Page 112 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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passengers who have travelled, and in whom, as your Lordship knows, I am specially interested, and also the number of British passengers who have crossed by steamers plying on the North Atlantic for the last ten years. It amounts to over a million and a half, and must furnish a considerable portion of the revenue of the various shipping companies. Therefore, as I respectfully suggest to your Lordship, this is to a large extent an inarticulate class, not people who are very well educated, not people who belong to that rank of life where they can look after themselves, nor people who are accustomed to travel; in Ireland certainly, and to a large extent in England, I think, people who come from rural divisions, and who probably have seen a ship for the first time. These are people not accustomed to the ways of travelling, and, therefore, my respectful submission to your Lordship is that these are people who in times of danger and emergency require special attention and special protection. They would be unaccustomed, my Lord, to the many passages, the many ways of communication which would lead from the third class quarters on the “Titanic” to the boat deck. They would never have been on the boat deck, because what is the evidence? The evidence of Captain Clarke, on page 679, is that when he made the inspection at Southampton before the “Titanic” sailed the emergency doors were locked and the barriers were fastened. He made that inspection, as he says, at 8 o’clock in the morning of the day upon which the “Titanic” sailed. Then there was Hart, the Steward, whose evidence your Lordship will find at page 214. I wish to deal, if I may say so, with this matter with absolute fairness, concealing nothing, and giving the evidence that bears on the matter regardless of whether it bears out the view which I shall put before your Lordship or not. At page 214 Hart told the Court that provision was made for having the third class passengers directed to the boat deck. At Question 10213 he was asked - I asked him, as a matter of fact: “(Q.) You have told us that you saw a number of stewards placed at various portions to direct the third class passengers how they were to go? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) About how many stewards were so placed? - (A.) I passed about five or six on the starboard side. (Q.) Who else besides you, then, were bringing the people from their berths - rousing them and bringing them up to the boat deck? How many others? - (A.) almost eight. A portion of the third class stewards were room stewards, of whom I am the only survivor. (Q.) I understood that there were only eight third class stewards in the aft portion altogether? - (A.) To look after them. (Q.) Who were stationed at various places to direct the third class passengers the way they were to go? - (A.) Not of that eight. (Q.) There were five? - (A.) Five others. (Q.) What class stewards were they? - (A.) I could not tell you. Stewards were placed all round the ship. (Q.) Do you know who placed them there? - (A.) I cannot tell you. (Q.) Do you know the stewards by sight who were placed to direct the third class passengers? - (A.) No. (Q.) But you say they were not third class stewards? - (A.) They were not third class stewards. (Q.) Did you see the emergency door open? - (A.) I saw it open. The swing door to the second class, you mean? (Q.) Yes? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Do you know at what time it was opened? - (A.) Yes, I can tell you. It was open at half-past 12. (Q.) Would it be right” (and, my Lord, this question I was obliged to put because of a number of statements that had been made in the papers. I put this question, although, of course, I was not a position to adduce any evidence to substantiate it, but, if I may say so, my position sometimes in some of the questions I put resembles that of a navigator trying to steer between Scylla and Charybdis; I did not want to put some of the questions, but there were some questions I was obliged to put and I put this question in that way) “if anyone said that a number of sailors were keeping back the third class passengers from reaching the boat deck? - (A.) Would it be right to do so? (Q.) Would it be right if any one said so? - (A.) I do not say that it would be right. (Q.) I asked you would it be right if anyone said so? - (A.) I would not like to say it would be right. (The Commissioner.) Would it be true? - (A.) I should not think so.” Then I say: “It is not what you think. Did you see any sailors keeping back the third class passengers from reaching the boat deck? (The Commissioner.) Did you see anyone keeping the third class passengers back so as to
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