Page 77 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 23 - 26
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reason or another, assuming the look-out to have been good, this iceberg was not seen until it was too late. That was a most extraordinary thing to my mind, assuming that the look-out was good. Mr. Clement Edwards: I am not quite certain that that is really extraordinary, because if objects could be seen there would be no collision. The Commissioner: If they could be seen at a sufficient distance. 23483. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Quite so; I mean at a sufficient distance. (To the Witness.) I understand you take the view that there need not be a boat accommodation to carry away every soul, provided that the watertight bulkheads are as they ought to be? - Yes. 23484. Watertight bulkheads in the case of the “Titanic” did not save her? - No, they did not. 23485. What I want to ask you quite specifically is this: Can you make any suggestion at all what should be done to save life under precisely the same circumstances, if they should happen, as have arisen in the case of the “Titanic”? - With the same system of subdivisions? 23486. No. Here we have this appalling fact that 1,400 lives have been lost, and if another “Titanic” disaster took place, according to your recommendation, we should only have a few additional lives possibly saved. I want to know have you any suggestion of precaution or remedy or provision that may avoid that in future? - I do not care altogether to anticipate the findings of the present Bulkhead Committee, which is sitting, but we should naturally go into the finding of that Committee very, very closely indeed before we decided as to whether we should increase the number of boats to the extent that is desired or not. 23487. May I put it that your mind is being directed to the possibility of such bulkhead construction, perhaps transverse and longitudinal, as might in the event of a ship like this striking an iceberg under similar circumstances enable her to float? - Precisely. 23488. I quite understand that you do not want to go into it too definitely, but your view rather is that opinion ought to be directed to that point than to the provision of boats after an accident? - Precisely. That has been my contention all along - the main principle which has guided me. The Commissioner: Mr. Wilding said that if the “Titanic” had gone stem on to the iceberg she would in his opinion have continued to float, but all the men in the firemen’s quarters would have been killed. No lifeboats would have saved them; they would have been killed there and then. 23489. (Mr. Clement Edwards.) If I may say so, with respect - and I am very much obliged to your Lordship for raising it - it rather suggests the question as to whether, in a case of this sort, the risk is to be taken even for a section of the crew or passengers. I can quite understand, in view of the very weighty opinion expressed by Mr. Wilding, one of the constructors, that if an iceberg is seen under similar circumstances again, the order being given to go dead straight ahead, and risk the smash up in front. The Attorney-General: I hope I am not on it, that is all. The Commissioner: I do not know that it may not be better in that case. Mr. Clement Edwards: That clearly is the suggestion of Mr. Wilding. The Commissioner: But I should be very far from saying that the man who put the helm hard-a- starboard was wrong. Mr. Clement Edwards: I am not suggesting it; but in the light of precisely what happened here, with the oblong stroke, and with the evidence of Mr. Wilding, the constructor, that if instead of the stroke being along the side it had been a direct blow, it would have killed the men in the forecastle, but undoubtedly in his view the “Titanic” would have floated, and the others have been saved. I can understand that having a very great effect on the minds of officers who are responsible for the navigation of ships. The Attorney-General: It would be telescoped 100 feet, according to Mr. Wilding. Mr. Clement Edwards - To the Witness: I do not want unduly to press you on this point, but in your recommendation to the Marine Department you laid some emphasis upon the bulkhead construction? - Yes. 23490. Have you yourself given careful and exhaustive consideration to this question of bulkheads? - I
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