SOS: The Titanic Inquiry


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SOS: The Titanic Inquiry

A dramatised account of the official inquiry into the Titanic disaster, looking at whether there were other ships nearby that could have been deployed in the rescue.


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My Lord, before this inquiry begins,

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I desire to express on behalf of His Majesty

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our deepest sympathy with all those who have to mourn the loss

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of relatives or friends amongst the passengers,

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the officers and the crew of this ill-fated vessel.

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A thorough inquiry will be made with the object of ascertaining

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as fully and as precisely as possible

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the circumstances surrounding this disaster.

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Every possible source of information and all available evidence

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will be placed before your Lordship in this inquiry.

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The question, substantially, is this.

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The Californian is said by the donkeyman, Mr Gill,

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to have seen the distress rockets fired from a vessel, which,

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according to Mr Gill, was the Titanic,

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and to have taken no notice of those distress rockets.

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Whether it was the Titanic that she saw or not

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is a matter that can only be determined

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after we have heard the evidence.

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-You look nervous, Mr Groves.

-Lawyers make me nervous.

-Hmm.

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You're a man wise beyond your years, Mr Groves.

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You see what it's like out there?

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The newspapers and the politicians, they're all looking for...answers.

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Yes, there's a certain hysteria.

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But we have nothing to fear.

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-So what do we say, sir?

-We tell the truth, Mr Gibson.

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We have nothing to fear from the truth.

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You were on lifeboat 13 from the Titanic?

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And you saw a light before the Titanic plunged to the bottom?

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Whether it was a fishing vessel or a steamer or what she was,

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I do not know.

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-It might have been a mast headlight.

-It might have been a mast headlight.

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It was the one that we were going to pull for.

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Before you left with your boat, did you see any other third-class passengers,

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women or children, waiting to go into the boats?

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There were no women left there

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when our boat was lowered into the water, not as far as I could see.

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We had our work cut out to get away with the crowd that we had in our own boat.

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Tell us about the passengers in your boats.

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Had you third-class passengers in your boat?

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Second and third. A few second, principally third.

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-And they behaved well?

-Very well indeed.

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MURMURING

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They're making the crewmen who manned the lifeboats look guilty.

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They're guilty because they survived.

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What are they going to do to us? We've already made statements.

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-Why don't they believe us?

-Ernest Gill.

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Ernest bleeding Gill, that's why.

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Three, two, one.

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Jumping ship and running to the newspapers with his lies.

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-I heard he got 500.

-And you believe him?

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The question, I would have thought,

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is whether the inquiry will believe him.

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It's the word of a dirty little coal stoker against you, me

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and every officer on the ship.

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He may be a dirty little coal stoker,

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but he's got us into all this.

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Oi, we didn't do anything wrong. Just remember that.

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We stick together. We stand by the captain.

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Gentlemen, this is Mr Dunlop. He will be representing us.

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Actually, I'm retained by the Leyland Line, your employer.

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Surely that amounts to the same thing?

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I assume our evidence to the inquiry will be a mere formality?

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I would have hoped so, too.

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But Lord Mersey, the president of the inquiry,

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has made it clear that he intends to be extremely thorough.

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As he should be.

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I should also tell you that Mr Isaacs, the Attorney-General,

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is representing the Board Of Trade.

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They do not relish taking all of the blame for the insufficient

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number of lifeboats on the Titanic, nor for certain other deficiencies,

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and they may try to deflect attention in another direction.

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Are they going to try and stitch us up?

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No, of course not. This is a properly constituted legal inquiry.

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The problem that the crew of the Californian has is that

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Mr Ernest Gill's evidence...

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Ernest Gill saw nothing that night.

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He's a gold digger, peddling his lies,

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trying to make money out of them that went down with the Titanic.

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He's a lying little shit.

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Well, perhaps.

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I would advise you not to use those EXACT words

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in front of Lord Mersey, Mr...?

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Stone. Herbert Stone, my second officer.

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And this is Mr Groves, my third, and our apprentice, Gibson.

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-Mr Gill's evidence...

-Allegations.

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Quite.

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Ernest Gill's allegations have, as it were, muddied the waters.

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There was nothing we could have done.

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I understand, and I am certain your evidence will bear this out.

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-And you have all of our written statements.

-Yes, I do.

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But to be frank, gentlemen, the Leyland Line

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is concerned that there is a move on to put the blame on the Californian.

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The crew of the Californian.

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The whole thing had nothing to do with us.

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It was the Titanic's fault from the very start.

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We warned them about the icebergs. What did Captain Smith do?

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He just kept steaming on like some rookie officer.

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And that wasn't the only warning we gave them.

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Yes, that's good that you warned them. I'll stress that point.

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Now, you estimate that the Titanic sank

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in latitude 41 degrees 33,

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and your stated position is that you were at the time in question

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at latitude 42 05.

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Some 30 miles away.

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Indeed. And at that distance,

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it would not have been possible for you to have sighted the Titanic.

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Correct.

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If we had seen the Titanic,

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we would have gone to an immediate rescue, obviously.

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I have no doubt.

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But there is this problem of the ship you DID see.

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-You mean the other ship?

-The other ship.

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-That wasn't the Titanic.

-Now, you're quite certain of that?

-Absolutely.

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I know a passenger liner when I see one. It was much too small.

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There is no way you could have been mistaken?

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CAPTAIN SIGHS

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Anyway, as I've already said, the last reported position

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of the Titanic was some 30 miles from the Californian.

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Good. And, of course, your log book will bear this out.

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Of course.

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Excellent. So, if it definitely was NOT the Titanic,

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we have little to worry about.

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Er, you also have the scrap log book?

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I'm afraid the scrap log book has gone missing.

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Missing?

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But you can't fill in this log book

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without the contemporaneous notes from the scrap log book.

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-Am I correct?

-Yes.

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Well, it must have been mislaid.

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Well, that's a pity.

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I would urge you, gentlemen, to use your best endeavours

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and redouble your efforts and try to find it.

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Well, gentlemen, you all heard Mr Dunlop.

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Let's make some enquiries,

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see if we can't find this damned scrap log book.

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I filled in the scrap log book before I went off duty that night,

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-then you took it over.

-Yes.

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-Have you seen it since?

-No.

-Well, where do we start to look for it?

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-I've already tried and I can't find it anywhere. It's gone.

