Page 206 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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The Commissioner: Unless you wish to say anything more; I am not stopping you on the evidence you know. The Attorney-General: No. I am very anxious not to press it too far. At the same time I am very anxious that after the evidence we have had, such conclusions as are relevant to this Enquiry should be given by your Lordship when you have considered the evidence. Now, the evidence, which in voluminous, is undoubtedly to some extent very conflicting on some points. I am not sure that it is possible to reconcile some of these statements that are made, from whatever aspect you look at them. But upon the material points, I submit there is not any real difficulty. The material points are first of all whether the “Californian” saw distress signals. One answer of the Captain it seems to me quite disposes of that. The Commissioner: Captain Lord? The Attorney-General: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: I do not know whether it will relieve you at all in the trouble you are taking, but I think we are all of opinion that the distress rockets that were seen from the “Californian” were the distress signals of the “Titanic.” The Attorney-General: That relieves me of a great deal of evidence, my Lord. That is the material fact of this case. Your Lordship will remember the evidence that was given by Gibson, the Apprentice, with reference to his going to the chart room and the Captain’s explanation of that. My submission, in considering this evidence, is that one must come to the conclusion that Captain Lord’s evidence, as given in this Court, was unsatisfactory upon this very vital point of what happened after he had once seen that there was a vessel there. He was himself stopped in the ice because of the danger of proceeding, so that he had well present to his mind the possibility of another vessel being in jeopardy, in all likelihood, by proceeding through the ice; yet he not only goes to his chart room, but remains in the chart room after he has had notice that at least one distress signal had been sent up. His view about that at first - I doubt whether it is persisted in throughout his evidence or whether he intended to make an impression that he persisted in it - was that he expected the boy to come down, because he had told Mr. Groves, who was the Third Officer, to send the boy down to him as soon as there was any change or as soon as there was anything to report. And the boy does come to the chart room. The Captain’s explanation of it is rather difficult to get by piecing question and answer together because it travels over so much ground, but the explanation of it, giving it quite fairly to him, is that he remembered the door opening and the boy opening it. He said, “What is that?” and the boy closed the door and went away without saying anything further. That was his explanation of it. On the other hand, the boy’s statement is very definite and very specific as to what had happened. But, my Lord, before the boy goes to the chart room, according to the evidence at a quarter-past one (but I shall submit it must have been somewhere about a quarter to one) notice is given to him by the officer on deck, through a speaking tube which existed, into the chart room that a white rocket had been seen. That is Question 6790, page 158. This is the Captain’s admission. 6790 is the crucial question upon this point, but he is asked just a little before that, at Question 6785, “Did you speak to him through the speaking tube? - (A.) At 20 minutes to one.” Your Lordship will remember he had said he remained on deck till a quarter-past 12, when he went into the chart room. Question 6786 is, “Did he say whether she had changed her position? - (A.) I asked him if the steamer was the same. He said it was the same; he had called her up once, but she would not reply to him.” So that he is trying to get into communication with her and had failed. “(Q.) Then you went to lie down in the chart room? - (A.) Yes; I told him I was going to lie down in the chart room then. (Q.) A little later did he whistle down the tube and tell you she was altering her bearings? - (A.) A quarter-past one. (Q.) Did he say how she was altering her bearings? - (A.) Towards the S. W. (Q.) Did he tell you whether he had seen any signal? - (A.) He said he saw a white rocket. (Q.) From her? - (A.) From her.” An attempt has been made - it is
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