Page 164 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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habit of being re-engaged after they have been discharged at the end of a voyage, would become more familiar with the vessel, and would better know what should be done at the particular moment, in an emergency, they would certainly know the vessel better, but it is a factor which ought to be borne in mind that during this voyage at this particular moment when this emergency arose, there seems to have been no satisfactory organisation with regard to getting the passengers on deck. What I mean by that is, I should have thought that it might have been possible to have had men told off whose duty it would have been in an emergency of this character to call the passengers and to bring them on deck; but, in any event, what we do know about it is that these boats left, and left without their full complement, which might have carried a larger number, and therefore would have led to a smaller loss of life, and that of these the worst of them is this boat No. 1. Now, my Lord, the comment I desire to make upon that is more especially with regard to the man who was in charge (and the man who was in charge was Symons), whose duty it was to attempt to save life if there was any possibility of doing that. The man does not seem to have carried out, at any rate, the order that was given to him. He was told to go away and stand by. Instead of that, as far as I understand his evidence, and I have looked at it with great care, he seems to have got away as far as he possibly could; and when he heard the cries, although one can quite realise and quite understand that a man would hesitate, and rightly hesitate, at plunging into a mass of struggling people, yet at the same time there were a great number who might have been saved if the boat had gone back before he had got as far as the people who were huddled together, according to the evidence of one person, as they were in the water after the vessel had gone down, and Symons’ evidence, I suggest to your Lordship, was unsatisfactory. He gave no proper account of why he did it. He had got some parrot phrases somewhere in his mind that in the exercise of his discretion he had done it and that he was the master of the situation, but they afforded, as far as I can follow, no justification for what he did, and I do not think there is one, and, as far as I am able to see from the evidence, there is no explanation of why he went away and made no attempt at all to save life - no explanation at all, except that he says he was afraid that if he had gone back they would have been swamped. My submission to your Lordship with regard to that is that it is not a true explanation of what happened at that time. He was afraid also, I think I am right in saying, of suction. My Lord, none of those things justify a man in his position who is used to the sea - The Commissioner: When was the boat lowered into the water? The Attorney-General: I think it was from ten minutes past one till a quarter-past one. The Commissioner: It was a full hour before the foundering of the “Titanic.” The Attorney-General: Quite. The order in which the boats were lowered, I think, was 7, 5, 3, 1, and this boat would be lowered just about ten minutes to a quarter-past one, according to the evidence. As your Lordship says, that was at least an hour before the foundering. But as to that part of the case, as to what happened, why he did not come back, what he did, and why no further passengers were placed in the boat, I confess to me is very difficult to explain. I can see no justification for it, and I can see no explanation for it, but there it stands. My Lord, when I say I see no explanation of it, I think it is right to bear this in mind, and to call your Lordship’s attention to it, that Mr. Lowe, the officer, said he took everybody who was on board who was there as far as he could see, and that there were no people left on the starboard deck at the time. I think that must be a mistake, because it is quite clear that after that, the four after boats were lowered on the starboard deck, and that there were a number of passengers and crew who were in those boats. As your Lordship will remember, boat No. 15, which is the one as to which there was a good deal of discussion, was the last one which left. So that he must be mistaken with regard to that. I suppose what it really means is that he did not see any others, but it cannot be that there were no other women and children on the starboard deck at the time this boat was
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