British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry


Account of the Saving and Rescue of those who Survived
Conduct of Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon and Mr Ismay

An attack was made in the course of the Enquiry on the moral conduct of two of the passengers, namely, Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon and Mr. Bruce Ismay. It is no part of the business of the Court to enquire into such matters, and I should pass them by in silence if I did not fear that my silence might been misunderstood. The very gross charge against Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon that, having got into No. 1 boat he bribed the men in it to row away from the drowning people is unfounded. (Duff Gordon, 12586 et seq.) I have said that the members of the crew in that boat might have made some attempt to save the people in the water, and that such an attempt would probably have been successful; but I do not believe that the men were deterred from making the attempt by any act of Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon's. At the same time I think that if he had encouraged to the men to return to the position where the "Titanic" had foundered they would probably have made an effort to do so and could have saved some lives.

As to the attack on Mr. Bruce Ismay, it resolved itself into the suggestion that, occupying the position of Managing Director of the Steamship Company, some moral duty was imposed upon him to wait on board until the vessel foundered. I do not agree. Mr. Ismay, after rendering assistance to many passengers, found "C" collapsible, the last boat on the starboard side, actually being lowered. No other people were there at the time. There was room for him and he jumped in. (Ismay, 18559) Had he not jumped in he would merely have added one more life, namely, his own, to the number of those lost.