United States Senate Inquiry

Day 1

Testimony of Harold T. Cottam, cont.

Senator SMITH.
When did you hear anything again? What happened next?

Mr. COTTAM.
I heard the Baltic calling Cape Race.

Senator SMITH.
You were in regular communication?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
With the Titanic?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Until the last communication was heard?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes; until the last communication was heard.

Senator SMITH.
What was the last one?

Mr. COTTAM.
The last one was, "Come quick; our engine room is filling up to the boilers."

Senator SMITH.
That was the last communication you received?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did you make any reply to it?

Mr. COTTAM.
I acknowledged the message and reported it to the captain.

Senator SMITH.
Did you report each of those messages to the captain?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
By leaving your place?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And going forward?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Or by the captain coming to your room?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir; I reported on the bridge to the captain.

Senator SMITH.
And this was the last communication you received?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And the reply that was made was to what effect?

Mr. COTTAM.
I simply acknowledged the message and went up to the captain and reported it.

Senator SMITH.
Was any other message sent to them?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
In saying that you acknowledged the message, you just use the word "received"?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir; we called the Titanic by the three letter code and signed it by our own and gave the signal for "received" - "R. D."

Senator SMITH.
That indicates that the message has been received? Does it indicate any more than that; that it has had attention?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
So that in response to this last call the only reply they got was "received"?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
But the position of your boat was not stated?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
I thought I understood the captain to say that one of the last messages told the sinking ship that they were within a certain distance and coming hard, or coming fast.

Mr. COTTAM.
I called him with that message, but I got no acknowledgment.

Senator SMITH.
Just tell us what that message was. You called him with that message?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
We would like to know about that; just tell what it was.

Mr. COTTAM.
The captain told me to tell the Titanic that all our boats were ready and we were coming as hard as we could come, with a double watch on in the engine room, and to be prepared, when we got there, with lifeboats. I got no acknowledgment of that message.

Senator SMITH.
But you sent it?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Whether it was received or not, you don't know?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Let us understand. When you received that last call from the Titanic, that her engine room was filling with water, you say you acknowledged its receipt and took that message to the captain. Did you acknowledge its receipt before you took it to the captain?

Mr. COTTAM Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Then, after you had taken this message to the captain, you came back to your instrument and sent the message that you have just described?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And to that you received no reply?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And you never received any other reply?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Or any other word from the ship?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
After the Carpathia had picked up these lifeboats and started for New York, did you receive messages?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How long did you remain at your post that night?

Mr. COTTAM.
All the night, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How much of the time next day?

Mr. COTTAM.
All the day, sir.

Senator SMITH.
That was Sunday and Monday; how about Monday night?

Mr. COTTAM.
I was on all night again, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And Tuesday?

Mr. COTTAM.
All the time again.

Senator SMITH.
And Tuesday night?

Mr. COTTAM.
I got about a couple or three hours sleep.

Senator SMITH.
You got about two or three hours sleep Tuesday night?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes.

Senator SMITH.
At what hour?

Mr. COTTAM.
I can not say the hour I fell off.

Senator SMITH.
You fell off to sleep?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Involuntarily?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
You do not know what time it was?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Or how much you slept?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
How were you awakened?

Mr. COTTAM.
I don't know, sir.

Senator SMITH.
When were you awakened?

Mr. COTTAM.
About 20 to half-past 4, ship's time, just as the dawn was coming on; about half-past 4 in the morning.

Senator SMITH.
It was nearing dawn?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
That would be Wednesday morning?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Were you at your post all day Wednesday?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir; with the exception of meals.

Senator SMITH.
And Wednesday night?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir; the junior man of the Titanic had then been brought up out of the hospital to give me a hand for a while with the wireless.

Senator SMITH.
What was your state of mind or physical condition at that time when you got this relief?

Mr. COTTAM.
I was feeling very tired, and about worked out.

Senator SMITH.
How long did this relief that you got from the Titanic operator continue?

