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,
I desire to express on behalf of His Majesty
our deepest sympathy with all those who have to mourn the loss
of relatives or friends amongst the passengers,
the officers and the crew of this ill-fated vessel.
A thorough inquiry will be made with the object of ascertaining
as fully and as precisely as possible
the circumstances surrounding this disaster.
Every possible source of information and all available evidence
will be placed before your Lordship in this inquiry.
The question, substantially, is this.
The Californian is said by the donkeyman, Mr Gill,
to have seen the distress rockets fired from a vessel, which,
according to Mr Gill, was the Titanic,
and to have taken no notice of those distress rockets.
Whether it was the Titanic that she saw or not
is a matter that can only be determined
after we have heard the evidence.
-You look nervous, Mr Groves.
-Lawyers make me nervous.
You're a man wise beyond your years, Mr Groves.
You see what it's like out there?
The newspapers and the politicians, they're all looking for...answers.
Yes, there's a certain hysteria.
But we have nothing to fear.
-So what do we say, sir?
-We tell the truth, Mr Gibson.
We have nothing to fear from the truth.
You were on lifeboat 13 from the Titanic?
And you saw a light before the Titanic plunged to the bottom?
Whether it was a fishing vessel or a steamer or what she was,
I do not know.
-It might have been a mast headlight.
-It might have been a mast headlight.
It was the one that we were going to pull for.
Before you left with your boat, did you see any other third-class passengers,
women or children, waiting to go into the boats?
There were no women left there
when our boat was lowered into the water, not as far as I could see.
We had our work cut out to get away with the crowd that we had in our own boat.
Tell us about the passengers in your boats.
Had you third-class passengers in your boat?
Second and third. A few second, principally third.
-And they behaved well?
-Very well indeed.
They're making the crewmen who manned the lifeboats look guilty.
They're guilty because they survived.
What are they going to do to us? We've already made statements.
-Why don't they believe us?
Ernest bleeding Gill, that's why.
Three, two, one.
Jumping ship and running to the newspapers with his lies.
-I heard he got 500.
-And you believe him?
The question, I would have thought,
is whether the inquiry will believe him.
It's the word of a dirty little coal stoker against you, me
and every officer on the ship.
He may be a dirty little coal stoker,
but he's got us into all this.
Oi, we didn't do anything wrong. Just remember that.
We stick together. We stand by the captain.
Gentlemen, this is Mr Dunlop. He will be representing us.
Actually, I'm retained by the Leyland Line, your employer.
Surely that amounts to the same thing?
I assume our evidence to the inquiry will be a mere formality?
I would have hoped so, too.
But Lord Mersey, the president of the inquiry,
has made it clear that he intends to be extremely thorough.
As he should be.
I should also tell you that Mr Isaacs, the Attorney-General,
is representing the Board Of Trade.
They do not relish taking all of the blame for the insufficient
number of lifeboats on the Titanic, nor for certain other deficiencies,
and they may try to deflect attention in another direction.
Are they going to try and stitch us up?
No, of course not. This is a properly constituted legal inquiry.
The problem that the crew of the Californian has is that
Mr Ernest Gill's evidence...
Ernest Gill saw nothing that night.
He's a gold digger, peddling his lies,
trying to make money out of them that went down with the Titanic.
He's a lying little shit.
I would advise you not to use those EXACT words
in front of Lord Mersey, Mr...?
Stone. Herbert Stone, my second officer.
And this is Mr Groves, my third, and our apprentice, Gibson.
-Mr Gill's evidence...
Ernest Gill's allegations have, as it were, muddied the waters.
There was nothing we could have done.
I understand, and I am certain your evidence will bear this out.
-And you have all of our written statements.
-Yes, I do.
But to be frank, gentlemen, the Leyland Line
is concerned that there is a move on to put the blame on the Californian.
The crew of the Californian.
The whole thing had nothing to do with us.
It was the Titanic's fault from the very start.
We warned them about the icebergs. What did Captain Smith do?
He just kept steaming on like some rookie officer.
And that wasn't the only warning we gave them.
Yes, that's good that you warned them. I'll stress that point.
Now, you estimate that the Titanic sank
in latitude 41 degrees 33,
and your stated position is that you were at the time in question
at latitude 42 05.
