British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry

Day 7

Testimony of Stanley Lord, cont.

6960. How many miles off were you?
- About four or five - four to five miles.

6961. Let us go back to the story. At half-past 4 in the morning, when the Chief Officer called you, do you remember saying to him that the Second Officer had said something to you about a rocket?
- Yes, I said that.

6962. Did you then go on the bridge?
- Yes.

6963. Do you remember just before 5 o'clock a conversation with your Chief Officer?
- I do.

6964. About the steamer?
- About this, which he said was a yellow-funneled steamer.

6965. What was it?
- Do you mean the whole of the conversation?

6966. I only want the substance of it?
- Well, I was conversing with him about the probability of pushing through the ice, to commence with. I was undecided whether to go through it or to turn round and go back, and we decided to go on, so I told him to put the engines on and stand by. He did so. Then he said, "Will you go down to look at this steamer to the southward?" I asked him, "Why, what is the matter with it?" He said, "He might have lost his rudder." But I said, "Why? He has not got any signals up." "No, but," he said, "the Second Officer in his watch said he fired several rockets." I said, "Go and call the wireless operator."

6967. Did he?
- He did.

6968. Did he go to the wireless operator?
- Yes.

6969. Did the wireless operator come back, or did the Chief Officer come back?
- The Chief Officer came back some time after.

6970. How long after?
- I suppose 15 to 20 minutes.

6971. And what did he say?
- He said, "There is a ship sunk."

6972. Did he tell you what ship?
- No; he went back to the wireless room straight away.

6973. Did he come back a few minutes after that?
- Some time after that. He said, "The 'Titanic' has hit a berg and sunk."

6974. What did you say then?
- I left the bridge and went to the wireless room myself.

6975. Did you say anything at all about these rockets?
- To him, then?

6976. Yes?
- No.

6977. Or anything about the ship you had seen the night before?
- No.

6978. Or about the possibility of that having been the "Titanic"?
- No.

6979. Or about the vessel that had been stopped about 11.40?
- No, I never mentioned a thing to him then. I went right to the wireless.

6980. Or about the vessel you expected to hear about from Gibson?
- No.

6981. Or whether Gibson had been sent down by the Second Officer to tell you anything about that steamer?
- No.

6982. It never occurred to you at all?
- Not then.

6983. Were you quite comfortable in your mind when you heard the "Titanic" had sunk, in reference to your own actions?
- Well, I thought we ought to have seen her signals at 19 miles, that was the only thing that was worrying me.

6984. Do you mean rockets?
- Her distress rockets - if she had fired any, which I presume she had.

6985. You ought to have seen them?
- I thought we might have seen them at 19 miles.

6986. Have you ever heard what the steamer was that according to you sent up rockets if it was not the "Titanic"?
- No, I have never heard anything about it.

6987. We know from the evidence in this case that the "Titanic" did send up rockets for some considerable time?
- Yes.

6988. So far as I understand from you, you do not know of any other steamer which, on that night, and about this time, sent up rockets?
- I do not.

6989. Does not it strike you now that that steamer you saw sending up rockets must have been the "Titanic"?
- No.

6990. Not now?
- No, I am positive it was not the "Titanic."

6991. Why are you positive it was not?
- Because a ship like the "Titanic" at sea it is an utter impossibility for anyone to mistake.

6992. That must depend upon the distance you are from her?
- Well, my distance, according to my estimate, is 4 to 5 miles.

6993. But might not she have been a good deal further off?
- I do not think so. I do not think we would have seen her sidelights.

6994-5. Of course, if you saw her green light about 4 or 5 miles away, that would show to you that she must have been a pretty big ship, would it not?
- It would not follow; there are so many steamers have electric lights now. You see sidelights a great deal further than you used to.

6996. If she was 4 or 5 miles away her light must have been at a high elevation from you, must it not, for you to see it?
- A steamer something like ourselves, as I said before.

6997. I mean her sidelight must have been pretty high from the water if you could see it 4 to 5 miles distant?
- The "Californian" is 40 feet above the water, and I said she was a steamer something like the "Californian."

6998. Now let us understand where we are about it. Am I right in this, that you cannot any other passenger steamer that was in that neighbourhood at that time - that is midnight - except the "Titanic"?
- I only saw one steamer, passenger steamer, of any size that day, and that was the "Mount Temple."

6999. I wish you would answer the question I am putting to you. Is the result of your evidence that you cannot suggest the name of any other passenger steamer that was in the neighbourhood of your vessel at about midnight on the 14th April?
- No, I cannot.

