Charge of Negligence Preferred by Canadian Official Is Supported by Witness
New York, April 20---Although J. Bruce Ismay branded the story as "absurd," Maj. Arthur Godfrey Peuchen, vice commodore of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club and an officer in the Queen's Rifles of Toronto, emphatically reiterated his charge that the managing director of the Steamship Trust was criminally negligent in not making an effort to avoid icebergs of whose imminence he had been warned.
"I cannot repeat too strongly that J. Bruce Ismay knew of the presence of icebergs, but deliberately 'took a chance,' for reasons which he can best explain," said Maj. Peuchen before leaving for Canada.
It will be easy to prove also that while the Titanic was in peril---in fact, within two hours of the actual collision---this man Ismay and Capt. Smith were members of a dinner party in the first cabin saloon."
Another witness has come forward to support the Canadian army officer in his contention that Ismay ordered faster speed after receiving a marconigram warning of the nearness of dangerous ice fields. She is Mrs. Walter D. Douglas, of Minneapolis, a first cabin passenger.
The major said that Mrs. Douglas was with him on the Carpathia when Mrs. Ryerson, of Philadelphia, who lost her husband and son on the Titanic, came up to them and told them that she had asked Ismay about the reported presence of icebergs. The exact words of Mrs. Ryerson as reported by Maj. Peuchen and later repeated privately to the Senatorial Investigating committee by Mrs. Douglas, were:
Late Sunday afternoon (just a few hours before the collision), while the Titanic was proceeding at a very great speed, I went to Mr. Ismay and said: Oh, Mr. Ismay, I have heard that the wireless has reported a large number of icebergs in the path of our ship. Are you not going to order her to slow down?
"He replied to me: 'On the contrary, Mrs. Ryerson, we are going to go along faster than we have been going.' And we did go faster."
Related Biographies:Mahala Douglas
Joseph Bruce Ismay
Arthur Godfrey Peuchen
Emily Maria Ryerson
Edward John Smith