British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 9

Testimony of John E. Hart

Examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL.

9833. Is your name Hart or stewart?
- Hart.

9834. Were you a third class steward on the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

9835. And at the time when the collision occurred were you off duty and in your bunk?
- Yes.

9836. What deck is your room on?
- The glory hole below E deck, below the main working alleyway.

9837. Do you mean that it is on E deck, or below E deck?
- Below E deck.

9838. Is it a room in which a number of third class stewards are together?
- Yes.

9839. I see a room on the plan that is marked "42 third class stewards"; would that be it?
- We have two rooms for third class stewards. They are both on the same level, but one is beside the third class dining room.

9840. And the other one?
- The other is further along - more amidships.

9841. I see, which was yours?
- Just beside the third class dining room.

The Solicitor-General:
Has your Lordship got it?

The Commissioner:
Yes, I have just seen it.

9842. (The Solicitor-General - To the witness.) It is marked "38 third class stewards," on deck F, I think?
- I think it is.

The Solicitor-General:
I think it is the more after one of the two, your Lordship sees.

The Commissioner:
Is it marked, "42 third class stewards"?

The Solicitor-General:
I understand him, My Lord, rather to suggest that it is the one in the afterpart of the same deck, a little further aft. There is another one marked, "38 third class stewards."

The Commissioner:
Yes, I see it.

9843. (The Solicitor-General.) I think that is what he means. (To the witness.) Close to the bakers?
- Yes.

9844. There is a room for six bakers next door?
- Yes.

9845. Very well, that is your room. Were you awakened by the collision?
- No.

9846. Did somebody else come and wake you up?
- Yes, somebody came along and woke me.

9847. You heard there had been an accident?
- Yes, they said there had been an accident.

9848. I think at first you did not think it was serious, and did not take much notice of it?
- Yes, and went to sleep.

9849. Who was it who came afterwards and gave instructions?
- The chief third class steward, Mr. Kieran.

9850. (The Commissioner.) Is he a third class steward?
- Yes.

9851. (The Solicitor-General.) What were the orders to pass along?
- He passed several orders. To me he said, "Go along to your rooms and get your people about."

9852. Would your rooms be the third class passengers' rooms?
- Yes.

9853. Which part of the third class accommodation is it that you were responsible for?
- Section K and part of M, the adjoining section, on E deck.

9854. That is part of the after third class accommodation?
- Yes.

9855. K and M?
- Yes.

The Solicitor-General:
Does your Lordship see on the plan of the E deck there is the letter "K" marked in that alleyway?

The Commissioner:
I see it.

9856. (The Solicitor-General.) And then further aft again M. (To the witness.) They use those letters K and M, and the other letters of the alphabet to indicate the different watertight compartments?
- No.

9857. Do not they lie between two watertight bulkheads?
- Yes, there are two watertight bulkheads at the afterpart of the beginning of the third class.

9858. I thought K lay between two, and M between two others, and so on?
- Yes, that is quite correct, K lies between two.

9859. (The Commissioner.) And M lies between two?
- No, M lies between the afterpart and one bulkhead.

9860. (The Solicitor-General.) We mean the same thing, I think, Mr. Hart. I thought we noticed when we went to see the ship that they used the letters of the alphabet to indicate the different compartments right along?
- That is it.

9861. Anyhow, your third class passengers were in the K section and in the m section?
- Part of M, yes.

9862. Are the third class passengers accommodated in different parts of the ship according as they are single men or married couples, and so on?
- Yes.

9863. And what is it you had in your section?
- I had part single women and part married.

9864. Married couples, I suppose?
- Yes.

9865. How many third class passengers had you in your sections altogether?
- Somewhere about 58.

9866. (The Commissioner.) Altogether?
- Altogether.

9867. Men and women?
- All told.

9868. (The Solicitor-General.) That would be including children?
- All told.

9869. And of those 59, how many would be in the married couples' part?
- How many married couples, do you mean?

9870. Yes, or put it the other way, you have a certain number of married men with their wives and families and a certain number of single women. Just divide it up?
- At the same time we had some married women travelling with their children.

9871. Give me some guide?
- I will give you a rough estimate.

9872. Take your 58?
- I had about nine married couples with children.

9873. I understand you had no single men?
- No, no single men.

9874. That would mean that you had got nine men?
- Nine husbands travelling with their wives.

9875. Nine husbands altogether?
- Yes.

9876. And the rest would be either ladies travelling alone, or wives or children?
- Yes.

9877. (The Commissioner.) Of the 58, nine were men?
- Nine were men.