-Gone?

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Yes. You know what it was like.

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In all the confusion, it must have got thrown away.

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The one thing that proves exactly where we were that night,

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-and it's lost?

-Yes, it's most unfortunate.

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-More than that, surely?

-How so?

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Well, you have to admit, it looks a bit...

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-A bit what, Mr Groves?

-Convenient.

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On the contrary, Mr Groves.

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I'm sure the captain finds it most inconvenient.

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Captain Stanley Lord to the stand.

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Place your right hand on the Bible and repeat after me.

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-I, Stanley Lord, do solemnly swear...

-Don't worry, son.

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I, Stanley Lord...

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Captain's more than a match for these stuffed shirts.

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..that the evidence I give in this inquiry will be the truth,

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the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me, God.

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Are you the captain of the SS Californian?

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Yes.

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On Sunday, April 14th, did you have to stop on account of ice?

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I had to stop and reverse engines at 10.21pm.

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-What sort of ice was it?

-Field ice, right ahead of me.

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Now, close upon 11 o'clock on Sunday night, you saw a steamer's light.

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It was approaching me from the east on the starboard side.

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She was heading to the westward.

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-Did you then ask your wireless operator what ships he had?

-Yes.

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And he said, "Nothing. Only the Titanic."

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Did you think that the vessel approaching you was the Titanic?

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No. I remarked at the time that she was not the Titanic.

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-How could you tell that?

-It's difficult to mistake those ships.

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By the blaze of light.

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About what distance, approximately, did you consider she was from you?

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I suppose she was six or seven miles away.

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-Were there any other officers on deck?

-Yes.

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Mr Groves, the third officer, was on deck until 12.

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And then at 12 the second officer, Mr Stone, relieved the third officer?

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At 10 past 12.

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And did you tell him anything with regard to this vessel?

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I told him to "Watch that steamer,"

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that she had stopped,

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and then I went to my chart room at a quarter past 12.

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I told Mr Stone I was going to lie down.

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A little later, did he whistle down the tube

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and tell you whether he had seen any signal?

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-He said he had seen a white rocket.

-From her?

-From her.

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-Did you see it?

-No.

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Is it the fact that this vessel from which the rocket appeared

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was, at the time, in the position which, probably, the Titanic was?

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-No.

-What is in my brain at the present time is this.

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That what they saw was the Titanic.

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That is in my brain, and I want to see whether I'm right or not.

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Clear it up, if you can.

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Can you tell us whether you saw one or two mast headlights?

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I only saw one.

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-You only saw one?

-And the third officer, Mr Groves, said he saw two.

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Now, that is important.

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That is VERY important, because the Titanic would have two.

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If Mr Groves did see two lights,

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it must have been the Titanic, must it not?

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-It does not follow.

-Do you know of any other vessel it might have been?

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No, I do not know.

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Has Mr Groves ever expressed any opinion to you

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that it was the Titanic he saw?

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No, my Lord.

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-Never?

-Never.

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-Did he say to you that she was "evidently a passenger steamer?"

-No.

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And did you say to him,

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"The only passenger steamer near us is the Titanic?"

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-I might have said that.

-Do collect your mind. Did you say it?

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I don't recollect saying it.

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You do not give answers that please me at present.

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Do you now suggest that you do not remember whether you said it or not?

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I don't recollect saying anything at all to him that night, my Lord.

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I have heard so many stories about the Titanic after she went down

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that I honestly don't remember what I heard that night.

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Do you know of any other passenger steamer near you except the Titanic?

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-I did not.

-But you knew the Titanic was not far from you?

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I had no idea where the Titanic was.

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GASPS AND MUTTERING

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Did you know the steamer had fired a number of rockets?

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I did not.

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According to you, did she fire only one rocket?

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Only one rocket.

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Have you never heard from other officers that she fired a number of rockets?

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-Since.

-When did you hear that?

-The next day.

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-Who told you?

-Mr Stone.

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What did he say?

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He said she had fired several rockets in his watch.

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My lord, I think it is very desirable

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that the other witnesses from the Californian

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should be out of court while this witness gives evidence.

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Where are the witnesses from the Californian?

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Well, gentlemen, I think you'd better leave the court at present.

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My God, they're giving the captain a right grilling, aren't they?

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Mr Stone, where are you going?

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It's not right. What do lawyers know about the sea?

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About as much as we know about the law.

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We should put them in a bloody ice field. See how they like it.

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-Where's Mr Stone gone?

-Washroom, I think.

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He was in a right hurry.

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Must've been holding it in a while.

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We were dealing with the rockets.

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Captain Lord, you had never been in ice before?

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Not in field ice, no.

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You were treating the ice, so to speak, with great respect

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and behaved with great caution with regard to it.

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I was treating it with every respect.

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Was that the reason, perhaps,

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why you were not so inquisitive as to the rocket

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as you might otherwise have been?

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No, that had nothing to do with it.

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Do you consider it reasonable, seeing you had very little experience of ice,

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to go below to the chart room and lie there?

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Perfectly reasonable. I was looking after my own ship.

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Captain Lord, you said earlier, "I heard of one rocket.

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"I did not see it fired." And you did nothing further.

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I did nothing further myself.

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I remained in my chart room.

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This rocket, it must have been a distress signal, mustn't it?

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If it had been a distress signal, my second officer, Mr Stone,

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would have informed me.

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But Mr Stone did.

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He sent Gibson, the apprentice, down to inform you.

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So I understand.

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But you know perfectly well that he came.

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-I know now.

-Did you know then?

-I did not.

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I was asleep.

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Yes, but you were not asleep, at least I suppose not,

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when you said to Gibson, "What is it?"

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I was wakened by the opening of the door, the banging of the door.

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These are answers that do not do you the least good.

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Did Mr Stone send Gibson to report to you at any time?

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He told me afterwards that he had done so.

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And did you not enquire whether they were all white rockets?

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I do not know. I was asleep.

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Think. This is a very important matter.

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It is much better to tell us what happened, Captain.

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He came to the door, I understand.

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I have spoken very closely to him since.

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He said that I opened my eyes and said, "What is it?"

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He delivered the message and then I asked the time.

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And then I believe he said that I asked him

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if there were any colours in the light.

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Is he telling the truth?

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I do not know. I don't doubt it for a moment.

