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index > rms titanic > the final seconds before collision: a 12 part series - part 3 of 12


By Bruce A. Trinque

Part 3 – Lookout Reginald Lee

British Enquiry:

Q: Before half-past eleven on that watch – that is, seven bells – had you reported anything at all, do you remember?
A: There was nothing to be reported.

Q: Then what was the first thing you did report?
A: The first thing that was reported was after seven bells struck; it was some minutes, it might have been nine or ten minutes afterwards. Three bells were struck by Fleet, warning “Right ahead,” and immediately he rung the telephone up to the bridge. “Iceberg right ahead.” The reply came back from the bridge, “Thank you.”

Q: Seven bells struck, and about ten minutes after Fleet struck three bells?
A: Yes.

Q: Did you notice what the ship did?
A: As soon as the reply came back “Thank you,” the helm must have been put hard-a-starboard or very close to it, because she veered to port, and it seemed almost as if she might clear it, but I suppose there was ice under water.

Q: She veered to port. Her helm must have been put hard-a-starboard?
A: Yes.

Q: … You saw the iceberg as the vessel veered to port, did you?
A: I saw it before that.

Q: Yes, you had seen it before, but that had been reported?
A: Yes.

Q: Where did you get the iceberg – on what side of you?
A: On the starboard hand as she was veering to port.

Q: You had the iceberg on your starboard side?
A: Yes.

Q: You were on the starboard side of the crow’s nest, you told us?
A: Just at that time I happened to be in front of the nest, because as the nest is semi-circular the telephone is in the corner of the nest on the starboard side. My mate was telephoning from there, and I was standing in the front of the nest watching the boat.

Q: Do you mean you were standing just about amidships?
A: Just about amidships in front of the nest.

Q: You were watching the berg. You had got the berg on the starboard side as the vessel’s head veered to port?
A: Yes.


Lookout Lee’s testimony is in good agreement with Fleet’s (although Lee was more forthcoming with distance estimates; elsewhere in his testimony, he estimated that the iceberg might have been half a mile distant or more or perhaps less when he first saw it). They see the iceberg; Fleet rings the bell three times; Fleet telephones the bridge to say “Iceberg right ahead” and is thanked for his information. Lee stated that the ship started to veer to port as soon as Fleet’s telephone message had been acknowledged. Nothing in Lee’s testimony directly addresses the length of time between the helm being put hard over and the instant of collision.

Intro, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12



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