Page 225 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
P. 225
was done, and we have to estimate the time. (The Commissioner.) She was right on the berg before any time elapsed? - (A.) I should think, my Lord, that in the case of that particular berg it would be a very difficult thing to pick it up at all. A man might have said to his companion “Do you think you see anything?” but arising out of that I should like to say that all officers, as far as I know, and Captains of ships in modern times, are only too ready to hear reported from the crow’s-nest, or wherever it is, any report of any sort even though the light reported is not there.” The Commissioner: Well, that is what some other witnesses have said. Sir Robert Finlay: It can be only be helping to relieve the monotony of life on board ship; I should have thought a report of what does not exist is not helpful. The Commissioner: What I mean is this. I think it was in answer to Mr. Laing one of the witnesses said that a man would never be reprimanded for reporting - even though he was mistaken, and there was nothing to report. Sir Robert Finlay: Certainly, I entirely agree in that, because it would be a very great mistake to leave an impression on the minds of the men that they were committing an offence by reporting when they thought they saw something, even if it turned out not to be there. The Commissioner: I do not know whether it was Mr. Laing, but somebody said he thought that if that went on for very long the connection of the look-out man with the ship would be speedily terminated. Sir Robert Finlay: To put a very strong case, suppose a man were flogged every time he reported an object which turned out not to be there, I should think it would very seriously interfere with the efficiency of the look-out. It is evident you must not censure the man. On the contrary, you praise him for reporting what he thinks he sees even if it turns out not to be there. But that is a different thing from saying that you are glad to have reported what does not exist. You are very glad the look-out men are zealous. The Commissioner: I understand he means he is glad the man reports even though there is nothing there, because it shows he is anxious to do his duty. Sir Robert Finlay: That is obviously what he means. The Attorney-General: One of my friends says he remembers that Sir Ernest added sotto voce.” It used to be different in my young days.” Sir Robert Finlay: It is put very neatly in Mr. Lightoller’s evidence at the top of page 326, Question 14294. “I will put this to you” - it is by Mr. Scanlan - “Supposing a man on the look- out fancies he sees something and strikes the bell, and it turns out not be anything, I should think he would be reprimanded? - (A.) He is in every case commended. (The Commissioner.) I do not understand that. Is he commended when he signals that there is something ahead when there is nothing ahead? - (A.) Yes, your Lordship,” and it is obvious for the reason your Lordship has just indicated. The Commissioner: Then it was Mr. Scanlan made the observation? Mr. Scanlan: It is in the next question, my Lord. Sir Robert Finlay: Question 14296. - “(Mr. Scanlan.) If he did it frequently in a journey, would not the commendation take the form at the end of the voyage of paying him off and dispensing with his services? - (A.) Not at all. The man is not an absolute fool; he knows that if he is trying to keep a good look-out, particularly amongst ice, and he suspects he sees anything, he will strike the bell, if it turns out to be nothing he may come on the bridge and say, ‘I am sorry that I struck the bell when there was nothing,’ but he is invariably told, ‘Never you mind, if you suspect that you see anything, strike the bell, no matter how often.’” That, I think, makes the matter perfectly clear. Then Question 25127 on page 723, “(Q.) I am not quite following you, I am afraid. Do you want to convey this to me that that berg would be within one hundred feet of the stem of the ship before it would be seen? - (A.) No. I should think a berg of that type would be seen somewhere
   220   221   222   223   224   225   226   227   228   229   230