Some 30 miles away.
Indeed. And at that distance,
it would not have been possible for you to have sighted the Titanic.
If we had seen the Titanic,
we would have gone to an immediate rescue, obviously.
I have no doubt.
But there is this problem of the ship you DID see.
-You mean the other ship?
-The other ship.
-That wasn't the Titanic.
-Now, you're quite certain of that?
I know a passenger liner when I see one. It was much too small.
There is no way you could have been mistaken?
Anyway, as I've already said, the last reported position
of the Titanic was some 30 miles from the Californian.
Good. And, of course, your log book will bear this out.
Excellent. So, if it definitely was NOT the Titanic,
we have little to worry about.
Er, you also have the scrap log book?
I'm afraid the scrap log book has gone missing.
But you can't fill in this log book
without the contemporaneous notes from the scrap log book.
-Am I correct?
Well, it must have been mislaid.
Well, that's a pity.
I would urge you, gentlemen, to use your best endeavours
and redouble your efforts and try to find it.
Well, gentlemen, you all heard Mr Dunlop.
Let's make some enquiries,
see if we can't find this damned scrap log book.
I filled in the scrap log book before I went off duty that night,
-then you took it over.
-Have you seen it since?
-Well, where do we start to look for it?
-I've already tried and I can't find it anywhere. It's gone.
Yes. You know what it was like.
In all the confusion, it must have got thrown away.
The one thing that proves exactly where we were that night,
-and it's lost?
-Yes, it's most unfortunate.
-More than that, surely?
Well, you have to admit, it looks a bit...
-A bit what, Mr Groves?
On the contrary, Mr Groves.
I'm sure the captain finds it most inconvenient.
Captain Stanley Lord to the stand.
Place your right hand on the Bible and repeat after me.
-I, Stanley Lord, do solemnly swear...
-Don't worry, son.
I, Stanley Lord...
Captain's more than a match for these stuffed shirts.
..that the evidence I give in this inquiry will be the truth,
the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me, God.
Are you the captain of the SS Californian?
On Sunday, April 14th, did you have to stop on account of ice?
I had to stop and reverse engines at 10.21pm.
-What sort of ice was it?
-Field ice, right ahead of me.
Now, close upon 11 o'clock on Sunday night, you saw a steamer's light.
It was approaching me from the east on the starboard side.
She was heading to the westward.
-Did you then ask your wireless operator what ships he had?
And he said, "Nothing. Only the Titanic."
Did you think that the vessel approaching you was the Titanic?
No. I remarked at the time that she was not the Titanic.
-How could you tell that?
-It's difficult to mistake those ships.
By the blaze of light.
About what distance, approximately, did you consider she was from you?
I suppose she was six or seven miles away.
-Were there any other officers on deck?
Mr Groves, the third officer, was on deck until 12.
And then at 12 the second officer, Mr Stone, relieved the third officer?
At 10 past 12.
And did you tell him anything with regard to this vessel?
I told him to "Watch that steamer,"
that she had stopped,
and then I went to my chart room at a quarter past 12.
I told Mr Stone I was going to lie down.
A little later, did he whistle down the tube
and tell you whether he had seen any signal?
-He said he had seen a white rocket.
-Did you see it?
Is it the fact that this vessel from which the rocket appeared
was, at the time, in the position which, probably, the Titanic was?
-What is in my brain at the present time is this.
That what they saw was the Titanic.
That is in my brain, and I want to see whether I'm right or not.
Clear it up, if you can.
Can you tell us whether you saw one or two mast headlights?
I only saw one.
-You only saw one?
-And the third officer, Mr Groves, said he saw two.
Now, that is important.
That is VERY important, because the Titanic would have two.
If Mr Groves did see two lights,
it must have been the Titanic, must it not?
-It does not follow.
-Do you know of any other vessel it might have been?
No, I do not know.
Has Mr Groves ever expressed any opinion to you
that it was the Titanic he saw?
No, my Lord.
-Did he say to you that she was "evidently a passenger steamer?"
And did you say to him,
"The only passenger steamer near us is the Titanic?"
-I might have said that.
-Do collect your mind. Did you say it?
I don't recollect saying it.
You do not give answers that please me at present.
Do you now suggest that you do not remember whether you said it or not?
