Page 119 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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have been affected by the presence and attitude of the managing director of the company on board his ship. On that aspect of the question I want to state two or three preliminary points. We have had it in evidence from Mr. Ismay that he did discuss with Mr. Bell, the Chief Engineer, at Queenstown, the question of the speed; we have it further in his evidence that the Captain, so far as Mr. Ismay was aware, knew nothing at all about that interview. We have that at Queenstown, and at Queenstown there is a decision arrived at between Mr. Ismay, on his own evidence, and the Chief Engineer, that is to say taking his own rendering, that on the Monday and Tuesday, all being well according to the matter of weather, they are so to put up the revolutions as to attain to the maximum of 78. Now Mr. Ismay has this knowledge at Queenstown when the ship leaves; Mr. Ismay has this knowledge right away through on to the Sunday. Now Mr. Ismay was asked an exceedingly important and valuable question on page 454, by Mr. Holmes. It is Question 18873. The Attorney-General: There are two questions before that. Mr. Edwards: Perhaps there are two or three earlier questions which I should read? The Attorney-General: Yes, I think so. Mr. Edwards: He was examined by Mr. Holmes, and at the bottom of page 453, Question 18869, he is asked: “(Q.) You have told us at the conversation between you and the Chief Engineer the Captain was not present? - (A.) He was not. (Q.) And that you had no conversation with him during the voyage about speed? - (A.) Absolutely none. (Q.) Then will you tell us how it was he was to become aware of your decision to increase the speed on the Tuesday? - (A.) I think the Engineer would probably have spoken to him. (Q.) Did you make any arrangement with the Engineer about that? - (A.) I did not. (Q.) Then, as far as you know, the Captain was not aware that you were going to make this increase in speed? - (A.) No.” I suggest that shows that Mr. Ismay was taking upon himself a very tremendous responsibility. He has denied any conversation having taken place as between himself and the Captain, so that the extent, if any, to which his attitude may have affected the mind of the Captain we do not know; but certain it is that for the purpose of the future in this connection it is in the highest degree important that no person in the position of what I may call commercial supremacy should be allowed under any circumstances to discuss except through the responsible head of the ship, the Captain, any question of speed or navigation at all. Sir Robert Finlay: I think in this connection the last answers given by Mr. Ismay to me at page 460 should be read. They begin at Question 19000: “(Q.) Now I think there is only one other matter I want you to tell me about. You were asked about a conversation with Mr. Bell that took place at Queenstown? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) And it was suggested, if I followed the questions, that you had given some orders to Mr. Bell as to the speed? - (A.) No, I had given no orders. (Q.) Will you just repeat exactly what took place between you and Mr. Bell? - (A.) Mr. Bell came into my room, and I spoke to him with regard to the coal which he had on board the ship. I also said that there was no chance of the ship arriving in New York on the Tuesday; that we had very much better make up our minds to arrive there on the Wednesday morning and be off the lightship at 5 o’clock, and if the weather was fine and right in every respect on the Monday or Tuesday we then could take a run out of the ship. (Q.) Was that all? - (A.) That is all. (Q.) Did you ever contemplate that being done without communication with the Captain? (A.) Certainly not.” The Commissioner: I suppose that the speed on the Monday could not have been increased or the number of revolutions increased without the Captain knowing of it. Mr. Edwards: Oh, yes, my Lord; I do not suggest that the revolutions could have been increased without the officer in charge of the bridge at a given time knowing it, but it is quite clear that you could increase the speed without the knowledge of the Captain, at all events for a period. The Commissioner: Of course I know that; but what I mean is there could be no real increase
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