Limitation of Liability Hearings


Baltimore Sun, Friday, June 25, 1915

Three Survivors Heard in Court Fight on Limiting Ship Line’s Liability.

Three Titanic survivors recounted before Judge Julius M. Mayer in the United States District Court yesterday their experiences during the last few harrowing moments before the great liner sank in the North Atlantic icefield.  For one of them – Mrs. Lillian Renouf of Elizabeth N. J. 0 the memory was too much.  She wept as she told of being separated from her father and two brothers, whom she never saw again.

The witnesses were put on the stand by the attorneys for the Titanic claimants, who are endeavoring to defeat the White Star Line’s proceeding to have its liability for the disaster limited under the Federal statutes to approximately $98,000.

John B. Thayer of Haverford, Pa., son of the vice-president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, who lost his life on the Titanic, was another witness.  Mr. Thayer is assistant manager of the Pennsylvania University varsity crew and came down from Poughkeepsie, where the crew is in training, to tell his story to Judge Mayer.  He described his father’s efforts to get a place in one of the lifeboats for both of them.  They were shunted from one boat to another to no purpose, he said.

Thayer said that he jumped from the doomed vessel just before she plunged and swam to a collapsible lifeboat, from which he was picked up by another lifeboat in the morning, and taken to the Carpathia.

Mrs. Marion Kenyon of Noank, Conn., told of her appeal to Capt. Smith to let her husband go with her in a lifeboat, which she thought was the last to leave the ship.  Capt. Smith replied, according to her testimony, that no men were allowed in that particular boat.  Her husband perished.

The witness said that her first realization of the nature of the accident came when she opened the port home in her stateroom and found it blocked by ice.  None of the officers, she said, warned her that the ship would sink.  When one woman suggested that lifebelts be strapped on the passengers, she was laughed at, said Mrs. Kenyon.

The proceeding will be continued at 10:30 o’clock this morning.