7000. You cannot suggest any other steamer that sent up rockets at 1 o'clock or between 1 and 2 in the morning of Monday the 15th April, except the "Titanic"?
- No, I have not heard of any.

7001. Did you receive a message from the "Virginian" at 6 o'clock that morning?
- Yes.

7002. That the "Titanic" had struck a berg?
- "Passengers in boats; ship sinking."

7003. And it gave you the position?
- Latitude and Longitude 41° 46, 50° 14.

7004. And did you at once start for that position?
- I did.

7005. What course did you make?
- I made from 6 until half-past anything between S. and S.W. I was pushing through field ice.

7006. That was of course in order to reach the position of the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

The Attorney-General:
Has your Lordship got the chart before you?

The Commissioner:
Yes.

7007. (The Attorney-General.) That is very much the course that he would take to go from the spot that he has indicated just below the "J" to the spot of the figure "4" in the soundings which marks where the "Titanic" sank. (To the Witness.) The course that you were making was S. 20° W., was it not?
- No, I was endeavouring to make S. 16° W., as near as possible.

7008. S. 16° W.?
- Yes.

7009. Was that direction the one from which you had seen the rocket?
- I did not see the rocket.

7010. Or from which you had heard the rocket had been seen?
- I did not hear as to the bearing of the rocket then.

7011. Had not you heard?
- I had heard of rockets, but no particulars of bearing then.

7012. Or where the steamer was - how she bore at all?
- No.

7013. Nothing about her?
- No.

7014. Did you about half-past 7 pass close to the "Mount Temple"?
- I did.

7015. She was also stopped?
- She was stopped.

7016. (The Attorney-General.) The captain of the "Mount Temple" will be called before your Lordship. (To the Witness.) About the same time did you get a verbal message from your operator that the "Carpathia" was standing by the "Titanic"?
- Yes.

7017. And to have boats ready and lifebelts?
- Yes.

7018. And then you eventually saw the "Carpathia." I need not go through that part of the story. Did you eventually get to the position of the foundering of the "Titanic"?
- The real position or the position given?

7019. The position given?
- I passed that position.

7020. When did you pass that position?
- I must have passed that position I should say about half-past 7.

7021. That is the position given of 41° 46' and 50° 14'?
- Yes.

7022. Did you cruise round the vicinity of the wreck?
- I cruised round there until 11.

7023. How did you know what was the position?
- I got a good observation at noon that day.

7024. I do not quite understand what you mean. You said just now that you passed the position indicated to you by the wireless messages?
- Yes.

7025. Where the "Titanic" had sunk?
- Yes.

7026. Did you see anything at all there?
- The "Mount Temple" was in the vicinity of that position.

7027. She was near there?
- Yes.

7028. Did you see any wreckage?
- Not where the "Mount Temple" was.

7029. Did you see any wreckage anywhere?
- I did.

7030. Where?
- Near the "Carpathia."

7031. What did you see?
- I saw several boats, deck chairs, cushions, planks.

7032. Collapsible boats?
- I saw two collapsible boats.

7033. Did you see any bodies?
- No.

7034. Any lifebelts floating?
- No.

7035. Any wreckage?
- Yes.

7036. Much?
- Not a great deal.

7037. Did you cruise round and search?
- I did.

7038. To see if you could find any bodies or any living persons?
- I did. I did not see anything at all.

7039. I should like to understand from you, if you say that the position indicated to you was wrong, what do you say was the position?
- The position where I left the wreckage was 41º 33' N., 50° 1' W.

7040. One further general question. I want as to what you did. On your vessel on the Sunday evening, April 14th, when you came amongst the ice, did you take any precautions?
- Yes, I did.

7041. Tell us what you did. I want you to tell my Lord what you did?
- I doubled the look-out. We had one man at the crow's-nest and a man at the forecastle head, and I was on the bridge myself.

7042. Just let us understand that. Where had you a man on the look-out before you doubled your look-out?
- In the crow's-nest.

7043. And then did he report ice?
- As I reversed the engines that night there were two reports. I do not know which man reported them, or whether each reported one.

7044. I do not think you are quite following, or it may be I am not. At 8 o'clock you had a report about ice, had you, from your look-out?
- No.

7045. When did you?
- At about 22 minutes past 10.

7046. As late as that?
- Yes, it was reported then.

7047. When did you double your look-out?
- Eight o'clock.

7048. Why did you double the look-out?
- Because we had passed bergs during the afternoon and we had had a report of bergs from east-bound steamers.

