Page 179 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 179
show clearly what he meant. Perhaps I had better read some further passages at page 329 in this connection. He is asked about his instructions from the White Star Line at Question 14,378: "Is there anything mentioned in those instructions about what you should do when you are in a region in which ice has been reported? - (A.) There is nothing that refers particularly to ice." That is as distinguished from the Canadian trade, where your Lordship recollects the direction about field ice. Then Question 14385: "Now in your evidence in America you narrate a conversation which took place between yourself and the Captain when he was on the bridge with you. Senator Smith asks you, 'Was anything else said?' and you say 'Yes; we spoke about the weather, the calmness of the sea, the clearness, about the time we should be getting up towards the vicinity of the ice, and how we should recognise it if we should see it, freshening up our minds as to the indications that ice gives of its proximity. We just conferred together generally for 22 minutes? - (A.) That is right. (Q.) The principal thing you had been talking about was ice? - (A.) Naturally. (Q.) Did you decide then when you first saw the ice you would stop or slacken speed? - (A.) No. (Q.) Do you mean to say that the policy of the Captain and you was to go right ahead at 21 1/2 knots? - (A.) No; I do not mean to infer that. (Q.) Unless there was a haze? - (A.) No, not necessarily unless there was a haze. Had we come across ice, as I just said, in any degree, whether the Commander had been on the bridge or not, I should have acted on my own initiative. (Q.) You freshened your minds up as to the indications? - (A.) Quite so." The Commissioner: Just stop there for a moment: "Had we come across ice, as I just said, in any degree, whether the Commander had been on the bridge or not, I should have acted on my own initiative." What does he mean? What would he have done? Sir Robert Finlay: If he saw a berg head he would have ported or starboarded as the case might be, and if he got among loose ice - The Commissioner: Do you think he means that? Sir Robert Finlay: I do; he means to include that form of initiative. He also includes what I think your Lordship's mind is upon, slackening speed if he saw bits of ice knocking about; and for two reasons, first that you cannot avoid them as you can an iceberg, and secondly because it would indicate that you were in the immediate vicinity of field ice. I think it includes both cases. The Commissioner: But at all events it does include the possibility of slackening speed. Sir Robert Finlay: Oh yes, in the case to which he had referred in Question 14375. Then Question 14394: "Well, they ultimately discovered the ice you know, and the man on the bridge did not? - (A.) You say the man on the bridge did not. I may say I discussed that immediately on the 'Carpathia.' That is about the conversation on the 'Carpathia.'" The Commissioner: But, stopping there for a moment, as to the man on the bridge - there was only one man there, Murdoch; the other one was in the chart house I think - I am not by any means sure that he did not see the ice just as soon as the men in the crow's-nest. The Attorney-General: He did not see it before; he may have seen it as soon, I agree. Sir Robert Finlay: It is very likely he did, because the command to starboard came very quickly indeed. The Commissioner: Yes, indeed, you find in some evidence that it is suggested that the order to starboard was given before the gong. The Attorney-General: That is only a suggestion. The Commissioner: It is only a suggestion. Sir Robert Finlay: Your Lordship may remember the expression is: "The wheel was put over, the head was beginning to go round while I was still at the telephone." The Commissioner: Yes, I have not got my mind at the moment on the passage in the evidence. The Attorney-General: 14394 is the question, I think. Sir Robert Finlay: "I may say I discussed that immediately on the 'Carpathia' with the look-out men - not necessarily discussed it, but asked them questions whilst their minds were perfectly
   174   175   176   177   178   179   180   181   182   183   184