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Just think. You say you do not doubt it for a moment.

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Do you see what that means?

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It means that the boy did go to the chart room to you,

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he did tell you about the rockets from the ship,

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you asked him whether they were white rockets and told him to report

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if anything further occurred.

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So he said. That is what he said.

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Have you any reason to doubt it?

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I was very likely half-awake.

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I have no recollection of Gibson saying anything to me at all that morning.

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Why did you enquire whether they were white rockets?

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Well, I suppose this is something to do with

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whether or not they were company signals.

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Do just think.

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Company signals usually have some colour in them.

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So that if they were white,

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it would make it quite plain to you that they were distress signals?

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No, not necessarily. Some companies use white.

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Really do try to do yourself justice.

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I am trying to do my best.

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MUTTERING AROUND COURTROOM

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I must ask you something more.

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Do you remember Mr Stone reporting at 2:40 that morning through the tube?

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I do not.

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Listen to this.

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This is Mr Stone's statement.

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He report at 2:40 through the tube and told you that the steamer

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had disappeared bearing southwest half-west.

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Do you remember that?

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I do not remember it. He has told me that since.

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Have you any reason to doubt it?

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-I do not know anything at all about it.

-Listen to this.

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"The captain again asked me

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"if I was sure there was no colours in the light that had been seen."

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-Do you remember that?

-I do not.

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And that he, Mr Stone, assured you they were white lights.

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He has told me all of this since

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but I have not the slightest recollection

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of anything happening that way.

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-You have no reason to doubt it?

-If he's telling the truth I do not.

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They're taking a long time with the captain.

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-They're just being thorough.

-Thorough?

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They're making out like it was our fault.

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They're trying to make us the scapegoat.

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-Everyone knows it was Captain Smith's fault.

-The captain of the Titanic is dead.

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Dead men don't make good scapegoats.

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Is there any reference in your log

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to your steamer having seen these rockets?

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-No, sir.

-Or this mysterious ship that was not the Titanic?

0:22:000:22:05

No, sir.

0:22:050:22:06

Is it not usual to record these things in the log?

0:22:060:22:10

We never realised what these rockets were, my lord.

0:22:100:22:13

If they'd been distress rockets then, yes,

0:22:130:22:15

we would have entered them in the log.

0:22:150:22:17

But the next morning you knew that the Titanic had gone down.

0:22:170:22:20

-Yes.

-Did you make no record then in your log of the signals you'd seen?

0:22:200:22:24

-No.

-Why not?

0:22:240:22:27

We never took them to be distress rockets.

0:22:270:22:30

Do you mean to say nobody on your ship supposed that they might be distress signals?

0:22:300:22:35

The second officer, the man in charge of the watch,

0:22:350:22:42

said most emphatically that they were NOT distress rockets.

0:22:420:22:47

GASPS AROUND THE COURTROOM

0:22:470:22:50

Did you question Mr Stone as to why you had not been called?

0:22:550:23:01

I did.

0:23:010:23:02

What was his explanation to you?

0:23:020:23:05

He said that he had sent Gibson down

0:23:050:23:06

and that Gibson had told him I was awake

0:23:060:23:09

and that I had said, "All right, let me know if anything is wanted."

0:23:090:23:13

I was surprised that he hadn't called me out,

0:23:130:23:16

considering rockets had been fired.

0:23:160:23:18

He said if they had been distress rockets

0:23:180:23:20

he would most certainly have called me himself.

0:23:200:23:23

But he was not a little bit worried about it at all.

0:23:230:23:27

And it was his view that they were not distress rockets?

0:23:270:23:32

That was apparently his view.

0:23:320:23:35

MUTTERING

0:23:350:23:37

Mr Stone.

0:23:450:23:47

Captain...I didn't expect to see you.

0:23:470:23:53

I know they want to keep us apart

0:23:530:23:55

but they can't stop me going to the washroom.

0:23:550:23:57

Dunlop was right. It's a witch-hunt.

0:23:590:24:02

They're trying to pin the blame on us.

0:24:020:24:05

Us?

0:24:050:24:06

When they ask about the rockets,

0:24:060:24:08

I should warn you that I said you only told me

0:24:080:24:11

about the one white rocket that wasn't a distress signal.

0:24:110:24:15

-But, sir, I told you about the other rockets.

-I was asleep.

0:24:150:24:18

But it's in my statement, sir.

0:24:180:24:20

I know you SAY you told me but I was asleep.

0:24:200:24:22

But Gibson went down and told you, he went into the chart room.

0:24:220:24:25

So he says. I didn't hear him.

0:24:250:24:27

"When Pilate saw he could prevail nothing but rather a tumult was made.

0:24:270:24:32

"He took water and washed his hands saying,

0:24:320:24:34

"I am innocent of the blood of this just person."

0:24:340:24:36

You never struck me as a man steeped in the Bible, Stone.

0:24:360:24:39

Oh, I'm full of surprises, me, sir.

0:24:390:24:42

I want to know what you were saying about us in there.

0:24:420:24:45

-Washing your hands of us, were you?

-You're forgetting yourself, Mr Stone.

0:24:450:24:49

The captain is supposed to look out for his crew.

0:24:490:24:51

Last man to leave the ship and all that.

0:24:510:24:54

And what boy's own comic did you read that in?

0:24:540:24:56

I thought you were a man of the world, Stone,

0:24:560:25:00

not some dewy-eyed apprentice like Gibson.

0:25:000:25:03

But, sir, I told you about the rockets.

0:25:030:25:05

Forget the damned rockets.

0:25:050:25:07

You were the senior officer on deck.

0:25:080:25:11

-It was your responsibility.

-My responsibility?

0:25:110:25:14

-You never told me that the ship was in distress.

-I didn't know...

0:25:140:25:18

Meantime the Titanic sank, Mr Stone.

0:25:180:25:20

Well, if I'm to be blamed, I'm dragging you down with me.

0:25:200:25:24

Why did you stay below decks? Why could you not give any orders?

0:25:250:25:28

I was asleep.

0:25:280:25:29

-Oh, is that what they call it now?

-Be careful, Stone.

0:25:290:25:32

You say you never sup at sea but did you that night? Did you?

0:25:320:25:36

I'm not going to dignify that with a response.

0:25:360:25:41

The fact is that if the rockets you saw that night were distress rockets,

0:25:410:25:45

you should have woken me no matter what.