I don't recollect saying anything at all to him that night, my Lord.
I have heard so many stories about the Titanic after she went down
that I honestly don't remember what I heard that night.
Do you know of any other passenger steamer near you except the Titanic?
-I did not.
-But you knew the Titanic was not far from you?
I had no idea where the Titanic was.
GASPS AND MUTTERING
Did you know the steamer had fired a number of rockets?
I did not.
According to you, did she fire only one rocket?
Only one rocket.
Have you never heard from other officers that she fired a number of rockets?
-When did you hear that?
-The next day.
-Who told you?
What did he say?
He said she had fired several rockets in his watch.
My lord, I think it is very desirable
that the other witnesses from the Californian
should be out of court while this witness gives evidence.
Where are the witnesses from the Californian?
Well, gentlemen, I think you'd better leave the court at present.
My God, they're giving the captain a right grilling, aren't they?
Mr Stone, where are you going?
It's not right. What do lawyers know about the sea?
About as much as we know about the law.
We should put them in a bloody ice field. See how they like it.
-Where's Mr Stone gone?
-Washroom, I think.
He was in a right hurry.
Must've been holding it in a while.
We were dealing with the rockets.
Captain Lord, you had never been in ice before?
Not in field ice, no.
You were treating the ice, so to speak, with great respect
and behaved with great caution with regard to it.
I was treating it with every respect.
Was that the reason, perhaps,
why you were not so inquisitive as to the rocket
as you might otherwise have been?
No, that had nothing to do with it.
Do you consider it reasonable, seeing you had very little experience of ice,
to go below to the chart room and lie there?
Perfectly reasonable. I was looking after my own ship.
Captain Lord, you said earlier, "I heard of one rocket.
"I did not see it fired." And you did nothing further.
I did nothing further myself.
I remained in my chart room.
This rocket, it must have been a distress signal, mustn't it?
If it had been a distress signal, my second officer, Mr Stone,
would have informed me.
But Mr Stone did.
He sent Gibson, the apprentice, down to inform you.
So I understand.
But you know perfectly well that he came.
-I know now.
-Did you know then?
-I did not.
I was asleep.
Yes, but you were not asleep, at least I suppose not,
when you said to Gibson, "What is it?"
I was wakened by the opening of the door, the banging of the door.
These are answers that do not do you the least good.
Did Mr Stone send Gibson to report to you at any time?
He told me afterwards that he had done so.
And did you not enquire whether they were all white rockets?
I do not know. I was asleep.
Think. This is a very important matter.
It is much better to tell us what happened, Captain.
He came to the door, I understand.
I have spoken very closely to him since.
He said that I opened my eyes and said, "What is it?"
He delivered the message and then I asked the time.
And then I believe he said that I asked him
if there were any colours in the light.
Is he telling the truth?
I do not know. I don't doubt it for a moment.
Just think. You say you do not doubt it for a moment.
Do you see what that means?
It means that the boy did go to the chart room to you,
he did tell you about the rockets from the ship,
you asked him whether they were white rockets and told him to report
if anything further occurred.
So he said. That is what he said.
Have you any reason to doubt it?
I was very likely half-awake.
I have no recollection of Gibson saying anything to me at all that morning.
Why did you enquire whether they were white rockets?
Well, I suppose this is something to do with
whether or not they were company signals.
Do just think.
Company signals usually have some colour in them.
So that if they were white,
it would make it quite plain to you that they were distress signals?
No, not necessarily. Some companies use white.
Really do try to do yourself justice.
I am trying to do my best.
MUTTERING AROUND COURTROOM
I must ask you something more.
Do you remember Mr Stone reporting at 2:40 that morning through the tube?
I do not.
Listen to this.
This is Mr Stone's statement.
He report at 2:40 through the tube and told you that the steamer
had disappeared bearing southwest half-west.
Do you remember that?
I do not remember it. He has told me that since.
Have you any reason to doubt it?
-I do not know anything at all about it.
-Listen to this.
"The captain again asked me
"if I was sure there was no colours in the light that had been seen."
-Do you remember that?
-I do not.
And that he, Mr Stone, assured you they were white lights.
He has told me all of this since
but I have not the slightest recollection
of anything happening that way.
-You have no reason to doubt it?
