Page 139 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 139
woman. But we then pass from that point to this, that Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon - he denies it - approved of his wife's opposition. We then pass to the main fact that there was no attempt to go back. Whether what Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon says is true or not, your Lordship will bear in mind that it did represent his mental attitude at that time. Whether he gave utterance to it in words that they should not go back or not, it did represent his mental attitude as given in evidence in answer to a question that I myself put to him. What he says is this: He denies that he said anything of that sort, but he says he was so absorbed in his attentions to his wife that he could not think of anything. When I put it to him whether he could not think of going back to help these struggling people, he said, "No," that did not cross his mind; but within 20 minutes or half-an-hour of the "Titanic" going down, and while, therefore, as we have from independent evidence, the screams of the drowning could be heard, we have it on Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon's own admission that he did say to the men that he would give them £5 a piece to replace their kit. It is an unpleasant task, but what I am going to say, and to say quite fearlessly, is this: That a state of mind which, while within the hearing of the screams of the drowning, could think and express so material a matter as the giving of money to replace the kit, is a state of mind which must have contemplated the position in which those drowning people were; it is a state of mind which must have contemplated the fact that there were vacant places in the boat: it is a state of mind which must have contemplated the possibility of rescuing some of those drowning, and it is a state of mind which must have contemplated the dangers admittedly incidental to the operation. I am not going to say that there was a blunt, crude bargain of bribery, that there was a deal done with these men, "If you will not go back I will give you £5." Nothing of the sort. But what I am going to suggest is that the right and true inference to draw from all these circumstances is this, that that money was offered at that time, under those circumstances, to give such a sense of ascendancy, of importance, of supremacy, to Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon in the boat, with the view, to which I say, on the evidence, he gave expression, that they should not go back as would weigh more with the men than if he had simply given it as a naked piece of advice and recommendation apart from that. The Attorney-General: The order of events is quite wrong there, surely, is it not? The Commissioner: I followed it, and I did not want to interrupt, but I would like you, Mr. Edwards, if it is convenient for you, to indicate to me the question and answer which justifies each one of your statements. I should like to examine you, but that is irregular. I should like to ask you a few questions; first, tell me when this boat was launched into the water - the time, if there is any evidence about it. Mr. Edwards: That I can give your Lordship, I think. The Commissioner: I daresay I can find it out myself. Mr. Edwards: Your Lordship will find it, I think, on the last page of the boat list analysis. The Commissioner: That is the boat list analysis which has been handed up to me, is it? Mr. Edwards: Yes. The Attorney-General: I do not think it gives the time, which was your Lordship's question. It gives the order, but not the time. Your Lordship will not find it there. The Commissioner: It is not here, I see at once. Mr. Edwards: It is in Officer Lowe's evidence, my Lord. The Commissioner: I want to know the time. The Attorney-General: I can tell your Lordship and my friend, because we have looked into it. The Commissioner: I am told it is in Lowe's evidence. The Attorney-General: Yes; about 10 minutes to a quarter past one, as far as I can fix the time. I have looked into it, and that is about it. You cannot be precise. The Commissioner: Can you give me any passage in the evidence which supports that
   134   135   136   137   138   139   140   141   142   143   144