0:25:450:25:48

-But I told...

-If our positions were reversed,

0:25:480:25:51

I would have dragged you from the chart room.

0:25:510:25:53

So, what, I'm to be blamed, is that it?

0:25:530:25:55

Oh, think, Stone!

0:25:550:25:57

The point is not that rockets were fired

0:25:590:26:01

but whether they were distress rockets.

0:26:010:26:03

If they were not distress rockets,

0:26:030:26:05

there was no need for you to do anything.

0:26:050:26:08

And no need for you to inform me.

0:26:080:26:10

I see, sir.

0:26:140:26:15

You're a good officer, Stone.

0:26:170:26:19

Now pull yourself together, man.

0:26:210:26:24

Yes, sir.

0:26:240:26:26

On the night of the 14th April, was it your watch from 12 to 4?

0:26:380:26:44

Yes.

0:26:440:26:46

Did Mr Groves make any communication to you about the steamer when you relieved him?

0:26:460:26:51

He told me he had called her up on the Morse lamp and got no answer.

0:26:510:26:54

After a time, did you make any communication to the captain?

0:26:540:26:57

-Yes.

-How?

-By means of the speaking tube.

0:26:570:27:01

What did you communicate?

0:27:010:27:03

I communicated that I had seen white lights in the sky

0:27:030:27:06

in the direction of the other steamer

0:27:060:27:09

which I took to be white rockets.

0:27:090:27:11

-How many more did you see?

-I saw four more then.

0:27:110:27:15

In quick succession?

0:27:150:27:16

At intervals of about three or four minutes.

0:27:160:27:20

You saw five rockets go up in fairly quick succession.

0:27:200:27:24

What did you think at the time that they meant?

0:27:240:27:27

Well, I knew they must be signals of some sort.

0:27:270:27:30

Of what sort did you think?

0:27:300:27:32

-I did not know at the time.

-Now, try to be frank.

0:27:320:27:36

I am trying.

0:27:360:27:37

If you try, you will succeed.

0:27:370:27:40

What did you think those rockets were going up at three to four minute intervals were for?

0:27:400:27:46

I just took them as white rockets and informed the captain

0:27:460:27:49

and left him to judge.

0:27:490:27:50

You mean to say that you didn't think for yourself?

0:27:500:27:54

Did you think that they were distress signals?

0:27:540:27:57

No.

0:28:020:28:03

MUTTERING AROUND THE COURTROOM Did that not occur to you?

0:28:030:28:06

-It did not occur to me at the time.

-When DID it occur to you?

0:28:060:28:09

After I had heard about the Titanic going down.

0:28:090:28:12

So, throwing your mind back,

0:28:120:28:13

you thought that they WERE distress signals?

0:28:130:28:15

I thought they possibly might have been distress signals.

0:28:150:28:19

From the Titanic.

0:28:190:28:21

Not necessarily. They might have been from some other steamer.

0:28:210:28:25

I did not think that vessel was the Titanic.

0:28:250:28:27

You communicated these facts to the captain?

0:28:270:28:29

Yes, through the speaking tube.

0:28:290:28:32

What was his answer?

0:28:320:28:33

He asked me, "Are they company signals?"

0:28:330:28:36

What was your answer?

0:28:360:28:37

I said, "I do not know but to me they appear to be white rockets."

0:28:370:28:41

Did the captain tell you that you were to report to him any news

0:28:410:28:46

and give him any information that you'd got?

0:28:460:28:48

When I received more information to send Mr Gibson down with it.

0:28:480:28:52

-After Mr Gibson had come did you see more rockets?

-Yes.

-How many?

0:28:520:28:55

Three. In the direction of this steamer.

0:28:550:28:59

-In quick succession?

-About the same period as before.

0:28:590:29:02

Did anything pass between you and Gibson when those rockets went up?

0:29:020:29:06

He remarked to me once that he did not think they were being sent up for fun.

0:29:060:29:09

And I quite agreed with him.

0:29:090:29:11

Did either Gibson suggest to you or you suggest to Gibson

0:29:110:29:13

that that ship over there is in trouble

0:29:130:29:16

and might require assistance?

0:29:160:29:17

I made no remark about that at all.

0:29:170:29:19

About the ship being in distress the whole time.

0:29:190:29:22

Did it never occur to you?

0:29:240:29:25

It did not occur to me after what the captain said.

0:29:250:29:29

He emphasised the fact about company signals.

0:29:290:29:32

Wait.

0:29:320:29:33

You did not think that they were company signals?

0:29:330:29:36

No.

0:29:380:29:39

You did not think that they were being sent up for fun?

0:29:390:29:42

-No.

-WHAT did you think?

0:29:420:29:45

I just thought they were white rockets, that is all.

0:29:450:29:49

HE TUTS

0:29:490:29:52

When you saw her disappear,

0:29:520:29:55

did you think that something had happened to her?

0:29:550:29:58

No, nothing except that she was steaming away.

0:29:580:30:01

In view of the fact that this vessel had been sending up rockets,

0:30:010:30:06

did you not think at the time that this ship was in distress?

0:30:060:30:09

-No.

-It never occurred to you?

-It did not occur to me

0:30:090:30:13

because if there had been any grounds for supposing the ship

0:30:130:30:17

would have been in distress, the captain would have expressed it to me.

0:30:170:30:20

Never mind about the captain. You were being asked about what you thought yourself.

0:30:200:30:25

Do you mean to tell us that neither you nor Gibson expressed

0:30:250:30:29

any opinion that there was something wrong with that ship?

0:30:290:30:32

-No. Not wrong with the ship.

-You want me to believe that notwithstanding those rockets,

0:30:320:30:37

neither you nor Gibson thought there anything wrong on board that ship?

0:30:370:30:41

-Yes.

-You mean to tell His Lordship that you did not know

0:30:410:30:45

that the throwing up of rockets or shells, throwing stars of any colour

0:30:450:30:49

or description, fired one at a time at short intervals

0:30:490:30:52

is the proper method for signalling distress at night?

0:30:520:30:57

Yes, that is the way it is always done, as far as I know.

0:30:570:31:00

Is not that exactly what was happening?

0:31:000:31:04

The very thing was happening that you knew indicated distress?

0:31:040:31:08

I knew that rockets fired at short intervals, one at a time, meant distress signals, yes.