-If he's telling the truth I do not.
They're taking a long time with the captain.
-They're just being thorough.
They're making out like it was our fault.
They're trying to make us the scapegoat.
-Everyone knows it was Captain Smith's fault.
-The captain of the Titanic is dead.
Dead men don't make good scapegoats.
Is there any reference in your log
to your steamer having seen these rockets?
-Or this mysterious ship that was not the Titanic?
Is it not usual to record these things in the log?
We never realised what these rockets were, my lord.
If they'd been distress rockets then, yes,
we would have entered them in the log.
But the next morning you knew that the Titanic had gone down.
-Did you make no record then in your log of the signals you'd seen?
We never took them to be distress rockets.
Do you mean to say nobody on your ship supposed that they might be distress signals?
The second officer, the man in charge of the watch,
said most emphatically that they were NOT distress rockets.
GASPS AROUND THE COURTROOM
Did you question Mr Stone as to why you had not been called?
What was his explanation to you?
He said that he had sent Gibson down
and that Gibson had told him I was awake
and that I had said, "All right, let me know if anything is wanted."
I was surprised that he hadn't called me out,
considering rockets had been fired.
He said if they had been distress rockets
he would most certainly have called me himself.
But he was not a little bit worried about it at all.
And it was his view that they were not distress rockets?
That was apparently his view.
Captain...I didn't expect to see you.
I know they want to keep us apart
but they can't stop me going to the washroom.
Dunlop was right. It's a witch-hunt.
They're trying to pin the blame on us.
When they ask about the rockets,
I should warn you that I said you only told me
about the one white rocket that wasn't a distress signal.
-But, sir, I told you about the other rockets.
-I was asleep.
But it's in my statement, sir.
I know you SAY you told me but I was asleep.
But Gibson went down and told you, he went into the chart room.
So he says. I didn't hear him.
"When Pilate saw he could prevail nothing but rather a tumult was made.
"He took water and washed his hands saying,
"I am innocent of the blood of this just person."
You never struck me as a man steeped in the Bible, Stone.
Oh, I'm full of surprises, me, sir.
I want to know what you were saying about us in there.
-Washing your hands of us, were you?
-You're forgetting yourself, Mr Stone.
The captain is supposed to look out for his crew.
Last man to leave the ship and all that.
And what boy's own comic did you read that in?
I thought you were a man of the world, Stone,
not some dewy-eyed apprentice like Gibson.
But, sir, I told you about the rockets.
Forget the damned rockets.
You were the senior officer on deck.
-It was your responsibility.
-You never told me that the ship was in distress.
-I didn't know...
Meantime the Titanic sank, Mr Stone.
Well, if I'm to be blamed, I'm dragging you down with me.
Why did you stay below decks? Why could you not give any orders?
I was asleep.
-Oh, is that what they call it now?
-Be careful, Stone.
You say you never sup at sea but did you that night? Did you?
I'm not going to dignify that with a response.
The fact is that if the rockets you saw that night were distress rockets,
you should have woken me no matter what.
-But I told...
-If our positions were reversed,
I would have dragged you from the chart room.
So, what, I'm to be blamed, is that it?
Oh, think, Stone!
The point is not that rockets were fired
but whether they were distress rockets.
If they were not distress rockets,
there was no need for you to do anything.
And no need for you to inform me.
I see, sir.
You're a good officer, Stone.
Now pull yourself together, man.
On the night of the 14th April, was it your watch from 12 to 4?
Did Mr Groves make any communication to you about the steamer when you relieved him?
He told me he had called her up on the Morse lamp and got no answer.
After a time, did you make any communication to the captain?
-By means of the speaking tube.
What did you communicate?
I communicated that I had seen white lights in the sky
in the direction of the other steamer
which I took to be white rockets.
-How many more did you see?
-I saw four more then.
In quick succession?
At intervals of about three or four minutes.
You saw five rockets go up in fairly quick succession.
What did you think at the time that they meant?
Well, I knew they must be signals of some sort.
Of what sort did you think?
-I did not know at the time.
-Now, try to be frank.
I am trying.
If you try, you will succeed.
What did you think those rockets were going up at three to four minute intervals were for?
I just took them as white rockets and informed the captain
and left him to judge.
