Page 235 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 14 - 18
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of the bunkers when the “Titanic” was coming over from Belfast to Southampton? - Yes. 19631. Would a copy of the log of the “Titanic” be taken for the use of the Company before she left Southampton? - The Engineers Log from Belfast to Southampton? 19632. Yes? - I presume there would be one, but I do not remember it. It is a very short trip, and perhaps the ordinary regulations might not have been carried out on it. 19633. You cannot tell me whether there was any entry in the log as to the fire? - I could not tell you; but I know that there was a fire. 19634. When did you know that? - I heard it at this Enquiry first of all. I then sent down to Southampton, and they said, “Yes, there was a small fire.” The Commissioner: What are these questions directed to? Spontaneous combustion in a coal bunker is by no means an unusual thing. Are you suggesting that we are concerned in enquiring as to whether it was entered in the log, or not? Mr. Edwards: No, my Lord. With respect, that is not the point. The Commissioner: What is the point? Mr. Edwards: The point, with very great respect, is this - that the part of the particular bulkhead which showed damage, according to the evidence, was a bulkhead which stood in the bunker where there was evidence that a fire had existed continuously on the journey from Belfast to Southampton, and even subsequently; and that the coal had to be taken out down to a certain level, and black paint put on so as to hide whatever marks there might be, or the damage caused by the fire. It would be a matter, of course, for your Lordship’s consideration as to whether - The Commissioner: Do let us confine ourselves to the real serious issues of this Enquiry. That fire in the bunker has nothing to do with it. Mr. Edwards: With very great respect, my Lord, I should have thought it was. The Commissioner: I differ from you there entirely. Mr. Edwards: With very great respect, I would suggest that it was a little premature for your Lordship to say this until after you had heard the expert builders, and perhaps other experts as to what is calculated to be the damage done by a continuous fire. The Commissioner: Will you tell me what the evidence hitherto with respect to this bunker is? Mr. Edwards: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: What is it? That there was a fire in this bunker between Belfast and Southampton; that the coal was worked out; that some dent or dinge was observed (so one witness says) in the wall of the boiler. Is there anything else? Mr. Edwards: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: What is it? Mr. Edwards: That in order to get the hose through to work upon this fire a hole or holes had to be bored through the bulkhead. The Attorney-General: There is no evidence of that. The Commissioner: Who is it that says that? The Attorney-General: I have never heard that. Mr. Edwards: Barrett, I think, is the witness. The Commissioner: Will you refer me to the Question and Answer? Sir Robert Finlay: There is nothing of the kind. Mr. Roche: I think your Lordship will find the evidence that my friend is talking about on page 70. The Commissioner: Will you read it? Mr. Roche: It is in answer to a question by myself. I think it is with reference to the same bunker, No. 5. It is Question 2249: “Now I want to ask you one question about the hole in this bunker you have described to my Lord.” The Commissioner: He must have said something previously to this.
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