0:31:080:31:14

Do not speak generally. On that very night, you knew, did you not, when you saw

0:31:140:31:19

-those rockets being sent up that they were signals of distress?

-No.

0:31:190:31:24

Now, do think about what you are saying.

0:31:240:31:27

You have just told me that what you saw from that steamer was exactly

0:31:270:31:31

what you had been taught to understand were signals of distress.

0:31:310:31:34

-You told me so!

-Yes.

-Well, is it true?

0:31:340:31:39

It is true that similar lights are distress signals, yes.

0:31:390:31:42

And you had seen them from that steamer!

0:31:420:31:46

A steamer that is in distress does not steam away from you, M'Lord.

0:31:460:31:49

Judging from the appearance of the lights,

0:32:020:32:06

could she have possibly been the Titanic, in your opinion?

0:32:060:32:10

Not by any means.

0:32:100:32:12

Had you heard of any other steamer

0:32:120:32:15

-that was in the neighbourhood at that time?

-No.

0:32:150:32:18

-But you knew the Titanic was there?

-Yes.

0:32:180:32:22

They've called lunch. So I will see you gentlemen later.

0:32:400:32:45

Chin up, Gibson.

0:32:460:32:48

Chin up? Did you see what they did to Mr Stone?

0:32:490:32:52

They gave him a right going over.

0:32:520:32:54

I hope to God they don't go after me like that.

0:32:540:32:57

All you have to do is say what you saw.

0:32:570:33:01

Me and Mr Stone were on the bridge,

0:33:010:33:03

we didn't know what those rockets were.

0:33:030:33:06

-Then tell them that.

-These lawyers, they twist things.

0:33:060:33:11

That's what they're paid to do. Very well paid.

0:33:110:33:16

-I'm not up to it, Mr Groves. I know I'm not up to it.

-Steady on, Gibson.

0:33:160:33:21

You saw the rockets and you went down and informed the captain.

0:33:210:33:25

That's true, isn't it?

0:33:250:33:27

Mr Lee tells me you're all off the Californian.

0:33:270:33:31

Yes, that's right.

0:33:310:33:33

That is for my husband, sir!

0:33:330:33:37

He went down on the Titanic. A good man. And a fine officer.

0:33:370:33:42

He remained on his ship. He gave his life to save as many as he could.

0:33:420:33:46

He did his duty. Why didn't you do yours?

0:33:460:33:50

Why didn't you do yours?

0:33:500:33:52

This is not the way, Margaret. I'm sorry, sir.

0:33:520:33:55

Come on, Margaret. We'll get someone to take you home.

0:33:550:34:00

I just came to wish Gibson luck.

0:34:170:34:20

How is our young friend?

0:34:200:34:23

Nervous as hell. He's gone to the toilet for the 25th time since lunch.

0:34:230:34:29

He'll be all right. He'll not let us down.

0:34:290:34:33

You did well in there. It mustn't be easy.

0:34:330:34:38

You'll find out soon enough.

0:34:380:34:41

-Pleased with yourself?

-What?

0:34:420:34:45

Are you happy with what you had to say?

0:34:450:34:48

If you have something to say to me, Mr Groves,

0:34:480:34:51

have the courage to say it plainly.

0:34:510:34:54

You know the truth. We all do.

0:34:540:34:55

The truth is the ship we saw was not the Titanic.

0:34:550:34:59

She fired up eight rockets, the same as the Titanic.

0:34:590:35:02

-Coincidence. It was another ship.

-These were distress rockets. Why didn't you do...something?

0:35:020:35:09

The captain gives the orders pertaining to our ship, Mr Groves.

0:35:090:35:12

We were in the middle of an ice field.

0:35:120:35:15

-We could have gone down, like the Titanic.

-We could have saved them.

-Nonsense.

0:35:150:35:20

-We were too far away.

-Were we?

-What do you mean?

0:35:200:35:25

The scrap log book will show exactly where we were.

0:35:250:35:28

It would show the whole world we're telling the truth. What happened to it?

0:35:280:35:33

-I don't know.

-I don't believe you.

0:35:330:35:37

Take care what you are saying, Mr Groves.

0:35:370:35:40

I do care, Mr Stone. I care a great deal!

0:35:420:35:47

-Were you an apprentice on the Californian?

-Yes.

0:35:570:36:01

On this night, between Sunday the 14th and Monday the 15th,

0:36:020:36:07

what time did you go on watch?

0:36:070:36:09

-12 o'clock midnight.

-Which of the officers was in charge?

0:36:090:36:14

-Mr Stone.

-Did you form any view as to how far away this ship was?

0:36:140:36:19

From four to seven miles.

0:36:190:36:21

Did Mr Stone say anything to you about this ship?

0:36:210:36:26

That she had fired five rockets. He told me he'd reported it to the captain.

0:36:260:36:31

Did he tell you what the captain had instructed him to do?

0:36:310:36:35

-To call her up on Morse light.

-What had been the result?

0:36:350:36:38

She had not answered him, but had fired more rockets.

0:36:380:36:42

-Did you see her fire these rockets?

-I saw three rockets.

0:36:420:36:48

-What colour rockets were they?

-White ones.

0:36:480:36:51

Did you think yourself that there was anything wrong?

0:36:510:36:55

We had been talking about it together.

0:36:550:36:58

I should very much like you to tell me what you had been saying to the Second Officer.

0:36:580:37:04

He remarked to me

0:37:040:37:06

that a ship wasn't going to fire rockets at sea for nothing.

0:37:060:37:11

A ship was not going to fire rockets at sea for nothing.

0:37:120:37:18

-Yes.

-I daresay you agreed with him.

0:37:180:37:21

-Yes.

-Do I understand from you that Mr Stone came to the conclusion

0:37:210:37:25

that this was a ship in distress?

0:37:250:37:28

No, sir. Not exactly.

0:37:280:37:31

What do you mean by "not exactly"?

0:37:310:37:35

-Mr Stone said a ship does not fire rockets at night for nothing.

-Yes.

0:37:350:37:41

Does not that convey to you in his opinion this ship was in distress?

0:37:410:37:45

-Not exactly in distress, sir.

-What then?

0:37:450:37:48

-That everything was not all right with her.

-In trouble of some sort?

0:37:480:37:53

-Yes.

