Page 120 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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of the speed without the Captain becoming speedily aware of it. I do not know that what I am saying depreciates at all from the point of your observation, with which I am certainly disposed to agree, that there ought to be absolutely no interference, direct or indirect, by what I call a stranger to the navigation, as Mr. Ismay undoubtedly from my point of view was. He was a stranger to the navigation of the ship, or ought to have been. Mr. Edwards: If that is your Lordship’s view there is no need for me to pursue that aspect of the question further. That is quite sufficient for my purpose. In that connection, however, there is another matter that arises, and that is this. A Marconigram - as things have turned out the most vital Marconigram - comes to the “Titanic” from the “Baltic.” Mr. Ismay, in reply to questions by myself, admitted that he was sufficiently familiar with the Rules of navigation and sufficiently familiar with the practice with regard to Marconigrams to say this: that whenever a Marconigram came to a ship affecting the navigation, the right course to adopt was to have it posted in the chart room. The Commissioner: Give me the reference to that. I have no doubt it is so, but I should like to have the reference. Mr. Edwards: It is on page 452, Question 18828: “(Q.) Now I will come to the question of the ‘Baltic’ telegram. Did you, before that particular Sunday, know what was the practice with regard to Marconigrams received by the officers on the ship relating to the navigation of the ship? Did you know what it was the practice to do with those Marconigrams as soon as they had been received? - (A.) I believe the practice was to put them up in the chart room for the officers. (Q.) Did you know that on Sunday, April the 14th? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Was not the Marconigram from the ‘Baltic’ essentially a message affecting navigation? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Then will you say why, under those circumstances, with that knowledge, you put that Marconigram into your pocket? - (A.) Because it was given to me, as I believe now just before lunchtime, and I went down and had it in my pocket.” So that it is perfectly clear that when that Marconigram was handed to Mr. Ismay he was in full possession of the knowledge that a Marconigram of that character had to be posted up in the chart room. Now why was the Marconigram given to him at all? He admits there was no other Marconigram shown to him on this journey on the “Titanic.” I suggest that in view of his own evidence there is only one conclusion, and that is that the Captain was anxious that whatever was done should be done upon the responsibility of Mr. Ismay. Well, my Lord - The Commissioner: I mean by shaking my head that he could not accomplish such a thing. Mr. Edwards: That may be. The Commissioner: The Captain could not shift his responsibility. Mr. Edwards: That may be, my Lord. I at once recognise that whatever pressure may have been put upon him by his owner, he had got charge of that vessel and could not in any way get rid of his legal liability before he got into port. The Commissioner: Nor his responsibility. Mr. Edwards: Nor am I suggesting it was an effective thing, but I am leading up to something else. What I am suggesting is this. I may put it in a way which will be a little less objectionable perhaps to the precision with which necessarily your Lordship is looking at the matter, and it is this, that the fact of the Captain handing this Marconigram almost as soon as it came to the Managing Director of the Company, showed conclusively the very special and peculiar position which Mr. Ismay occupied upon that ship, and that he was not treated by the Captain in any way as an ordinary or casual passenger. That is further shown by the very fact that as soon as Mr. Ismay came out of his room after the impact the first thing he did, on his own evidence, was to go straight to the bridge. Of course, your Lordship is sufficiently familiar with the Rules of these liners to know that that is not a place to which on a great liner a passenger is admitted. But what I am coming back to is this: I asked Mr. Ismay why he put that Marconigram in his pocket, and
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