Gentlemen, your Verdict
This is a story about decisions. The result of this decision was the death of fifteen crew members. A decision made by one person to end the lives of fifteen men to save five.
What would you do if you were the lieutenant of a submarine and you had to decide the fate of your crew? I don't think that I could make the same decision that Lieutenant-Commander Oram made.
After the submarine rested on a sandbank, about thirty fathoms down, it was time to assess the damage. The propellers were gone, the hatches were jammed, the radio was damaged, but still worked, and all but one of the crew survived. But the most serious problem was that there was only enough air to last the crew for two days. After speaking to the shore station the Lieutenant was told that rescue would not be for at least a week.
The decision that Lieutenant-Commander Oram made was to poison the fifteen men so that the remaining five could survive until they were rescued. Oram joined his fellow crew members after writing his report.
I think that Lieutenant-Commander Oram made his decision too hastily. The submarine had barely settled on the sand bed when he decided to kill them. I'm sure that the crew could have tried something to escape. There had to have been some kind of tools on board that they could use to pry one of the hatches open. Never mind the fact that they could have waited to see if the planes would be able to help. They were only grounded during the storm. I'm sure that it wouldn't have lasted for more that a day or two. In that time they could have been looking for another way...