Page 5 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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told us yesterday that on matters of great importance there might be discussion between the different members of the Department? - I think they were talked about, but I do not remember any special discussion with regard to any difficult question that arose. 22728. You have no record, no minute or anything of that sort dealing with the subject? - I do not recollect one, but these officers will be able to tell you better than I can. The Commissioner: It would be a convenience to me if you would tell me what particular questions they are which you think ought to have been discussed? Mr. Edwards: One of the questions which has emerged is that on a boat of this size with these decks, the provision of a large number of boats on the upper deck was likely to make the ship tender. The Commissioner: That is quite enough for that; I can understand that. Now what other question? Mr. Edwards: Then there is the point as to the relative means of access from the different quarters of the ship to the boat deck in the event of accident. The Commissioner: Very well, you mean relative as between the different classes? Mr. Edwards: I mean relative to the different classes and the crew, and also relative of course to the size of the ship, with these additional decks as compared with what for convenience I will call the older type of ship. The Commissioner: What is the other question if there is any? Mr. Edwards: Then there is the question, of course, of the bulkheads and the watertight doors, and the question of manning, which I did not wish to touch upon except in a general question. There was a question I was going to ask as to the efficiency of the deckhands and their numbers. The Commissioner: Is there anything else? Mr. Edwards: No, I think not. The Commissioner: That serves as an indication to Mr. Archer, who I hope is here, of the matters upon which he must prepare himself as far as you are concerned. 22729. (Mr. Edwards.) I am obliged, my Lord. (To the Witness.) I think it was in 1909 you issued some instructions on the subject of manning - a circular? - Yes. 22730. And I think in that circular you stated that there must be a sufficient number of efficient deckhands. Now, have you any standard or test of efficiency of a deckhand? - The deckhands - The Commissioner: Do answer the question. Have you any standard? I do not know what it means, because I do not know what the standard of a deckhand is, but have you any? 22731. (Mr. Edwards.) A standard of efficiency? The Witness: There is no standard laid down in this circular, but the Emigration Officers have a standard. 22732. (The Commissioner.) What is it? - I do not know. 22733. How do you know that? - Well, I happen to know in my own mind. 22734. I do not see how you can know they have a standard, if you know nothing about the standard? - Then I must say I know nothing about it. 22735. I do not know what a standard of efficiency for a deckhand means? - I suppose it means the service they have had - the experience they have had. 22736. The length of service? - Yes, the number of years they have been at sea. That would be regarded as a standard, whether they attain the standard laid down for an A.B., for instance, service of so many years before the mast. But I am rather construing Mr. Edwards’s meaning. 22737. (The Commissioner.) When are boys taken on a ship? I suppose at 14 years. Is there a standard of efficiency so far as a boy of 14 years old is concerned? - There is no standard of efficiency as far as we are concerned with regard to a boy of that kind. 22738. I suppose he must be a healthy well-grown boy with hands and feet and arms and legs? - Yes; no doubt.
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