Page 19 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 19
The Commissioner: It is pointed out to me that it is rather difficult to understand that. It may have been one projecting piece of the berg which struck the ship and then ran along the side, but which did not open the side at each part of the lining as it went along to the same extent. It opened it differently as it went along, that is to say the plates bulged back inwards and broke or cracked or became unrivetted in different places. Sir Robert Finlay: That is so, my Lord. Certainty is impossible, because the vessel is now two miles deep at the bottom of the Atlantic. We can only say what is probable, and I confess, if I may tell my own mind, that I do not feel quite satisfied that one can be sure it was done by a succession of stabs. The Commissioner: It is rather difficult to know how a succession of stabs could be delivered by the berg. Sir Robert Finlay: Mr. Wilding’s view is - and on a point of this kind one would pay the greatest attention possible to Mr. Wilding’s opinion; he has been of so much service in this case - his opinion is that the first stab was when the starboard bow struck under the waterline; then that the vessel sheared off a little, swinging round, and then another stab is delivered in the next compartment, and so on. At any rate, Mr. Wilding, although he does not think it the most probable theory, thinks it is not at all impossible that the ice, having penetrated on the starboard bow, ran along continuously ripping the thing up until it got to No. 6 compartment, when there was no further wounding. Certainty is perfectly impossible in the matter. The Commissioner: It is merely speculation. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, and it does not really affect the case. The only observation I was making was that there was a most extraordinary combination of circumstances here, because your Lordship remembers how the one look-out man said to the other: “That is a narrow shave.” He thought they had escaped it; it seemed that they had; and the effect was so slight that instead of there being a tremendous shock as there would have been if they had gone full tilt into the iceberg all that the people heard was a grating noise as if it was running along gravel. The Commissioner: It was a noise that terrified the Captain; I am sure of that. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, and some of the passengers were wakened up by it. The Commissioner: It woke him up. Sir Robert Finlay: It woke up the Captain, but some of the passengers described how they simply turned round and went to sleep again. The Captain was not asleep; he was in the chart room. The Commissioner: It brought him out of his cabin. Sir Robert Finlay: It brought him out of the chart room. And that, my Lord, leads me to call your Lordship’s attention to the fact that Captain Smith was close at hand and ready. The Commissioner: So I understand. Can you tell me how far exactly the door of the Captain’s room was from the bridge? Sir Robert Finlay: I cannot give you it in yards. It is absolutely close. The Commissioner: I know, but “absolutely close” is rather indefinite. Sir Robert Finlay: It is a few yards, or a few feet. Your Lordship will remember going from the bridge into the Captain’s chart room when you visited the “Olympic.” I have no doubt then your Lordship walked from the bridge into this room. The Commissioner: I did, but unfortunately I do not remember these things. The Captain was dressed, I think, was not he? Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, the Captain was dressed. I am going to show that presently by the evidence. The Commissioner: And I should like to know. Was he is in his sitting-room? Sir Robert Finlay: No. The expression used, I think, is “the Captain’s chart room.” I take it that it was the navigation room, which is immediately forward of the Captain’s sitting-room.
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