Page 138 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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The Commissioner: Sir Robert, I was asking Mr. Laing in your absence on Saturday about Lightoller’s evidence; it presents, if it is to be accepted, in my opinion, considerable difficulties with regard to your theory. First of all there was clearly in my mind the discussion about every so-called abnormality which is relied upon before the Commission, except the swell, and the swell does not appear to me to make any difficulty, because they were not anticipating seeing any fringe round the bergs. That is the effect of the conversation. They did not anticipate any fringe round the bergs, and it was one of the difficulties they discussed. Therefore, it seems to me the absence of swell is not of any importance. The other difficulty that I had with reference to your theory is this. Lightoller made a calculation and came to the conclusion that they would reach ice at half-past 9. Now Mr. Laing suggested that that was not the true effect of this evidence; that all that he meant was that they would reach the region in which ice had been notified. That does not seem to me to be the effect of his evidence. I think his evidence means that in his opinion they would come where they might expect to see ice, and if he did make a calculation of that kind, and it was properly made, it is inconsistent with your theory that all the notified ice had, by the time of the collision, passed away. Sir Robert Finlay: May I deal with both those points? The Commissioner: If you please. Sir Robert Finlay: I will take the second first, because I submit it admits of a short answer. Will your Lordship kindly look at the large chart which I handed up where the time is marked at which the “Titanic” reached 49 degrees and also the time when she reached 11 o’clock when she would be further on her course. Your Lordship will see soon after 9 o’clock the “Titanic” gets just beyond 49 degrees. Your Lordship sees the line down there does not mean any meridian; it is a line dividing the chart into 20 mile squares. At the top your Lordship will see longitude 49, and then if your Lordship goes down to the track which the “Titanic” took your Lordship will see that at 9 she was short of 49 degrees. The Commissioner: I do not follow you. Sir Robert Finlay: The track where the “Titanic” was proceeding where you have the legend “‘Titanic’s’ course after 5.50 p.m., S. 50 W. true, speed 22 knots.” Your Lordship sees “9 p.m.” marked there. That is short of 49 degrees. The Commissioner: It is slightly short of 49 degrees; about 3 miles. Sir Robert Finlay: I think about 3 minutes. The Commissioner: It is three miles in distance. Sir Robert Finlay: Exactly. One calculation by which they would get soon after 9, to the region to which the “Caronia” message referred, is one of those which Lightoller referred to, that is his own calculation. He said: I made a mental note - I remember the expression - of 49 deg., because I considered the longitude of importance. That relates to the “Caronia.” The other, the 11 o’clock, relates to the “Baltic.” Your Lordship will see that almost immediately below the position of the iceberg reported by the “Baltic” is “11 p.m.,” as the position of the “Titanic”; so that it is quite clear that the explanation as I submit of the discrepancy is what Lightoller himself suggested, that Moody must have been dealing with the “Baltic” ice, while he, Lightoller, was dealing with the “Caronia” ice. The Commissioner: Yes. It does not seem to me to matter which they were dealing with. Both of them came to the conclusion that they would possibly sight ice, and the calculations were based on one or other of the three telegrams. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: And that calculation, if it is accurate, seems to me to be inconsistent with your theory that they could not have sighted ice at that time, that none of the ice of the three messages could be sighted, because, as you put it to me, the ice had gone further South, and they were passing round the stern of the bergs.
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