Page 80 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 19 - 22
P. 80
Mr. Wilding: Hand gear entirely, my Lord 21126. (The Commissioner.) What deck was that hand gear workable from? Mr. Wilding: From two positions, one down beside the door itself, and the other from the deck above the top of the watertight bulkheads. 21127. (The Commissioner.) There was no hand gear that could be worked from the upper deck. Mr. Wilding: It was D deck aft and E deck forward, but not from the bridge. The Commissioner: Then it depends upon what the “upper deck” means. Sir Robert Finlay: If your Lordship will look at page 14 of the descriptive statement that Mr. Wilding has handed in, it is in the portion of the statement beginning “Watertight doors,” if I may read a sentence or two: “The doors (12 in number) at the inner bottom level in engine and boiler room spaces were of Messrs. Harland and Wolff’s latest type, working vertically. The door plate was of cast iron of heavy section, strongly ribbed. It closed by gravity, and was held in the open position by a clutch, which could be released by means of a powerful electro magnet controlled from the Captain’s bridge, so that in the event of accident, or at any time when it might be considered desirable, the Captain or officer on duty could, by simply moving an electric switch, immediately close all these doors. The time required for the doors to close was between 25 and 30 seconds. Each door could also be closed from below by operating a hand lever fitted alongside the door.” The Commissioner: That is not what is meant. Sir Robert Finlay: No. Then I need not read about the floats, but if your Lordship will go on to the paragraph next but one you will see: “The watertight doors on E deck (upper) were of horizontal pattern with wrought steel door plates. Those on F deck (middle) and the one aft on the Orlop deck were of similar type, but had cast iron door plates of heavy section strongly ribbed. Each of the ‘tween deck doors and each of the vertical doors on tank top level could be operated by the ordinary hand gear from the deck above the top of the watertight bulkhead.” 21128. (The Commissioner.) Is that a deck which would be described as an upper deck? The Witness: May I explain the upper deck is always considered by technical people to be the deck immediately above the watertight bulkheads. The Commissioner: Then this does comply with it? Sir Robert Finlay: “Above the top of the watertight bulkhead and from a position almost directly above the door. To facilitate the quick closing of the doors from deck, plates were affixed in suitable positions on the sides of the alleyways indicating positions of the deck plates, and a box spanner was provided for each door, hanging in suitable clips alongside the deck plate.” The Commissioner: That is sufficient. Sir Robert Finlay: Your Lordship sees it results as to closing them from the bridge that the only method was by the electric switch. 21128a. (The Commissioner.) I will read this to the witness. Just listen, Mr. Peskett: “Each of the ‘tween deck doors and each of the vertical doors on tank top level could be operated by the ordinary hand gear from the deck above the top of the watertight bulkhead, and from a position almost directly above the door.” Would that be the hand gear to which you refer? - That is so, my Lord. The Commissioner: Very well, we need not go any further into it. Apparently the “Titanic” was furnished with machinery of the kind required by the Board of Trade. Mr. Laing: If I may just complete this, I think I have found the passage the witness refers to in the Board of Trade Regulations. It does not really appear in the Board of Trade Regulations, but it appears in the report of the Bulkhead Committee, which Mr. Wilding said was treated as being the official Board of Trade requirements, and it says this: “A watertight door may be self-acting,
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