British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry


Account of the Saving and Rescue of those who Survived
Third Class Passengers.

It had been suggested before the Enquiry that the third class passengers had been unfairly treated; that their access to the Boat deck had been impeded, and that when at last they reached that deck the first and second class passengers were given precedence in getting places in the boats. There appears to have been no truth in these suggestions. It is no doubt true that the proportion of third class passengers saved falls far short of the proportion of the first and second class, but this is accounted for by the greater reluctance of the third class passengers to leave the ship, by their unwillingness to part with their baggage, by the difficulty in getting them up from their quarters, which were at the extreme ends of the ship, and by other similar causes. The interests of the relatives of some of the third class passengers who had perished were in the hands of Mr. Harbinson, who attended the Enquiry on their behalf. He said at the end of his address to the Court: -

"I wish to say distinctly that no evidence has been given in the course of this case which would substantiate a charge that any attempt was made to keep back the third class passengers. I desire further to say that there is no evidence that when they did reach the Boat deck there was any discrimination practiced either by the officers or the sailors in putting them into the boats."

I am satisfied that the explanation of the excessive proportion of third class passengers lost is not to be found in the suggestion that the third class passengers were in any way unfairly treated. They were not unfairly treated.