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Duff-Gordon's Story

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Duff-Gordon's Story

Post by Karen on Mon 23 Apr 2012 - 19:27

Titanic's Second Officer Tells Why Iceberg was Not Seen.

Deny Suggestions of Cowardice and Repudiate Article.

Proceedings in the inquiry into the wreck of the Titanic began in the week with denials by Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon of the imputations that some of the occupants of the boat in which they escaped deliberately left people to drown when they might have saved them.
Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon was recalled on Monday and further questioned by the Attorney-General, who recalled the evidence by Symons, the man in charge of the boat, that later the boat went back, but could not find anyone.
Sir Cosmo said he did not hear such an order given.
Sir Rufus Isaacs next referred to the lowering of the boats.
You asked the officer if he would allow you to go away in this No. 1. I then said to him, "Can we go in there?" I did not consider it a request. The ladies were invited to go in two or three previous boats, and they refused, absolutely. My impression was that there were no passengers on the boat deck, so far as I could see.
"Did you hear the officer in control of your boat when it was lowered give instructions that it should remain within a certain distance of the sinking liner?" asked Mr. Harbingen.
"No," replied Sir Cosmo; "I heard no directions."
Lady Duff-Gordon was next called, and questioned by the Attorney-General she said she was awakened by the collision.
Were there offers to you to go into any of the lifeboats? - Oh, yes. Sailors came and tried to drag me away. I was holding my husband's arm, and I refused to go - absolutely.

Pitched into Boat.

Eventually you did go in what was called the "emergency boat?" - Yes. When the three boats were all down, my husband, Miss Francatelli, and myself, were left standing on the deck. There were no other people visible on the deck, and I had quite made up my mind that we were going to be drowned; when, suddenly we saw this little boat in front of us (pointing to the model) and some sailors, and an officer apparently giving them orders. I said to my husband that we ought to be doing something. He said, "We must wait for orders." We stood there for quite some time whilst these men were fixing up things.
Then my husband went forward and said, "May we get into this boat?" and the officer said, in a very polite way, "Oh, certainly, do. I shall be very pleased." Someone pitched me into the boat, and then I think Miss Francatelli was pitched in, and my husband was pitched in. It was not a case of getting in; it was so high. After the boat was started to be lowered two American gentlemen got pitched in.
The Attorney-General: When you got into the boat, did the men start rowing away from the Titanic? - The moment we touched the water the men began rowing, and rowed quickly away for about 200 yards. I did not hear the order, "Come back when called."
Did you hear a proposal made that you should go back to where the Titanic had sunk? - No.
Did you say it would be dangerous to go back and "we might be swamped"? - No.
Replying to Mr. Clement Edwards as to an article, stated to have been written by herself, which appeared in the "Daily News," Lady Duff-Gordon said she did not write it, adding that it was "an invention."
"A man wrote it from what he thought he heard me say," she explained.
Mr. Edwards: If your name appears there, then, it is a forgery? - Oh, absolutely.
In reply to Mr. Duke, she explained that she told a Mr. Merrick the story of her experiences at a supper in New York. Half an hour after he had left he telephoned her and said, "Mr. Hearst has just rung me up. We must have your story of the wreck for tomorrow morning's paper. May I tell your story as I have heard it?" She said, "Yes." He told her afterwards that he had telephoned to their head office all he knew about it, and then a clever reporter put all that into words, and it appeared next morning in the "New York American."
Robert William Pusey, a fireman, another occupant of the emergency boat, said the cries continued for about a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, but to his knowledge no one suggested that they should row in the direction of the cries.

"Everything Against Us."