9878. All the others were women or children?
- Yes.

9879. (The Solicitor-General.) When you got those instructions just tell us what you did?
- The chief third class steward was there, and he said "Get your people roused up and get lifebelts placed upon them; see that they have lifebelts on them." I did so.

9880. I suppose most of those people would have retired for the night?
- The majority had retired.

9881. Did you knock them all up?
- Yes.

9882. Can you tell us so far as your third class passengers are concerned, did you go to each third class compartment and rouse up your people?
- I went to each third class room and roused them.

9883. (The Commissioner.) Were most of them up or were they asleep?
- The majority were up. They had been aroused before I got there.

9884. (The Solicitor-General.) They are not single cabins, these third class compartments, are they; not single berths?
- They consisted of four berth-rooms and two berth-rooms, and two six berth-rooms.

9885. And what did you do about the lifebelts?
- I saw the lifebelts placed on them that were willing to have them put on them.

9886. (The Commissioner.) Some would not put them on?
- Some refused to put them on.

9887. (The Solicitor-General.) Did they say why?
- Yes, they said they saw no occasion for putting them on; they did not believe the ship was hurt in any way.

9888. Up to this time were any instructions given for your people to go to any other part of the ship?
- Not to my knowledge.

9889. Just tell us next what the next instructions were, or the next thing that you did. I will put the question in another way. You have told us that the instructions you got from Mr. Kieran, that you were to rouse up your people and get lifebelts on them. Did he say anything about future instructions that would be given?
- He said there would be further instructions; that I was to stand by my own people.

9890. So you were expecting further orders?
- Yes.

9891. Now you can tell us what happened. What further orders were given?
- He said, "Have you placed lifebelts on those who are willing to have them?" I said, "Yes." After that there was a large number of men coming from the forward part of the ship with their baggage, those that were berthed up forward - single men.

9892. Third class?
- Yes. When I saw that my own people had the required number of lifebelts, or those who were willing to have them, I placed the remainder of the lifebelts in one of the alleyways beside which these people would have to pass in case any came through without lifebelts from the forward part of the boat.

9893. This is also on deck E?
- Yes.

9894. You told us these third class passengers who were berthed forward came down to the aft?
- Yes.

9895. That would be down that alleyway?
- Yes, down to the afterpart of the ship.

9896. And whether a third class passenger is berthed forward or berthed aft, is the third class dining-room aft?
- The third class dining-room runs from almost amidships to aft.

9897. What I mean is the third class passengers who are berthed forward would know their way aft, because they had been accustomed to go to the dining-room?
- Yes.

9898. (The Commissioner.) What deck is the dining-room, is it below E deck; that would be f?

The Solicitor-General:
It is very clearly shown on that big section up there. Your Lordship sees "Third class dining-room," indicated amidships. (Pointing on the section.)

The Commissioner:
It is right amidships.

The Solicitor-General:
Yes. Your Lordship sees the people who are berthed right forward would be quite accustomed to come back to that extent.

9899. (The Commissioner.) Yes, I see it. (To the witness.) These men coming from the forward part of the ship would come along the alleyway and then go down a companion ladder and get to the dining saloon?
- Yes.

9900. On the deck below?
- Yes.

9901. (The Solicitor-General.) Where was it you saw them?
- I saw them where I was placed in my part of the ship, where my people were.

9902. That is K and M?
- Yes, on the main alleyway.

9903. I think the next thing you will be able to tell us will be the further instructions as to where these people were to go?
- I waited about there with my own people trying to show them that the vessel was not hurt to any extent to my own knowledge, and waited for the chief third class steward, or some other Officer, or somebody in authority to come down and give further orders. Mr. Kieran came back. He had been to sections S, and Q, and R to see that those people also were provided with lifebelts.

9904. S, and Q, and R are all in the extreme afterpart of the ship, are not they?
- That is correct.

9905. S is on deck G, R is on deck F, and Q is on deck E, all in the extreme afterpart of the ship?
- Yes.

9906. He had been there to your knowledge?
- Yes, he had also his assistant with him, one by name, Sedginary. [Sidney Sedunary.]

9907. (The Commissioner.) The chief steward and his assistant, Sedginary, went right aft, did they?
- Yes.

9908. To S, R and Q?
- Q, S and R.

The Solicitor-General:
Your Lordship happened to say, "The chief steward." Of course, it is the chief third class steward. Your Lordship appreciates that?

The Commissioner:

9909. (The Solicitor-General - To the witness.) Would those two people you have spoken of, Mr. Kieran and Mr. Sedginary, have any responsibility except for third class passengers?
- No, I think not; that is their own department of the ship.

