ALARM FROM LOOKOUT IGNORED, SAILOR SAYS

ALARM FROM LOOKOUT IGNORED, SAILOR SAYS

New York Times

Officer on Titanic's Bridge Had Warning of the Iceberg from the Crow's Nest.

Three warnings that an iceberg was ahead were transmitted from the crow's nest to the officers on the bridge of the doomed ship fifteen minutes before she struck, according to Thomas Whitely [sic], a first saloon steward, who now lies in St. Vincent's Hospital with frozen and lacerated feet. Whiteley. who was whipped overboard from the ship by a rope while helping to lower a lifeboat, finally reached the Carpathia aboard one of the boats which contained, he said, both the crow's nest lookouts.

He heard a conversation between them, he asserted, in which they discussed the warnings given to the Titanic's bridge of the presence of the iceberg. Whitely did not know the name of either of the lookout men, and he said he believed they had gone back home on the Lapland.

"I heard one of them say that fifteen minutes before the Titanic struck he had reported to First Officer Murdock [sic] on the bridge that he fancied he saw an iceberg," said Whitely. "Twice after that the lookout said he warned Mr. Murdock that a berg was ahead. I can't remember their exact words, but they were very indignant that no attention was paid to their warnings. One of them said: 'No wonder that Mr. Murdock shot himself.'"

Whitely was asked if he knew whether the reports from the crow's nest to the pilot house were made by telephone or signal. "I don't know how it was on this ship." he replied. "On some ships it is done by bells, three bells meaning danger straight ahead, two bells starboard, and one bell port. All I heard the lookout say was that hehad 'reported' to Mr. Murdock. "I saw the iceberg. It was very large and to me it looked black, or rather a darky instead of white."

Whitely said that in one of the first boats lowered the only passengers aboard were a man whom he was told told was a millionaire, his wife, his child, and his two valets. The others in the boat were firemen and coal trimmers, he said, seven in number, whom the man had promised to pay well if they would man the lifeboat. They made only thirteen in all. "I do not know the man's name,"' said Whitely. " I heard it, but have forgotten it. But I saw an order for £5, which the man gave to each of the crew after they got aboard the Carpathia. It was on a piece of ordinary paper addressed to the Coutts Bank in London.

We called that boat the 'money boat.' It was lowered from the starboard side, and was one of the first off. The orders were to load the boats beginning forward on the port side, working aft, and then back on the starboard. This man paid the firemen to lower a starboard boat before the officers had given the order.

Related Biographies:
Cosmo Edmund Duff Gordon
Frederick Fleet
Reginald Robinson Lee
Thomas Arthur Whiteley

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    Added to Encyclopedia Titanica Monday 12th January 2009, last updated .