Mr. Charles Lightoller, the second officer of the Titanic, on Tuesday described the scene on the collapsible which he reached, and the transfer to the lifeboat which contained about seventy-five persons, including Bride and Phillips. Perfectly distinctly, at a distance of not more than five miles, he saw a light. As far as he could see, there was nothing to prevent the vessel from coming to the Titanic. Distress signals, he said, burst at a great height and threw out a large number of white stars. These signals could not be mistaken, and they were not the least like company signals.
Then came the question of how it was the iceberg was not seen, and Mr. Lightoller, replying to Sir John Simon, said, "It is very difficult I think to come to any conclusion as to why this iceberg should not have been seen with greater distinctness.
"Of course, we know now that the extraordinary combination of circumstances that existed at that time, you would not meet again once in a hundred years, as they existed on that particular night. Of course, everything was against us, everything.
"In the first place, there was no moon. Then there was no wind, not the slightest breath of air. Most particularly of all, in my opinion, is the fact, the most extraordinary circumstance, that there was no swell on the water.
"Had there been the slightest degree of swell I have no doubt that they would have seen the iceberg in plenty of time to clear it. The sea was like a tablecloth, like a floor. I guarantee that ninety-nine men out of a hundred, going across the Atlantic regularly, could not recollect anything like an absolutely calm sea."
Mr. John Pitman, the third officer, said after the boat got away he did not think it would have been safe or reasonable to have gone back. There was a mass of people in the water, and they would have been swamped.
The third, fourth, and fifth officers gave evidence on Wednesday.
James Boxall, fourth officer, said he indicated on the chart that at about four o'clock they were approaching the region of ice. The course was altered at 5:50. He fired from half a dozen to a dozen distress signals, but there was no answering signal from the distant vessel which could be seen.
The Solicitor-General then read warning messages sent to the Titanic by the Amerika, Baltic, and other liners, but Mr. Boxall said he never heard of them.
Harold Godfrey Lowe, fifth officer, said the only intimation he had of ice that night was a piece of paper on the officers' table with the word "Ice" written on it, and the position of it.
Mr. Turnbull, deputy manager of the Marconi Company, gave evidence on Thursday as to the wireless messages sent to the Titanic. He said that, according to the diary of the Marconi operator on the Caronia, a message was sent to the Titanic stating that west-bound steamers reported ice 42deg. north on the morning of April 14. He also put in documents showing that the Amerika, on Sunday, April 14, sent out a wireless message to the effect that she passed two large icebergs in 41.27 north and 50.8 west on April 14.
In a discussion as to whether the Amerika message was shown to any of the Titanic's officers, it was stated that the message was transmitted through the Titanic at about two p.m. by the latter's time.
Harold Bride, the assistant operator on the lost liner, told the court that Phillips, the chief operator (who is dead) was on duty then. The first and only message he (Bride) recollected having received with reference to ice was from the Californian on April 14. The message, he believed, was intended for the Baltic, but he overheard it. Previously he had been called up with the same message, but could not take it, as he was busy.
Lord Mersey: What doing? - I was making up the accounts.
The Attorney-General: What did you do with the message? - I gave it to the officer on the bridge.
Mr. Lightoller and Mr. Boxall, the second and fourth officers, recalled, said they knew nothing of the ice warnings said to have been sent by the Amerika and Massala.

Mr. Ismay's Order.

Harold Thomas Cottam, Marconi operator on the Carpathia, told on Friday of how he learned of the disaster. He was preparing to go to bed, but had to wait for a confirmation message from the Parisian. After delivering a report to the bridge, he sat down at his instrument and asked the Titanic operator if he was aware that there was a big batch of messages coming from Cape Cod for him. The only answer was, "Struck a berg; come at once." He went straight to the bridge, and the Carpathia was at once turned and headed for the Titanic's position.
The Solicitor-General asked Cottam to read the following message from Captain Rostron, of the Carpathia, to the captain of the Olympic: -

Mr. Ismay's orders. - Olympic not to be seen by Carpathia. No transfer to take place.

"Where was the Olympic?" asked the Solicitor-General.
"Heading towards the scene of the disaster," replied Cottam.
"What is the meaning of the message?" queried Lord Mersey.
"I presume it was thought undesirable that the survivors should see the Olympic, which was a sister ship," was the reply.
The Solicitor-General: I suggest - though, of course, Mr. Ismay will explain it - that it means he was giving instructions as to the respective courses to be taken by the two ships. They were not to come within range of one another.
Sir R. Finlay: I understand the Olympic is so very like the Titanic in appearance that, if the survivors had seen the Olympic, they might have supposed, "Here is the Titanic; not lost after all." At any rate, it was some idea of sparing the feelings of the survivors on board the Carpathia.
The court then adjourned until Tuesday, June 4.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, May 26, 1912, Page 5

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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