Page 186 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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thing happening - The Commissioner: That must be what he means. Sir Robert Finlay: There is a great deal of other evidence about it which I will call attention to presently. The Commissioner: My attention has been drawn again to the evidence that Gill gave. Gill was on the “Californian,” and he says at page 433, at the bottom (18179), “(Q.) While you were in your cabin did you hear the noise of ice? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) What kind of noise was it? - (A.) A grinding noise. (Q.) Grinding against your ship’s side?” This is field ice, of course. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: “Yes; I was as close to the ship’s side as I am to you; it kept me awake; I could not sleep for it. (Q.) Was it a noise of thick field ice? - (A.) No, just a grinding, rubbing noise.” Sir Robert Finlay: The “Californian” was at a distance which is variously estimated; it certainly was not nearer than seven miles. The Commissioner: That may be, but it appears to me that if you had a swell seven miles away - Sir Robert Finlay: Oh, but that might take place without being a swell. The Commissioner: There must be some motion. Sir Robert Finlay: Any current, even a slight current. The Attorney-General: In a current the ship and the ice would move together. Sir Robert Finlay: The “Californian” is brought up by the ice; it is heading, if I recollect rightly, North-East, and you have got the ice somehow passing by the ship’s side, rubbing against it and making this noise. The Commissioner: It is suggested that the ship and the ice would move together, and that, therefore, you would have no rubbing. Sir Robert Finlay: It is difficult to argue from an expression of that kind, because nothing was put to this witness about there being a swell there, and the evidence is precise and definite to the effect that when the boats got down to the water there was absolutely no swell. The Commissioner: That is the evidence from the “Titanic.” Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: I was talking for the moment of the evidence of Gill from the “Californian.” Sir Robert Finlay: The difficulty about that is this: That point was never pressed on Gill. No question was put as to there being no swell. All he said was: “I was kept awake by the rubbing of the ice.” That might perfectly well be the vessel swinging. The Commissioner: But swinging consequent upon what? Sir Robert Finlay: Most certainly she swung round. Your Lordship recollects how her position changed. You do not have a vessel where it is brought up in that way absolutely motionless; it cannot very well be, and the vessel and the lumps of ice do not move at exactly the same rate. I submit there is a fallacy latent in the idea that because the ice and the vessel move together there would not be that rubbing noise. They would not move at the same rate. The Commissioner: I do not know that you are not right, but it appears to me that the difference in the way of the ship and the ice might produce that rubbing sound. Sir Robert Finlay: I submit it would. The Commissioner: One thing you point out is that it was not in the same position. Sir Robert Finlay: It was not in the same position. Without pursuing any further the effect of Mr. Gill’s evidence, I hope I have said enough to show the extreme danger of disregarding precise, positive and uncontradicted evidence as to the state of things where the “Titanic” was, and having recourse to any inferences from what -
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