Page 50 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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they were all filled to the full capacity? - (A.) They were not all filled. (Q.) Why was that? - (A.) Because there were no women knocking about.” Then on page 51, Question 1730: “But of the eight which you saw leaving, is it true that they were incompletely filled? - (A.) Some had more passengers in than others. (Q.) How many more do you think could have been accommodated in these? - (A.) In some of them they could have taken another 15 or 20. (The Commissioner.) Now, what I want to know is this: Why were they not filled up? - (A.) There were not any females on the deck to put in the boats? - (Q.) Or if they were they would not go? - (A.) Some would go in and some would not; they wanted to stay behind with their husbands.” My Lord, the deficiency was not in drill on the part of the officers and crew. All their work was admirably done with regard to the boats. If any drill were wanted, it was drill of the passengers, but it is clear you cannot have a rehearsal of a shipwreck from day to day while a liner is going across the Atlantic. Nervous people would find it very trying, and it is one of those things - The Commissioner: I never heard it suggested yet that there was to be a shipwreck rehearsal on board a steamer. Sir Robert Finlay: But it is what it really comes to, my Lord. I was dealing with the suggestion that there was a want of proper training. In the result, I say, the work could not have been done better than it was done by the officers and crew, and any training of the passengers for an emergency of this kind is, of course, out of the question. The Commissioner: There was not in my present view of the matter proper drill of these men at any time. Whether that contributed to the loss of life I do not know, but I do not think the drill at Southampton was a drill which was of any real use. Sir Robert Finlay: That is the drill when the Board of Trade inspection takes place? The Commissioner: Yes, when they lowered the boats. There were six men employed about it. Sir Robert Finlay: I appreciate entirely what your Lordship says in regard to that. The Commissioner: I draw a distinction between a drill and a muster. Sir Robert Finlay: Of course a great deal more might be done if the service were more continuous from voyage to voyage with vessels of this kind, and certainly the White Star Company, and I believe other companies as well, are most anxious to encourage as far as possible the permanence of employment. The Commissioner: I think there is a great deal of force in that. It would be a very desirable thing to continue the employment of these men. Whether it is under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act or whether it is merely practice I do not know, but it appears to be the case that when these ships arrive in port, the men are all paid off, and they do not sign on again until the eve of another voyage. Sir Robert Finlay: The White Star Company, as your Lordship has heard, have been very anxious indeed to secure continuity of employment more than it has existed. It has existed to a very great extent because I think some 60 or 70 percent of the men on board the “Titanic” had been in one of the White Star Company’s vessels before. I certainly feel very strongly that the increase of such continuity of employment is evidently desirable and the more you can have the same men serving under the same officers in the same boat the better it is for all concerned. But the men do not always look at it in that way. It is very difficult to get them to stop, and it is a result that can be achieved really, as I hope it will be achieved to a great extent by the cooperation of the companies and of the unions of the men. It is a most desirable object. One can see in how many ways it would conduce to the greater excellence of the navigation of such liners; and the White Star Company have spared no effort so far as they are concerned to achieve it. I think that all the A.B.’s with regard to whom we have any evidence had been in the service of the White Star Company before and stopped on. I think I am right in saying some 60 or 70
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