Page 37 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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evidence as to a submission to the White Star Company of a plan for a great many more lifeboats. That is specifically contradicted by Mr. Ismay on page 446 and by Mr. Sanderson at page 483. I think Mr. Carlisle’s evidence with regard to what he says took place at the Committee very much attenuates the importance of anything he said as to what took place elsewhere, because he is most specifically contradicted by Sir Norman Hill, and the contradiction was supported by the shorthand notes to which Sir Norman Hill referred. I, therefore, submit no importance whatever can be attached to Mr. Carlisle’s evidence on this point, and that it is ridiculous to make a charge against the White Star Company for refusing the recommendations which Mr. Carlisle suggests he made, but which in fact, on his own evidence he did not make. It was the question of the davits - how many boats should be under davits and how the davits should be constructed. My Lord, I pass from that and I proceed to deal with the question of what was done when the disaster had taken place. The first point that I wish to deal with is the order in which the boats left, because I think your Lordship will find it has a material bearing upon the question of why it was that some boats had considerably less than their full complement while others were filled up. I think the result of an examination of the evidence in this: It shows that the earlier boats, the boats that left earlier, had considerably less than their complement: they had something like on the average 38 persons per boat, while those which left later were packed up. My friend, Mr. Asquith, has prepared a most useful list of the boats in a printed form which has been handed to the Court. There is one correction to be made on that table, and I understand that my friend, Mr. Asquith, has been in communication with Mr. Maurice Hill on the subject, and he agrees in the correction which I proposed. Will your Lordship take the two last pages. The penultimate page gives the order in which the boats were launched on the starboard side. We agree with Mr. Asquith’s statement on that point as to the starboard side. The last page gives the order in which the boats were launched on the port side. There is an error there of this kind. I will read the first item in the Table: “No. 14, No. 16 and No. 12 were the first to get away, all about the same time, probably in the order given.” That is wrong. These boats all left at about the same time, or at short intervals, but they left after Nos. 6, 8 and 10 had left, and left in the order in which I have given them. So that the first boat to go off was No. 6, the second boat to go off from the port side was No. 8, the third was No. 10, and then, and not till then, Nos. 12, 14 and 16 left with no great interval. No. 12 was fourth, No. 14 fifth, and No. 16 sixth. That is the true order of leaving from the port side. Then the seventh boat was No. 2, the eighth boat was No. 4, and the port collapsible was the ninth. The Commissioner: I have not got those quite right. The first was No. 6, the second No. 8, the third No. 10, the fourth No. 12, the fifth No. 14, and the sixth was No. 16. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: Which was the seventh? Sir Robert Finlay: No. 2. The Commissioner: And No. 4 the eighth. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, and then the port collapsible ninth. That being the admitted order, as I understand it, in which these boats left, I would ask your Lordship to look as to the orders given for the earlier boats. These orders were in substance - we have not got the orders in every case, but in a great many cases - that they were to stand by, and it was obviously expected that these earlier boats should keep near the ship, or in the case of some of the boats should return to the ship for the purpose of getting more passengers. Your Lordship recollects the evidence as to the order to open the gangway door. That order for some reason appears to have been countermanded, for that gangway door was not opened, and probably for some good reason. I apprehend that the reason for the change of purpose was that there was ground for supposing that the ship might go down rather earlier, and then, of course,
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