Page 144 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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number of the crew, discriminating their ratings and sex, that were saved? What is the proportion which each of these numbers bears to the corresponding total number on board immediately before the casualty? What reason is there for the disproportion, if any?" The only one relevant to this would be, and, of course, very technically, that your Lordship could say that a passenger might have taken a place in the boat occupied by Mr. Ismay; a woman might have been found to take the place in the boat occupied by him; one of the 53 children might have been found to take the place in the boat occupied by him if he had recognised his special position and gone in search of them. I am not saying whether your Lordship should say that or not, but, at all events, that would make the questions perfectly relevant. The Commissioner: I do not agree with you at present. It might be argued that there was a moral duty upon other men on board to take care that a woman took precedence of him in the boats, and I might, if I sat here to enquire into such questions, have to enquire into the discharge by every male passenger of that moral duty. I do not think I can deal with moral duties. Mr. Edwards: I should not have mentioned it, my Lord, if you had not asked me in what way I thought the matter could be made relevant. If your Lordship had not said when I was questioning Mr. Ismay (I may have been irrelevant then) that it was a matter which ought to be addressed by way of observation to your Lordship, rather than as a question, I frankly should not have returned to it at this stage of the proceedings. Whatever view is to be taken as to personal conduct in relation to the particular duty cast upon your Lordship in this Enquiry, the matter is of comparatively trivial importance. Now I return to the question of the Board of Trade. I do not know whether your Lordship has these before you, but there are two bundles of correspondence which have been printed by the Board of Trade. Unfortunately, they have not been printed quite in the order in which they should; they are not quite in order of date, and there are certain letters omitted, copies of which have been given to me in typewritten form. I do not know that I need trouble your Lordship to read all these letters. The Commissioner: Have I them, Mr. Attorney? The Attorney-General: No, my Lord, nor have I; I have just asked for them. Mr. Edwards: May I say at once, my Lord, that I regard them as of great importance? The Attorney-General: I am told your Lordship has the correspondence. The Commissioner: One of my colleagues apparently has some correspondence - Professor Biles has it - headed, "The Collision Bulkhead of the s.s. 'Olympic.'" The Attorney-General: Yes; the other is "The Assignment of Freeboard." Mr. Edwards: The other is "The Assignment of Freeboard." Part of the letters in each bundle refer partly to the bulkhead and partly to the freeboard, and they are not in strict order. There are four important letters missing from the print of which I have been supplied with typewritten copies. The Commissioner: Well, I have not got them. Mr. Edwards: May I say at once that I regard these letters as of the very highest importance in this Enquiry, and it is upon these letters that I base my statement with regard to the Marine Department of the Board of Trade, that if they had insisted upon their requirements there might have been quite a different story told in regard to the fate of the "Titanic." The Commissioner: But before you deal with their omission to insist upon their requirements, you must show me your authority for saying that they were entitled to make their requirements. Mr. Edwards: I am obliged to your Lordship for that; I am coming to it immediately. But before I reach that will your Lordship for a moment kindly look at Question No. 2, which your Lordship is asked to decide? The Commissioner: Yes. Mr. Edwards: The learned Attorney-General did suggest that if either of the Counsel
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