Puslapio vaizdai

laid on the chart, and with an indefinite course assigned to a young and inexperienced watch officer to follow, which was in disobedience to instructions contained in the official buoy list. That the ship was proceeding without a regular assigned lookout. That a proper lookout would have sighted the S-4 long before the collision. That this submarine in all probability wanted to be seen. Two periscopes were well up and out of the water. That she was proceeding at considerable speed and throwing off an easily distinguishable feather from her periscopes. That it was on account of not having a lookout that she was not seen. He claims that the Paulding changed course radically when close to the range buoys and the S-4 in such a way as to make it impossible for the S-4 to avoid collision.

Commander LeRoy Reinburg, counsel for the Coast Guard, made argument as follows:

He stated that he had not intended to submit any statement, but in view of the many misstatements and unfavorable reports to Coast Guard personnel on the part of the counsel for the S-4, he feels that he should address the court. He states that the Paulding was not going into Provincetown on the afternoon of the disaster but was carrying out her assigned duty of patrolling the Massachusetts Bay area, scrutinizing surface vessels; that a speed of 18 knots is not excessive for a vessel of this type but is near her economical speed, her full speed being 30 to 31 knots. He agrees that the officers and men of the submarine flotilla are among the most efficient in the Navy and he did add that the entire personnel of the Navy is one of the most efficient organizations in the world; that the crew of the Paulding are not educated enough to be biased in giving testimony before the court; that they had no opinions nor conjectures nor conclusions of their own; that they told their stories frankly and without instructions. He states that he has not spoken to any enlisted men who gave testimony before the court and believes that the court will agree with him that the average witnesses of the Coast Guard compare favorably in mentality and character with enlisted men of other branches of the Government service. He goes over the maneuvering test carried out while the court was in session by another destroyer and another submarine at Provincetown wherein it was attempted to duplicate the conditions just before the collision. He states that the naval officers testified that, under the circumstances, each would have acted in the emergency as did Captain Bayliss of the Paulding and that three different submarine observers testified that they consider a submarine operating submerged should keep clear of surface vessels.

He admits that the Coast Guard knew of the trial course, the remarks in the buoy list regarding the character of the white range buoys and that mariners must keep clear of them. He also states that the pilot publication issued by the Department of Commerce recommends to ship masters the best route from sea into Provincetown and specifies courses on which the standardization ranges are laid down; that submarine commanders have testified that it is the mission of submarines to see and not be seen and that in view of many improved devices installed on submarines since the war, the use of the submarine warning flag is no longer considered necessary. He believes, however, that seafaring people consider that they should be told when submarines are operating in waters close to our coast; that it is obvious from the evidence that the Paulding had right of way at the time of the accident according to the international rules of the road which are incorporated in the Federal statutes and that these rules also require, under a general prudential clause, that the master of a vessel who has the right of way, shall do everything he can to avoid a collision when he sees that a collision is imminent; that Captain Bayliss of the Paulding is a seasoned sailor of 26 years' sea service and that his actions at the time of the disaster are well thought of in that he took immediate bearings of the point of the collision, threw overboard a buoy at this spot, lowered his life boat in order that any survivors might be picked up, in which the crew in charge of a commissioned officer were not fully clothed, and that the temperature was below freezing; that he immediately made a report by radio to the commandant of the naval district, Boston, knowing that this officer should be apprised of the disaster; that other Coast Guard destroyers were called immediately to the scene of the wreck and remained there more than 24 hours until the naval forces had gathered in large numbers; that the accident was not the fault of the Coast Guard and that it had taken place with a unit belonging to the Coast Guard's best friend.

The court then proceeded to the determination of the finding of facts and the giving of their opinions, a copy of which is attached.


The most important points in the above are as follows: That the collision was caused by failure on the part of the S-4 to take proper action to clear the Paulding and by failure on the part of the Paulding to sight and to recognize as a submarine the S-4 in time to clear her; that the cause of the failure on the part of the S-4 can not be determined; that the cause of the failure on the part of the Paulding was due to the lack of a proper lookout; that the actions taken by the commanding officer of the Paulding after sighting the S-4 were proper and correct; that prompt and appropriate action was taken by the commanding officer of the Paulding, the Coast Guard officer and crew at Wood End Life Saving Station; Admiral Andrews, the commandant of the first naval district, Boston; the commandants of the navy yard, Portsmouth; submarine base, New London; torpedo station, Newport; and the commander of the control force, Admiral Brumby. That the Navy Department assembled at Provincetown, in the shortest time possible, all officers and men in the Navy best qualified in deep sea rescue and salvage operations, including Mr. Ellsbarg, the foremost expert in the United States, and probably in the world; that the operations to rescue the crew of the S-4 were logical, sound and most promising of early success; that no known device or equipment employed in the rescue operations either in the Navy or owned by commercial concerns could have saved the life of those on board the S-4; that the responsibility for the accident rests jointly upon Lieut. Commander R. K. Jones, United States Navy, commanding the U. S. S. S−4, and Lieut. Commander John S. Bayliss, United States Coast Guard, commanding the Paulding, and that serious blame was incurred by them.

