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index > rms titanic > the final seconds before collision: a 12 part series - part 10 of 12


By Bruce A. Trinque

Part 10 – Greaser Frederick Scott

British Enquiry:

Q: You were employed in the turbine engine room, starboard side?
A: Starboard side.

Q: Is that where you were when the collision happened?
A: Yes, just against the engine room door which parts the turbine room from the engine room.

Q: … You were standing by the door. Just tell us before you felt anything at all, did you see anything done?
A: No.

Q: You felt something; what was it?
A: I felt a shock and I thought it was something in the main engine room which had gone wrong.

Q: We know it was about 11.40?
A: Yes, about 20 minutes to 12.

Q: Did you notice the two telegraphs in the engine room?
A: Yes; four telegraphs rang.

Q: Were there four telegraphs?
A: She got four telegraphs, two emergency ones.

Q: Two emergency?
A: Yes, and two for the main engine.

Q: What did you notice?
A: I noticed "Stop" first.

Q: To which telegraph did that come?
A: On the main engines.

A: Let us get this clearly. I understand you are speaking now of the turbine room?
A: No, there are two stand-bys; you can see just the same in the turbine room; if you are standing at the engine room door you can see the two just the same.

Q: Where did you see those?
A: In the main engine room.

Q: That is where the reciprocating engines are?
A: Yes.

Q: The watertight door is open?
A: Yes.

Q: And you can see through?
A: Yes.

Q: Now I think we follow. When you speak of the four telegraphs, are they all there?
A: Yes.

Q: Or are there any in your room?
A: No, there are none in the turbine room at all, Sir, all in the main engine room.

Q: Was the telegraph signal that came the emergency or the ordinary telegraph?
A: That is to the main engine room. It is different. They ring the two on the main engine room, and then they ring two others just afterwards, the emergency ones.

Q: Did you hear the two?
A: All four went.

Q: Did you hear the two ordinary ones ring first?
A: No, they all four rang together.

Q: What did they ring?
A: "Stop."

Q: Was that before or after the shock?
A: After the shock.

Q: What was the next thing?
A: Then the watertight doors went.

Q: Was any reply given to the telegraph orders from the bridge?
A: Yes, they rang back from the engine room; the two greasers at the bottom rang back.

Q: It would be their duty, I suppose, to ring back?
A: Yes.

Q: Did you see them do that?
A: Yes.

Q: After they got the order to stop?
A: Yes, they were feeding the engines, and were close handy at the time.

Q: They happened to be there?
A: Yes.

Q: Then the next thing that happened was something with reference to the watertight doors?
A: Yes, the watertight doors all closed.

Q: Did you hear any bell ring first?
A: No, not for the watertight doors.

Q: Do you mean that without any signal they came down?
A: Yes.

Q: Which watertight doors are you speaking of?
A: All of them.

Q: … Will you go back a little to something you just mentioned before, that I want you to tell the Court a little more about; that is, orders that you heard in the main engine room. Do you remember? You were standing in the turbine engine room close to the door?
A: Yes.

Q: And you told us you heard what was going on in the main engine room?
A: The telegraph?

Q: Yes, I want you to tell my Lord what it was?
A: They rang down "Stop," and two greasers on the bottom rang the telegraph back to answer it. Then they rang down "Slow ahead." For ten minutes she was going ahead. Then they rang down "Stop," and she went astern for five minutes.

Q: The orders were "Stop," "Slow ahead," and then "Astern"?
A: No, it was "Stop," and then "Astern." She went astern for five minutes. Then they rang down "Stop."

Q: "Stop," "Slow ahead" - 10 minutes, you say?
A: Yes, about 10 minutes.

Q: Then "Stop" again?
A: Yes, "Stop"; then she went astern for about five minutes.

Q: Did you hear the order about "Astern"?
A: Well, it was on the telegraph.

Q: What was the order?
A: "Go astern" - "Slow astern." Then they rang down "Stop," and I do not think the telegraph went after that.

Q: A telegram came "Stop"?
A: Yes, and I do not think the telegraphs went after that.

Q: The first order you heard was "Stop"?
A: Yes.

Q: Did the engines stop before the order came "Slow ahead"?
A: Oh, yes.

Q: They did stop?
A: Yes.

Q: Then when the engines had stopped the order came "Slow ahead"?
A: Yes.

Q: Can you tell us at all what time passed between the order "Stop" and "Slow ahead"?
A: I should say about 10 minutes or a quarter of an hour.

Q: "Stop," of course, comes at once?
A: It comes at once. They cannot stop the engines at once.

Q: That is what I want. They cannot stop them at once?
A: No; they are bound to let the steam get out of the cylinder first, otherwise they would blow the cylinder covers off if they tried to stop them at once.

Q: You would not know how long it would take to stop the engines?
A: No, I do not.

Q: … "Stop," then ten minutes "slow ahead" and then again "stop"?
A: Yes.

Q: Then how long between "stop" and "slow astern"?
A: I suppose that was a matter of about four or five minutes.

Q: That is between "stop" and "slow astern." And how long between "slow astern" and "stop" for the last time?
A: Five minutes.

Q: … Is it your view that the engines were not stopped until after the crash?
A: No. We did 75 revolutions at 11 o'clock.

Q: … You remember the order to stop?
A: Yes.

Q: That, I suppose, was obeyed instantaneously by the men in the engine room?
A: Yes.

Q: The next order was "Slow ahead"?
A: Yes.

Q: Now, what time elapsed between the order to stop and the order to slow ahead?
A: About 10 minutes.

Q: And what was happening during that 10 minutes? Had the ship ceased to move and the engines ceased to move?
A: When they rang down "Stop" they shut the steam off, and then it is bound to go on until the steam is right out of her.

Q: How long does that take?
A: About 10 minutes.

Q: … Let us get it clear. There comes the order to stop?
A: Yes.

Q: And that is obeyed by the engineers instantly?
A: Yes.

Q: But you say there is some steam that has to be exhausted?
A: Yes.

Q: And while that steam is being exhausted, although the engineer has stopped his engines - that is, say, done what is necessary to stop them - the engines continue to revolve?
A: Yes.

Q: Now how long after the engineer has put on the stop do the engines revolve?
A: About five revolutions.

Q: … The five revolutions are of no account, and therefore my first impression that "Stop" meant what it says was right. The engines had stopped.
A: It just turned five times, that is all.

Q: And then they remained in that stopped condition for 10 minutes?
A: Yes.

Q: The point I am upon is whether you felt the shock before the stop came or after?
A: After - no, before. It was when the shock came that they rang down to stop the engines.

Q: Do you say the shock came first?
A: No, afterwards.

Q: After the order to stop came the shock?
A: No.

Q: … Did you ever see the dial of this telegraph at all, or are you only going by the rings?
A: No, I saw it.


Although there is some confusion in part of Greaser Scott’s testimony, on the whole it is evident that he wished to say that the shock of the collision came before the telegraph order to stop the engines. The impression given, although not explicitly stated, appears to be that only a short time passed between these events. Scott testified that the order to stop was the first order received and, according to him, the only order to reverse the engines came long afterwards, perhaps half an hour. This conflicts with the conversation between Murdoch and Captain Smith as reported by Boxhall.

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