Page 211 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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ineffectually to Morse her I did not pay any particular attention to her. (Q.) Did you not notice her, or did you notice her? - (A.) Oh! I noticed her, certainly. (Q.) Was she keeping her same position? - (A.) The same position, yes. We were swinging slowly to port, very slowly.” That is a mistake, as the Admiral points out. It is corrected later. “(Q.) Did you not take her bearing by the compass? - (A.) Not that steamer’s bearing, no. (Q.) She would appear to be coming round more towards your stern? - (A.) No, she would appear, as we were swinging, to be working towards our head. (Q.) I thought you were swinging to port? - (A.) No, we were swinging to starboard that is, to the right hand.” It is worth taking a note also of the evidence of Mr. Stone at page 182, Question 8061: “We were heading E. N. E., at the beginning of the watch, and slowly turned round to W. S. W. When I lost sight of this steamer we would be heading then about W. S. W., and she would be about two points on our port bow. I saw then her stern light, not her red light. She shut in her red light. (Q.) You must have seen her green light if it was showing, before she shut in her stern light? - (A.) If she shut in her red light. I did not say she shut in her stern light. She did not shut her stern light in at all the whole period.” Now, the effect of that evidence is to show this, that both vessels were swinging, and the consequence is you get some explanation, if you take into account that they are swinging, and that this vessel, which was heading E. N. E., was swinging all the time, and that also the “Titanic’s” stern was swinging to the South, as we have heard it, one gets some explanation of why it is that, first, you hear from the witnesses that they saw a green light and that subsequently they saw a port light. If I may illustrate that, suppose you have the “Californian’s” head E. N. E., and you have the vessel going to the Westward, almost due W., I assume, of course, during that time the starboard light is exposed. First of all there would be the masthead lights seen of the vessel approaching the “Californian” being still, and then the green light of the “Titanic” would be seen. Then the “Titanic” comes to a stop, having approached a certain distance, and then she begins to swing to the Southward, and the consequence is she is in that position (indicating). The other vessel is swinging all the time. When she gets in that position the port light would be exposed, and that would explain why it is that you get first of all a green light seen, and then a red light, of the vessel according to the evidence which is given. The whole importance of it is, of course, not so very great as your Lordship must come to the conclusion, the same conclusion that one of the officers on board the vessel did, that the vessel which they saw that night and the vessel which had been sending out the distress signals was the “Titanic.” If one wanted any corroboration, but I do not dwell upon it inasmuch as your Lordship and those associated with you are satisfied about this, it would be found in Gibson’s evidence when he talks about the blaze of light on the deck of the vessel. I should have thought the last thing you would see in the ordinary course of things on a cargo vessel would be a blaze of light on the deck, and that is a thing he talks of right through, a blaze of light right through. That is what you would expect to find on a passenger steamer, and no doubt what he did see. Once we have got as far as having established that these distress signals came from the “Titanic,” that the Captain knew of them, and that he did not proceed either to the rescue of the vessel in distress or take what I should have thought was the step which was dictated at once when there was any doubt about at, that is, to call up the wireless operator and let him get into communication with the vessel, one gets really a state of things which is quite inexplicable. The Commissioner: It is a most extraordinary thing that no attempt was made to communicate with the “Titanic.” The Attorney-General: Quite, the more extraordinary inasmuch as I have certainly understood as the Rule which everybody who goes to sea would never fail to observe, that if you see a vessel in distress you must do your utmost to get to it. I have always understood, certainly amongst sailors, not only in this country, but elsewhere, that that is a Rule of honour from which they do not depart, although they may commit other errors. In this particular case I am unable to find any
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