Page 116 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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his own account (an apocryphal account), in his conversation with the Captain, and, therefore, the excuse was gone. The Attorney-General: It is a little difficult to deal with the view which is in your Lordship’s mind about the conversation. The Commissioner: Well, I have got the view and I have had it for a long time. But there it is; there is the evidence. The Attorney-General: It is right to say this is it not - your Lordship is a better judge than I am from every point of view, and I was not here during the whole of the time when Lightoller was giving his evidence - that he did give it very well. The Commissioner: It is to be remembered that he told exactly or practically the same story in America. The Attorney-General: Yes, from the first. I think it is right to say with regard to Lightoller, is it not, that he gave his evidence very well. The Commissioner: He gave it remarkably well. The Attorney-General: Too well your Lordship thinks? The Commissioner: Well, remarkably well. The Attorney-General: The earlier question and answer to which I called your Lordship’s attention, 13617, deals with the dark colour of the iceberg. There is a body of evidence besides that with which I am not going to deal in detail, but to which I will give the reference and which I will indicate to you. The result of it all is this, that according to the view which I present to your Lordship, not only did Lightoller (who was not on the bridge at the time, it is said) know that there would be no ripple, to use a more neutral phrase with regard to it, at the base of the berg on the waterline, but he also knew that he might expect to meet an iceberg which would present this dark appearance. Those are the two things which he knew. He says that quite clearly himself. Those are the two things which we have to deal with in this case, and which are suggested as the abnormal conditions. Now, before I proceed to call your Lordship’s attention to a few more passages in the evidence - they will be very few - I want to see what it was that they did know. I have made this point about Lightoller. In order to establish (before we get to the precautions that were taken) what it was they knew, one wants to get at the frame of mind of the officers on this night before the actual collision happened, and, therefore, it is that I have called attention to what they did know. Now, my Lord, what else did they know? They knew of the warnings of those four wireless telegrams to which reference has been made. They knew that the temperature had fallen very considerably during that evening; and although I am not going to contend on the evidence that a mere fall of the temperature is an indication of ice region, I do submit that when you know you are approaching an ice region, a fall within two hours of ten degrees in the month of April is at least some indication that you are getting near to ice. That is all. I do not wish to push it any further than that. The Commissioner: I am not sure there is much in that. The Attorney-General: I do not think it is very important; it emphasises the fact that they knew they were approaching ice, that is all. The Commissioner: I am not sure about that. I am not sure that proximity to an iceberg necessarily means cold air. The Attorney-General: No, my Lord, nor am I, with respect, suggesting it; I am drawing the distinction; I say not necessarily. The Commissioner: It is not the cold air that proves an iceberg. The iceberg comes down from the North, but I am not at all satisfied that it creates a large atmosphere round itself which becomes cold. The Attorney-General: Oh, no.
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