Page 162 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 162
say, we do not hear a single word about them. My Lord, really, speaking with the rarest exceptions in this case, everybody on board seems to have behaved in this moment of the gravest peril, realising, as they must have done, that they were in imminent danger of losing their lives, with a calmness and with a devotion to duty which I hope will always be remembered to the credit of those who sail on board British vessels. My Lord, in the same connection, I think one ought also to remember the passengers; the accounts which have been given of the women who refused to leave their husbands; took their chance, and must have known perfectly well what it meant; and the accounts that we have had of some, knowing quite well that, by staying on board, they were doomed to destruction, nevertheless preferred it - preferred to remain with their husbands to going on board the boats. It must also not be forgotten, my Lord, that the men, with the exception of, I think, only in one instance of which evidence was given of a rush by the second and third class passengers to one boat, which was checked, as your Lordship will remember, by Mr. Lowe - with that exception, again the passengers seem to have behaved extremely well. My Lord, the men on board made no attempt to leave the vessel. It must have been realised, I suppose, at an early moment on board that vessel, so far as one is able to reconstruct the scene, that there was only accommodation, and that not even sufficient, for the women and children on board that vessel, and no attempt made on behalf of the men to force themselves in, as your Lordship so pertinently observed recently; even in one case where there were two men who got in because they thought there were no more women, when the women were seen the men got out and the women were placed in the boat and were saved. Your Lordship will remember again one other significant fact, that although the stewards and crew were marshaled to keep the line and to prevent the male passengers from getting into the boats, and to take care that only women and children got into the boats, the evidence is that they had nothing to do; that the passengers stood there and made no attempt in any way to get into the boats, but assisted in keeping order with the stewards and with the rest of the crew. All those are factors which it is as well that one should bear in mind, and I know your Lordship will bear them in mind when you come to deal with what happened on this vessel after the casualty. My Lord, this becomes of greater significance when you present to yourself the picture in that vessel, of the ship sinking by the head, the water always getting further and further mastery over the ship, the boats going away one by one, and the realisation of those who remained on board that ship that, although the water was gaining control over the vessel, there was no boat, and there was no possibility of their leaving the vessel. There is some evidence, the evidence of Mr. Bride, that when the news came through, as he received it, that the “Carpathia” was coming to their assistance (I think I am right in saying that it was at 12.35 that that happened - it is within a minute or two), that that news was taken by him at any rate to some of those who were on board the vessel. It may be that that caused a good many to prefer to remain on board the vessel, but one does not know exactly how much was known of that; one can only surmise that if there was information of that kind given by him, as he says he did give it when he went up amongst the people on board the vessel, it would very soon spread and very soon be known, and no doubt helped to steady those people who were on board, and made them able to wait the arrival of the “Carpathia” with greater fortitude. But still, all the time this vessel is getting nearer and nearer to foundering, and all the time one sees that the boats are being lowered and the last means of escape are disappearing. Now, my Lord, I do want to make one comment with regard to this matter, and that is in respect of this No. 1 boat. No. 1 boat was the emergency boat on the starboard side, the boat which has figured somewhat prominently in this case on account of the evidence which was given in the first instance by Hendrickson, and which led, in consequence of some possibly underlying suggestion to the calling of Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon. As I said at an earlier
   157   158   159   160   161   162   163   164   165   166   167