9910. What about the assistant; you say his assistant was with him?
- Yes.

9911. In these compartments, do you mean?
- Going around he went round with him.

9912. Did Kieran survive?
- No.

9913. He was drowned?
- Yes.

9914. And the other man?
- The assistant also, he was drowned.

9915. You would have colleagues, other of the third class stewards, of course; do you know whether they were doing what you were doing?
- All the men that had rooms were.

9916. All the third class stewards who had got rooms?
- The third class stewards do not all have rooms. The third class stewards that had rooms went round to their respective sections and were doing the same as I was doing.

9917. (The Commissioner.) You mean those who had charge of rooms?
- Yes.

9918. You mean to say they roused the passengers and tried to get them to put on lifebelts?
- Yes.

9919. (The Solicitor-General.) How many third class stewards would there be who would have charge of rooms in the afterend of the ship?
- Eight.

9920. As far as you know they were each engaged in doing this?
- Yes.

9921. Now just tell us about the next thing?
- I was standing by waiting for further instructions. After some little while the word came down, "Pass your women up on the boat deck." This was done.

9922. That means the third class?
- Yes, the third class.

9923. Anything about children?
- Yes. "Pass the women and children."

9924. "Pass the women and children up to the boat deck"?
- Yes, those that were willing to go to the boat deck were shown the way. Some were not willing to go to the boat deck, and stayed behind. Some of them went to the boat deck, and found it rather cold, and saw the boats being lowered away, and thought themselves more secure on the ship, and consequently returned to their cabin.

9925. You say they thought themselves more secure on the ship? Did you hear any of them say so?
- Yes, I heard two or three say they preferred to remain on the ship than be tossed about on the water like a cockle shell.

9926. Can you in any way help us to fix the time, or about the time, when the order was given to pass the third class women and children up to the boat deck? Could you tell us how long it was after you were first roused, or how long it was before the ship went down?
- Well, as near as I can. The vessel struck, I believe, at 11.40. That would be 20 minutes to 12. It must have been three parts of an hour before the word was passed down to me to pass the women and children up to the boat deck.

9927. (The Commissioner.) This would be about 12.30?
- Yes, My Lord, as near as can be.

9928. (The Solicitor-General.) You say the word was passed down and you heard it?
- Yes.

9929. And you had your other colleagues there, other third class stewards. Was the word passed along?
- Yes, we were in a bunch. The whole sections are in a bunch. The word was passed right round, "Women and children to the boat deck," at somewhere about 12.30.

9930. When you heard it you would repeat it?
- The word was passed along; it was said loud enough for anybody to hear.

9931. In order that your third class women and children should get from those quarters up to the boat deck, they would have to mount a number of decks and go up a number of stairs?
- I did not take them that way.

9932. How did you take them?
- I took them along to the next deck, the C deck, the first saloon deck.

9933. You are making it very clear. There is a third class stairway going up?
- Yes.

9934. Did you take them by the third class stairway up to C deck?
- I took them up into the after-well deck, that would be the third class deck up one companion to C deck.

9935. Do you see the plan (Pointing on the plan.)?
- There is no occasion; I know the ship.

9936. It is to help us, not you. You say there are a series of stairways indicated. It is the third class stairway going up, is it not?
- Yes.

9937. The regular way by which third class passengers would go up if they were going to get to -?
- The after-well deck.

9938. And is that the way you took them up?
- Yes.

9939. As far as the C deck?
- Yes.

9940. It is marked on the plan?
- It is up one companion.

9941. It is marked on the plan, "Third class Entrance," I think?
- I do not know how the plan is marked.

9942. Is it a wide stairway with rails dividing the stairs into sections?
- Yes, it is very wide.

9943. So that 20 or 30 people could walk up abreast?
- Well, hardly that.

9944. Well, 15 people?
- I should imagine six aside could go up easily.

9945. That would bring them up then, as I follow you, to the C deck, to the after-well deck; and how would you get them from there to the boat deck?
- I took them along to the first class main companion from there.

9946. (The Commissioner.) You did yourself?
- Yes.

9947. (The Solicitor-General.) You led them, you guided them?
- I went ahead of them.

9948. That would mean on C deck going forward. Would it mean passing the second class library, and all that?
- Yes. The beginning of that deck is the second class, and further along, the saloon.

The Solicitor-General:
Your Lordship has the plan of C deck. I do not know whether that is before you now?

The Commissioner:

The Solicitor-General:
Your Lordship sees he comes up to that deck by what is there marked as "Third class Entrance" in the extreme afterpart of the ship?

The Commissioner:
I see that.