The court recommends that reference to submarine warning flags now on pilot charts be omitted therefrom in future publications; that a technical board be appointed to study the subject of rescue and salvage fittings, safety_devices, equipment, etc., for submarine work; that Rear Admiral Frank H. Brumby, United States Navy, commander of the control force, and officer in charge of rescue and salvage operations at Provincetown, be detached from command of the control force for the reason that he had not the familiarity with the essential details of construction of submarines and the knowledge of rescue vessels and of the actual work being carried on by his subordinates, necessary to direct intelligently the important operations of which he was in charge. This, notwithstanding the accompanying statement that the plans approved by Admiral Brumby were logical, intelligent, and were diligently executed with good judgment. and the greatest possible expedition

The proceedings, findings, and opinions of the naval court of inquiry were made public on February 8, 1928, and a copy sent to the Secretary of the Treasury for his information. On February 18 Secretary Mellon addressed a letter to the Secretary of the Navy along the following lines:

That a board under his direction had been appointed to study the testimony, opinions, etc., of the board; that this board is of the opinion that no blame attaches to the commanding officer of the destroyer Paulding; that it was considered there was on the bridge of the Paulding an adequate lookout at the time of the accident; that, in view of the information on the charts regarding submarine warning flags, the commanding officer of the Paulding relied upon this information in the operation of his vessel that day and proceeded along the usual course followed by vessels near Wood End Light; that the Paulding was proceeding at the usual and proper speed, manned by experienced officers and men, an adequate number of whom were present on the bridge directing the course of the vessel and attentive to their duty, and that the Paulding's officers had never seen a submarine operating previously on the range submerged; that if the officer at the periscope of the submarine had been scanning the horizon he would have seen the destroyer in plenty of time to avoid her. Again, that if the submarine had remained on the trial course between the buoys without encroaching on the fairway outside, no collision would have taken place; that the tug Wandank detailed to the submarine as a tender, for these tests, was at anchor in the harbor less than four miles distance at the time of the collision and displayed no warning flag; that this tug could easily have been placed opposite the course of the submarine with the warning flag displayed without interfering with the conduct of the test.

The Secretary of the Treasury states that his department can not permit an experienced, capable officer in the Coast Guard to be blamed for a collission for which his department has determined, after careful investigation, he was not. responsible.

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The Chief of Bureau of Navigation in the Navy Department, having control of personnel matters and discipline, states that he can not concur in the findings of the court to the effect that there is a personal responsibility for the collision resting on the late Lieut. Commander R. K. Jones of the S-4 since it is not shown with the requisite definiteness that said Lieutenant Commander Jones was directly and personally responsible for a share in the collision that is properly attributable to the S-4, that it is not definitely known that Lieutenant Ĉommander Jones was personally in charge of the submarine at the time of the collision since it is not known what actually transpired on board the S-4. He states that the court's recommendation in regard to the detachment of Rear Admiral Brumby does not appear to follow logically from the testimony and statements made elsewhere by the court and that he recommends that the court be reconvened for the purpose of setting forth more particularly and completely the reasons on which such opinion and recommendations were based.

The court was ordered by the Secretary to reconvene, and did so on February 20 in Washington, for the purpose of setting forth with completeness and particularly its reasons on which the opinion and recommendations were based in regard to the personal responsibility of the commanding officer of the S-4 and of the commanding officer of the Paulding, respectively, for the collision which resulted in the sinking of the S-4, and the recommendation made by the court in regard to Rear Admiral Frank H. Brumby, United States Navy. The court sat with closed doors and upon completing its meetings submitted the reasons, roughly, as follows:

