United States Senate Inquiry

Day 5

Testimony of Harold G. Lowe, cont.

6107. Exactly. I wanted you to say that.
- And we were sent away in two boats, with two crews, naturally, and we turned around the dock in a row and then came back and got hoisted up.

6108. About how long were you gone?
- I should say 20 minutes to half an hour.

6109. What else was done? Did that constitute the practice, or drill?
- There in not only practice in the rowing of the boats but there is also practice in the lowering away and clearing.

6110. And, altogether, it took about half an hour?
- No, sir. Yes; it would take about half an hour, hoisting and lowering.

6111. What else was done that day?
- We sailed, you know, and it was about 9 o'clock in the morning now.

6112. Yes; all right.
- And we have got lots of other things to do.

6113. Exactly. That was all that the drill consisted of?
- We were lowered down in the boats with a boat's crew. The boats were manned, and we rowed around a couple of turns, and then came back and were hoisted up and had breakfast, and then went about our duties.

6114. Now, will you answer me, please? Your drill or practice consisted of lowering two lifeboats on the starboard side and rowing about in them and returning them to position, which took, altogether, about half an hour?
- Half an hour; quite correct. sir.

6115. Now, is that correct?
- Quite.

6116. Were there any other boats, lifeboats or collapsible boats, lowered on the starboard side that morning?
- No; only the two.

6117. And there were no boats lowered on the port side?
- There could not be.

6118. That was the wharf side?
- You would lower them on the wharf on that side.

6119. So that the drill consisted in doing what you have described?
- Yes.

6120. Mr. Lowe, if I correctly understood you, no other drill took place after that morning - the Titanic departing about midday - until the accident happened?
- No drill took place from the time of departure until the time of the disaster.

6121. Are you able to say definitely now that no fire drill took place - no alarm and no drill that required the presence of each man at his station - during the voyage?
- Fire drill did take place, and it always does take place.

6122. Where?
- When we have boat drill.

6123. When do you have boat drill?
- When we have boat drill.

6124. When you have it?
- Yes.

6125. Would you call this lowering of two lifeboats at Southampton boat drill?
- No; it was previous to that, sir. There are so many hoses on each deck, and the water service is on, and the hoses are manned by the men, and the commander sends word along, "That will do for fire exercise," and then we switch off the water.

6126. Are you quite sure such an exercise took place before the boat reached Southampton?
- Let me see. I may be confusing her with some of the other ships.

6127. You are testifying. I want the record to show what you say about it. - We will annul that, sir, because I am not sure.

6128. You may annul it, but I am not going to. I you to answer and give your best judgment.
- I am here and doing my best to help you, and I do not remember.

6129. And you wish it to appear that you do not remember whether that took place before reaching Southampton? I do not want to embarrass you, Mr. Lowe, at all, and I will not pursue it any further. I just want to know whether we understand one another.
- I do not, know, sir. I do not remember anything definite on the subject.

6130. But, you do remember, and have so stated; that there was no drill?
- No; no drill after we left Southampton.

6131. No drill after you left Southampton?
- No; oh, no.

6132. Were these officers strangers to one another, practically all of them?
- No; the most of them had met each other before.

6133. Do you remember whether they had in the main come from the same ship, or from various ships?
- Some of them came from the same ship, but which I do not know. Some of them came from the Oceanic.

6134. Do you know whether the crew were strangers to one another, in the main?
- The crew, sir?

6135. Yes.
- No; I do not know anything about them.

6136. What was the weather and the condition of the sea between Belfast and Southampton?
- Fine clear weather, smooth sea, and gentle breeze.

6137. What was the weather between Southampton and the scene of this accident?
- Fine, clear weather; gentle to moderate breeze and sea.

6138. What was the temperature between Southampton and the place of the accident?
- The temperature, sir?

6139. Exactly. Do you know whether it was cold, or whether it was warm? Was it warm when you left Southampton?
- Yes; it was nice weather. I should say it would be about 48.

6140. Above zero?
- Forty-eight degrees.

6141. Did it grow colder as you proceeded on your journey?
- It did not get colder - I do not know how to put that - to my knowledge.

6142. How cold was it on Sunday morning?
- Sunday afternoon it was ordinarily normal; about 48.

6143. How was it Sunday evening?
- Sunday evening it was pretty much the same; it could not have been less than 45.

6144. Did you hear the second officer testify?
- I did, sir; part of it.

6145. Did you hear him say that it was about 37 on Sunday evening?
- I went below at 8 o'clock, and I know nothing about anything that happened after 8 o'clock. I was in bed.

6146. Did you know that your ship was off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland on Sunday afternoon and evening?
- Yes; I knew where she was as far as that goes; but I never had crossed the Atlantic before.

