What follows is something I sent Mr. Hind, at the suggestion of Bob Knuckle. I guess he got overloaded with e-mails or something, and that's okay. I'm not a big Titanic researcher, but I do have an interest in the events leading up to the sinking, and the conduct of the officers during the sinking.
I realise that this is not an incredibly popular topic due to the recent acts over at Fairview Cemetary (I'm neutral). However, what I really want is someone to either tell me I'm on to something, I'm conjecturing, or I'm full of it. Personally, I think I may be overreaching. Sorry for the length. I'm a bit long winded, and I wrote this up before my Income Tax final....
Mr. Knuckle compiled a detailed list of the interred that can be found in Fairview Cemetery in Nova Scotia. I happened to come across Mr. Knuckle's list while surfing the Internet. Mr. Knuckle's list can be found on the following website: http://museum.gov.ns.ca/mma/titanic/victims.htm
While searching through the list, I noticed that his list identifies #308 as an engineer's assistant. I wondered whether that meant that the body had subsequently been identified, as that description alone would limit the possible candidates. I went back to the Enclopedia Titanica website, and searched the List of Unidentified Victims. Under that listing, it indicates that there was nothing to identify the body save a hankerchief with the initials A.H.F.
At that time, I became curious and searched the Engineer's List for possible candidates. Only two people on the list had initials that were close. Mr. A. Foster, an Engineering Storekeeper, and a Trimmer, Mr. Anton Ferrary (likely spelling).
As for other candidates, the only other member of the crew I can find that with initials that resemble those on the hankerchief is Mr. Harry Finch, a third class steward. However, the superficial appearance of victim #308 seems to discount him (i.e. he wouldn't resemble someone working near the engineering section).
I have tried to account for passengers as well.
Mr. Arthur Ford - 3rd Class
Mr. Arne Jonas Fahlstrom - 2rd Class
Mr. Anthony W. Frost (of the Guarantee Group) - 2nd Class
Mrs. Alfred Flegenheim (Survived) - 1st Class
I think Fahlstrom and perhaps Frost can be discarded because of their middle initials. I think Ford can be discounted due to the superficial identification made in the Nova Scotia archives (why would he be dressed as an engineer).
I suppose Mr. Flegenheim could have gave someone her hankerchief (or I suppose her late husband's), but I would think that to be a weak argument, and it can not be proved one way or the other.
I managed to reach Mr. Knuckle to ask how he arrived at the fact that #308 was an engineer's assistant, and he wrote back via e-mail,
"All I can tell you is that body #308 was the second body retrieved from the sea by the C. S. Minia. The entry from the Halifax Archives that I received says exactly this in typewritten form:
2. 308 A. H. F. An engineer's assistant. (Then in handwriting it adds: Permit issued May10/12. Fairview. (I assume this is the date of burial.)
This record does not list anything other than that.
The superficial description of the body and mention of the handkerchief on the Titanica web site also comes from the Archives but another source - possibly the crew on board ship or the coroner on land."
He further confirmed that it would be impossible to determine which body it was unless we had a middle initial for both the men. Mr. Knuckle e-mailed me back later indicating that he had found the middle initial on the Encyclopedia Titanica website. I looked again (after tapping my head), and under the Particulars of Engagement: Belfast to Southampton http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org...A-45-381.shtml, it lists Mr. Foster's middle initial as "C." Though I have read that some crew have been misidentified because people cannot read the initial that they sign, it is unclear to me how an H can be misconstrued to be a C. It appears that he signed his middle initial during the initial voyage from Belfast to Southampton, but did not for the final voyage from Southampton.
This is all that we have, and I find it compelling that Anton Ferrary is #308. I suppose that a weakness of this is the fact that we do not have Mr. Ferrary's middle initial, but all other candidates (or so I believe) seem to have been eliminated.
Another weakness is the possibility (though remote) that the middle initial was an H and not a W. In my imaginings, I could see a waterlogged hankerchief with a W resembling an H.
As well, in the American Inquiry, Thomas Andrew's bedroom steward, Henry Etches, described a blue suit that Andrews wore when he went down to inspect the engine room. Frost could have had one as well. From this site:
Senator SMITH. Did you see him in the boiler room?
Mr. ETCHES. He had a suit, and I have seen that suit thrown on the bed when he had taken it off. I have seen him in the chief engineer's room.
Senator SMITH. You mean by that that he had a special suit which he wore when he went into the boiler room?
Mr. ETCHES. It was there for the purpose. I knew exactly what it was. It was a suit the surveyors put on.
Senator SMITH. What did you say about a suit that he wore when he went into the engineering department?
Mr. ETCHES. He had an engineering suit on then-an ordinary blue suit, sir.
In summary, it seems 308 is Ferrari, and Frost is a longshot. I guess anything is possible.
Thanks for reading this long-winded rant!