Page 143 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 143
been.” The Commissioner: It is not an unknown thing according to Sir Ernest Shackleton; he says once or twice in 20 years. It appears to me that is a matter that a good sailor would take into consideration. Sir Robert Finlay: But you must also take the other circumstance, that it is a black berg, all black. The Commissioner: They had been discussing something which appears to me to have been very nearly the same as a black berg, that is to say, a berg presenting what they call its blue side. Sir Robert Finlay: But there is this notable difference, that if it is a berg with a blue side, the other side is white. The Commissioner: And they get the fringe? Sir Robert Finlay: And you see the fringe. They were entitled to rely upon the overwhelming probability that they would have one or other of these indications even if the berg were turning its black side. Of course, the enormous probability was that the berg would be white, as it was described by men who have spent their lives in the Atlantic, who told your Lordship over and over again, many of them, that they saw a white berg, a great thing as white as that great white cartoon there. That is what they have seen. That is what in all but the rarest cases they do see. If they do by any chance see the blue side, the dark side of a berg which has been torn off, then they have the glimmer at the top. Here they did not have that, but they had the extraordinary combination of a totally black berg, with not even a swell to show the presence of the berg by the ripple that that would have produced - not nearly so strong as if there had been wind, but still quite strong enough to have given an indication. I therefore most respectfully submit to your Lordship that it would not be right to find that there was anything blameworthy in following the practice which every man who has sailed the Atlantic for a long period past would have adopted. That leads me to one other observation. My friend, the Attorney-General, I am told, said Mr. Ismay asserted it would be right to go on at the same speed. Mr. Ismay is most anxious that it should be made clear that he never intended to say anything of the kind, and when his answer is looked at, I submit it is clear he did not. I will not trouble your Lordship with it, because your Lordship said I need not trouble about it; but what Mr. Ismay, of course, means is this. This accident has revealed in the first place the encroachment of ice much further to the South; in the second place, it is brought home to every one that there may be this extraordinary combination of circumstances, and as regards the practice in the future it may very well be that your Lordship will think it right to recommend that that practice should be modified in the view of what has happened. What I do respectfully submit is that it is impossible to say there was anything blameworthy in the course that was taken by Captain Smith. The Commissioner: I am much obliged to you, Sir Robert. The Attorney-General: The questions to which my friend, Sir Robert, has been addressing himself are matters upon which I addressed you at length on Saturday, and the only one observation I desire to make in answer to my friend’s remarks this morning is this: If you look at page 73, Question 2442, the evidence of Lee, one of the look-out men, you will see that there was the white fringe on the top, of which my friend was speaking. Sir Robert Finlay: Oh, no, not at all. The Attorney-General: It is really no good saying “not at all.” I am going to read the question and answer. Sir Robert Finlay: It is every good; when you have read it, you will see it is not. The Attorney-General: I am not speaking of the ripple. This is not the ripple at the base of the berg; this what is at the top. “(Q.) It was a dark mass that appeared, you say? - (A.) Through this haze, and as she moved away from it, there was just a white fringe along the top.”
   138   139   140   141   142   143   144   145   146   147   148