6147. Did the fact that you were off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland interest you at all?
- No, sir; not a bit.

6148. Did you know that that was the region of the icebergs and the field ice?
- Well, you must understand that I had never been there before.

6149. You had certainly heard about it?
- I can not say that I had, sir.

6150. You never heard about ice in the vicinity of Newfoundland?
- No, sir.

6151. Have you ever heard about ice anywhere?
- Yes; off Cape Horn.

6152. Have you ever seen an iceberg or a growler?
- I have seen icebergs, but I have never heard them defined as closely as they have been here during the last few days.

6153. Where did you see them?
- I have seen them down south.

6154. How far south?
- Off Cape Horn and down that way.

6155. Do you know where they are supposed to come from?
- I suppose from the south polar regions.

6156. Did you ever see any icebergs in the South Atlantic?
- No; I can not say that I have seen them in the South Atlantic.

6157. Did you ever see an iceberg except off Cape Horn?
- No, sir. That is the only one I saw until daybreak on the Monday morning.

6158. After the accident?
- After the accident.

6159. How many did you see then?
- I saw quite a few of them.

6160. How many?
- I really could not tell you that. I did not count them, but I should say anywhere up to 20.

6161. How close were they? How close was the closest one; I mean how close to you, or how close were you to the icebergs?
- I should say 4 to 5 miles.

6162. In what direction?
- All around.

6163. In the course of the Titanic?
- What do you mean? In the course that we were steering before we struck?

6164. Yes.
- Well, yes; they must have been in her way if they were all along the horizon.

6165. How large was the largest berg you saw?
- Of course, it is only an approximation, sir, because we did not go up to them.

6166. I did not ask you that. Just give us your best judgment.
- I should say that the largest one was about, say, 100 feet high above water.

6167. Above the water's edge?
- Above the water.

6168. And that was about 45 miles away, was it, from you? I thought you said 45.
- Four to five, I said.

6169. How far could you seen an iceberg above the water on a clear morning?
- It depends on your height above the water.

6170. Well, where would you say these icebergs were with reference to your point of observation?
- What, distance off they were, at my height?

6171. Exactly.
- Four to five.

6172. What do you mean by four to five?
- Between 4 and 5 miles distant.

6173. That is, between 4 and 5 miles away?
- Yes.

6174. Were they all within a range of 4 or 5 miles?
- Yes; all within a radius at the outside, of 6 miles.

6175. Could you, from what you saw of them, tell in what direction they were moving?
- No, sir.

6176. Whether from the north or from the south?
- No, sir; I could not.

6177. How close did you come to an iceberg yourself? I do not mean the one that collided with the ship, but after you were in the lifeboat or on the Carpathia?
- The nearest I got, I suppose, would be 3 miles.

6178. What were the sizes of the other icebergs?
- Anything I should say, averaging from 20 feet in height up to 100 feet in height. That is, above water.

6179. Have you ever heard, or do you know of your own knowledge, how much of an ordinary iceberg is supposed to be submerged?
- Yes; there is one-eighth supposed to be above water - and seven eighths below water.

6180. Then, if the iceberg you saw Monday morning was 100 feet above the water, it would be 700 feet below the water?
- Yes, sir; quite that.

6181. Is that recognized?
- That is what I learned. I suppose it is right.

6182. Where did you learn that?
- At school. I think it will turn out to be about that if you test it.

6183. Did you learn at school where these icebergs were supposed to come from?
- There are only two places for them to come from.

6184. Name them.
- That is from the north pole and the south pole, from the polar regions.

6185. They are supposed to come from the arctic regions?
- Yes; the arctic regions.

6186. Do you know what an iceberg is composed of?
- Ice, I suppose, sir.

6187. Have you ever heard of an iceberg being composed not only of ice but of rock and earth and other substances?
- No, sir; never.

6188. Did you hear the testimony of your fellow officer, Boxhall?
- No, sir.

6189. You did not hear him describe what composed an iceberg?
- No, sir.

6190. But you labor under the impression that they are composed entirely of ice?
- Absolutely, sir.

6191. You said that you helped make up the chart record, did you not?
- Chart record?

6192. Yes; you and your fellow officers worked out the details?
- We worked out the positions, sir; yes, sir.

6193. The positions on the chart?
- No, sir; we do not use a chart. If we wish to place the position on a chart so that we may know the locality we may do so, because we have charts there.

6194. You have them there for that purpose?
- But we work them out by tables and other things - books.

6195. By these tables you work out the ship's position?
- Yes, sir.

6196. From the astronomical observations?
- Yes, sir.

6197. And the course of the ship?
- Yes, we work out the course, too.

6198. Do you determine from these observations whether the ship is on its course?
- Yes, sir.

6199. Did you have any part in determining the course and position of the Titanic on Sunday afternoon and evening?
- I worked the course from noon until what we call the "corner"; that is, 42 north, 47 west. I really forget the course now. It is 60º 33 1/2' west - that is as near as I can remember - and 162 miles to the corner.