-Did you know when the rockets were being sent up that they were being sent up as danger signals?

0:37:530:38:00

-No.

-What did you think the rockets were being up for?

0:38:000:38:04

I thought they were some sort of private signal.

0:38:040:38:07

Who told you they were private signals?

0:38:070:38:10

Nobody told me.

0:38:120:38:15

-Had you ever seen private signals of this kind?

-No.

0:38:150:38:21

What took place after that between you and Mr Stone?

0:38:210:38:25

About twenty minutes past one, Mr Stone remarked to me

0:38:250:38:31

that she was slowly steaming away towards the southwest.

0:38:310:38:35

Then Mr Stone remarked to me...

0:38:370:38:39

"Look at her now, she looks very queer in the water.

0:38:390:38:42

"Her lights look queer."

0:38:420:38:45

-Did you look at her then through your glasses?

-Yes.

-What did you see?

0:38:470:38:53

That she seemed to be heavily listed to the starboard.

0:38:530:38:57

She seemed to have a list and you thought to starboard?

0:38:570:39:01

Yes.

0:39:010:39:04

Did you call Mr Stone's attention to this?

0:39:040:39:06

Yes. He remarked it to me at the time.

0:39:060:39:09

He told me to look through the glasses at it.

0:39:090:39:12

He told you to look through the glasses at that very thing?

0:39:120:39:16

-Yes.

-When did you first make that statement?

0:39:160:39:20

The statement you've just made, that you were told to look through the glasses at this list.

0:39:200:39:25

When did you first tell anybody that?

0:39:250:39:28

This is the first time.

0:39:290:39:32

You never told anybody until now in the witness box?

0:39:320:39:35

I have spoken to Mr Stone about it since. That is all.

0:39:350:39:41

Have you a clear recollection of that?

0:39:410:39:44

-Yes.

-Just tell us. You say you spoke to Mr Stone about it.

0:39:440:39:50

-What did he tell you?

-He said, "Look at her now, Gibson.

0:39:500:39:55

"Her lights look queer."

0:39:550:39:57

I told him... "She seems rather to have a big side out of the water."

0:39:570:40:03

We were talking about it all the time, sir.

0:40:030:40:07

Until five minutes past two, when she disappeared.

0:40:070:40:10

-What were the orders that Mr Stone gave you when she disappeared?

-"Call the captain and tell him

0:40:100:40:15

"the ship has disappeared in the southwest. And she's fired altogether eight rockets."

0:40:150:40:21

-Did you report that to the captain?

-Yes.

0:40:210:40:25

-Where did you go?

-Into the chart room.

0:40:250:40:28

-Did you find the captain there?

-Yes.

0:40:280:40:31

-Was he awake?

-Yes, sir.

0:40:310:40:35

Did you give him the report that you were ordered to give him?

0:40:350:40:39

-Yes.

-What did the captain say?

0:40:390:40:44

He asked me, "Were they all whites?"

0:40:440:40:46

-The rockets?

-Yes.

0:40:460:40:49

-He asked whether there was any colour in them at all.

-What did you tell him?

0:40:490:40:53

-I told him they were all white.

-Did he give any instructions?

-No.

0:40:530:40:59

Will you ask him what he understood by the word "disappeared"?

0:41:010:41:06

Yes, M'Lord. You say you were told to report that the ship had disappeared.

0:41:060:41:11

-What did you mean by "disappeared"?

-That we could not see anything more of her.

0:41:110:41:16

A ship goes out of sight when she goes down to the bottom.

0:41:160:41:21

What did you understand by the word "disappeared"?

0:41:210:41:26

That is all I could understand about it.

0:41:260:41:29

A ship that has been sending up rockets has disappeared.

0:41:290:41:32

Did you understand from Mr Stone to mean that she had gone down to the bottom?

0:41:320:41:36

-No.

-Well, what did you understand? That she'd steamed her way through the ice?

0:41:360:41:41

COURT MURMURS

0:41:410:41:43

At any time, did Mr Stone say to you, "This vessel seems to be in distress"?

0:41:460:41:50

No... He said, "There must be something the matter with her."

0:41:500:41:54

Did he make any remarks to you as to the captain taking no action?

0:41:540:41:59

Did he say anything to you at all?

0:41:590:42:01

-No.

-Are you sure?

0:42:010:42:04

Yes.

0:42:040:42:05

Did you say anything to yourself about it?

0:42:050:42:07

I only thought the same that he thought.

0:42:070:42:10

And what was that?

0:42:100:42:11

That a ship would not fire rockets at sea for nothing

0:42:110:42:14

and there must be something the matter with her.

0:42:140:42:16

Then you thought it was a case of some kind of distress?

0:42:160:42:21

Yes.

0:42:230:42:24

PEOPLE IN THE GALLERY MURMUR

0:42:240:42:28

I'm sorry, captain, I did my best.

0:42:410:42:44

Quite.

0:42:450:42:47

It's just, there were so many questions and it's hard to...

0:42:470:42:50

I know you did your best.

0:42:500:42:52

It's over now.

0:42:520:42:54

Go and have your smoke.

0:42:540:42:56

Mr Groves.

0:43:210:43:22

Sir.

0:43:220:43:23

Mr Stone informed me about what passed between you earlier.

0:43:230:43:28

You will apologise to Mr Stone.

0:43:280:43:31

He is your superior officer, Mr Groves. And you will apologise.

0:43:370:43:42

My apologies, Mr Stone.

0:43:440:43:47

You may leave us now, Mr Stone.

0:43:520:43:54

Yes, sir.

0:43:540:43:56

So...

0:44:040:44:06

I understand you may have some misgivings

0:44:060:44:08

about the evidence you'll give today.

0:44:080:44:11

Yes, sir.

0:44:110:44:13

That's understandable.

0:44:130:44:14

We have, all of us, been under the most intolerable pressures.

0:44:140:44:18

Even the strongest of us might begin to doubt himself.

0:44:180:44:22

I don't doubt myself.

0:44:220:44:24

Excellent.

0:44:240:44:26

Then you will know that for the good of your comrades

0:44:280:44:31

and the greater good of the service you must do your duty today.

0:44:310:44:34

That is all that is required.

0:44:350:44:38

And that is the only loyalty you owe anyone.

0:44:380:44:41

I can see that you are troubled.

