Page 56 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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estimate of the number is not very accurate. Witnesses, unconsciously and quite innocently, have a tendency rather to exaggerate the number, and the result is that when you come to sum them all up you find the total is an impossible total. The Attorney-General: The more significant fact, if I may interpose for a moment, with regard to that, is that the proportions of the men and crew and women saved differ so materially. It is difficult to get at the exact figure, of course. The point that strikes me with regard to it is that whereas we know 711 was the total number saved, of which it is said 642, perhaps 645, were women and children, 71 were male passengers and 123 were male crew; in fact, it turns out that there were 189 male crew, 126 male passengers, and only 388 women saved instead of 642. That is the striking feature of it. According to the evidence, I agree with my friend there would naturally be some exaggeration or possibly some exaggeration of numbers, but it is certainly rather remarkable that in every case, so far as I can see from the evidence, the number of women and children given as saved in the boats is in excess of the fact; the number of the crew given is less than that saved, and the number of male passengers given is less than were in fact saved. That is the point. Sir Robert Finlay: Of course, there were a good many picked up from the water. They would be, of course, men. The Commissioner: Not very many, about 35. The Attorney-General: Not more. Sir Robert Finlay: I do not know exactly how many, but still all that were picked up from the water I think were men, I am told, except one, but I did not know there was even one exception. I think I have now concluded my review of the evidence. On the whole, I respectfully submit to the Court that the true conclusion is this: The White Star Company is a company which until this disaster happened had a splendid record. They carried millions of passengers, and there had been only a loss of two lives during 11 years. Then comes this crushing disaster, which, of course, strikes the imagination of everyone. It is due to the emergence of new conditions in the North Atlantic and to very special circumstances to which I have called the attention of the Court in detail. I submit that the result of the examination of the evidence as a whole is that that disaster was not due to any want of care or diligence on the part of those in control of the ship; that it was an accident which was not occasioned by any negligence or any want of due care on the part of the Captain or his officers, or anyone else on board. It was not due to any want of care with regard to the equipment of the ship. The ship was a splendid vessel and had been built regardless of expense, the commission given being to have the ship made in the best possible way, charging cost plus a percentage for the work of the builders. So that no pains and no money had been spared to make the ship as perfect as, humanly, a ship could be. And that result was achieved. But, of course, owing to an extraordinary concatenation of circumstances it has proved, when some exceptional natural conditions arise, how vain are the efforts of human skill and science against the forces of nature. But for what happened, I submit, there is no fault whatever on the part of the Company, or those for whom they are responsible. With regard to what happened after the collision I submit that not a life was lost owing to any fault on the part of the Company, or those for whom they are responsible. A good deal was said about the boats not putting back when the poor people who remained on the ship were in the water. I think your Lordship will realise, and I am sure that the Assessors will be able to inform your Lordship on that point, that for a boat to put into a crowd of drowning people is absolutely fatal, the only result would be that the boat would be swamped, and those in it would be added to the number of victims. The only way in which some work of saving life could be done on such an occasion was that which was taken by Mr. Lowe, the officer who was called before your Lordship. He waited, an operation of the most painful character, requiring great nerve and great
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