United States Senate Inquiry

Day 3

Testimony of Joseph G. Boxhall, cont.

3648. Did you see it?
- I was not very sure of seeing it. It seemed to me to be just a small black mass not rising very high out of the water, just a little on the starboard quarter,

3649. How far out of the water should you judge?
- I could not judge the size of it, but it seemed to me to be very, very low lying.

3650. Did it extend up to B deck?
- Oh, no; the ship was past it then. It looked to me to be very, very low in the water.

Senator Fletcher: Give us an idea; do not leave it there.

3651. (Senator Smith.) How far do you think it was above the water?
- That is hard to say. In my own opinion I do not think the thing extended above the ship's rail.

3652. Above the ship's rail?
- No.

3653. And how far was this rail above the water's edge?
- Probably about 30 feet.

3654. About 30 feet?
- No; hardly 30 feet.

3655. The distance from the water's edge to the boat deck was how far?
- I could get that measurement from the plan.

3656. About 70 feet, was it not?
- From the boat deck it was about 70 feet to the water's edge. The boat deck is one deck above A. This rail I mean is on the C deck.

3657. You say this looked like a black object?
- Yes.

3658. Were the stars shining that night?
- The stars were shining,

3659. And the moon?
- No moon.

3660. No moon?
- No.

3661. Was it clear?
- Clear.

3662. And yet you wish to be understood as saying that, standing in the bow of the ship as far forward as you could get, and looking over directly at this obstacle, you were unable to determine exactly what it was?
- I was not standing in the bow of the ship, sir; I was standing on the bridge.

3663. On the bridge?
- Yes.

3664. But you could see this object, could you?
- I am not sure of seeing it; that is what I say, I would not swear to seeing it. But I fancied seeing this long-lying growler.

3665. And that it looked dark?
- It looked to me as if it was very, very low.

3666. And dark?
- Yes.

3667. Did the captain seem to know what you had struck?
- No.

3668. Did Mr. Murdoch?
- Mr. Murdoch saw it when we struck it.

3669. Did he say what it was?
- Yes, sir.

3670. What did he say it was?
- He said it was an iceberg.

3671. After these signals were turned in, what was done?
- I do not know what was done, because I left the bridge then.

3672. Where did you go?
- I went right down below, in the lowest steerage, as far as I could possibly get without going into the cargo portion of the ship, and inspected all the decks as I came up, in the vicinity of where I thought she had struck.

3673. What did you find?
- I found no damage. I found no indications to show that the ship had damaged herself.

3674. On the inside?
- On the inside.

3675. Did you say you went to the steerage?
- I went down to the steerage.

3676. But found no evidence of injury there?
- No, sir.

3677. Then where did you go?
- Then I went on the bridge and reported to the captain that I could not see any damage.

3678. One moment. Did you look farther, beyond the steerage?
- I looked in all the decks. I worked my way up to the top deck.

3679. Looking at all of them in the forward part?
- In the forward part of the ship; that is, abreast of No. 2 and 3 hatches.

3680. Then what did you do?
- I came right up to the bridge and reported that I could find no damage.

3681. What did the captain say?
- He said, "Go down and find the carpenter and get him to sound the ship."

3682. Did you do so?
- I was proceeding down, but I met the carpenter. [J. Maxwell or J. Hutchinson]

3683. What did you say to him?
- I said, "The captain wants you to sound the ship." He said, "The ship is making water," and he went on the bridge to the captain, and I thought I would go down forward again and investigate; and then I met a mail clerk, a man named Smith, and he asked where the captain was. I said, "He is on the bridge." He said, "The mail hold is full" or "filling rapidly." I said, "Well, you go and report it to the captain and I will go down and see," and I proceeded right down into the mail room.

3684. What did you find there?
- I went down as far as the sorting room deck and found mail clerks down there working.

3685. Doing what?
- Taking letters out of the racks, they seemed to me to be doing.

3686. Taking letters out of the racks and putting them into pouches?
- I could not see what they were putting them in.

3687. You could not see what disposition they were making of them?
- I looked through an open door and saw these men working at the racks, and directly beneath me was the mail hold, and the water seemed to be then within 2 feet of the deck we were standing on.