6200. From those data are you able to say whether the ship was on its true course at the time of the collision?
- I do not know, sir, I do not know where she was steaming at the time of the collision. I was in bed.

6201. Do you know what the ship's position was at the time of the accident?
- Yes; I know what her position was.

6202. State it.
- (referring to book). Latitude 41º 46' north and 50º 13' west longitude.

6203. From the position of the ship at the point stated, are you able to say whether she was on her true course at that time?
- Which course is that? To which course do you refer?

6204. I refer to the course the ship was taking, which I understand is a recognized course, or lane, and well understood by vessel men, and a part of the regulations of your company.
- Yes, sir; that is the track.

6205. Now answer my previous question.
- You can easily tell, sir, whether she was on the track or not.

6206. I want you to tell me.
- I can easily tell.

6207. Do it.
- I can not without anything, sir; I must have books.

6208. Have you got a chart, so that you can?
- I have got nothing.

6209. You say "track"?
- Yes, sir; track.

6210. Are those tracks well understood by mariners, vessel men?
- Yes; everybody knows them, and we all try to go along that track.

6211. How many tracks are there that are recognized by your company?
- I do not know.

6212. In the north Atlantic?
- I am a stranger in this part.

6213. What is that?
- You must remember this is my first voyage across here.

6214. I understand.
- And I do not know.

6215. I am not looking for any more information than you have, but I would like to know if you know whether there is a north track and a south track?
- Yes, sir; there are two tracks, a north track and a south track.

6216. I would like to know whether ships going from Southampton to New York on this White Star Line are supposed to take the north track or the south track?
- That is left to the commander, sir.

6217. And you do not know?
- I do not know.

6218. Do you know whether upon this voyage the Titanic took the north track or the south track?
- We can tell if you have a track chart.

6219. I am going to have you work that out, but I wanted to clear up any confusion over these two tracks. As I understand it, through the north Atlantic there is a north track, or lane, or route, from Southampton to New York?
- Yes, sir.

6220. And there is a south track, or lane, or route, from New York to Southampton?
- It is the same track as the one the other way.

6221. What I want to know is whether this ship was on the north track or the south track, and I will ask you to figure that out a little later, when you get the chart.
- I think she was on the northern track.

6222. What makes you think so?
- By the general run of things. But, anyhow, we can find that out.

6223. Were you on duty on Sunday evening, the night of the accident?
- I was on duty on Sunday evening, sir, from 6 p. m. to 8 p. m., and at 8 p. m. I went below.

6224. Were you on duty again that night, to the time of the accident?
- I was not, sir.

6225. And where were you assigned; where was your station during those two hours, from 6 to 8 o'clock?
- From 6 to 8 I was busy working out this slip table as I told you before, and doing various odds and ends and working a dead-reckoning position for 8 o'clock p. m. to hand in to the captain, or the commander of the ship.

6226. What would that indicate?
- That was to indicate time position of the ship at that time, 8 o'clock.

6227. Do you know what the position of time ship was at 8 o'clock?
- No, sir; I do not, I do not remember.

6228. Did you make a report to the captain?
- I handed him the slip report.

6229. Did you hand it to I him personally?
- On his chart room table.

6230. Did you call his personal attention to it?
- No; we never do. We simply put the slip on the table; put a paper weight or something on it, and he comes in and sees it. It is nothing of any great importance.

6231. What did you do it for?
- It has always been done, so that the position of the ship might be filled in the night order book.

6232. Does that not constitute a part of the history of that voyage and become a part of the log?
- I am not saying it was not important for this one voyage; I am saying that in the general run of things it is not of any importance.

6233. That is, if there is no accident?
- Yes; because there are thousands of things done previously.

6234. (interposing). But in the event of an accident?
- Oh, yes; it would play an important part then.

6235. You are not able to give the position of this ship at 8 o'clock Sunday evening?
- No, sir; I do not remember.

6236. You then went below, after you delivered that?
- I went to bed at 8 o'clock.

6237. Mr. Lowe, you understand, of course, that if you could give the exact position of that ship at 8 o'clock, with the figures that you have just given of its exact position at the time of the collision, the speed of the ship could be easily ascertained, could it not, between those two points?
- Quite.

6238. You see what I want it for. I want you to think hard and see if you can give me the ship's position at 8 o'clock. How did you get the position of that ship? You say it was by dead reckoning. How did you get it?
- I got it by the chronometer.

6239. Did you first ascertain the speed of the ship?
- We have a fair idea of what she is doing.

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