> Titanic Information
The Final Seconds before Collision: Part 3 of 12
Bruce A. Trinque
Part 3 – Lookout Reginald Lee
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.
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,
Seven bells struck, and about ten minutes after Fleet
struck three bells?
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.
She veered to port. Her helm must have been put hard-a-starboard?
… You saw the iceberg as the vessel veered to
port, did you?
A: I saw it before that.
Yes, you had seen it before, but that had been reported?
Where did you get the iceberg – on what side of
A: On the starboard hand as she was veering to port.
You had the iceberg on your starboard side?
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.
Do you mean you were standing just about amidships?
A: Just about amidships in front of the nest.
You were watching the berg. You had got the berg on
the starboard side as the vessel’s head veered
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.