Page 209 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
P. 209
The Commissioner: The Captain’s excuse for not hearing or understanding what the boy said to him is that he was asleep. The Attorney-General: Yes. Well, my Lord, I must say that with the greatest desire to accept that evidence, if possible, I find it impossible. He cannot have been asleep in view of what he was expecting. He had had the report; he was waiting to know whether they had managed to call up this vessel or not. He had had the report according to his own view half an hour before, that they had not yet managed to get into communication this vessel; they were trying to; and he says, “Let me know later.” Then he is in his chart room waiting for this boy, the boy comes down and all this takes place; and it is very difficult to imagine that the Captain has forgotten all about this incident, or that it did not take place. I will not say more about it than that, but I do submit that the true view of the evidence is that what the boy Gibson is stating is correct; and if you take that view it means this - The Commissioner: He struck me as a perfectly honest witness, and the Captain himself, when he is asked if he thinks the boy is speaking the truth, says he does. The Attorney-General: Yes, and may I add one further factor for your Lordship’s consideration. That boy when he was called was certainly very reluctant to say anything which he thought would tell against his Captain. The Commissioner: Certainly. The Attorney-General: I mean he was not anxious to make a case against him - quite the reverse, and I think the same observations would apply to Mr. Groves, the Third Officer, who also gives very pertinent evidence. But when you have got as far as that, I submit it is really as far as one need go in this case. The important fact is this, having regard to what your Lordship has said you are satisfied about; it means this, that that establishes that the signals were sent, that they were seen by the “Californian,” that they came from the “Titanic,” that the Captain knew that these signals had been sent up, and that the Captain remained in the chart room and did nothing. Those are the facts which are relevant for the purpose of this Enquiry. If he had taken another course, and if he had done what one would have expected him to do, he would have immediately steamed to the assistance of this vessel in distress. I do not profess to say - I doubt very much whether anyone can say - exactly the distance which the “Titanic” was from the “Californian” at the time of sending up the rockets. But according to the testimony (and this is not unimportant) of all those on the “Titanic” who saw the lights, the vessel they saw was, according to them, at a distance of something like five or six miles. The Commissioner: Who were the witnesses on the “Titanic” who saw the Morse light? The Attorney-General: My Lord, I think it is only Boxhall. The Commissioner: At page 158, Question 6761, Captain Lord says this with reference to the green light that he saw and the distance. He is asked: “What distance do you think she was from you when you could see the lights? - (A.) About five miles.” The Attorney-General: That is about what is said by the “Titanic” witnesses. The Commissioner: And that agrees with the “Titanic” witnesses. The Attorney-General: Yes. There are a number of witnesses who speak to that light on the “Titanic.” I agree that there is some discrepancy between the witnesses as to exactly how the light bore with regard to them. There are two factors to bear in mind in that connection which, I think, are essential to bear in mind, in order to understand the evidence. The one is that the “Californian” was swinging during the whole of this time. It explains what otherwise might be inexplicable - that is, why at first the green light is seen and then subsequently the red light. It explains it, I was going to say, for this reason - The Commissioner: Seen by the “Californian”? The Attorney-General: Yes. The “Californian” first of all sees the green light, the “Californian” is then heading about E. N. E.; it is after she stopped. The “Titanic” is proceeding
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