The Solicitor-General:
Then he guides his people forward along that deck, past the second class part of the ship, where the second class library is marked.

The Commissioner:
I see that.

9949. (The Solicitor-General.) And goes still forward until he comes to the first class stairs, which is next to what is marked "Barber's shop," a big stairway. (To the witness.) Then did you guide them up that first class stairway to the boat deck?
- Right to the boat deck.

9950. At that time, when you took up your people by that route, was there any barrier that had to be opened, or was it open to pass?
- There were barriers that at ordinary times are closed, but they were open.

9951. They were open when you got there?
- Yes.

9952. How many people of your lot did you take up the first time you went up this course to the boat deck?
- Somewhere about 30.

9953. All women and children of the third class?
- Yes, on that occasion, on the first occasion.

9954. And having got them to the boat deck, do you remember whereabouts on the boat deck you took them to?
- Yes. I took them to boat No. 8, which was at that time being lowered.

9955. That is the fourth boat on the port side?
- Yes.

9956. Practically opposite the second funnel, or a little more forward than the second funnel?
- Yes.

9957. Did you leave them there?
- I left them there and went back again.

9958. And when you went back what happened then?
- But on the way of my getting back other passengers were coming along, third class passengers. They were also being shown the way to the boats. Amongst them were females - the husbands and fathers were with them.

9959. Who was showing them the way?
- One by the name of Cox.

9960. Is he a steward?
- Yes.

9961. One of your colleagues?
- One of the third class stewards.

9962. Was Cox saved, do you know?
- No.

9963. Did they follow the same route to go to the boat deck?
- Well, by the way he was taking them they must have done.

9964. You returned to your people?
- I returned to my own part of the ship.

9965. Did you bring up any more?
- Yes, about 25. I had some little trouble in getting back owing to the males wanting to get to the boat deck.

9966. The men?
- Yes. After the word was passed round for women and children, I was delayed a little time in getting a little band together that were willing to go to the boats.

9967. A band of women and children?
- Yes.

9968. How many did you gather?
- Somewhere about 25.

9969. Were those all people from the rooms you were responsible for?
- No, also from other sections.

9970. Were they all third class passengers?
- Yes.

9971. Did you guide them by the same route?
- Yes.

9972. Where did you take them to?
- I took them to the only boat that was left then, boat No. 15.

9973. This is an important thing. You say the only boat that was left?
- That I could see.

9974. Do you mean the only boat that was left on either side of the ship?
- I came along the starboard side of the vessel and on that side of the vessel that was the only remaining boat.

9975. That is the aftermost boat on the starboard side?
- Yes, the last boat on the starboard side.

9976. That is the boat we have had some evidence about this morning. Can you tell me whether at that time there were any boats on the port side?
- I cannot say, I did not go; the last boat I saw on the port side launched was when I took my first lot of passengers to boat No. 8.

9977. At that time when you took your lot of passengers to boat No. 8 on the port side were there any other boats left on the port side?
- It is like this. From boat No. 8 I believe there is a big square right amidships. I did not look further.

9978. You mean there is a big empty space?
- Yes.

9979. Of course boat No. 8 is one of the forward lot of boats?
- Yes.

9980. You would come up by the main companion way, and coming up by the main companion way would come up almost opposite boat No. 8?
- Yes.

9981. And so you went straight to it?
- Yes.

9982. You really cannot tell us whether at that time the after boats on the port side were still there or not?
- I cannot tell you.

9983. And when you came up the second time you say you went to the starboard side?
- I came up on the starboard side. It was on the starboard side that I came up. I went across in the first place to the port, because at that time they were lowering away the port boats.

9984. You mean the first time you came on the boat deck?
- Yes, and on my return to the deck the second time, I could see that there were no boats being lowered away from the port.

9985. You could?
- Yes, from the open space which is right opposite. I then took them to the starboard side. There was on that side one remaining boat, No. 15.

9986. I see that in order to get from the first class companion up which you came to boat No. 15, you would come out on the boat deck, if you look at the model, just in front of the second funnel, and you would have to walk right back to the aftermost boat, which we see there. That is right, is it not?
- Yes.

9987. And you could see, of course, that there were no boats left until you got to No. 16?
- On the starboard side there were no boats left except that one.

9988. When you got with these people to No. 15 was there room for them in it?
- Yes, they were placed in it.

9989. Now this is on the boat deck?
- Yes.

9990. Not on A deck?
- No.

9991. Do you mean that these people were put into it from the boat deck?
- From the boat deck. The boat was lowered right flush with the rail on the boat deck.

9992. From the davits?
- From the davits to the level of the rail to enable the people to get in easier.

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