Page 142 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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that is always taken. (The Solicitor-General.) There are one or two things about that I should like to be clear about. I caught you saying that you, or the Captain, said it was a pity there was not a little breeze because it would have shown the iceberg? - (A.) Yes, it would have assisted. (Q.) Then you both realised at the time, did you, that since it was a flat calm 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 was no wind; and so you would not have that to look for. (Q.) Do you remember when the Captain was on the bridge with you, did you tell him that, as you made it out, you would get to the danger zone - to the ice region - about half-past 9? - (A.) No. (Q.) Was anything said about the time when you would get to it? - (A.) No, not that I remember.” And then follows a good deal about Mr. Moody and his calculation. So that your Lordship sees that that conversation with the Captain referred to the two things, the two indications they would get if they came across an iceberg - the one was the white fringe on the top even though the dark side of the iceberg were turned towards them, they would see the white light over the top from the other side, it being crystalline and white from exposure to the weather. They did not get that because this was a quite black berg. The other indication was the indication from the breaking of the water at the foot of the berg, that they would have if there were wind, and that they would have too, in a less degree, if there were a swell. They knew there was no wind, and they discussed that it was unlucky, because that would have accentuated it. The Commissioner: This conversation reads to me as if they knew there would be no breaking of water on the base of the iceberg. Sir Robert Finlay: That is quite inconsistent with a great deal of the other evidence, my Lord; it is quite inconsistent with what Mr. Lightoller said on the previous page. The Commissioner: Naturally you would not see the water breaking if there was no wind. Sir Robert Finlay: Will your Lordship look at what he said on the previous page, at Question 13569: “Of course, the stronger the breeze the more visible will the ice be, or rather the breakers on the ice. Therefore, at any time when there is a slight breeze you will always see at nighttime a phosphorescent line round a berg, growler, or whatever it may be; the slight swell which we invariably look for in the North Atlantic causes the same effect, the break on the base of the berg, so showing a phosphorescent glow.” The Commissioner: Then why were they discussing the absence of wind if they believed there was a swell as you say they did at that time; and if the swell would have produced the same effect on the bottom of the berg, why was it material to discuss the question of the absence of wind? Sir Robert Finlay: That brings us back to the consideration which comes up every time. We have not here Captain Smith to give us what was in his mind, but one can, I think, see what Mr. Lightoller meant. If there were wind there would be a much more marked ripple, phosphorescent light at the foot of the berg, than if you had only a swell; but if you had a swell there would be that light, enough to give warning. It would not be nearly so marked as if there was wind. I do most respectfully put it to your Lordship that that is the effect of the evidence. Now, will your Lordship kindly look at what Sir Ernest Shackleton says at the top of page 721. The earlier part of the answer relates to another matter. I am on Question 25063, the last sentence of which is at the top of page 721. Sir Ernest says, “Of course, that particular night was an abnormal night at sea in being a flat calm; it is a thing that might never occur again. (Q.) That is what Mr. Lightoller says. You say apparently it is very rare to get such a flat calm as there was that night?” The Attorney-General: That means there, a calm without a swell. Sir Robert Finlay: Clearly; that is the whole point. “(A.) I only remember it once or twice in about 20 years’ experience - the sea absolutely calm, without a swell, as it was recorded to have
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