File No. 362.112T41/5
The Consul General at London ( Skinner ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4.45 p. m.]
Department’s 5th. Craig, managing director, Elder-Dempster, owners Falaba, testifies Thrasher embarked as second-class passenger March 27. Vessel torpedoed 28th, Thrasher not among saved. Dr. J. C. Fox, passenger, declares under oath before me saw submarine one mile distant. Falaba appeared endeavor to escape but on signal from submarine hove to, no resistance offered. Torpedo fired within ten minutes after Falaba hove to, one boat on davits being filled, about forty passengers on deck when torpedo struck. Could see no number or letter on submarine. Saw people swimming’ near submarine crying to it for help but no assistance was given or notice taken. No reason why submarine should hurry away as only a small trawler in sight on other side of Falaba. W. J. Barrell, passenger, sworn before me repeats testimony of Croft, adding: “Had submarine given us ten or fifteen minutes more before firing torpedo, all might have been saved as there were plenty of boats, no excitement, perfect order.”
Harry Dibley, passenger, sworn before me, declares Falaba sought escape but submarine signaled and Falaba hove to, torpedo fired within seven minutes when submarine approached flying British flag and made no attempt to rescue any one. Owing dispersion crew and passengers unable to-day to supply direct evidence Thrasher’s drowning. Coroner’s inquest at Milford Haven report proceedings expected to-morrow will be forwarded with affidavits by mail. Can be no doubt that Thrasher perished. Submarine [Page 360] believed to be U—31 but number was painted out. Have telegram from Liverpool stating chief officer states positively submarine flew British naval ensign and all witnesses state submarine without letter or number.