Augustus Henry Weikman: Affidavit
APRIL 24, 1912.
Mr. A. H WEIKMAN:
I certify that my occupation on the Titanic was known as the saloon barber. I was sitting in my barber shop on Sunday night, April 14, 1912, at 11.40 p.m., when the collision occurred. I went forward to the steerage on “G” deck and saw one of the baggage-masters, and he told me that water was coming in in the baggage room on the deck below. I think the baggageman’s name was Bessant. I then went upstairs and met Mr. Andrews, the “builder,” and he was giving instructions to get the steerage passengers “on deck.” I proceeded along “E” deck to my room on “C” deck. I went on the main deck and saw some ice laying there. Orders were given, “All hands to man the lifeboats, also to put on life belts.” Who gave the orders? “Mr. Dodd, second steward.”
I helped to launch the boats, and there seemed to be a shortage of women. When I was on “E” deck I met the captain returning from “G” deck, who had been there with Mr. Andrews, and the captain was on the bridge at that time. I did not think there was any danger. What happened after the orders were given? Instructions were given to get the passengers into life belts and get on deck from all the staterooms. Did you see Mr. Ismay? Yes. I saw Mr. Ismay helping to load the boats. Did you see him get in a boat? Yes; he got in along with Mr. Carter, because there were no women in the vicinity of the boat. This boat was the last to leave, to the best of my knowledge. He was ordered into the boat by the officer in charge. I think that Mr. Ismay was justified in getting in that boat at that time.
I was proceeding to launch the next boat when the ship suddenly sank at the bow and there was a rush of water that washed me overboard, and therefore the boat was not launched by human hands. The men were trying to pull up the sides when the rush of water came, and that was the last moment it was possible to launch any more boats, because the ship was at an angle that it was impossible for anybody to remain on deck. State further what you know about the case. After I was washed overboard I started to swim, when there was a pile of ropes fell upon me, and I managed to get clear of these and started to swim for some dark object in the water. It was dark. This was about 1.50 a.m. toward the stern. How do you know it was 1.50 a.m.? Because my watch was stopped at that time by the water. Did you hear any noise? Yes; I was about 15 feet away from the ship when I heard a second explosion. What caused the explosion? I think the boilers blew up about in the middle of the ship. The explosion blew me along with a wall of water toward the dark object I was swimming to, which proved to be a bundle of deck chairs, which I managed to climb on. While on the chairs I heard terrible groans and cries coming from people in the water. Was it possible to help them? No; it was not. The lifeboats were too far away. Do you think if the lifeboats were nearer they could render any assistance? Yes; had the lifeboats remained close to the Titanic they could have take 10 to 15 or maybe 20 more passengers to each boat. There was a great number of people killed by the explosion, and there was a great number that managed to get far enough away that the explosion did not injure them, and these are the people that I think could have been saved had the lifeboats been close. Did you see the ship go down? I mean the Titanic. Yes; I was afloat on chairs about 100 feet away, looking toward the ship. I seen her sink. Did you feel any suction? No; but there was some waves come toward me caused by the ship going down, and not enough to knock me off of the chairs. How many lifeboats were there on the Titanic? About 18 or 20 and four collapsible boats, and the best equipment possible to put on a ship. Do you think there was enough lifeboats? No. Do you know anything about the water-tight doors? Yes; she had self-closing doors of the latest type, and they all worked, to the best of my knowledge. How fast was she going when she struck the iceberg? I think about 20 knots per hour. I was told by Mr. Ismay that she was limited to 75 revolutions several days before.
A. H. WEIKMAN.
Subscribed and sworn to this 24th day of April, A. D. 1912.