Page 119 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 10 -13
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blame? - Not at all, my Lord. I must explain this if you will allow me. The Commissioner: Perhaps I interrupted. 13569. (The Solicitor-General.) I am glad he should add it. (To the Witness.) Tell us what you were going to say? - In the event of meeting ice there are many things we look for. In the first place a slight breeze. Of course, the stronger the breeze the more visible will the ice be, or rather the breakers on the ice. Therefore at any time when there is a slight breeze you will always see at nighttime a phosphorescent line round a berg, growler, or whatever it may be; the slight swell which we invariably look for in the North Atlantic causes the same effect, the break on the base of the berg, so showing a phosphorescent glow. All bergs - all ice more or less have a crystallised side. 13570. It is white? - Yes; it has been crystallised through exposure and that in all cases will reflect a certain amount of light, what is termed ice-blink, and that ice-blink from a fairly large berg you will frequently see before the berg comes above the horizon. 13571. Now let me follow. Was there any breeze on this night? - When I left the deck at 10 o’clock there was a slight breeze - Oh, pardon me, no. I take that back. No it was calm, perfectly calm. 13572. And there was no breeze. Was there any? - As far as we could see from the bridge the sea was comparatively smooth. Not that we expected it to be smooth, because looking from the ship’s bridge very frequently with quite a swell on the sea will appear just as smooth as a billiard table, perfectly smooth; you cannot detect the swell. The higher you are the more difficult it is to detect a slight swell. 13573. That means, then, does it not, that if you are on the bridge and you are relying on the fact that there may be a slight swell you really cannot tell from the bridge whether there is a swell or not - a slight swell? - We look at it rather the other way - that, though the sea may appear smooth, we pretty well know that there is a swell, though it may not be visible to the eye, nor yet have any effect on the ship. It is a most rare occurrence - 13574. You mean there nearly always is a swell in the North Atlantic? - This is the first time in my experience in the Atlantic in 24 years, and I have been going across the Atlantic nearly all the time, of seeing an absolutely flat sea. 13575. Do you agree from that experience that this was an occasion when it was an absolutely flat sea? - Absolutely flat. 13576. (The Commissioner.) Not in fact, but to all appearance? - In fact, my Lord. The Solicitor-General: He means in fact, my Lord. 13577. (The Commissioner.) Do you mean there was no swell at all? - I mean to say that the sea was so absolutely flat that when we lowered the boats down we had to actually overhaul the tackles to unhook them, because there was not the slightest lift on the boat to allow for slacking, unhooked. 13578. (The Solicitor-General.) You have told me about the speed and about the direction. Now, there is a third thing. What about the temperature? - The temperature had fallen considerably. As a matter of fact I happen to know exactly how much because when I relieved Mr. Murdoch after dinner he made the remark to me that the temperature had dropped 4 degrees whilst I was away at dinner. 13579. This is when you are at dinner in the middle of your watch? - In the middle of my watch. 13580. He came and took your place? - Yes. 13581. Your watch is from 6 to 10? - Yes. 13582. What you have described hitherto, noticing the course and speed and giving directions to the junior officer and getting his calculations, did that happen before you went off to dinner? - As far as I remember I asked for these calculations immediately after coming on deck. Yes, I
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