3688. What did you do in that situation?
- (continuing): And bags of mail floating about. I went right on the bridge again and reported to the captain what I had seen.

3689. What did he say?
- He said all right, and then the order came out for the boats.

3690. You mean the order was given to man or lower the lifeboats?
- To clear the lifeboats.

3691. Do you know anything about what the carpenter did after you left him?
- No, sir; I never saw him any more.

3692. Do you know anything about the wireless?
- No, sir.

3693. Or what the captain or any other officer did regarding it?
- No, sir.

3694. When the order was given to clear the lifeboats, what did you do?
- I went around the decks and was clearing the lifeboats; helping take the covers off.

3695. Covers off?
- Covers off of the boats, and clearing them generally.

3696. Were they all covered?
- Yes, sir, except the sea boats; and assisting generally around the decks. Then I went into the chart room and worked out the ship's position. I was clearing boats for a little while, and then went in and worked the position out.

3697. Did you report her position?
- I submitted her position to the captain.

3698. What did he say?
- He said, "Take it to the Marconi room."

3699. Did you do so?
- Yes, sir.

3700. Did you find the operator in charge?
- I found the two operators there.

3701. Who?
- Phillips and Bride.

3702. What did you do with your information?
- There was too much noise of the steam escaping, so I wrote the position down for them and left it.

3703. You simply wrote the position down?
- Yes.

3704. And handed it to the operator?
- Left it on his table there. He saw it. He made a call, and he was listening, and I did not interrupt him.

3705. Did you remain to see what disposition was made of it?
- No.

3706. Did you keep a copy of that, or do you know exactly what that showed?
- That position?

3707. Yes.
- Yes; I have the position.

3708. Have you a memorandum of it?
- No; I have it in my head.

3709. Give it to the reporter.
- Forty-one, forty-six; fifty, fourteen.

3710. (Senator Burton.) Give that again.
- Forty-one, forty-six, north; fifty, fourteen west.

3711. (Senator Smith.) Was that the last time the ship's position was taken?
- That is the position I worked out.

3712. Was that the last time it was taken so far as you know?
- Yes; that was the position at the time she struck.

3713. Was that where she sank, do you know?
- I do not know. She would just drift a little way farther on, probably half a mile or so.

3714. What did you do after you left the operator's room?
- Went around the decks assisting to clear the decks and send distress signals off.

3715. What do you mean by clearing the decks?
- Clearing the boats, I should say.

3716. At that time were passengers on these decks?
- Yes.

3717. Men and women?
- Men and women, yes, coming up.

3718. What were they doing?
- I was too busy to take notice, as a matter of fact.

3719. Did they have life preservers on, or lifebelts?
- Yes; I think all of them had life preservers that I saw.

3720. Would you be willing to say that, so far as your observation went -
- They all had them, I should say, as far as my observation went.

3721. Men and women?
- Yes, sir.

3722. Children?
- I was around the bridge most of the time.

3723. I want to get your best information about it.
- I was around the bridge most of the time, sending off distress signals and endeavoring to signal to a ship that was ahead of us.

3724. Taking the signals from the captain?
- No, sir.

3725. Carrying them yourself to the operator?
- No; distress signals - rockets.

3726. On the ship?
- Yes, sir.

3727. Did you return again to the wireless room?
- No.

3728. You say these passengers were gathered about on all decks?
- I did not leave the boat deck after that.

3729. You remained on the upper deck?
- On the upper deck.

3730. Where these lifeboats were?
- Where these lifeboats were.

3731. And did you take part in clearing?
- Generally assisting.

3732. Assisting in lowering these lifeboats?
- Not in lowering them, sir.

3733. In manning them?
- Yes, sir, in manning them; but my attention until the time I left the ship was mostly taken up with firing off distress rockets and trying to signal a steamer that was almost ahead of us.

