Page 133 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
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The Attorney-General: I am not so sure about that. The Commissioner: As the report is described in the witness-box it seems to me to entirely fail in its object. Sir Robert Finlay: I think the searchlight must have been in use, but it was the naked eye that picked up the iceberg first. However, we will see. (The Report was produced.) The Attorney-General: I think your Lordship had better see the actual Report. I have seen it, and there are three questions which I think, perhaps, I might read. The Commissioner: Is there any reason why you should not read them? The Attorney-General: Not the slightest. The Commissioner: Then I wish you would read them. The Attorney-General: I was proposing to read three questions and answers. There is some other matter which is not of much importance. The Commissioner: You can omit anything which you think it is not advisable to read. 21930. (The Attorney-General.) The Report says: “23rd May, 1912. Sir, With reference to your letter M.12645/12, of 17th May, 1912, I have the honour to submit herewith for the information of the Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty a Report of my experience as to the value of searchlights for detecting floating ice. Dealing seriatim with your questions - (a.) Have you had any opportunity of lighting up an iceberg with a searchlight? - Yes. (b) Are icebergs, growlers, and others made conspicuous at a distance by searchlights? - Yes, in dark, clear weather. (c) At what distance do you consider on a clear dark night a 24-inch projector would reveal an iceberg? - It has never been my experience on a dark night to first detect a large or moderate- sized iceberg with a searchlight, but after having detected an iceberg with the naked eye I have on several occasions lighted the berg up with a searchlight, and on one occasion the searchlight illuminated the berg at a distance of more than two miles, and clearly showed the edge of ice- field at a distance of at least 1 ½ miles also revealing low ice pans and small ice at a distance of about 2,000 yards, which floated between the ship and icefield, and which had not previously been detected. I have on other occasions, in clear and thick weather, used searchlights with view of detecting ice, and consider that on dark clear nights, provided that the observer does not look into the beam of light, and when a 24-inch projector is situated as in case of foremost projector in H.M.S. “Brilliant,” namely, on top of chart house or fore bridge in centre line of ship, if the beam is thrown from above and behind, but on side of observer, a path of from 800 to 1,000 yards ahead of ship is clearly illuminated, in which path any ice must be revealed at once, and within these distances the instant the beam of a searchlight touches floating ice, the ice appears brilliantly white, and its size and description can be determined at once. “It was my further experience, when using a searchlight from after bridge of “Brilliant” to sweep on beam of ship to bow if the observer stood well forward, and at a lower level than, and was well screened from the searchlight, a path of over 2,000 yards was well lighted up.” That is about double what he said before. “In fog, thick mist, drizzling rain, or snow, a 24-inch projector throwing a white beam was found to be practically no use.” Then there are some questions as to the best position of a light for this purpose, which I will not trouble your Lordship with, because that is a matter for subsequent consideration. The letter is dated the 23rd May, 1912, in reply to a letter of the 17th May, 1912, putting these questions in consequence of this disaster. (To the Witness.) Can you tell me how far a searchlight of the character mentioned here, a searchlight, called here a 24-inch projector, would be of any use ordinarily? - About 2,000 yards. 21931. Not more? - No, you cannot depend much beyond that. The Attorney-General: I do not think there is any point in keeping this document. It will get on the notes from my having read it. Sir Robert Finlay: I have nothing to ask the witness.
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