Page 139 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 6 - 9
P. 139
GEORGE FREDRICK STEWART, Sworn. Examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL. 8565. Your name is George Frederick Stewart? - Yes. 8566. Were you the chief officer on board the “Californian”? - Yes. 8567. And on Sunday, 14th April, at what time did you go off watch? - Eight o’clock. 8568. Eight o’clock in the evening? - Yes. 8569. Then, as we have heard, the third officer came on duty at 8 and took the 8 to 12 watch? - Yes. 8570. I think you turned in, did you not? - Yes, I turned in about half-past 9. 8571. Then your next turn of duty would come at 4 o’clock in the morning? - Yes. 8572. Did you go on duty at 4? - Yes. 8573. On the Monday morning? - Yes. 8574. Relieving Mr. Stone? - Yes. 8575. Did you find that your ship was stopped? - Yes. 8576. And did Mr. Stone report to you what had happened on his watch? - Yes, he told me very briefly. 8577. What did he tell you? - He told me he had seen a ship four or five miles off when he went on deck at 12 o’clock, and at 1 o’clock he had seen some rockets. 8578. Did not he say how many? - No, he did not say. 8579. Did not he say what sort of rockets? - I asked him; he said they were white rockets. 8580. This ship would have been in the ice or near the ice too? - Yes. 8581. Did you realise that your ship had stopped because the ice was dangerous? - Well, it was not safe to go on at nighttime. 8582. When Mr. Stone told you that he had seen a ship some miles off which had been throwing up rockets, what did you suppose the rockets must have been for? - I asked him what he did. He said the moment she started firing the rockets she started to steam away. 8583. (The Commissioner.) What steamed away? - The ship that was firing the rockets. 8584. Fired the rockets and then started to steam away? - Yes. 8585. (The Solicitor-General.) Did he tell you that five rockets had been observed, and then three more? - I do not think he did. 8586. Just to return to the question I put to you - because you have not quite answered it. I ask you, as an experienced officer, when you were told this ship which was in the ice had been throwing up white rockets at night, what did you suppose she was throwing up her rockets for? - I thought what had really happened was she had seen a ship firing rockets to the southward, and was replying to them. 8587. (The Commissioner.) Will you repeat that to me? What did you think? - I thought the ship he saw firing rockets was replying to some other ship to the southward. 8588. Replying? Do you reply to another ship by firing rockets? - Well, my Lord, he told me he had called him up repeatedly by the Morse lamp and the ship did not answer. 8589. But I do not understand this replying by means of rockets. Did you ever hear of such a thing? - Well, I never heard of such a thing, but he might have replied to let them know he had seen them. The Commissioner: You are supposing now something you have never heard of happening before. 8590. (The Solicitor-General.) Let me follow. Did it not enter your head when you heard this, that those might be distress signals? - Yes. 8591. It did? - Yes.
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