Ex-Navy Man in Charge Tells “Daily Mirror" His Story.
68 IN LEAKING BOAT.
Steward’s Evidence at the Inquiry About Third-Class Passengers.
REFUSALS TO LEAVE SHIP
(From Our Special Correspondent)
SOUTHAMPTON May 16, - One of the most thrilling narratives of the Titanic, disaster is that of Frank Dymond, an ex-Navy man, who was placed in charge of boat No. 15, the last to leave the ship on the starboard side.
"Our boat had been damaged by striking the ship's gunwale when we were first lowered" he said. "The men on the second deck had to step across, about two feet from the rail to the side of the boat.
"There was a rush. Men clambered across anyhow. I saw we were full up, and I called out loudly, 'Lower away!" Three men fell into the sea, and one foreigner I had to hit as he jumped, and he too fell.
"Fred Barrett called up from boat 13 below us, 'Stop lowering, or you will swamp us.' I shouted this to the men-above, and we stopped six feet above the water. No, 13 got clear, and we dropped with a splash. We-all-got wet, and some water came into the boat.
The current drifted us under the propellers of the Titanic, which were sticking up in the air. She drew 33ft. of water, and her keel at the stern was 12ft. above our heads.
“It had taken us an hour to get the boat away, and was then about half-.past one. We drifted about 300 yards away.
WITH HIS CHILD IN HIS ARMS.
"There had been a lot of trouble keeping men oat of the boat before she left the boat-deck, A foreigner came up with a child in his arms and we tried to get the child from him to put-in the boat, but he would not give it up.
"At last we took him in too. We did not know till afterwards that it was his own child.
“ I had a tussle with a man who had two lifebelts on the ship’s deck. I had to stretch him out and take one away from him to give to a little Irishman who had none at-all.
"There-were sixty-eight people in the boat, including six other men from the stokehold and me.
"I was the only Navy man, and so I took command. It was fortunate I was there, for I found the plug and put it in, and made them all sit still.
“We had, to move very carefully, for the gunwales were never more than 6in. above the. water, and she was leaking on one side just about the water-level, where she had been bumped on the ship’s gunwale. We were only able to get at five of the eight oars, and the men only rowed to keep warm.
"I had my left hand on the tiller, and could not move to use my right instead. Noss sometimes relieved me with his left hand. Even now my left hand goes numb sometimes. I could not feel with it on the Carpathia.
"I had nothing on at all but a flannel sweater and dungaree pants. A spare sweater I had tucked in my belt I gave1 to a little trimmer named Fredericks beside me to put round his neck, Fred Barrett, in 13, was the same.
THE EXPLOSIONS AND AFTER.
"It was bitter cold The water was one degree below freezing point, and the air was colder.
"We had been in the water about fifteen minutes when the first explosion occurred. That was what finished her. If she had broken in two the after part would have floated, for she was not ripped all the way along by the collision.
“The stern came, down after the first explosion, and fifteen minutes later came another explosion, which must have been her aft boilers, for the stern went right up and all the lights went out.
"Then we heard the most awful noise one could possibly hear. Her machinery shifted with a grinding roar, and there were dreadful shrieks and cries on board and around her in the sea.
“And then, about fifteen, minutes later, and forty-five minutes from the time we entered the water, she plunged.
"There, was one 'Dago' in the boat who kept crying out, 'We are lost! We shall all be drowned!'
"And if I could have reached him I would have brained him with the tiller for he was scaring the women. The rest of the men were quiet.
"I made the women sit as low in the boat as possible to shelter them.
"Even when 15 was in the water I did not believe the ship would sink altogether.
"One of the pleasantest things I remember is what a little Irish girl said to me in the boat. 'It's like this, sir,' she said - she called me 'sir' because I was in command. - We know we are along with Englishmen, and we know we will get saved if there is any chance.'
"We burnt shirts, handkerchiefs, rags and bits of flannel raised up on the boathook. There were plenty of matches in the men's pockets, but the rags only smouldered alter the first blaze. A few men smoked cigarettes they had in their pockets."