Page 45 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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5, 3 and 1, and by Mr. Moody, the Sixth Officer at No. 9; on the port side Mr. Wilde, the Chief Officer, Mr. Lightoller, the Second Officer, Mr. Moody at No. 16 and by Mr. Lowe at No. 14. That is as far as we can trace. It is not possible to be perfectly accurate about it, but that is as far as we can trace it. Something was said about the officers thinking that the boat was full enough - not when she should be water borne, but full enough for the purpose of transport through the air. The Commissioner: From the davits? Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. That, of course, raises a question of some nicety. As your Lordship said, it is a most nervous operation, being lowered down from that height. The boats were new, in perfect condition; the davits and the falls were everything that could be desired. No attack has been made upon them, or could be made. But at the same time the officer might, in addition to what was in his mind about the propriety of the boat standing by and returning, think it was just as well not to fill up too full while the boat was being lowered down. It is a very ticklish situation. With regard to the later boats they did it; but it is a very ticklish situation lowering a boat for seventy feet through the air. If anything went wrong you might have a catastrophe of the most hideous kind; and if a panic seized the women in the boat and there was a rush from one side to the other you might have the boat turned over. I say it is perfectly impossible, with any reason, to censure officers who under those circumstances decided that the earlier boats should go away with, on the average, rather under 38 persons in each boat. Later, more passengers had come up ready to go into the boats, and the officers took the risk of filling up the boats and lowering them. The idea of opening the gangway had had to be abandoned; and there was nothing for it but to fill up the boats, and it says a very great deal, not only for the tackle and equipment, but for the manner in which the operation was carried out, that all these boats with these full complements of passengers in the later boats, were lowered without any accident whatever. I submit that it reflects very great credit upon the training and discipline of the men who were working, and upon the way in which they were directed by their officers. I put it to the Court, and your Lordship has the highest assistance on this point, that it was an operation carried out in a manner that reflected very great credit upon all who were concerned in it, officers and men alike. Now, my Lord, I propose to show your Lordship the steps that were taken, as soon as the collision occurred, in the way of warning passengers, and that everything was done to get them up on deck. A good deal was said at one period of the case about the impossibility of third class passengers getting up to the boat deck. I think that has all disappeared. It is one of those points upon which an inspection of the sister ship, the “Olympic,” was of the greatest possible advantage. There was no difficulty about their getting up, and I am now going to show your Lordship what steps were taken by the stewards for the purpose of marshalling these people up. I forget who it was suggested in the course of one of the speeches to which the Court has listened that the stewards ought to have dragged the women up. I think your Lordship said that that would have been a very alarming spectacle. It may be suitable at a public meeting under certain circumstances, but it certainly would have been very undesirable in this case, and it might have led really to disastrous results. It is not a practical or businesslike proposal. Now I propose to follow, taking it as shortly as possible, the sequence of events after the collision. The first thing that was done was naturally to close the watertight doors. I need not refer to the evidence about the watertight doors which were operated from the bridge, being closed by pulling over the lever and then touching the spring. That is clearly established. That was done at once. That applies to the lower watertight doors. Then as regards the watertight doors in the alleyways, they are closed. May I just refer very shortly to the evidence that shows that. At page 147 there is the evidence with regard to E deck,
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