7049. You had reported to the "Titanic" that you had passed ice at half-past 6 that day?
- Yes.

7050. You doubled the look-out. You had one man at the crow's-nest?
- Yes, and one man right in the bows of the ship.

7051. Was that before you doubled the look-out, or is that doubling the look-out?
- That is doubling the look-out.

7052. That is what I want you to tell us. What is the addition that you made? Was it the man on the forecastle head?
- The man on the forecastle head.

7053. Knowing there was ice about you had one man in the crow's-nest?
- Yes.

7054. And then as an extra precaution you put a man on the forecastle head?
- Yes.

7055. That is right, is it?
- Yes.

7056. Did you find it better for detecting ice; to have a man right in the bows like that?
- Well, I do not know. This is my first experience of field ice. I think I saw the ice myself before they did.

7057. Did you have glasses?
- I was not using them at the time. I looked through glasses after I had first seen it and could not make anything of it.

7058. Gill left your ship in Boston, did he not?
- He did.

7059. Was he simply a donkey man? - Assistant donkey man?
- Assistant donkey man.

7060. And he did not return?
- He did not return.

7061. He had not a discharge?
- No, he deserted; I entered him as deserted.

The Attorney-General:
Yes, you gave notice.

Examined by Mr. SCANLAN.

7062. When you went down from the bridge to the chart room did you lie down?
- No.

7063. But you went to sleep?
- When?

7064. (The Commissioner.) When did you lose sight, and how, of the ship the lights of which you had seen?
- The Second Officer reported to me he last saw her at 2 o'clock, and it was then bearing S.W. 1/2 W. by compass.

7065. Is that the last so far as you know that was seen of that vessel from your ship?
- As far as I know it was, my Lord.

7066. And was she at this time about 5 miles away?
- No, she must have been more by then.

7067. How many miles?
- I think 8.

7068. You were both stopped, you know, all that time?
- No, she was steaming, my Lord.

7069. I thought you told us that this steamer stopped?
- She did at half-past 11.

7070. And when did she begin to go on again?
- From the Second Officer's report she commenced about 1 o'clock - 10 minutes to 1.

7071. She could not steam very quickly, I suppose?
- No, she would not be steaming very quickly.

7072. She was in the middle of the ice?
- Yes.

7073. And then at 2 o'clock, the time when we know the "Titanic" went down, the vessel vanished?
- He saw her stern light through the glasses faintly.

7074. And that was the end of her?
- That was the last he saw of her.

7075. And she has never been heard of since?
- Not to my knowledge.

7076. (Mr. Scanlan.) Can you say when you went to sleep on the Monday morning?
- I told the Second Officer I was going to lie down at 20 minutes to 1.

7077. When Gibson came into your room did you look to ascertain the time?
- Not to my knowledge; I do not recollect Gibson coming into the room.

7078. I think you recollect his having spoken to you?
- I said, "What is it?"

7079. Can you say what time that was?
- I cannot.

7080. When did your Marconi operator come off duty?
- So far as I was concerned he went off at 11 o'clock, after he had sent the last message.

7081. At 11 o'clock on the Sunday night?
- Yes.

7082. When you were in doubt as to the name of this ship and as to the meaning of her sending up a rocket, could you not have ascertained definitely by calling in the assistance of your Marconi operator?
- When? At 1 o'clock in the morning?

7083. Yes?
- This steamer had been in sight, the one that fired the rocket, when we sent the last message to the "Titanic," and I was certain that the steamer was not the "Titanic", and the operator said he had not any other steamers, so I drew my conclusion that she had not got any wireless.

7084. I think you said from the appearance of the green light which you saw before going down from the bridge, you thought it was an electric light?
- Did I say that?

7085. Yes. Well, you said that many steamers have electric lights?
- They have.

7086. Did you think whether or not it was an electric light?
- I did not think anything about it; I was not at all concerned about the steamer.

7087. Had this steamer which you saw, and which you say was, at all events, about the same size as your own, had an electric apparatus, and had you obtained the assistance of your operator, you could have got into direct communication with her, whoever she was?
- You say if she had an electric apparatus?

7088. If she had a Marconi installation?
- If she had had a Marconi, and we had, of course we could have got into communication.

7089. You had the Marconi?
- Yes, we had.

7090. Would not it have been quite a simple thing for you at that time when you were in doubt as to what was the name of the ship, and as to what was the reason of her sending up rockets, to have wakened up your Marconi operator and asked him to speak to this ship?
- It would if it had worried me a great deal, but it did not worry me. I was still thinking of the company's signal.

7091. At all events, now in the light of your experience, would it not have been a prudent thing to do?
- Well, we would have got the "Titanic's" signals if we had done.