Mr. COTTAM.
He gave me a hand all the way to New York.

Senator SMITH.
All the way to New York?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
During those days beginning with Monday morning, was there an attempt made to communicate with your ship often?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
That was successful?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Of course you would not know whether any attempt were made that was not successful?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
In other words you have no means of knowing what passed through the air except as it has registered on you instrument?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Was there any successful attempt made to communicate with you on Monday? Did you take any messages on Monday?

Mr. COTTAM.
I can not remember that I did on Monday.

Senator SMITH.
Can you remember what you did Tuesday?

Mr. COTTAM.
I kept no record of the whole work; only memorized it.

Senator SMITH.
You kept no record of it?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Was there no written record of those messages?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes. sir.

Senator SMITH.
When was it made up?

Mr. COTTAM.
As the messages were sent.

Senator SMITH.
And received?

Mr. COTTAM.
And received.

Senator SMITH.
So that those are on file with your ship's office?

Mr. COTTAM.
They are in the Marconi house on the ship, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Was anybody successful in getting into communication with your ship on Monday and Tuesday?

Mr. COTTAM.
I was in communication with some station or other the whole way from the time of the wreck right to New York.

Senator SMITH.
You were in communication with some ship?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
All the way?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH. All the way?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And often?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Do you recall having received any message from the President of the United States?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir; I do not remember anything about that.

Senator SMITH.
Do you recall getting into communication with either the Chester or the Salem?

Mr. COTTAM.
With the Chester, sir.

Senator SMITH.
The Chester?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
What was the nature of their inquiry?

Mr. COTTAM.
They were asking for a list of the passengers and crew.

Senator SMITH.
Did you comply with their request?

Mr. COTTAM. I asked the captain. The names of the first and second class passengers and the crew had been sent off previously.

Senator SMITH.
They had been sent to whom?

Mr. COTTAM.
The names of the first and second class passengers had been sent to the Olympic, and the list of the crew had been sent to the Minnewaska.

Senator SMITH.
And therefore you did not duplicate those lists?

Mr. COTTAM.
No, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Was there any message from the Chester?

Mr. COTTAM. They sent some message, but I can not remember whether they were replied to or not. The first message was replied to.

Senator SMITH.
Did this wireless instrument or equipment work satisfactorily, so far as you know?

Mr. COTTAM.
On the Carpathia?

Senator SMITH.
On the Carpathia.

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes. It worked satisfactorily for what it was, sir.

Senator SMITH.
Did it seem to be an impaired equipment?

Mr. COTTAM.
An old type.

Mr. UHLER. What does he mean by that - that the field was limited or the type of machine?

Senator SMITH.
The type of machine.

Mr. COTTAM.
The type of machine. Both the field of communication and the type of machine.

Mr. UHLER. Both were unsatisfactory?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
The field was limited by the type, was it not?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Mr. UHLER. What was the power of the machine on the Carpathia?

Senator SMITH.
Answer the question. What was the power? What wave length was used?

Mr. UHLER. No; what was the kilowatt?

Senator SMITH.
What power did you use?

Mr. COTTAM.
I can not tell you the kilowatt; it varied according to the source of supply from the ship's main.

Senator SMITH.
I think I will just let you stand aside for a while, but we may want you in the morning; will you be here?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
I should like to have you here as early as 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

Mr. GRIGGS. Shall we try to bring down the junior operator of the Titanic at the same time?

Senator SMITH.
I wish you would.

Mr. GRIGGS. We will have him here in the morning.

Senator SMITH.
Thank you.

Do you know what time you received the message from the Chester?

Mr. COTTAM.
That is hard to say, sir, but it would be about half-past 9 to 10 o'clock in the morning.

Senator SMITH.
Which morning? Tuesday morning?

Mr. COTTAM.
Tuesday morning.

Senator SMITH.
About half-past 9?

Mr. COTTAM.
Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH.
That is all from you to-night. I will now call Mr. Crawford.