Page 55 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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think it goes in the chart room. These go in the departments. (Q.) Are those emergency lists in addition (handing same to Witness.)? - (A.) Yes, there are. That is an emergency boat list. (The Commissioner.) I see on this list that an officer is assigned to each boat, and then there are spaces for the names of four other men. That is so, is it not? - (A.) I think in practice they would have to put more names in than that, my Lord. The term ‘Officer,’ I think, is used for the purpose of a man who would go in command of the boat. It does not necessarily mean that he would be a ship’s officer. He might be a petty officer. (Q.) It begins ‘Commander, Chief Officer, First Officer, Second Officer, Carpenters, Boatswains, Quartermaster,’ and so on; and then a space is left for four additional names, and they are bracketed together and described as ‘Seamen.’ What does that mean? - (A.) I suppose, technically, that every man who goes to sea is a seaman. They would distinguish between the sailors and the firemen. (Q.) It does not necessarily mean a deckhand? - (A.) I do not think so. (Mr. Roche.) The next page talks about the firemen. (The Attorney-General.) There is a special one for the firemen. (Sir Robert Finlay.) There are three departments. The first is the sailing department; the second the engineers’ department; and the third is the victualling department. (The Commissioner.) I beg pardon, Sir Robert. That is quite so. So that there are a great many more than five men allocated to each boat. (The Witness.) I should think in the case of the ‘Titanic’ that there must have been between 30 and 40 to each boat.” Then Question 19724: “With regard to the question of boat drill and getting firemen to take part in it, had you moved in that matter long before the loss of the ‘Titanic’? - (A.) We have always attempted to do it. (Q.) Of how old standing are the difficulties about getting firemen to take part in the boat drill? - (A.) I think our real difficulties have only been of recent years - in the last two years. I do not recall that we had any real difficulty before that. (Q.) Since this disaster you have been continuing your efforts to ensure proper drill? - (A.) We have increased them. (Q.) Can you tell us what is being done now? - (A.) Yes, we have asked the Board of Trade to make their inspection a more thorough one in so far as, instead of turning out two boats, to turn out a good many. We have turned out as many as 13 or 14, and we have had a large number of those boats manned and sent out, rowing some distance and back again. As I say, the stewards and deckhands have done that work. They do not seem to have had much success with the firemen.” And then he reads a longish telegram which shows what they were doing and endeavouring to do. Now, my Lord, it is very unfortunate that there should be this feeling amongst the firemen against taking part in a boat drill. It is a feeling which I hope will be overcome, and I trust the leaders of the men will co-operate with the Company in removing the feeling against taking part in the boat drill. One can quite understand a fireman saying, “My work is down below; what have I to do with the boats?” At the same time, in case of emergency, it may be very important that they should have had an adequate training as to boat drill, and they used to get it. It is only within the last two or three years, as Mr. Sanderson says, that the difficulty has emerged; and I trust that those who have influence with the men will assist in getting it removed, and that in the future there will be that more complete drill which your Lordship said was to be desired. I am not going through the evidence as to the crew’s knowledge of their boat stations; every step had been taken to apprise them and the majority of the witnesses called knew their boats perfectly well. Some had not looked, and if they did not know what their boat was, it certainly was not the fault of the Company, for every pain had been taken to post up the notices in every department. I think every A.B. and every steward who was called did know their boat - every one who was asked about it. There was one point to which your Lordship called attention while the case was going on, and that is that the numbers given by the witnesses of those who were in the boats do not agree with the actual numbers; they are too large. That is a thing that one would almost expect to occur. The
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