You mean to say that you didn't think for yourself?
Did you think that they were distress signals?
MUTTERING AROUND THE COURTROOM Did that not occur to you?
-It did not occur to me at the time.
-When DID it occur to you?
After I had heard about the Titanic going down.
So, throwing your mind back,
you thought that they WERE distress signals?
I thought they possibly might have been distress signals.
From the Titanic.
Not necessarily. They might have been from some other steamer.
I did not think that vessel was the Titanic.
You communicated these facts to the captain?
Yes, through the speaking tube.
What was his answer?
He asked me, "Are they company signals?"
What was your answer?
I said, "I do not know but to me they appear to be white rockets."
Did the captain tell you that you were to report to him any news
and give him any information that you'd got?
When I received more information to send Mr Gibson down with it.
-After Mr Gibson had come did you see more rockets?
Three. In the direction of this steamer.
-In quick succession?
-About the same period as before.
Did anything pass between you and Gibson when those rockets went up?
He remarked to me once that he did not think they were being sent up for fun.
And I quite agreed with him.
Did either Gibson suggest to you or you suggest to Gibson
that that ship over there is in trouble
and might require assistance?
I made no remark about that at all.
About the ship being in distress the whole time.
Did it never occur to you?
It did not occur to me after what the captain said.
He emphasised the fact about company signals.
You did not think that they were company signals?
You did not think that they were being sent up for fun?
-WHAT did you think?
I just thought they were white rockets, that is all.
When you saw her disappear,
did you think that something had happened to her?
No, nothing except that she was steaming away.
In view of the fact that this vessel had been sending up rockets,
did you not think at the time that this ship was in distress?
-It never occurred to you?
-It did not occur to me
because if there had been any grounds for supposing the ship
would have been in distress, the captain would have expressed it to me.
Never mind about the captain. You were being asked about what you thought yourself.
Do you mean to tell us that neither you nor Gibson expressed
any opinion that there was something wrong with that ship?
-No. Not wrong with the ship.
-You want me to believe that notwithstanding those rockets,
neither you nor Gibson thought there anything wrong on board that ship?
-You mean to tell His Lordship that you did not know
that the throwing up of rockets or shells, throwing stars of any colour
or description, fired one at a time at short intervals
is the proper method for signalling distress at night?
Yes, that is the way it is always done, as far as I know.
Is not that exactly what was happening?
The very thing was happening that you knew indicated distress?
I knew that rockets fired at short intervals, one at a time, meant distress signals, yes.
Do not speak generally. On that very night, you knew, did you not, when you saw
-those rockets being sent up that they were signals of distress?
Now, do think about what you are saying.
You have just told me that what you saw from that steamer was exactly
what you had been taught to understand were signals of distress.
-You told me so!
-Well, is it true?
It is true that similar lights are distress signals, yes.
And you had seen them from that steamer!
A steamer that is in distress does not steam away from you, M'Lord.
Judging from the appearance of the lights,
could she have possibly been the Titanic, in your opinion?
Not by any means.
Had you heard of any other steamer
-that was in the neighbourhood at that time?
-But you knew the Titanic was there?
They've called lunch. So I will see you gentlemen later.
Chin up, Gibson.
Chin up? Did you see what they did to Mr Stone?
They gave him a right going over.
I hope to God they don't go after me like that.
All you have to do is say what you saw.
Me and Mr Stone were on the bridge,
we didn't know what those rockets were.
-Then tell them that.
-These lawyers, they twist things.
That's what they're paid to do. Very well paid.
-I'm not up to it, Mr Groves. I know I'm not up to it.
-Steady on, Gibson.
You saw the rockets and you went down and informed the captain.
That's true, isn't it?
Mr Lee tells me you're all off the Californian.
Yes, that's right.
That is for my husband, sir!
He went down on the Titanic. A good man. And a fine officer.
He remained on his ship. He gave his life to save as many as he could.
He did his duty. Why didn't you do yours?
Why didn't you do yours?
This is not the way, Margaret. I'm sorry, sir.
Come on, Margaret. We'll get someone to take you home.
I just came to wish Gibson luck.
How is our young friend?
Nervous as hell. He's gone to the toilet for the 25th time since lunch.
He'll be all right. He'll not let us down.
