Page 96 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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much doubts, but they thought it had been waiting there long enough and that some had better get into it from ladders down below. The Commissioner: I can understand that. I can understand the boats being filled only half full or a third full if there was an idea that the boat might be filled later on. That I can well understand. Mr. Roche: There is ample evidence to substantiate this proposition. The Commissioner: There is some evidence. Mr. Roche: That at all times there were men about the decks there does not seem to be any doubt, and that the boats were not filled because the women and children were not available. The Commissioner: I think that is true; that seems to be a fact. Mr. Roche: It would have been an excuse for the boats having left the ship half filled, but I say the reason they were not filled at the ship’s rail was because the women and children were not ready; and it does account for the boats not being filled then and the disproportion of boats to the number of people accounts for the slowness with which they were lowered. With regard to the mechanical lowering of the boats your Lordship will not forget that in many cases there is evidence that the boat was lowered very quickly. One starboard boat was away, Mr. Boxhall said, almost before he expected it, while he was on the bridge letting off rockets. Other falls and davits lowered their own wooden boats and one, if not two, collapsibles, I think your Lordship will find. I think your Lordship will be advised and will be of opinion, having read the evidence, that mechanically a considerably larger number of boats could have been got out of this ship at the time in question had they been available, but that that delay was a personal and a human delay. The Commissioner: What time did the last boat leave the vessel? Mr. Roche: The last boat left the vessel about half an hour before the ship sank. The Commissioner: The steamer was still in such a position as to have enabled them to lower more boats if more boats had been there? Mr. Roche: Except the collapsibles. The Commissioner: There was one collapsible boat, I know, but I am thinking rather of the boats under davits. The ship was still in a condition to have launched or lowered from the davits boats if they had been there to launch? Mr. Roche: Particularly is that the case, my Lord, on the starboard side. The evidence with regard to that is this: Two men, Scott and Dillon, come from the afterpart of the ship, from the engine room, comparatively late in the proceedings, half or three-quarters of an hour before the ship sank. All the boats were gone from the starboard side; all the wooden boats were lowered from the port side, but one of the men - I think it was Scott - got into a boat down the falls. The Commissioner: According to the recommendations which had been made to the Board of Trade before this accident happened, it was contemplated that a much larger, or, at any rate, a larger supply of boats would be right. Mr. Roche: Yes, my Lord, it was, and I might, without unduly criticising the Board of Trade, say this - and it is the only thing I desire to say about it - that Captain Young represented the reasons on behalf of the Board of Trade for their non-acceptance of the recommendations, of the Advisory Committee, for example. The Commissioner: What was his reason? Mr. Roche: His reason was broadly this: He was the gentleman who, rightly or wrongly - I am not for a moment saying it was wrongly - thought there was some defect now-a-days in the construction of a large number of the boats - that they were made deep in order to get the requisite capacity instead of being broad and long, and that the depth was a fictitious capacity and did not assist at all. But he said this, apparently: “I have no complaint with the boats of a ship of the ‘Titanic’ class.” He apparently had in mind quite a different kind of ship and quite a
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