chief Officer came to you at 4.30?
- None.

6888. Do you know that Gibson was told by the Second Officer to call you?
- I do now.

6889. You do now?
- Yes.

6890. When did you hear that?
- The next day.

6891. What time the next day?
- At about 7 o'clock.

6892. In. the morning?
- In the morning.

6893. That the Second Officer had told Gibson to go to the chart room to call you?
- Yes.

6894. And was that for the purpose of telling you that this vessel had fired 8 rockets?
- Several rockets, I understand.

The Commissioner:
Is that the man who did come into his room?

The Attorney-General:
Yes.

The Commissioner:
And went away, according to this Witness, without saying anything?

6895. (The Attorney-General.) Yes, my Lord, that is according to the evidence. (To the Witness.) Gibson, the Apprentice, had been told by the Second Officer to go to the chart room to tell you that the vessel had fired altogether eight rockets, or, as you say, several rockets, and that the vessel had disappeared?
- Had steamed away. That was the message that I understand was given.

6896. I am putting to you, you know, that what was said was the vessel had disappeared?
- No, it was never mentioned, "disappeared," to me.

6897. What did you think it was firing rockets for?
- When? I did not know anything about these rockets until 7 o'clock the next morning.

6898. But you saw one rocket fired?
- I heard of one rocket. I did not see it fired.

6899. You heard of one?
- Yes.

6900. That was before you went to the chart room?
- No, at a quarter-past 1.

6901. Were you on deck then?
- No.

6902. Did you remain in the chart room when you were told that a vessel was firing a rocket?
- I remained in the chart room when he told me this vessel had fired a rocket.

6903. I do not understand you. You knew, of course, there was danger in this field of ice to steamers?
- To a steamer steaming, yes.

6904. You knew there was danger?
- Yes.

6905. That is why you stopped?
- Yes.

6906. And you knew also that it was desirable, at any rate, to communicate with the "Titanic" to tell her that there was ice?
- Yes.

6907. You had done that?
- I had done that.

6908. And you knew that this vessel, whatever it was, that you say had stopped?
- Had stopped, yes.

6909. I do not understand - it may be my fault?
- Shall I explain to you?

6910. What did you think this vessel was firing rockets for?
- I asked the Second Officer. I said, "Is that a company's signal?" and he said he did not know.

6911. Then that did not satisfy you?
- No, it did not.

6912. I mean whatever it was it did not satisfy you that it was a company's signal?
- It did not, but I had no reason to think it was anything else.

6913. (The Commissioner.) That seems odd. You knew that the vessel that was sending up this rocket was in a position of danger?
- No, my Lord, I did not.

6914. Well, danger if she moved?
- If she moved, yes.

6915. What did you think the rocket was sent up for?
- Well, we had been trying to communicate with this steamer by Morse lamp from half-past 11, and she would not reply.

6916. This was a quarter-past one?
- Yes, we had tried at intervals from half-past eleven.

6917. What did you think he was sending up a rocket for?
- I thought it was acknowledging our signals, our Morse lamp. A good many steamers do not use the Morse lamp.

6918. Have you ever said that before?
- That has been my story right through - my impression right along.

6919. (The Attorney-General.) Just let me put this to you. When you asked him whether it was a company's signal he said he did not know. That would not satisfy you?
- No.

6920. Was it then you told him to Morse her and find out what ship it was?
- Yes.

6921. After the white rocket had been sent up?
- After the white rocket had been sent up.

6922. And did you tell him to send Gibson, the Apprentice, down. to let you know his reply?
- Yes.

6923. You did?
- I did.

6924. What was the message that Gibson brought down to you then?
- That morning? I did not get it, not to my knowledge. I never got it.

6825. You had seen the rocket or you had heard of the rocket?
- Yes.

6926. You want to know what the rocket is?
- Yes.

6927. You have been trying to find out by Morsing him?
- Yes.

6928. And you have failed?
- Yes.

6929. Then you say to him that Gibson was to come down and tell you what the result of the Morse signaling was?
- Yes.

6930. And then, I suppose, you remained in the chart room?
- I remained in the chart room.

6931. Then, so far as you were concerned, you did not know at all what the rocket was for?
- No.

6932. And you remained in the chart room?
- Yes, I remained in the chart room.

6933. And you did nothing further?
- I did nothing further myself.

6934-5. If it was not a company's signal, must it not have been a distress signal?
- If it had been a distress signal the Officer on watch would have told me.

6936. I say, if it was not a company's signal, must it not have been a distress signal?
- Well, I do not know of any other signals but distress signals that are used at sea.

6937. You do not expect at sea, where you were, to see a rocket unless it is a distress signal, do you?
- We sometimes get these company's signals which resemble rockets; they do not shoot as high and they do not explode.

6938. You have already told us that you were not satisfied that was a company's signal. You have told us that?
- I asked the Officer, was it a company's signal.

6939. (The Commissioner.) And he did not know?
- He did not know.

6940. (The Attorney-General.) You have told me already some few minutes ago -?
- Very well. Sir.

6941. That you were not satisfied it was a company's signal. You did not think it was a company's signal?
- I inquired, was it a company's signal.

6942. But you had been told that he did not know?
- He said he did not know.

6943. Very well, that did not satisfy you?
- It did not satisfy me.

6944. Then if it was not that, it might have been a distress signal?
- It might have been.

6945. And you remained in the chart room?
- I remained in the chart room.

6946. Expecting Gibson, the Apprentice, to come down and report to you?
- Yes.

6947. Gibson did come down?
- So I understand.

6948. But you know perfectly well that he came?
- I know now.

6949. Did you know then?
- I did not.

6950. I think you told us you heard Gibson open and close the door?
- Yes.

6951. And you said, "What is it?"
- Yes.

6952. And he said nothing?
- He did not say anything.

6953. And you were expecting him to come down and tell you what the meaning of the rocket was?
- But in the meantime I was asleep.

6954. (The Commissioner.) Yes, but you were not asleep - at least, I suppose not - when you said to the boy, "What is it"?
- I was wakened up by the opening of the door - the banging of the door.

The Commissioner:
There is one matter I want. When was the Morse signal first used?

6955. (The Attorney-General.) You hear my Lord's question?
- Half-past 11 at night.

6956. And no reply was ever obtained?
- No reply.

6957. So it would follow from what you have said, would it not, that if your man Gill says he did see a distress signal he was right?
- No. At the distance we were away from that steamer, if it had been a distress signal we would have heard the report.

6958. I do not understand. From what you have been telling us just now you did not know that this rocket which you saw was not a distress signal?
- Well, I am under the impression it was not.

6959. Why?
- Because we did not hear the report; we were close enough to hear the report of any distress signal.

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