7092. If you had done you would, in all probability, have got the message from this vessel?
- No. I do not think so. In my opinion that steamer had not got wireless at all.

7093. What reason have you for thinking that this steamer, a steamer which you say was, at all events, as big as your own, had not got wireless?
- At 11 o'clock when I saw her the operator told me he had not got anything only the "Titanic." I remarked then, "That is not the 'Titanic," judging from its size and the number of lights about it; and if he only had one ship, then it was not the "Titanic." I do not see how he could still have that ship.

7094. But as a mere matter of precaution, when you were in doubt and left word that someone was to come down to your cabin and give you a message, would not it have been a proper thing to have tried the experiment?
- Well, I was waiting for further information. I had a responsible Officer on the bridge who was finding this out for me.

7095. At all events, having your Marconi apparatus it would have been no trouble whatever?
- None whatever.

7096. To have got your operator to come to his room?
- He was in his room.

7097. And he could have spoken this vessel?
- If she had had wireless.

7098. If you had done this you would have found out whether she had wireless?
- Very likely. If she had had it we would have got her.

7099. If she had had it you could have ascertained directly in what trouble she was when she sent up the rockets?
- Yes.

7100. Is it in ocean-going vessels the usual practice and a recognised Rule to double look outs in presence of ice, in a fog and in a haze?
- Yes.

7101. Is that known by every captain?
- I do not know. I know.

7102. It is the general Rule?
- As far as I know.

7103. Did you observe between 8 and 10 o'clock that night that there was a haze?
- No, I did not.

7104. Can you say that there was not?
- In my opinion there was not.

The Commissioner:
Do you know of any evidence except the evidence we have already heard, Mr. Scanlan, as to the existence of this supposed haze?

Mr. Scanlan:
I do not know anything else, my Lord; but what impresses me is that the look-out man on the "Titanic" not only himself says that there was a haze, but he says that his companion in the crow's-nest remarked on the haze to him.

The Commissioner:
Yes, I remember that, and I am asking you whether you know of any other evidence except that which we have heard?

7105. (Mr. Scanlan.) No, my Lord, I do not know. (To the Witness.) Is it possible that in regard to vessels separated by a distance of 19 miles there might be a haze on the horizon with one of them, and not a haze on the horizon with the other?
- I have seen that.

7106.. I mean it is a local effect?
- I have seen that.

7107. Is a haze commonly produced by the presence of ice?
- I do not know, I have not had a great experience in ice.

7108. You have not had a great experience in ice?
- No.

7109. Is it not well known that ice is more easily seen the nearer you are to the water, especially field ice?
- I do not know, I have not heard that.

7110. You have not heard that?
- No.

7111. You have not had much experience of ice?
- No I have not; of field ice this is my first experience.

7112. When you first had warning of the presence of ice did you slow down?
- No.

7113. You did not slow down?
- No.

7114. Is it not usual to slow down in the presence of ice?
- No, not in clear weather.

7115. At what speed were you going?
- 11 knots.

7116. But if you are in a haze is it usual to slow down?
- In an ice district, yes.

7117. When you stopped on account of the ice what lights were you showing?
- Two masthead lights, the red and green sidelights, and a stern light.

7118. How far do you think from your ship her lights would be observable by another ship?
- The masthead lights?

7119. Yes?
- I suppose the masthead lights you would see 7 or 8 miles - 8 miles I should think.

7120. Suppose the "Titanic" was 7 or 8 miles from you between 11.30 and 12 o'clock, would those on her bridge have been able to see your lights?
- Easily.

7121. Do you practise your hands at boat drill?
- We do.

7122. Regularly?
- Once a passage.

7123. And have you a boat muster?
- Well, that is a boat muster.

7124. What does it consist of? We have not heard yet what a proper boat muster consists of. Will you explain it to my Lord?
- I do not know if it is a proper boat muster, but I can tell you what I do. I usually muster all hands on deck; the Chief Officer calls the names over, and as they pass him they report their boat, and they also report their fire station from the boat list. They line up by their boats. When every man has reported the boat he belongs to and his fire station I usually have a fire drill; I report a fire in one side of the ship, and they run to that side and connect the fire hose; and I usually swing a couple of boats out on the other side.

7125. Are your lifeboats provisioned in case of accident before you commence a particular voyage?
- They are provisioned all the time with water and biscuits.

7126. And a compass?
- A compass, lamp, oil, sea anchor.

7127. Are all those in each boat before the voyage begins?
- They are in all the time.

7128. All the time?
- All the time.

7129. In readiness for any emergency?
- And renewed every voyage.

7130. Then all your hands know exactly the station to go to?
- They do.

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