You did well in there. It mustn't be easy.
You'll find out soon enough.
-Pleased with yourself?
Are you happy with what you had to say?
If you have something to say to me, Mr Groves,
have the courage to say it plainly.
You know the truth. We all do.
The truth is the ship we saw was not the Titanic.
She fired up eight rockets, the same as the Titanic.
-Coincidence. It was another ship.
-These were distress rockets. Why didn't you do...something?
The captain gives the orders pertaining to our ship, Mr Groves.
We were in the middle of an ice field.
-We could have gone down, like the Titanic.
-We could have saved them.
-We were too far away.
-What do you mean?
The scrap log book will show exactly where we were.
It would show the whole world we're telling the truth. What happened to it?
-I don't know.
-I don't believe you.
Take care what you are saying, Mr Groves.
I do care, Mr Stone. I care a great deal!
-Were you an apprentice on the Californian?
On this night, between Sunday the 14th and Monday the 15th,
what time did you go on watch?
-12 o'clock midnight.
-Which of the officers was in charge?
-Did you form any view as to how far away this ship was?
From four to seven miles.
Did Mr Stone say anything to you about this ship?
That she had fired five rockets. He told me he'd reported it to the captain.
Did he tell you what the captain had instructed him to do?
-To call her up on Morse light.
-What had been the result?
She had not answered him, but had fired more rockets.
-Did you see her fire these rockets?
-I saw three rockets.
-What colour rockets were they?
Did you think yourself that there was anything wrong?
We had been talking about it together.
I should very much like you to tell me what you had been saying to the Second Officer.
He remarked to me
that a ship wasn't going to fire rockets at sea for nothing.
A ship was not going to fire rockets at sea for nothing.
-I daresay you agreed with him.
-Do I understand from you that Mr Stone came to the conclusion
that this was a ship in distress?
No, sir. Not exactly.
What do you mean by "not exactly"?
-Mr Stone said a ship does not fire rockets at night for nothing.
Does not that convey to you in his opinion this ship was in distress?
-Not exactly in distress, sir.
-That everything was not all right with her.
-In trouble of some sort?
-Did you know when the rockets were being sent up that they were being sent up as danger signals?
-What did you think the rockets were being up for?
I thought they were some sort of private signal.
Who told you they were private signals?
Nobody told me.
-Had you ever seen private signals of this kind?
What took place after that between you and Mr Stone?
About twenty minutes past one, Mr Stone remarked to me
that she was slowly steaming away towards the southwest.
Then Mr Stone remarked to me...
"Look at her now, she looks very queer in the water.
"Her lights look queer."
-Did you look at her then through your glasses?
-What did you see?
That she seemed to be heavily listed to the starboard.
She seemed to have a list and you thought to starboard?
Did you call Mr Stone's attention to this?
Yes. He remarked it to me at the time.
He told me to look through the glasses at it.
He told you to look through the glasses at that very thing?
-When did you first make that statement?
The statement you've just made, that you were told to look through the glasses at this list.
When did you first tell anybody that?
This is the first time.
You never told anybody until now in the witness box?
I have spoken to Mr Stone about it since. That is all.
Have you a clear recollection of that?
-Just tell us. You say you spoke to Mr Stone about it.
-What did he tell you?
-He said, "Look at her now, Gibson.
"Her lights look queer."
I told him... "She seems rather to have a big side out of the water."
We were talking about it all the time, sir.
Until five minutes past two, when she disappeared.
-What were the orders that Mr Stone gave you when she disappeared?
-"Call the captain and tell him
"the ship has disappeared in the southwest. And she's fired altogether eight rockets."
-Did you report that to the captain?
-Where did you go?
-Into the chart room.
-Did you find the captain there?
-Was he awake?
Did you give him the report that you were ordered to give him?
-What did the captain say?
He asked me, "Were they all whites?"
-He asked whether there was any colour in them at all.
-What did you tell him?
-I told him they were all white.
-Did he give any instructions?
Will you ask him what he understood by the word "disappeared"?
Yes, M'Lord. You say you were told to report that the ship had disappeared.
-What did you mean by "disappeared"?
-That we could not see anything more of her.
A ship goes out of sight when she goes down to the bottom.
What did you understand by the word "disappeared"?
