Page 27 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 1 - 5
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“Olympic” right up to the time of the “Titanic’s” first voyage. He took charge of the “Titanic” because, as one would gather, the White Star Line had complete confidence in his skill and judgment. He had been many years in their employment and in charge of vessels belonging to the White Star Line; and I believe I am right in saying that, except for the occurrence between the “Hawke and the “Olympic,” there had never been any collision in any vessel which he had commanded; and, as your Lordship knows, the matter of the “Olympic” and “Hawke” is now still sub judice in the Court of Appeal - litigation has resulted. The Commissioner: What was the judgment? The Attorney-General: The judgment was that owners were excused - were not liable, on account of compulsory pilotage, but that the “Hawke” was not to blame; the “Olympic” was. That is the judgment. Mr. Laing: No fault was found with the Master. The Commissioner: The “Olympic” was in charge of a pilot? The Attorney-General: Yes, my Lord; not in charge of Captain Smith, but of a pilot. That matter is still the subject of litigation. That is how it stands at the present moment. The Commissioner: Was there any blame imputed by the judgment to Captain Smith? The Attorney-General: Not by the judgment, my Lord. Now my Lord, after this report of the three bells signal, which was given by the look-out man, it is very difficult to know whether anything was done immediately before the casualty. I confess that I am not able to make out, from the evidence that I have got at present, that anything at all was done, nor am I able to state to the Court how long an interval elapsed between the signal and the striking of the “Titanic” on the berg. We must leave it. I cannot attempt to say with any great precision what happened. The Commissioner: Can you tell me, Mr. Attorney, how many of the men in charge would be apprised of these messages in the ordinary course of things? The Attorney-General: Well, two officers, I think, would know. I cannot say more. Your Lordship sees, of course, that everybody no doubt is in this difficulty, that the persons chiefly concerned have succumbed in this disaster, and we have got to pick up, as best we can from those who survived, what happened; and, of course, from those who survived, as your Lordship will appreciate, we have not yet got statements. The Commissioner: What I was asking was this - perhaps I ought to ask Mr. Laing - what in the ordinary course would be done with these messages? Would they be communicated to the officers of the ship, and, if so, to how many of them? Mr. Laing: I am sorry I cannot answer, my Lord - certainly to the Captain. The Commissioner: Of course, and I presume Murdoch would have received them. They would have been communicated to him. Mr. Laing: I should imagine so, but at present I do not know. The Commissioner: You do not know what the practice is? Mr. Laing: I will try and find out, my Lord. The Attorney-General: I have no doubt he would have received them, because, according to some of the evidence which we have even at present, it will be shown that the look-out man had special instructions to look out for ice; but, so far as I know on the evidence, nothing further was done by the “Titanic” after receipt of the warnings than to give this notice to the look-out man to keep a special eye open for ice. The Commissioner: Is the look-out man alive? The Attorney-General: We are going to call one, my Lord. The Commissioner: Is this man you speak about, who rang the three bells, alive? The Attorney-General: I am not sure that he is, my Lord. We shall find out, of course, as we proceed, but he is not one of those who came home in the “Lapland.” We have someone who
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