As to the responsibility of the two commanding officers of the ships, the Navy Regulations provide that a commanding officer is always responsible for the safe conduct of the ship and that this has been the rule of the sea from time immemorial; that the court did not and could not fix the degree of responsibility of the respective commanding officers other than to hold that serious blame was incurred by both; that Lieutenant Commander Jones was seen in command of his vessel shortly before the S-4 started to make her runs on the afternoon of the collision and that, had anything happened during the trials to incapacitate him for the active command of the S-4, it is most probable that the trials would have been immediately suspended. Therefore, it was the court's opinion that Lieutenant Commander Jones was actually in charge of the vessel at the time of the collision; that under both the rules and the submarine doctrine it was obviously the duty of the commanding officer of the S-4 to keep clear of the Paulding and that the fact there was a collision shows that he did not discharge his duty in this respect; that Lieutenant Commander Bayliss was in command of his vessel at the time of the accident; that the Paulding was under his orders and was steaming at 18 knots in the immediate vicinity of the inner measured mile course, primarily marked as such on the chart; that the Massachusetts Buoy List requires masters of vessels to keep clear of the range buoys on the outer trial course. That, in spite of the warning given in the buoy list and the information on the chart, the Paulding passed through the operating area of the outer trial course and entered the operating area of the inner trial course at a speed of 18 knots; that two members of the Coast Guard station at Sood End had seen the periscope or the feather of the periscope of the S-4 running submerged immediately before the collision at a distance of more than 1,200 yards; that the observation of the members of the court under weather conditions simulating that of the condition at the time of the collision convinced the court that a well-trained lookout could and should have seen the periscopes and the feathers of the periscopes in ample time to avoid collision; that there was no proper lookout on the Paulding having exclusive duty as lookout and properly stationed so as to have an unobstructed view; that the personnel on the bridge of the Paulding at the time of the accident and immediately prior thereto, who were supposed to keep a lookout, all had other primary duties to perform, and, in fact, were performing other duties which precluded maintaining a proper lookout so that the S-4 was not sighted until within 75 yards of the Paulding at which time the collision was inevitable. That the commanding officer of a vessel is responsible for a proper lookout being kept on a vessel under his command; that had there been a proper lookout on the Paulding and had the S-4 been sighted when she should have been sighted there can be no doubt that any skillful seaman under the "general prudential rule" should and would have so maneuvered his ship as to avoid collision.

As to the recommendation in regard to Rear Admiral Brumby, the court states that in its opinion the five months during which Admiral Brumby had been in command of the control force was sufficient time for him to acquire a

familiarity with the essential details of construction of submarines and a knowledge of the rescue vessel under his command, even though he may not have had any special knowledge of these types of vessels previously; that the lack of such knowledge on the part of Rear Admiral Brumby prevented him from contributing that superior and intelligent guidance, force, and sound judgment expected from an officer of his length of service, experience, and position; and that holding such an opinion, the court believed it was its duty to report that opinion to the Secretary of the Navy.

The court further believed the usefulness of Rear Admiral Brumby as commander of the control force was so impaired by the lack of knowledge shown in his testimony that he should be detached from that command. Various details of Admiral Brumby's testimony were then quoted to show that he was not familiar with the details of the work.

Admiral Brumby, who was at this time in charge of the control force operating in the Caribbean, was called upon for a statement regarding the unfavorable recommendation of the court in regard to himself. His statement is to the effect that prior to his appearing before the court at Boston the judge advocate had told him in a general way what he wanted to cover and that the testimony had been directed along these lines; that there were other officers at hand who could give technical details to the court and who were to testify afterwards; that he anticipated no technical questions and, therefore, could answer them only in general terms; that he invites the department's attention to the conditions prevailing at the scene of the disaster for the first few days and that a period of nearly four weeks had elapsed between that time and the date on which he testified before the court; that during this period his time and attention were fully occupied with the work at hand and that he feels it natural, under the conditions and press of circumstances, that some details should escape his memory; that when the court asked questions that he could not answer with absolute certainty he said that he did not know in order to save time and to avoid giving vague answers, although at the time of the operations he was fully conversant with the work going on and could have answered any technical questions regarding it. After considering the above report of the court of inquiry in revision, the Chief of Bureau of Navigation, Navy Department, stated that he still disapproved the findings of the court that any personal responsibility rested on Lieut. Commander R. K. Jones of the S-4 and that he did not concur in the court's recommendation regarding Rear Admiral Brumby and recommended that no action be taken by the department along the lines set forth by the court.

The S-4 was raised on the 17th of March, 1928, and was placed in dry dock in the Boston Navy Yard, March 19, 1928, at which time a board of investigation convened to make a careful and complete examination of the S-4 and report upon the condition of all machinery, position of all valves, fittings, and other operating equipment. The board found out very little of importance that had not already been ascertained by the divers while the vessel was on the bottom. On the 15th of March, Lieut. Commander Thomas J. Doyle, United States Navy, counsel for the personnel of the S-4 submitted a letter to the Secretary of the Navy protesting against the finding of facts and the opinion and recommendations of the court of inquiry. His point is that it was the radical changes of course and illogical handling on the part of the Paulding that caused the collision and that the S-4 was doing her best to avoid the Paulding. He insists that the S-4 tried to dive to get under the Paulding at the last minute. That when she first started to come to the surface she was far enough away to show herself properly to the Paulding and enable the Paulding to avoid her but that the Paulding was not keeping a lookout and did not see the S-4 until very close at which time the Paulding was swung to the right and ran into the S-4. In other words, that had the Paulding not swung to the right there would have been no collision. That there is nothing to show an error of judgment on the part of the S-4, any more than one might say an automobile driver's judgment is at fault to be driving his car at a time when another driver suddenly swerves his car over to the wrong side of the road and collides.