That is all I could understand about it.
A ship that has been sending up rockets has disappeared.
Did you understand from Mr Stone to mean that she had gone down to the bottom?
-Well, what did you understand? That she'd steamed her way through the ice?
At any time, did Mr Stone say to you, "This vessel seems to be in distress"?
No... He said, "There must be something the matter with her."
Did he make any remarks to you as to the captain taking no action?
Did he say anything to you at all?
-Are you sure?
Did you say anything to yourself about it?
I only thought the same that he thought.
And what was that?
That a ship would not fire rockets at sea for nothing
and there must be something the matter with her.
Then you thought it was a case of some kind of distress?
PEOPLE IN THE GALLERY MURMUR
I'm sorry, captain, I did my best.
It's just, there were so many questions and it's hard to...
I know you did your best.
It's over now.
Go and have your smoke.
Mr Stone informed me about what passed between you earlier.
You will apologise to Mr Stone.
He is your superior officer, Mr Groves. And you will apologise.
My apologies, Mr Stone.
You may leave us now, Mr Stone.
I understand you may have some misgivings
about the evidence you'll give today.
We have, all of us, been under the most intolerable pressures.
Even the strongest of us might begin to doubt himself.
I don't doubt myself.
Then you will know that for the good of your comrades
and the greater good of the service you must do your duty today.
That is all that is required.
And that is the only loyalty you owe anyone.
I can see that you are troubled.
You have compassion, Mr Groves,
and that is a good thing in an officer.
But you must not allow your emotions to sway you.
Concern yourself only with the facts.
The ship had a list, a list to starboard.
It was the Titanic that we saw.
It was not.
-And you must not say that it was.
-You know that it was.
I know no such thing.
That's why there was no mention of the rockets in the logbook.
That's why the scrap logbook has gone missing,
so that you could put in the co-ordinates that suited you
the next day to say that we were nowhere near the Titanic.
Those are the facts.
Mr Groves, you lose the run of yourself.
And once the logbook is doctored to set the position we want to be in
then we can go ahead with the denials.
Deny we saw the Titanic,
deny we know what a distress rocket is.
Dear God, even the rawest recruit
knows a distress signal when he sees one.
I didn't know about any damned rockets.
Stone told you,
Gibson told you...
I was asleep!
And while you slept, the Titanic sank!
How dare you?
The Titanic sank because the captain chose to ignore iceberg warnings,
warnings that we gave him.
He made a mistake
and he paid for that mistake with the lives of his crew
and his passengers.
Mistakes can have terrible consequences, Mr Groves.
And you must not make one today.
We saw a ship,
It was not the Titanic.
They are dead.
We are living.
And there is nothing,
nothing that you can do to help bring any of them back.
Do your duty, Mr Groves.
Your duty to your captain and your crewmates.
The name's Lee.
I wanted to apologise.
Sorry about what happened.
The lady who slapped you.
Margaret's not herself.
Hasn't been herself since.
And I want you to know that I, that we, in the Titanic,
don't harbour any grudge.
I know you would have helped us if you could.
If you'd known it was us, you would've come straight for us.
Ice or no ice.
Just like if our situation were reversed,
-we'd have come for you.
We have an understanding,
a code of honour to look out for each other.
It's part of who we are.
HE HEARS EXPLOSIONS AND SCREAMS
Charles Victor Groves,
Charles Victor Groves to give evidence.
Your name is Charles Groves.
About 11:10, ship's time,
I made out a steamer coming up on our starboard.
Did you report that to the captain?
Yes, I went to the lower bridge and I told him.
Did you say what kind of steamer you thought she was?
I said she is evidently a passenger steamer.
Did you say why you thought she was a passenger steamer?
Yes, I told him I could see her deck lights and that that made me
pass the remark that she is evidently a passenger steamer.
How many deck lights had she? Had she much light?
Yes, a lot of light.
There was absolutely no doubt in her being a passenger steamer,
at least, in my mind.
You could see two masthead lights?
I did see two masthead lights.
Did you have any more conversation with the captain about the steamer?
He came up on the bridge and said,
"That does not look like a passenger steamer."
I said, "It is, sir. She put her lights out a few minutes ago."
Was anything said at the time about the Titanic?