0:44:440:44:48

You have compassion, Mr Groves,

0:44:480:44:51

and that is a good thing in an officer.

0:44:510:44:54

But you must not allow your emotions to sway you.

0:44:540:44:58

Concern yourself only with the facts.

0:44:580:45:01

The ship had a list, a list to starboard.

0:45:020:45:06

It was the Titanic that we saw.

0:45:080:45:11

It was not.

0:45:130:45:15

-And you must not say that it was.

-You know that it was.

0:45:160:45:20

I know no such thing.

0:45:200:45:23

That's why there was no mention of the rockets in the logbook.

0:45:240:45:28

That's why the scrap logbook has gone missing,

0:45:280:45:30

so that you could put in the co-ordinates that suited you

0:45:300:45:32

the next day to say that we were nowhere near the Titanic.

0:45:320:45:36

Those are the facts.

0:45:360:45:39

Mr Groves, you lose the run of yourself.

0:45:390:45:42

And once the logbook is doctored to set the position we want to be in

0:45:420:45:45

then we can go ahead with the denials.

0:45:450:45:47

Deny we saw the Titanic,

0:45:470:45:49

deny we know what a distress rocket is.

0:45:490:45:52

Dear God, even the rawest recruit

0:45:520:45:54

knows a distress signal when he sees one.

0:45:540:45:56

I didn't know about any damned rockets.

0:45:560:45:59

Stone told you,

0:45:590:46:01

Gibson told you...

0:46:010:46:03

I was asleep!

0:46:030:46:04

And while you slept, the Titanic sank!

0:46:040:46:08

How dare you?

0:46:080:46:11

The Titanic sank because the captain chose to ignore iceberg warnings,

0:46:240:46:28

warnings that we gave him.

0:46:280:46:30

He made a mistake

0:46:310:46:33

and he paid for that mistake with the lives of his crew

0:46:330:46:36

and his passengers.

0:46:360:46:37

Mistakes can have terrible consequences, Mr Groves.

0:46:390:46:44

And you must not make one today.

0:46:440:46:47

We saw a ship,

0:46:480:46:51

that's all.

0:46:510:46:53

It was not the Titanic.

0:46:550:46:59

They are dead.

0:47:000:47:02

We are living.

0:47:020:47:03

And there is nothing,

0:47:030:47:05

nothing that you can do to help bring any of them back.

0:47:050:47:09

Now.

0:47:150:47:16

Do your duty, Mr Groves.

0:47:190:47:21

Your duty to your captain and your crewmates.

0:47:210:47:25

Aye, sir.

0:47:260:47:28

Good man.

0:47:380:47:40

Mr Groves?

0:47:560:47:57

Yes.

0:47:580:47:59

The name's Lee.

0:47:590:48:01

I wanted to apologise.

0:48:010:48:04

Sorry about what happened.

0:48:040:48:05

The lady who slapped you.

0:48:050:48:07

Margaret's not herself.

0:48:090:48:10

Hasn't been herself since.

0:48:100:48:12

I understand.

0:48:120:48:13

And I want you to know that I, that we, in the Titanic,

0:48:130:48:18

don't harbour any grudge.

0:48:180:48:20

I know you would have helped us if you could.

0:48:200:48:23

If you'd known it was us, you would've come straight for us.

0:48:230:48:26

Ice or no ice.

0:48:260:48:29

Just like if our situation were reversed,

0:48:290:48:32

-we'd have come for you.

-Yes.

0:48:320:48:34

We have an understanding,

0:48:350:48:38

a code of honour to look out for each other.

0:48:380:48:41

It's part of who we are.

0:48:410:48:42

HE HEARS EXPLOSIONS AND SCREAMS

0:49:160:49:20

Charles Victor Groves,

0:49:260:49:28

Charles Victor Groves to give evidence.

0:49:280:49:31

Your name is Charles Groves.

0:49:540:49:56

About 11:10, ship's time,

0:49:580:50:00

I made out a steamer coming up on our starboard.

0:50:000:50:04

Did you report that to the captain?

0:50:040:50:06

Yes, I went to the lower bridge and I told him.

0:50:060:50:09

Did you say what kind of steamer you thought she was?

0:50:090:50:12

I said she is evidently a passenger steamer.

0:50:120:50:16

Did you say why you thought she was a passenger steamer?

0:50:160:50:19

Yes, I told him I could see her deck lights and that that made me

0:50:190:50:23

pass the remark that she is evidently a passenger steamer.

0:50:230:50:28

How many deck lights had she? Had she much light?

0:50:280:50:31

Yes, a lot of light.

0:50:310:50:34

There was absolutely no doubt in her being a passenger steamer,

0:50:340:50:37

at least, in my mind.

0:50:370:50:39

You could see two masthead lights?

0:50:390:50:41

I did see two masthead lights.

0:50:410:50:43

Did you have any more conversation with the captain about the steamer?

0:50:430:50:47

He came up on the bridge and said,

0:50:470:50:49

"That does not look like a passenger steamer."

0:50:490:50:51

I said, "It is, sir. She put her lights out a few minutes ago."

0:50:510:50:56

Was anything said at the time about the Titanic?

0:50:560:50:58

He said, "The only passenger steamer near us is the Titanic."

0:50:580:51:04

Did the steamer continue on her course after that?

0:51:040:51:06

No, she stopped.

0:51:060:51:10

That was about 11:40,

0:51:100:51:11

her lights appeared to go out.

0:51:110:51:14

At 11:40, the engines were stopped on the Titanic.

0:51:140:51:17

Yes, my lord.

0:51:170:51:19

I stayed on the bridge until sometime between 12:10 and 12:15.

0:51:190:51:26

And you were then relieved by Mr Stone.

0:51:260:51:30

I was.

0:51:300:51:31

You were the officer of the watch from 8pm to midnight.

0:51:310:51:35

Would you, then, be keeping the scrap log?

0:51:350:51:38

I was keeping the scrap log.

0:51:380:51:40

Is the scrap log here?

0:51:400:51:42

No.

0:51:420:51:43

It is not kept.

0:51:430:51:46

Is it destroyed from time to time?

0:51:460:51:48

There is one log always kept, of course.

0:51:480:51:51

But the scrap log is destroyed from time to time.

0:51:510:51:55

It is copied from the scrap log into the printed log.

0:51:550:51:59

Into this fair copy, this book which I have here?

