Mr Frederick William Barrett, 28, was born in Liverpool. When he signed-on
to the Titanic on 6 April he gave his address as 24 King St. (Southampton). His
previous ship was the New York. As
a leading fireman he took home monthly wages of £6 10s.
Barrett was working in boiler room 6 at the time of the collision, he felt
the impact of the iceberg and then heard a sound like thunder rolling towards
him as it tore along the ship's side:
A graphic story was told by Frederick Barrett a leading
He was in No. 6 section, and Mr Shepherd was
the engineer on duty.
"There is a clock face in the stokehole
and a red light goes up for 'Stop.' I was talking to Mr Hesketh when the red
light came up, and I shouted, 'Shut all the dampers.' That order was obeyed,
but the crash came before we had them all shut.
There was a rush of water into my stokehole. We
were standing on plates about six feet above the tank tops, and the water came
in about two feet above the plates.
Together with Mr Hesketh I jumped through the
doorway into No. 5 section. The watertight door between the section was then
open, but it shut just as we jumped through. This door is worked from the
I do not know whether any more men in my
stokehole were saved. The water was coming in fast enough through the side of
the ship to flood the place.
ENGINEER'S BROKEN LEG
Shortly afterwards the order came from the engine room to
send all the stokers up. "Most of them went up, but I was told to remain
with the engineers to do any errands. Mr Harvey, Mr Wilson, Mr Shephard and I
waited in No. 5 section.
Mr Harvey told me to send some firemen for some
lamps. Just as we got the lamps the electric light came on again. They must
have been changing the dynamos over.
Mr Harvey told me to fetch some firemen to draw
the furnaces. I fetched about 15 firemen and they drew the 30 furnaces in the
section. That occupied about 20 minutes. I looked at the gauge and found there
was no water in the boilers. The ship, in blowing off steam, had blown it
Mr Harvey told me to lift the man-hole plate,
which I did, and then Mr Shephard, hurrying across to do something and not
noticing the plate had been removed, fell down and broke his leg. We lifted him
up and laid him in the pump-room. About a quarter of an hour after the fires
were drawn there was a rush of water."
[Lord Mersey:] Did you see whether this water
was coming through the bulkhead or over it'? - ["]I did not stop to look.
Mr Shephard ordered me up the ladder.["] Barrett added that he thought
something had given way when the rush of water came.
Daily Sketch, Wednesday, May 8, 1912
According to the account given in A Night to Remember when water
suddenly began to gush through the forward bulkhead Shepherd urged Harvey
and Barrett to get out but Harvey rushed to save his colleague, the last
thing Barrett noticed as he clambered up the escape ladder was the two
engineers disappearing under a torrent of ice cold water.
Barrett's testimony to the British enquiry does not mention this
scenario and actually indicates that Shepherd had already been carried to
another compartment before that in which he was injured became flooded and
therefore Barrett could not have seen him as he made his escape. The truth
remains a mystery.
Barrett's later testimony hinted that the bulkhead that gave way may
have been weakened by a fire that smouldered in the bunkers throughout the
Had it Anything to Do With The Disaster?
Lord Mersey yesterday put a striking question to Frederick
Barrett, a leading stoker on the Titanic.
After Barrett had described the outbreak of
fire in one of the coal bunkers Lord Mersey asked if he thought the Fire had
anything to do with the disaster. Barrett replied that it would be hard to
On the previous day Barrett was asked whether
the rush of water that drove him on deck was due to a bulkhead giving way, but
he said he could not say. Yesterday he said that after the bunker where the
fire occurred had been cleared the bulkhead that ran by that bunker was
damaged, and he attributed that to the fire.
Barrett said that when he ran up to the
promenade deck there were only two boats left.
Did you see any women? - The women were coming
up from aft. I don't know where they were coming from.
His boat was not lowered until all the women
had been taken off the deck.
Daily Sketch, Wednesday, May 9, 1912
Barrett was put in command of lifeboat
13. At around 1.40 a.m. the boat was successfully lowered although
the occupants narrowly avoided a torrent of water from an outfall in the
ship's side and when it had reached the water Barrett and able seaman
Robert Hopkins had to work quickly
to cut the boat free from the falls as it drifted under lifeboat
15 which had begun its descent. At 4.45 a.m. Barrett brought his boat
and its occupants safely to the side of the rescue ship Carpathia.
A few weeks later, on May 25, Frederick Barrett was working on the Olympic. When Senator Smith was
given a tour of the Titanic's sister by Captain Haddock as part of his
investigation, Haddock mentioned that one of his stokers had been aboard Titanic,
and Smith then went down to the engine room to talk with Barrett and get a better
impression of how conditions had been aboard Titanic in the boiler rooms
at the time of the collision.
Crew Particulars of Engagement
(Courtesy of the Titanic
United States Senate Hearings, 25 May 1912, Testimony
Board of Trade Hearings, 7 May 1912, Testimony
Board of Trade Hearings, 8 May 1912, Recalled
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Daily Sketch, Wednesday, May 8-9, 1912
Dave Bryceson (1997) The Titanic Disaster: As Reported in the British National
Press April-July 1912. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN-1-85260-579-0
John P. Eaton & Charles A. Haas (1994) Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy,
2nd ed. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 85260 493 X
John Eaton & Charles Haas (1992) Titanic: Destination Disaster, Patrick
Stevens Ltd. ISBN 1 85260 534 0
Walter Lord (1976) A Night to Remember. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 14 004757
Don Lynch & Ken Marschall (1992) Titanic: An Illustrated History. London,
Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0 340 56271 4
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on
Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912
Wreck Commissioners' Court, Proceedings before the Right Hon. Lord Mersey on a
Formal Investigation Ordered by the Board of Trade into the Loss of the S.S. Titanic
Eric Paddon, USA
George Behe, USA
Related Articles and Documents
Titanic Passenger and Crew Summary
Name: Mr Frederick Barrett
Age: 28 years
Last Residence: in Southampton Hampshire England
Occupation: Leading Fireman
Last Ship: New York
First Embarked: Southampton
Rescued (boat 13)
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
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