On the 26th of March, 1928, the Secretary of the Navy directed that the court of inquiry reconvene at the navy yard, Boston, Mass., for the purpose of obtaining such additional information as might be then available since the S-4 had been raised. The court studied the report of the board of investigation previously mentioned, also the S-4 herself, and called various witnesses as follows:

Lieut. Commander E. P. Eldridge, United States Navy, a submarine member of the board of investigation, told the court what was found inside the submarine.

He stated that as far as he could see there was nothing in the S-4 to indicate loss of control or lack of control of the ship and that the ship was in normal condition for operating at the time of the accident. That no soda lime containers were

found in the S-4.

Lieut. Commander George B. Dowling, Medical Corps, attached to the Naval Hospital as pathologist stated that in his opinion the six bodies removed from the torpedo room indicated a death from drowning.

Commander H. E. Saunders, Construction Corps, stated that he had accompanied the board of investigation when they examined the S-4 in dry dock and that from his investigation during the salvage operations and since, the watertightness and air-tightness of the vessel as a whole was remarkably good. He reconstructed for the court his idea of what happened within the S-4 at the time she went down.

The court found that the bow of the Paulding pierced a hole in the pressure hull of the S-4, 22 feet long and 1 foot wide, on the starboard side, which permitted water to flow into the battery compartment of the vessel and also damaged one main ballast tank. That the control room of the submarine was completely flooded immediately after the flooding of the battery compartment by means of water passing through a ventilating pipe in the bulkhead. That this ventilating pipe and valves in it were clogged with débris washed in by the rush of water which prevented the valves from closing. That neither the ballast-tank salvage line or the compartment salvage line was damaged. That no soda lime was carried in the S-4. That all personnel in the S-4 died from drowning. That the S-4 at the time of the accident was in normal operating condition.

The court considered the letter previously mentioned which had been submitted by Lieut. Commander T. J. Doyle, counsel for the personnel in the S-4, but made no remarks in regard to it.

Early in April, 1928, the Secretary of the Navy disapproved the recommendation of the court of inquiry in regard to Rear Admiral Frank H. Brumby, United States Navy.


1. The court first met at 10 a. m. on January 4, 1928, at the navy yard, Boston, Mass., and decided to sit with open doors.

2. At the request of the court, the S-8 was at the Boston Navy Yard available for the use of the court under orders from the Navy Department. The S-8 is a sister ship of the S-4. During the period from December 12 to December 17 she had been engaged in standardization trials under orders similar to those under which the S-4 was acting and had finished these tests.

3. The Coast Guard destroyer Paulding, one of the vessels in collision, was hauled out on the ways at the Boston Navy Yard. The Monaghan, the sister ship of the Paulding, was also made available for the use of the court of inquiry.

4. The Falcon, Bushnell, and the S-6, another sister ship of the S-4, were at Provincetown, Mass., engaged in the salvage of the S-4.

5. The court determined to sit at the navy yard, Boston, where the Coast Guard destroyer Paulding and the U. S. S. S-8 could be used for reference during the taking of testimony. It also determined to visit the scene of the collision as frequently as might be necessary in order to inform itself as fully as possible of all facts surrounding the collision and rescue operations, holding practical demonstrations and reenactments as might be deemed desirable.

6. Having obtained testimony in regard to the movements of the Paulding and the S-4 through the captain of the Paulding, the captain of the S-8, and other testimony, a day was devoted to the reenactment of the events preceding the collision, using the Monaghan, the sister ship of the Paulding, and the S-6, the sister ship of the S-4. The movements of the vessels were regulated to correspond to those of the Paulding and S-4 on the day of the accident, restricted by certain limitations imposed to safeguard the crews; the speeds were identical and the hour of the day the same.

7. On the S-6 were four experienced submarine commanders and on the Monaghan were three experienced destroyer commanders, as observers; there were also on the Monaghan the captains of the Conyngham and Paulding. The court was on the tug Sagamore anchored in prolongation of the range of the standardization course about 350 yards from the buoy C-AA and 200 yards from the wreck of the S-4.

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