0:51:590:52:02

Yes.

0:52:020:52:04

Where is the scrap log book?

0:52:040:52:06

I expect it was thrown away.

0:52:080:52:10

Where was it thrown away to?

0:52:110:52:13

I expect it went over the side.

0:52:140:52:17

Did you throw it over the side?

0:52:170:52:18

I did not.

0:52:200:52:21

Who did?

0:52:210:52:22

I do not know.

0:52:230:52:24

You would know that this book was the book which contained

0:52:240:52:28

the real record for 14 April.

0:52:280:52:31

Of course I knew that.

0:52:310:52:33

And by that time, of course, you knew,

0:52:330:52:34

and others on your ship knew that a very serious enquiry

0:52:340:52:37

was being made as to the position of your ship

0:52:370:52:40

and what she was doing on 14 April.

0:52:400:52:43

Certainly.

0:52:430:52:45

And by that time you knew that there was some discussion

0:52:450:52:47

as to whether that ship was the Titanic or some other ship?

0:52:470:52:51

That was a discussion amongst ourselves.

0:52:510:52:54

You must have seen the scrap log book the next day when he came on duty.

0:52:540:52:59

Do you know whether it contains any record of these rockets being seen?

0:52:590:53:04

I saw none myself.

0:53:040:53:06

If you had been keeping the scrap logbook

0:53:060:53:08

and had seen a succession of white rockets fired from this vessel,

0:53:080:53:13

would you have made a record in your scrap log?

0:53:130:53:16

Most decidedly, that is what the scrap logbook is for.

0:53:160:53:20

So I should have thought.

0:53:200:53:22

Then it would have been the business of the man who had this book

0:53:220:53:25

to record those facts.

0:53:250:53:27

I think so, my lord.

0:53:270:53:30

Who was he?

0:53:300:53:31

Mr Stone was on watch.

0:53:330:53:35

Therefore if Mr Stone did what you think was his duty

0:53:350:53:40

then this scrap logbook which was thrown away,

0:53:400:53:44

or in all events cannot be found,

0:53:440:53:47

would contain a record of those rockets having been seen?

0:53:470:53:52

Yes, my lord.

0:53:520:53:53

I must ask you something more -

0:53:530:53:55

if the Titanic was in latitude 41 degrees, 33...

0:53:550:54:01

and your vessel was, as stated in the log,

0:54:010:54:04

in latitude 42 degrees, 5,

0:54:040:54:06

the Titanic would be some 33 miles to the southward

0:54:060:54:10

of the position where you were lying stopped?

0:54:100:54:12

Yes, about 30 miles.

0:54:120:54:14

And if the Titanic was 30 miles to the southward,

0:54:140:54:18

I don't suppose you could see any navigation lights at that distance?

0:54:180:54:22

No, none whatsoever.

0:54:220:54:23

If this vessel which you did see was only some four or five miles

0:54:230:54:28

to the southward of you, do you think she could have been the Titanic?

0:54:280:54:33

That is a question I want this witness to answer.

0:54:330:54:36

Speaking as an experienced seaman, and knowing what you know now,

0:54:370:54:42

do you think that the steamer that was throwing up rockets

0:54:420:54:45

and that you say was a passenger steamer was the Titanic?

0:54:450:54:50

Most decidedly...

0:55:050:55:08

I do.

0:55:080:55:09

CLAMOUR OF VOICES

0:55:100:55:14

So that is British justice, is it?

0:55:270:55:31

I demand to appeal.

0:55:310:55:33

I'm afraid you don't have the right to appeal.

0:55:330:55:36

You're merely a witness.

0:55:360:55:38

You'd have to get the inquiry reopened,

0:55:380:55:41

and I don't think anyone wants to do THAT, do you?

0:55:410:55:45

So they can blacken my name forever?

0:55:450:55:47

These men, who have never even been to sea -

0:55:470:55:49

they can tarnish my reputation?

0:55:490:55:51

We haven't heard the findings of the inquiry yet.

0:55:530:55:56

Perhaps you fret prematurely, Captain.

0:55:580:56:00

Every officer and every man of my crew was an Englishman.

0:56:030:56:07

And no Englishman will stand by and see anyone or anything in distress

0:56:080:56:13

without trying to lend assistance.

0:56:130:56:15

-LORD MERSEY:

-'These circumstances convince me...'

0:56:260:56:30

that the ship seen by the Californian was the Titanic.

0:56:300:56:36

When she first saw the rockets,

0:56:360:56:40

the Californian could have pushed through the ice

0:56:400:56:43

into open water without serious risk...

0:56:430:56:47

..and so have come to the assistance of the Titanic.

0:56:480:56:52

Had she done so, she might have saved many -

0:56:520:56:57

if not all - of the 1,500 lives that were lost.

0:56:570:57:01

'Captain Lord was blamed for failing to help the Titanic,

0:57:100:57:13

'and was sacked as captain.

0:57:130:57:15

'However, he managed to obtain a new command straight away

0:57:160:57:19

'and retired comfortably in 1927.

0:57:190:57:22

'Lord publicly blamed Stone for failing to tell him

0:57:230:57:26

'that the rockets he had seen were distress rockets.

0:57:260:57:29

'Herbert Stone was never seen fit to have command of a ship.

0:57:320:57:36

'Tormented by guilt, he left the Merchant Navy

0:57:360:57:39

'and ended his days as a dock labourer.

0:57:390:57:42

'He died in poverty.

0:57:420:57:44

'James Gibson had a successful career spanning 46 years

0:57:470:57:52

'and made second mate.

0:57:520:57:53

'Charles Groves eventually was promoted to captain

0:57:570:58:00

'and served with distinction in both World Wars.

0:58:000:58:03

'A century later, it has never been definitively proven

0:58:080:58:12

'whether the ship sighted from the deck of the Californian WAS the Titanic,

0:58:120:58:16

'but many experts believe that it was.

0:58:160:58:19

'If it was the Titanic,

0:58:200:58:22

'the reason why the Californian did not go to her

0:58:220:58:25

'remains a mystery to this day.

0:58:250:58:27

'Over 1,500 people lost their lives that night.'

0:58:280:58:32

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:540:58:57

The true story of the official Inquiry into the Titanic disaster. Was a ship called The Californian close enough to have saved them? Starring Paul McGann.