Page 150 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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very long time, and necessitate naturally the examination of a great many witnesses in order to enable you to deal with it; but no doubt, if you thought right, your Lordship would make some general recommendation with regard to that. I presume, of course, I am only stating now what occurs to me with regard to it - that your Lordship would ask the Committee to deal with those two questions into which we have examined, in some little detail, without arriving at some conclusion in consequence of the view your Lordship did take. The Commissioner: I am thinking of the description which I may have to give of the circumstances which brought the ship down to the bottom of the sea, and one of the things I must consider, I think, is whether the water in No. 4 came from the hole in the side of the ship, or whether it came over the bulkhead. The Attorney-General: I quite follow for that purpose it would be necessary. The Commissioner: It is for the Committee to say whether it is desirable that the bulkhead should be necessary. The Attorney-General: I quite agree, my Lord, it would be necessary. The Commissioner: As far as I can go, I must make up my mind upon the question whether No. 4 was holed or not. But you will remember this - if the evidence is so vague and uncertain that I cannot form any opinion upon the question which will be of any value, I shall say so. The Attorney-General: I was going to say this, my Lord, and I will leave it with this observation: That so far as I am able to gather from the evidence, there is not sufficient to make it clear - I suggest to your Lordship, and one must be clear about it before coming to a conclusion - whether or not she was holed in No. 4. There is not sufficient to make it clear. I believe really that is the true effect of the evidence. I certainly cannot say that it is made clear that she was holed, because there is not any evidence of that. But from what we know of the water rising it is quite possible that she was holed below, and therefore that nobody would have seen it, and there is no evidence before you to explain it. I submit that is how the matter stands. Now, my Lord, I do not propose to dwell any further upon that part of the case. I want to deal at once with the steps that were taken after the collision. We have proceeded by stages, first of all, of the vessel approaching the iceberg, then she struck the iceberg, she has been injured, and now I want to see what steps were taken after that. That involves a consideration in the main of two matters - one is what was done with regard to the watertight doors and the other is with regard to the boats. Substantially those are the two questions. There are minor points, but of no real importance because certainly they had no effect whatever upon the saving of life. Now, my Lord, in the first instance, as to the closing of the watertight doors. I think the evidence is fairly clear and establishes this, that immediately after the impact the watertight doors were closed from the bridge in a way with which your Lordship has become familiar, and I also have become familiar, on the “Olympic.” These watertight doors were closed, and it is equally clear that these watertight doors were opened some time after from No. 4 aft so as to enable a suction pipe to be brought from the aftermost tunnel. Those doors I was just referring to, are those which would no doubt have been closed, so far as one is able to judge, when the water rose sufficiently high by means of the float to liberate the clutch and allow the door to drop down again. I will assume that was done. The only other questions which have arisen as to watertight doors are as to those doors on decks E and F. There has been a good deal of question with regard to that, and, of course, I can give you what happened - the evidence in detail - with reference to that. But so far as I have followed all the criticism that has been directed to what happened afterwards, no complaint was made, if I understand aright, by my friend Mr. Edwards, who specially dealt with the question of bulkheads, and watertight doors, with regard to these two decks after the examination that we have had. And it seems fairly plain that those doors were closed. It is gone into by the witnesses up to a point that the emergency doors were opened and that there was access along the alleyway.
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