Page 121 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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because it is beyond question that the fact that the ice might be expected in June, but would not be expected in April, is proved definitely by Mr. Sanderson at page 477, at Questions 19294 to 19311. The Commissioner: What is the significance of that in face of the telegrams? The Attorney-General: The significance, my Lord, is as explaining that even though - I am dealing with the argument of my learned friend Sir Robert Finlay, that is the way I am using it in answer to him - even though, and contrary to the view I am putting to the Court, the Captain was justified in thinking that he had passed to the Northward of the ice which had been reported to him, he should have expected that further ice would have been coming South. That is the point of it. The Commissioner: That is a perfectly legitimate observation. The Attorney-General: And that is all I want to say with reference to it. The Commissioner: If some bergs were coming down and he managed to go to the North of them, it was not an unreasonable thing to say there may be others coming. The Attorney-General: Quite. Now, my Lord, there is also this observation to be made about it. Of course the alteration of the course, proceeding below the corner, to the Southward of the corner 7 to 10 miles was before they had got the “Californian” telegram at all; the ‘Californian” telegram did not come till 7.35 or something like that, by the “Titanic’s” time, and the course had been altered and changed afterwards at 5.50, and from 5 to 5.50 they continue. Now, my Lord, may I just say a word; and it shall not be more in view of what your Lordship has been good enough to indicate, with reference to these telegrams, the wireless messages. They have been referred to so much that it is only necessary for me to call attention to this, that what they do report is bergs, growlers, and field-ice. That is the first one that was received, the one from the “Caronia,” and says 42º North” and “49º to 51º West. April 12th.” The second one from the “Baltic,” which evidently was thought to be of extreme importance (I will indicate why I say that in a moment), is because there the Greek steamer reports passing icebergs - “a large quantity of field ice today,” and then it gives the latitude and longitude; and as we know that is very close to the spot at which the “Titanic” did actually strike the iceberg - very close indeed. That is a message which the “Titanic” would have received at about twenty minutes to two. Your Lordship will remember the evidence turns upon this. According to Mr. Ismay, at about twenty minutes to two or a quarter to two, just before he was going in to lunch, Captain Smith came and handed him this Marconigram which he then put in his pocket and retained till somewhere about 7 o’clock in the evening when he was asked for it again, and, my Lord, the only reference I want to make to that, the only one which I think is really relevant to the question which you have to answer now, is that Captain Smith evidently thought (as he must have thought) that that was a most important message, but we are left a great deal to surmise as to what happened. We have had Mr. Ismay’s recollection as to what happened - not of the conversation, because there was none - but of the handing of the telegram; and we are left, I must say, in some difficulty in understanding what actually took place between him and Captain Smith in view of what he stated. But all we know about it, and we must accept the evidence (I accept that in this case as I took Mr. Lightoller’s in the other) as it stands; we have no other. And what Mr. Ismay says is, that it was handed to him, and he admits it was handed to him because it was so important. Now, as affecting Mr. Ismay, I am making no comment. The use I am making of this is to show what value Captain Smith attached to that message; that is the point - that he showed it to Mr. Ismay, and of course it is idle, as it seems to me, to suggest that Mr. Ismay was there on board as an ordinary passenger, and it was only because of his statement to that effect that it became necessary to go into so much detail as to what his position was; but I am not suggesting and did not suggest at the time your Lordship asked me the question at an earlier stage in the case, that he interfered in the navigation. That is
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