Page 99 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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numbers on to the deck said that, as he came up with the parties, there were large numbers returning, some of them, I think he said, even going back to their bunks. The Commissioner: Just give me that reference. Mr. Holmes: It is at page 209, Question 9924. It starts with a repetition of the previous question: “(Q.) Pass the women and children up to the boat deck? - (A.) Yes, those that were willing to go to the boat deck were shown the way. Some were not willing to go to the boat deck, and stayed behind. Some of them went to the boat deck, and found it rather cold, and saw the boats being lowered away, and thought themselves more secure on the ship, and consequently returned to their cabin.” The Commissioner: That, I expect, refers to women. Mr. Holmes: “(Q.) You say they thought themselves more secure on the ship. Did you hear any of them say so. - (A.) Yes, I heard two or three say they preferred to remain on the ship than be tossed about on the water like a cockleshell.” The Commissioner: Very well. Mr. Holmes: To counteract that it has been suggested that the passengers should all have been informed that within a very short time the ship was going to the bottom. I suggest to your Lordship that is a consideration which is almost ridiculous. There would inevitably have been a panic of the most terrible nature. The probability is that not one of those boats would have been lowered into the water at all and there would have been people falling overboard or the boats might have been capsized before ever they reached the water. As it is, we have had Mr. Lowe’s evidence that he had to fire his revolver on one occasion to keep the people back from the boat, and one other man did say that there were people hanging on to the falls, which made it desirable to get the boats out in a hurry. The third justification for the lowering of the boats without their full complement was the anxiety to get them waterborne and to fill up afterwards from the gangway doors. That has been referred to by Mr. Scanlan in his address, and I will just refer again to one question in Mr. Lightoller’s evidence, Question 14230, at page 323. Mr. Scanlan asked him: “But it did occur to both of you? - (A.) It came to both our minds, and naturally anyone familiar with the ship, any seaman, anyone attached to the ship, would know at once that was the best means of putting the people into the boat - by the gangway doors.” Again, on page 332, at Question 14491, he said, in answer to your Lordship: “(The Commissioner.) There are two or three other matters about the boats I should like to ask a question on. (To the Witness.) I want to know whether you knew that those boats were not intended to be lowered full of people. Did you know that? - (A.) We have no instructions to that effect, my Lord, but I knew that it was not practicable to lower them full of people. (Q.) Had you any reason to suppose that they were weaker than they should have been? - (A.) No. I have not had much experience with these Englehardt collapsible boats. (Q.) I am not talking about collapsible boats merely, but the lifeboats? - (A.) I should not think they were capable of being lowered full of people. They may be. I have never seen them full of people, but if they are only supposed to carry 65 people, afloat, it hardly seems feasible that they would carry 65 people when suspended at each end. It does not seem seamanlike to fill a boat chock full of people when it is only suspended at each end. It is to guard principally against accidents in lowering. That must be taken into consideration a very great deal - the fact that you have to lower a boat from a great height and get her safely into the water. It is of more importance to get the boat into the water than it is to actually fill her at the boat deck, because it is no use filling her if you are going to lose those people before you get her down; it is far better to save a few and safely. (Mr. Scanlan.) Do you think you could have filled the boat still more in the water? - (A.) Undoubtedly.(Q.) If your organisation had been complete ? - (A.) I do not see the organisation would have prevented the ship sinking. (Q.) I know it would not? - (A.) It was that that prevented us putting the people in.” Then there is a remark by your Lordship. “What
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