Page 115 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 115
The Attorney-General: I said something about it was rather a pity the breeze had not kept up whilst we were going through the ice region. Of course my reason was obvious; he knew I meant the water ripples breaking on the base of the berg.” That is the point. “(Q.) You said it was a pity there was not a breeze? - (A.) Yes, I said, ‘It is a pity there is not a breeze,’ and we went on to discuss the weather. He was then getting his eyesight, you know, and he said, ‘Yes, it seems quite clear, and I said, ‘Yes, it is perfectly clear.’ It was a beautiful night, there was not a cloud in the sky. The sea was apparently smooth, and there was no wind, but at that time you could see the stars rising and setting with absolute distinctness.” Then you get to the other point. I will read it - the other abnormal condition of the blue iceberg. The Commissioner: Yes, about the reflection of light. The Attorney-General: “We then discussed the indications of ice. I remember saying, ‘In any case there will be a certain amount of reflected light from the bergs.’ He said, ‘Oh, yes, there will be a certain amount of reflected light.’ I said, or he said - it was said between us - that even though the blue side of the berg was towards us, probably the outline, the white outline would give us sufficient warning, that we should be able to see it at a good distance, and, as far as we could see, we should be able to see it. Of course, it was just with regard to that possibility of the blue side being towards us, and that if it did happen to be turned with the purely blue side towards us, there would still be the white outline.” That is at the top. Your Lordship has said you have read it and you have realised that this is gone into and discussed in question and answer in some detail. The Commissioner: Great detail. The Attorney-General: Yes. He explains the natural precautions; “We knew we were in the vicinity of ice,” and he says, at Question 13622, in answer to my friend the Solicitor-General, “Then you both realised at the time did you, that since it was a flat calm” - that is the question and answer I wanted particularly to get before you - “it would be more difficult to see the ice? - (A.) As far as the case of the berg was concerned, yes, it would be more difficult; naturally you would not see the water breaking on it if there were no wind; and so you would not have that to look for.” Now, my Lord, those questions and answers to which I have referred make this, I submit, perfectly clear, that in Mr. Lightoller’s view, when he is speaking of a flat calm and of the ripple round the base, what he means is, without analysing too closely the exact meaning of the words used by him, that he will not that night get the benefit of the ripple which breaks round the base of a berg. That is clear. The Commissioner: No doubt. The Attorney-General: Whether you put it as wind or whether you put it as the result of a swell it comes to the same thing. He knew he would not get that and that is what I rely upon, and I submit that destroys the point; and without going into it in any elaborate detail and without taking up the various pieces of evidence to which my friend referred, those answers of his destroy the case made that those were unusual conditions, because unusual conditions have no value as an excuse unless it means that they were so unusual that they did not know of them at the time. The Commissioner: The way I look at it is this; even if they were unusual conditions, even if they were abnormal, if he knew the fact it removes the value to the officers of the abnormal conditions as an excuse. The Attorney-General: Yes, that is what I mean. The Commissioner: It destroys its value if they knew it. The Attorney-General: It does. The Commissioner: I am disposed to agree with you that whether he meant swell or whether he meant a motion on the sea distinguished from swell, in either case he pointed it out according to
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