Titanic Sinking - Ismay's Testimony


Not the Custom of the White Star Line to Try to Break Records.


Awakened by Crash---Doesn't Know About Bulkheads---Ship Sank In 2 Hours and 25 Minutes.

J. Bruce Ismay was asked at the pier last night whether he did not desire at this time to answer the charges that have been made that on the first trip of great liners it is the custom to speed in order to obtain the advertising which is bound to follow the saving of time.

"That statement is absolutely false," replied Mr. Ismay with more animation than he showed at any time during the interview. "I can speak for the White Star Line that such a proceeding is not the case, and that the Titanic at no time during her voyage had been at full speed."

Mr. Ismay was asked to tell something about the accident.

"I was asleep at the time. I came on deck. The officers were doing their duty. Capt. Smith I did not see."

He was asked a number of questions, to which he replied that he did not see the things he was questioned about.

"The ship sank in two hours and twenty-five minutes after the collision," said Mr. Ismay. An interviewer broke in to ask:

"Is it not true that she remained afloat long enough to save all if there had been enough boats ?'

"I decline to answer," replied Mr. Ismay.

Mr. Ismay was then asked what boat, in their order of departure, he left the ship in, and, misunderstanding the question, he replied:

"I went in the starboard collapsible boat."

"Did you go in the first or the second boat?"

Mr. Ismay thought for a second and then said:

"I went in the last boat."

Can't Tell About Bulkheads.

"Mr. Ismay, there has been much discussion as to the efficacy[sic] of the modern bulkhead and the automatically closing doors. Did the bulkhead doors work for the rapid sinking of the vessel?"

"As to the bulkheads, I do not know how they held. I was in my room when the collision came. I believe that in this case the whole bilge of the ship was torn as she struck a glancing blow."

Mr. Ismay was asked how long after the collision the lights remained lighted.

"It was not twenty minutes," he replied. "It was not long after that."

Mr. Ismay said that he did not see the ship go down and heard no explosion. He was asked what the first sensation was, and he replied that, while there had been no great shock, he was, nevertheless, awakened.

"I woke and it felt as though the Titanic had struck a glancing blow and the ship was going heaving up."

Mr. Ismay could offer no suggestion as to the delay in sending wireless messages and he said he knew nothing of the Carpathia's refused to answer questions from President Taft.

His Wireless Delayed.

"I sent a message, a brief summary of the fact, telling that the vessel had been in collision, and had sunk. This was at 11 A. M. on Monday."

P. A. S. Franklin, Vice President of the International Mercantile Marine here, broke in to say that that message was only received yesterday morning.

Makes Formal Statement.

The question was asked how happen to be one of the "mostly women and children" who were saved, as some one put it. He talked in reply of the magnificent behavior of the crew and expounded on how brave they acted.

Again he was asked how he happened to be among the survivors, and Mr. Franklin broke in and said that Mr. Ismay was distraught with the excitement and shock and that such a question was unfair. Mr. Ismay suffered himself to be led away.

Senator Smith was asked whether Mr. Ismay had described what had occurred.

"Yes, he went into detail, but I prefer to have him tell you rather than myself," replied the Senator.


Titanic Fireman Declares He Got in "with Millionaires."

Harry Senior, a fireman on the Titanic, said last night:

"I was in my bunk when I felt a bump. One man said, "Hello, she has been struck.' I went on deck and saw a great pile of ice on the well deck below the forecastle, but we all thought the ship would last some time, and we went back to our bunks. Then one of the firemen came running down and yelled, "All muster for the lifeboats!" I ran on deck and the Captain said:

"All firemen keep down on the well deck. If a man comes up I'll shoot him."

"Then I saw the first boat lowered Thirteen people were on board, eleven men and two women. Three were millionaires and one was Ismay.

"Then I ran up on the hurricane deck and helped to throw one of the collapsible boats on to the lower deck. I saw an Italian woman holding two babies. I took one of them and made the woman jump overboard with the baby, while I did the same with the other. When I came to the surface with the baby in my arms was dead. I saw the woman strike out in good style, but a boiler burst on the Titanic and started a big wave. When the woman saw that wave she gave up. Then, as the child was dead, I let it sink, too.

"I swam around for about half an hour, and was swimming on my back when the Titanic went down. I tried to get aboard a boat, but some chap hit me over the head, with an oar. There were too many in her. I got around to the other side of the boat and climbed in. There were thirty-five of us on board, including the second officer, and no woman. I saw any amount of drowning and dead around us. We picked one man off an over-turned boat and he died just as he was pulled over the side.

"Later the second officer signaled to some other boats and some of us were transferred to them. We, sighted the Carpathia at daybreak, after being in the boat about five hours. As soon as I got on board I was put in the hospital and taken good care of."

The New York Times, New York, NY 19 Apr 1912