United States Senate Inquiry

Day 18

Testimony of Frederick Barrett


Q. What is your name? - A. Frederick Barrett.

Q. Place of residence? - A. Southampton.

Q. You were a fireman on the Titanic? - A. I was leading fireman.

Q. Were you on duty on the night of the accident? - A. Yes.

Q. Where? - A. In 6 section.

Q. Were you there when the accident occurred? - A. Yes. I was standing talking to the second engineer. The bell rang, the red light showed. We sang out shut the doors (indicating the ash doors to the furnaces) and there was a crash just as we sung out. The water came through the ship's side. The engineer and I jumped to the next section. The next section to the forward section is No. 5.

Q. Where did the water come through? - A. About 2 feet above the floor plates, starboard side.

Q. How much water? - A. A large volume of water came through.

Q. How big was this hole in the side? - A. About 2 feet above the floor plates.

Q. You think it was a large tear? - A. Yes; I do.

Q. All along the side of No. 6? - A. Yes.

Q. How far along? - A. Past the bulkhead between sections 5 and 6, and it was a hole 2 feet into the coal bunkers. She was torn through No. 6 and also through 2 feet abaft the bulkhead in the bunker at the forward head of No.5 section. We got through before the doors broke, the doors dropped instantly automatically from the bridge. I went back to No. 6 fireroom and there was 8 feet of water in there. I went to No. 5 fireroom when the lights went out. I was sent to find lamps, as the lights were out, and when we got the lamps we looked at the boilers and there was no water in them. I ran to the engineer and he told me to get some firemen down to draw the fires. I got 15 men down below.

Q. Did you not have fires in No. 6? - A. Yes, the fires were lit when the water came.

Q. I would like to know how many boilers were going that night? - A. There were five boilers not lit.

Q. How many were there going? - A. There was 24 boilers lit and five without. Fires were lighted in three boilers for the first time Sunday, but I don't know whether they were connected up or not.

Q. This tear went a couple of feet past the bulkhead in No. 5. How were you able to keep the water from reaching? - A. It never came above the plates, until all at once I saw a wave of green foam come tearing through between the boilers and I jumped for the escape ladder.

Q. Was there any indication of any explosion of a boiler? - A. There was a knocking noise, but no explosion, only when the ship was sinking a volume of smoke came up.

Q. Can you tell us how long you have been on the Titanic? - A. I only joined it at Southampton.

Q. How did you escape? - A. I got in lifeboat 13.

Q. Was it a collapsible boat? - A. I can not tell.

Q. You were in charge of No. 13 for about an hour - how many were in that boat? - A. Sixty-five or 70.

Q. How many sailors? - A. I can not tell.

Q. What officer was in charge? - A. No officer in it. Because I had no clothes I felt myself giving out and gave it to somebody else. I do not know who it was.

Q. Was there any objection to your getting in the boat? - A. No, sir.

Q. Where was it loaded? - A. At A deck. It was lowered to A deck. They were very full up when we got in.

Q. Was there an officer there at the time? - A. No, sir.

Q. You got in and took charge of the boat and remained in charge until you got chilled? - A. Yes.

Q. Then who took it over? - A. I could not say who it was.

Q. Was there any large number of people in A deck at the time you got up there? - A. There was not, sir.

Q. How did you reach A deck? - A. I came up along the hatchway.

Q. Did you meet any third class passengers? - A. No, sir.

Q. Were they held off in any way? - A. No, sir.

Q. They had the same privilege to go up on A deck? - A. They had as much privilege as anybody else. About this signal (indicating).

Q. The white light up there indicates full speed? - A. Yes.

Q. When you received the red signal the white disappears? - A. A bell rings when the signal appears.

Q. When the bell rings you look up there and see the signal light? - A. Yes, sir.

Q. The white light indicates full speed, and that was the light shown that Sunday night up to the time you got the red-light signal to stop, which was just before the collision? - A. Yes.

Q. And that was the first time during the voyage that the 24 boilers were running? - A. Yes.

[Witness Excused.]