3734. How far ahead of you?
- It is hard to say. I saw his masthead lights and I saw his side light.

3735. In what direction?
- Almost ahead of us.

3736. On the same course, apparently?
- No; oh, no.

3737. On the same general course?
- By the way she was heading she seemed to be meeting us.

3738. Coming toward you?
- Coming toward us.

3739. Do you know anything about what boat that was?
- No, sir.

3740. Have you had any information since about it?
- None whatever.

3741. You say you fired these rockets and other- wise attempted to signal her?
- Yes, sir. She got close enough, as I thought, to read our electric Morse signal, and I signaled to her; I told her to come at once, we were sinking; and the captain was standing --

3742. This was the signal?
- Yes, sir.

3743. Go ahead.
- I told the captain about this ship, and he was with me most of the time when we were signaling.

3744. Did he also see it?
- Yes, sir.

3745. Did he tell you to do anything else to arrest its attention?
- I went over and started the Morse signal. He said, "Tell him to come at once, we are sinking."

3746. You were sinking already, you say?
- Yes, sir.

3747. "Come at once, we are sinking"?
- Yes.

3748. What would be that signal?
- It was sent in the Morse key, the Morse code.

3749. And you did that?
- Yes, sir.

3750. And did you get any reply?
- I can not say I saw any reply. Some people say she replied to our rockets and our signals, but I did not see them.

3751. Was any attempt made to get in wireless communication after you saw this boat - what you took to be a boat?
- I do not know what was transpiring in the wireless room.

3752. These signals you utilized were Morse signals?
- Yes.

3753. Are they recognized as standard for the sea?
- Oh, yes.

3754. Are they a part of the British regulations?
- Yes, sir.

3755. Did you see any signals from this ship at all?
- No; I can not say that I saw any signals, except her ordinary steaming light. Some people say they saw signals, but I could not.

3756. In referring to "some people," whom do you mean?
- People who were around the bridge.

3757. Passengers?
- No; I should not say passengers.

3758. Officers?
- I think it was stewards.

3759. Stewards; the crew?
- And people waiting in the boats, or something.

3760. They saw some of these signals -
- Some men said they saw her signals.

3761. From what you saw of that vessel, how far would you think she was from the Titanic?
- I should say approximately the ship would be about 5 miles.

3762. What lights did you see?
- The two masthead lights and the red light.

3763. Were the two masthead lights the first lights that you could see?
- The first lights.

3764. And what other lights?
- And then, as she got closer, she showed her side light, her red light.

3765. So you were quite sure she was coming in your direction?
- Quite sure.

3766. How long was this before the boat sank?
- It is hard to tell. I had no idea of the time then; I do not know what time it was then.

3767. Can you recall about how long it was after the collision?
- No.

3768. Was this information communicated to the wireless operators?
- What communication, sir?

3769. Was this information communicated to the wireless operators?
- Not to my knowledge.

3770. Did you know that they had sent out a distress signal?
- Oh, yes.

3771. And you would expect that this boat would pick it up if they had a wireless on it?
- If she had a wireless installation.

3772. You busied yourself with the Morse signals?
- Yes, sir.

3773. Did they continue up to the time you assisted in clearing the lifeboats?
- I would signal with the Morse and then go ahead and send off a rocket, and then go back and have a look at the ship, until I was finally sent away.

3774. Suppose you had had a searchlight on the bow of that boat, and could have thrown it strongly against this object that you seemed to see, do you think that would have apprised the vessel of its proximity to you and of your distress?
- Well, no doubt a searchlight might have called attention to it then.

3775. This ship was not equipped with a searchlight?
- The Titanic was not; no.

3776. Have you ever been employed on a ship that was so equipped?
- Not in the merchant service.

3777. Not in the merchant service?
- No, sir.

3778. Any other service?
- Yes.

3779. In the naval service?
- In the naval service.

3780. Is that a part of the equipment of the British naval service?
- Yes; all the ships that I have seen have a searchlight.

3781. But not in the merchant service?
- Not in the merchant service.

3782. In order that the record may be complete, will you kindly explain a little more in detail how the Morse signal is given.
- By means of a telegraphic key and a Morse lamp. It is a series of dots and dashes.

3783. Which are reflected?
- No; there is no reflection at all; it is just simply showing the light in and out - an electric light.

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