Page 204 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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and the letter itself in English. The Commissioner: I want to see the original letter, if I can, if it is in German. The Attorney-General: We will send and see, my Lord. We have not got it here. The Commissioner: It says here, “Our steamers were going full speed.” I expect if you read the German you will find that it really means, “Our steamers do go at full speed.” The Attorney-General: I should think that is very likely, but we will send for the letter. Sir Robert Finlay: I rather think that this is the letter as sent. The Commissioner: It may be. Of course, if it is written in English, and this is the expression in it, there is nothing in the contention. The Attorney-General: If you look at the letter it makes it clear that this is a summary. My Lord has not got the letter yet. Sir Robert Finlay: Your Lordship will find it about the middle of the bundle. All the letters are annexed. It is headed “Bremen,” and is addressed to “Messrs. Keller, Wallis and Co., London.” We duly received your favour of the 7th instant and enclosed letter of the Board of Trade of the 6th instant. We have made all the enquiries we could since, and beg to answer to the questions as follows: (A.) The original telegrams received by those of our steamers that were in the Western Atlantic when the “Titanic” disaster happened have been delivered to the Supreme Court, London, by the Marconi Company already. (b) Our steamers were going full speed as long as the th weather kept clear. The s.s. “Bremen” reduced to eight knots on the 20 of April from 2.20 to 4.20 a.m. in the ice region, because it was rainy weather. (c) Our Captains are bound to keep the track, though they have the right to leave it as soon as they think it being necessary for the safety of the ship.” I think this bears clear evidence, my Lord, of it having been written in English by a German. The Commissioner: Does it not bear evidence of having been written in German and translated by an Englishman? Sir Robert Finlay: No, my Lord, because an Englishman would not have said “As soon as they think it being necessary.” He would have said, “As soon as they think it necessary for the safety of the ship.” “We put it to the own judgment of our Captains” - here again that is German- English - “to alter their course, reduce speed, or take any other precautions they think necessary for a safe navigation. We include Nr. 215 of ‘Der Leuchtturm,’ in which there is on page 857 an article giving true and full information on this object.” The Commissioner: This letter has been written by a German who has a far better knowledge of English than most Englishmen have of German. Sir Robert Finlay: It is quite intelligible. The Commissioner: What is the article in “Der Leuchtturm”? Sir Robert Finlay: It is on the next page; it is rather long. The Commissioner: Has anyone read it? Sir Robert Finlay: I have glanced over it, and it did not strike me as being very illuminating - not as illuminating as the title of the periodical. I will just read a few sentences and any more that my friend desires. The Attorney-General: I do not think it helps at all. The Commissioner: I have looked through it, and I did not notice anything that would assist us. The Attorney-General: It does not tell us anything we did not know. Sir Robert Finlay: We have had so much read that unless it is necessary I will not read it. Now, my Lord, I propose to call attention to the evidence of Sir Ernest Shackleton, but perhaps I had better take Mr. Rostron’s evidence first. The Commissioner: This evidence of Captain Rostron appears to me to be important. Sir Robert Finlay: If your Lordship pleases, I will take it now. His evidence begins at page 740. A great deal of his evidence is directed to matters of fact with which we have nothing to do.
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