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Date: 21 May 1915

Transcript:

FALABA INQUIRY
Alleged Defective Life Saving Appliances.

The Board of Trade enquiry into the loss of the steamship Falaba, which was torpedoed by a German submarine, was resumed in London to-day.

Mr. B. Woolley, surveyor of roads at the Gold Coast, stated that the lifebelt he got from his bunk had no tapes, and be had to get some string before he could fasten it on to himself.

Counsel representing the managing owners Messrs. Elder Dempster and Company and other parties, suggested that the tapes might have been torn from the lifebelt by the two passengers who previously got the lifebelts from the [s]ame bunk.

Mr. Chissell, an official of the Nigerian Eastern Railway, gave evidence that the crew of the German submarine laughed and jeered. The boat in which he got away kept afloat for about three hours but as soon as they left it, it fell to pieces like a match-box. Its rottenness caused it to fall to pieces.

Counsel for the Managing Owners: What kept it together for three hours?

Witness: By the men hanging on to it, and keeping it together. They held the airtight tanks on one side, and the gunwale and the bottom dropped out.

Replying to other questions, witness said they picked up some persons before the bottom dropped out. They swam to the boat and hung on to the gunwale.

Counsel: How did you get them into the boat?—We pulled them in.

Lord Mersey: The boat was then still afloat ?—No, it was submerged.

And after that the bottom fell out?—Yes.

What do you think caused the bottom to fall in?—The rotten condition of the boats.

Witness added that he was claiming £250 for personal injuries.

Counsel: You are well now?—I have been better.

Mr. P. J. Ryder, foreman of the works oi the Nigerian Railway, another passesnger, was of the opinion that the submarine was five miles away when he first saw her. The crew of the sub- marine laughed and jeered.


Source:
'Falaba Inquiry.' The Cambria Daily Leader. 21 May 1915. 5.

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