Page 129 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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Mr. Edwards: Take 24426. The Attorney-General: We have read that. Then he is asked to explain why. Mr. Edwards: Do you mind reading the end of 24426. The Attorney-General: I thought we had read it. I will read it again. The Commissioner: Forgive me, you stopped reading the answer, “That is so”; but this is Mr. Archer going on - “Might I be allowed to point out the great objection to taking a deck below the waterline. If the damage had occurred not below the deck, but above the deck, there would be a danger in many vessels that they would capsize.” The Attorney-General: Yes, and then he says, “Would you explain why? - (A.) Because, if I may put it in a rough and ready way, you have admitted water above this deck, and you have a space in which there is no water, but a space filled with air, and there would be a big air bubble, which tends to turn the ship over. (Q.) There might be a possibility of getting a little top-heavy? - (A.) Yes, if you get a deck below the waterline. (Q.) But that could be easily relieved, could it not, by a valve arrangement to let the water through. If that were the particular danger, you might get some compensation by having an opening in the floor? - (A.) In the deck, do you mean? (Q.) Yes? - (A.) Then your deck would be no use. (Q.) I am suggesting that it might be used under all circumstances except the particular one of danger which you point out? - (A.) Yes, if you can avoid that danger of a ship capsizing, the watertight deck below the line is useful.” Then I remember there was a little discussion between your Lordship and those skilled gentlemen who are assisting you, and then your Lordship said, “Mr. Attorney, the gentlemen who advise me on this matter seem to think that the Committee which is to take into consideration these matters, should among other things consider the desirability of having watertight decks either above or below the waterline. I do not know whether you or Sir Robert Finlay would suggest that that is not a desirable thing to be submitted. (The Attorney-General.) I think it would be quite right that it should be suggested for their consideration. It was occurring to me during my friend’s examination, but I did not attempt to ask your Lordship’s view about it. It would be obviously impossible to decide upon this question without a mass of evidence which we have not called. (The Commissioner.) Oh, yes. (The Attorney-General.) But it occurred to me that might be the right course. (The Commissioner.) That is probably all you want at present, Mr. Edwards? (Mr. Edwards.) Yes. (The Commissioner.) I said long ago we cannot sit here - I should have to sit for months, or years, possibly - to decide a question of this kind; but the gentlemen who are with me are of opinion that the question of watertight decks either above or below the waterline is a matter that requires examination and consideration. That probably is all that you would ask, Mr. Edwards? (Mr. Edwards.) Yes. (Sir Robert Finlay.) I quite agree with what the Attorney-General has said. Of course there are a great many balancing considerations which need to be taken into account. (The Commissioner.) Yes. (Sir Robert Finlay.) That is without in the slightest degree prejudging the question, which is undoubtedly one which deserves consideration. What the result may be of course will appear later.” Then my friend Mr. Edwards says: “That intimation is quite sufficient for my purpose. I shall not attempt to pursue it” There the matter stopped, and there has never been another question asked about it. Mr. Edwards: Might I say, my Lord, that in precisely the same position stands the question of the height and strength of the bulkheads which I was pursuing when your Lordship intimated on a suggestion of mine that probably the Bulkhead Committee might take the matter into consideration; and in precisely the same position stands the question which I was also pursuing as to what I may call the interrelation between the boat accommodation and the sinkability of the ship. That again on my suggestion was conveyed by your Lordship to the Attorney-General as a matter to be considered by the Committee. The Attorney-General: Yes, that is quite right. Mr. Edwards: But because those matters in their theoretical aspect and with regard to the
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