Page 163 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 10 -13
P. 163
The Commissioner: I call that complaining. 14321. (Mr. Scanlan - To the Witness.) So far as you know it was not reported that there were not glasses? - It was reported. The Commissioner: It is only a question of words. Mr. Scanlan: That is so. The Commissioner: He does not think a report is a complaint. Mr. Scanlan: I meant it in the sense of a report taken. The Witness: There was a report; I am sorry I misunderstood you. 14322. Can you explain to my Lord why, when such a report was made, glasses were not provided for the look-out man on the “Titanic”? - No, I cannot offer you any explanation. 14323. If it had been a matter in your discretion, would you have provided glasses then? - Had they been on the ship I might have done. 14324. Were there glasses on the ship available for the use of the look-out man? - That I cannot say. 14325. Had you glasses on the bridge? - We had. 14326. How many pairs? - A pair for each senior officer. 14327. How many pairs altogether; you have five or six officers? - A pair for each senior officer and the Commander, and one pair for the bridge, commonly termed pilot glasses. 14328. So that there would be from time to time during the whole course of the voyage a pair of glasses available? - On the bridge. 14329. On the bridge that could have been handed up or given to the look-out man. The Commissioner: Mr. Scanlan, I want you to know what is passing in my mind. It appears to me that whether those glasses were there or not made very little, if any, difference, because the man would not have them to his eyes, and when he did sight this thing it was too late to use glasses. Mr. Scanlan: My instructions are, my Lord, up to the present that the utility of glasses consists in this: you sight something, and do not know what it is; then you apply the glasses, and you are able to say whether it is an iceberg or a derelict. The Commissioner: That is quite right. Mr. Scanlan: That seems to be a most important thing, my Lord. The Commissioner: What I am pointing out to you is this: Here the thing was sighted at a time when lifting up glasses and looking to see what it was would have been of no use whatever; they were right on it. Mr. Scanlan: Except this; we do not know but that before the man discerned this object as an iceberg he may have seen some object, a speck, or a mast, or something. The Commissioner: That is not my view of the evidence; I think the look-out man rang out three bells the moment he saw something ahead. Mr. Scanlan: We are in this position yet, that we have not had here the identical man who rang the bells and who shouted, “An iceberg ahead, sir.” So that it must be a surmise. I think I have indicated my point. The Commissioner: You are quite right. The Witness: I should like to point out that when I speak favourably of glasses it is in the case of a man on whom I can rely, but if I have a man in a case like this which Mr. Scanlan speaks of, a derelict or an iceberg, who is to put the glasses to his eyes before he reports, I most utterly condemn glasses. The man must report first and do what he likes afterwards. The Commissioner: I believe Mr. Scanlan that is right, it would be quite improper for a man who sees something ahead with his eyes, to wait until he has used glasses before he reports. Mr. Scanlan: Surely, my Lord, that would depend on the distance at which the object was seen; if it were seen 10 miles ahead with the ship going as slowly as some of those ships go.
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