Page 117 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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The Commissioner: It may do. The Attorney-General: I quite understand that view if you are dealing with an isolated iceberg, but that is not what they expected. One has to get rid of the notion that they were expecting they might meet an isolated iceberg or two. That is not what they were expecting. They had had definite notification of icebergs and ice-fields, which is a very different thing. The Commissioner: Yes, but some miles away. The Attorney-General: Yes. The Commissioner: The ice-fields were a considerable distance away, and although it would be, of course, a large field of ice, I doubt whether it would affect the atmosphere miles away so as to make itself obvious. The Attorney-General: As I said just now, I am not attempting to press it any further than this; that knowing they were approaching the vicinity of ice, that they had reason to expect to come upon ice, that that sudden drop of temperature was some indication to them that they might be then just upon it. I do not want to put it any higher than that, and that is the sole use I am making of it. It is only to get at the state of mind they were in had to take the precautions. Further, they knew that ice was coming South earlier than usual; they knew that, of course, from the reports, not only from the specific reports of the particular position of these icebergs and ice-fields which were signaled to them by wireless telegraphy, but they knew from that very fact that the ice was coming south earlier than they would ordinarily expect. It amounts to this, therefore: that on that particular night in the month of April it behoved them to take extraordinary care, because they must expect, or at any rate they might expect to meet considerable quantities of ice coming down Southward. That is the highest I want to put it. Then further, although with the change of course which had been made between 5 and 5.50 that evening of proceeding some seven to ten miles to the Southward before they turned the corner, they might have expected to have avoided some of the ice which was reported, they had no reason to expect that they had avoided all the actual ice reported to them; and they had certainly no reason to expect that they had avoided all ice, even though they avoided all ice reported. That depended, of course, upon the argument that I addressed to your Lordship just now, that they must have known the ice was coming to the South, and although they had avoided the particular ice reported to them by those messages, they might still well have anticipated that ice would be drifting South across the track. The Commissioner: Sir Robert Finlay’s case, of course, was that the alteration of the course was such as to lead them to the conclusion that they had cleared the ice, that they were passing some bergs under their stern, as it were, and that the others were too far away to be of any consequence. But I am at a loss to reconcile that argument with the fact that Lightoller and Moody were making a calculation which led one of them to the conclusion that they would reach ice, or might expect to reach ice, about 9.30 and the other one about eleven. The Attorney-General: And Murdoch says to Lightoller when Murdoch relieves him at 10 o’clock (page 308, Question 13707): “‘It is pretty cold.’ I said ‘Yes, it is freezing.’ I said something about we might be up around the ice any time now.” The Commissioner: Yes, I did not draw Sir Robert Finlay’s attention to that, and I do not think he dealt with it. The Attorney-General: May I finish that answer? I meant to deal with it in another connection, but it just bears out what your Lordship is saying: “I said something about we might be up around the ice any time now, as far as I remember. I cannot remember the exact words, but suggested that we should be naturally round the ice. I passed the word on to him. Of course, I knew we were up to the 49 degrees by, roughly, half-past 9”; but this conversation about what took place in the future was 10 o’clock, and then in this last answer your Lordship intervened and said to him: “You yourself knew the boat was already in the ice region at this time? - (A.)
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