He said, "The only passenger steamer near us is the Titanic."
Did the steamer continue on her course after that?
No, she stopped.
That was about 11:40,
her lights appeared to go out.
At 11:40, the engines were stopped on the Titanic.
Yes, my lord.
I stayed on the bridge until sometime between 12:10 and 12:15.
And you were then relieved by Mr Stone.
You were the officer of the watch from 8pm to midnight.
Would you, then, be keeping the scrap log?
I was keeping the scrap log.
Is the scrap log here?
It is not kept.
Is it destroyed from time to time?
There is one log always kept, of course.
But the scrap log is destroyed from time to time.
It is copied from the scrap log into the printed log.
Into this fair copy, this book which I have here?
Where is the scrap log book?
I expect it was thrown away.
Where was it thrown away to?
I expect it went over the side.
Did you throw it over the side?
I did not.
I do not know.
You would know that this book was the book which contained
the real record for 14 April.
Of course I knew that.
And by that time, of course, you knew,
and others on your ship knew that a very serious enquiry
was being made as to the position of your ship
and what she was doing on 14 April.
And by that time you knew that there was some discussion
as to whether that ship was the Titanic or some other ship?
That was a discussion amongst ourselves.
You must have seen the scrap log book the next day when he came on duty.
Do you know whether it contains any record of these rockets being seen?
I saw none myself.
If you had been keeping the scrap logbook
and had seen a succession of white rockets fired from this vessel,
would you have made a record in your scrap log?
Most decidedly, that is what the scrap logbook is for.
So I should have thought.
Then it would have been the business of the man who had this book
to record those facts.
I think so, my lord.
Who was he?
Mr Stone was on watch.
Therefore if Mr Stone did what you think was his duty
then this scrap logbook which was thrown away,
or in all events cannot be found,
would contain a record of those rockets having been seen?
Yes, my lord.
I must ask you something more -
if the Titanic was in latitude 41 degrees, 33...
and your vessel was, as stated in the log,
in latitude 42 degrees, 5,
the Titanic would be some 33 miles to the southward
of the position where you were lying stopped?
Yes, about 30 miles.
And if the Titanic was 30 miles to the southward,
I don't suppose you could see any navigation lights at that distance?
No, none whatsoever.
If this vessel which you did see was only some four or five miles
to the southward of you, do you think she could have been the Titanic?
That is a question I want this witness to answer.
Speaking as an experienced seaman, and knowing what you know now,
do you think that the steamer that was throwing up rockets
and that you say was a passenger steamer was the Titanic?
CLAMOUR OF VOICES
So that is British justice, is it?
I demand to appeal.
I'm afraid you don't have the right to appeal.
You're merely a witness.
You'd have to get the inquiry reopened,
and I don't think anyone wants to do THAT, do you?
So they can blacken my name forever?
These men, who have never even been to sea -
they can tarnish my reputation?
We haven't heard the findings of the inquiry yet.
Perhaps you fret prematurely, Captain.
Every officer and every man of my crew was an Englishman.
And no Englishman will stand by and see anyone or anything in distress
without trying to lend assistance.
-'These circumstances convince me...'
that the ship seen by the Californian was the Titanic.
When she first saw the rockets,
the Californian could have pushed through the ice
into open water without serious risk...
..and so have come to the assistance of the Titanic.
Had she done so, she might have saved many -
if not all - of the 1,500 lives that were lost.
'Captain Lord was blamed for failing to help the Titanic,
'and was sacked as captain.
'However, he managed to obtain a new command straight away
'and retired comfortably in 1927.
'Lord publicly blamed Stone for failing to tell him
'that the rockets he had seen were distress rockets.
'Herbert Stone was never seen fit to have command of a ship.
'Tormented by guilt, he left the Merchant Navy
'and ended his days as a dock labourer.
'He died in poverty.
'James Gibson had a successful career spanning 46 years
'and made second mate.
'Charles Groves eventually was promoted to captain
'and served with distinction in both World Wars.
'A century later, it has never been definitively proven
'whether the ship sighted from the deck of the Californian WAS the Titanic,
'but many experts believe that it was.
'If it was the Titanic,
'the reason why the Californian did not go to her
'remains a mystery to this day.
'Over 1,500 people lost their lives that night.'
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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.